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Anti-bullying policy

Adopted: December 2015

Purpose and objective

The aim of this anti-bullying policy is to ensure that all students learn in a supportive, safe and caring environment without fear of being bullied. Bullying is anti-social behaviour and it affects everyone. It is unacceptable to our community and will not be tolerated. Bullying is entirely contrary to the values and principles we live by, particularly our core values to respect individuality and behave with integrity.

Young people do however fall out, friendship groups change and the school cannot be held responsible for this. Neither can it be held responsible for families that might well come into conflict with each other. The school is an educational provider and cannot be used as a tool against another party, by claiming bullying.

Definition

Bullying means different things to different people. However, a broad definition is anything a person does deliberately, to cause someone else pain and/or unhappiness. This can be done by one person or a group of persons. It is behaviour that is usually repeated over time, but not always (particularly in the case of cyberbullying).

How does bullying differ from ‘banter’?

  • There is an intention to hurt or humiliate.
  • There is a power imbalance that makes it hard for the victim to defend themselves.
  • It is usually persistent.

Forms of bullying

  • Cyberbullying – sending inappropriate or hurtful text messages, posting malicious material online, sending offensive or degrading images
  • Physical – for example hitting, kicking, theft
  • Verbal / written – for example name calling, racist remarks, homophobic comments
  • Indirect – for example rumours, excluding someone from conversation

Cyberbullying

This can be different to other forms of bullying in that:

  • The audience can be very large and can be reached rapidly
  • It can be 24/7 and invade home/personal space
  • The cyberbully can attempt to remain anonymous
  • The offensive message can be repeatedly accessed by the victim

Cyberbullying can occur via mobile phones and the internet, using images and videos as well as texts. Retaliation can also be classified as cyberbullying. Although it is accepted that there is no single solution to cyberbullying, the school will seek to:

  • Raise the issue of cyberbullying through whole-school assemblies. The focus of these will be to make students aware of the impact of cyberbullying and the ways it differs from other forms of bullying.
  • Promote the positive use of technology by engaging positive, effective and personalising learning by making it more flexible, creative and accessible.
  • Give students advice about using technology safely.
  • Update protocol and practice and share this with staff, parents and learners.
  • Render the reporting of bullying easier through use of a common form.
  • Evaluate the impact of prevention activities.

Racist and religious bullying

Nobody within the school community (student or adult) should be made to feel inferior because of their background, culture or religion. The school seeks to tackle racial or religious bullying as part of its commitment to the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. All bullying of this kind is recorded and monitored in school but available for county. The school also seeks to raise the consequences of bullying through its PSHE programme.

Homophobic bullying

Homophobic bullying targets someone because of their sexual orientation (or perceived sexual orientation). This can be difficult for a young person to report and is directed at a very sensitive part of their lives and can have a very damaging impact. This type of bullying is specifically tackled through assemblies and the school’s PSHE programme.

Bullying on grounds of disability

This can be identified by the pre-mentioned signs but can also include:

  • Manipulative bullying – where the perpetrator gets the victim to behave in a certain way
  • Bullying that exploits a certain condition
  • Conditional friendship – where the victim is allowed to be in certain friendships, only under certain conditions
  • Low-level bullying that remains persistent until the victim snaps

Links with other schoolpolicies

The anti-bullying policy links with a variety of other school policies:

  • Safeguarding and child protection policy (December 2015)
  • Behaviour for learning policy (February 2015)

Protocol for school staff

Effective action to support the victim

The following action is recommended when dealing with a victim of bullying:

  • Speak separately to the victim.
  • Support, reassure and reduce the fear of the victim.
  • Offer the victim the opportunity to talk about the incident.
  • Recognise that the student may be reluctant to talk about the incident at the time but may be willing to do so at a later stage.
  • Explain what action the school will take or will be taking to deal with the perpetrator(s).
  • Record the incident on the school record system.
  • Check records to see if the student has been a victim on previous occasions.
  • Record separately if the student is the victim of prejudice-related bullying.
  • Key Stage leader to check records for previous incidents and inform the parent/carer of the incident, explaining what has happened and what action the school is planning to take.
  • Inform the parent of their right to contact the police if necessary.

Whole-school approach to tackling the perpetrators of bullying

  • Consider the actions of the perpetrator to see if there were any underlying causes which may have prompted this behaviour.
  • Check the records to see if the perpetrator has been involved in previous incidents.
  • Invite parents of perpetrators into school to discuss the issues involved.
  • Apply appropriate school sanctions.
  • Ask members of staff to keep a watchful eye on known perpetrators of bullying.

Guidance for parents and carers

At Cromer Academy we believe that bullying is completely unacceptable. If you have any concerns about your child possibly being bullied, or being a bully, then please contact the school.

How might you recognise that your child is being bullied?

  • A change in usual patterns of behaviour and attitude
  • Becoming withdrawn
  • Becoming distressed and crying
  • A change in eating patterns
  • Self-harm
  • A change in sleeping patterns or nightmares
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Asking for money
  • They refuse to say what is wrong
  • You hear from others that your child is being bullied

What action might the school take if it is discovered that your child is being bullied?

The school will seek to work with the parent and the child to identify:

  • Who the bullies and accomplices might be
  • How the bullying is taking place
  • When the bullying is taking place

Once this is identified, all bullying incidents will be recorded centrally within school. The following sanctions/actions may be imposed:

  • Official warnings to cease offending
  • Detentions
  • Internal exclusion
  • Fixed-term exclusions
  • Permanent exclusion (if severe physical assault takes place)
  • Police involvement
  • Restorative conference

Cyberbullying

The role of the parent is paramount in the control of online bullying. Parents have a responsibility to police what the young person is accessing. There are chatrooms that a student could use where they could have, in theory, access to millions of people online, throughout the world.

Most worryingly, this can take place at any time and intrude into places that have been regarded as safe and personal.

Any abuse of the school’s ICT facilities will be treated very seriously by the school and may well result in the withdrawal of the child’s access to the school’s network.

Key safety advice for parents and carers regarding cyberbullying

  • Be aware, your child may as likely cyberbully as be a target of cyberbullying. Be alert to your child seeming upset after using the internet or their mobile phone. This might involve subtle comment or changes in relationships with friends. They might be unwilling to talk or be secretive about their online activities and mobile phone use.
  • Talk with your children and understand the ways in which they are using the internet and their mobile phone.
  • Use the tools on the service and turn on in-built internet safety features (see below).
  • Remind your children not to retaliate.
  • Keep the evidence of offending emails, text messages, or online conversations.
  • Report cyberbullying:
    • Contact the school if it involves another student.
    • Contact the service provider.
    • If the cyberbullying is serious and a potential criminal offence has been committed, you should consider contacting the police.

How to contact the service provider if your child is being bullied online

Bebo: Click on a ‘Report Abuse’ link located below the user’s profile photo.

MySpace: ‘Contact MySpace’ link which is accessible at the bottom of the MySpace homepage.

MSN: When in Windows Live Messenger, clicking the ‘help’ tab will bring up a ‘Report Abuse’ option.

Yahoo: When in Yahoo! Messenger, clicking the help tab will bring up a range of options, including ‘Report Abuse’.

Facebook: Contact the provider.

Twitter: Contact the provider.

Snapchat: Contact the provider.

Guidance for students

Bullying is not acceptable at Cromer Academy. If you feel you are being bullied for any reason you are advised to take the following course of action:

  • Inform a teacher. It may be useful in the first instance to inform your form tutor.
  • Do not ignore the bullying, as to ignore is to condone.
  • Record any incidents that occur in school and on the way to school.

Once this is identified, all bullying incidents will be recorded centrally within school. The following sanctions/actions may be imposed:

  • Official warnings to cease offending
  • Detentions
  • Internal exclusion
  • Fixed-term exclusions
  • Permanent exclusion (if severe physical assault takes place)
  • Police involvement
  • Restorative conference

Key safety advice for students

  • Always respect others – be careful what you say online.
  • Think before you send – whatever you send can be made very public very quickly and could stay online for ever.
  • Treat your password like your toothbrush – keep it to yourself. Only give your mobile number or personal website address to trusted friends.
  • Block the bully – learn how to block or report someone who is behaving badly.
  • Do not retaliate or reply.
  • Save the evidence – learn how to keep records of offending messages, pictures or online conversations.
  • Make sure you tell:
    • An adult you trust or call a helpline like ChildLine on 0800 1111 in confidence.
    • The provider of the service; check the provider's website to see where to report incidents.
    • Your school.

Finally, do not just stand by – if you see cyberbullying going on, support the victim and report the bullying. How would you feel if no-one stood up for you?

Useful website: www.bullying.co.uk

Travelling to and from school

All students have the right to travel to and from school without fear or hindrance. If an incident occurs whilst on a school bus the school should be informed immediately. Any bullying that occurs to and from school will be subject to the same disciplinary action as if it were to occur in school. Furthermore, any form of bullying on school transport may well result in the transport facility being withdrawn.

A cautionary note on bullying

If you are bullying someone else for any reason, then you may well find the following sanctions being made against you:

  • Parent being contacted
  • School disciplinary action
  • Police involvement

If you have maliciously claimed to have been bullied and it has been proved that this is untrue, then you may also find sanctions being taken against you.