Anti-Bullying Policy

Our anti-bullying policy says what is not acceptable behaviour and the process for reporting bullying. We also list our anti-bullying strategies.

Homefield College takes seriously its duty of care towards its students and residents (hereafter referred to as beneficiaries) with regard to bullying. Bullying, especially if left unaddressed, can have a devastating effect on individuals. It can be a barrier to their learning and have serious consequences for their mental health.

Many experts say (Preventing and Tackling Bullying. July 2017) that bullying involves an imbalance of power between the perpetrator and the victim. This could involve perpetrators of bullying having control over the relationship which makes it difficult for those they bully to defend themselves.

At Homefield we aim to foster caring relationships between all beneficiaries, treating one another with respect and where all members feel valued. Our duty of care includes protecting all beneficiaries from harm from bullying.

Purpose & Scope

  • To assist in creating an ethos in which attending college is a positive experience for all members of the college

  • To make it clear that all forms of bullying are unacceptable

  • To enable everyone to feel safe

  • Encourage everyone to report incidences of bullying

  • To deal effectively and timely with bullying

  • To support and protect victims of bullying and ensure they are heard

  • To help and support bullies to change their attitudes as well as their behaviour and understand why it needs to change

  • To liaise with parents / carers and other appropriate professionals to reduce bullying

  • To ensure that everyone at Homefield College feels responsible for combating bullying

Definitions of Bullying

‘Behaviour by an individual or group usually repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally.’ (Bullying Involving Children with Special Education Needs and Disabilities. Department for Children, Schools and Families 2008).

Beneficiaries can abuse other beneficiaries. This is generally referred to as peer-on-peer abuse and can take many forms. This can include (but is not limited to): bullying (including cyberbullying); sexual violence and sexual harassment; physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm; sexting and initiation/hazing type violence and rituals.

Examples of Bullying

Physical bullying

Causing physical harm:

  • Hitting

  • Kicking

  • Shaking

  • Biting

  • Spitting

  • Scratching

  • Hair pulling

  • Intentionally throwing objects at a beneficiary

Racist bullying

Any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.

This can be in the form of:

  • Verbal abuse, name calling, racist jokes, offensive mimicry

  • Physical threats or attacks

  • Bringing racist leaflets, comics or magazines

  • Inciting others to behave in a racist way

  • Racist graffiti or other written insults, even against food, music, dress or customs

  • Refusing to co-operate in work or play related to diversity

Sexual harassment

Examples of:

  • Sexual comments, remarks, jokes

  • Looks and comments about appearance

  • Inappropriate and uninvited touching

  • Brushing past someone

  • Up-skirting (which typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without them knowing)

  • Sexting (using social media to send sexual imagery or comments)

  • In its extreme form, sexual assault or rape

Sexual orientation and gender expression

This can happen even if beneficiaries are not part of the LGBTQIA+ community.

This can be in the form of:

  • Use of homophobic language

  • Looks and comments about sexual orientation or appearance

  • Name calling

  • Comments on appearance

Cyber-bullying

Using technology to intentionally upset another person.

  • Receiving threatening or disturbing messages or images

  • Having your account hacked – when someone else uses your password

Emotional bullying

Intentionally causing harm and covers many of the above forms of bullying.

  • Deliberately ignoring someone

  • Taunting – making fun of someone

  • Calling someone names

  • Gaslighting – actions to control and manipulating another person

  • Blackmailing – making someone do something they don’t want to do

  • Taking someone’s property

Code of Conduct

Beneficiaries must show appropriate behaviour towards their peers:

  • Show respect to other students, housemates, staff and visitors as well as members of the community

  • Be sensitive to others when they may be feeling vulnerable / sad

  • Be a part of the praise culture within the College

  • Take responsibility for their own behaviour

  • Report to staff any acts of bullying seen

  • Follow the College rules

College staff are role models to its beneficiaries and are expected to exemplify good conduct and follow this policy.

Procedures

Students reporting bullying

  • Tell staff, your family or somebody you trust what has happened straight away

  • Get away from the situation as quickly as possible

  • Do not blame yourself for what has happened

If you experience bullying by mobile phone text messages, e-mail or social media:

  • Block the bully

  • Keep any texts, emails, images

What happens next:

  • Staff will talk to you about what happened

  • Staff will put in place measures to stop the bullying

  • Although bullying does not break UK law an act of bullying might and you may be asked if you want to involve the police

Any bullying will be investigated following the Student Disciplinary Procedure and Policy

Note:

Where the young person is under 18:

  • Any incident of bullying will be discussed with the young person’s parents / guardians and parents / guardians will be consulted on action to be taken (for both victim and bully) and agreements made as to what action should be taken.

  • The Education Act 2011 amended the power in the Education Act 1996 to provide that when an electronic device, such as a mobile phone, has been seized by a member of staff who has been formally authorised by the Principal, that staff can examine data or files, and delete these, where there is good reason to do so. This power applies to all schools and colleges, and there is no need to have parental consent to search through a young person’s mobile phone.

Where the person is 18 or over:

  • Where the young person has ‘full capacity’, their decisions on sharing information will be respected, but the College does reserve the right to contact external bodies, such as social services and the police where we feel that the young person’s well-being is seriously at risk.

The College’s Search Policy needs to be followed by staff if they believe a student is carrying a prohibited item.

Parents / carers reporting bullying

If the person you are responsible for has been bullied or are bullying another person:

  • Contact the College

  • The College will ask for details about the incident(s) of bullying

  • Reassure the person that they have done the right thing in telling you

  • Explain that should any further incidents occur they should report them to a staff member immediately

  • The College will provide all beneficiaries with support

  • The College will not be able to discuss details with you about any other beneficiary

If the person you are responsible for is experiencing any form of electronic bullying:

  • Ensure the person is careful of whom they give their mobile phone number and e-mail address too

  • Where possible monitor internet use

  • Check exactly when a threatening message was sent

  • Where necessary report incidents to the college or the authorities

Staff responding to an act of bullying

  • Take immediate steps to intervene as needed, such as separating the beneficiaries

  • All staff are safeguarding trained and must report any concerns of abuse, including bullying, to a safeguarding officer in line with the college’s Safeguarding Policy.

Anti-bullying Strategies

Teaching beneficiaries about bullying needs to be pro-active and evident throughout the college.

The beneficiaries who attend college all have a communication difficulty of some kind. Some beneficiaries may use behaviours to convey a message rather than talking about an issue. Staff will need to report early any signs of possible abuse (such as changes in a student’s behaviour) and / or emerging conflicts between beneficiaries, in order for staff to support beneficiaries in recognising and making good choices, and avoiding acts of bullying.

The College adopts a range of strategies to prevent bullying, to raise awareness of bullying and to support victims and bullies.

  • Students supported to develop their communication

  • Learning strategies to manage their own behaviours

  • Respect and British Values taught throughout College activities

  • Students are taught about the consequences of specific actions, such as the law

  • Managers and staff lead by example

  • Personal and support tutorials given to all students weekly to give opportunities to raise any issues.

  • Residents meetings held weekly in the houses

  • Student Council debates issues that occur from student meetings which can include e-safety and any potential bullying issues

  • E-safety included in sessions

  • Parent / carer guidance

  • Specific relationship workshops for referred groups

  • Staff training in how to listen effectively through “Listen Link Learn” in Team Teach training

  • Autism trained staff

  • Speech and language therapy

  • Positive behaviour support plans

  • Inclusion team

  • Safeguarding training for all staff

  • Safeguarding Officers

Useful contacts

Monitoring

This policy will be evaluated and updated where necessary annually or after any serious incidences of bullying.  The views of our students and staff will be used to make changes and improvements to the policy on an ongoing basis as appropriate.

Links with Other Policies

Last updated: May 2021
Staff Responsible: Head of Curriculum & Quality