Bullying is wrong and in recognition of this, we have robust measures in place, including an anti-bullying policy and strategy, to encourage good behaviour across the school and to prevent bullying in all its forms. The school aims to provide a safe, caring, inclusive and happy environment where there is mutual respect, an emphasis on good manners and understanding across the school community. All members of the school community are encouraged to develop into responsible citizens.
How we prevent bullying
Children bully for various reasons. It could be they want to be ‘in’ with a cool gang or that it feels like fun but they don’t realise how much it hurts. It could be that they dislike or are jealous of someone or that it makes them feel powerful or respected. Sometimes they feel it gets them what they want (sweets or money) or they are bullied themselves and are taking their hurt and anger out on someone who won’t fight back. It could also be that they are having problems in their lives that are making them feel bad.
There are ways of changing bullying behaviour by helping bullies to understand their victim’s feelings and the effect their behaviour has on them (developing their empathy, by teaching them to stand up to peer pressure and by giving them support to manage the problems they are facing in their own lives) – all of these things can change bullying behaviour for good.
At Town Farm Primary School, we aim to deal with the problem and try to stop the child from bullying altogether. As such, we work in partnership with parents, the school community and our Bully Busters to provide:
Parents are often surprised when schools don’t automatically exclude pupils who are bullying others. Of course, as parents, our first concern will always be for our own child’s safety and happiness so it is natural to ask why the school seems to want to work with their tormentors instead of getting rid of them.
There are many reasons. It is important to note that a number of children have been bullied, seen bullying and even bullied at some time. There is no evidence that children are born ‘bullies’ or ‘victims’ – they change roles according to where they are and who they are with. If schools simply move the problem children to another school, others will continue to suffer.
What can you do if you are being bullied?
We are committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all of our pupils so they can learn in a relaxed and secure atmosphere. Bullying of any kind is unacceptable at our school. If bullying does occur, all pupils should be able to tell and know that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively. We are a ‘TELLING’ school. This means that anyone, including a bystander, who knows that bullying is happening is expected to report the bullying incident at the earliest opportunity.
All children are taught the STOP, WALK and TALK method of informing the school about bullying. Any instances of bullying can be reported by a child, parent or trusted adult from the school community to the school through:
If you are told that your child is bullying others, stay calm. Don’t immediately dismiss the idea (‘what? My John – never!’) or rush into severe punishment. Try not to call your child a ‘bully’ (labels can stick) – we are all capable of inadvertently bullying at times.
Your child is not a monster! When you talk, stay calm and explain that you still love him/her and that it is simply the current behaviour that you do not like or approve of. Listen to what your child has to say and arrange to see the teacher.
Stay calm and listen to what the teacher has to say and then talk to your child about how the other person feels. The perpetrator rarely understands the extent to which the victim has been hurt and upset and is frightened by the bullying. Help your child to develop confidence and make friends and remember that people who are happy in themselves rarely feel the need to bully others.
When children who are being bullied are asked what they want to happen, they very rarely mention punishing the other child or revenge, they almost always say: ‘I just want it to stop’.
Maybe we should think the same way!
Childline – free 24-hour counselling service provided by the NSPCC for children and young people.
Kidscape – London-based charity focussing on children’s safety.
Bullying UK – UK charity to help pupils, parents and schools deal with bullying.