This policy has been written in the light of the gospel and our school mission statement.
At St Brigid’s R.C. Primary School we are committed to a policy of inclusion and equality where all children are able to accept diversity and through our Catholic values respect one another.
We believe that bullying behaviour is totally unacceptable, and actively seek to ensure that all children feel happy and safe in school.
What is bullying? (DFE definition)
Bullying is behaviour by an individual or group, repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally.
Bullying can take many forms (for instance, cyber-bullying via text messages, social media or gaming, which can include the use of images and video) and is often motivated by prejudice against particular groups, for example on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, special educational needs or disabilities, or because a child is adopted, in care or has caring responsibilities.
It might be motivated by actual differences between children, or perceived differences. Stopping violence and ensuring immediate physical safety is obviously a school’s first priority but emotional bullying can be more damaging than physical; teachers and schools have to make their own judgements about each specific case. Many experts say that bullying involves an imbalance of power between the perpetrator and the victim. This could involve perpetrators of bullying having control over the relationship which makes it difficult for those they bully to defend themselves. The imbalance of power can manifest itself in several ways, it may be physical, psychological (knowing what upsets someone), derive from an intellectual imbalance, or by having access to the support of a group, or the capacity to socially isolate. It can result in the intimidation of a person or persons through the threat of violence or by isolating them either physically or online. Low-level disruption and the use of offensive language can in itself have a significant impact on its target. If left unchallenged or dismissed as banter or horseplay it can also lead to reluctance to report other behaviour.
Early intervention can help to set clear expectations of the behaviour that is and isn’t acceptable and help stop negative behaviours escalating. Since September 2014 a greater focus on how well school leaders tackle low-level disruption was included in Ofsted inspections.
We believe it is important that
• All children feel safe whilst learning to play with and relate to others
• All children are treated fairly, with respect and no loss of dignity
• We listen carefully to what all children have to say.
• We treat reports from all children seriously and take prompt, appropriate action.
This is built on the 4 Rights and 4 playtime rules promoted in St Brigid’s Behaviour Policy. The nature of bullying It is generally accepted that bullying behaviour takes the form of being deliberately hurtful to others, or behaving in a way that causes others to feel threatened or intimidated. Bullying behaviour is often repeated over a period of time. Victims of this behaviour find it difficult to defend themselves or to share with others what is happening to them. Bullying behaviour tends to be secretive or “covered up” and can therefore be difficult to detect. It is clear that this form of behaviour is harmful to both “victim” and “bully” and prompt action is needed to offer real support to all children and families involved. Where it is clear that a child or group have acted in a premeditated way to target an individual or individuals, the school will also record this on the anti-bullying log.
It is important that all bullying behaviours are identified and dealt with to keep children safe. Bullying can take many forms Bullying is behaviour that is deliberately hurtful (including aggression), repeated often over a period of time and where it is difficult for victims to defend themselves. It can take many forms including:
a) Physical – hitting, kicking, taking belongings
b) Verbal – name calling, insulting, making offensive remarks
c) Indirect – spreading nasty stories about someone, exclusion from social groups, being made the subject of malicious rumours, text messages, email and cyber-bullying.
Bullying is usually part of a pattern of behaviour rather than an isolated incident.
If an individual considers themselves to have been bullied, this may have a negative impact on their emotional well-being, which can perpetuate the fear of a further perceived or real incident and thus will need to be dealt with appropriately.
Bullying is an abuse of power. Bullying can affect all relationships: adult to adult, pupil to adult, pupil to pupil, and adult to pupil.
Adults in schools can bully by means of sarcasm, putdowns, making comparisons and name calling to maintain control of a class. Pupil’s attitudes to bullying
The most important indication of bullying behaviour is whether a “victim” themselves believes that they have been subject to bullying.
At St Brigid’s R.C. Primary School we strive to ensure that all systems enable all children to tell us if they feel they have a problem relating to bullying behaviour. We ensure all children know that what they say will always be listened to and taken seriously.
Strategies in school to prevent bullying behaviour include:
• Careful implementation of the Behaviour, Racial Equality Policy, Equality Duty, Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunities and PSHCE Policies.
• The encouragement and development of good relationships between children and between staff and children.
• The use of collective worship and circle time to explore those relationships, areas of conflict, feelings, ideas and opinions.
• Actively encouraging children to seek support with any problems and giving them time and privacy to share any concerns.
• Working with children to help them grow in understanding of the consequences of their actions.
• Working with other agencies – e.g other schools, Caritas Social Worker, Behaviour Support Services, Educational/clinical psychologists, CAMHS, Social Services, Services for minority or vulnerable groups.
• All staff who work with children to have appropriate training and a clear understanding of the school’s approach to behaviour management.
• Regular staff monitoring of behaviour during lesson time, at break time and lunch time.
What should parents do if they think/feel/believe their child is being bullied?
Contact the school.
The first point of contact is the child’s class teacher. It is important that parents feel confident to talk to staff about their concerns. The Head is actively involved in all such cases either through discussion with the children concerned or the class teacher and welcomes parents to share their concerns so that prompt action can be taken.
Good Practice for staff when working with parents
• Recognise that it is normal for parents to experience anger or feel upset.
• Keep an open mind.
• Remain calm and understanding.
• Refrain from making instant decisions and explain clearly that it will take time to investigate incidents thoroughly before passing any judgement.
• Reassure the parent that any incidents will be followed up promptly
• Make it clear that the school does care
• Agree a timescale to speak to the parent after investigations have been made
• Clearly explain school policy and procedure and ensure that it is followed
• Feedback promptly to the Head teacher
• Explain that discussions will relate to their child only and actions taken to address the situation relating to their child.
It is not appropriate to discuss other children or any actions or sanctions put in place except to reassure parents that appropriate measures are in place to ensure the well-being of their child in school.
Investigating reported incidents of bullying
• Suspected or alleged bullying must never be ignored.
• Collect accounts from all related sources, listening carefully and avoiding assumptions.
• Talk to children individually rather than in groups.
• Encourage children to be honest and open in their accounts of events.
• Check with other staff if other incidents have been observed or changes in children’s behaviour been noted.
Action for the school
• Staff to record all incidents on the School Incident Log (see appendix)
• Meet with the victim.
• Encourage to talk about incidents, issues and feelings.
• Acknowledge their feelings and offer support.
• Arrange a suitable programme of support.
• Inform parents.
• Meet with the child/ren alleged to have been involved in bullying behaviour
• Encourage to talk about reported incidents.
• Listen carefully to their perception of the incidents.
• Try to explore any possible motivation for behaviour.
• If bullying behaviour has taken place explain that it is totally unacceptable and encourage child to acknowledge that the behaviour is wrong and needs to stop
• Arrange a programme of support with the child, designed to explore reasons for the behaviour and to ensure that there is no reoccurrence.
Mediation will be used between culprit(s) and victim(s) where appropriate to support the right choices being made and good friendships rather than retaliation. However, in serious cases this may not be suitable.
• The Head will decide at what point it is appropriate to make contact with parents depending on the nature of the incident. Children will be offered the opportunity of having their parents involved to support the process throughout.
• Should any incidents of bullying behaviour be deemed of a particularly serious nature the Head will inform parents immediately of the possibility of exclusion
• The Head may take the decision to exclude a child immediately for serious bullying behaviour.
Parents have a right of appeal to the Governing Body and the LEA.
Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the Anti-Bullying Policy
• General observation of playground activity.
• Ongoing evaluation of Incident Log.
• Weekly feedback/discussion with all staff about classroom and break time behaviour.
• Staff encouraged to raise concerns about children or incidents with Head as matter of importance.
• Head to carry out annual review, noting incidence and nature of bullying behaviour, report to staff and look at successful approaches and possible areas for improvement.
• Annual Head’s Report on Anti-Bullying Policy to the full Governing Body making reference to the nature and incidence of bullying behaviour in the school and detailing successful approaches in dealing with reported and proven incidents of bullying behaviour.
• Governing Body to see anonymous excerpts from Incident Log annually as part of Head’s Report.
A paper copy can be obtained from the school office, free of charge.