Tackling Bullying in Bedford Borough Schools and Settings

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1 Tackling Bullying in Bedford Borough Schools and Settings The Local Authority s Anti-Bullying Strategy November 2009

2 Tackling Bullying in Bedford Borough Schools and Settings 1 Contents: Page A. Context... 3 Aim of the Borough Anti-Bullying Strategy... 3 What is bullying?... 4 Why is bullying a national issue?... 4 Dealing with bullying in Bedford Borough... 6 B. Bedford Borough s Strategy... 7 Guiding Principles... 7 Effective Strategic Partnerships... 8 Responsibility for the Implementation of the Strategy... 9 C. Operational Development Strand 1 : Policy Making Strand 2 : Encouraging Best Practice Strand 3 : Participation of Children and Young People Strand 4 : Information, Guidance and Support Strand 5 : Communication (Internal and External) Strand 6 : Collection and Management of Data Settings refers to those environments such as early years settings, sports and youth clubs, residential homes where the Local Authority has responsibility for the safeguarding of children and young people.

3 A. Context Aim of the Borough Anti-Bullying Strategy The overall aim of this strategy is to develop and establish an effective and sustainable framework within which Children's Services, Schools and Families will work together with schools and settings to reduce the incidence of bullying amongst children and young people as part of our safeguarding responsibility create safe, supportive and healthy environments in which they can flourish ensure positive learning experiences support all children and young people to maximise their attainment or achievement develop an empowered, skilled workforce to address the issue of bullying with confidence While schools and settings are each responsible for dealing with bullying in their own context, the Local Authority recognises that if bullying is to be successfully reduced, all must play a part. Tackling bullying is the responsibility of all who work with, or are responsible for, the children and young people in our care. Bullying is not just a school issue. Keeping children safe from harm is a key responsibility for all who work with children and young people, and tackling bullying is part of this duty of care. This Anti-Bullying Strategy describes the activities of the Local Authority to support schools and settings in their efforts to reduce bullying. Each school and setting is still required to develop their own Anti-Bullying policy and programme. Extensive guidance 2 and training is provided to schools and settings to help them with this process. 2 An example is the Effective Action Standards toolkit issued to all Bedford Borough schools Page 3

4 What is bullying? Bedford Borough works within the DCSF definition of bullying as behaviour by an individual or a group, usually repeated over time, which intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally (DCSF definition from Safe to Learn, 2007). Bullying behaviours take many forms but children and young people describe the most common ones to be physical e.g. hitting, kicking or theft using physical aggression verbal e.g. racist or homophobic remarks, hurtful comments or threats indirect/emotional e.g. spreading rumours, isolating individuals from their social settings cyber e.g. using technology to hurt another via text messages, e mails or defamation on social network sites The scope of this Strategy encompasses all types of bullying including prejudice based bullying such as homophobic bullying - bullying based on someone s actual or perceived sexual orientation racist bullying - bullying based on someone s colour, ethnicity, culture or national origin bullying based on disability or special educational need sexist bullying -bullying based on someone s gender bullying related to someone s appearance or health conditions which affect appearance or behaviour It is recognised from research that children and young people from vulnerable groups are more likely to be bullied than others. Why is bullying a national issue? Bullying is among the top concerns that parents have about their children s safety and wellbeing... Bullying is also a top concern of children and young people. Bullying makes lives a misery; it undermines their confidence and selfesteem and destroys their sense of security. Bullying impacts on attendance Page 4

5 and attainment at school; marginalises those groups who may be particular targets for bullies and can have a life-long impact on some young people s lives. (Safe to Learn, National Anti-Bullying Guidance 2007). Tackling bullying is a key priority for the Government, hence the development of legislation and a raft of guidance with Safe to Learn at the centre. 3 Keeping children and young people free from harm and harassment is part of the wider national focus on safeguarding. National initiatives such as National Behaviour and Attendance Strategies, Social Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL), the National Healthy Schools Scheme and Every Child Matters, all place emphasis on the importance of promoting the safety and welfare of children and young people through addressing bullying. The Education and Inspections Act 2006 brought together existing and new provisions relating to Anti-Bullying within one piece of legislation. It stated that Children s Services Authorities must promote cooperation between the authority, its partners and others with a view to improving the wellbeing of children in their area. (that is, their physical and mental health, emotional wellbeing, protection from harm and educational and social wellbeing) ensure that their functions are discharged having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children Tackling bullying also supports a number of local and national priorities around inclusion and equalities, and promotes cohesive communities. 3 Every Child Matters and the Children s Act, Behaviour and Attendance National Strategies, National Healthy Schools Scheme, The Education and Inspection Act 2006, The Equality Act 2006, Disability Equality Duty 2006, DCSF Safe to Learn: Embedding Anti-Bullying work in schools 2007 (and supporting supplementary guidance on specific types of bullying), DCSF Guidance on the Duty to promote Community Cohesion 2007, DCSF Pupil Well-being Indicators 2009 Page 5

6 Dealing with bullying in Bedford Borough Bedford Borough s consultation document for the Children and Young People s Plan identifies tackling bullying in schools and settings as a priority. In line with national findings, young people within Bedford Borough have consistently identified bullying as an issue that concerns them. Up to date data on bullying is gathered via incidents logged by local schools on the Behaviour Management System and the findings of a number of local and national surveys 4. The 2008 Tellus survey of young people in school years 6, 8 and 10 showed that bullying levels in Bedfordshire were largely in line with national trends. 49% of pupils said they had never been bullied (compared to the national average of 56%) while 10% reported that they were bullied at least once a week, sometimes most days. An in-depth bullying survey of pupils in 4 of our middle schools in 2008 showed that 60% had not been bullied in the 12 months prior to the survey. 91% of our pupils felt safe in their schools and 84% described their school as a happy and caring place. 11% of pupils surveyed felt that bullying was not a problem in their school, and 30% felt that their school dealt with bullying very well or quite well. However, 46% felt that their school could deal with bullying better than currently. In our local survey 46% of bullied pupils who had informed someone felt that no action was taken as a result. In 31% of cases, action taken after bullying was reported had been successful in stopping the bullying. Boys are most likely to not tell anyone they are being bullied. In the academic year , 352 bullying incidents (or behavioural incidents with a bullying element) were logged by 27 schools. The most common forms that 4 the Tellus survey, Bedford Borough s Anti-Bullying Pupil Perception Survey, the Behaviour Management System and a survey of schools Anti-Bullying Champions. Page 6

7 bullying took were aggressive behaviour, verbal and physical abuse. Boys were involved in 4 times as many bullying incidents than girls. Our response The Local Authority has been active in responding to the need to tackle bullying in schools and settings. Key actions in the last few years include a support and development programme has been implemented to help school improve their practice the Effective Action Standards Toolkit has been locally developed, rolled out to schools through training and recognised nationally as good practice an Anti-Bullying Co-ordinator has been in place since 2007 an Anti-Bullying Strategy Steering Group has overseen an annual action plan where most goals have been achieved National Anti-Bullying Week is marked each year with a range of high profile activities good practice is shared amongst schools through ABC Update Newsletter student Anti-Bullying Champions have worked with the Anti-Bullying coordinator B. Bedford Borough s Strategy Guiding Principles This strategy builds on our existing good practice. It identifies key priorities, areas for development and activities within the framework of the existing agreed guiding principles. Having a clear and agreed strategy will enable the successful implementation of a programme of actions that will positively impact on individual lives. We as a Local Authority believe that bullying is unacceptable and should never be tolerated. There should always be a consequence for bullying behaviour. Page 7

8 We see reducing bullying as part of our duty of care to safeguard children and young people. We recognise that bullying can happen to anyone, in any setting. Whilst this strategy is aimed primarily at supporting all children and young people in our schools and settings, it is important that policies and procedures are also in place to protect and support all staff and adults as we deliver services. We support restorative approaches to bullying behaviour where appropriate. Together with our partners, we promote equality, care, respect and cooperation and value diversity. The Local Authority recognises that an effective Anti-Bullying programme consists of four interdependent elements namely recognising bullying, preventing bullying arising in the first place wherever possible, responding when it does occur, and evaluating our efforts. We are committed to supporting efforts to tackle bullying and to challenge where schools and settings are not meeting their commitments to safeguard children and young people. We endorse government, statutory and voluntary guidance and initiatives which address Anti-Bullying and which can support our efforts. Effective Strategic Partnerships Partnership working is essential for in the development, implementation and review of the Anti-Bullying Strategy. Children, young people, and their families and carers are key partners in tackling bullying, and their views and experiences are taken seriously. Key strategic partnerships include Children s Services, Schools and Families Directorate, specifically o School Improvement services o Youth Offending services o IT Schools services (Behaviour Management System) Page 8

9 o Integrated Youth services o Psychology and Specialist Support services o Education Welfare services o Ethnic Minority and Traveller Support services o Children's Social Care services Local Safeguarding Children Board Bedford Borough Children s Trust Board Schools, early years settings and colleges Bedfordshire Police National Healthy Schools Scheme Children and Adolescence Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Voluntary Sector and community groupings It is anticipated that our partners will endorse and support this Anti-Bullying Strategy and include Anti-Bullying for young people within their respective planning processes hold shared values, purposes and goals linked to the relevant strands within the Anti-Bullying Strategy work collaboratively in sharing best practice, sharing Anti-Bullying data and promoting new initiatives Responsibility for the Implementation of the Strategy The Executive Director for Children s Services, Schools and Families has ultimate responsibility for the support and challenge we offer to schools around Anti-Bullying. Because we place a high priority on safeguarding, and Anti-Bullying as part of that, lead responsibility for monitoring Anti-Bullying in the Borough will be taken by the Bedford Borough Children s Trust Board and the Local Safeguarding Children Board (though the Stay Safe Strategic Implementation group. The Borough Anti-Bullying Co-ordinator will report regularly to this group the on the progress of the Strategy. Page 9

10 The Borough Anti-Bullying Co-ordinator in consultation with the Anti-Bullying Steering Group will co-ordinate the implementation of the Strategy through a regularly reviewed action plan. The Key Activities in the Strategy will form the basis of benchmark indicators to measure the success of the Strategy. Regular analysis of data collected from schools and settings, services within the Children s Services, Schools and Families directorate, and our partners will highlight trends and emerging priorities, and enable evaluation of the efficacy of the Strategy. C. Operational Development Six key operational strands underpin the Anti-Bullying Strategy (and hence the work of the Borough Anti-Bullying Co-ordinator and Anti-Bullying Steering Group). These are 1. Policy Making 2. Encouraging Best Practice 3. Participation of Children and Young People 4. Information, Guidance and Support 5. Communication (Internal and External) 6. Collection and Management of Data Strand 1 : Policy Making All Services who work with children and young people, including schools and settings, are required to promote the emotional health and well-being of all children and young people. Preventing and reducing bullying is part of this duty. Effective behaviour and Anti-Bullying policies and programmes should be in place. Effective policymaking in a school or setting is characterised by a named Anti-Bullying Champion (adult) leads on Anti-Bullying work in their school or setting Page 10

11 whole school sign-up to a charter such as the DCSF Anti-bullying-Charter for Action (or a localised equivalent) an agreed definition for bullying and where applicable a child-friendly definition which is age appropriate policies which are robust, up to date, fit for purpose and applied consistently all members of the school or setting community (Head teachers, managers, staff, parents, governors, children and young people) are fully aware of what their Anti-Bullying policy and procedures are, and their role in its successful implementation clear complaints procedures and guidance is freely provided to parents and carers all members of the school or setting community are consulted and involved when behaviour or Anti-Bullying policies are developed, monitored, and evaluated Key Activities for Policy Making The Local Authority will support all schools and settings to develop an effective behaviour/anti- Bullying policy that is owned, understood and implemented by the whole school community senior leadership, staff, parents, governors, children and young people ensure that information, guidance and support related to policy, practice and procedures is available to all parents and the wider community look for evidence of Anti-Bullying policy and practice as part of the Local Authority s commissioning of services for children and young people support schools and settings in undertaking regular evaluations of their Anti-Bullying policies and procedures in order to measure their effect on the lives of children and young people work in partnership with schools and settings to respond to complaints about bullying in order to meet our shared duty of care to children Page 11

12 Page 12

13 Strand 2 : Encouraging Best Practice Existing Anti-Bullying work based on the locally developed Good Practice Model has been well regarded. This Local Authority Anti-Bullying Strategy will provide further impetus to build on existing best practice in schools and settings to develop sustainable Anti-Bullying programmes. The Good Practice Model highlights four elements of a successful programme as Recognising bullying Preventing bullying Responding to bullying Evaluating practice Best practice and guidance can be identified and promoted by a number of groups and individuals the Anti-Bullying Strategic Steering Group Bedford Borough s Student Anti-Bullying Champions through Children and Young Peoples consultation and participation Primary and Secondary Behaviour and Attendance National Strategies National Healthy Schools Scheme Anti-Bullying Alliance Regional and National networks Primary and Secondary SEAL programme local collaborative initiatives data from the Behaviour Management System Key Activities for promoting Best Practice The Local Authority will undertake regular audits to identify and share local best practice identify best practice available, regionally and nationally and communicate this to partners co-ordinate training, support and information on effective Anti-Bullying programmes based on current best practice Page 13

14 develop a scheme which will provide quality assurance and recognition of best practice in all settings Strand 3 :Participation of Children and Young People The Local Authority supports the participation of children and young people in policy shaping at all levels. Their input to the Anti-Bullying programme has shaped this Strategy. Junior Anti-Bullying Champions in schools play a role in monitoring and evaluating the Strategy. The Borough Anti-Bullying Co-ordinator promotes and encourages direct student participation in Anti-Bullying initiatives, particularly peer- led programmes. Young people s views will also identify issues around bullying including evidence of best practice. Key Activities for Participation of Young People The Local authority will, through the Anti-Bullying coordinator seek regular and planned opportunities to promote the participation of children and young people in all aspects of Anti-Bullying work use a range of mechanisms to consult children and young people such as annual surveys, conferences, school councils, youth groups and the local Youth Parliament encourage and support young people to become involved in peer-led activities which impact on bullying behaviours, such as school councils, peer support, peer mediation, mentoring and befriending develop young people s forums to support the work of the Borough Anti- Bullying Co-ordinator, assist with the development of conferences and resources for students and act as Junior Anti-Bullying Champions to evaluate and promote the work of the Strategy Page 14

15 Strand 4 : Information, Guidance and Support All schools and settings and those delivering services to children and young people should have easy access to up to date and relevant information, guidance and advice. School-based Anti-Bullying Champions benefit from specialist training and support to increase their capacity to provide advice to colleagues and lead in the development of a robust Anti-Bullying programme within their setting. Training and awareness raising courses are also crucial for all staff working with children and young people. Parents and carers need easy, non-threatening access to information, guidance and support to help them deal with bullying incidents involving their own children. Key Activities for Information, Guidance and Support The Local Authority will develop information, guidance and advice in a range of forms such as newsletters, on-line information, and policy documents and make sure that this is easily available arrange a regular programme of specialist training courses and briefings for Anti-Bullying Champions to cascade information, guidance and support within their organisations provide information and guidance for Anti-Bullying Champions which will be up to date and relevant to the individuals and organisations concerned and based on best practice and national and local research make available general Anti-Bullying training courses for all who work with, or are involved with, children and young people further develop a library of resources available to support Anti-Bullying Champions make information guidance and support available to parents and carers in a variety of formats, including on-line Page 15

16 promote the use of restorative approaches to dealing with conflict issues in schools continue to encourage the implementation of SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) Programme into all schools Strand 5 : Communication (Internal and External) Communication within the Children s Services, Schools and Families directorate, to our schools and settings and to our partners is key to successfully implementing the principles and actions of the Anti-Bullying Strategy. School and Local Authority staff, parents/carers, children and young people need to be informed of local, regional and national Anti-Bullying initiatives and events. Keeping all stakeholders informed as to the progress of the Anti-Bullying Strategy and its actions will raise motivation to persist in tackling bullying, as well as allowing for feedback as to any amendments and alterations of activity. Key Activities for Communication The Local Authority will actively publicise and promote the Anti-Bullying Strategy and the activities of all involved in Anti-Bullying work both to partners and the community as a whole communicate key elements of the Anti-Bullying Strategy to schools and settings, within the Local Authority, parents, children and young people through channels such as Virtual Learning Environment, media releases, reports, newsletters, consultancy and Local Authority web pages communicate the Strategy externally to a range of audiences including DCSF, National Strategies, regional and national Anti-Bullying Alliance in order to gain recognition and support Page 16

17 develop the existing Anti-Bullying web pages to signpost parents, children and young people to a range of Anti-Bullying resources, advice and support produce a regular Anti-Bullying Newsletter plan opportunities such as National Anti-Bullying Week to raise awareness, promote the Strategy and profile existing best practice both locally and nationally through the media Strand 6 : Collection and Management of Data Foundational to an effective Anti-Bullying Strategy is the provision of data and information in a clear, simple and centralised system. The government expects that schools and settings will collect data on bullying incidents and that this will be shared with the Local Authority in order to monitor trends and challenge poor practice. An annual benchmark will allow us to plot our progress against a number of indicators, including soft targets. Data collected by partners such as Healthy Schools and the Police provide useful additions to the data profile. Up to date and detailed data and information would give insights into current Anti-Bullying practice and its effectiveness pupil perception around bullying the scale and nature of bullying recorded as incidents individual and collective school needs and priorities the emotional health and wellbeing of pupils the safeguarding of vulnerable young people such as those with disabilities and Special Educational Needs the cohesiveness of our communities, with regard to prejudice related bullying Page 17

18 Key Activities for Collection and Management of Data The Local Authority, through the Anti-Bullying Coordinator and Anti- Bullying Steering group will gather, collate and analyse such information as is already available through the Local Authority or partners which would inform Anti-Bullying practice encourage the use of electronic logging across all schools as an effective system for monitoring and recording bullying incidents, and correlating this with other behaviour management data encourage schools and settings to collect and use data to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of their Anti-Bullying programmes conduct pupil surveys as an adjunct to data gathering report data to the Stay Safe Strategic Implementation Group of the Children s Trust Page 18

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