The James Young High School (JYHS) is committed to providing a safe, caring environment in which everyone will be treated fairly and with respect.
In line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) Article 19, JYHS will do all we can to ensure that children are protected from all forms of violence, abuse and neglect. In line with Article 28 JYHS believe that education is the right of every child and will do all we can to ensure young people are able to receive that right.
In support of the aims of A Curriculum for Excellence, the Anti – Bullying Policy will be promoted within the school to encourage our young people to be Responsible Citizens. The school recognises that if pupils experience bullying behaviour, this could damage their opportunities to achieve the desired outcomes of becoming Successful Learners, Confident Individuals and Effective Contributors. Firm action will be taken against reported bullying behaviour. Bullying behaviour of any kind will NOT be tolerated at JYHS.
Speak about the problem – anyone who knows about bullying behaviour going on must be encouraged to report it to allow our school to promote good relationships and create an ethos in which this type of behaviour is considered unacceptable by all and will always be challenged.
The policy review began with a working party set up in January 2013. All stakeholders were consulted and involved in the review as follows:
- Two tutor groups per year group were asked to fill in questionnaires
- All other pupils were also given the opportunity to voluntarily fill in questionnaires
- All staff and parents were given the opportunity to fill in questionnaires which were available online and in paper format.
Reason for review
To update the current policy in line with revisions to the West Lothian Council Anti-Bullying Policy and the guidelines in ‘A National Approach to Anti-Bullying for Scotland’s Children and Young People’, published by the Scottish Government in 2010.
We have worked in partnership with respectme – Scotland’s Anti-Bullying Service on this policy review. We acknowledge the use of some content from their website and note that copyright remains with respectme.
What is bullying behaviour?
Definition of bullying behaviour: bullying behaviour is considered to be any behaviour which hurts another person physically or emotionally and makes them feel sad, scared or isolated. Bullying can be in many forms:
- Psychological – treating people in an unfriendly way, excluding people from groups, tormenting people, hiding or taking belongings, threatening gestures, trying to get people into trouble, written insults.
- Physical – pushing, kicking, hitting, punching, spitting, tripping up, etc.
- Racist – verbal taunts about a person’s race, religion or culture, graffiti, gestures.
- Prejudice based – any comment or action intended to taunt pupils because of difference, real or perceived, in their appearance, behaviour, personal circumstances or any other matter.
- Homophobic – any comment or action used in a derogatory manner regarding a person’s actual or perceived sexuality.
- Gender based – making fun of someone because they don’t conform to typical masculine or feminine stereotypes.
- Verbal – name calling, sarcasm, rumour spreading, teasing.
- Cyber – misuse of technology in a way that is hurtful to others. This includes threatening, insulting, excluding or tormenting people through chatrooms, social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter etc), e-mail, text messaging or telephone calls. It also includes using camera or video facilities to record and/or upload photos or footage without the permission of the people involved.
Any particularly serious case of physical bullying may need to be treated separately as assault, which is a criminal offence, sanctions for which are outwith the scope of this policy.
Officially, there is no such thing as “sexual bullying”. Any unwanted sexual attention or behaviour is defined as sexual harassment or sexual assault, and will be treated as such. These can be criminal offences, hence potential sanctions are outwith the scope of this policy.
Some key points to note about bullying behaviour
The behaviour does not have to be deliberate to be considered as bullying behaviour.
The behaviour does not have to happen repeatedly to be considered as bullying behaviour.
No-one deserves to experience bullying behaviour:
- It should not be dismissed as part of growing up.
- It can hurt emotionally as well as physically.
- It can have a long term effect, long after the actual bullying behaviour has stopped.
- It is not the person experiencing the bullying behaviour’s fault.
- Being different in any way is not a justification for someone to be picked on.
- It is the pupils who are displaying this bullying behaviour who need to change their behaviour, not the person experiencing the bullying behaviour.
- If someone witnesses bullying behaviour and does nothing they are hindering the person from receiving help.
What are the possible signs and symptoms that a pupil may be being bullied?
If a pupil displays any of the following behaviours or physical conditions, bullying is a possible cause of the problem and should therefore be investigated:
- Frightened of walking to or from school, catching the bus for school.
- Insists on being driven to school.
- Doesn’t want to actually go to school. Regularly complains of being unwell in the morning.
- Truants periods of the school day or the whole day.
- Suddenly lacks confidence, becomes anxious or starts stammering.
- Runs away.
- Upset at night time or has difficulty sleeping.
- Quality of school work deteriorates.
- Returns home with clothes torn or belongings damaged.
- Asks for more money than usual or steals money.
- Has unexplained cuts or bruises.
- Returns home hungry (may have had lunch money taken).
- Change in their personality – either becomes aggressive, disruptive, unreasonable, quiet, introverted or attention seeking.
- Demonstrates bullying behaviour towards other children or siblings.
- Nervous or anxious when a cyber message is received. Afraid to use the internet or their mobile phone.
- Gives improbable excuses for any of the above.
- Self harms.
- Threatens or attempts suicide.
What should a pupil do if they are experiencing bullying behaviour?
Never assume that people already know or can already see that bullying behaviour is happening.
Speak to someone.
Initially, this can be anyone the pupil feels comfortable talking to e.g. parents, friends, S6 buddies or any member of staff.
To ensure the bullying behaviour is then investigated and dealt with, it is important that the bullying is reported to the appropriate members of staff within the school. The main responsibility for investigating bullying behaviour lies with the Pupil Support Worker for each year group. All reports of bullying behaviour will be listened to and dealt with sensitively, with an appropriate degree of confidentiality. Pupil Support Workers can refer a situation on to the House Head, if they feel the severity of the matter requires further action.
Any bullying reported to any member of staff or an S6 buddy will be passed on to the relevant Pupil Support Worker. Bullying which has been reported to parents or friends has not yet been reported to the school, so it is important that somebody informs the school to allow action to be taken – this is everybody’s responsibility.
Action cannot be taken on bullying behaviour which has not been reported to the appropriate staff within the school. Bullying behaviour can also be reported to the school via the locked Anti Bullying Post Box in PSE Room 1. This is monitored by the Staff Anti-bullying Group who will refer matters to the appropriate pupil support staff. Pupils who are experiencing bullying behaviour, their parents or friends may also find the following organisations helpful:
Childline 0800 11 11
What will the school do when bullying behaviour is reported?
The safety of the person experiencing the bullying behaviour is the first priority. The member of staff to whom the bullying is reported will listen to the details of the situation and will check that the pupil feels safe to follow their normal school routine. If necessary, the pupil will be allowed to see the Pupil Support Worker for their year group as soon as possible.
Staff will use their personal judgement and, where appropriate, consultation with the pupils involved to determine whether the incident can be dealt with at the time or should be referred on to Pupil Support.
All reported bullying incidents will be logged on the SEEMiS referral system. All staff will be trained in the use of this referral system. All referred incidents will be investigated by the relevant Pupil Support Worker and/or House Head. Statements from all those involved will be taken. Support will be put in place for all parties involved, where this is considered necessary. This support may take the form of mediation*, counselling, anger management, peer mentoring or external agency help. This will continue for as long as it is considered necessary and appropriate by staff members, parents and the pupils involved.
Where appropriate, parents of all relevant parties will be informed of the incident and the measures put in place to support all involved. Police will be informed where necessary and will be involved in subsequent action. Pupils who continue to demonstrate bullying behaviour, after all support mechanisms have failed, will be issued a Formal Disciplinary Warning and may face exclusion from school.
*Mediation is when all parties meet with a member of staff and get the chance to discuss the incident(s) and come to a reasonable agreement on the best way forward for everyone involved.
How does the school monitor bullying in the long term?
Members of the staff Anti-bullying group routinely monitor bullying referrals on Seemis to ensure any long term trends are identified and can be acted upon. Statistics relating to the amount of reported bullying behaviour across the school will be shared with pupils at an assembly towards the end of the academic year.
What will the school be doing to prevent bullying behaviour?
All members of the school community will be vigilant and will take responsibility for challenging and reporting any bullying behaviour which they witness.
The Anti-Bullying Policy will be issued to all staff.
A condensed version of the Anti-bullying Policy will be in pupils’ homework diaries.
A staff training programme will take place to raise staff awareness of the vision and values of respectme – Scotland’s Anti-bullying organisation.
Assemblies twice per year will be used to remind pupils of the Anti-Bullying policy and to share statistics about reported bullying within the school.
Education about bullying behaviour will take place in PSE for all year groups
S6 buddies in S1 tutor groups will look out for signs of bullying behaviour, will support S1 pupils and will report concerns to the appropriate members of staff.