Anti Bullying Policy
Anti Bullying Policy
Date Written: May 2007
Last reviewed: April 2015
The Lifehouse is a school for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties, moderate learning difficulties and in some cases, students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Associated Disorders. It is recognised that the students at the school will have significant impairments, including those typical of students with Autism. This may influence the likelihood of events of bullying occurring and the procedures implemented to deal with bullying behaviour. The school, however, still needs to prepare for the event of bullying. Every student at the school should be able to learn in an environment free from bullying and where they feel safe and supported. This document has been created to ensure this happens.
In establishing guidance that applies local and national expectations to our practice we aim to offer pupils a structured, appropriate, accessible and varied experience when at school. This policy provides an overall framework for managing all types of bullying behaviour at our school.
The Lifehouse, like society, has standards and expectations of behaviour that include mutual respect for all members of the community. It is understood that everyone must feel valued and safe in their environment if they are to flourish. Individuality is celebrated and members are encouraged to accept others in a non-judgemental way. Bullying comes in many guises and will not be tolerated on any level.
- Best practice occurs where positive leadership promotes a strong ethos of respect for all members of the school community, including respect for difference and diversity.
- Staff at The Lifehouse are trained and deployed to ensure best practice occurs:
- • staff ensure that opportunities for bullying and other types of oppressive behaviours are kept to a minimum;
- • all teaching and non teaching staff share the responsibility of ensuring that The Lifehouse is a safe place;
- • school staff themselves do not use bullying strategies, such as sarcasm or derogatory names or nicknames, in dealing with pupils;
- • school staff regularly consult pupils about bullying and other issues; and
- • pupils feel confident that their views and concerns are listened to by adults and will be dealt with effectively.
This policy will ensure that:
- all staff, parents and students, when possible, should have and understanding of what bullying is.
- all staff should know what the school policy is on bullying, and follow it when bullying is reported.
- all parents and students, when possible, should know what the school policy is on bullying, and what they should do if the event arises.
- as a school we take bullying seriously. Students and parents should be assured that they will be supported when bullying is reported.
- bullying will not be tolerated.
Definition of bullying
Bullying is defined as deliberately hurtful behaviour, repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves.
Bullying can take place between students, between students and staff, or between staff; by individuals or groups; face-to-face, indirectly – through other people, by communication methods such as the written word or pictures or using a range of cyber bullying methods.
The three main types of bullying are:
- Physical – such as hitting, kicking and taking belongings
- Verbal – such as name calling, insulting and making offensive remarks
- Indirect – including spreading nasty stories, excluding people from social
groups, being made the subject of malicious rumours, sending
malicious e mails or text messages.
It is important to recognise that bullying is not an isolated incident, but a series of repeated attacks. Name calling is typically the most direct form of bullying, often due to a student’s inabilities or disabilities, but also due to a student’s ethnic origin, nationality, colour or sexual orientation.
The Lifehouse also recognises that bullies often emerge through their own lack of confidence or insecurtities and this will be addressed with those found to be perpetrators.
The Lifehouse operates a community-teaching ethos and as such, each member is responsible for ensuring that incidents of bullying behaviour are reported and dealt with. Staff will monitor discussion time and moderate ideas if they are felt to be inappropriate. Explanation will be given if it is felt the view comes from a point of ignorance rather than maliciousness. All free time is highly supervised, with staff interacting with pupils throughout play times to help pupils manage boundaries and social rules.
Awareness of bullying
Staff should constantly be vigilant for:
- Physical intimidation
- Verbal animosity
- Prejudicial comments
- Judgemental comments
- Abusive language
- Ostracising from the group
- Intimidating body language
Any form of behaviour that causes distress for another member of the community is an issue that needs to be dealt with. Some forms of intimidation can be quite subtle and be aimed a particular area of weakness, personality trait or a belief which others may be unaware of.
- Open and frank discussion about any incidence that has taken place
- Clear definition of the sanctions that took place as a result of this
- Constant affirmation that everyone is valued and encouraged, irrespective of ethnicity, nationality, colour or sexual orientation
- Each person should be encouraged to be their own voice
- Discussion around areas where individuals have experienced bullying in other areas of their life
- ‘Student Awareness’ workshops on bullying
- Specific work in the PSHE curricullum
The Lifehouse staff are aware that because it is a small community, the choice of adults to disclose to is limited. Therefore relationships between pupils, and staff and pupils will be constantly monitored at staff meetings. Each pupil has a staff ‘champion’ with whom a close working relationship is established.
If we are aware of bullying that is taking to place to a pupil outside of the Lifehouse community we will endeavour to get support for the pupil from an appropriate person. We will clearly define if an instance is, in fact, abuse. If so, this is covered in our child protection policy.
Students at The Lifehouse often lack social and communication skills which can sometimes lead to “challenging behaviour”. The school aims to ensure that all pupils learn in a supportive, caring and safe environment, without fear of being bullied. The overall position of the school is that bullying will not be tolerated.
The following steps may be taken when dealing with incidents:
- If bullying is suspected or reported, the incident will be dealt with immediately by the member of staff who has been approached.
- The bullying will be discussed with the children involved using amongst other opportunities, their mentoring sessions
- Children will be listened to sympathetically and impartially. The member of staff will not make any premature judgments.
- Those concerned will be encouraged to resolve the situation amicably.
- All parties will be led to consider other people’s perceptions and feelings and explore the factors which contributed to the situation.
- All parties will consider alternative strategies, and how they might change their behaviour.
- A clear account of the incident will be recorded in learning diaries and picked up as a personal target to improve if appropriate.
- A member of Senior Management will interview all concerned and will record the incident when it is deemed serious.
- Parents will be kept informed.
- Appropriate sanctions will be implemented and a way forward outlined and in consultation with all parties concerned.
Pupils who have been bullied will be supported by:
- reassuring the pupil
- offering continuous support and personal mentoring
- restoring self-esteem and confidence through careful curriculum and timetable planning
Pupils who have bullied will be helped by:
- establishing the function of the behaviour in order to put in place appropriate consequences
- Identifying positive personal targets in the IEP
- Using mentoring and potentially therapeutic work to teach new ways to express themselves
- informing parents or guardians to ensure the consistency between home and school to promote generalisation of approach
Possible consequences could include:
- time-out from teaching in the main hall with others
- missing a group session
- completing chores around school
- missing out on positive whole school time
- extreme continuing and persistent behaviours may result in short exclusions
The school ensures that with the use of any of the above techniques there is always the opportunity to teach alternative more appropriate behaviours and skills to the student. Within the curriculum the school will raise the awareness of the nature of bullying as appropriate, in an attempt to eradicate such behaviour.
All pupils and staff at The Lifehouse work in a close, nurture group environment. Instances of bullying are dealt with promptly and efficiently and the ethos of tolerance and acceptance is very much part of day to day expectation.