The Independent Grammar School: Durham

ANTI-BULLYING POLICY

This Policy should be read alongside the Child Protection (Safeguarding) Policy, the Behaviour Policy, the Staff Behaviour Policy and the Peer-on-Peer Abuse Policy

Principles

At IGS: Durham we will always take bullying and its impact seriously. Pupils and parents should be assured that we will always respond promptly to incidents of bullying which come to our attention.  Bullying will not be tolerated. The school will seek ways to counter the effects of bullying that may occur within school or in the local community. The ethos of our school fosters high expectations of outstanding behaviour and we will consistently challenge any behaviour that falls below this.

Objectives of this Policy

•        All teaching and non-teaching staff, pupils, parents and members of the School Board should have an understanding of what bullying is.

•        All teaching and non-teaching staff and Board members should know what the school policy is on bullying, and follow it when bullying is reported.

•        All pupils and parents should know what the school policy is on bullying, and what they should do if bullying arises.

All of us have encountered bullying at some point in our lives, but we all deal with it differently. The aim of this policy is to work together to ensure that our school is a safe place for children and adults to be; whether the school community is directly or indirectly affected by bullying or not.

What Is Bullying?

Bullying is unacceptable behaviour used by an individual or group, usually repeated over time, which intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally.  In other words, bullying at IGS: Durham is considered to be “unacceptable behaviour which occurs several times, on purpose”.

Bullying can be short term or continuous over long periods of time.  It can be:

 ·         Emotional – being unfriendly, excluding others, tormenting (e.g. hiding books, threatening gestures)

·         Physical – pushing, kicking, biting, hitting, punching or any use of violence

·         Racial – taunts, graffiti, gestures

·         Sexual – unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments

·         Homophobic – because of, or focussing on the issue of sexuality

·         Direct or indirect

·         Verbal – name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, teasing

·         Cyber bullying – covering all areas of the internet and social media, e.g. email and internet chat, Twitter, Facebook misuse, mobile threats by text messaging and             calls

·         Misuse of associated technology, e.g. camera and video facilities etc.

Bullying may be related to:

•        Race

•       Gender

•        Religion

•        Culture

•        Special Educational Needs (SEN) or disability

•        Appearance or health condition

•        Home circumstances, including young carers and poverty

•        Sexual orientation, sexism, sexual bullying or homophobia

Bullying can take place in the classroom, playground, toilets, on the journey to and from school, on residential trips and in cyberspace. It can take place in group activities and between families in the local community.

 Perpetrators and Victims

 Bullying takes place where there is an imbalance of power of one person or persons over others. This can arise from:

 •           The size of the individual,

 •           The strength of the individual

 •           The numbers or group size involved

 •           Anonymity – through the use of cyber bullying or using email, social networking sites, texts etc.

 Staff must remain vigilant about bullying behaviours and approach this in the same way as any other category of Child Abuse; that is, do not wait to be told before you raise concerns or deal directly with the matter. Children may not be aware that they are being bullied, because they may be too young or have a level of Special Educational Needs which means that they may be unable to realise what others may be doing to them.

Staff must also be aware of those children who may be vulnerable pupils; those coming from troubled families, or those responding to emotional problems or mental health issues which may bring about a propensity to be unkind to others, or may make them more likely to fall victim to the behaviour of others.

 Why is it Important to Respond to Bullying?

Bullying hurts and can have lasting effects. No one deserves to be a victim of bullying. Bullying has the potential to damage the mental health of a victim. At IGS: Durham, everybody has the right to be treated with respect. Pupils who are bullying need to learn different ways of behaving.

Signs and Symptoms for Parents and Staff

A child may indicate by signs or behaviour that he or she is being bullied. Adults should be aware of these possible signs. They should investigate if a child:

•        is frightened of walking to or from school

•        begs to be driven to 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

•        attempts or threatens suicide or runs away

•        cries themselves to sleep at night or has nightmares

•        often feels ill in the morning

•        begins to make less effort with school work than previously

•        comes home with clothes torn or books damaged

•        has possessions which are damaged or "go missing"

•        asks for money or starts stealing money

•        often “loses” money (e.g. lunch money)

•        has unexplained cuts or bruises

•        comes home hungry (money/packed lunch has been stolen)

•        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 and jumpy when a text or similar message is received

•        demonstrates lack of eye contact

•        becomes short tempered

•        shows a change in attitude to people at home.

These signs and behaviours could indicate other social, emotional and/or mental health problems, but bullying should be considered a possibility and should be

investigated

Outcomes

All known/reported incidences of bullying will be investigated by the class teacher or by a senior member of staff.

Parents of the perpetrator may also be questioned about the incident or about any concerns that they may be having.

The child displaying unacceptable behaviour, may be asked to genuinely apologise (as appropriate to the child’s age and level of understanding).  Other consequences may take place e.g. a parent being informed about their child’s behaviour and a request that the parents support the school with any sanctions that it takes (see Behaviour Policy). Wherever possible, the pupils will be reconciled.

In some cases, outside agencies may be requested to support the school or family in dealing with a child continually demonstrating unacceptable behaviour towards others.

 In serious cases (this is defined as children displaying an on-going lack of response to sanctions, i.e. there is no change in behaviour of the perpetrator and an unwillingness

to alter their behaviour choices), support from behaviour outreach, counselling, reduced timetables, or even fixed or permanent exclusion will be considered.

 During and after the incident(s) have been investigated and dealt with, each case will be recorded in the Bullying Log and monitored to ensure repeated bullying does not take place.

The Safeguarding Governors will be informed of any incidents recorded in the log along with incidents, sanctions and reconciliation.

 Prevention

At IGS: Durham we use a variety of methods to support children in preventing and understanding the consequences of bullying through class assemblies, Circle Time, the PSHE curriculum, the school values and Assembly themes. 

 The ethos and working philosophy of IGS: Durham means that all staff actively encourage children to have respect for each other and for other people’s property.  Good and kind/polite behaviour is regularly acknowledged and rewarded (see Behaviour Policy).  Staff will regularly discuss bullying and this will inform children that we are serious about dealing with the issue and leads to open conversations and increased confidence in children to want to discuss bullying and report any incidents and concerns about other children’s behaviour. This last aspect is encouraged by our first school value of Courage.

 Staff will reinforce expectations of behaviour as a regular theme during class time.

 Staff must follow the principles of equality and support every child in the school without favouritism.  Staff will be careful not to highlight differences of children or an individual child, even if this is done in jest. This gives other children what may seem a legitimate reason to use this difference to begin calling names or teasing.

 Staff must be vigilant regarding groups of friends together. This can often be clearly seen in the courtyard at playtime. Friendship groups may bring about the imbalance of power and they must be encouraged to welcome others to join them and not exclude others from their group.

 Staff must reinforce a general message that children do not have to be friends with everyone else, but they must be respectful of everyone else’s feelings and be kind to each other.

 Children can be involved in the prevention of bullying as and when appropriate.  Examples may include:

•      writing a set of school or class rules

•      writing a personal pledge or promise against bullying

•      writing stories or poems or drawing pictures about bullying

•      reading stories about bullying or having them read to a class or assembly

•      making up role-plays about what to do through scenarios of bullying

•      having discussions about bullying and why it matters that children who use unacceptable behaviour towards others are dealt with quickly

•      creating an item for the school website.

If a child feels that he or she is being bullied then there are several procedures that they are encouraged to follow.  These are not given in any particular order – all may be relevant depending on circumstances.

 •           Tell a friend

•           Tell your School Council rep or Anti-Bullying Team

•           Tell a teacher or adult whom you feel you can trust

•           Tell a parent or adult at home whom you feel you can trust

•           Discuss it as part of your PSHE time

•           Ring Childline and follow the advice given

Recording of Bullying Incidents

When an incident of bullying has taken place, staff must be prepared to record and report each incident.

In the case of racist bullying, this must be reported to the Head of School or Executive Principal immediately.

General incidences of bullying should be recorded in the Behaviour Log. This will include incidents where staff have had to become involved and speak with children, and/or where parents have raised concerns regarding bullying. Confirmed cases of bullying must be recorded, as with any case of Child Protection.

All incidents of bullying will be discussed with all relevant staff and parents of the children involved, in order that everyone can be vigilant and that further incidents by the same child(ren) may be prevented from happening in the future.

Incidents of bullying will be reported by the Executive Principal and discussed with the Chairman of the School Board. 

Advice to Parents

As the parent of a child whom you suspect is being bullied

1.         Report bullying incidents to the class teacher

2.         In cases of serious bullying, the incidents will be recorded by staff and the Executive Principal notified.

3.         In serious cases parents should be informed and will be asked to come in to a meeting to discuss the problem

4.         If necessary and appropriate, police will be consulted

5.         The bullying behaviour or threats of bullying must be investigated and the bullying stopped quickly

6.         An attempt will be made to help the child using unacceptable behaviour towards others, to change their behaviour.

Parents should NOT:

 1.         Attempt to sort the problem out themselves by speaking to the child you think may be behaving inappropriately towards your child or by speaking to his or her               parents

2.         Encourage your child to be “a bully back”.

Both of these actions will only make the problem much harder to solve.

 

HELP ORGANISATIONS:

 Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) 020 7354 8321

 Childline 0800 1111 (that is the correct eight-digit number)

 Children's Legal Centre 0845 345 4345

 KIDSCAPE Parents Helpline (Mon-Fri, 10-4) 0845 1 205 204

 Parentline Plus 0808 800 2222

 Youth Access 020 8772 9900

 Bullying Online www.bullying.co.uk

 Visit the Kidscape website www.kidscape.org.uk for further support , links and

Advice

For a copy of Kidscape's free booklets "Stop Bullying", "Preventing Bullying" and "You Can Beat Bullying", send a large (A4) self-addressed envelope (marked “Bully Pack”) with 6 first class stamps to: Kidscape, 2 Grosvenor Gardens, London, SW1W ODH