INTRODUCTION At Fairstead House School, our community is based upon respect, good manners and fair play. We are committed to providing a safe and caring environment that is free from disruption, violence and any form of harassment so that every one of our pupils can develop his/her full potential. We expect our pupils to treat members of staff with courtesy and co-operation so that they can learn in a relaxed but orderly, atmosphere. All pupils should care for and support each other.
Fairstead House School prides itself on its respect and mutual tolerance. Parents/guardians have an important role in supporting the school in maintaining high standards of behaviour. It is essential that school and homes have consistent expectations of behaviour and that they co-operate closely together. The school’s position on bullying is conveyed to parents through our published school aims and values, during discussions with parents and through school events.
Bullying, harassment, victimisation and discrimination will not be tolerated. We treat all staff, our pupils and their parents fairly and with consideration, and in turn we expect them to reciprocate towards each other, the staff and the school. Any kind of bullying is unacceptable.
AIMS The aim of this policy is to set out the definition of bullying as agreed by the staff and pupils of Fairstead House School and the procedures the school can adopt to confront acts of bullying by pupils, parents and staff. The implementation of this policy is the responsibility of all members of the school community.
OBJECTIVES This policy will:
provide an agreed definition of bullying.
provide possible signs to recognise if someone is being bullied.
provide possible preventative measures to combat bullying.
provide a procedure for dealing with a report of bullying
DEFINITIONS (agreed by the staff and pupils of the school) The school has defined the meaning of bullying through a discussion of bullying with the whole school community. The outcome of these discussions gave rise to this policy.
The whole school community agree/recognise that:
Bullying is the wilful, conscious desire to hurt, threaten, humiliate or frighten someone else. It can be hidden and subtle. However, it can also be overt and intimidating.
Bullying is cruel and wrong.
Bullying can take many forms including:
Verbal: name-calling, teasing, taunting, making offensive remarks, making “fun” of someone when they are not enjoying the joke. This can also include using chat rooms and SMS messages as a means of bullying.
Emotional: excluding someone from the group, deliberately ignoring someone, tormenting them, using inappropriate body language or staring.
Physical: hitting, kicking, taking or hiding someone’s belongings, deliberately damaging work or possessions. It can also involve sexual physical contact.
Indirect: spreading unkind stories or malicious rumours, sending malicious emails, text messages or notes. It can also involve manipulating a third party to tease or torment someone, or being complicit that falls short of direct participation.
Bullying may involve actions or comments that are:
Racial: actions and behaviour which are directed at people because of their race, colour, ethnic or national origin, religious, cultural differences or nationality and which are unwanted and cause offence and distress.
Sexual: unwanted conduct on the ground of a person's sex or unwanted conduct of a sexual nature and that conduct has the purpose or effect of violating a person's dignity, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. This includes homophobic comments.
Special Educational Needs and Disability: actions and behaviour which are directed at people who have special educational needs, a physical and/or mental impairment, which has a substantial and negative effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
Cyber: involves the use of information and communication technologies (including social websites, mobile ‘phones, other electronic devices, text messages, photographs and email) to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group that is intended to harm others.
Bullying can also involve negative focus on an individual’s cultural background, religious beliefs, or physical attributes (such as hair colour or body shape).
Bullying can happen anywhere and at any time. We always treat it very seriously. It conflicts sharply with the school’s policy on Equal Opportunities, as well as with its social and moral principles. It is also recognised that bullying can cause not only physical damage, but also psychological damage and even suicide to individuals, and that although bullying is not a specific criminal offence, there are criminal laws which apply to harassment and threatening behaviour.
PROCEDURES FOR DEALING WITH REPORTED BULLYING If an incident of bullying is reported, the following procedures are adopted:
The member of staff to whom it was reported or who first discovers the situation, will control the situation, reassure and support the pupils involved.
He/she will inform an appropriate member of the teaching team as soon as possible. This may be the Form Teacher.
The reported victim will be interviewed and may be asked to write an account of events, depending on the severity of the reported incident. This may be scribed by the teacher.
The reported bully, together with all others who were involved, will be interviewed and may be asked to write an immediate account of events, depending on the severity of the reported incident. This may be scribed by the teacher.
The member of staff will calmly explain the range of disciplinary measures that are potentially involved.
A way forward, including disciplinary sanctions, should be agreed.
This should recognise that suitable support is needed both for children who are being bullied and for pupils who bully others, as well as dealing with appropriate disciplinary measures.
The incident will be recorded to enable patterns to be identified. Any written documentation including the teacher’s notes should be passed to the Head or the Deputy Head.
All members of the teaching and duty staff should be informed so that the situation can be monitored.
Depending on the severity of the reported incident, the parents/guardians of all parties should be informed and invited into school to discuss the matter. Their support should be sought.
In very serious cases, and on the initiation of the Head, it may be necessary to make a report to the Police or to the Social Services. However, it is the policy of Fairstead House School to attempt to resolve such issues internally under the school’s own disciplinary procedures, unless the matter is of such gravity that a criminal prosecution is likely.
The reported victim will be interviewed at a later stage by a teacher, separately from the alleged perpetrator. It will be made clear to him/her why revenge is inappropriate. He/she will be offered support to develop a strategy to help him or herself.
The reported bully will be interviewed at a later stage by a teacher, separately from the victim, and it will be made clear why his/her behaviour was inappropriate and caused distress. He/she will be offered guidance on modifying his or her behaviour, together with any appropriate disciplinary sanctions.
A meeting involving all the parties, with close staff supervision, could be helpful in developing a strategy for all concerned to close the episode.
A monitoring and review strategy will be put in place.
PREVENTATIVE MEASURES Fairstead House School strives to raise the awareness of staff through training, taking action to reduce the risk of bullying at times and in places where it is most likely. We take the following preventative measures:
We use appropriate Assemblies to explain the school policy on bullying. Our PSHE programme (and EYFS PSED curriculum) is structured to give pupils an awareness of their social and moral responsibilities as they progress through the school. The programme is structured to enforce the message about community involvement and taking care of each other.
Other lessons, including RS, English and Drama, reinforce the message of caring for each other by teaching moral and spiritual values and that show bullying to be unacceptable. Media used can be projects, stories, literature and exploring historical events and current affairs. In the EYFS this message is an embedded theme and features across the curriculum.
All our pupils are encouraged to tell a member of staff at once if they know that bullying is taking place.
All reported incidents are recorded and investigated at once. We always monitor reported incidents thus enabling patterns to be identified and addressed.
Members of staff are all alert to possible signs of bullying and give immediate priority to any incidents.
By using Staff Briefings (and recording comments in the Minutes) and any Behaviour Records, any incidents or concerns are highlighted to the teaching staff. This is disseminated to other members of staff.
Staff are always on duty at times when pupils are not in class and patrol the school site, particularly areas where bullying might occur.
Advice on where pupils can seek help, including details of confidential help lines and web sites connecting to external specialists, such as Childline, are on display.
Through the House system, we operate a Family group, whereby older pupils are encouraged to support younger pupils.
We reserve the right to investigate incidents that take place outside school hours, on school visits and trips and that occur in the vicinity of the school, involving our pupils.
We welcome feedback from parents and guardians on the effectiveness of our preventative measures.
SIGNS OF BULLYING Changes in behaviour that may indicate that a pupil is being bullied include:
Unwillingness to return to school
Displays of excessive anxiety, becoming withdrawn or unusually quiet
Failure to produce work, or producing unusually bad work, or work that appears to have been copied, interfered with or spoilt by others
Change to established habits (e.g. giving up music lessons, change to accent or vocabulary)
Diminished levels of self confidence
Frequent complaints of physical symptoms such as stomach pains, headaches
Unexplained cuts and bruises
Frequent absence, erratic attendance, late arrival to class
Choosing the company of adults
Displaying repressed body language and poor eye contact
Difficulty in sleeping, experiences nightmares
Talking of suicide or running away
Although there may be other causes for some of the above symptoms, a repetition of, or a combination of these possible signs of bullying should be investigated by parents and teachers.
SANCTIONS Please refer to the Behaviour Policy – Sanctions and Rewards to address sanctions and the school’s obligation to reinforcing positive behaviour throughout the school community.
Some possible sanctions for acts of bullying include:
A verbal reprimand and reminder of expected behaviour.
Yellow and Red card system
Loss of free time such as playtimes.
Letters of apology (good practice would be to photocopy this).
Loss of responsibility.
Being banned from a club, trip or activity, or taking part in a school team.
Speaking to the parent.
Sanctions that are not permissible The following sanctions are not helpful and must not be used
Any form of corporal punishment or physical violence.
Aggressive shouting, humiliation or ridicule.
Loss of House Points
Depending on the severity of the reported incident, the parents/guardians of all parties may be informed and invited into school to discuss the matter by the Head. A note will be made on the pupil’s file and the sanction recorded on the school’s Bullying Record. The standard procedure for this sort of problem follows a set pattern:-
Contact is made with the parents informing them of the problem.
A meeting with parents and a warning given about the next stages unless there is an improvement in the child’s behaviour.
If the problem is severe or recurring then exclusion procedures may be implemented after consultation with the Chairman of the Board of Governors. The school Complaints Policy sets out the procedure for raising a complaint.
GUIDANCE ON TACKLING BULLYING
WHAT TEACHERS CAN DO
Teach students about bullying, what it is, why it is detrimental and where recipients can go for help.