St Mary's aims to ensure that pupils learn in a supportive, caring and safe environment without fear of being bullied. Bullying is anti-social behaviour and affects everyone; it is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Only when all issues of bullying are addressed will pupils be able to fully benefit from the opportunities available at school.
Our Anti-Bullying Policy can be read on our policies page by clicking here.
Our anti-bullying approaches have been developed alongside examples of good practice from the Diocese of Bristol, the Department for Education, KIDSCAPE and the Anti-Bullying Alliance. It should be read alongside our 'Shining Brightly Behaviour Policy.'
Note: Following our whole school staff Safeguarding training 2021/22, we are particularly mindful of gender-based peer-on-peer incidents, as explained in on Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021 (see our policies page for a copy of this crucial document). We also have set an 'Equalities' target around this area of our duty to 'eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation' - see our Equalities webpage here and the Equality Policy on our policies page.
We work closely with Stay Safe Workshops, a member of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, who have conducted workshops and training in the school.
Bullying is deliberately hurtful behaviour, repeated over a period of time,
where it is difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves.
Bullying can be:
- Emotional: being unfriendly, excluding, tormenting (e.g. hiding books, threatening gestures).
- Physical: pushing, kicking, hitting, punching or any use of violence.
- Racist: racial taunts, graffiti, gestures.
- Sexual: unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments.
- Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic: because of, or focussing on the issue of sexuality.
- Verbal: name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, teasing.
- Cyber: all areas of internet, such as email and internet chat room misuse. Mobile threats by text messaging and calls. Misuse of associated technology, i.e. camera and video facilities.
The Anti-Bullying Alliance website provides a wealth of advice and support. Their Anti-Bullying Information interactive tool can be accessed here:
Why is it important to respond to bullying?
- Bullying hurts and makes people unhappy.
- No one deserves to be a victim of bullying. Everybody has the right to be treated with respect.
- Pupils who are being bullied are unlikely to concentrate fully on their school work.
- Some pupils avoid being bullied by not going to school.
- Pupils who observe unchallenged bullying behaviour are likely to copy this anti-social behaviour.
- Pupils who are bullying need to learn different ways of behaving.
- Schools have a responsibility to respond promptly and effectively to issues of bullying.
A shared understanding.
- All governors, teaching and non-teaching staff, pupils and parents should have an understanding of what bullying is.
- All governors and teaching and non-teaching staff should know what the school policy is on bullying, and follow it when bullying is reported.
- All pupils and parents should know what the school policy is on bullying, and what they should do if bullying arises.
- As a school we take bullying seriously. Pupils and parents should be assured that they will be supported when bullying is reported.
- Bullying will not be tolerated.
Information for Children - 'Speak Out and Tell Someone!'
If you are being bullied:
- Be firm and clear – look them in the eye and tell them to stop.
- Get away from the situation as quickly as possible.
- Tell an adult straight away what has happened.
After you have been bullied:
- Speak out and tell someone!
- Tell a teacher or another adult in your school.
- Tell your family.
- If you are scared to tell a teacher or an adult on your own, ask a friend to go with you.
- Keep on speaking up until someone listens.
- Don’t blame yourself for what has happened.
When you are talking about bullying with an adult, be clear about:
- What has happened to you?
- How often it has happened?
- Who was involved?
- Who saw what was happening?
- Where it happened?
- What have you done about it already?
- In cases of bullying, the incidents will be recorded by staff.
- In serious cases, parents should be informed and will be asked to come in to a meeting to discuss the problem.
- The bullying behaviour or threats of bullying must be investigated and the bullying stopped quickly.
- An attempt will be made to help the bully (bullies) change their behaviour.
- The bully (bullies) may be asked to genuinely apologise. Other consequences may take place in line with our behaviour policy.
- The behaviour policy will be followed.
- After the incident/incidents have been investigated and dealt with, each case will be monitored to ensure repeated bullying does not take place. If bullying continues then the behaviour policy will be followed.
We will use a variety of methods for helping children to prevent bullying. As and when appropriate, these may include:
- Writing a set of school rules.
- Signing a behaviour contract.
- Writing stories or poems or drawing pictures about bullying.
- The “no blame approach” being followed (see below).
- Reading stories about bullying or having them read to a class or assembly.
- Making up role-plays.
- Having discussions about bullying and why it matters.
Through the curriculum, the school will explore issues such as:
- What is bullying and what causes people to bully each other?
- How does it feel to be bullied or to bully?
- What are the effects of bullying behaviour on bullied pupils; on pupils who bully others; on bystanders?
- What would our school (our society) be like if bullying behaviour was acceptable?
- What can we do to stop bullying?
- What moral dilemmas do we face when we are confronted with bullying behaviour?
Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) 0300 0115 142 (Monday-Wednesday, 10am-1pm)
Children’s Legal Centre 020 7520 0300
KIDSCAPE Parents Helpline 020 7823 5430 (Monday-Tuesday, 10am-5pm)
Parentline Plus 0808 800 2222
Youth Access 020 8772 9900
Bullying Online www.bullying.co.uk
The ‘No Blame Approach’ to bullying
This is a nationally agreed strategy that has had dramatic effects in the prevention of bullying in schools. It is a method that we will use at school if we deem it appropriate. It involves working with a victim’s peer group to protect them and to reform the bullying behaviour of the bully. It involves the following steps:
- Listen to the victim and ask them how they would like the situation to be improved. Establish who is bullying and what the problems are.
- Choose between 5 and 8 strong and positive role models. Include amongst this group the child doing the bullying. Do not include the victim.
- Explain that (name of pupil) is very unhappy at the moment and that you need this group’s help to make them feel very special and wanted.
- Ask each child (including the bully) to say how they are going to take responsibility during the next few days to make a difference to the child. Examples might be, “I am going to make sure I walk into school each day with them”, “I am going to sit by them at lunch” and so on.
- Say that you will call this support group together in a few days’ time to see how their responsibilities are going and that they must inform you straight away if anyone or anything is making this person unhappy.
- Make sure you ask the group throughout the week how things are going as well as the victim. You should see great improvements.
It is very well proven that using the power of the peer group in this way has a dramatic improvement on the victim of bullying and on the bully themselves. It uses positive behaviour to make big changes. The person doing the bullying knows that there are a number of very strong role models looking out for the victim and it also gives the bully the opportunity to be a positive part of the solution.
To support our shining brightly behaviour policy and the anti-bullying policy, we aim to use this type of questioning (below) to help resolve issues when they occur. The colour changes represent how this restorative questioning can move a child/ren through the stages of emotional reaction (red) through to restorative calm (green). Involving other children, including perpetrators, targets, and impartial others (e.g. by-standers) can enable those involved in bullying an opportunity to understand how their target felt.
Information for parents/carers and families
All schools are likely to have some problem with bullying at one time or another. It is important that your child’s school takes steps to reduce and aims to prevent bullying, as many schools have already successfully done.
Bullying behaviour includes:
- Name calling and teasing.
- Physical violence.
- Isolating individuals from group activities.
Increasingly bullying takes place online (cyber-bullying). Advice for parents can be found in this government booklet. The school's Online Safety Policy and Online Safety webpage also deals with this area.
Parents/carers and families have an important part to play in helping schools deal with bullying.
Discourage your child from using bullying behaviour at home or elsewhere. Show them how to resolve the difficult situations without using violence or aggression.
Watch out for signs that your child is being bullied, or is bullying others. Parents/carers and families are often the first to detect that a problem exists. Don’t dismiss it. Contact the school immediately if you are worried.
If you think your child has been bullied:
- Calmly talk with your child about his/her experience.
- Make a note of what your child says – particularly who was said to have been involved; how often the bullying has occurred; where it happened and what has happened.
- Reassure your child that he/she has done the right thing to tell you about the bullying.
- Explain to your child that should any further incidents occur he/she should report them to the teacher immediately.
- Make an appointment to see your child’s class teacher.
- Explain to the teacher the problem your child is experiencing.
Talking with teachers about bullying:
- Try and stay calm – bear in mind that the teacher may have no idea that your child is being bullied or may have heard conflicting accounts about an incident.
- Be as specific as possible about what your child says has happened – give dates, places and names of other children involved.
- Make a note of what action the school intends to take.
- Ask if there is anything you can do to help your child or the school.
- Stay in touch with the school; let them know if things improve as well as if problems continue.
Families who feel that their concerns are not being addressed appropriately by the school might like to consider the following steps:
- Make an appointment to discuss the matter with the Headteacher.
- If this does not help, write to the Chair of Governors explaining your concerns and what you would like to see happening.
- In the last resort, follow the Complaints Procedure.
If your child is bullying other children
Many children may be involved in bullying other pupils at some time or another. Often parents are not aware that their child is involved in bullying.
Children sometimes bully others because:
- They don’t know it is wrong.
- They are copying older brothers or sisters or other people in the family whom they admire.
- They haven’t learnt other, better ways of mixing with their school friends.
- Their friends encourage them to bully.
- They are going through a difficult time and are acting out aggressive feelings.
To stop your child from bullying others
- Talk with your child; explain that what he/she is doing is unacceptable and makes other children unhappy.
- Discourage other members of your family from bullying behaviour or from using aggression or force to get what they want.
- Show your child how he/she can join in with other children without bullying.
- Make an appointment to see your child’s class teacher; explain to the teacher the problems your child is experiencing; discuss with the teacher how you and the school can stop him/her bullying others.
- Regularly check with your child how things are going at school.
- Give your child lots of praise and encouragement when he/she is co-operative or kind to other people.