Bullying affects everyone, not just the bullies and the victims. It also affects those other children who watch, and less aggressive pupils can often be drawn in by group pressure.
Bullying is not an inevitable part of school life or a necessary part of growing up, and it rarely sorts itself out. It is clear that certain jokes, insults, intimidating/threatening behaviour, written abuse and violence are to be found in our society. No one person or group, whether staff or pupil, should have to accept this type of behaviour. Only when all issues of bullying are addressed, will a child best be able to benefit from the opportunities available at the school.
We believe and state in our Academy aims that our pupils have a right to learn in a supportive, safe and caring environment and should not have to live with the fear of being bullied.
All institutions, both large and small, contain some pupils with the potential to display bullying behaviour. If a school is well organised and disciplined, it can minimize the occurrence of bullying. Our school also has a clear policy on the promotion of good citizenship, where it is made clear that bullying is a form of anti-social behaviour. Bullying is wrong and will not be tolerated at Hillcrest School. We believe that if we stand by a clear policy on bullying which promotes zero tolerance, then both parents and pupils will know and understand that any complaints of bullying will be dealt with firmly, fairly and promptly.
Statements and Objectives
Bullying needs to be defined so all staff, parents and pupils will recognise when it occurs.
It can occur through several types of anti-social behaviour. Bullying is the systematic on going targeting of an individual by another individual or a group of individuals. It can be :-
- Physical – A child can be physically punched, kicked, hit, spat at, etc.
- Verbal – Verbal abuse can take the form of name calling. It may be directed towards gender, ethnic origin, physical/social disability, etc.
- Exclusion – A child can be bullied simply by being excluded from discussions or activities, with those they believe to be their friends.
- Damage to Property or Theft – Pupils may have their property damaged or stolen. Physical threats may be used by the bully in order that the pupil hand over property to them.
Our pupils, if they find they are being bullied, are encouraged to take the following steps as a victim’s silence is the bully’s greatest weapon :-
- They are encouraged to talk to a member of staff of their choosing and to discuss strategies of how to deal with the traumatic experience that they have had.
- A named member of staff who is on duty daily is briefed fully on the case and will offer to let the victim stay with them during break times. This is usually a dinner lady or an ancillary.
- The bully is denied break times for a set period in order to give the victim a break from their presence and this lets the victim gain much needed confidence in the playground situation again.
- The victim is to be told that it is not their fault and they do not deserve to be bullied.
- They are counselled about showing how upset they are to the bully as a bully will thrive on someone else’s fear.
- A safe group of friends is developed for the victim and this is helped and encouraged by the class teacher.
- The victim is helped to be more assertive and is trained to shout no loudly and walk away confidently to tell an adult.
- All children are encouraged through assembly and PSE/Citizen education to be good friend and care for others. They are also encouraged to share their feelings with people that they trust. Children are also asked to tell trusted adults about their friend’s unhappiness if they are being bullied and that they should never be a bully’s friend. If a bully tries to make the child join in, then they should be brave and again tell a trusted adult.
Parents are encouraged to help in the following ways :-
- Looking for unusual behaviour in their children, e.g. Feeling ill, not wanting to come to school or their work is not to their usual standard.
- Parents will be asked to sign and actively support the home/school agreement.
- Take an active role in their child’s education by attending parents meetings and progress evenings.
- Parents are asked not to encourage their child to fight back.
- Talk to their child and reassure them that it is not their fault they have been bullied.
Staff will help to combat bullying in the following ways :-
- Organise the Academy community in order to minimize opportunities for bullying, eg. Patrolling areas which could be flash points at problem times which have been identified as play times and lunch times.
- Use any opportunity to discuss aspects of bullying, and the types of appropriate behaviour towards each other such as in the PSE policy etc.
- Deal quickly, firmly and fairly with any complaints involving parents where necessary.
- All reported bullying incidents must be reported to the Headteacher in case of parental complaint so she can deal with these knowledgeably.
- The policy will be reviewed on a regular basis and it’s effectiveness assessed at staff meetings.
- The school discipline policy will be implemented consistently in a firm but fair manner.
- School rules will be few in number, clear, simple and easy to understand.
- Encourage pupils to treat everyone with respect.
- Treat bullying as a serious offence and take every possible action to prevent it from occurring.
Action to be taken when bullying is suspected :-
If bullying is suspected then the class teacher will talk to the victim on their own and any witnesses to establish the seriousness of the case. The class teacher will then take action against the bully. Serious cases will be referred straight to the Headteacher who will then deal with the bully as outlined below. If any degree of bullying is found to be occurring, however small it will be dealt with promptly by the following action :-
Help, support and counselling will be given as appropriate to both the victims and the bullies.
We support the victims in the following ways :-
- By offering them an immediate opportunity to talk about their experiences with their class teacher or another trusted adult if they choose.
- They are assigned a named adult who they can talk to and stay with on the playground if they choose.
- By offering continued support for as long as they need it and offer strategies to deal with future problems.
- By informing the parents/guardians of the child.
We also discipline, yet try to help the bullies reform their ways by :-
- By talking about what happened, to discover why they became involved.
- Informing the bullies parents/guardians.
- By continuing to work with the bullies in order to get rid of prejudiced attitudes as far as possible.
- By taking the bully away from the scene for a while to reflect on his/her actions.
- By taking further action detailed below if no improvement seen .
For cases of persistent or serious acts of bullying, the following steps may be taken :-
- They will be given oral and written warning to stop offending.
- The parents and guardians will be invited in to discuss the matter.
- They may be excluded from the school premises at lunch times.
- If they do not stop bullying, they will be suspended for a minor fixed period. E.g. Two days.
- If it is continued, then a major fixed period will be imposed of up to 15 days.
- If they will not end such behaviour, then they made be recommended for permanent exclusion from our school community.
Monitoring and Evaluation
This policy concerns the protection of the children in our care and will be implemented vigorously. It is the Headteacher’s responsibility to ensure that it is implemented consistently and fairly. Qualitative evaluation by the Headteacher will take place with the Headteacher monitoring interviews with victims and witnesses as they take place and regularly checking bullies statements. A register of known offenders will be kept by the Head in order to monitor persistent offenders. The Staff and Governing body will review the policy annually and the procedures that take place following a bullying incident. Although zero tolerance of bullying is the policy at our school, we are realistic enough to know it occurs from time to time and that the major emphasis for prevention in our school is on creating the safe environment every child deserves in their school life.
This policy was agreed by all the staff and governors. It will be reviewed and issued to all staff on an annual basis.