We Say NO to Bullying!
Bullying is wrong and in recognition of this, we have robust measures in place, including an anti-bullying policy and strategy, to encourage good behaviour across the school and to prevent bullying in all its forms. Our aim is to offer a safe, secure and inclusive learning environment where everyone is ready to learn, respectful of each other and feels safe.
At Burdett-Coutts & Townshend Foundation CE Primary School, we encourage our learners to be ambitious for themselves and for others, as we challenge and support them in questioning the world and in finding solutions. Our Christian values of friendship, compassion and service underpin our ethos:
“I can do all things through Him who gives me strength”.
Our Behaviour Policy further echoes our core values with a heavy emphasis on respectful behaviour, a partnership approach to managing poor conduct and dynamic interventions that support staff and learners.
What is bullying?
At Burdett-Coutts, we have defined bullying as a combination of any of the three elements below:
- Bullying goes on for a while, or happens regularly.
- Bullying is deliberate. The perpetrator wants to hurt, humiliate or harm the victim.
- Bullying involves someone (or several people) who are stronger in some way than the person being bullied. The person doing the bullying has more power; perhaps older, stronger, has some ‘hold’ over the victim (e.g a secret) or is possibly in a group.
Bullying is NOT:
- A one-off fight or argument.
- A friend sometimes being nasty.
- An argument with a friend.
Why does bullying happen?
Children bully for various reasons. It could be they want to be ‘in’ with a cool gang or that it feels like fun but they don’t realise how much it hurts. It could be that they dislike or are jealous of someone or that it makes them feel powerful or respected. Sometimes they feel it gets them what they want (sweets or money) or they are bullied themselves and are taking their hurt and anger out on someone who won’t fight back. It could also be that they are having problems in their lives that are making them feel bad.
There are ways of changing bullying behaviour by helping bullies to understand their victim’s feelings and the effect their behaviour has on them (developing their empathy, by teaching them to stand up to peer pressure and by giving them support to manage the problems they are facing in their own lives) – all of these things can change bullying behaviour for good.
Top tips for parents:
- Model empathy for others – talk about how other people might feel in different situations: in real-life, TV programmes, books, films, and plays.
- Talk openly about what bullying is and how it feels. Make it easy for children to talk about bullying – let them know you won’t make them feel silly whatever their worries. With younger children, puppets are a good way to help them talk about their worries and feelings.
- Talk to children about different sorts of bullying. As well as physical harm, threats and taking things, it can include name-calling, leaving someone out (exclusion), rumour spreading or forcing children to do something they don’t want to do. All of these can be as hurtful and humiliating as physical bullying.
- Teach them how to avoid electronic (cyber) bullying. To be eligible to sign up for Facebook, you must be at least 13 years old. Please reinforce this with your child as no primary aged child should have a Facebook account.
How we prevent bullying
At Burdett-Coutts, we aim to deal with the problem and try to stop the child from bullying altogether. We work in partnership with Kidscape as part of their Primary Bullying Intervention Training (BIT) to provide:
- Parents with anti-bullying strategies.
- Pupils with lessons to equip them with skills to improve peer relationships, increase self-esteem and self-confidence, and reduce bullying behaviour.
- Staff with bullying prevention strategies and the knowledge and best practice to ensure that they can recognise, prevent and reduce bullying.
We are proud to say that we have successfully completed Kidscape’s Primary Bullying Intervention Training and have been awarded the Primary BIT in recognition of our work to prevent bullying. We also have the following strategies in place:
- We teach children how to deal with bullying through weekly circle time discussions. Teachers provide the children with examples of what they can say and do if they are being bullied. At these sessions, concerns about bullying are discussed and positive examples of friendships and anti-bullying tips are shared and celebrated.
- We have playground buddies who initiate games at lunchtime and breaktime with children who might otherwise be left out. Children are also taught how to turn others down nicely if they do not want to play with them at playtimes/lunchtimes.
- We have several lunchtime staff, to prevent children from getting bored at lunchtimes.
- We have an anti-bullying specialist train all staff annually on anti-bullying strategies, class management skills, how to deal with incidents and how to reduce the potential for bullying.
- In classrooms, cyber rules are displayed by the computer, reminding children about safe cyber use.
Preventing cyber bullying:
- Always ask before you send a picture or information that could be shared with other people. Remember that you don’t know what will happen to any pictures or information you let people have. What you think of as a joke might be really upsetting for the other person when the whole world sees it.
- Think before you send a message about yourself or any other person involved. It doesn’t take long for it to be shared with every single person you know (from your best friend to your grandmother to your worst enemy).
- Never give out personal information when it can be shared with others. You may trust your new friends, but you don’t know theirs. Treat your password like your toothbrush – don’t let anyone else use it!
- If you receive nasty messages, texts, comments etc…block the person sending them and always report it to an adult (a parent, someone at school, or your service provider). Don’t reply to a bullying message but do keep it as evidence, whether it is a picture, message or online communication.
What to do if your child is being bullied
- Meet with the class teacher or arrange an appointment to meet with Ms. Barnett, Mrs Lee or Mrs Camplin. They will endeavour to meet with you on the same day of your enquiry or within 24 hours.
- Ms. Barnett, Mrs Lee or Mrs Camplin will investigate the matter: they will talk to all the children involved and their class teacher(s) and write a report. This report will be shared with you within 24 hours and will outline the plan in place to stop any further incidents.
- Mrs L. Deary, (Pastoral Support Manager), will talk to your child at several points during the first week, to reassure them that their concerns are being taken seriously and to ensure that they feel safe and supported.
What if my child is bullying others?
If you are told that your child is bullying others, stay calm. Don’t immediately dismiss the idea (‘what? My John – never!’) or rush into severe punishment. Try not to call your child a ‘bully’ (labels can stick) – we are all capable of inadvertently bullying at times. Your child is not a monster! When you talk, stay calm and explain that you still love him/her and that it is simply the current behaviour that you do not like or approve of. Listen to what your child has to say and arrange to see the teacher.
Stay calm and listen to what the teacher has to say and then talk to your child about how the other person feels. The perpetrator rarely understands the extent to which the victim has been hurt and upset and is frightened by the bullying. Help your child to develop confidence and make friends and remember that people who are happy in themselves rarely feel the need to bully others.
Parents are often surprised when schools don’t automatically exclude pupils who are bullying others. Of course, as parents, our first concern will always be for our own child’s safety and happiness so it is natural to ask why the school seems to want to work with their tormentors instead of getting rid of them.
There are many reasons. It is important to note that a number of children have been bullied, seen bullying and even bullied at some time. There is no evidence that children are born ‘bullies’ or ‘victims’ – they change roles according to where they are and who they are with. If schools simply move the problem children to another school, others will continue to suffer.
When children who are being bullied are asked what they want to happen, they very rarely mention punishing the other child or revenge, they almost always say: ‘I just want it to stop’.
Maybe we should think the same way!
- Childline – free 24-hour counselling service provided by the NSPCC for children and young people.
- Kidscape – London-based charity focussing on children’s safety.
- Bullying UK – UK charity to help pupils, parents and schools deal with bullying.
- Anti-Bullying Alliance – established by the NSPCC and the National Children’s Bureau in 2002 and hosted by the National Children’s Bureau.