ANTI - BULLYING POLICY

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1 ANTI - BULLYING POLICY Bullying is not tolerated in any form at Ditcham Park School. We treat all allegations of bullying seriously, and firmly believe in prevention rather than cure. The school aims to reduce the threat of bullying through effective education and the clear guidance and training given to pupils and staff regarding definitions and intervention techniques. We believe that a school s response to bullying should not start at the point at which a child has been bullied. We aim to run an approach in which our staff proactively gathers information about issues between pupils which might provoke conflict and develop strategies to prevent bullying occurring in the first place. As a small school we are well placed to do this and the school s weekly Tuesday briefing is an opportunity for staff to raise concerns which they may have.. This might involve talking to pupils about issues of difference, perhaps in lessons, in tutor time, or through assemblies. Staff themselves will be able to determine what will work best for their pupils, depending on the particular issues they need to address. We work relentlessly at creating an ethos of good behaviour where pupils treat one another and the school staff with respect because they know that this is the right way to behave. Values of respect for staff and other pupils, an understanding of the value of education, and a clear understanding of how our actions affect others permeate the whole school environment and are reinforced by staff and older pupils who set a good example to the rest. Most importantly we subscribe and support the Don t suffer in silence campaign, and encourage any pupil who feels threatened in this way to inform a member of staff or another pupil. Any form of bullying is contrary to our school ethos and aims. What is bullying? Bullying is 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 is often motivated by prejudice against particular groups, for example on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or because a child is adopted or has caring responsibilities. It might be motivated by actual differences between children, or perceived differences. Stopping violence and ensuring immediate physical safety is obviously our school s first priority but emotional bullying can be more damaging than physical; the school and its teachers will have to make their own judgements about each specific case. Pupils who are being bullied may show changes in behaviour, such as becoming shy and nervous, feigning illness, taking unusual absences or in the case of younger pupils, clinging to adults. There may also be evidence of changes in work patterns, a lack of concentration in the classroom or even truanting from school. Serious bullying can cause psychological damage and even suicide [although bullying is not a specific criminal offence, there are criminal laws which apply to harassment and threatening behaviour.

2 Ditcham Park School promotes and supports the aims of the2010 Equality Act and the Equality Duty included within that. The Duty has three aims. It requires public bodies to have due regard to the need to: conduct prohibited by the act characteristic and people who do not share it people who do not share it. n people who share a protected characteristic and We recognise that bullying can take many forms however, the 4 main types that the school identifies are: 1. Physical. Such as in hitting, kicking or pushing. Where there is actual contact. 2. Verbal. As in name calling and personal insults. Personal insults include any racist, sexual or homophobic remarks made to individuals or to small groups. 3. Indirect. This may involve spreading nasty stories or rumours about another pupil; excluding them from social groups or games; or interfering with and perhaps stealing from their belongings. 4. Cyber Bullying. This is bullying as through any remote or electronic or digital means. Such as via , texting, mobile phone use or via websites or internet chat rooms. The rapid development of, and widespread access to, technology has provided a new medium for virtual bullying, which can occur in or outside school. 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. Although this may occur outside the school grounds, we will take suitable action to ensure the wellbeing of our pupils. The wider search powers included in the Education Act 2011 give teachers authority 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. Pupils are made aware that to accuse someone of bullying is matter not to be taken lightly. Awareness of bullying is raised through Assemblies, PSHE sessions and in the Senior School, bullying awareness weeks, which involve the discussion of issues within mixed year(vertical) groupings. A concise Bullying page also appears in the school s information section at the front of Senior pupils homework diaries.

3 Pupils are taught that bullying usually involves a repetition and persistence of incidents over a period of time, (which may be just a few days), with an intent to undermine an individual. Younger pupils are also encouraged to try to distinguish between accidents and friendly name calling that are part of the hustle and bustle of school life. Bullying is unacceptable because it implies intent and a malicious agenda to undermine other individuals. All members of the school community, both pupils and adults, have a responsibility to recognise and report acts of bullying. The procedure for dealing with Incidents Any pupil who feels that they are being bullied, or who witnesses bullying taking place, is encouraged to talk to a member of staff that they trust about the situation. This is usually their Form Teacher, but could be any member of the school staff. Senior pupils are also encouraged to talk to the school s 5 th Form mentors` if they feel more comfortable in this situation and if incidents are of a more minor nature. Once aware, the member of staff will then consider how best to support the child. At this point should the matter be considered to be bullying, the incident is to be recorded as a file note and a statement taken, as the matter will need to be pursued further. A member of the SMT is made aware at this stage by receiving a copy of this note. It is required that a copy of the file note is also be given to the form teacher and be put into the personal files of the pupil s involved in the incident. The Senior Teacher holds a log of all bullying incidents and this is regularly reviewed to ensure that patterns of behaviour do not build up. Following this, depending upon the age of the pupil(s) and the nature of the incident, the teacher will either discuss the issues arising with the child to determine whether the issue could be resolved with their support and that of their friends, or whether further advice from professional colleagues should be sought. Depending upon the nature of the incident(s); in the first instance the Form Teacher may talk to the whole class, or year group. (Sometimes, if more appropriate, an individual, smaller groups or just the boys or girls will be seen). If this is not entirely successful, the bullying incident will be followed up by an interview with a member of the school s Senior Management Team. This is usually the Head of the Junior School or the Senior Teacher and at this point parents will be informed whether their c aims to keep hild is being bullied or the one doing the bullying. In more extreme cases the Head Teacher of the school may also become involved and the school disciplinary procedures followed. The school will be inclusive in its response to bullying and will involve any pupils, parents or staff whose input may be helpful to help find a solution to

4 the problem whilst aiming to maintain the trust of the individual experiencing the bullying. Should the incident be regarded as of a serious and malicious nature, (based on the professional judgement of members of the SMT), parents will be asked to make an appointment to come into school and discuss matters with the Headteacher and Deputy Head of the Senior School or the Head of the Juniors. In all cases, the bully(ies) and their victim(s) will be helped to resolve the situation themselves. This is commenced initially in the presence of a member of staff, who will arbitrate and set the agenda for reconciliation within the ethos of the school. The pupils involved are also made aware of the need to treat each other fairly. Following any intervention or action, the member of staff should then monitor the ongoing situation and check that the situation has improved, and if not, take further action. Monitoring must take place over a period of weeks and months, not merely days. In respect of the issues that can arise and may lead to a bullying situation: We recognise that this can sometimes be a way of pupils dealing with personal problems or issues arising from outside of school, including medical issues; and that on occasions professional help from outside agencies may well be necessary. These problems can apply to the bully as well as the victim of any incidents. Confidentiality Issues Occasionally, a child who is being bullied will ask the trusted teacher to keep the matter confidential. This request should be respected if this is at all possible. However, depending upon the nature of the incident and other pupils involved, the member of staff may need to explain that it is necessary to bring matters out into the open in order to resolve the bullying issue as this might be the best way to move forward. Members of staff can never promise confidentiality. Should the member of staff, after using their professional judgement, decide to retain confidentiality in minor bullying matters; they should employ other methods to encourage and support the pupil victim. For example, by encouraging them to engage more in group activities, such as playing with a group of friends who together present a united front to the bully, or simply by providing a safe haven and listening ear for the child to engage with as and when necessary. Measures to help prevention It is important for all schools to consider, monitor and review current practice and this is particularly important when dealing with issues such as bullying. Bullying, in one form or another, exists in all schools, and cannot be completely eradicated. However, bullying incidents can be dramatically reduced, if school staff and pupils are made aware how to avoid specific situations or reduce them to a minimum. As well as through Assemblies, Awareness` weeks, and our weekly PSHE programme, we do this in the following ways: By staff having a high profile around the school generally, and being on time for their duty rotas and teaching lessons. When on duty, staff are

5 encouraged to thoroughly patrol their designated areas and be vigilant and available at all times. By staff being friendly and approachable, particularly when outside the classroom. Also by staff having increased awareness via training/inset. By Form teachers looking-out for signs of unhappiness or dejection, or noticing a loss of confidence in their own pupils. Form teachers also interview their registration group regularly, on a one-to-one basis, as they build up bonds of trust. By the pupils being encouraged to look-out and care for each other. By external professionals, when appropriate. Either on an individual basis, or as a group, through contact with the Hampshire Youth Services in Petersfield or Havant. (2009 P/Tel: or H/Tel: ) Sanctions Sanctions and punishments for bullying are the same as detailed in the school s Behaviour and Disciplinary Policy. In this respect, serious bullying can lead to suspension, or in extreme cases, permanent exclusion from the school. Sanctions will be applied fairly, proportionately and consistently. They should allow the pupil to understand the harm they have caused and to learn from the experience. The school understands that the bully may require as much support and nurture as the victim. We would seek to apply disciplinary measures to pupils who bully in order to show clearly that their behaviour is wrong. Staff Training Internal training and increased staff awareness gained through the discussion of the schools Anti-Bullying and Behaviour Policies is a recurring feature of the school s INSET days. All staff are issued with current copies of this policy. Those with a particular interest or responsibility in pastoral or behavioural issues are encouraged to take further professional training in this area. Staff Note: As well as causing physical and mental distress it is very important for staff to recognise that, in extreme cases, bullying can be so serious an issue as to cause psychological damage to a child and even lead to suicide. (This guidance is as per section 68 of the ISI Regulations guide). Note: Any adult members of the school who feel they are the victims of bullying should seek help and advice from either The Head Teacher or The Chair of Governors. However it is important to recognise that we are a happy and friendly school where bullying is minimal. We aim to work together so we can keep it this way. Reference Documents: DCSF Anti-bullying good practice document, Safe to Learn DCSF Bullying A Charter for Action

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