The aim of our anti-bullying policy is to clarify for pupils and staff that bullying is always unacceptable. We wish to encourage an environment where independence is celebrated and individuals can flourish without fear. Every pupil has the right to be safe and happy in school and to be protected when he/she is feeling vulnerable.
Definition of bullying
Bullying is the wilful, conscious desire to hurt, threaten or frighten someone.
There are different sorts of bullying, but the three main types are:
Physical – hitting, kicking, taking or hiding belongings including money
Verbal – name calling, teasing, insulting, writing unkind notes
Emotional – being unfriendly, excluding, tormenting, spreading rumours, looks.
People react differently. It is not always possible to tell if someone is hurt or upset.
Pupils who are being bullied may show changes in behaviour, such as becoming shy and nervous, feigning illness or clinging to adults. They may show changes in their work pattern, may lack concentration or may even truant from school.
Encouraging to tell
It is important that we create an atmosphere in the school where pupils who are being bullied, or others who know about it, feel that they will be listened to and believed and that action taken will be swift but sensitive to their concerns.
Not telling protects the bully or bullies, and gives the message that they can continue.
In the first instance, it is important to make it clear to the victim that revenge is not appropriate and to the bully that his/her behaviour is unacceptable and has caused distress. Every effort is made to resolve the problem through counselling of both parties.
At this stage, parents/carers of both parties are informed of what has happened and how it has been dealt with. It is vital that everything that has happened is carefully recorded in a clear factual way.
If the bullying behaviour continues and counselling has not worked, then sanctions follow. It is important that counselling is maintained for both parties, even when sanctions have been applied.
If you are being bullied, or know that someone else is, please tell us immediately and it will be dealt with. Not telling means the victim will continue to suffer and the bully will carry on, probably with others too. We all have a responsibility to make sure that bullying is not allowed to continue in our school.
If you think your child/ward may be being bullied, or tells you that he/she is. Let us know straight away. Please reassure him/her that we will deal with it sensitively but firmly. If your child/ward tells us he/she is being bullied, or we discover that he/she is bullying others, we will contact you and will discuss together how the situation can be improved.
If you think that bullying is occurring, talk to the pupils concerned and ask them what has been happening. If necessary make a record on an incident slip and pass it to the appropriate Progress Leader.
We need to be particularly vigilant at breaks, around corridors between lessons and in the playground area and toilets.
Curriculum work can enhance this policy in two ways:-
By dealing with the topic of bullying, in a way that explores why it happens and gives alternative ways of behaving and dealing with difficulties.
- By using teaching methods which encourage co-operative work and a variety of groupings so that pupils extend their relationships beyond a small group of friends.
To all other staff
Please report any suspected incidents of bullying to the appropriate Progress Leader.
Responding to bullies
In the first instance efforts should be made to deal with bullies by seeking fully to address and solve the problem rather than automatically resorting to punitive measures.
When dealing with the bully defuse the situation, do not exacerbate it by being angry, sarcastic or indignant.
The goal is to try and get the person who is using bullying behaviour to feel concern for the recipient.
It is important to protect the victim by explaining to the bully that his/her behaviour has been observed and reported by others (eg friends, teachers).
If a positive response is achieved then the aim should be to bring the bully and recipient together for a constructive talk. This may take time and is not always advisable but can be very productive if handled with care.
Repeated instances of bullying should be dealt with more severely. If there is a negative response to the above then parents/carers should be contacted and informed of the serious consequences of such behaviour. Detention and further sanctions (eg break and lunchtime supervision) applied.
Pupils who fail to respond to the above measures will be recommended for exclusion resulting in a permanent exclusion if necessary.
Supporting the victims of bullies
It takes courage to report bullying. The fact that someone has told you means that they believe and trust you will do something about it.
It is important to believe the recipients’ perception of what happened and to assure them that they have acted correctly in coming to you.
Actively listen to them. Give them your individual attention.
Ask them to tell you what happened by asking neutral questions such as:-
“tell me what happened”
“who was involved”
“when and where did this happen” etc
It is not helpful to anyone if an interrogation is conducted or comments made or questions asked that make them feel that they were in some way responsible for the behaviour, or that their complaint is trivial. We must avoid conveying the impression that the recipient should feel guilty about being bullied and needing to seek help.
Act on the information received. Depending on the frequency and severity of the bullying either deal with it yourself or refer it to the pupil’s tutor or Progress Leader.
The following must be carried out:-
a) A written report of the incident to be passed to the Progress Leader for filing.
b) A letter to the parents of both victim and bully explaining the situation and action taken.
Talking with Parents/Carers
Parents/Carers of any children involved, in any role, in bullying
The aim should be to foster and maintain a good relationship in both the short term and long term.
a) Points for consideration
Who should talk with parents/carers? (Need for a colleague present)
- Where to talk
- What attitude/approach should be taken? Could any non-verbal behaviour be helpful?
- How to explain the school’s position – what to do in case of threat or violence
b) Parents/Carers of a child who is, allegedly, being bullied:
• Allow the parent/carer(s) to express their feelings, uninterrupted
- Accept those feelings (they are real for that parent/carer, even if they might seem excessive to you)
- Useful phrases include “I realise you’re upset”, “I’ll try to help”, “this must be difficult for you”, Avoid: “I know how you feel”.
- Assure the parent/carer(s) that you are pleased they have taken the time to see you.
- Express the view that bullying is unacceptable, and that you intend to act positively. Promise to do (and do) keep in touch with them.
c) Talking with parent/carer(s) of a child/ward who has, allegedly been bullying
Avoid labelling their child/ward as “a bully”. Begin by offering some positive view/aspect of their child/ward which you appreciate and value.
- Show a shared concern for their child/ward’s problem (anti-social bullying behaviour) and a concern to help that child/ward fulfil his/her best potential. Useful phrases include: I’m sure we both share a concern for ………….’s future; we need to help him/her to show his/her best side/develop his/her potential and talents, avoid spoiling him/her with this sort of behaviour.
- Ask if anything could be upsetting/stressing the child/ward now or recently, to trigger the bullying behaviour.
- Get the parent/carer(s) to agree, if possible, that bullying the child/ward who bullies will not be a positive approach to take.
- Explain what you intend to do next; get their agreement, if possible. Promise to (and do) keep in touch with them.
NB It is always best if all parents/carers are made aware of the school’s approach to bullying (both in writing and at meetings, formally and informally), and encouraged to share the school’s positive approach ie aiming to stop the bullying behaviour.
Definition of Cyber bullying
Cyber bullying can be defined as the use of Information a Communications Technology (ICT), particularly mobile phones and the internet, deliberately to upset someone else.
Cyber bullying can be an extension of face-to-face bullying, with technology providing the bully with another route to harass their target. However, it differs in several significant ways from other kinds of bullying: the invasion of home and personal space; the difficulty in controlling electronically circulated messages; the size of the audience, perceived anonymity; and even the profile of the person doing the bullying and their target.
Cyber bullying, like all other forms of bullying are/is taken seriously at The Hawthorne’s Free School and like other forms of bullying it is unacceptable.
Preventing Cyber bullying
The Hawthorne’s Free School will/has taken pro-active measures to help prevent cyber bullying from occurring, and to reduce the impact of any incidents that do happen. The school promotes and maintains a safe and welcoming environment as a responsibility and function of the whole-school community.
This is promoted in a number of ways – There is a whole school approach to anti-bullying week. Assemblies are delivered to all year groups and pupils are encouraged to not “suffer in silence”.
Students are given updates on “The Sharpsystem.com” which is a tool to report any bullying incidents in the safety of their home and it can be anonymous.
Key Safety Advice leaflet given to all parents/carers identifying strategies for students/parents/carers with advice if a parent/carer suspects their child/ward is cyber bullying or being cyber bullied.
SEAL – Social, Emotional Aspects of Learning is delivered throughout lower school and will be extended to upper school issues covered include ‘Effects of Bullying’. All students are expected to sign an “Acceptable Use Policy” which explains what is/ is not permitted within the school environment. (See appendix 2)
All classrooms display key safety advice about Cyber bullying and how it can be reported to an adult in school.
Responding to Cyber bullying (Sanctions)
Students who are in violation of the “Acceptable Use Policy”
• Temporary or permanent ban internet/computer use.
• Parents/carers informed.
• Additional disciplinary action may be added in line with existing practice on inappropriate
language or behaviour.
• When applicable, police or local authorities may be involved.
• If necessary external agencies such as school networking or E-Mail member sites
may be contacted and informed
The following are not permitted within the school environment:
1. Sending or displaying offensive messages or pictures.
2. Using obscene language.
3. Harassing, insulting or attacking others.
4. Damaging computers, computer systems or computer networks.
5. Violating copyright laws.
6. Using others’ passwords or accounts.
7. ‘Hacking’ into others’ folders, work or files for any reason.
8. Intentionally wasting limited resources, including printer ink and paper.
1. Violations of the above rules will result in a temporary or permanent ban on internet/computer use.
2. Your parents/carers will be informed.
3. Additional disciplinary action may be added in line with existing practice on inappropriate language or behaviour.
4. When applicable, police or local authorities may be involved.
5. If necessary, external agencies such as Social Networking or E-Mail member sites may be contacted and informed.
• You must have parent’s/carer’s permission before using the internet.
• You must have a supervising teacher or member of staff with you at all times when using the internet
• Do not disclose any password or login name to anyone, other that the persons responsible for running and maintaining the system.
• Do not upload/send personal addresses, telephone/fax numbers or photographs of anyone (staff or pupil) at the school.
• Use of names of pupils or photographs of students will require parents to have been informed about such use.
• Do not download, use or upload any material which is copyright. Always seek permission from the owner before using any material from the internet. If in doubt, do not use the material.
• Under no circumstances should you view, upload or download any material which is likely to be unsuitable for children. This applies to any material of a violent, dangerous or inappropriate context. If you are unsure ask the supervisor.
• Always respect the privacy of files of other users.
• Be polite and appreciated that other users might have different views than your own. The use of strong language, swearing or aggressive behaviour is not allowed. Do not state anything which could be interpreted as libel.
• Ensure that you have followed the correct procedures for using the internet.
• Report any incident which breaches these rules to the IT Network manager or Co-ordinator of ICT.
I have read and agree to abide by the rules stated in the I.C.T. Acceptable Use Policy.
I understand the consequences if I do not.
NAME _________________________________________ FORM ______________
SIGNED _______________________________________ DATE _______________
*DCSF Guidance “Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schools”
**Anti Bullying Alliance guidance
*** DCSF – Safe to Learn: Embedding Anti-bullying in Schools – Cyberbullying.