Respect Me – Anti-bullying Policy

Written by pupils, parents and staff of the school March 2019

Definition of Bullying:

Respect for All Scottish Government 2017

‘Bullying is both behaviour and impact; the impact is on a person’s capacity to feel in control of themselves. This is what we term as their sense of ‘agency’. Bullying takes place in the context of relationships; it is behaviour that can make people feel hurt, threatened, frightened and left out. This behaviour happens face to face and online.’

The Children at school say:

‘Bullying behaviour hurts your feelings and upsets you. Name calling , pushing, hitting and being left out can all be bullying behaviour. It can happen inside or outside school or online.’

Parents say:

‘Bullying behaviour can make people feel hurt, threatened, frightened and left out. It can happen to anybody and is not the fault of the person experiencing the bullying behaviour. We must make it clear that bullying behaviour is not acceptable in the school.’

The Council Say:

‘Dumfries & Galloway Council is committed to providing a safe, supportive environment for all pupils in its schools’

At Gatehouse and Twynholm Primary Schools our values are respect, dignity, fairness and inclusion. We understand that bullying behaviour is never acceptable and that children and young people have the right to learn in a safe, secure environment.

Rights and legislation:

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

• Children’s rights are now embedded in Scottish legislation with the promotion and upholding of the rights of children and young people and states that all education should develop each child’s personality and talents to the full. Children’s voices should be heard, and their wishes respected without discrimination of any kind.

The Equality Act 2010 places a duty on schools to:

• Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Act.

• Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic (see next section) and people who do not share it.

• Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.

The Equality Act 2010 legislates to prevent direct or indirect discrimination against persons. The seven protected characteristics which apply across education are:

• • Disability

• • Sex (Gender)

• • Gender reassignment (Transgender)

• • Pregnancy and maternity

• • Race

• • Religion or belief

• • Sexual orientation

In addition to national legislation, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s priorities place every child’s wellbeing at the centre. In schools we do this by adhering to the principles of:

GIRFEC – Getting It Right for Every Child which promotes action to improve the wellbeing of all children and young people. GIRFEC principles and values are underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Disrespectful and bullying behaviour is a violation of a child’s rights and is never acceptable within our schools.

Prevention Strategies: Raising Awareness and Promoting Positive Behaviour

All school behaviour policies are based on the rights the children have. Every child has a right to play and a right to education. The policies are formed by the children and will be regularly reviewed by them. Rights and respect for others is a fundamental part of these policies.

Everybody is encouraged not to turn away and ignore bullying behaviour but to do something about it wherever it is seen.

The school has an open, friendly ethos and all people’s opinions and thoughts are respected and listened to. Adults in the school establish open, positive and supportive relationships where children and young people feel safe, listened to, and secure in their ability to discuss sensitive issues. Adults across the school model behaviour which promotes positive relationships and positive behaviours.

There are regular reminders within class, around the school and in assemblies of the importance of respectful behaviour. Posters are displayed around the school reminding the children of the importance of respectful behaviour. The bullying policy will be reviewed every two years and this process will include parents and children.

Responding to Bullying:

When talking about bullying, it is important not to label children and young people as ‘bullies’ or ‘victims’. Labels can stick for life and can isolate a child, rather than helping them to recover or change their behaviour. All children and young people need help to understand why bullying behaviour is wrong in order that they can change it.

Every bullying incident will be looked at individually with the emphasis being on the behaviour rather than on any labelling. In some cases, children or young people may not be aware that their behaviour is bullying. They are perhaps modelling behaviours of other adults or children and young people, not understanding that their behaviour is wrong because they have never been taught otherwise. In these circumstances, the intent to bully may not be present, but the impact and effect on the person being bullied will be no less severe because of this. It must be explained to the person bullying that their behaviour is unacceptable and why.

Children should normally be informed of any intention to share information, and the reasons why this is felt to be necessary. If a bullying incident has occurred in school, children will be spoken to first before involving parents and carers.

Incidents of disrespectful/ bullying behaviour will be dealt with as soon as possible. Children will be reminded of the school values and policies and be made aware of the possible impact their behaviour might have. They will be reminded that their behaviour is unacceptable and has no place within the school.

Once an issue has been discussed with the children it will be shared with parents of both sets of children unless it is unsafe to do so.

Steps once bullying behaviour has been identified:

1. Reassure the child who is on the receiving end of the bullying behaviour that action will be taken and that they will be kept informed

2. Log and record the incident of bullying behaviour on the council system

3. The child who has been bullied will be given time to talk with an adult about their feelings and what could be done to help them feel safe / regain their confidence. A group of peers will be identified to support and help. A trusted adult will keep the child informed throughout the whole process and be there to talk to if needed.

4. The perpetrator of the bullying behaviour will be given time to speak to an adult about their actions. During this discussion the impact of their behaviour will be made clear, they will be given an opportunity to discuss why they are behaving like this, what would help them to stop and the possible consequences if they do not.

5. If appropriate children will be brought together with an adult mediator to try and resolve the problem.

6. If the problem is not resolved and the bullying behaviour continues parents will be informed at this time (if appropriate)

7. Outside agencies such as CAMHS / Social Work might be called in at this point

8. If the behaviour continues the following consequences are possible: (a) removal of privileges e.g. school football team (b) removal from school trips /events (c) internal exclusion – not allowed to play in the playground at the same time as the other children, removal from classroom/ lunch hall (d) fixed term exclusion from school

9. Police will be involved in any acts of bullying that break the law.

Once the behaviour has ceased children involved will then be carefully monitored/supported to ensure there is no repetition of the behaviour.

Review date: March 2021