What is bullying?
Sutton Courtenay School Community definition of bullying:
Bullying is any behaviour by an individual or group that:
· Is meant to hurt – the person or people doing the bullying know what they are doing and mean to do it
· happens more than once – there will be a pattern of behaviour, not just a “one-off” incident
· involves an imbalance of power – the person being bullied will usually find it very hard to defend themselves
Bullying comes in many different forms including physical, verbal, sexual, indirect, prejudice related, or cyber bullying.
You may be unsure if your child is being bullied. If you suspect this may be happening look out for the following signs.
For example your child could:
· show signs of stress – being moody, silent or crying, or bullying a younger sibling or friend
· make excuses to miss school, such as stomach complaints or headaches (or your child may be skipping school altogether)
· be withdrawn in their behaviour
· have more bruises or scrapes than usual
· change their eating habits
· have torn clothes, school things that are broken or missing, or have “lost‟ money
· sleep badly
· be wetting the bed
· seem upset after using the internet or mobile, or change their behaviour – for example, no longer wanting to look at new text messages immediately and be secretive and unwilling to talk about their online activities and phone use.
There could be other reasons for these signs, so you need to ask yourself:
· Could there be anything else bothering your child?
· Could there be changes in your family life like a new baby, or divorce or separation that may be affecting your child's behaviour?
What to do
· Listen and talk to your child. They may feel the situation is beyond their control or feel ashamed – whether they are bullied or bullying. Let them know you love them and want to help. Praise your child for telling you.
· Most importantly, do not encourage your child to retaliate. This may result in your child being disciplined in the same way as the bully. It also appears to your child that violent or threatening behaviour is an acceptable way of solving problems: moreover retaliation can make bullying worse.
· Collect any evidence e.g. who did what, when, and what was said and done. Keep any text messages, emails or website comments.
· Help your child to develop coping strategies and help to build their self-confidence.
· Make sure your child knows they are not to blame.
· Keep normal boundaries at home.
· Try and fin out what is going on. Talk about friendship groups and behaviour within these groups. If your child talks of bullying, please keep a written record.
· Be clear that it is important for the bullying to stop and that for this to happen the school will need to be involved.
· Involve and consult your child in making a plan for what should be done and how to talk to school.
· Reassure your child that that the school will deal with the matter sensitively but firmly.
· Support your child. Do not seek conflict with the suspected bully or family. Use the school to help you.
How we respond in school
Bullying will be investigated and dealt with quickly, sensitively, fairly and firmly. Pupils can report it to any member of staff or a trusted friend, in the knowledge that it will be taken seriously and dealt with effectively.
The member of staff will:
· Talk to the child being bullied and ask them to write down (or scribe) what happened
· Talk to the child bullying and ask them to write down (or scribe) what happened
· Discuss the incident with Mrs Hornsey
· Complete an online record form using INTEGRIS – Mrs Appleyard will assist with this
· Decide on a suitable course of action for the child who has been bullying – following the school’s Behaviour Policy
· Support the child who has been bullied to build self-esteem