Anti-Bullying Policy | The Arbor School, Dubai

Anti Bullying Policy

INTRODUCTION

Note- for the purposes of this policy, any reference to ‘he’ refers to all students.

Bullying is behaviour by an individual or group, repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally. Bullying can take many forms (for instance, cyberbullying via text messages or the internet), and is often motivated by prejudice against particular groups, for example on grounds of race, religion, gender, special educational needs, a disability, a protectedcharacteristic or because a child is adopted or has caring responsibilities. It might be motivated by actual differences between children, or perceived differences. Stopping violence and ensuring immediate physical safety is obviously a school’s first priority but emotional bullying can be more damaging than physical; teachers and schools have to make their own judgements about each specific case.

Many experts say that bullying involves an imbalance of power between the perpetrator and the victim. This could involve perpetrators of bullying having control over the relationship, which makes it difficult for those they bully to defend themselves. The imbalance of power can manifest itself in several ways. It may be physical, psychological (knowing what upsets someone), derive from an intellectual imbalance, or by having access to the support of a group, or the capacity to socially isolate. It can result in the
intimidation of a person or persons through the threat of violence or by isolating them either physically or online.

Bullying can take place at School or on the way to and from School. Young people may also be bullied in and around their homes. Wherever it takes place, bullying is a serious matter that affects everyone.

Sometimes the bully is so insensitive to the effect they are having on others that they will not be fully aware of the impact of their actions. As a result, behaviour of the type described, which leads to people being hurt, physically or emotionally, can properly be described as bullying, even if the bully is not conscious of the effect of their behaviour. Bullying hurts and can cause serious psychological damage, even suicide. Early signs of distress may include deterioration of work, spurious illness, isolation, the desire to remain with adults, erratic attendance. Whilst this behaviour may be symptomatic of other problems, it may be the early signs of bullying and should be recorded and brought to the attention of housemasters and tutors so that any patterns in behaviour can be identified.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

We aim to develop a School ethos that encourages civilised behaviour, recognises everyone’s individual strengths and deems bullying of any type to be unacceptable.

In line with the School’s behavioural policy, staff members are required to arrive on time for lessons and
to be alert to the signs of rough or boisterous behaviour, on the sports fields, in the lunch queues and corridors. Bullying can also manifest itself in the form of cyber bullying (please see the school’s policy on cyber bullying). Every incident should be followed up. We hope that all members of the Arbor community will be encouraging and supportive of each other rather than abusive and undermining. Being aware that pupils often find themselves in very crowded situations, the development of patience, consideration and diplomacy is crucial. Relationships must be based on respect, trust and caring for others, rather than on power and strength. Children new to the school are not subjected to any form of ‘initiation ceremony’ intended to cause pain, anxiety or humiliation.

The School will not allow bullying to prevent each individual from making the most of their talents. One of the School’s key objectives is to stress the importance of good inter-personal relationships; this is highlighted in full School, house and section assemblies, and plays a prominent part in the tutorial and PSHCE programmes. Pupils are expected to abide by the Acceptable Use of the School Network Policy and ICT Policy, which details clearly the consequences for misuse and to which they have all signed up before being permitted to use the school network. As part of the School community, pupils, including those victimised, have a responsibility to discourage bullying and to report incidents of it, including incidents of bullying outside school. Our experience is that bullying does stop when it has been reported and dealt with and that the victims of the bullying do not suffer as a result of the telling. Bullying can only exist and thrive in an atmosphere of secrecy where individuals are not open enough to talk about their feelings. The issue of bullying is reviewed regularly at all levels of the school and whole staff training takes place when necessary usually at the start of the academic year or during weekly staff meetings. Regular action is taken to identify those areas where bullying is most likely to take place and measures are taken to eradicate it. Staff are encouraged to provide a climate where differences should not only be accepted but should be embraced: all pupils are encouraged to foster good relations, and the School advances equality of opportunity, irrespective of the presence of a protected characteristic or not. In order to raise staff
awareness, where appropriate the school will invest in specialised skills to understand the needs of their pupils, including those with SEN or disabilities.

Crucial to fostering good relations between children is students seeing respectful and empathetic behaviour modelled by others. Staff members are expected to treat pupils respectfully and appropriately, as are older pupils. This is more formally embedded via tutor periods, PSHCE and peer mentoring by older pupils, and by successes being celebrated.

PROCEDURES

  • Students being victimised and those who see others being bullied, are encouraged to speak up about bullying, ideally before it becomes harmful. They are encouraged to speak with anyone in authority with whom they feel confident, including the Principal. Those students who hold leadership roles, at all levels of the School, as well as academic staff, housekeepers and health centre staff, are advised on how to react to requests for help in dealing with bullying. Anyone can also use the Whistleblowing facility. If you find yourself a bystander who observes bullying it is important to report it, and this applies equally to parents as to pupils. Incidents that are reported can be dealt with, and early intervention is often crucial in preventing a situation from escalating.
  • All staff will be expected to deal sympathetically with minimum delay once an incident is reported, with students who are the victims of (alleged) bullying. Witness statements may be taken and evidence gathered from a variety of sources in order to substantiate or disprove claims. The class/form teacher and senior staff will always be informed of reports of bullying.
  • Students who are alleged to be perpetrators of bullying will always be interviewed formally by a senior member of staff. The version of events will be listened to and noted in writing.
  • Cyberbullying: where incidents of cyberbullying are reported, even if it is outside of school hours, the school will intervene and investigate and deal with the alleged incident.
  • Disciplinary action, in line with the school’s established range of sanctions, will be taken where necessary. Such action may include letters or meetings with parents, internal suspension or exclusion from school.
  • The school shall follow, wherever possible, a concept of restorative justice. This intends to also counsel those to be found of bullying, and sensitive action shall be taken in order to ensure that relationships are healed wherever possible.
  • We will use the following levels as a guide when dealing with incidents involving bullying:

Low-Level: Teachers deal with the matter and note it in writing upon the MIS. The line manager is informed and interviews victim, bully, witnesses if necessary.

Medium-Level: Teacher informs Head of Department/Year Group Leader who contacts parents of victim/bully for interview.

High-Level: Teacher/Head of Department inform the Deputy Head Teacher/Head Teacher. Head Teacher informs the Parents/authorities for a conference.

 

 

FOLLOW-UP

It is important that the victim feels they are receiving support and feel safe and comfortable. It is also important that the suspected bullies have had a fair hearing. Heads of School will follow-up each case to ascertain if there have been any consequences or re-occurrences.

PREVENTION

The theme of bullying is an integral part of the PSHCE programme. We use the following methods for helping children to prevent bullying, as considered appropriate and relevant by the class/form teacher. These activities may form part of the school’s PSHCE programme and be dealt with in Circle Time, Tutor Time, Assemblies, or may be handled on an individual basis:

  • The Golden Rules: Be kind, be gentle, be honest, respect property, work hard, be a good listener. These rules are displayed in every primary classroom and are referred to in assemblies and by teachers.
  • Signing a behaviour contract
  • Writing stories or poems or drawing pictures about bullying
  • Sharing stories about bullying
  • Making up role plays
  • Discussions in literature, historical events, current affairs
  • Anti-bullying week
  • Visual Listening Tree in Secondary, detailing who to talk to if concerned
  • Outside experts can be called on to deliver cyber bullying workshops to pupils

Although incidents of bullying in our school are rare, teachers should be aware of the following higher risk areas and times when bullying could occur:

  • At break and lunch times
  • Before start and end of school day
  • In the corridors, locker areas, changing rooms and playgrounds
  • On bus journeys and school trips/visits

Raising Awareness

Awareness is raised through training and/or focused meetings, particularly during Induction week. Child Protection and Anti-Bullying courses are made available to staff through Educare online programmes and more information is available in the appendices of this policy. Pupils are made aware through Assemblies, Special Focus Weeks, Curriculum content (particularly PSHCE) and talks from outside agencies.

Children identified as having SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) are particularly susceptible to bullying and may be more sensitive to teasing and name calling. Teachers should be aware of this and actively promote inclusion and equal opportunities with classwork and particularly in the playground.

APPENDIX 1: GUIDANCE

WHAT IS BULLYING?

Bullying is behaviour that:

  • deliberately makes another person feel uncomfortable, distressed or threatened either physically or emotionally
  • is repeated over time
  • makes those being bullied feel powerless to defend themselves
  • can include forms which are verbal, emotional, sexual, sexist, physical, cyber (including social websites, mobile phones, text messages, photographs and email), race and religion, cultural, homophobic, special educational needs and disability.

Bullying may take many forms, such as:

  • physical: for example, hitting, pushing, kicking
  • name-calling and verbal abuse: face-to-face, in writing, by phone or online
  • cyberbullying: bullying via phone or online (e.g. by text message, email, social networks, instant
    messenger)
  • making racist, sexist or gender-based comments, jokes or graffiti
  • making threats
  • taunting or mocking
  • spreading rumours
  • making jokes to make someone look ‘small’
  • shutting out a person
  • ganging up on someone
  • refusing to cooperate with someone
  • hiding equipment or other possessions
  • demanding money

Types of Bullying

Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:

  • Teasing
  • Name-calling
  • Inappropriate sexual comments
  • Taunting
  • Threatening to cause harm

Emotional bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:

  • Leaving someone out on purpose
  • Telling other children not to be friends with someone
  • Spreading rumours about someone
  • Embarrassing someone in public

Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:

  • Hitting/kicking/pinching
  • Spitting
  • Tripping/pushing
  • Taking or breaking someone’s things
  • Making mean or rude hand gestures

Sexual bullying can involve comments, gestures, actions or attention that is designed to hurt, offend or intimidate another person. With sexual harassment the focus is on a person’s physical appearance, body parts, sexual orientation or sexual activity. Sexual harassment may be verbal, like making comments about someone, be instigated via technology like inappropriate text messages, photos or videos or be physical involving unwanted touch. Sexual bullying includes:

  • Making sexual jokes, comments, or gestures to or about someone
  • Spreading sexual rumours (in person, by text, or online)
  • Writing sexual messages about people on bathroom walls or in other public places
  • Showing someone inappropriate sexual pictures or videos
  • Asking someone to send you naked pictures of herself or himself (“nudes”)
  • Posting sexual comments, pictures, or videos on social networks like Facebook, or sending explicit text messages
  • Making sexual comments or offers while pretending to be someone else online
  • Touching, grabbing, or pinching someone in a deliberately sexual way
  • Pulling at someone’s clothing and brushing up against them in a purposefully sexual way
  • Asking someone to go out over and over again, even after the person has said no

Cyberbullying includes the use of (mobile) technology as a media for any of the purposes above. Cyber bullying is a different form of bullying and can happen at all times of the day, with a potentially bigger audience and more accessories as people forward on content at a click. Bullying via social networks, emails and texts will be addressed according to the same procedures as any other form of bullying in the school.

Please refer to our schools’ ICT Acceptable Use Policy for further details on the responsible and acceptable use of technology by our staff and students.

Cyber bullying includes:

  • Harassment.
  • Stalking.
  • Rumour Spreading.
  • Disclosure (sharing of personal information of others without their consent).
  • Exclusion/Ostracism.
  • Heated Exchanges.
  • Defaming, Belittling, or Mocking.
  • Impersonating.

Racial, religious, cultural bullying is treating someone differently, making offensive remarks of being physically aggressive or offensive to somebody because of the colour of their skin, their beliefs or their race. Racist bullying includes:

  • Exclusion, harassment and ostracism
  • Telling jokes intended to offend or which could inadvertently offend
  • Attacks on your person or your property.

SEND bullying is when people behave or speak in a way which makes someone feel bullied because of a minor or severe Special Educational Need or Disability. Bullying can include:

  • Exclusion, harassment and ostracism
  • Use of offensive language or actions
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Comments or abuse via online technologies

APPENDIX 2: ADVICE

Students
The school will work to combat bullying by teaching pupils about bullying and appropriate strategies to combat bullying through:

  • weekly tutorial sessions and PSHCE lessons
  • regular whole school and class assemblies
  • older children supporting younger children as playtime ‘buddies’
  • displays of appropriate work
  • students given opportunities to take leadership as prefects, house captains and school Council representatives
  • Positive reinforcement of behavior through praise, house points and merits for demonstrating positive social skills

Students will understand the various roles within bullying cycles and how to act:

Victims:

  • always tell someone that you trust (an adult or friend)
  • remember you are not the one who is acting incorrectly.
  • inform the bully that they are acting inappropriately and you would like them to stop
  • if you can, ignore the bully and do not show that you are upset
  • if possible, avoid being alone in the places bullying happens
  • be assertive, if you can
  • walk away quickly and confidently, even if you do not feel that way inside
  • your safety is more important than your possessions. If you are in danger,
  • don’t hold onto them
  • if you are different in some way, be proud of who you are

Friends:

  • listen to your friend and talk it through
  • be sensitive and understand their situation
  • avoid leaving them on their own
  • advise the person being bullied to talk to an adult
  • in serious cases speak directly to an adult yourself on behalf of your friend.

Bystanders:

  • even if you don’t take part in bullying but see it and walk away, you are ignoring your responsibilities
  • report directly to an adult any bullying that you have observed
  • give sympathy and support to the person being bullied

Parents/Carers and Academic Staff
Raising awareness in staff and parents through:

  • INSET sessions for teaching and non-teaching staff
  • discussion of issues arising in staff meetings
  • Presentation of policy in key areas of the school and on the server for reference

Recognising the signs.
Someone who is being bullied may:

  • be frightened of getting on the school bus
  • insist on being driven to school
  • be unwilling to go to school
  • regularly have books or clothes damaged
  • have possessions ‘go missing’
  • continually ‘lose’ money
  • begin doing badly in schoolwork
  • have unexplained bruises, scratches, cuts
  • ask for money or begin stealing money
  • become withdrawn or start stammering
  • have noticeable and prolonged changes in mood
  • become distressed
  • become bad-tempered
  • refuse to say what is wrong
  • lose appetite, or start overeating
  • cry himself/herself to sleep or have nightmares
  • attempt or threaten to harm him/herself

For Parents
Any of the behaviour above may indicate other problems. But, if you become aware of and are concerned by any of this behaviour, and think your child is being bullied:

  • encourage him/her to talk about the problem
  • reassure him/her of your support
  • listen calmly and not overreact
  • attempt to find out when and where the bullying takes place. Is there a pattern?
  • contact the class teacher to discuss the problem
  • work with the class teacher to support your child within or outside school
  • if the bullying takes place outside school, report the matter to the police

For Staff
All members of staff, teaching and non-teaching, should deal with any incident of suspected or observed bullying by:

  • talking to the pupil and giving reassurance
  • taking action appropriate action using sanctions in line with the behavior policy
  • in serious instances producing a written statement of what has happened and the action taken
  • reporting any serious or recurring incidents to their line manager

Serious or recurring bullying
The appropriate member of staff will do the following:

  • arrange for support and reassurance for the pupil being bullied
  • interview the person(s) accused of the bullying, always giving them an opportunity to explain their
    actions.
  • ensure that the appropriate disciplinary action is taken in line with the Behaviour Policy of the
    school.
  • contact parents/carers when necessary
  • work with pupils, parents/carers and other teachers to support those involved
  • and prevent future instances of bullying

Outcomes

  1. The bully (bullies) will apologise in a genuine manner
  2. Wherever possible, the pupils will be reconciled
  3. In serious cases, suspension or even exclusion will take place in line with the behaviour policy
  4. After the incident / incidents have been investigated and dealt with, each case will be monitored to ensure repeated bullying does not take place.
  5. All disciplinary measures in cases of bullying must be applied fairly, consistently and reasonably.

This policy was written based on the principles outlined in DfES Guidance “Preventing and Tackling Bullying” 2014, ‘Bullying: Don’t Suffer in Silence’ and ‘Anti-bullying for schools’ by Kidscape 2005. This policy is in line with and embraces the Race Relations Amendment Act (2000) and the Equality Act (2010).

For further information, please refer to:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preventing-and-tackling-bullying