In The Blue Coat School bullying in all its forms will not be tolerated. Every member of the school will treat others with kindness and respect. Everyone will be vigilant and will act promptly to intervene if there are any signs or reports of bullying. We will actively support all victims of bullying and take appropriate action with the perpetrators. This work will be pursued through the pastoral and academic curriculum, as well as through the reporting and disciplinary procedures created to deal with all such incidents.
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.
It can take many forms, and is often motivated by prejudice against particular groups, for example on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, special educational needs or disabilities, or because a child is adopted or has caring responsibilities. It might be motivated by actual differences between children, or perceived differences.
Bullying involves an imbalance of power between the perpetrator and victim. The imbalance of power may be physical, psychological, 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 the intimidation of a person through threat of violence or by isolating them either physically or online.
We also consider ‘banter’ to be bullying. If students are repeatedly ‘joking’ with an individual, who is not included in the joke, it is bullying. Our school does not tolerate the ‘banter’ excuse.
As a school, we realise the advantages of modern technology and its educational benefits. However, we are aware that is also has the potential for bullying to occur. We recognise that bullying issues occurring outside of school can impact on our students in school. In these cases, we will act to ensure that school remains a place of safety and happiness.
We define cyber-bullying as an intentional act using electronic forms to intentionally hurt another individual or group of individuals. This can take different forms but could include bullying by text message or email; the taking and/or distribution of digital images; posting threatening, abusive or defamatory messages on the internet or social media.
Objectives of this policy
- To ensure that every member of the school community feels comfortable, safe, secure, equally valued and respected.
- To ensure that every member of the school community is able to grow and change, free from prejudice, stereotyping, harassment and negative discrimination
- To ensure that all members of the school community understand what bullying is.
- To promote positive relationships and make absolutely clear our policy that the harassment and bullying of others is never acceptable.
- To ensure we are a ‘telling school’ where students and parents report bullying that they suffer or witness.
- To act promptly and effectively at the first sign of bullying.
- To protect and reassure any victims of bullying.
- To have effective sanctions to deter bullying and to have successful strategies to reform bullies.
Systems for preventing and tackling bullying
Our school ethos aims to create an environment that prevents bullying. An ethos of tolerance, kindness and respect is the golden thread which runs throughout everything we do. All dimensions of school life, including the curriculum, extra-curricular activity, pastoral care and worship:
- promote positive relationships and emphasise that the harassment and bullying of others is never acceptable.
- promote respect for the differences between people and celebrate the richness that diversity brings to modern British society.
- we will ensure that all students in school understand our bullying policy and understand the role they play in reporting any bullying that is taking place.
- we will communicate our policy and approach to all parents, both during induction and during the annual parents’ meetings for each year group.
- all year groups have written and agreed a set of principles regarding their conduct online. They are discussed during Wellbeing lessons and displayed in year group areas.
All students will receive clear guidance and support about online communications through well-being; ICT lessons and whole school worship. This will ensure students are:
- safe online.
- Kind and mature in the digital contributions that they make
- Mindful of the digital footprint that they leave.
- Aware of the negative effects of cyber bullying.
Reporting, Intelligence and investigation
We are a ‘telling school’. We foster an ethos where students let us know if they experience or witness bullying. Students must report concerns to any member of staff e.g. form tutor, teacher, learning mentor, TA or a member of pastoral support.
All school staff proactively gather intelligence about issues between pupils which might provoke conflict and put strategies in place to prevent bullying beginning or escalating.
When students come to reporting bullying we offer them immediate kindness and protection. We ask all students to give us their written perspective. Investigating pastoral staff then seek the perspectives of the alleged perpetrators and witnesses.
In cases of alleged cyber-bullying it will sometimes be necessary for teachers to view, search and if necessary, delete inappropriate images or files from electronic devices, including mobile phones. This is done in line with the 2011 Education Act.
Working with victims and students who bully
We use restorative practice to resolve bullying. Restorative conversations are used to work with both alleged bullies and victims. Our aim is to encourage reflection and foster reconciliation.
Students who bully will be sanctioned in accordance with the behaviour policy of the school and will be offered support in forming positive relationships with others.
Students who have been victims of bullying will be offered ongoing support from either their form tutor, a 6th form big sister/brother or Learning Mentor.
Working with parents
Pastoral staff will call all relevant parents and they will be expected to support this school policy.