Anti-Bullying Policy

September 4, 2017

1. Policy statement

1.1          Scope:  This policy applies to all students and staff at the College irrespective of their age and whether or not a student is in the care of the College when/if bullying behaviour occurs.  While this policy focuses mainly on the bullying of students by other students, it is recognised that other forms of bullying may occur and this is addressed in Section 5.2.3.

1.2          Publication: This policy is provided to all parents and students in the Student Handbook, to all staff in the Staff Manual and is also available on request in the College office.  In addition, the policy is published on the College website.

1.3          Policy aims:  Through the operation of this policy we aim:

·              to maintain and drive a positive and supportive culture among all students and staff throughout the College; and

·              to deter bullying behaviour, detect it when it occurs, and deal with it by counselling and/or disciplinary sanctions and, if necessary, by expulsion.

1.4          Bullying behaviour is always unacceptable and will not be tolerated at the College because:

·              it is harmful to the person who is bullied, and to those who engage in bullying behaviour, and those who support them, and can in some cases lead to lasting psychological damage and even suicide;

·              it interferes with a student’s right to enjoy his/her learning and leisure time free from intimidation; and

·              it is contrary to all our aims and values, our internal culture and the reputation of the College.

 

2.

Bullying behaviour

2.1          Meaning:  Bullying is behaviour which hurts or causes distress by taking unfair advantage of another person in some way, making him or her feel uncomfortable or threatened.  Bullying may be:

·              physical – hitting, kicking pushing people around, spitting; or taking, damaging or hiding possessions;

·              verbal – name-calling, taunting, teasing, insulting or demanding money;

·              exclusionary behaviour – intimidating, isolating or excluding a person from a group;

·              general unkindness – spreading rumours or writing unkind notes, phone texts or e-mails; or

·              cyberbullying – using the internet, mobile ‘phones, social networking sites (such as Facebook and Bebo) etc to deliberately upset someone else (see section 2.2 below).

Bullying may also be:

·              sexual – talking to or touching someone in a sexually inappropriate way;

·              sexist – related to a person’s gender;

·              racist, or regarding someone’s religion or culture;

·              related to a person’s sexual orientation (homophobic);

·              related to a person’s home circumstances; or

·              related to a person’s disability, health or appearance.

2.2          Cyberbullying:  The College has a separate policy which deals with “cyberbullying” (see “Acceptable Use Policy”).  Cyberbullying is the use of information and communications technology (ICT), particularly mobile phones and the internet, deliberately to upset someone else. (See Cyberbullying: safe to learn: embedding anti-bullying work in schools (DCSF 00658-2007, guidance issued by the Department for Children, Schools and Families.)

2.3          Intention:  Not all bullying is deliberate or intended to hurt.  Some individuals may see their hurtful conduct as “teasing” or “a game” or “for the good of” the other person.  These forms of bullying are equally unacceptable but may not be malicious and can often be corrected quickly with advice and without disciplinary sanctions.  A bully who does not respond appropriately to advice or sanctions would ultimately have to leave the College.

2.4          Responsibility:  It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure, whatever the circumstances, that no-one becomes a victim of bullying.  A person may be vulnerable to bullying because of his/her age, physical appearance, nationality, colour, gender, sexual orientation, religion, culture or disability, or because s/he is new in the College, appears to be uncertain or has no friends.  S/he may also become a target because of an irrational decision by a bully.

2.5          Legal aspects:  A person who makes a physical or sexual assault on another, or who steals or causes damage to the property of another, commits a criminal offence and also a civil wrong known as a “tort” for which there can be legal consequences outside the College.  Bullying behaviour may also be regarded as threatening behaviour or harassment which can be either a criminal offence or a civil wrong.

3. Anti-bullying culture

3.1          Ethos:  Our expectation of all members of the College community is that:

·              everyone will uphold the rules which are printed in the Student Handbook and available on the College’s website;

·              a student or a member of staff who witnesses or hears of an incident of bullying will report it;

·              a complaint of bullying will always be taken seriously; and

·              no one will tolerate unkind actions or remarks or stand by when someone else is being bullied.

3.2          Equal opportunities:  In College and in every year group:

·              discriminatory words and behaviour are treated as unacceptable;

·              positive attitudes are fostered towards people who are disabled and towards ethnic, cultural and linguistic groups within and outside the College; and

·              positive attitudes are fostered towards both sexes through the curriculum and tutorials.

3.3          Staff:  Through their training and experience, members of staff are expected to promote an anti-bullying culture by:

·              celebrating achievement;

·              anticipating problems and providing support;

·              disciplining sensibly and fairly;

·              making opportunities to listen to students; and

·              acting as advocates of students.

3.4          Students:  Through our pastoral care systems, students are informed and taught that bullying will not be tolerated in the College.  They are encouraged:

·              to celebrate the effort and achievements of others;

·              to hold and promote positive attitudes;

·              to feel able to share problems with staff;

·              to turn to someone they trust, if they have a problem;

·              not to feel guilty about airing complaints.


4. Anti-bullying systems

4.1          Approach:  Our systems for detecting and dealing with bullying are designed to operate:

·              vertically, through all year groups; and

·              horizontally, within year groups and in the classroom and other activities.

Our anti-bullying systems are implemented and driven in the way described below.

4.2          Vigilance:  Members of staff are vigilant at all times but particularly:

·              before lessons;

·              at break times;

·              during lessons; and

·              in the student common areas.

4.3          Meetings:  Bullying is regularly discussed in meetings between:

·              members of the Senior Management Team;

·              Heads of Year and year groups;

·              tutors and students in their tutor group; and

·              College staff and year group staff .

The result of these meetings is to feed back information about friendship patterns, particular incidents, any student who seems to be isolated, any growing “power base” and any known conflict between a member of staff and a student, or between students.

4.4          Education:  Measures are taken throughout each year to educate students about bullying and this policy.  These measures include:

4.4.1     PSHE: The PSHE curriculum includes a five lesson course on bullying which covers:

·              Who is the “bully”?  Who is the “victim”?

·              Why are some people “bullies” and others “victims”?

·              What should a student do if s/he is bullied?

·              What constitutes bullying?  Where are the boundaries?

·              What should be done if bullying is confirmed?

Videos are shown to stimulate discussion.

4.4.2     Anti-Bullying posters placed around the College.

4.5          Staff training:  Appropriate training in all aspects of care is arranged to ensure that Heads of Year and other staff have the necessary professional skills, which include awareness of the risk and indications of child abuse and bullying, and how to deal with cases.  Students have access to a fully trained counsellor, if required.

Staff are trained to ensure that:

·              there is an adequate presence of staff;

·              staff are actively involved with students in all areas of the year group

·              there is no crowding in the student common areas; and

·              good behaviour and discipline is maintained.

4.6          Students’ responsibilities:  We emphasise with senior students the role which is expected of them in setting a good example and being helpful to younger students and each other.

4.7          Record keeping and monitoring:  Heads of Year and staff maintain records of the welfare and development of individual students.  In addition, every complaint or report of bullying must be entered in the Student Database.  Heads of Year keep the Student Database up-to-date.  The Director of Studies monitors all Student Databases and Tutor Files at the end of each term in order to enable patterns to be identified, both in relation to individual students and across the College as a whole.  There will be a full review of the policy every two years, see paragraph 6 below.

4.8          Why  incidents might not be reported

4.8.1     Victim:  There are many reasons why a student who has suffered bullying may be reluctant to report it.  S/he may become demoralised and may say, for example:

·              it is telling tales.  They won’t believe me because the person I am complaining about is popular and I am not, and I will become even more unpopular;

·              the things they are saying and doing are too embarrassing to discuss with an adult;

·              it is all my fault anyway for being overweight/too studious etc;

·              there are too many of them; there is nothing the staff can do;

·              it will get back to my parents and they will think less of me;

·              I will just try and toughen up and grow a thicker skin; or

·              I will lie low and not audition for a part in the College play etc.

4.8.2     Witnesses:  There are also reasons why a student who has witnessed or learned of bullying behaviour may not want to make a report.  S/he may say:

·              it is “grassing” and I will become unpopular;

·              it is not my concern anyway; or

·              I don’t like the victim and I would find it embarrassing to be associated with him/her.

4.9          Culture:  Any of these responses would be contrary to our culture at the College. When we drive and implement this policy we encourage every student to understand that:

·              every complaint of bullying will be taken seriously;

·              members of staff will deal with a complaint correctly and effectively in accordance with their experience and the training they have received;

·              there is a solution to nearly every problem of bullying;

·              a student who complains will receive support and advice and in many cases the problem can be dealt with on a no-names basis; and

·              the primary aim will be for the bullying to cease, not the punishment of the bully unless this is necessary.

5. Procedures

5.1          Guidelines:  The following procedures are a guideline except where expressed in the terms “should’ or “must”.  The best guide is the experience and training of the staff.

5.2          Reporting  bullying complaints

5.2.1     Students: A student who is being bullied, or who is worried about another student being bullied, should complain without delay and can do so in several ways.  S/he can:

·              tell his/her parents, his/her Head of Year or a Personal Tutor, or member of the College administration staff;

·              place a note in the “bully box”;

·              contact the College Counsellor for advice;

·              contact ChildLine (0800 1111); or

·              contact the designated Child Protection Officer of the Social Services Department (Glen Peache, telephone: 0207 361 3317) for advice.

5.2.2      Parents: Parents who are concerned that their child is being bullied should inform their child’s personal tutor or Head of Year without delay.

5.2.3      Staff: This policy focuses mainly on the bullying of students by students although it is recognised that a staff member could be a victim and on occasion may be perceived to be guilty of bullying.  Staff members who are concerned about being bullied or harassed should refer to the College’s Dignity at work policy which is set out in the Staff Manual. Students and parents who feel that a member of staff is bullying should report this in accordance with the procedures set out above in section 5.2.  Complaints against teachers will be dealt with in accordance with staff disciplinary procedures.

5.3          Initial complaint:  A person in authority who learns of alleged bullying behaviour should:

·              firstly, respond quickly and sensitively by offering advice, support and reassurance to the alleged victim, then

·              report the allegation to the victim’s and the bully’s Head of Year, Personal Tutor or the Director of Studies as soon as possible.

The Head of Year/Personal Tutor/Director of Studies must:

·              record the complaint in the Student Database; and

·              contact the other Heads of Year/Director of Studies/Assistant Director of Studies (if applicable) to agree on a strategy, and on who will take the lead

5.4          Assessment:  The victim’s Head of Year will normally see the victim and (unless the case is very serious) any witnesses without delay and form an initial view of the allegation.  The assessment will consider:

·              the nature of the incident/s – physical?  verbal?  exclusionary? etc

·              is it a “one-off” incident involving an individual or a group?

·              is it part of a pattern of behaviour by an individual or a group?

·              has physical injury been caused?  Who should be informed – Director of Studies?  Parents?  The College’s Designated Person for Child Protection?  Social Services?  The Police?

·              can the alleged bully be seen on a no-names basis?

·              what is the likely outcome if the complaint proves to be correct?

At this stage, the possible outcomes for an incident which is not too serious include:

·              there has been a misunderstanding which can be explained sympathetically to the alleged victim with advice to the alleged bully; or

·              the complaint is justified in whole or in part, and further action will be needed (see Range of Action, below).

5.5          Serious incident:  If a Head of Year/Director of Studies/Personal Tutor believes that serious bullying behaviour:

·              has occurred involving a student; or

·              has recurred after warnings have been given to the “bully”,

s/he must inform the Principal and the College’s Designated Person for Child Protection (currently Mr Lee Kirby)  The Designated Person will then:

–       interview the alleged victim, bully and any witnesses separately, in order to establish the facts of the case.  S/he may decide to ask the Head of Year to be present; and

–       send a summary of his/her findings to the Principal, relevant Heads of Year, the Director of Studies.

The Principal and/or the relevant Heads of Year will interview the alleged victim and bully separately:

–       to confirm the facts of the case, if considered necessary; and

–       to decide on the action to be taken in accordance with the Range of Action set out below

The Principal will notify the parents of the victim and bully giving them details of the case and the action being taken.

5.6          Range of action:  When a complaint is upheld the range of responses will include one or more of the following:

·              advice and support for the victim and, where appropriate, establishing a course of action to help the victim;

·              advice and support to the bully in trying to change his/her behaviour.  This may include clear instructions and a warning or final warning;

·              a supervised meeting between the bully and the victim to discuss their differences and the ways in which they may be able to avoid future conflict;

·              a disciplinary sanction against the bully, in accordance with the College’s Behaviour and Discipline Policy such as detention or withdrawal of privileges.  In a very serious case or a case of persistent bullying, a student may, after a fair hearing, be required to leave the College permanently in accordance with the College’s Exclusions Policy;

·              action to break up a “power base”;

·              moving either the bully or victim to another class (if possible and subject to availability) after consultation with the student, his/her parents and the relevant staff;

·              involving Social Services or the Police;

·              notifying the parents of one or both students about the case and the action which has been taken;

·              such other action as may appear to the Principal to be appropriate;

·              noting the outcome in the Student Database.

5.7          Monitoring:  The position should be monitored for as long as necessary thereafter. Action may include:

·              sharing information with some or all colleagues and with students so that they may be alert to the need to monitor certain students closely;

·              ongoing counselling and support;

·              vigilance;

·              mentioning the incident at meetings of staff;

·              reviewing vulnerable individuals and areas of the College;

·              liaison between Heads of Year/Personal Tutors, the outcome being recorded in the Student Databases.

5.8          Formal complaint: If the victim or his/her parents are not satisfied with the action taken, they should be advised to make a formal complaint, according to the complaints procedure outlined on the College’s website.

6. Review

6.1          This Policy will be reviewed every two years by the Director of Studies to assess its effectiveness, and will be updated as necessary.  In undertaking the review the Director of Studies will take into account the results of the monitoring as set out at section 4.7 above, as well as any changes in legislation and/or statutory guidance and other relevant information gathered (such as through a bullying survey).

 

Authorised by The Principal
Date September 2017
Effective date of the policy September 2017
Circulation Teaching staff / all staff / parents / Students on request
Review date September 2018