This policy forms a part of the schools overall Behaviour and Discipline Policy. The aim of the anti-bullying policy is to ensure that students learn in a supportive, caring and safe environment without fear of being bullied. Only when all issues of bullying are addressed will students be able to fully benefit from the opportunities available at school. Bullying is defined as 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 (for instance, cyber-bullying via text messages or the internet), and can sometimes be motivated by prejudice against particular groups, for example on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or because a student is adopted or has caring responsibilities. It might be motivated by actual differences between students, or perceived differences. Stopping violence and ensuring immediate physical safety is obviously the school’s first priority but emotional bullying can be more damaging than physical; we have to make our own judgements about each specific case.
Students who are being bullied may show changes in behaviour, such as becoming shy and nervous, feigning illness, taking unusual absences, unexplained weight loss or clinging to adults. There may be evidence of changes in work patterns, lacking concentration or truanting from school. In all instances Notley High School and Braintree Sixth Form will encourage students to discuss their concerns with other members of the school community, be that in person, or through our electronic CONFIDE system (an icon on all PCs in the school where concerns can be reported to key staff). The whole school community, therefore, must be alert to the signs of bullying and act promptly with issues as they arise.
Bullying can be:
- Physical – Pushing and shoving, tripping up, kicking, spitting.
- Emotional – Humiliating someone, name calling, using insulting names or comments.
- Driven by a prejudice – This might be homophobia, racism, or victimising those who have special needs or disabilities. It may be picking on a student because they are cared for away from home or it may be picking on a student who cares for a sick relative.
- Indirect – Spreading rumours whether true or not.
- Cyber bullying – Any form of bullying using a mobile phone or the internet, chat rooms, social networking sites, instant messaging or email.
It may also be bullying when:
- The same person or group always leaves someone out or shuns them.
- Someone makes threats of violence against someone else.
- Someone damages someone else’s kit or clothing deliberately.
- Someone takes someone else’s belongings deliberately.
- Someone tries to force someone else to do something they do not want to do.
- Someone tries to force another to do something sexual they do not want to do.
Although all of these actions are serious and adults should always intervene, they may not always be regarded as bullying unless they are part of an on-going pattern of behaviour against the victim. In the first instance it is not a requirement for members of the school to investigate whether bullying is occurring but rather to accept the student’s perception and jointly agree a way to go forward with them, which will reduce and ultimately eliminate their difficulties.
To download a full copy of the policy click the link below.