Bullying is taken very seriously at St Patrick’s Primary School. We have a zero tolerance approach on bullying. St Patrick’s School, with its Catholic foundation, seeks the wholeness of all its children: spiritual, physical, intellectual and social.
At St Patrick’s School we recognise that bullying can occur. When it does it can be harmful both physically and emotionally for the victim. It can also be a sign that the child carrying out the bullying has underlying issues that need to be addressed. We therefore do all we can to prevent it, by developing a school ethos where bullying is regarded as unacceptable. We aim to ensure that all groups of pupils feel safe and secure in school, and appropriate measures are in place to prevent bullying. The purpose of our anti-bullying policy is to enable adults in the school to recognise bullying when it takes place and to deal with it effectively.
What is bullying?
Bullying is deliberately hurtful behaviour. It is usually repeated, often over a period of time and can make it difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves. We believe that there are a number of types of bullying and children are made aware of this in their PSHCE lessons.
It is important to understand that bullying is not occasional falling out with friends, name calling, arguments or when the occasional ‘joke’ is played on someone. Children do sometimes fall out or say things because they are upset. When occasional problems of this kind arise it is not classed as bullying. It is an important part of a child’s development to learn how to deal with friendship breakdowns, the odd name calling or childish prank. We all have to learn how to deal with these situations and develop social skills to repair relationships.
It is bullying if it is done repeatedly and on purpose. Whenever the opportunity arises it must be made profoundly clear that we will not tolerate bullying at St. Patrick’s. We are committed to provide a caring, friendly and safe environment for all pupils so that they can grow and learn in a relaxed and safe environment.
Why do we tackle bullying?
We tackle bullying as an issue because we are an effective, caring school and we believe that:
- Bullying makes people unhappy and leads to low self-esteem.
- Pupils who are being bullied are unlikely to concentrate fully on their schoolwork.
- Some pupils avoid being bullied by not attending school.
- Pupils who observe unchallenged bullying behaviour may copy this anti-social behaviour.
- We wish to build the self-esteem of all pupils, especially bullies and victims.
Role of parents
Parents have an important part to play in our anti-bullying policy. We ask parents to:
- Look out for any unusual behaviour in the child – for example not wanting to attend school, feeling ill regularly or not completing work to their usual standard.
- Always take an active role in your child’s education. Enquire how their day has gone, ask who they have spent time with etc.
- If you feel your child may be a victim of bullying behaviour, inform the school. Your concern will be taken seriously and appropriate action will follow.
- If you feel a child has bullied your child, please do not approach the child in question. Please inform the school immediately.
- It is important that you do not advise your child to fight back or repeat the bully’s behaviour. This will only make the situation words. Tell your child it is not their fault that they are being bullied.
- Reinforce the school policy on bullying and ensure your child is not afraid to talk for help.
- If you know your child is involved in bullying, please discuss the issues with them and inform the school. The matter will be dealt with appropriately.
Reporting and responding to bullying incidents
Allegations and incidents of bullying at St Patrick’s Primary School will be taken seriously by all staff and dealt with impartially and promptly. All of those involved will have the opportunity to be heard. Staff will support all children involved whilst the allegations and incidents are investigated and resolved. The following procedures are to be followed:
- Incidents of bullying need to be reported to the class teacher and the Head teacher
- The class teacher will speak to all children involved about the incident separately or if appropriate as a group. This will be reported to the Head teacher.
- The problem will be identified and possible solutions suggested.
- Staff will attempt to adopt a problem solving approach through circle times/drama activities
- Appropriate action will be taken to end the bullying behaviour or threats of bullying.
- The bully (or bullies) may be asked to genuinely apologise. Other consequences may take place and appropriate sanctions applied (e.g. loss of privileges, spending playtimes indoors, withdrawn from a club not essential to the curriculum).
- If possible, the pupils will be reconciled.
- An attempt will be made to support the bully (bullies) to understand and change their behaviour.
- If the bullying continues or in more serious cases of bullying parents will be informed and invited into the school for a meeting to discuss the problem.
- Mediating meetings, with both parents and pupils present may be used to resolve issues.
- In serious cases incidents will be recorded and kept on file.
- In repeated or serious cases the school may apply the following sanctions: lunch time exclusion, fixed term exclusion, permanent exclusion.
Strategies for the prevention and reduction of bullying
Whole school initiatives and proactive teaching strategies will be used throughout the school to develop a positive learning environment with the aim of reducing the opportunities for bullying to occur. These include:
- Work by the class teacher
- Regular PSHCE lessons on anti-bullying
- Taking part in national anti-bullying week
- Anti-bullying assemblies
- Circle time, drama/role-play activities
- Implementation of playground mentors and buddies (Pat’s Pals)
- Peer listening groups
- Praise and rewards to reinforce good behaviour
Encouraging the whole school community to model appropriate behaviour towards one another.