The Governing Body of Aberbargoed Primary School recognises and accepts that our School, like every other in school in Wales, has a bullying problem. The Governing Body believes that no child should be at risk of on going and sustained scapegoating and bullying from another individual or group of individuals. The Governing Body aims to:-
- Reduce and eradicate, wherever possible, instances in which pupils are subjected to bullying in any form;
- Meet any legal obligations, which rest with the School.
Bullying can take many forms and may be short term or continued over many years. It may be physical, verbal or even just a look. The intimidation may be subtle or overt. Bullying can cause great unhappiness and, on occasions, has led to death. The Governing Body believes bullying can be defined as:
“Behaviour by one or more people which produces damaging or hurtful effects,
physically or emotionally, to any individual.”
We also believe:-
- All bullying is unacceptable, regardless of how it is delivered or what excuses are given to justify it;
- It is possible to counter bullying;
- A child who is being bullied is being denied his/her right to Equal Opportunities;
- Victims of bullying need a balance of protection and empowerment;
- Bulling is a learned behaviour, therefore it can be unlearned;
- Bullies may also need help and support to change their behaviour;
- Pupils, parents and teachers can all be both the perpetrators, and victims, of bullying.
All sections of the School community at Aberbargoed, including pupils, parents, teachers, support staff and governors have a role and responsibility in ensuring that instances of bullying are dealt with consistently and promptly. However it is recognised that bullying can be difficult to manage because of its nature and when it is intermittent and episodic. All sections of the School community have a duty to:-
- Report all incidents of bullying;
- Take all reports of bullying seriously, record them using the Chronology of Incidents Form, and respond appropriately;
- Act in a respectful and supportive manner to fellow pupils, reporting any suspected incidents which the victim may be afraid to report;
- Adhere to, and promote the aims and objectives of this policy;
- Refrain at all times from any behaviour, which would constitute bullying of fellow pupils.
The early involvement of parents can allow them to play a vital role:-
- In stressing to pupils the importance of sociable behaviour;
- Reporting any misgivings they have concerning either victims or perpetrators of bullying;
- Actively endorsing and supporting the Bullying Policy
Helping Those Who Have Been Bullied
- It is important, in the first instance, to believe the recipient=s version of the events and to assure them that they have acted correctly in coming to you;
- Actively listen to them;
- Ask them to tell you what happened by asking neutral questions:-
- Tell me what happened:
- Who was involved?
- When and where did this happen?
- What did you do or say at the time?
- How often has this happened or is this the first time?
- Was there anyone who saw or heard this?
- Have you spoken to anyone else about this?
- How have you been affected by this?
- It is not helpful to anyone if you conduct an interrogation or if you make comments or ask questions that make them feel in some way that they were responsible for the behaviour, or that their complaint is trivial or time wasting. Do not convey the impression that the recipient should feel guilty about being bullied and need to seek help.
Helping Bullies: Some Guidelines
The No Blame Approach
- Punitive treatment towards the bully may well reinforce the view that when they get powerful enough they will be able to use bullying tactics again;
- Most bullies are happy to talk about the event as long as they think you are being reasonable and empathic;
- When dealing with a bully diffuse the situation; do not exacerbate it by being angry, sarcastic or indignant;
- The goal is to try and get the person who is using bullying behaviour to feel concern for the recipient;
- Try to communicate with the perpetrator on equal terms, rather than a hierarchical position;
- Accept the bully’s account initially to keep them talking;
- When challenging a bully about their behaviour and working towards a resolution try the following approach. “ I would like to talk to you because I have heard that AN has been having a hard time, or I need your help. AN has been rather upset recently. What do you know about this? Or what have you seen?
- After you have made the first couple of statements remain silent and wait for the perpetrator to respond. This may seem to take forever, but wherever possible don’t rescue them by talking to ease the situation.
- While the bully tells you their side of the incident do not interrupt them but encourage them with nods, phrases etc;
- When you detect, in the bully, a note of concern for the recipient for the recipient, stop the conversation. Reinforce the notion that you both agree that something wrong with AN;
- Elicit constructive solutions – What shall we do about it?
- Accept the bully’s suggestions, if reasonable, then tell them that you will meet again in a few days to discuss how things have gone. Arrange a time for this meeting;
- Aim to bring the bully and recipient together for a constructive talk. This may take some time, is not an easy situation and may not always be advisable. The presence of friends may help the parties involved.
NB At all times make sure the Headteacher, other class teachers and parents are informed of what is going on and that Bully and Recipient are aware of this. This communication between all parties will undermine the power base
Advice and Guidance For School Based Staff
Watch out for early signs of distress in pupils including :-
- Deterioration of work;
- Feigning illness
- Desire to remain with adults;
- Erratic attendance
- Listen carefully and record all incidents
- Offer the victim support and put the school’s strategies into operation
- Make the unacceptable nature of the behaviour and the consequences of any repetition clear to the bully and if necessary to the parents;
- Ensure that all accessible areas of the school yard and patrolled at breaktime. Supervise children’s departure from the school premises at the end of the day.
Advice and Guidance For Parents
Watch for signs of distress in your children including :-
- Unwillingness to attend school
- Feigning illness
- Unexplained loss of personal belongings;
- Request for extra pocket money
- Damaged clothing or bruising
- Take an active interest in your child’s school life. Discuss friendships, how playtime is spent and the journey to and from school
- Inform the school immediately if you think your child is being bullied;
- Do not encourage your child to hit back. It will only make matters worse. Such behaviour could be contrary to your child’s nature.
Advice and Guidance For School Governors
- Ensure that all pupils, parents and adults in school know that bullying is completely unacceptable, and that if they help to stop it, they will be supported.