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Anti-bullying policy

Adopted: October 2017

Introduction

Principals must, by law, have measures in place to prevent all forms of bullying. There is significant guidance relating to this including Preventing and tackling bullying: Advice for headteachers, staff and governing bodies (October 2014), that states:

  • Section 89 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 provides that maintained schools must have measures to encourage good behaviour and prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils. These measures should be part of the school’s behaviour policy which must be communicated to all pupils, school staff and parents.
  • Maintained schools and academies are required to comply with the new Equality Duty. Part 6 of the Act makes it unlawful for the responsible body of a school to discriminate against, harass or victimise a pupil or potential pupil in relation to admissions, the way it provides education for pupils, provision of pupil access to any benefit, facility or service, or by excluding a pupil or subjecting them to any other detriment.
  • Under the Children Act 1989 a bullying incident should be addressed as a child protection concern when there is ‘reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm’… Even where safeguarding is not considered to be an issue, schools may need to draw on a range of external services to support the pupil who is experiencing bullying, or to tackle any underlying issue which has contributed to a child engaging in bullying.

The Thetford Academy has worked with all of its stakeholders; students, parents/carers, staff and governors to establish the anti-bullying policy and practices to ensure that students feel safe and secure when they are at school and are provided with the support systems and skills required to feel safe and secure when out of school.

Rationale

The way we feel about our relationships and ourselves has a major impact on our ability to learn. Pupils need to feel safe and secure at school in order to learn and achieve. Research shows that the most common effects of bullying are anxiety and depression, poor self-esteem and withdrawal. No one deserves to be a victim of  bullying. Everybody has the right to be treated with respect. Pupils who are bullying need help to learn different ways of behaving.

Definition

Bullying is the repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power. Bullying can be carried out physically, verbally, emotionally or through cyberspace (Anti-bullying Alliance 2008). This definition applies to all stakeholders and includes the bullying of students by students as well as bullying of and by Academy staff whether by pupils, parents or staff.

Bullying can include:

  • Physical - pushing, kicking, punching or any use of violence.
  • Verbal – name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours and teasing.
  • Emotional - being unfriendly, excluding, tormenting (e.g. hiding books, using threatening gestures).
  • Electronic aggression (cyberbullying) – intentional bullying, aggression, intimidation or rumour spreading or the misuse of images via any electronic device, it could be smartphones, computers or tablets.

Bullying of all types mentioned above can be linked to; race, religion or culture; SEN or disabilities; health conditions or personal appearance; sexual orientation; sexist or sexual bullying or home circumstances and social standing.

Signs

The signs that students are being bullied or have started to engage in bullying behaviour can vary from young person to young person and may include, but not be limited to, the signs outlined below.

Signs a student may be being bullied:

  • Unexplainable injuries
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewellery
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem
  • Self-destructive behaviours such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide

Signs a student might be engaging in bullying behaviours may include:

  • Getting into physical fights or verbal conflicts
  • Having friends who bully others
  • Becoming increasingly aggressive towards peers and/or adults
  • Increasing numbers of behavioural issues and use of sanctions
  • Unexplained extra money or new belongings
  • Unwillingness to accept responsibility for their actions
  • Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity

Aims of the policy

  • To ensure that every member of the Academy’s community has an understanding of what bullying is and that bullying behaviour is not tolerated.
  • That all members of the Academy feel safe in all areas of the building and at all times.

Purpose of the policy

To provide a framework to promote the emotional health and wellbeing of the whole school community by providing:

  • A supportive culture and ethos
  • A curriculum which supports positive relationships
  • A safe, secure and stimulating environment
  • Strategies to support the victim and the bully
  • A consistent approach to dealing with incidents of bullying

Links with other initiatives

  • Behaviour policy
  • Acceptable use of ICT policy
  • E-safety policy
  • Attendance policy
  • Rewards-sanctions policy
  • Single equality scheme
  • Safeguarding children policy
  • PSHE policy
  • Teaching and learning policy
  • Whistleblowing policy
  • Training policy
  • Healthy Schools
  • SEF

Development of the policy consultation

  • A policy is more effective when consultation has taken place with the whole community (all governors, teaching and non-teaching staff, pupils and parents). This ensures consistent messages and shared  values when responding to and dealing with bullying.
  • Schools/academies with the most successful approaches to bullying canvass and take full account of pupils' views and dedicate curriculum and tutorial time to discussing relationships and bullying.

Implementation

  • The Academy’s Self Evaluation Framework will provide a baseline for the continued development of this policy.
  • The effectiveness of any anti-bullying policy requires the commitment of all staff, including the Executive Principal and senior leadership team, to highlight this issue on a day-to-day basis rather than only when serious incidents come to light.
  • Pupils need confidential and varied means to alert staff to current instances of bullying. It is important for the whole school community, especially pupils, to know to whom they can report incidents and from whom they can receive help and support.
  • Schools/academies should provide clear guidance to all staff that includes examples of how instances of bullying will be handled and a mechanism to record them.
  • A support network for victims of bullying and bullies should be developed.
  • Early involvement of parents is essential.
  • Follow-up procedures are vital to ensure that bullying has not started again.
  • Pupils should be reminded that all forms of bullying are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
  • Good practice includes efficient checking of the school site, especially toilets, lunch queues and secluded areas. It is also important to set up safe recreation areas or quiet rooms and close supervision at the start and finish of the school day.

Monitoring and evaluation

  • It is vital that schools keep accurate records of incidents and the schools’ response. This will enable the academy to analyse patterns of behaviour, including type of incident, location, time and pupils involved, all of which will inform future practice.
  • The policy should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure continued effectiveness.

What this will look like in the Academy

  • All members of the Academy will be involved in the development of the anti-bullying policy.
  • Leadership and management of the Academy will endeavour to ensure staff have the skills to implement the policy.
  • All members of the Academy, where possible, are empowered to implement the policy.
  • A clear policy statement about bullying that includes examples of how instances of bullying will be handled.
  • A strong ethos is promoted in the Academy that values every individual and will not tolerate bullying.

Every member of staff will aim to:

  • Understand and implement the procedures in place for tackling bullying.
  • Have a simple and accessible mechanism for recording incidents.
  • Recognise and investigate or report any behaviour changes that indicate a child might be being bullied.
  • Take all incidents of bullying seriously.

A process in place that:

  • Ensures the regular collection of data, which is used to identify patterns and plan interventions.
  • Has a regular consultation process to identify what bullying occurs, where, when and by whom.
  • Supports victims by involving pupils in dealing with bullying including peer mediation, circle of friends and independent listeners.
  • Provides a supportive environment that reassures victims that they are not to blame.
  • Supports the bully by investigating the reasons behind the incidents and making them aware of the consequences of their behaviour for themselves and the victim.
  • Enables parents to be informed immediately and sensitively and helps them to support their children, whether they are the bully or the victim.
  • Offers regular monitoring of bully and victim by a trusted adult to ensure that there is no recurrence of bullying incidents, but that also ensures that further incidents can be dealt with swiftly.
  • Regularly reviews incidents of bullying enabling trends to be identified. For example, those involved, times places and regularity of incidents.

Monitoring and evaluation

  • The Academy keeps accurate records of incidents together with the response. This will enable the analysis of patterns of behaviour, including type of incident, location, time and pupils involved, all of which will inform future practice.
  • The policy is a working document and is reviewed and updated regularly to ensure continued effectiveness.
  • A regular consultation with members of the Academy to ensure the policy is being effectively evaluated.

Strategies to support implementation

  • Anti-bullying awareness will be regularly raised through tutorial sessions, staff briefings, assemblies and other promotional strategies including poster campaigns and the Academy newsletter.
  • Annual training for all staff to raise and maintain awareness and equip them with ways of responding to bullying in line with the DfE charter.
  • Provide independent listeners including older pupils and adults other than school staff to whom victims of bullying may turn.
  • Involvement in conflict resolution through peer mediation and other schemes.
  • Provision for follow-up with victims of bullying and the bullies themselves.
  • A restorative justice model of intervention that:
    • Enables bullies to understand the impact of their behaviour on their victims.
    • Helps the victim to have an insight into their own behaviour as well as that of the bully.

Prevention

The prevention of bullying behaviour and the establishment of an ethos where bullying cannot flourish is aided through a number of strategies including;

  • The regular capture of student voice and assessment of student perception relating to bullying.
  • Anti-bullying awareness raised through tutorial sessions, staff briefings, assemblies and other promotional strategies including poster campaigns and the Academy newsletter throughout the academic year.
  • E-safety and awareness of cyberbullying taught to all students through tutor time and the ICT curriculum.
  • The Thetford Academy is promoted as a 'Telling School' and students and their parents/carers are provided with mechanisms and procedures to report bullying including through the Community Foundation Centre, desktop notices and via email.
  • Anti-bullying promoted regularly through assemblies. 
  • Adopting an early awareness strategy by alerting parents to bullying issues at the earliest opportunity to ensure that students are fully supported both in school and out of school.
  • Supportive individual and groups who have been involved in bullying - victims and those carrying out bullying. 

This is a very sensitive area and The Thetford Academy strongly recommends that an appropriately trained individual manage it.

  • Review the curriculum and the tutor times activities so that bullying, prejudices, friendships etc. are taught across the framework.
  • Actively promote the Academy’s anti-bullying strategy.

The responsible officer

The principal will have overall responsibility for the maintenance and operation of this policy. The principal will maintain a record of concerns raised and the outcomes (but in a form which does not endanger confidentiality) and will report as necessary to the governing body.

Monitoring, evaluation and review

The Academy will review this policy every two years and assess its implementation and effectiveness. The policy will be promoted and implemented throughout the Academy.

The Principal will report on the effectiveness of the policy to the governing body.