Westward School

Anti-Bullying Policy

(To be read in conjunction with the Behaviour, PSHE, Relationships Education, Online Safety and Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy)

This policy applies to the EYFS, the main school and out of school care facilities.

 

AIMS & OBJECTIVES

 As a school, we believe that all children have the right to learn in an environment where they feel safe. The purpose of this policy is to communicate how the school aims to create an environment in which everyone agrees that bullying is unacceptable.

AIMS OF THIS POLICY:

  • Establish an agreed definition of bullying
  • Outline how we involve the whole school community to develop an Anti-Bullying ethos
  • Share the principles behind our programme of preventative education
  • Detail how we respond to instances of bullying behaviour.

OBJECTIVES OF THIS POLICY:

  • To effectively prevent, tackle and respond to bullying at Westward School.
  • To create a safe, disciplined environment where pupils are able to learn and fulfil their potential.
  • The Proprietor, staff, pupils and parents/carers should have an understanding of what bullying is.
  • The Proprietor, staff, pupils and parents/carers 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, staff, parents/carers should be assured that they will be supported when bullying is reported.

 

STATEMENT OF INTENT

Westward is committed to providing a caring, friendly, safe and healthy environment for all of our pupils so they can learn in a relaxed and secure atmosphere. The ethos of our school fosters high expectations of outstanding behaviour and we will challenge any behaviour that falls below this. 

All bullying, whatever the motivation or method is unacceptable and will not be tolerated at Westward. If bullying does occur, all pupils should be able to tell and know that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively. We are a TELLING school. This means that anyone who knows that bullying is happening is expected to tell a member of staff. 

All members of the Westward Community will work together to ensure that the Anti-Bullying policy is effective.

 

DEFINING BULLYING

At our school we define bullying as:

  • Repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power. It can happen face to face or online.

The four key elements of this definition are that behaviour is:

  • hurtful
  • intentional
  • repetitive
  • involves a power imbalance which can make it difficult for the person being targeted by the bullying behaviour to defend themselves.

 

Bullying may be:

 

TYPE OF BULLYING

Definition

Emotional

Being unfriendly, excluding, tormenting

Physical

Hitting, kicking, pushing, biting, pinching, taking another’s belongings, any use of violence

Prejudice-based and discriminatory, including:

  • Racial
  • Faith-based
  • Gendered (sexist)
  • Homophobic/ biphobic
  • Transphobic
  • Disability-based

Taunts, gestures, graffiti or physical abuse focused on particular characteristics (e.g. gender, race, sexuality)

Sexual

Explicit sexual remarks, display of sexual material, sexual gestures, unwanted physical attention, comments about sexual repuatation or performance, or inappropriate touching

Direct or indirect verbal

Name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, teasing, belittling, leaving someone out

Cyber-bullying

Bullying that takes place online, such as through social networking sites, messaging apps or gaming sites


For example sending nasty messages, posting unkind content online, sharing photos or videos.

 

These forms of bullying may occur separately or coexist.

We know that experiencing bullying can have a significant, negative and lasting impact on a child’s emotional and mental wellbeing. We also recognise the negative impact that engaging in bullying behaviours or witnessing the bullying of another can have.



Wider Context

 

Schedule 1 of the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014: paragraph 7 outlines a school’s duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, paragraph 9 requires the school to have a written behaviour policy and paragraph 10 requires the school to have an anti-bullying strategy.

The Inspection Framework requires inspectors to make a judgement on the extent to which leaders, teachers and learners create an environment where bullying, peer-on-peer abuse or discrimination are not tolerated. If they occur, staff deal with issues quickly and effectively, and do not allow them to spread. 

We recognise that bullying remains an issue in and out of schools. Nationally, The Good Childhood Report 2020: found that 38.6% of children reported having experienced at least one form of bullying in school over the past 6 months.

This policy outlines both the preventative work we do with children to reduce the risk of bullying behaviour occurring, and how we respond when bullying incidents arise. The policy is consistent with the DfE publication Preventing and Tackling Bullying (2017) and the DfE statutory requirements for Relationships and Health Education (2020).

Inclusion

 

We are aware of our responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have shared protected characteristics and people who do not share it. The protected characteristics are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

We recognise that any child may be affected by bullying. We also seek to raise awareness via our preventative education programme with the children that sometimes bullying is related to prejudice. This learning aims to support the children to recognise the views of others and to help them understand that lifestyle choices, views and attitudes will differ among people, but that prejudice, bullying and intolerance are always unacceptable.

See our Relationships Education Policy for more details about how our Relationships Education reduces discrimination, advances equality of opportunity and meets the needs of all incuding those pupils:

  • with protected characteristics or have family members with protected characteristics
  • with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Safeguarding

 

Safeguarding Children in Education (2021) states that all staff should be aware that children can abuse other children (often referred to as peer-on-peer abuse), and that peer on peer abuse includes bullying and cyberbullying. When staff have concerns about peer on peer abuse, this information is shared with the Designated Safeguarding Lead in line with our Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy.

For further information about how our Relationships Education helps us fulfil our statutory duties, see the Relationships Education Policy.

Involving the Whole School Community

 

Development of the Policy

This policy has been developed in consultation with the Proprietor, staff, pupils, parents and carers.

Some parents/carers and pupils have been consulted directly through the School Council, surveys, dropins, sharing sample lesson content.

Further consultation with parents/carers and pupils will be carried out when the policy is reviewed, which happens at least every three years.

 

Engaging with Pupils

We will involve pupils in the evaluation and development of the Anti-Bullying Policy in ways appropriate to their age.

  • We refer to local/countywide/national data.
  • We obtain pupils' views about what parts of school feel safe to them and how pupils could be helped to feel safer in school.
  • We will ask pupils to reflect on their learning and set goals for the future.
  • We will consult pupils (e.g. through the School Council) about their perception of the strengths of our Anti-Bullying provision and the areas to be further developed.

Working with the Proprietor

This policy has been developed with the Proprietor’s involvement, so that the Proprietor is able to consider the extent to which leaders, teachers and learners create an environment where bullying, peer-on-peer abuse or discrimination are not tolerated and establish whether staff deal with bullying issues quickly and effectively when they do arise. In order to facilitate this process, the Anti-Bullying Policy will appear at least annually on the agenda of the senior management meeting with the Proprietor. The policy will be available on the school’s website.

Communicating with Parents/carers

Parents/carers are the first educators of their children about relationships, emotions, empathy and respect and we seek to work in partnership with parents/carers in our approach to Anti-Bullying. We will encourage this partnership by:

  • Sharing details of our Anti-Bullying approach on our website.
  • Informing parents/carers by newsletter or email about forthcoming Anti-Bullying topics, which are predominantly taught through our PSHE curriculum, e.g. Anti-Bullying, Diversity and Communities, Personal Safety.
  • Informing parents/carers about our Anti-Bullying approach as their child joins the school through the school prospectus and website.
  • Inviting parents to discuss their views and concerns about Anti-Bullying on an informal basis through drop ins.
  • Signposting parents/carers to sources of support to help them address the needs of their child if their child has been affected by, is engaging in, or has witnessed bullying behaviours.

The Role of Preventative Education

 

Principles

This Anti-Bullying Policy is set within the wider context of the school’s overall aims and views.

We recognise that effective preventative education can reduce the risk of bullying behaviour occurring. We know that children learn about skills which contribute to their ability to build and sustain healthy relationships in a wide variety of ways, not only through planned lessons, but through their everyday experiences at school and at home. Our school ethos, wider enrichment opportunities and the interventions and support offered all contribute to the development of these skills. All members of staff understand their role in supporting our strong anti-bullying culture.

Curriculum Organisation

In accordance with the DfE statutory requirements for Relationships Education and Health Education (2020), pupils will learn:

  • About different types of bullying (including cyberbullying), the impact of bullying, responsibilities of bystanders (primarily reporting bullying to an adult) and how to get help.
  • That bullying (including cyber bullying) has a negative and often long lasting impact on mental health.
  • That the internet can also be a negative place where online abuse, trolling, bullying and harassment can take place, which can have a negative impact on mental health.

We primarily use the Cambridge Primary Personal Development Programme and the resources recommended within it when planning and delivering PSHE with an Anti-Bullying focus, which includes the ‘Anti-Bullying’ units of work.

The ‘Anti-Bullying’ units of work provide the opportunity for pupils to learn, in an age appropriate way about:

  • the sort of behaviour that constitute bullying, including cyberbullying
  • how people can be affected by bullying
  • the role that bystanders can play in worsening or improving a bullying situation
  • the difference between bullying and falling out, including strategies for resolving a falling-out
  • which trusted adults they should speak with if they were affected by bullying in school or in the community
  • assertiveness strategies that could help them in bullying situations
  • ways in which pupils, teachers and parents/carers can work together to reduce bullying.

Other topic areas which support learning about Anti-Bullying are:

  • Diversity and Communities - learning about the breadth of different family structures, lifestyles, religions and cultures and understanding how to show respect and celebrate difference.
  • Digital Lifestyles - learning about how to navigate their online relationships positively and access help if they are worried about something online.
  • Family and Friends - learning skills for developing and sustaining healthy friendships, including how to apply principles of mutuality, equality, respect and loyalty across different types of relationships.
  • Personal Safety - learning how to recognise when they are feeling unsafe, and how to ask for help and support.

Anti-Bullying will be taught via:

  • PSHE through designated lessons, circle time, participation on Anti-Bullying week, other focused events and themed weeks.
  • Other curriculum areas, especially English, Drama and Computing.
  • Enrichment activities, especially our assembly programme.

For further information about our PSHE Curriculum, including how we select appropriate teaching resources, see our PSHE Scheme of Work and Policy and our Relationships Education Policy.

Teaching Methodologies

We apply the same principles when teaching about Anti-Bullying as in our wider PSHE teaching and deploy the same range of methodologies. For information about our PSHE teaching methodologies see our PSHE Scheme of Work and Policy and our Relationships Education Policy.

We recognise that there will be some children within the school who have previously or are currently affected by bullying and we employ teaching and learning strategies to support all children and access the learning in a way which feels safe for them, including:

Using Distancing Techniques such as fiction, puppets, case studies, role-play, videos, which enables them to discuss issues without disclosing personal experience.

Establishing Ground Rules such as not naming others when discussing friendship/bullying experiences, the right to pass during Circle Time/drama activities if this feels uncomfortable, using safe language to enable all children to feel safer as they participate in learning in this subject area.

Responding to Bullying

 

Receiving a Report of Bullying

The school encourages and equips the whole school community to report all incidents of bullying, (including cyberbullying) including children who have experienced being bullied and bystanders who have witnessed an incident. Our preventative curriculum includes helping children recognise bullying behaviours and identifying their trusted adults in and out of school. 

All staff are trained on the need to take reports of bullying seriously, including when to involve the Behaviour Officer/ Mental Health Lead / Headteacher / Designated Safeguarding Lead. Their first priority is to reassure the child that they have done the right thing by reporting the incident and to have a conversation with the child/ren targeted by the bullying behaviour to establish their views and feelings.

Where parents/carers have concerns about bullying, they are asked to inform the Class Teacher in the first instance. Senior members of staff such as the Behaviour Officer / Headteacher / Designated Safeguarding Lead will be involved where appropriate.

There are ‘worry boxes’ in each classroom for pupils to report instances of bullying.

Identifying Bullying

Staff are also trained to look out for signs/indicators that a child may be experiencing bullying, such as an unexplained change in a child’s behaviour or demeanour, and such concerns will always be followed up with a conversation with the child in which the child is given the opportunity to share their worries, or name another member of staff they would like to talk with.

We are aware that bullying behaviour is often made up of a series of incidents. See our Behaviour Policy for details of how we recognise, record and address examples of unkind behaviour. We use our definitions of bullying to assess situations as they arise and judge whether or not bullying had occurred. We will review behaviour records regularly to assess whether a pattern of potential bullying behaviour may be developing.

Recording Bullying Incidents

When an incident of bullying (including cyberbullying) is reported the school will endeavour to make a written account of this incident within 24 hours of the incident occurring. Bullying incidents are recorded on our electronic Behaviour Log. Bullying incidents are recorded using a Bullying Incident Report Form.

Our recording system captures if the incident is a Prejudice related incident. This information is shared with the Proprietor. We analyse this information at school level to identify any patterns of behaviour and consider tailoring our curriculum provision in light of this analysis.

Restorative Approaches - The Support Group Method

After listening to the account of the targeted child, the school will discuss an appropriate course of action with them. All incidents of bullying will be responded to, taken seriously and the behaviour of those who have been bullying will be challenged.

Where appropriate, the school will initially consider the use of a restorative approach to resolve the situation. A restorative approach involves those who have displayed bullying behaviour focusing on their unacceptable behaviour, supporting them to develop empathy towards those involved and recognising their thoughts and feelings. This process ensures children causing harm are held to account for their behaviour by enabling them to:

  • Accept responsibility for the harm caused to the individual being bullied
  • Accept responsibility for the harm caused to others (e.g. staff, friends and family)
  • Recognise the need to take action to begin to repair the harm caused
  • Agree a range of helpful actions to repair the harm caused.

The Support Group method is an example of a restorative approach and will be overseen and monitored by the Class Teacher/ Behaviour Officer/Mental Health Lead/ Headteacher/Designated Safeguarding Lead.

Supporting those affected by bullying behaviours

The priority of all staff in supporting a child who has been targeted by bullying is to ensure that they feel safe. We seek to be led by the child’s wishes and to be flexible in our approach to enable them to feel safe in and around school. This sort of support may also be offered to bystanders who have witnessed bullying behaviour. There are a range of strategies that may be deployed to support a child affected by bullying behaviours, including:

  • Providing a named adult in school with whom the child feels comfortable talking to about the situation to monitor the situation and check in regularly with the child.
  • Providing supportive and nurturing structures such as ‘Circle of Friends’.
  • Providing access to alternative options for some playtime/lunchtimes such as a Friendship Club, access to play leader run activities.
  • Participating in whole class PSHE/Circle Time sessions to access aspects of the Anti-Bullying Prevention Education Curriculum content.
  • Accessing social skills groups to develop emotional resilience and learn skills in assertiveness.
  • Accessing support from external agencies and professionals including counselling services, educational psychologists, The Children and Young People’s Emotional and Well Being and Mental Health Service - Mindworks, Specialist Teaching Services.

As a school we have a duty of care towards all children and we recognise that children who display bullying behaviours may have significant unmet needs of their own. We seek to support children who have displayed bullying behaviours to develop their empathy skills and make more positive behaviour choices in future. This support may include:

  • Restorative work to help the child face up to the harm they have caused, learn from it and repair the harm.
  • Attendance at social skills groups to develop skills of listening, negotiating and empathising with others and techniques for managing conflict and peaceful problem solving.
  • Providing structured positive playtime/lunchtimes such as access to Midday Supervisor/Play Leader run activities
  • Participating in whole school PSHE/Circle Time sessions to access aspects of the Anti-Bullying Preventative Education Curriculum content
  • Accessing support from external agencies and professionals including counselling services, educational psychologists, The Children and Young People’s Emotional and Well Being and Mental Health Service - Mindworks, Specialist Teaching Services.

In certain cases of bullying, the school will consider the use of disciplinary sanctions e.g. in the case of serious bullying such as where violence has been used or where a restorative approach has been unsuccessful in preventing further incidents of bullying. Sanctions will be applied fairly and proportionately in accordance with the School’s Behaviour Policy. Disciplinary sanctions are intended to:

  • Impress on the perpetrator that what he/she has done is unacceptable
  • Deter him/her from repeating that behaviour
  • Signal to other children that the behaviour is unacceptable and deter them from doing it.

The school will draw upon the school's Behaviour Policy and follow the systems of sanctions, which includes:

  • Removing/ separating the perpetrator from other individuals or groups of children
  • Removing/excluding perpetrator from certain whole school activities or key points in the day e.g. break times/ lunchtimes
  • Withdrawing privileges
  • Use of the traffic light system/detention.

In the case of more serious and persistent bullying, where the perpetrator has not responded to the school’s restorative strategies (see above) or sanctions, the school may consider excluding the perpetrator from the school. (refer to Exclusions Policy)

Some children who have been subjected to bullying can be provoked into violent behaviour. Where an attack has been provoked after months of persistent bullying, the school will view this differently from an unprovoked attack and will ensure that sanctions are proportionate to the circumstances. 

Working with Parents and Carers

 

Where the school has become aware of a bullying situation, the parents/carers of the child who is being bullied will be informed via a phone call and parents/carers will be invited to the school to discuss their child’s situation. The school will endeavour to involve parents/carers of children who have been bullied constructively at an early stage to support the process of working together to find ways of resolving the situation and bringing about reconciliation. The outcome of the meeting and agreed actions/responses will be recorded by the school on the school’s electronic recording system/Bullying Incident Report Form.

The parents/carers of the child displaying bullying behaviours will also be invited to the school to discuss the situation. The school seeks to work in partnership with parents/carers to help children to learn about consequences of their behavioural choices and to support them to adopt positive behaviour choices in the future. The outcome of the meeting and agreed actions/responses will be recorded by the school on the school’s electronic recording system/Bullying Incident Report Form.

The school ensures that staff and all parents/carers remain fully aware of the measures that have been put in place to prevent the occurrence of further incidents. Follow up appointments are made with parents/carers to share these agreed measures and to monitor their success in preventing further bullying.

Out of School Bullying/Cyberbullying

 

The school recognises that bullying can and does happen outside school and in the community. Bullying is a relationship issue and its occurrence reflects the ways in which children socialise in school and the wider community. The school believes that bullying is unacceptable wherever and whenever it happens.

The school encourages the children to seek help and to tell us about incidents of bullying that happen outside of the school so that the school can:

  • Raise awareness among the whole school community of possible risks within the community
  • Alert colleagues in other schools whose pupils are bullying off the school premises
  • Make contact with local police officers and representatives from other organisations (including sports clubs and voluntary organisations)
  • Map safer routes to school in the event of a child being bullied on their way to school
  • Offer children and parents/carers strategies to manage bullying off the school premises e.g. guidance on how to keep safe online.

Monitoring, Review and Evaluation

 

Monitoring, review and evaluation of the policy is the responsibility of the Headteacher. The Proprietor will ask for information relating to the effectiveness of the policy when it is monitored every year. Information will be gathered from the Headteacher, the Behaviour Officer, the PSHE Coordinator, the Mental health Lead, parents/carers and pupils to inform judgements about effectiveness.

The policy will be comprehensively reviewed with engagement from members of the school community every three years, or sooner if an issue or incident occurs which warrants it.

 

February 2022