Revised February 2012
Bullying can have a damaging effect on people’s ability to learn, work and develop. It can happen to anyone. It can cause distress and apprehension for school pupils.
Bullying is an unacceptable form of behaviour through which an individual or group of individuals is threatened, abused or undermined by another individual or group of individuals. Bullying has three common features:
- it is a deliberate, hurtful act
- it is repeated
- it is difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves.
Bullying may take the form of physical, verbal or psychological behaviour. People can be bullied because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, socio-economic status, nationality, religion or other differences. However, it can be for no apparent reason and usually occurs in situations where relationships have broken down. The school has a duty to guard against bullying and to deal with it if it occurs.
Every member of the school community is entitled to work in an environment which is free from abuse and harassment.
- To minimise and try to end the incidence of bullying in schools
- For all members of the school community to recognise that tackling bullying in schools is inextricably linked to the development of a positive ethos
- To develop and maintain a safe, welcoming environment built on positive relationships, mutual respect underpinned by shared core values.
- To encourage the whole school and parents as partners to play an active role in promoting this positive environment and to support anti-bullying initiatives.
- For all members of the school community to recognise and take responsibility for reporting any bullying that occurs.
- To standardise procedures and provide a consistency of approach in dealing with bullying across the school
- To give a clear signal that bullying behaviours will not be tolerated
- To influence attitudes towards bullying in the community particularly of the ‘bystander’ who should believe that it is wrong to ‘enjoy’ watching the humiliation of those being targeted and right to intervene by reporting the incident
- To ensure that everyone knows that the school will take action in all cases of bullying
- To promote good citizenship
- To help young people manage their lives and relationships in positive and non-aggressive ways
- To enable young people to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to deal positively and effectively where relationships have broken down
- To enable staff to develop the confidence, skills and knowledge to recognise and handle bullying incidents and to educate pupils about the prevention of bullying
- To encourage reporting of bullying and harassment wherever possible
- To support and protect the young people who are being targeted and address the special needs of the bully in a non-threatening way
It is the responsibility of everyone to be alert to an individual or group of individuals who are being targeted by others. A target may experience some of the behaviours listed in Appendix 1. Combating bullying demands positive action on the part of pupils, parents and staff.
4.1 Procedures for dealing with bullying behaviour are given in Appendix 2.
There are two strands to strategies adopted:
Proactive strategies are designed to prevent bullying and develop co-operation and mutual respect. They demand the commitment of everyone: children, young people, parents, staff and the wider community in the development of an environment that is honest, positive and supportive of all, where everyone feels valued and relationships are based on mutual respect. This is achieved through establishing good practice both within and outwith the classroom that develops positive attitudes, personal and social skills. Appendix 3 gives examples of how this is achieved.
Reactive strategies are designed to deal with alleged bullying or pupil concern.
To be most successful, it is essential that there is early identification and early intervention in cases of alleged or perceived bullying. The early intervention must be to stop the immediate alleged targeting. The subsequent approach to dealing with accusations of bullying should be to seek to identify the facts, to resolve tensions and identify a positive way forward through restorative practices.
This should include strategies to deal with all concerned to change behaviour and develop relationships, i.e. restorative justice rather than punishment. The restorative approach confronts and disapproves of wrongdoing whilst supporting and valuing the worth of the young person(s) who has committed the wrong. This practice seeks to bring both the target and the perpetrator into the process and the perpetrator encouraged to take responsibility for what they have done. It is important to have strategies to build resilience in those who are the targets of bullying.
A restorative approach will be used in order for all those involved, to be made aware of the impact of their actions and to realise the consequences of such behaviour.
When dealing with incidents, the earliest possible involvement of parents of both the targets and the perpetrators working in partnership with the school and other agencies as appropriate, will provide the best opportunity for supporting all concerned.
It is the duty of all members of the school community:
- to be vigilant and recognise bullying behaviour.
- to report any suspicions of bullying immediately.
- to follow the procedures outlined in Appendix 2, ‘Procedures for dealing with bullying behaviour’.
It is the duty of school management:
- to ensure that this policy and the procedures for dealing with bullying are understood, implemented, monitored and reviewed on a regular basis.
- to ensure that all incidents are recorded consistently and in a way that allows the effective monitoring of bullying behaviour
- to make provision to follow up the detection and reporting of incidents so that those being targeted can be supported and bullies deterred
- to provide necessary support for teaching staff to maintain safe classrooms
- to maintain a safe school environment.
It is the duty of teaching staff:
- to ensure classrooms are safe:
- Where learning takes place in a supportive environment
- Where bad behaviour is not tolerated
- Where bullying is recognised, and dealt with. Watch out for early signs of distress in pupils – deterioration of work, spurious illness, isolation, the desire to remain with adults, erratic attendance.
- To listen carefully and record all incidents
- To offer those being targeted immediate support and following the school’s procedures for anti-bullying
It is the duty of pupils:
- to follow the agreed codes of behaviour for the school
- to take action when it is perceived that someone is being bullied or in distress by informing an adult immediately.
- Not to tolerate bullies. Bullies will soon stop if they have no friends.
It is the duty of parents:
- To watch for signs of distress in their children – unwillingness to attend school, patterns of headaches etc., request for extra pocket money, damaged clothing or bruising.
- To take an active interest in their child’s social life. Discuss friendships and how their time in school is spent.
- To inform the school immediately if they suspect their child is being bullied in school. Keep a written record if bullying persists – who, where, when, what.
- To devise strategies with an appointed member of staff, which will support the pupil in and out of school.
4.5 Information and advice for pupils and parents
Leaflets giving information about bullying are given in Appendix 4.
Monitoring of the level of bullying in the school will be undertaken as a regular exercise through the regular meetings of the House staff.
Useful source of information
Anti-bullying network www.antibullying.net