All staff at Brookvale Primary School, and across The Arthur Terry Learning Partnership, are committed to creating an environment in which children and staff feel safe, cared for and are free from bullying, harassment and discrimination. As a school we take bullying extremely seriously. Children and parents should be assured that they will be supported when bullying is reported as bullying will not be tolerated in any form. The school will seek ways to counter the effects of bullying that may occur within school or in the wider local community. The ethos of our school fosters high expectations of outstanding behaviour and we will challenge any behaviour that falls below this.
What is Bullying?
Although there is not a legal definition of bullying, it is usually defined as behaviour that is:
- intended to hurt someone either physically or emotionally
- often aimed at certain groups, for example because of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation
Bullying can be:
- Emotional: being unfriendly, excluding, tormenting (e.g. hiding books, threatening gestures)
- Physical: pushing, kicking, hitting, punching or any use of violence
- Racial: racial taunts, graffiti, gestures
- Physically or sexually abusive: unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments
- Homophobic: because of, or focusing on the issue of sexuality direct or indirect
- Verbal: name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, teasing
- Cyber bullying: all areas of internet, such as email & internet chat room misuse, mobile threats by text messaging & calls, misuse of associated technology, i.e. camera & video facilities
Bullying can come in many forms but may relate to the protected characteristics that are outlined in the Equality Act (2010) :
- SEN or disability
- Appearance or health condition
- Sexual orientation, sexism, or sexual bullying
- Home circumstances
Bullying can take place in the classroom, corridors, playground, toilets, on the journey to and from school, on residential trips and, more increasingly, online.
‘Children who are bullying’ and ‘Children who are being bullied’
Bullying takes place where there is an imbalance of power between the ‘child who is bullying’ (sometimes referred as ‘the bully’) and the ‘child who is being bullied’. This can be achieved by:
- The size of the individual,
- The strength of the individual
- The numbers or group size involved
- Anonymity – through the use of cyber-bullying or using email, social networking sites, texts etc.
At Brookvale Primary School, we believe that in most cases of bullying, the perpetrator should also be considered a potential victim as there could be underlying reasons for their behaviour choices towards other.
Staff must remain vigilant about bullying and approach this in the same way as any other category of child abuse; that is, do not wait to be told before you raise concerns or deal directly with the matter. Children may not be aware that they are being bullied; they may be too young, not have sufficient language to describe what is happening to them or have Special Educational Needs that inhibits their understanding.
Staff should be able to identify children who may be vulnerable and who could fall victim to bullying, as well as those who may demonstrate bullying behaviour.
Provocative Victim – research shows that some children are provocative victims – this means that they actively seek responses from others, often using their own behaviours to insight a reaction from others to either bring attention to themselves or to get others into trouble.
Why is Important to Respond to Bullying?
Bullying has the potential to result in long term damage to the mental health of a child who is being bullied and, if not addressed effectively, also allow the behaviour of the child who is doing the bullying to become ‘normalised’. Everybody has the right to be treated with respect. Pupils who are bullying need to learn different ways of behaving. No one should be the victim of bullying.
Indicators that a Child is Being Bullied
All adults working with children, parents, carers and family members must be vigilant for signs that could indicate a child is being bullied or are bullying others. Although not an exhaustive list, a child who is being bullied may show the following behaviours, emotions and feelings:
- Unexplainable injuries
- Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or feigning illness.
- Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Children may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
- Declining academic performance, loss of interest in school work, or not wanting to go to school
- Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
- Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
- Frightened of walking to or from school/requests to be driven to school
- Asks for money or starts stealing money (to pay the child who is bullying them)
- Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide
Procedures for Investigating Bullying
It is important that all allegations or suspicions of bullying behaviour are reported and investigated in a timely manner. Incidences of bullying will be investigated by the class teacher or by a senior member of staff.
- Parents of the victim may also be questioned about the incident or about their general concerns.
- Bullying cases will be reviewed according to levels (1-4) so that appropriate intervention.
- staff will consider what immediate restorative techniques are needed f or the context of the situation.
- The child who is bullying may be asked to genuinely apologise. Other consequences may take place. e.g., a parent being informed about their child’s behaviour, the child writing a letter of apology, the child being kept from playtimes/lunchtimes so that restorative discussions can take place.
- In some cases, outside agencies may be requested to support the school or family in dealing with bullying e.g., counsellor, social workers, police etc.
- In serious cases, where all restorative approaches have been exhausted and bullying continues, exclusion will be considered.
- If possible, the pupils will be reconciled during a process of restorative conversations and carefully planned reflection activities.
- After the incident/incidents have been investigated and dealt with, each case will be monitored to ensure repeated bullying does not take place.
For full details about our approach to responding to concerns of bullying, please see or Anti-Bullying Policy.
Prevention of Bullying
At Brookvale Primary School, we use a variety of methods for helping children to raise awareness and prevent bullying. These include: immediate pastoral team interventions, class assemblies, circle time, personal development and wellbeing (PDW) lessons, friendship and nurture groups, play therapy, Online Safety Day etc. Children are also consulted through in-school pupil questionnaires. The results of these questionnaires are promptly responded to by staff to identify children who are being bullied and children who are bullying. From here, appropriate and timely interventions are put in place.
- To further prevent bullying at Brookvale Primary School, we have created a culture and ethos in which:
- Staff actively encourage children to have respect for each other and for other people’s property.
- Good and kind/polite behaviour is regularly acknowledged and rewarded.
- Staff will regularly discuss bullying and the impact bullying can have on individuals
- Encourage open and honest conversation about children so that children are confident to reflect on their experiences and behaviours
- Staff reinforce expectations for behaviour and celebrate the positive choices children make with regards to their relationships with one another.
- Children feel confident to report all forms of bullying, whether experienced or witnessed, so that the school feels safer for all.
If a child feels that they are being bullied then there are several procedures that they are encouraged to follow:
- Tell a friend
- Tell a trusted adult in school – this can be any adult the child feels most comfortable with
- Tell the Head Teacher
- Tell your School Parliament representative
- Tell a parent or adult at home whom you feel you can trust
- Discuss it as part of your circle time or PDW lessons
- Complete the bullying questions included in the pupil questionnaire
- Ring Childline and follow the advice given
It is important that you tell us if you are being bullied – You do not have to put up with it – We are here to help!
Recording of Bullying Incidents
When an incident of bullying has taken place, staff must be prepared to record and report each incident, including discussions with children, the events that are alleged to have happened, any immediate action that has been taken as well as future interventions. In the case of racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexualised bullying or other discriminatory bullying, a DSL must be immediately informed. All incidents of bullying will be discussed with relevant staff and parents of the children involved, in order that everyone can be vigilant and that bullying may be prevented from happening in the future. All incidents of bullying will be referred to and responded to by a member of the Senior Leadership Team.
Advice for Parents & Carers
As the parent of a child whom you suspect is being bullied-
- Report bullying incidents to the class teacher
- In cases of serious bullying, the incidents will be recorded by staff and the Head Teacher notified.
- In serious cases, parents should be informed and will be asked to come in to a meeting to discuss the problem
- If necessary and appropriate, police will be consulted
- The bullying behaviour or threats of bullying must be investigated and the bullying stopped quickly
- An attempt will be made to help the child who is bullying change their behaviour.
We kindly ask that parents do not:
- Attempt to sort the problem out yourself by speaking to the child whom you think may be the bully or by speaking to their parents.
- Encourage your child to be ‘a bully’ or ‘hit them’ back.
Both of these will only make the problem much harder to solve.
KIDSCAPE Parents Helpline (Mon-Fri, 10-4) 08451 205 204
Anti-Bullying Alliance – Anti-Bullying Alliance
Childline 0800 1111
Bullying UK – Bullying advice | Bullying UK
National Bullying Helpline – (Mon-Fri, 9-5) 03003230169 Information and advice about all forms of bullying (nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk)