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All young people deserve to be able to come to school to learn in a safe and secure environment without others being unkind or bullying them. Staff and students within the Harlington School community work together to prevent and eradicate bullying and to support victims. Key to this are regular student voice conversations with different groups to review the effectiveness of anti-bullying strategies and to allow students to suggest other ways of providing support.
The most recent student voice information highlights that many students feel very comfortable reporting bullying issues to their pastoral support staff and feel confident that the staff will take the appropriate action to resolve the issue. However, there was a concern that not everyone would have the courage to go to their office to explain how they feel and that the “report bullying” email might be a little remote. The Student Leadership Group, led by the Head Boy / Head Girl Team, have established a drop-in service at break in the library every Tuesday and Thursday in the hope that victims of bullying will be encouraged to speak to trained students who can offer support and pass on information to staff.
The survey also indicates that the incidents of bullying experienced and seen at Harlington is lower than at students’ previous schools. However, many respondents cited “banter” that goes too far as being the cause of several victims feeling bullied. As a school we use assemblies and Personal Development lessons to proactively educate students about taking responsibility for what they say so that no-one gets hurt or upset.
With the increase in society’s use of technology in general and social media in particular, we have seen a significant increase in the number of cyber-bullying concerns. This is a particularly cowardly way of being unkind as, often, it is anonymous, other people can see it and join in and the victim finds it hard to find sanctuary from it. As a school we work hard to identify the protagonists so that robust punishments can be put in place, often working closely with the police.
The actions we take when there is a bullying issue include:
- A full investigation with statements from the victim, alleged bully and any other staff or students who may have witnessed the event(s).
- Support for the victim that is tailored to their needs and wishes.
- Significant punishment for anyone found to be bullying which will include detentions, internal exclusions and fixed term exclusions depending upon the circumstances.Support and education for the bullies to encourage them to reflect upon their behaviour and reasons for it
Additional information for parents can be found at https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/bullying-and-cyberbullying/keeping-children-safe/