This policy is linked to our Behaviour Policy.
Our aim is to ensure that each pupil:
- Has their happiness and safety considered
- Is treated in a consistent, fair and caring way
- Is provided with a model of appropriate behaviour
- Is able to talk about bullying
- Understands that bullying is not tolerated and problems are addressed
- Has the confidence to report incidents of anti-social behaviour
- Develops the strategies to help to combat any bullying in this school
Of the many definitions of bullying the common elements of bullying are:
- It is deliberately hurtful behaviour
- It is repeated often over a period of time
- It is difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves
The main forms of bullying include:
- Physical – hitting, kicking, taking belongings
- Verbal – name calling, racist remarks, insulting
- Indirect – exclusion from social group, spreading nasty stories about someone, being made the subject of malicious rumours, sending malicious e-mails or text messages
We recognise that bullying can be by an individual or by a group acting together.
Teaching about bullying
Within the scheme of work for ‘Personal Social and Health Education,’ many aspects of positive behaviour are addressed, as are the strategies to deal with difficult situations.
Children are taught about behaviour and what is considered anti-social behaviour including direct reference to bullying and what we consider bullying. Pupils are also taught about assertive behaviour and how to use this to resolve conflict.
Circle Time is also used to discuss bullying issues. These ideas are further emphasised in the ‘God Matters’ programme and in ‘Collective Worship.’
Who are the victims?
Any child can be bullied, but there are certain factors that appear to make bullying more likely. These include:
- Children who find it difficult to make friends
- Shy children
- Children who come from a different racial or ethnic group
- Children who are different in some other way from the majority i.e. over-weight etc.
- Special needs children
- Looked After children
- Over provocative children i.e. nuisance to others, spoiling games etc.
These vulnerable children will need to be helped to develop positive self-esteem and be protected from negative peer group pressure. In addition to class activities the following strategies are used:
- Circle of Friends
- Peer mediators
- Informing Lunchtime staff to be aware and vigilant
- Use of an ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) to work one to one or in small groups
- Use of our Parent Support Adviser
Procedures for Reported Cases of Bullying
All staff need to respond in a consistent way if an incident of bullying is reported. In the initial stages it is necessary to ascertain if the incident is intentional bullying or some other form of aggressive or anti-social behaviour.
Class teachers will often be the first line of contact. This may come through a child, a parent or another member of staff.
Class teachers may be able to deal with minor incidents within their own class using a problem-solving approach with either the child or children concerned or even as a whole class approach as in Circle Time. A reprimand may be sufficient to bring minor incidents to an end. Such incidents should always be discussed with the head teacher or another senior member of staff. A monitoring sheet may be useful to track incidents so that the child who is the bully is made aware of his or her behaviour.
Where bullying is identified, other than minor incidents referred to above, the headteacher or other senior member of staff, using the following approach, will deal with it:
- Both children will have the opportunity to discuss separately, in private, what they identify as the problem.
- Both parties will then be asked to inform the other party what they identify as the problem in full confidence that they will not be interrupted or intimidated. The rule is that you will be allowed to speak when it is your turn but you are not allowed to interrupt nor speak out of turn.
- Counselling may be given if it is considered that this will alleviate the problem. Both parties may need counselling.
- Offenders will be told that their behaviour will be monitored.
- In more serious cases both parties will be requested to involve their families, if they have not already done so. They will be requested to write about their involvement if appropriate.
- Interviews will then take place between families and the head teacher.
- A sanction may then be applied if this is considered appropriate. Often the involvement of families is a suitable sanction. We do not seek to bully children who have been identified as having bullied another. We would hope through counselling that children might seek to repair the distress they have caused by making or writing an apology.
- Exclusion as a response to bullying will only be used as a last resort.
- Proven offenders may be asked to sign a contract of no bullying and their behaviour monitored.
- A record of incidents of bullying will be kept in the file of the pupils concerned until he/she leaves the school. It will only be passed to the next school if it is still relevant. The head teacher will maintain the file.
- As Catholics, we believe in reconciliation. All children will be given the opportunity to forgive, be forgiven and reconciled.