Bullying prevention policy
At Westminster City School, we believe all have a right to learn in a supportive, caring, and safe environment without the fear of being bullied. We promote good behaviour and it is made clear that bullying is a form of anti-social behaviour which is wrong and will not be tolerated.
Although we recognise that bullying may occur in our School at some time, we do not tolerate bullying, abuse or harassment of any kind. Please use our bullying reporting form to report bullying behaviour.
We believe that all learners are of equal worth and should be enabled to achieve their full potential. We recognise that, in order to achieve this, young people have the right to be educated in an environment where they feel valued, respected and safe.
Bullying deprives young people of this right and denies access to the full curriculum. We believe that young people who suffer regular ongoing bullying cannot achieve their full academic or social potential.
Bullying needs to be openly discussed and monitored. It will flourish when:
- It is explicitly or implicitly ignored
- Young people are under the impression that it is something which they have to deal with themselves
- Victims are seen as ‘bringing it upon themselves’
Our aim is to:
- Ensure young people understand what bullying is
- Ensure young people feel safe enough to report incidents of bullying concerning themselves or others
- Ensure we support and guide the perpetrators of bullying, so they understand the implications of their actions
- Ensure parents/carers feel safe and are encouraged to discuss their concerns with all staff
- Ensure staff feel supported in dealing promptly and effectively with incidents of bullying that are disclosed to them by young people and/or their parents/carers
- Ensure that all adults feel safe in discussing bullying from other adults within our School community, and action is taken to deal with this
What is bullying?
Bullying is one or more acts of aggression that distress an individual or group perceived by the aggressor as being less powerful, vulnerable or different in some way. Bullying can be described as being a deliberate act done to cause distress solely in order to give a feeling of power, status or other gratification to the bully. It is regular and ongoing. Bullying can occur through several types of anti-social behaviour. It can be:
- Physical - a child can be physically punched, kicked, hit, spat at etc.
- Verbal - this can take the form of name calling. It may be directed towards gender, ethnic origin, physical/social disability, personality, appearance and it includes homophobic remarks.
- Exclusion - a child can be bullied simply by being excluded from discussions or activities
- Damage to property or theft - a child may have their property damaged or stolen. Physical threats may be used by the bully in order that the young person hands over property to them
- Cyberbullying - this is when a young person sends harmful or cruel text or images to another using Internet, mobile phone or other digital communication devices.
Advice for young people
Each term, or when incidents occur, our staff will discuss bullying and reinforce the following strategies to our young people:
- Remember your silence is the bully's greatest weapon
- Tell yourself you do not deserve to be bullied and it is wrong
- Be proud of who you are - it is good to be individual
- Try not to show you are upset - it is hard but a bully thrives on someone's fear
- Stay with a group of friends/people - there is safety in numbers
- Be assertive - shout ‘No!’ and walk confidently away. Go straight to a teacher or member of staff
- Fighting back may make things worse
- Generally it is best to tell an adult you trust straight away. You will get immediate support
- Teachers will take you seriously and will deal with the bullies in a way which will end the bullying and not make things worse for you
- Tell your parents/carers or somebody that you trust
If you are being bullied:
- try to stay calm and look as confident as you can
- 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 what has happened straightaway
- find out about school procedures
After you have been bullied:
- tell a teacher or another adult in our 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 speaking until someone listens and does something to stop the bullying
- speak to one of our School’s peer mentors
- anonymously report the bullying through our website
- don't blame yourself for what has happened
When you are talking to an adult about bullying, be clear about:
- what happened to you
- how often it has happened
- who was involved
- who saw what was happening
- where it happened
- what you have done about it already
If you experience bullying by text messages or email:
- tell a parent/carer, friend, teacher or the Safer Schools Officer
- when necessary, ask your parents/carers to report incidents to the police
- be careful who you give your mobile phone number or email address to
- take a screen shot of the threatening message that was sent
If you find it difficult to talk to anyone at school or at home you can phone ChildLine on free phone: 0800 1111. The phone call is free and it is a confidential helpline.
Advice for onlookers
An onlooker is someone who stands by and does nothing, while someone else is being bullied. Sometimes, onlookers might join in with name-calling without being the person who started it.
What can young people do if they know that someone is being bullied?
- Take action! Watching and doing nothing looks as if you are on the side of the bully. It makes the victim feel more unhappy and on their own.
- If you don’t feel it’s safe to get involved, tell an adult immediately. Teachers will deal with the bully without getting you into trouble.
- Bullies may have their own problems and may be unhappy. If you are friends with a bully, encourage them to get help from a trusted adult, like a teacher or learning mentor.
Advice for parents/carers
If your child says he/she has been bullied, parents/carers are advised to:
- make a note of what your child says, particularly who was said to be involved, how often the bullying has occurred, where it happened and what has happened
- talk calmly with your child about the experience
- reassure your child that he/she has done the right thing to tell you
- explain to your child that should any further incidents occur he/she should report them to a teacher immediately
- make an appointment to see an appropriate member of staff and explain the problems your child is experiencing
When talking with staff about bullying:
- try to stay calm, bear in mind that the member of staff may have no idea that your child is being bullied or may have heard conflicting accounts of an incident
- be as specific as possible about what your child says has happened, giving dates, places and names of other children involved
- make a note of what action our School intends to take
- ask if there is anything you can do to help your child at school
- stay in touch with us; let us know if things improve, as well as if problems continue
If you feel you need more support:
- check our School's anti-bullying policy to see if agreed procedures are being followed
- make an appointment to discuss the matter with our Headteacher; keep a record of that meeting
You can then follow our School and LEA complaints procedure, if you feel the matter has not been dealt with correctly.
Staff strategies for dealing with bullying
The following is a list of actions, available to staff ,depending on the perceived seriousness of the situation. The emphasis is always on a caring, listening approach as bullies are often victims too – that may be why they bully.
If bullying is reported or suspected, our School will:
- Talk to the suspected victim and perpetrator and any witnesses
- Identify the bully and talk about what has happened, to discover why they became involved
- Make it clear that bullying is not tolerated