(To be read in conjunction with the Behaviour Policy)
This policy applies to the EYFS, the main school and out of school care facilities.
Objectives of this Policy
- To effectively prevent, tackle and respond to bullying at Westward School.
- To create a safe, disciplined environment where pupils are able to learn and fulfil their potential.
- The Proprietors, all teaching and non-teaching staff, pupils and parents should have an understanding of what bullying is.
- The Proprietors, all teaching and non-teaching staff, pupils and parents should know what the school policy is on bullying, the procedures to follow when bullying is reported and what steps they should take if they suspect bullying is taking place and the part they can play to prevent bullying, including when they find themselves as a bystander.
- As a school we take bullying extremely seriously. Pupils, parents and staff should be assured that they will be supported when bullying is reported.
Statement of Intent
Westward is committed to providing a caring, friendly, safe and healthy environment for all of our pupils so they can learn in a relaxed and secure atmosphere. The ethos of our school fosters high expectations of outstanding behaviour and we will challenge any behaviour that falls below this.
All bullying, whatever the motivation or method is unacceptable and will not be tolerated at Westward. If bullying does occur, all pupils should be able to tell and know that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively. We are a TELLING school. This means that anyone who knows that bullying is happening is expected to tell a member of staff.
All members of the Westward Community will work together to ensure that the Anti-Bullying policy is effective.
What Is Bullying?
Bullying is behaviour by an individual or group, repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally.
Many experts say that bullying involves an imbalance of power between perpetrator and the victim. This could involve the 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 can 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 intimidation of a person or persons through the threat of violence or by isolating them either physically or online.
Bullying at Westward is considered to be "unacceptable behaviour which occurs lots of times, on purpose"
Bullying can be:
- Physical - pushing, kicking, hitting, pinching, and any other forms of violence, threats
- Verbal - name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours
- Emotional - exclusion, isolation, tormenting, ridicule, humiliation
- Racist - racial taunts, graffiti, gestures
- Sexual - unwanted physical contact, verbal abuse
- Homophobic - physical or verbal abuse based on stereoptyping sexual orientation, whether or not the target is gay
- Cyber Bullying - using technology such as mobile phones, computers, laptops and tablets to bully-text, setting up abusive websites, posting photos, misusing social networking sites and sexting.
The rapid development of, and widespread access to, technology has provided a new medium for ‘virtual’ bullying, which can occur in or outside school. Cyber-bullying is a different form of bullying and can happen at all times of the day, with a potentially bigger audience, and more accessories as people forward on content at a click. (See Social Media Policy)
Bullying is often motivated by prejudice against particular groups, for example, on grounds of race, religion, gender, homophobia, special educational needs and disability, or because a child is adopted, in care or has caring responsibilities. It might be motivated by actual differences between children, or perceived differences.
At Westward we make sure that no member of our community is discriminated against under the Equality Act 2010 and all staff will act to prevent discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
Bullying can take place between pupils; between pupils and staff; by individuals or groups and can take place during the school day, in the classrooms, in the corridors or toilets, on the playground, out of school whilst on residential trips, on journeys to and from school, day visits, cyberspace, in group activities and between families in the local community.
Why is it Important to Respond to Bullying?
Bullying, especially if left unaddressed, can have a devastating effect on individuals. It can be a barrier to learning and have serious consequences for a child’s mental health. Bullying which takes place at school does not only affect an individual during childhood but can have a lasting effect on their lives into adulthood.
Bullying is never a good thing; it is always damaging, both for the bullies and their targets.
At Westward we aim through the support of the School's Behaviour and PSHE policy to prevent and respond to bullying and to create an ethos of good behaviour where pupils treat each other with respect because they know it is the right way to behave.
At Westward we respond promptly and effectively to issues of bullying ensuring early intervention where possible to help stop negative behaviours escalating.
Signs and Symptoms
A child may indicate by signs or behaviour that he or she is being bullied.
Adults should be aware of these possible signs and that they should investigate if a child:
- is frightened of walking to or from school
- changes their usual routine
- is unwilling to go to school (school phobic)
- begins to truant
- becomes withdrawn anxious, or lacking in confidence
- starts stammering
- cries themselves to sleep at night or has nightmares
- feels ill in the morning
- begins to do poorly in school work
- comes home with clothes torn or books damaged
- has possessions which are damaged or " go missing"
- asks for money or starts stealing money (to pay bully)
- has unexplained cuts or bruises
- becomes aggressive, disruptive or unreasonable
- is bullying other children or siblings
- stops eating
- is frightened to say what's wrong
- gives improbable excuses for any of the above
- is afraid to use the internet or mobile phone
- is nervous & jumpy when a cyber message is received
These signs and behaviours could indicate other problems, but bullying should be considered a possibility and should be investigated
Pupils are encouraged to report bullying incidents to any member of staff as soon as possible.
Incidents may include cyber-bullying and bullying outside of school.
Children are encouraged to feel comfortable to talk to any member of staff, teaching or non-teaching, and feel confident their “issue” will be treated fairly and in confidence. If they would prefer to write the incident down they may use any of the worry boxes which are located in every classroom and the school office. Each worry box has a pad of paper and pen close by.
All worry boxes are checked on a regular basis by staff members and then followed up as soon as possible.
All reports of suspected bullying must be relayed to the Headteacher so an investigation can take place.
Correspondence received from parents regarding concerns about bullying will be taken seriously and investigated as soon as possible by the Headteacher or a member of the senior management team.
All staff will be made immediately aware of any particular situations.
Written accounts/feelings of the incident to be recorded by those involved and any witnesses.
Bullies and targeted children will be interviewed separately.
Witnesses will be interviewed.
Parents will be kept informed at all stages and support meetings held with all those involved.
Appropriate action will be decided on, depending on the outcome of the investigation such as;
- Obtain an apology from bully/bullies to those targeted
- Impose sanctions against bully/bullies following the School's Behaviour Policy.
- In cases of severe and persistent bullying exclusion may be considered.
- Inform bully/bullies' parents
- Put strategies in place to encourage bully/bullies to change his/her/their behaviour
- Put support strategies in place for targeted child. This may include providing a safe haven during school hours for the target or providing a support teacher.
- Hold a follow up meeting with target's family to report progress.
In some cases, outside agencies may be requested to support the school or family in dealing with bullying e.g. police, counsellor, CAMHS or social services.
Although bullying itself is not a specific criminal offence in the UK, it is important to bear in mind that some types of harassing or threatening behaviour or communications could be a criminal offence, for example under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, the Malicious Communications Act 1988, the Communications Act 2003, and the Public Order Act 1986. If the school feels that an offence may have been committed assistance from the Police will be sought.
For example, under the Malicious Communications Act 1988, any person who sends an electronic communication which conveys a message which is indecent or grossly offensive, a threat, or information which is false and known or believed to be false by the sender, is guilty of an offence if their purpose in sending it was to cause distress or anxiety to the recipient.
A bullying incident will be treated as a child protection concern when there is reason to believe that a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.
In this instance the concern will be reported to Surrey children's social services following the procedures set out in the school's Safeguarding and Child Protection policy.
All bullying incidents will be kept on record in the behaviour file in the School's Behaviour folder.
Records help to evaluate the effectiveness of the school's Anti-Bullying policy and enables any patterns to be identified.
We will use KIDSCAPE methods as part of our everyday teaching within the Westward Community to prevent bullying from taking place at Westward.
- pupils are involved in writing the school rules and friendship code which makes up the school's behaviour policy. (Refer to the Behaviour Code of Conduct)
- pupils discuss together and sign the Home School Agreement every term
- discussions during PSHE lessons (Refer to PSHE Scheme of work including Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development), assemblies, stories, projects about bullying, including making sure pupils are clear about the part they can play to prevent bullying, including when they find themselves a bystander
- Involvement in annual Anti-Bullying Week
- pupils make up role-plays during drama sessions
- holding e-safety assemblies and workshops for pupils, staff and parents
- having discussions about bullying and why it matters
- raising awareness of bullying through regular staff training
- regular bullying surveys are formulated and completed throughout the school
- ‘hot spots’ are identified and watched carefully
This policy was compiled using the DFE Guidance 'Preventing and Tackling Bullying' July 2017
Agencies which offer support, information and advice
- Supportline : 01708 765200
Policy last updated