This policy has been written in the light of the gospel and our school mission statement. A paper copy can be obtained from the school office, free of charge.
St Brigid’s RC Primary School is committed to preventing all types of bullying. It is entirely contrary to the values and ethos of our school. All members of the school community have the right to be educated in a safe and secure environment. Everyone will be vigilant and will intervene promptly if there are any signs or reports of bullying. All staff will work to ensure that bullying is not prevalent in the school community by implementing preventative strategies involving staff, parents and children and also the wider school community. We have a responsibility to safeguard all pupils. The aim of this document is to ensure a unified approach is practised across our school when dealing with bullying and also to ensure consistency across all key phases with a wider purpose to enable children to thrive strive in a positive and safe learning environment.
Our policy sets out the rights of all stakeholders in relation to bullying. It contains definitions of bullying and signs and signals for staff, children and other stakeholders to be vigilant of the signs that may indicate that a person has been, or is being bullied. It also contains information on how to communicate concerns, procedures to deal with allegations and proactive and reactive strategies to combat bullying. Our policy takes into consideration consultation with stakeholders, as well as guidance that exists, data available and training undertaken. Please refer to Appendix 5 for information on the latest legislation and guidance September 2022.The policy will be subject to regular review to ensure it conforms to the latest guidance. It reflects current practice within school. The implementation of the policy is the responsibility of all staff and stakeholders. This policy is supported by and links closely to other policies such as our school’s Behaviour Policy, Safeguarding Policy, Digital Safety and Acceptable Use of ICT Policies, Equality & Public Sector Equality Duty Policy, Confidentiality, SEND and Curriculum Policies, all of which safeguard and promote the welfare of children in this school.
Statement of Intent
We believe it is important that:
This is built on the 4 Rights and 4 playtime rules promoted in St Brigid’s Behaviour Policy.
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.
This school believes that:
Definition of bullying:
“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.” (DfE Preventing and Tackling Bullying July 2017).
Anyone can practice bullying behaviours/be a bully.
Bullying can take place between pupils, between pupils and staff; or between staff; by individuals or groups; face to face, indirectly or using a range of cyber bullying methods. It can happen in isolation or quite often in the presence of others.
Some people know that they are bullying others and they mean to bully, i.e. there is intent. However, some people bully others without recognising the impact of their actions. Similarly, a victim of bullying might not recognise what is happening to them and that bullying behaviour has a very insidious effect that affects a person’s self-esteem, confidence and well-being.
A one-off incident tends not to comprise bullying. A characteristic of bullying is that in its different forms/behaviours it happens repeatedly over a period of time. However, individual incidents will be monitored to ensure that they are not repeated, as if undealt with these can become bullying over time.
Instances of bullying tend to have the following common characteristics:
• Repetitive and persistent. Bullying is usually experienced as part of a continuous pattern and it can be extremely threatening and intimidating even when very subtle. Nevertheless, sometimes a single incident can have precisely the same impact as persistent behaviour over time.
• Intentionally harmful. The act of bullying intends harm to another individual although occasionally the distress it causes is not consciously intended by all of those who are present.
• Involves an imbalance of power. Bullying leaves someone feeling helpless to prevent it or put a stop to it. In some cases an imbalance of power may mean that bullying crosses the threshold into abuse requiring implementation of safeguarding procedures.
We recognise that there are levels of bullying. It can take many forms, but the main types are:
Child on child abuse: Context and Definition: Peer abuse is behaviour by an individual or group, intending to physically, sexually or emotionally hurt others. All staff should recognise that children are capable of abusing their peers. All staff should be aware of safeguarding issues from peer abuse including:
This abuse can:
Children or young people who harm others may have additional or complex needs e.g.:
It can also be because:
Bullying is NEVER acceptable but understanding what has led to a person harming another person could help to prevent re-occurrence of bullying incidents.
Stopping violence and ensuring immediate physical safety is the first priority of any education setting, but emotional bullying can sometimes be more damaging than physical. School staff, alongside the Designated Safeguarding Lead and/or Deputy DSLs, have to make their own judgements about each specific case and should use this policy guidance to help.
Examples of Bullying
Racist bullying – an incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person. This can be in the form of:
Sexual bullying – this is generally characterised by:
Sexual orientation – this can happen even if the pupils are not lesbian, gay or bisexual. Just being different can be enough. This can be in the form of:
SEN or disability – These pupils are often at greater risk of bullying. This can be characterised by:
The need for adult sensitivity should be taken into account in a number of instances, e.g. when grouping children, marking children’s work, sharing of results and assessment arrangements as well as an awareness of appropriate language being used when addressing pupils.
Text Bullying – Pupils receiving threatening or disturbing messages from possibly anonymous callers. (Mobile Phones are allowed to be brought into school by children in Years 5 and 6 but must not be used in school and must be kept in the phone safe in each classroom. Failure to follow these rules will result in a child not being able to bring their phone to school). It is likely that most children will be using mobile phones out of school.
Cyber Bullying – Children receiving abusive messages or images via email or social networking sites. Within school children have restricted access to both of these, but could be using inappropriate social media sites and unsafe use of gaming platforms outside school and at home. Parents/ carers are responsible in the first instance for their child’s phone-use safety outside of school. We work closely with families to support them with this fast-moving technology.
Indirect – spreading nasty stories about someone, exclusion from social groups, being made the subject of malicious rumours, text messages, emails and cyber-bullying. This type of 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.
It is also important to remember:
Online and face-to-face bullying can happen simultaneously, so it is important to ensure that the range of possible contexts are fully explored in order to keep children safe.
Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE), 2022 states that ‘Governing bodies should ensure their child protection policy includes procedures to minimise the risk of peer on peer abuse and sets out how allegations of peer on peer abuse will be investigated and dealt with’. It also emphasises that the voice of the child must be heard. ‘Governing bodies, proprietors and school or college leaders should ensure the child’s wishes and feelings are taken into account when determining what action to take and what services to provide. Systems should be in place for children to express their views and give feedback. Ultimately, all system and processes should operate with the best interests of the child at their heart.’ Child on child abuse is referenced in the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy. The sensitive nature and specific issues involved with child on child necessitate separate policy guidance. Child on Child Abuse Policy and Procedural Guidance dealt with immediately and consistently to reduce the extent of harm to the young person, with full consideration to the impact on that individual child’s emotional and mental health and well-being.
Every member of the school community is entitled to expect equality of protection from bullying as well as protection and support from school policies and procedures designed to ensure that the school remains a safe environment in which to teach, learn and thrive.
As a school, we work together and strive to eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under the Equality Act 2010. This also includes promoting equality for people with ‘protected characteristics’. The ‘protected characteristics’ the Act covers as discrimination are based on: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
It is really important that all children gain an understanding of the world they are growing up in, and learn how to live alongside, and show respect for, a diverse range of people.
THE SIGNS OF BULLYING
There is no definitive way of identifying that a person is being bullied. Staff should therefore be vigilant in order to identify any of these physical and/or behavioural changes in a person as soon as possible. The following physical and behavioural signs have been identified as possible indicators that bullying has/ or is taking place:
We also recognise the role of children, staff and other stakeholders in reporting incidents and not taking on a role of bystander if they witness an incident of bullying. We aim to promote a positive, caring ethos within our school.
Victims are more likely to have the following vulnerability characteristics:
Dealing with Bullying
We encourage children to report any incidents of bullying to any member of staff in the setting. We strive to create an environment where all students can discuss any concerns with staff and feel listened to and supported. Staff will deal with the incident as promptly and sensitively as possible. The following list of actions might be used by staff depending on the perceived seriousness of the incident:
Staff to record all incidents on the individual Incident Log (see appendix)
The types, rates and patterns of bullying, and the effectiveness of the school’s actions to prevent forms of bullying, including cyber-bullying and prejudice-based bullying related to SEN, sexual orientation, sex, race, religion or belief, gender reassignment or disability are taken into account.
In order to support all pupils within the school, we focus on each individual. Evidence of this is recorded as appropriate through different methods, which can involve regular tracking and monitoring of absence and attendance rates, Team around the Child/ Family, Early Help meetings, pupil’s voice and other plus targeted support for students.
We are aware that the school has a responsibility to safeguard children outside school and it is our responsibility to safeguard and take action, providing evidence that we have done so. We teach our pupils about staying safe online and internet safety and the consequences of inappropriate actions.
School staff cannot promise absolute confidentiality if approached by a pupil for help. Staff must make this clear to pupils. Child protection procedures must be followed when any disclosures are made. It is very rare for a pupil to request absolute confidentiality. If they do, in situations other than those involving child protection issues, staff must make a careful judgement whether or not a third party needs to be informed.
This judgement will be based upon:
Where it is clear that a pupil would benefit from the involvement of a third party, staff should seek consent of the pupil to do so. If appropriate, staff might inform the third party together with the pupil. Unless clearly inappropriate, pupils will always be encouraged to talk to their parent/ carer. An underlying principle in supporting pupils in our school is that all children are listened to sensitively and objectively and all incidences of bullying will be taken seriously.
The Culture: Strategies to prevent bullying behaviour include:
The Curriculum: learning about healthy relationships, how to stay safe, the rights of the child.
We ensure that in all aspects of school life there is an emphasis on the importance of relationships, emotional well-being and a community ethos. Proactive strategies for the school can involve:
Furthermore, SRE will tackle, in an age-appropriate way, issues which are set out in Keeping Children Safe in Education September 2022, such as:
Staff Code of Conduct (Staff Responsibility)
We recognise that all adults in the school are in effect role models for the students. The way in which we behave towards each other and to students is particularly important in terms of providing positive role models. Therefore, as adults we must:
We ensure that key areas of the school are adequately supervised and staff are vigilant. Children are given opportunities to take responsibilities and demonstrate initiative (peer mentors, prefects). The school regularly asks students via a map of the grounds and vicinity where vulnerable places might be and act upon this appropriately.
Children also have a responsibility to role model appropriate behaviour for their peers. We therefore believe that all pupils must:
We, as a school, recognise and ensure that staff and Governors receive the latest appropriate training and guidance on behaviour and anti-bullying legislation, responsibilities and strategies. To ensure all governors, parents, pupils, teaching and non-teaching staff have seen and had the opportunity to discuss the policy.
We, as a school, are aware of the need for open communication between stakeholders. All sections of the school organisation must understand its role and responsibilities. We understand the need to ensure this policy is a living document, known and understood by all. Parents/carers are made aware of the school’s policy at the induction meeting and through documentation, including this Policy and supporting leaflets that are available on the website and displayed appropriately within the schoo for all stakeholders. Regular bulletins about what bullying is, how to communicate with staff, recognising early intervention is crucial. Parents know that the school acts to prevent bullying and not just deal with bullying incidents. The views of parents, carers and other stakeholders are regularly recorded and taken into consideration in the rollout of school strategies. Children and families who are new to the school, are reassured that bullying is not permitted and it is a warning to potential bullies that such behaviour is unacceptable from the outset. Our staff do not wait for bullying to be proved before it is acted against. A positive, caring ethos demands a Prevention of Bullying Policy in operation throughout the school.
A hate crime is any incident that constitutes a criminal offence that is perceived by the victim, or any other person, as being motivated by prejudice or hate. It could involve physical attack, threat of attack or verbal abuse or insult around issues such as race, faith, homophobia, transphobia or disability. A hate incident may or may not constitute a criminal offence but is perceived by the victim, or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hate. If an incident appears to be a hate crime or incident, we as a school recognise the need for this to be reported to the police if appropriate.