WHOLE SCHOOL ANTI-BULLYING POLICY
At the BST we prioritise every child's need for and right to a safe, secure environment where they are treated with respect.
Our school is especially sensitive to children who find themselves being bullied and has a zero tolerance policy towards bullying.
Bullying is defined as; to verbally, physically or psychologically, hurt, intimidate or embarrass another person.
- The action must be repeated over time
- It must be deliberate
- Involves an imbalance of power
- It causes distress
Consequences of Bullying
Where bullying goes unchecked in schools:
- The victim will be unhappy and may feel unsafe. Their achievements at school may suffer as may their health.
- All pupils are provided with a negative role model and are impoverished morally, spiritually and culturally.
The British School of Tenerife aims to:
- Promote a climate of openness about sharing feelings of being hurt (bullying thrives on secrecy) and ensure that all pupils feel there is an adult in school to whom they can talk in confidence and that the incident will be dealt with in a discrete and sensitive manner
- Encourage all pupils including witnesses/bystanders to speak out if they see or hear any bullying. They must be taught that they are not "telling tales" but instead have a responsibility to tell an adult so we can help the aggressor change their behaviour.
- Ensure there is a clear procedure to follow with incidents of bullying
- Prevent bullying by providing the opportunity to discuss it regularly in PSHEE lessons in both Primary and Secondary
- Make clear the unacceptable nature of bullying to pupils and parents
Physical bullying may include:
- hitting or punching
- forcing others to fight
- damaging property
Psychological bullying may include:
- verbal abuse
- racist abuse
- sexist abuse
- teasing (particularly involving family, appearance, clothes, abilities)
- spreading rumours
- isolating or excluding
- stealing/demanding money
- calling of names/nicknames, (without the person’s consent),
- taking away someone’s control
- dirty looks or staring
- making threats
Those who collude by failing to intervene can also be guilty of bullying.
Cyber Bullying (Please see E-Safety Policy)
It is important to understand that bullying is NOT an occasional falling out with friends or isolated acts of mean behaviour.
Pupils should be made aware of the fact that there is a Bullying box in Secondary and a "STOP" box in Primary and the location of the box. They should be assured that the information posted in the box is confidential and anonymous.
There will be STOP signs in every Primary classroom and around school. STOP = Several Times On Purpose
= Start Telling Other People
Guidelines for Teachers and school staff:
- Once a complaint about bullying has been received you must always consider it as such until an investigation confirms or rejects it.
If a case, after investigation, is deemed NOT to be one of bullying then it should be resolved as any other case of conflict in school is. (see BST Behaviour Policy and Sanctions document).
- Parents must be informed of this decision.
- Teachers should always be on the watch for early signs of distress in students –
- deterioration of work
- spurious illness
- desire to remain with adults
- erratic attendance
Whilst this behaviour may be symptomatic of other problems, it may be the early signs of bullying.
If a victim mentions that they have thought about committing suicide it is imperative that this is communicated to the victim's parents andthat they contacttheir social security doctor immediately.
Bullying can only be confirmed if it fits with the 3 basic criteria mentioned above:
The action must be repeated over time
It must be deliberate
It involves an imbalance of power
- When a case is reported, offer the victim immediate support and help by putting the school’s procedures into operation.
Procedures following a report of bullying
Stage One : Initial assessment
The teacher or staff member informed of a case of bullying should immediately inform:
- Head of Primary
- Co-ordinator for Key Stage 3 and 4
- or Academic Director
who will then arrange a meeting with the teacher/member of staff, pupil and the mediator.
The Head of Primary, the Coordinator for Key Stage 3 and 4 or the Academic Director will arrange a meeting with the parents of the victim, the teacher and the mediator within 2 working days.
Once informed about a case it should be treated as such by the school community until an investigation is carried out and a conclusion reached as to whether there is a case of bullying or not.
The assessment will include observation in different areas of the school throughout the school day. Teachers should monitor the students involved during their lessons and report any observations to the mediator.
Stage Two. Identification of Bullying
Staff should be informed and always have it clear in their mind that protecting the victim is of the utmost importance and should aim to prevent any further incidents occurring.
- Intervention with victim
The mediator should meet the victim, focusing in particular on the effects of the bullying; he/she should empathize with the victim.
The victim should be encouraged to express his/her feelings.
The mediator must ask the victim for permission to speak to the aggressor/s.
- Intervention with Instigator/s
The mediator should then meet with the instigator/s and, rather than attempting to apportion blame, emphasise that there is a shared problem which the instigators can help to solve. In outlining the problem, the mediator should make it clear that the instigators are responsible for the victim’s feelings and can do something about them. Guidance will be offered to the instigators to help change their behaviour.
We should always try to resolve the problem without having to resort to disciplinary action.
At the BST when a case of bullying has been confirmed involving Secondary students the aggressor should not be asked to apologise as often the victim is not ready for this NEITHER should you sit the two sides down to discuss the matter as there is an imbalance of power and this is not a fair conversation.
In the Primary Department, cases can often be resolved effectively by having a chat with the victim and bully where the bully can hear directly from the victim how they feel and what they have suffered, BUT this should only be done if the victim feels comfortable with this.
The mediator and instigator/s should develop a shared action plan.
All parties should be encouraged to speak to the mediator on a regular basis to indicate the progress that is being made.
A formal review should take place after one week; and after that, the situation should continue to be monitored for four weeks through observation around the school both inside and outside of lessons.
All incidents of bullying, together with the strategies employed for dealing with the problem should be carefully logged.
- Intervention with other students
All the students should be used as a positive resource in countering bullying. Regular discussions in PSHEE lessons on this area are important. Students can also be used to help shy children and newcomers feel welcome and accepted.
Stage Three: If bullying continues or is of very serious concern
If, the Academic Director feels it necessary to request the intervention of the school psychologist, students and parents MUST co-operate.
Permission will not be requested from parents for the psychologist, mediator or Head of Department to speak to any student named in a case of bullying.
Parents should be informed at all stages.
If a case is confirmed, parents of the bully should be informed of the unacceptable nature of the behaviour and the consequences of any repetition of this behaviour must be made clear to the bully and his/her parents. Parents who do not collaborate with the school may be asked to take their child out of the school.
If the case of bullying is considered serious, measures should be increasedto protect the person who has been bullied ensuring that all accessible areas of the school are monitored at break, lunchtime, between lessons and the beginning and end of the day. (the school may need to employ a shadow teacher until the case is resolved).
The school must guarantee the victim that the bully will not approach them, and if necessary, take measures to ensure this.
The bully may be changed to a different class if the school deems it necessary.
Sanctions imposed are at the discretion of the Academic Director who will decide, following a parental meeting and depending on the severity of the case, to exclude or expel a pupil.
If a case of bullying is confirmed, a meticulous log must be kept in One Drive by the mediator and then shared with:
- Head of Primary / Key Stage 3 and 4 Co-ordinator
- Academic Director
The complete development of the application of the procedures in this policy will correspond to the British School of Tenerife. The interference of agents outside the school with the professional performance of those responsible for guiding the different phases of the application of the procedures will not be allowed.
Up-dated March 2017
This document was drafted by the BST Senior Management Team and approved by;
the Board of Governors
and Eparquio Delgado the school's psychologist
Advice for Parents
As a parent, your child will probably talk to you first about any concerns they have in school. It is important that you remain calm and be supportive.
Should your child confide in you, please speak directly to the class teacher or form tutor.
However, if the concern is an issue of bullying, you must put this in writing. It will then be dealt with under the guidelines of the school’s anti-bullying policy.
It would be useful if you could note down:
- Who was involved?
- What form did the bullying take?
- Where it happened?
- When and how often did it happen?
It is important for parents to understand that bullying is not an occasional falling out with friends or isolated acts of mean behaviour.
Please remember that all children may sometimes behave inappropriately.
If it is considered a serious case of bullying, the parents of both the victim and the aggressor will be informed.
Signs that your child may be being bullied:
- Reluctance/ anxiety to attend school
- Deterioration in school work and/ or motivation
- Becomes withdrawn or lacking in confidence
- Has sleepless nights or nightmares
- Changes in their behaviour
- Becomes nervous about using internet based technology
If you are concerned your child is bullying:
It is important to recognise the reasons why pupils may bully others:
- They may be being encouraged by friends or copying the behaviour of others
- They may be having social problems themselves within their peer group
- They may be suffering from low self esteem
- There may be changes in personal circumstances
- They may be feeling insecure about themselves
Should you have concerns that your child may be behaving inappropriately, the best way to help is to talk to them at home about their behaviour and how it may be affecting others. It is essential that you discuss these concerns with the class teacher or form tutor.