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Steephill Independent School and Pre-School

‘Pupils are at the heart of everything we do’

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Steephill Independent School and Pre-School

‘Pupils are at the heart of everything we do’

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Bullying Policy

ANTI BULLYING POLICY

Governor :   Robin Collings

Governor Implementation Check. Date:     November 2016

 

Governor Implementation Check EYFS Date: November 2016

  

Policy Review by Governors Date:      November 2016

  

Date of next Implementation review:   November 2017

V1

 

 

 

STEEPHILL SCHOOL

Anti-Bullying POLICY

including EYFS, before and after school care

 

Introduction

This policy is written in regard to the DFE guidance on bullying October 2014 Preventing and Tackling Bullying and Keeping Children safe in Education 2016. The Independent School Standards require an effective anti-bullying strategy which is implemented.

 

Aims and Objectives

Bullying is wrong and damages individual children.  We therefore do all we can to prevent it by developing a school ethos in which bullying is regarded as unacceptable.  We aim as a school, to produce a safe and secure environment where all children can learn without anxiety, and measures are in place to reduce the likelihood of bullying.  This policy aims to bring a consistent school approach to any incidents of bullying that may occur.  We aim to make all those connected with the School aware of our opposition to bullying, and we make clear each person’s responsibilities with regard to the addressing and preventing bullying in our School.

Staff are trained within the safeguarding umbrella; issues of pastoral care, anti-bullying and related topics are covered in weekly staff meetings. The trainer is Caroline Birtwell DSL. Vulnerable children are discussed at pupil profile meetings, held twice annually and SEND meetings, also held weekly.

 

Definition of bullying

We define a bully as someone or a group who physically, verbally or psychologically abuses another person in such a way they are left feeling vulnerable, frightened or intimidated.  Bullying can manifest itself in many different forms including racial, religious, cultural, sex and sexual orientation, gender, pregnancy and maternity, age, disability and homophobic, disability and cyber (social websites, mobile phones, text messages, photographs and email) bullying.  The seriousness of bullying should not be underestimated; it has the potential to cause psychological damage and even suicide (although bullying is not a criminal offence, there are criminal laws which apply to harassment or threatening behaviour or communications).  Under the Children Act 1989 a bullying incident should be addressed as a child protection concern where there is ‘reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer significant harm’. (DFE Preventing & Tackling Bullying p5).

 

Vulnerability

Some children may be more vulnerable to bullying by virtue of their racial, religious, cultural, sex and sexual orientation, gender, pregnancy and maternity, age, disability, background e.g. carers and those adopted. Although all children can be considered vulnerable and staff should be alert at all times to this.

The school keeps a vulnerability profile in the teachers’ shared area for each child which can be a useful tool in assessing risk for any one child. This is reviewed during the pupil profile meetings that take place twice annually.

 

Communication

A staff meeting is held every Wednesday to discuss child pastoral concerns which specifically includes bullying. This ensures all issues are heard and communicated to all staff.

 

Procedures to follow

The following procedure will be adopted in the circumstance of a child complaining of being bullied or a member of staff suspecting that bullying takes place:

 

  • The child’s class teacher and Headteacher will be informed and they will arrange a meeting with the parents of the child who they suspect is being bullied.

  • The child’s class teacher will make a note of any incidents of bullying behaviour.

  • The class teacher will speak to the child who is being bullied, reassure him/her and request that any bullying behaviour be reported immediately.  The child will be reassured that he/she will not get into trouble for doing so and that ‘telling’ is an important part of making things better.

  • A programme of careful observation will be initiated in both the classroom and the playground and the class teacher makes notes of any interaction between the children.

  • If evidence of bullying is found, the parents of the child accused will be contacted and a meeting arranged with the Headteacher and Class Teacher.  If no evidence is found this will not necessarily take place.

  • Strategies to help the child accused of bullying to improve and change his/her behaviour will be initiated, as well as strategies to enable the bullied child to deal effectively with the unwanted behaviour e.g. circle time discussion, close communication between all parties concerned, monitoring of the situation and preventative measures adopted.

  • If the school feel that an offence may have been committed (e.g. under Protection from Harassment Act 1997, the Malicious Communications Act 1988, the Communications Act 2003 and the Public Order Act 1986), they should seek assistance from the Police.

 

  • Identification of children to monitor

 

Staff communicate the names of children they are concerned about to the Headteacher who then informs all staff involved in supervising the children in the playground, dinner hall, after school clubs and classroom.  This will normally be done via the regular staff meetings unless immediate action is indicated, in which case staff will be informed verbally.  Support staff and teachers record the types of bullying, when and where they happen, so we identify trouble spots and problems (this record is kept with the log of racist incidents).  The senior midday supervisor maintains these records for midday incidents and the class teacher records others.  This also enables the teacher to follow up incidents and where necessary, pass them on to: Class Teacher - Deputy Headteacher - Headteacher.  (Parents will sometimes be involved earlier, especially if the problem cannot be easily dealt with in a straightforward way).

 

A clear procedure for children

The victims

 

Everyone needs to know exactly what to do if there is a problem.  The victims are encouraged to tell the following people in these situations:-

 

In the classroom – the teacher or a member of the support staff.  It is established routine that the children can discuss all their worries or incidents at the end of each teaching session.

 

In the playground – the teacher or support staff on duty (sometimes it will need to be the class teacher).

During the Midday Break – the children find the nearest adult.  These incidents are communicated to the teachers as detailed above, for following up and monitoring of bullying at the end of the midday break.

On the way to school or on the way home – the class teacher, a member of the support staff, another member of staff.  (The problems are often linked to inter-family conflict).

 

Cyber bullying

If the abuse takes place on-line, via mobile phone or other device the child is encouraged to tell parents and their teacher. Parents are encouraged to inform the school and provide evidence. Printing of any sexual abuse is not permitted and the original material should be retained. Following any disclosure of bullying the procedures shall follow those outlined above.

 

Use of Devices that have access to the Internet

 

Tablets, computers and other devices are carefully monitored within school. Staff must only use school email addresses when communicating about school matters. Mobile phones and use of social media is discussed in detail in the Employee Handbook. Children are restricted to use of school devices only and these are protected by robust filtering. Children may have mobile phones in their bags for use after school if these are kept in their bags and switched off.

 

Visitors can have access to the internet via wifi on application. This will not allow access to school files.

Misuse of technology is covered in the Employees handbook and or Safeguarding Policy. Children who misuse technology will be referred directly to the Head Teacher and procedures from the Behaviour Policy will be implemented.

 

The School is currently awaiting updated guidance from Childnet International.

 

The Silent Majority

 

They are told that every time they see bullying they must “tell” the above people just as the victim should do.  The reasons why this is necessary are explained at every opportunity.  Care is needed to ensure the victim does not see the bully being rewarded for bullying e.g. taking over a desirable job when not required.  Another adult’s input may be valuable for urgent or complicated situations or if the teacher is teaching.  Parents may need to be involved with some situations if they are to be improved.

 

Classroom elements which are conducive to a positive approach to bullying:

 

  • Children have regular opportunities to discuss emotional and sensitive matters, including differences between people that could motivate bullying, such as religion, ethnicity, disability, gender or sexuality.

  • There are clear ground rules for discussions about personal and controversial issues.

  • Good relationships and trust between pupils and between staff and children.

  • Children are used to working collaboratively.

  • Teaching communication skills, promoting self-esteem and confidence are a high priority for the staff.

  • Conflict is reduced by staff setting an example which is firm, respects those who are different and avoids being domineering, manipulative or bullying.

  • Consistency is crucial to establish the children’s confidence, trust and belief in the action taken.

 

Circle time

This is often done as part of general circle time.  Teachers ask for positive comments after a period of silent thinking and the children address their comments to particular classmates about anything in school.  This may be followed by the mention of general concerns that sometimes cover issues the teacher or other people are worried about. Children might then express their own worries and address them to specific children who also stand up and may not interrupt until they have finished.  This is only done when the atmosphere is open and the teacher is sure it will not be used as opportunity for blame or revenge.  It must not be a “naming and shaming” session.  When the children are older it can be used in a debating manner to explore any issues of concern.  The session ends with positive comments about another matter if this one is not satisfactorily solved.

 

 

Using Classroom education to reduce bullying

Whole school

The need to protect each other and help everybody to be happy at school.  The responsibility to “tell” when bullying is observed.  Reassurance that those telling will be protected.  The right that everyone has to be safe and free from threats and bullying.

 

Class Lower I – Learning to tell someone immediately to STOP if you do not like what they are doing.  Learning to tell a responsible adult in school immediately that something is happening to you that you do not like.  Learning to treat others as you would like to be treated.  Introduce circle time – which provides an opportunity to sit in a circle and take turns to discuss issues.

 

Class Upper I – Repeat Year Lower I and tell a responsible adult if you see someone being unkind to someone else.  Learning to be very specific about what was said or done.

Class II – Repeat Year Lower I and Upper I and tell a responsible adult if you see someone being unkind to someone else.  Foundation work of a caring classroom, class rules, co-operation etc.  Following Class II.  Circle time work on relevant issues. PHSEE work on raising esteem.

Class III - PSHE (Personal, Social and Health and Economic Education) work on computers see IT (Information Technology) scheme.

Class IV – PSHEE work on computers - see IT scheme.

Class V – Recognising each other’s differences/respecting the feelings and opinions of others.  Resolving conflict and when it is important to tell the teacher or other responsible adult (e.g. lunch supervisor).  Co-operation/working together as a class, supporting each other.

Class VI – Re-enforcement of previous year’s good practice.  Progression to supporting weaker members of the peer group using concepts of team spirit and the need for people who are different.  Preparation for secondary schools: emphasising ideas that they must still ‘tell’.

 

Reducing the risk of bullying

 

Teachers routinely attend training which enables them to become equipped to deal with incidents of bullying behaviour.  Children are supervised at all times by members of staff. The EYFS ratio of teachers is maintained during breaks and lunches.  Staff are encouraged to report at staff meetings which take place every morning on any concerns they may have with any behaviour.  Likewise concerns from parents are shared.  Immediate concerns are reported.

 

Links with the School behaviour Policy

 

Responsible and caring relationships are promoted and encouraged throughout the School through the Behaviour Policy, School Rules for Life, assembly, Circle Time, Golden Time and by example of teachers and prefects.

 

The Rules for Life are:

 

  • Smile – you have a lot to be happy about.  Smile and you will make others happy too.

  • Be generous – give people encouragement.  Be charitable with your thoughts. Everyone has something to give.

  • Be a team.  Work with everyone for everyone.

  • Be self-reliant.  Believe in yourself and have self discipline.  Respect yourself and others.

  • Look after – the environment, your friends and your possessions and those that belong to others.

     

    Children who do not live by the spirit of these rules are given a verbal warning.  If this behaviour persists they may miss Golden Time (Lower School) or be asked to stand outside the staffroom for a break.  In the case of very persistent poor behaviour, children may be given a report card (upper school only) where their behaviour is monitored.  This would be discussed with the parents before implementation.  Should there be very serious breaches of behaviour it may be necessary to exclude a child for a short time.  This would only be done with the co-operation of parents.  However, in the case of biting which draws blood or another persistent harmful action the child may be sent home immediately for that day.

 

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