Bullying can be defined as deliberately hurtful behaviour, repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves. The main types of bullying are:
- physical (eg hitting, kicking, theft)
- verbal (eg name calling, racist remarks)
- indirect (eg spreading rumours, excluding someone from social groups)
- cyberbullying including on social media or gaming sites
The Human Rights Act (1998) states that no one shall be subject to degrading treatment and we must ensure that this does not happen in our school.
We recognise that the emotional distress caused by bullying in whatever form can prejudice school achievement, seriously damage self-esteem and affect punctuality and attendance (a third of all girls and a quarter of all boys are at some time afraid of going to school because of bullying). However it should be noted that bullying is an unusual occurrence at Urmston Grammar.
One of the main aims of Urmston Grammar is to encourage every pupil to reach his or her full potential. Central to this is the recognition of the worth of every individual and the raising of everyone’s self-esteem no matter what their gender, race, religion, age, sexuality or disability. We encourage the values of tolerance, sympathy and the acceptance of differences.
Everyone has the right to be safe in school and on the way to and from school.
It is important that everyone working within our school, pupils, staff and parents, understands what bullying is and how it can be prevented. Our anti-bullying policy encourages students not to suffer in silence. Bullying is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. It is the responsibility of all of us to make sure that bullying has no place in our school.
3. How do we recognise bullying?
Bullying can happen to anyone, but we recognise that some members of our community may be more vulnerable to bullying and its impact than others; this may include children with SEND. Being aware of this will help us to develop effective strategies to prevent bullying from happening and provide appropriate support, if required. This policy covers all types and forms of bullying including:
- Bullying related to physical appearance
- Bullying of young carers, children in care or otherwise related to home circumstances
- Bullying related to physical/mental health conditions
- Physical bullying
- Emotional bullying
- Sexual bullying
- Bullying via technology, known as online or cyberbullying
- Prejudicial bullying (against people/pupils with protected characteristics):
- Bullying related to race, religion, faith and belief and for those without faith
- Bullying related to ethnicity, nationality or culture
- Bullying related to Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND)
- Bullying related to sexual orientation (homophobic/biphobic bullying)
- Gender based bullying, including transphobic bullying
- Bullying against teenage parents (pregnancy and maternity under the Equality Act)
4. Strategies for dealing with bullying
When a teacher or other adult is either made aware or observes that bullying is taking place he or she should intervene or respond immediately. Incidents should be recorded on SIMS, including steps taken to address issues and the appropriate Pastoral Leader or Head of School should be informed as soon as possible.
- Never ignore suspected bullying.
- Do not make premature assumptions.
- Listen carefully to all accounts (several people saying the same does not necessarily mean that they are telling the truth).
- Adopt a problem solving approach which moves pupils on from justifying themselves.
- Follow up repeatedly, checking bullying has not resumed.
- Befriending involves assigning selected student volunteers to befriend peers.
- Mediation by adults – the aim is to establish ground rules that enable those who have bullied and victims to co-exist.
- Assertiveness training for particular individuals or groups.
- Proactive intervention (identifying students at risk using guidance above)
Where students do not respond to preventative strategies to combat bullying we will take tougher action to deal with persistent and violent bullying. Sanctions available to us in our Behaviour Policy include:
- referral to Heads of School;
- monitoring and reporting procedures;
- referral to SLT;
It may be appropriate to issue any of these sanctions at any stage dependent on circumstances.
Guidance from the Secretary of State (July 2017) makes clear that school staff, headteachers and governors are best placed to decide how best to respond to the particular issues that affect their pupils. There is no single solution to bullying which will suit all schools.
5. Involving parents
The majority of parents support anti-bullying measures. A significant few do have unhelpful attitudes saying bullying is an inevitable part of growing up and/or encouraging children to ‘stand up for themselves’ rather than seek help. We need to overcome this type of attitude.
6. What happens when a parent reports a bullying incident?
Good practice includes:
- Recognising that the parent may be angry or upset;
- Keeping an open mind – bullying can be difficult to detect, so a lack of staff awareness does not mean no bullying occurs;
- Remaining calm and understanding;
- Making clear that the school does care and something will be done (bullying must be one of our top priorities, tomorrow will not do!)
- Explaining the school policy, making sure procedures are followed.
When a case is referred to the appropriate Pastoral Leader it should be dealt with promptly. A response to a parent is important but response should not be confused with resolving the matter as the parent might typically have a narrow perspective on what might be a wider matter.
Parents should be invited to discuss their concerns establishing a mutually convenient time to meet if required or requested.
Parents of the (alleged) bullying child should be invited in to discuss their child’s behaviour. It is better to involve parents constructively at an early stage. Parents (or the threat of them) should not be used as a form of punishment for bullying; we need to build a co-operative ethos.
This will be done by the Pastoral Leaders and Heads of School using SIMS. All staff will be required to record incidents of bullying.
The policy will have a high profile. There will be regular reminders in assemblies and through PSE.
The policy will be reviewed regularly by the Governing Body.