At Handel House School we seek to create a culture in which bullying of any kind, either against pupils or adults is not accepted by any member of the school community. As an organisation that is serious about child protection, we will also be serious about preventing and tackling bullying whether it is on the grounds of race, religion, educational need, disability or sexual orientation. Bullying of any kind can threaten both the mental health and educational progress of our pupils. Handel House School enables all members of the school community to understand what constitutes bullying, making it clear to pupils, staff, parents and guardians that bullying is completely unacceptable.
We strongly believe that our pupils have the right to study in a safe, supportive and secure environment, free from physical threats, verbal taunts and any form of harassment. Incidents of bullying threaten this and cause enormous stress to victims. We are therefore strongly committed to the avoidance of bullying in all its forms. We provide a clear framework for dealing with incidents of bullying, ensuring that bullies are dealt with swiftly and firmly. Our aim is to promote positive relationships amongst all members of the school community and to develop a culture in which individuals are listened to and their concerns taken seriously. Our straightforward procedures make it easy to report bullying, including cyber bullying and bullying and bullying outside of school.
Therefore if bullying does occur, all pupils should be able to tell, and know that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively. All adult members of our school community should be vigilant in recognising that bullying is taking place, and deal with it thoroughly and with sensitivity. Our aim is to promote positive relationships amongst all members of the school community and to develop a culture in which individuals are listened to and their concerns taken seriously. Records are kept to evaluate the effectiveness of the approach or to enable patterns to be identified. As part of this Policy we believe that all children and adults have the right to work in a supportive, caring environment in which pupils feel safe and free from bullying and harassment that may include cyber-bullying and prejudice-based bullying related to special educational need, sexual orientation, sex, race, religion and belief, gender reassignment or disability (as defined in the Equality Act 2010), and the use of discriminatory language.
We believe that the principle means of prevention is through the maintenance of conditions where bullying is less likely to flourish and is more easily detected. As we are a relatively small school, all pupils are known to us personally and it is therefore easier for us to detect signs of possible distress. Moreover, we feel that it is important that pupils have free and informal access to the Head and other staff. This can be seen in the procedures we adopt. However, a formal anti-bullying policy is of utmost importance.
This policy applies to all Handel House School activities both on and away from the school campus. We aim to promote a transparency in human relationships so that children, by default, are held to account for the feelings they may evoke in others. In the event of bullying taking place among the staff, the Headmistress should be informed and appropriate decisions made with possible reference to the relevant school Employment Policies and Procedures. Accusations of bullying of a pupil (pupils) by members of staff will be investigated thoroughly. Each pupil is treated fairly and with respect. Members of staff to whom disclosures are made should initiate the following procedures themselves and/or consult with the relevant staff as appropriate. All disclosures, whether from a pupil, a parent, a member of staff or a volunteer should be taken seriously and treated with sensitivity. The victim(s) should be made aware that their safety is considered to be of paramount importance.
A bullying incident is treated as a child protection concern when there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm. In such cases the school reports its concerns to the local authority social care department. We treat all our pupils and their parents fairly and with consideration and we expect them to reciprocate towards each other, the staff and the school. Any kind of bullying is unacceptable.
Bullying can be defined as a deliberate and a repeated (over time) to intentionally hurt another pupil or group physically or emotionally. It is often motivated by prejudice against particular groups, for example, on grounds of race, religion, culture, sex, gender, homophobia, special educational needs and disability ( as defined in the Equality Act 2010), or because a child is adopted or is a carer. It may occur directly or through cyber-technology such as social websites, mobile phones, text messages, photographs and email.
A feature of bullying in schools is that its existence is not always immediately known or suspected by those in authority. The school recognises the seriousness of both physical and emotional bullying in causing psychological damage and even suicide. Although bullying in itself is not a specific criminal act in the UK, some types of harassing or threatening behaviour or communications could be a criminal offence; for example, under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, the Malicious Communications Act 1988, the Communications Act 2003 and the Public Order Act 1986. If our staff feel that an offence may have been committed, we will seek assistance from the police.
Bullying can take place between pupil and pupil, staff and staff and staff and pupil. We consider the pastoral care of the pupils and staff to be of prime importance. In class, this role largely rests with the class teacher. It is school policy that any misdemeanour will be dealt with by the member of staff present when it occurs, whether in the playground, classroom, cloakroom or any part of the school. A common code of behaviour is expected from everyone at Handel House School (see Behaviour Policy). All staff and volunteers at Handel House School are expected to treat each other with a professional level of respect. The term ‘bullying’ is commonly associated with acts of violence but non-physical bullying is experienced by most pupils at some period during their school career.
Handel House School’s Anti-bullying Policy is dovetailed with the Behaviour Management Policy (with support for the victim and the bully) and makes it clear what the sanctions are for bullying. At Handel House School we implement disciplinary sanctions that reflect the seriousness of an incident and convey a deterrent effect. If necessary, strong sanctions, such as exclusion, would be used in cases of severe and persistent bullying. It is incumbent on Handel House School to have clear policies that are communicated to parents, pupils and staff, along with creating an environment of good behaviour and respect, with helpful examples set by staff and older pupils. Integral to our policy is involving parents and making sure pupils are clear about the part they can play to prevent bullying, including when they find themselves as bystanders. Handling of a bullying incident is given much thought to ensure that the facts are fully known, agreed and understood by the bully/ies and the victim(s). Bullying instances are reported and recorded so that patterns can be identified. Staff will consult with the Head or other senior manager knowing that their response will be sympathetic and appropriate.
Download our Anti-Bullying Policy in full by clicking the button below. This policy is made available to parents or guardians of pupils on request to the school office, during the school day, or by e-mail.