This policy forms a part of the schoolâs overall Behaviour and Discipline Policy.Â The aim of the anti-bullying policy is to ensure that students learn in a supportive, caring and safe environment without fear of being bullied. Only when all issues of bullying are addressed will students be able to fully benefit from the opportunities available at school. Bullying is defined as behaviour by an individual or group, repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally. Bullying can take many forms (for instance, cyber-bullying via text messages or the internet), and can sometimes be motivated by prejudice against particular groups, for example on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or because a student is adopted or has caring responsibilities. It might be motivated by actual differences between students, or perceived differences. Stopping violence and ensuring immediate physical safety is obviously the schoolâs first priority but emotional bullying can be more damaging than physical; we have to make our own judgements about each specific case.
Students who are being bullied may show changes in behaviour, such as becoming shy and nervous, feigning illness, taking unusual absences, unexplained weight loss or clinging to adults. There may be evidence of changes in work patterns, lacking concentration or truanting from school. In all instances Notley High School and Braintree Sixth Form will encourage students to discuss their concerns with other members of the school community, be that in person, or by our electronic SHARP system (School Help Advice Reporting System). The whole school community, therefore, must be alert to the signs of bullying and act promptly with issues as they arise.
Bullying can be:
- Physical â Pushing and shoving, tripping up, kicking, spitting
- Emotional â Humiliating someone, name calling, using insulting names or comments
- Driven by a prejudice â This might be homophobia, racism, or victimising those who haveÂ special needs or disabilities. It may be picking on a student because they are caredÂ for away from home or it may be picking on a student who cares for a sick relative
- Indirect â Spreading rumours whether true or not
- Cyber bullying â Any form of bullying using a mobile phone or the internet, chat rooms, social networking sites, instant messaging or email
It may also be bullying when:
- The same person or group always leaves someone out or shuns them
- Someone makes threats of violence against someone else
- Someone damages someone elseâs kit or clothing deliberately
- Someone takes someone elseâs belongings deliberately
- Someone tries to force someone else to do something they do not want to do
- Someone tries to force another to do something sexual they do not want to do
Although all of these actions are serious and adults should always intervene, they may not always be regarded as bullying unless they are part of an on-going pattern of behaviour against the victim.
In the first instance it is not a requirement for members of the school to investigate whether bullying is occurring but rather to accept the studentâs perception and jointly agree a way to go forward with them, which will reduce and ultimately eliminate their difficulties.
Each case will be treated individually and depending on circumstances, one or more of the following strategies will be employed.
- if bullying is suspected or reported, the incident will be dealt with at the earliest opportunityÂ by the member of staff who has first been involved
- a clear account of the incident will be recorded and given to the Form Tutor and Year Leader, who will agree an appropriate response
- the appropriate person will interview/counsel all concerned and will record the incident
- parents/carers of students involved to be kept informed
- measures to stop the behaviour will be used as appropriate and in consultation with all parties concerned
- involvement of appropriate outside agencies may be taken
- regular monitoring and tracking by the Form Tutor or Year Leader will occur after the incident to ensure that it is not continuing
- Students who have been bullied will be supported by some of the following:
- a staff group who are receptive to the studentâs position and donât seek to take responsibility for action away from the student (when questioned independently students cited staff taking control as one of the main reasons for not reporting incidents)
- offering an immediate opportunity to discuss the experience with a Form Tutor or member of the school community of their choice
- counselling within school through the Sycamore Trust or the schoolâs own counsellor
- offering continuous support and reassuring the student
- opportunities to restore self-esteem and confidence
- opportunities to discuss their concerns with members of the C.H.I.P.S team (a group of student mentors selected from Year 11 and specifically trained to support their younger peers, âChildline in Partnership with Schoolsâ)
- use of the âconsensualâ model to change behaviour (âno blame approachâ)
- safe areas to go to if the student feels vulnerable at particular times in the school day
- Students who have bullied will be supported by some of the following:
- discussing what happened/why the student became involved
- opportunities to discuss their concerns with members of the C.H.I.P.S team
- opportunities to discuss their concerns with the school counsellor
- establishing their wrong doing and need to change
- use of the âconsensualâ model to change behaviour. (âno blame approachâ)
- informing parents/carers to help change the attitude of the student
- The following disciplinary steps may also be taken:
- official warnings
- community involvement in school
- removal of privileges/activities
- exclusion from certain areas of school premises
- removal of access to social areas, including the common room and cafĂ© (sixth form only)
- fixed-term exclusion/permanent exclusion
- Students will have opportunities to develop their understanding of the nature ofÂ bullying, to explore their own and others attitudes to bullying and to develop theÂ skills to deal with bullying through PSHEe lessons (Personal, Social, Health and Economic education) and other subject areas and through assemblies and other school activities
- Adults at the school also have a right to work free from bullying and the philosophy of this policy applies to all members of the school community.
- Any adult who feels they are being bullied should be encouraged to discuss the issue with their Line Manager or a member of the Senior Leadership Team
3. Legal framework:
The Education and Inspections Act 2006
There are a number of statutory obligations on schools with regard to behaviourÂ which establish clear responsibilities to respond to bullying.Â In particular section 89 ofÂ the Education and Inspections Act 2006:
- provides that every school must have measures to encourage good behaviourÂ and prevent all forms of bullying amongst students. These measures shouldÂ be part of the schoolâs behaviour policy which must be communicated to allÂ students, school staff and parents
- gives head teachers the ability to ensure that students behave when they are notÂ on school premises or under the lawful control of school staff
The Equality Act 2010
The new Equality Act 2010 replaces previous anti-discrimination laws with a singleÂ Act.Â A key provision is a new public sector Equality Duty, which came into force on 5Â April 2011.Â It replaces the three previous public sector equality duties for race, disability and gender, and also covers age, disability, gender reassignment,Â pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.Â TheÂ Duty has three aims. It requires public bodies to have due regard to the need to:
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any otherÂ conduct prohibited by the Act
- Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protectedÂ characteristic and people who do not share it
- Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristicÂ and people who do not share it.Â Schools are now required to comply with theÂ new Equality Duty.Â The Act also makes it unlawful for the responsible body ofÂ a school to discriminate against, harass or victimise a student or potential student inÂ relation to admissions, the way it provides education for students, provision ofÂ student access to any benefit, facility or service, or by excluding a student orÂ subjecting them to any other detriment.Â In England and Wales the Act appliesÂ to all maintained and independent schools, including Academies and FreeÂ Schools, and maintained and non-maintained special schools.
Although bullying in itself is not a specific criminal offence in the UK, it is important toÂ bear in mind that some types of harassing or threatening behaviour â orÂ communications â could be a criminal offence, for example under the Protection fromÂ Harassment Act 1997, the Malicious Communications Act 1988, the CommunicationsÂ Act 2003, and the Public Order Act 1986.Â If school staff feel that an offence may haveÂ been committed they should seek assistance from the police.Â For example, under theÂ Malicious Communication Act 1988, it is an offence for a person to send an electronicÂ communication to another person with the intent to cause distress or anxiety or toÂ send an electronic communication which conveys a message which is indecent orÂ grossly offensive, a threat, or information which is false and known or believed to beÂ false by the âsender.â
Bullying outside school premises
Head teachers have a specific statutory power to discipline students for poor behaviour outside of the school premises.Â Section 89(5) of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 gives head teachers the power to regulate studentsâ conduct when they are not on school premises and are not under the lawful control or charge of a member of school staff.Â This can relate to any bullying incidents occurring anywhere off the school premises, such as on school or public transport, outside the local shops, or in a town or village centre.
Where bullying outside school is reported to school staff, it will be investigated and acted on.Â The head teacher should also consider whether it is appropriate to notify the police or anti-social behaviour coordinator in their local authority of the action taken against a student.Â If the misbehaviour could be criminal or poses a serious threat to a member of the public, the police should always be informed.
The rapid development of, and widespread access to, technology has provided a new medium for âvirtualâ bullying, which can occur in or outside school.Â 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.
The wider search powers included in the Education Act 2011 give teachers stronger powers to tackle cyber-bullying by providing a specific power to search for and, if necessary, delete inappropriate images (or files) on electronic devices, including mobile phones.
- There will be regular training for all members of the school community as appropriate.
- Regular training for new staff will include information on this policy.
5.Monitoring, evaluation and review
- The school will review this policy and assess its implementation and effectiveness. The policy will be promoted and implemented throughout the school.
This policy is linked directly to the following policies:
- Behaviour Policy
- Child Protection Policy
- Equal Opportunities (Race Equality, Disability Equality, SEN policies)