OBJECTIVES OF THIS POLICY
● To effectively prevent, tackle and respond to bullying at SIBS.
● To create a safe, disciplined environment where pupils are able to learn and fulfil their potential. ● All teaching and non-teaching staff, pupils and parents should have an understanding of what bullying is.
● All teaching and non-teaching staff, pupils and parents should know what the school policy is on bullying, the procedures to follow when bullying is reported and what steps they should take if they suspect bullying is taking place and the part they can play to prevent bullying, including when they find themselves as a bystander.
● As a school we take bullying extremely seriously. Pupils, parents and staff should be assured that they will be supported when bullying is reported.
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. Many experts say that bullying involves an imbalance of power between perpetrator and the victim. This could involve the perpetrators of bullying having control over the relationship which makes it difficult for those they bully to defend themselves. The imbalance of power can manifest itself in several ways, it can be physical, psychological (knowing what upsets someone), derive from an intellectual imbalance, or by having access to the support of a group, or the capacity to socially isolate. It can result in intimidation of a person or persons through the threat of violence or by isolating them either physically or online.
Bullying at SIBS is considered to be "unacceptable behaviour which occurs lots of times, on purpose"
● Physical - pushing, kicking, hitting, pinching, and any other forms of violence, threats ● Verbal - name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours
● Emotional - exclusion, isolation, tormenting, ridicule, humiliation
● Racist - racial taunts, graffiti, gestures
● Sexual - unwanted physical contact, verbal abuse
● Homophobic - physical or verbal abuse based on stereoptyping sexual orientation, whether or not the target is gay
● Cyber Bullying - using technology such as mobile phones, computers, laptops and tablets to bully-text, setting up abusive websites, posting photos, misusing social networking sites and sexting.
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.
Bullying is often motivated by prejudice against particular groups, for example, on grounds of race, religion, gender, homophobia, special educational needs and disability, or because a child is adopted, in care or has caring responsibilities. It might be motivated by actual differences between children, or perceived differences.
At SIBS we make sure that no member of our community is discriminated against and all staff will act to prevent discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
Bullying can take place between pupils; between pupils and staff; by individuals or groups and can take place during the school day, in the classrooms, in the corridors or toilets, on the playground, out of school whilst on residential trips, on journeys to and from school, day visits, cyberspace, in group activities and between families in the local community.
Why is it Important to Respond to Bullying?
Bullying, especially if left unaddressed, can have a devastating effect on individuals. It can be a barrier to learning and have serious consequences for a child’s mental health. Bullying which takes place at school does not only affect an individual during childhood but can have a lasting effect on their lives into adulthood. Bullying is never a good thing; it is always damaging, both for the bullies and their targets. At SIBS we respond promptly and effectively to issues of bullying ensuring early intervention where possible to help stop negative behaviours escalating.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
A child may indicate by signs or behaviour that he or she is being bullied.
Adults should be aware of these possible signs and that they should investigate if a child:
● is frightened of walking to or from school
● changes their usual routine
● is unwilling to go to school (school phobic)
● begins to truant
● becomes withdrawn anxious, or lacking in confidence
● starts stammering
● cries themselves to sleep at night or has nightmares
● feels ill in the morning
● begins to do poorly in school work
● comes home with clothes torn or books damaged
● has possessions which are damaged or " go missing"
● asks for money or starts stealing money (to pay bully)
● has unexplained cuts or bruises
● becomes aggressive, disruptive or unreasonable
● is bullying other children or siblings
● stops eating
● is frightened to say what's wrong
● gives improbable excuses for any of the above
● is afraid to use the internet or mobile phone
● is nervous & jumpy when a cyber message is received
These signs and behaviours could indicate other problems, but bullying should be considered a possibility and should be investigated
Pupils are encouraged to report bullying incidents to any member of staff as soon as possible. Incidents may include cyber-bullying and bullying outside of school.
Children are encouraged to feel comfortable to talk to any member of staff, teaching or non-teaching, and feel confident their “issue” will be treated fairly and in confidence. If they would prefer to write the incident down they may use any of the worry boxes which are located in every classroom and the school office. Each worry box has a pad of paper and pen close by.
All worry boxes are checked on a regular basis by staff members and then followed up as soon as possible.
All reports of suspected bullying must be relayed to the Principals so an investigation can take place.
Correspondence received from parents regarding concerns about bullying will be taken seriously and investigated as soon as possible by the Head of School or a member of the senior management team.
All staff will be made immediately aware of any particular situations.
Witnesses will be interviewed.
Parents will be kept informed at all stages and support meetings held with all those involved.
Appropriate action will be decided on, depending on the outcome of the investigation such as;
● Obtain an apology from bully/bullies to those targeted.
● In cases of severe and persistent bullying exclusion may be considered.
● Inform bully/bullies' parents
● Put strategies in place to encourage bully/bullies to change his/her/their behaviour
● Put support strategies in place for targeted child. This may include providing a safe haven during school hours for the target or providing a support teacher.
● Hold a follow up meeting with target's family to report progress.
A bullying incident will be treated as a child protection concern when there is reason to believe that a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.
We will use KIDSCAPE methods as part of our everyday teaching within the SIBS Community to prevent bullying from taking place at SIBS.
● Involvement in annual Anti-Bullying Week
● having discussions about bullying and why it matters
● raising awareness of bullying through regular staff training
● ‘hot spots’ are identified and watched carefully