ANTI BULLYING POLICY
St. Margaret Ward Catholic Academy is a community of learners which aims to promote a secure, pleasant and purposeful environment. A central aim of the Academy is to establish an ethos based on mutual respect and consideration, where the needs of each individual are recognised and where all members of the community feel a strong sense of belonging. The school recognises that bullying may exist in all school communities and seeks to provide an open climate where pupils are free to talk with staff about bullying without fear of rebuff or retribution. Underlying the development of this policy is the belief that prevention is better than cure.
The principle is that every member of the school community has the right to attend this school and be safe from bullying whilst they are here. One of the schools core values is that we celebrate each others differences.
The aim of this policy is to help all members of the school community to reach a shared understanding of what constitutes bullying and to formulate strategies to help deal with issues. The strategies being developed in this policy are aimed at teaching pupils important lessons about empathy, assertiveness, rights and responsibilities, honesty, self-esteem and respect for others. The aim of the school is ‘to develop inclusive values and maintain relationships which recognize the dignity and worth of each individual’. This policy has been written in conjunction with and agreed by the Student Voice Committee.
Definition of Bullying
Bullying may be defined as any behaviour over which the victim feels powerless to stop, by an individual or group which persists and is deemed to be intentional (recorded incidents will reflect this) in order to hurt, threaten or frighten either emotionally or physically. This unacceptable behaviour includes but is not restricted to:
Emotional – being unfriendly, isolating others, unkind looks, spreading rumours, pressuring anti-social behaviour, name calling, making unkind gestures, writing unkind notes, pressuring children to loin in inappropriate behaviour, racist remarks, teasing, homophobic remarks, remarks about disability or SEN status, other behaviour that makes someone feel unhappy
Physical – hitting, kicking, pulling hair (any form of physical assault), taking or hiding belongings including money and homework, damaging property.
Sexual Harassment and Extortion – touching, inappropriate sexual remarks, threats to get sexual gain, threats of spreading rumours or information regarding sexual acts etc.
Indirect/Electronic – cyber bullying occurs when the perpetrator uses Information and Communications Technology (ICT), particularly mobile phones and the Internet, deliberately to upset someone else. Cyber bullying can take place at anytime and can intrude into spaces that might previously have been regarded as safe or personal.
A pupil who is being bullied may show a noticeable change from their normal behaviour, such as a tendency to be on their own, or withdrawing from others.
They may be tearful, feign illness and have frequent visits to the medical room. They may show changes in their work pattern, may lack concentration or may even truant from school.
Other possible signs of bullying may be: an unwillingness to come to school; requests for money from staff, family or friends; bruising; a reluctance to leave the classroom at the end of the day; a tendency to stay close to staff during breaks and damage to a child’s property.
Victims need help and support, they need protection in the first place but they also need to be empowered. Victims often lack self-esteem and have a negative self-image, so it is important to build up their confidence as well as giving them good sound practicable strategies to use in the face of ongoing bullying.
Bullying is learned behaviour, children are not born bullies, so given the right attention and learning environment they can change their behaviour. Attempting to frighten, scare or intimidate bullies into stopping their behaviour by shouting at them, will only compound the problem.
Treating a bully with respect and dignity, as well as trying to get them to understand that their behaviour has been hurtful, is very important and the best way forward.
In line with the school aims, the approach to bullying at St. Margaret Ward Catholic Academy is proactive. The ethos of mutual respect and encouraging responsible behaviour is enhanced by both pastoral and curriculum strategies. This is achieved by:
Encouragement to tell (Disclosure by pupils being bullied)
It is important that we create an atmosphere in school where anyone who is being bullied or others who know about it, feel that they will be listened to, and that action taken will be swift and sensitive to their needs. Disclosure (telling an adult) can be direct and open or indirect and anonymous. Mentors, members of the Student Voice Committee and prefects are also available to speak to. Also available are teachers specified to deal with bullying issues and these would include a pupils Form Tutor, Learning and Progress Manager, Mrs Pritchard (Vice Principal), Assistant Principals, Safeguarding Manager – Mrs Holdcroft. The Inclusion Team - based in the Pastoral Support Office are also available and can be spoken to during the day. Other staff within school know if there is an issue they can not deal with themselves to refer the issues to one of the members of staff above.
Strategies for dealing with Cyber bullying (Indirect)
The internet and other technology based tools are very powerful resources that can enhance and potentially transform teaching and learning when used effectively and appropriately. Such tools should be accessible and free from restrictions that constrain their worthwhile educational value. Safeguards are in place to ensure that the educational use of such tools is safe and secure. All users are taught how to use these tools safely and sensibly to ensure a responsible approach to the use of technology in school. Deliberate abuse in school is subject to school rules and sanctions while deliberate abuse outside school impinges upon or affects pupils or staff should be dealt with in a multi-disciplinary fashion through appropriate channels. The victim’s parents should be given the responsibility in dealing with the issue when cyber bullying is occurring outside of school however if the matter effects the everyday working of this school then we will intervene. The schools Senior Management Team (SMT), Inclusion Manager or Year Team will decide when the school will intervene.
Some cyber bullying is clearly deliberate and aggressive such as publicly posting, sending or forwarding personal or private images or information. Other instances of cyber bullying are known to be unintentional and the result of not thinking or of a lack of awareness of the consequences.
Unlike other forms of bullying, many cyber bullying incidents can themselves act as evidence.
Proactive strategies include:
Detailed records are kept in relation to cyber bullying incidents. Any identifiable witnesses are interviewed regarding the event.
Sanctions are applied to
Procedures for Reporting and Dealing with Incidents of Bullying Behaviour
Our approach at St. Margaret Ward Catholic Academy is to support the victim and to focus on changing the behaviour of the bully and those who collude with them either tactically or openly. This approach seeks to recognise the importance and the power of peer group and attempts to use this to build constructive relationships. Gaining support from both sets of parents and getting them to work with the school for the good of their children is also a powerful tool in dealing with issues of bullying.
It is generally recognised that ‘naming and shaming’ bullies is not recommended since it generally has the effect of:
The three steps for dealing with incidents of bullying are:
Step 1 – Interview the victim, bully and any witnesses separately
Step 2 – Provide support for the victim and bully
Step 3 – Monitor and review the situation
When a bullying incident is reported, remember:
Step 1 – Interviewing the victim and bully
Designated staff members only should interview the victim and bully separately, and complete an Interview Form for each person involved
The Bully, Bystanders and Witnesses
Step 2 – Provide support for the victim and bully.
For the Victim
For the Bully
Step 3 – Conducting the review meeting
(Arranged after a suitable period of time i.e. 3/6 weeks)
In support of the school ethos and aims, incidents of bullying will try to be resolved amicably as this is clearly the most effective long term solution after all of the above have been tried. However, there will be occasions when sanctions will have to be imposed on the perpetrator in order to protect the victim. These sanctions are depending on the severity of the incident.
All bullying and racist incidents are recorded in a central file based in the Pastoral Support Office holding information including: pupils involved, year group, brief description of events (type of bullying), how it was dealt with, was it resolved and reviewed, whether parents were informed, copies of statements written by parties involved and witnesses. This is held to ensure we can monitor bullying and racist incidents, collect data of whether incidents are increasing or decreasing and to look for concerning patterns, trends or issues regarding bullying emerging.
This policy was written and agreed to by members of the anti-bullying student voice council and Safeguarding Manager and agreed to by the Senior Leadership Team and Academy Committee of the school. It is due to be reviewed in November 2017.