Anti – Bullying Policy
Watergate is a special school for primary-aged children with a wide range of complex learning needs and disabilities, including physical disabilities. Our children function at levels significantly below that of their mainstream peers.
If the accepted definition of bullying is:
- “Behaviour by an individual or group, usually repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally”
then children with severe learning difficulties, autism and profound and multiple learning difficulties do not have the capacity to understand the concept of bullying or to premeditate and carry out incidents of bullying or prejudiced behaviour. Incidences of bullying are very unlikely at Watergate School, but staff remain vigilant to any signs of behaviour which could be interpreted as bullying and respond appropriately, trying to identify the function of the behaviour and following the school’s behaviour policy.
At Watergate School we are committed to the principle of supporting children to achieve the very best of outcomes in all areas of their development. We place the wellbeing, safety and happiness of our children as its highest priority. We recognise that incidents of bullying must be addressed quickly and effectively to avoid it from having a devastating effect on an individual’s life which can last into adulthood. Watergate School will provide an environment that is safe and free from bullying. Bullying is not tolerated and staff at the school will act swiftly and firmly to deal with any situations which arise.
Watergate School has written this policy to ensure that best practice and procedures are carried out. This policy complies with legal requirements and is referenced to the Safeguarding and SEND policies.
At Watergate we are fully committed to:
- providing a safe, calm, nurturing environment for the whole community and a place where children are valued and celebrated for who they are
- teaching children to regulate their own behaviour
- teaching children how to recognise bullying and know that it is not acceptable
- making it clear that reports of bullying will be taken seriously; investigated, recorded and acted upon
- making sure that children know it is the right thing to tell someone about situations where they feel uncomfortable or unhappy and that they will be listened to
- listening to the concerns of parents and keeping them informed of actions taken in response to a complaint
- fully investigating any report of presumed bullying with detailed records kept of incidents, reports and complaints and taking appropriate action
- formally recording incidents of incidents interpreted as bullying during each academic year: the Headteacher will monitor and ensure that detailed records are kept
- providing effective staff training so that all staff understand and accept the principles and purpose of this policy and know from where to seek support
The DCSF definition of bullying, as defined in their September 2007 Guidance: ‘Safe to Learn: embedding anti-bullying in schools’, is:
“Behaviour by an individual or group usually repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally.”
Types of Bullying:
Emotional: This form of bullying occurs when a person is deliberately (or excludes another person by) overtly nasty or unkind. An example of emotional bullying is encouraging people not to play with somebody or making fun of somebody.
Physical: This form of bullying involves a deliberate physical act which results in injury or hurt feelings. Examples include punching, slapping or kicking.
Psychological: This is a very complex form of bullying which involves deliberate acts which cause fear or anxiety in another person. Social Media is sometimes used as a channel through which to bully another person – this includes the use of texts, photos or video.
Preventing Bullying Behaviour
- The Headteacher and the staff team will create a safe, secure and nurturing environment where children are enabled to learn and thrive in safety and where bullying is not tolerated in any form
- Close multi-agency working will ensure that information is shared and children kept safe because adults are working together around the child
- The curriculum will uphold the principles of this policy and ensure that issues around bullying are addressed before they materialise through (e.g.) the PSHE Curriculum through Circle time sessions, drama and role play in which pertinent issues are explored
- Children will be taught to respect and value differences in themselves and other people
- Staff will role-model, at all times, the positive behaviour and attitudes expected of children
- It will be made clear to parents, when a child starts at Watergate, that we have a principle of zero tolerance with regard to bullying. Parents will be confident that the school will take complaints seriously and resolve issues quickly in order to protect the child
- Staff will receive ongoing training to make sure they understand the principles of the policy and are committed to its implementation
- Concerns will be addressed as soon as they arise
Procedures for Dealing with Bullying Behaviour
The Lewisham Safeguarding Board states in their safeguarding Multi-Agency Anti-Bully resource that the management of bullying should be:
Efficient, Effective and Empathic
Lewisham Council’s vision is that:
‘Together with families, we will improve the lives and life chances of the children and young people in Lewisham’.
This is underpinned by 3 principles:
- We will put children and young people first every time.
- We will have the highest aspirations and ambitions for all our children and young people.
- We will make a positive difference to the lives of children and young people.
This vision and underpinning principles are embedded in 4 key areas for impact. Watergate fully subscribes to this strategic framework for intervention:
- Making a difference through early intervention and targeted support. Ensuring that approaches are fully embedded and having direct impact for children
- Involving children, young people and their families in decision-making, service development and the evaluation of those services which affect their lives
- Closing gaps and securing access to social mobility, promoting the highest aspirations and ambition for all children and young people
- Ensuring that we have the best people working for our children and young people
LEWISHAM SAFEGUARDING https://www.safeguardinglewisham.org.uk/lscb/lscb/safeguarding-in-education/policies
At Watergate School, when dealing with suspected incidents of bullying, staff will be guided by the following principles:
- Take all reports of bullying seriously. Never ignore suspected bullying.
- Don’t make premature assumptions. Listen to both sides of the story. Understand the needs of our children and the possible functions of their behaviour.
- Listen carefully to everyone – more than one child with the same version does not mean that the truth is being told.
- Use a logical approach that moves pupils forward and focuses on making things right.
- Once resolved, follow up on the issue – check that bullying has not reoccurred.
- Record information in detail outlining any incidents and conversations.
If incidents are identified as ‘bullying’ the following principles and procedures will be followed at Watergate School:
- Incidents reported as bullying at the school will be investigated thoroughly and sensitively following the school policy. Any reported incidents will be reported to the Headteacher
- Children will be encouraged and enabled to report any incident where they feel they have been targeted by another that they experience or witness. Staff will demonstrate to children that they are being listened to and taken seriously. Detailed notes will be made clearly stating the allegation the child has made.
- Next steps will be explained to the child in a way in which they can understand.
- With reference to safeguarding procedures, a form will be completed outlining the incident and any action to be taken – this will be copied to the parent and stored in the pupils’ school file. The individual’s Pupil Profile may also be updated as required e.g. to enable staff to support the child appropriately ensuring their wellbeing.
- Staff members will inform the Headteacher of any bullying incidents they witness or suspect involving children or adults at the school.
- A child who has experienced a negative incident will be reassured and supported by members of staff. Children will be closely supervised and their emotional well-being checked regularly.
- In the majority of cases behaviour perceived as bullying will be approached with reference to strategies set out in the Behaviour Management policy. This will involve working alongside and talking with the perpetrator (where possible/appropriate) to develop an understanding of the impact of their behaviour and helping them make changes. This could be through the PHSEE curriculum as referenced above
- The Headteacher will talk to the parents/carers/guardians of both the perpetrator and victim to discuss the issues and identify solutions to the problem.
- If a staff member has been the perpetrator or victim of school bullying this will be dealt with by the Headteacher in accordance with the staff disciplinary procedures.
- Where behaviour perceived as bullying persists and has not been resolved by using the strategies outlined in the Behaviour Management Policy, other interventions will be considered to develop the understanding and self-management skills of the child and who is to prevent harm to another child or adult
- If a parent or carer is unhappy with any aspect of the way the school handles issues they perceive as bullying they may refer to the School’s Complaints policy.
Disability Equality Impact Assessment
This policy has been written with reference to and in consideration of the school’s Disability Equality Scheme. Assessment will include consideration of issues identified by the involvement of disabled children, staff and parents and any information the school holds on disabled children, staff and parents.
Any questions or concerns regarding this policy should be made to the Head Teacher
This policy will be reviewed every three years or as required by guidance/ legislation.
|This version of the policy was agreed by the Headteacher on:
(and supersedes all previous policies relating to this area)
|First Implemented:||February 2018|
|Interim Review and update: Carolyn Vagg
Amended by Fiona Veitch
|Review date:||Feb 2021|
|Original Author: Michele Page –Assistant Headteacher|