FINDING YOURSELF A VICTIM OF BULLYING IS A TERRIBLE ORDEAL – IT IS AT TIMES MADE WORSE BY THE FACT THAT IT IS UNEXPLAINABLE. VICTIMS DO NOT ALWAYS KNOW THAT THEY ARE BEING BULLIED DUE TO ITS SUBTLETY. THE RESPONSIBILITY OF STAFF HOWEVER IS TO RECOGNISE SIGNS OF BULLYING WHICH IS ESSENTIALLY ABUSE. ONCE IT IS RECOGNISED IT CANNOT BE IGNORED. THE RESPONSIBILITY OF EVERY MEMBER OF STAFF IS TO PROTECT THE WELFARE OF STUDENTS – THIS MEANS MAKING THEIR ENVIRONMENT SAFE AND AS HAPPY AS POSSIBLE.
The first point of contact for students who are victims of bullying is the From Tutor. They also have an Anti Bullying Prefect/Ambassador whose role is to support and guide. Students need to know that they are not alone and that support is available when they want it.
The action to be taken when bullying is made aware will depend on the form in which bullying took place. It is sometimes possible to resolve issues through dialogue and this is sometimes resolved through Anti Bullying Prefects. The information collected from Prefects must be given to Form Tutors (unless a complaint is against them In this case the information should be made available to the CPO or Head Teacher). In some cases the acts of bullying will have to be directed to the Head Teacher who will work alongside the CPO to deal with issues in the best possible way. Parents will have to informed of the situation so the school is supported with its handling of serious concerns.
The Form Tutor
The relationship between a student and their Form Tutor must be positive. They are their mentors, first point of contact and support system within the school. If a student makes the Form Tutor aware of bullying and thy deem it practical resolve by
themselves they are able to do so but the allegation and action taken must be documented in the ‘record of suspected bullying form’.
This will be passed onto the CPO who will overlook the case if necessary. The situation will also be monitored. If a serious case of bullying cannot be resolved by a Form Tutor it must be directed to the CPO who will make a decision on how to progress. Students must be made aware of the severity of bullying and that consequences so include the involvement of external agencies such as the police.
The Anti Bullying Prefect/Ambassador
Incidents between friends can sometimes get out of control and in order to resolve it, it can be best to allow someone amongst the student to deal with it. Involving staff can sometimes turn a bad situation even worse so it is important to assess situations before taking action.
The Prefects must be made aware that the information they receive about bullying cannot be confidential – they must inform their Form Tutor, the CPO or the Head Teacher. It will be a great emotional and psychological burden for a student to carry the information.
The School Council are important representatives of the students. It is important for them to recognise that their role is to represent issues of the students. They are providing a service to their classes which will make communication of sensitive issues easier to share. They must however also understand that information which demonstrates bullying must be passed onto a member of staff, CPO or Head Teacher.
Child Protection Officer (CPO)
The CPO alongside the Head Teacher is responsible for safeguarding the welfare of students. They must make themselves available to students so that students feel comfortable approaching them with issues which they require support with.
The CPO will need to consider the best course of action when dealing with issues of bullying but situations which cannot be dealt with by a Form Tutor must be made aware of to parents. It is possible that parents will be in a position to discuss behaviour and help to resolve issues. If however a situation cannot be dealt with by dialogue and threatening or violent behaviour is concerned then it maybe necessary to contact external agencies i.e the police.
The fact that both the bully and their victims are children and most therefore be dealt with carefully and patiently. Words which will case harm to either must be avoided.
The intention is always to keep a situation as amicable as possible. In conjunction with Islamic practises maintaining dialogue through use of a mediator is good practise. The handling of cases of bullying are influenced by the SMSC Department as it is important to reflect Islamic ethos through practises especially those that involve children.
All conversations with children must be documented through use of the ‘record of suspected bullying form’.
Any contact including calls made to parents must be documented. It is important for formal correspondence to take place in the form of written letters – a copy of which must remain the school. If a decision is made in the form of a consequence and parents are unhappy with the decision they are entitled to appeal. They are to be given a ‘Form of Appeal’ which will be made available to Governors. The decision to support or over-rule an action will depend entirely on their findings.