In order for our students to achieve their best and thrive in line with our mission statement “Achievement for All”, it is of central importance that we strive to provide an environment for all that is safe both physically and emotionally and is free from bullying.
The Education and Inspections Act 2006
Section 89 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 states that maintained schools must have measures to encourage good behaviour and prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils. Although bullying in itself is not a specific criminal offence in the UK, some types of harassing or threatening behaviour – or communications – could be a criminal offence. For example, under the Malicious Communications Act 1988, any person who sends an electronic communication which conveys a message which is indecent or grossly offensive, a threat, or information which is false and known or believed to be false by the sender, is guilty of an offence if their purpose in sending it was to cause distress or anxiety to the recipient.
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.
Bullying can take many forms such as name calling, taunting, mocking, making offensive comments, kicking, hitting, pushing, taking belongings, sending offensive or degrading images by phone or via the internet, producing offensive graffiti, gossiping, excluding people from groups and spreading hurtful and untruthful rumours.
Students at Fleetwood High School have summed this up as:-
Bullying is the deliberate act of upsetting an individual or putting them under undue stress. For example, physical or verbal abuse, ignoring someone, taking or destroying his or her property. Bullying may include racist, homophobic, sexist comments or taunting about appearance, ability or a particular special need. Bullying may take many forms including the use of mobile phones or the internet (cyberbullying)
Incidents could fall in the following categories and are repeated acts of behaviour –
- Any kind of behaviour that the victim is frightened to report.
- Bodily contact, which is aggressive and hurtful and is given without provocation.
- Persistent name-calling.
- Physical assault on persons and/or their property
- Persistent teasing.
- Any form of extortion.
- Persistent intimidation e.g. pushing and nudging.
Specific Types of Bullying
Bullying related to special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities
Children and young people with SEN and disabilities are more at risk of bullying than their peers. Public bodies have new responsibilities to actively promote equality of opportunity for all disabled people and eliminate disability-related harassment. Children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, whether in mainstream or special schools, do not always have the levels of social confidence and competence and the robust friendship bonds that can protect against bullying.
Bullying related to appearance or health conditions
Those with health or visible medical conditions, such as eczema, may be more likely than their peers to become targets for bullying behaviour. Perceived physical limitations, such as size and weight and other body image issues can result in bullying.
Bullying related to sexual orientation
Evidence of homophobic bullying suggests that children and young people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered (trans) person (or perceived to be) face a higher risk of victimisation than their peers. Homophobic bullying is perhaps the form of bullying least likely to be self-reported, since disclosure carries risks not associated with other forms of bullying. People do not have to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans to suffer homophobic bullying. This bullying not only impacts on the individual person, but on their families and others perceived to be from that same group. It may be based on gender stereotyping.
Bullying of young carers or looked-after children, or otherwise linked to home circumstances
Children may be made vulnerable to bullying by the fact that they provide care to someone in their family with an illness, disability, mental health or substance misuse problem. Young carers may be taking on practical and emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult. Research has highlighted the difficulties young carers face, including risks of ill-health, stress and tiredness, especially when they care through the night. Many feel bullied or isolated. Children in care may also be vulnerable to bullying for a variety of reasons, such as they’re not living with their birth parents or because they have fallen behind in their studies. Some students are heavily influenced by their communities or homes where bullying and abuse may be common. Some bullying at school may arise from trauma or instability at home related to issues of domestic violence or bereavement or from the experience of being part of a refugee family. Siblings of vulnerable children may themselves be the subject of bullying by association.
Sexist or Sexual bullying
Sexist and sexual bullying affects both genders. Boys may be victims as well as girls, and both sexes may be victims of their own sex. Sexual bullying may be characterised by name calling, comments and overt “looks” about appearance, attractiveness and emerging puberty. In addition, uninvited touching, innuendos and propositions, pornographic imagery or graffiti may be used.
Bullying Related to Race, Religion or Culture
Some surveys across the UK have found that a high proportion of bullied students have experienced racist or faith-based bullying. Recent political and social issues also appear to have been a factor in bullying and harassment. There is research to support the suggestion that where black and minority ethnic (BME) children experience bullying, it is more likely to be severe bullying.
Cyberbullying is a “method” of bullying, rather than a “type” of bullying. It includes bullying via text message; via instant messenger services and social network sites; via email; and via images or videos posted on the internet or spread via mobile phone. It can take the form of any of the previously discussed types of bullying – i.e. technology can be used to bully for reasons of race, religion, sexuality, disability etc. Though the evidence base is narrow, UK studies indicate that around 20% of children and young people have suffered cyberbullying. Unlike other forms of bullying, cyberbullying can affect a child for 24 hours a day and invade their personal space and even enter the ‘safe’ home environment.
At Fleetwood High School staff, parents and children work together to create a happy, caring, learning environment. Bullying be it verbal, physical or indirect is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. It is everyone’s responsibility to aim to prevent occurrences of bullying behaviour and to deal with any incidents quickly and effectively.
Bullying behaviour can be brought to the attention of staff either by the pupils who are affected, their friend(s), their parent(s) or other interested parties.
Aims and Values
- The school will provide a safe and caring environment. All staff will be aware of their duty of care towards students and the need to promote well-being.
- Bullying is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Students will understand through assemblies, bulletins and in activities delivered in PSHCE and across the school curriculum that there is a zero tolerance approach to bullying behaviour.
- All reports of bullying will be taken seriously. Staff will know that they must act on instances of bullying which are brought to them and must involve the HOY/AHOY and Senior staff where necessary and appropriate.
- Everyone will be listened to, will know it is “OK” to tell, who to tell and how.
It will be clear to all students who they are able to approach should they have a problem.
- All members of the school community will treat each other with respect as per ‘The Fleetwood Way’. This will underpin all dealings within the school and will be promoted though curriculum and all other activities.
The ethos of the school will discourage any form of bullying behaviour and encourage good relations through the following measures:
- The Anti- Bullying Pledge – signed by all Team Groups
- Designated areas for break activities.
- The use of CCTV cameras.
- The school’s Code of Conduct/ Student Charter
- Student guidance and mentoring.
- Display material in rooms/public spaces
- Vigilance of all e.g. duties, on time to lessons, general presence.
- Staffed sanctuary at lunchtimes for vulnerable students.
- 1: 1 support as appropriate.
- Guidance to both students and parents in relation to the use of IT and mobile phones
- Membership of the Anti-Bullying Alliance
Within the PSHCE curriculum, and other curriculum areas there will be a commitment to teaching and exploring the impact of bullying. This will help to:
- Raise awareness about bullying behaviour, its effect on emotional health and well-being, and how it will be combated.
- Develop personal and social skills through the promotion of friendship skills, assertiveness skills, conflict resolution and problem solving skills, communication skills and the exploration of spiritual and moral values.
- Build and maintain self-esteem.
- Promote positive role models and positive pupil/staff relationships.
Action to be Taken if Bullying has Occurred
- The student who is bullied must be offered help within the pastoral structure of the school. Each case must be dealt with discreetly and sensitively. Interviews with parties must take place.
- The bullied student, bully or bullies should all record the events in writing.
- The parents of all the students involved should be contracted. Discussion of action strategies must take place hopefully with parental co-operation.
- Each case will be dealt with on an individual basis. Depending on the severity of the case various forms of action may be taken. The victim will need support and strategies need to be used to rebuild the student’s self-esteem.
- The student who bullies others however will need careful counselling on reasons for bullying, aspects and consequences of this sort of anti-social behaviour. Counselling is available via the Learning Support Centre and the school counsellor.
- Governors must be kept fully informed of cases of bullying and in the more severe cases Governors may need to be involved with any disciplinary action taken e.g. exclusion.
What to do if you think you are being bullied:
- Tell a teacher or any other adult in school you trust;
- Tell a parent/carer;
- Tell them again if the bullying does not stop in school or if it continues outside school;
- Try not to show you are upset, which although difficult, will help discourage the bully; Try to appear confident; Just walk past if people call you unpleasant names; Tell yourself you don’t deserve to be bullied;
- If you feel threatened walk away;
- Ensure social networking sites are only accessible to invited friends; Block individuals who upset you;
Parent / Carer Guidelines
What to do if you think your child is being bullied:
- Watch for signs – not wanting to go to school, minor illnesses, headaches, other pointers, avoiding friends, coming home with bruises or torn clothing, possessions disappearing, becoming upset after using the internet or mobile phone;
- Listen to what your child says; try to establish that the problem really is bullying and not something else;
- Learn how your child uses information and communication technology and familiarise yourself with safe practice;
- Help your child to deal with the problem by him or herself. Be tactful; Do not encourage retaliation. This rarely helps and may only make things worse for your child;
- Inform your child’s Head of Year or Assistant Head of Year.
Useful websites to help
Limits of the Policy
Where bullying occurs in school and on school trips, this policy will be applied. If bullying takes place out of school but there is a school connection, the school will, if it is in our power, take action. If the bullying takes place out of school and there is no school connection, this policy cannot be invoked but the school may offer support where appropriate.
The policy will be reviewed by the Governing Body on an annual basis.