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Anti-Bullying Policy

Anti-Bullying Policy

Issue 4

Policy details

  • Date created - September 2020
  • Date last reviewed - September 2023
  • Date approved - 28/09/2023
  • Next review date - September 2024
  • Policy owner - Nina Carter


Our mission at Co-op Academy Failsworth is to develop in our students a sense of pride in themselves, in the Academy and in their local community. It is also to provide an academically and physically challenging, high quality education within a caring, safe and stimulating environment where all members of our school community are equally valued and respected. All of this is built around the Co-operative values of; show you care, do what matters most, be yourself always and succeed together, as well as Government guidelines on Anti-Bullying.


This policy is to be read in conjunction with the Academy Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy and The Academy Behaviour Policy.

Co-op Academy Failsworth is committed to preventing all forms of child on child abuse including bullying. We will work hard to ensure that bullying plays no part in our school community by proactively working with all students, their families and staff to eradicate and promptly address all reported incidents.

Bullying is a form of anti-social behaviour that has no place in our school community. Bullying is aggressive or insulting behaviour by an individual or group, often repeated over a period of time, which intentionally hurts or harms. This includes all forms of online bullying. Bullying can produce feelings of powerlessness, isolation from others and undermine self-esteem. It can affect attitudes and performance in school. For some it can lead to serious and prolonged distress and long-term damage to social and emotional development.

Co-op Academy Failsworth intends to implement an Anti-bullying Policy that reflects the aims and policies of the DCSF reflected in, ‘Don’t Suffer in Silence’ an Anti-bullying pack for schools ( This complies with the Human Rights Act 1998, Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 and ‘Safe to Learn: Embedding Anti-Bullying work in Schools’ (2007). This Anti-bullying Policy also embeds the key concepts of the Anti-Discrimination Law meaning that staff must act to prevent discrimination, harassment and victimisation within a school.

This policy should be read in conjunction with the DfE guidance ‘Preventing and tackling Bullying – July 2017 Guidance and 'Keeping Children Safe in Education September 2023'.

Co-op Academy Failsworth sees the issue of bullying as a serious matter.


The purpose of this policy is to eliminate the incidence of bullying and create an environment where everyone feels safe, secure and respected. Co-op Academy of Failsworth will;

  • Ensure that a clear, consistent approach to dealing with all forms of bullying is adopted and regularly monitored.
  • Anti-bullying initiatives are an integral part of the Academy’s enrichment programme for all years.
  • Ensure all staff act upon any signs of bullying immediately.
  • Ensure the anti-bullying message remains high profile via assemblies, anti-bullying awareness weeks, workshops, student voice, displays and noticeboards.
  • Provide appropriate in-service training for all staff
  • Provide a physical environment which is closely supervised and where students feel safe and secure.
  • Enlist the help and active support of parents and outside agencies where required.
  • Ensure students have access to counsellors and services that work within the Academy, as well as additional interventions.
  • Ensure bullying is challenged and awareness is raised through assemblies, workshops, guest speakers and as part of dedicated lessons through our PSHE curriculum.

Bullying Defined

Bullying is the wilful, conscious desire to hurt, threaten, frighten or make someone feel uncomfortable over a period of time, where it is difficult for the person being bullied to defend themselves. It is distinct from random acts of aggression.

Bullying manifests itself in a number of ways

  • Physical e.g. assaulting a person or property or theft of a possession

  • Verbal, e.g. name-calling or teasing, racist or homophobic remarks or threatening language.
  • Indirect, damaging the reputation of the character of the victim or socially excluding them from games or conversation
  • Cyber-bullying e.g. using technology particularly mobile phones and the internet, deliberately to upset someone else

Bullying affects the ability of a student to fully participate in and enjoy Academy life and it is an equal opportunities issue as well as a disciplinary offence.

Bully – A person or group behaving in a way which might meet needs for status, material gain or group process and does not recognise or meet the needs and rights of the other people/person who are harmed by the behaviour.

Victim – A person or group that is harmed by the behaviour of others and who does not have the resources, status, skill or ability to counteract or stop the harmful behaviour.

Possible Signs of Bullying

Both teachers and parents are in a position to observe changes in the behaviour of a child, which may indicate that they are being subjected to bullying. What to look out for:

  • Damage to or losses of items of clothing, property, school work. If this occurs frequently then ask questions.

  • Are there signs of physical injuries, e.g. cuts, bruises, etc.?

  • Academic achievement is perceived to change in a negative way.

  • Playing truant or feigning illness or displaying a reluctance to attend the Academy. Be aware of children who register but fail to go to lessons.
  • A loss of weight or poor concentration.

  • An unhappy child who may not wish to go out at breaks or lunchtimes.

  • A child who threatens to self-harm.

  • Consider other behaviour patterns demonstrated by the victim, e.g. is the student conspicuously loud/quiet, is their behaviour appropriate when engaged in normal classroom interaction?

Dealing with Bullying

We will encourage students to report any incidents of bullying to a teacher or other adult in the Academy.

Bullying is unacceptable behaviour. Our Academy is committed to creating a safe environment where young people can learn and thrive, can talk about their worries, confident that an adult will listen and will offer help.

Pupils are taught to report any concerns in relation to bullying that they may witness or experience to any member of staff in the Academy. Staff will then respond to the incident as a safeguarding or child protection concern as highlighted in the Academy Safegaurding and Child Protection policy.

We will make it clear to students, staff, parents and governors that when bullying happens we will work as a school community in accordance with the policy set in this document to help both the people who are harmed and the perpetrators. We will ensure the safety of the victim and do our best to support improved behaviour from the perpetrator.

Parents/carers of both victim and perpetrator will be kept informed of our actions and follow-up procedures (see ‘Group Support’ approach below).

The Academy records all incidents of bullying and where required will refer incidents to the Police and/or Children’s Social Care.

Peer on Peer Abuse

We recognise that children and young people are capable of abusing their peers and that peer on peer abuse can manifest in many different ways, including on-line bullying, youth produced imagery (sexting), criminal and sexual exploitation, initiation/hazing and inappropriate harmful sexual behaviours. It is very clear that this abuse should always be treated seriously and never just ‘banter’ or a ‘part of growing up’. Any concerns around peer on peer abuse must be reported and recorded in line with the Child Protection and Safeguarding Procedures within the Academy. (Please refer to the Academy Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy).

Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic Bullying

Co-op Academy Failsworth will take an active approach to tackle all kinds of bullying, including homophobic and Biphobic bullying and will follow the guidance in the publication, Safe to Learn: Embedding AntiBullying Work in Schools - Preventing and Responding to Homophobic bullying in schools’. This policy should also be read in conjunction with the Coop Academies Trust Diversity and Inclusion Policy.

The Academy is committed to having a designated LGBT+ working party which encompasses dedicated members of staff. The Academy also works closely with the Proud Trust.

Homophobic and Biphobic bullying occurs when bullying is motivated by a prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, Questioning, Intersex and Asexual (LGBTQI) people and can be experienced by;

  • Young people who are or who are thought to be LGBT

  • Young people who are different in some way

  • Young people who have LGBT friends or family members

  • Teachers who may or may not be LGBT

The Academy recognises that homophobic and biphobic bullying looks like other bullying but may include;

  • Verbal abuse – including spreading rumours that someone is gay

  • Physical abuse – including hitting, punching, kicking, sexual assault and threatening behaviour

  • Cyber-bullying – using on-line spaces to spread rumors about someone or exclude them (This can include text messaging including picture and video messaging)

Staff will also challenge casual homophobic and biphobic language and will ensure anyone who makes persistent remarks is removed from the classroom and made to understand the consequences of their behaviour in terms of sanctions.

Transphobic bullying

Transphobic bullying stems from a hatred or fear of people who are transgender. ‘Transgender’ is an umbrella term that describes people whose sense of their gender or gender identity is seen as being different to typical gender norms. Transgender people commonly feel that their biological body is not aligned with their inner sense of gender identity. This leads some people to live in the gender role in which they feel more comfortable and which relates to their own sense of their gender identity rather than to their biological body. Where children and young people are perceived not to be conforming to the dominant gender roles that may be widely expected of them, the Academy will be alert for signs of bullying.

Transphobic bullying is commonly underpinned by sexist attitudes. Boys and girls may be equally affected.


An individual may also experience transphobic bullying as a result of perceptions that a parent, relative or other significant figure displays gender ‘variance’ or is transgender.

The need to address sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying will be viewed in the wider context of the Academy’s duty to implement the Gender Equality Duty (2007), to promote pupil well-being and to promote community cohesion.

We understand that sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying is fundamentally an issue of equality. Although girls are most frequently harmed by sexist and sexual bullying, both sexual and transphobic bullying may affect boys and girls. We will consider all pupils as potentially at risk of such bullying, particularly where they are perceived by others not to conform to dominant or stereotypical gender roles. The Academy is committed to respecting the views of students in accordance to their human rights.

The Academy will respond to and prevent this type of bullying by following the DFE Preventing and tackling Bullying July 2017 guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education 2023

Sexist bullying

This is bullying based on sexist attitudes that when expressed demean, intimidate or harm another person because of their sex or gender. These attitudes are commonly based around the assumption that women are subordinate to men, or are inferior. Sexist bullying may sometimes be characterised by inappropriate sexual behaviours.

Sexual bullying

This is bullying behaviour that has a specific sexual dimension or a sexual dynamic and it may be physical, verbal or non -verbal/psychological. Behaviours may involve suggestive sexual comments, including ‘sexting’ sexual bullying via a mobile device or innuendo including offensive comments about sexual reputation; or using sexual language that is designed to subordinate, humiliate or intimidate. It is also commonly Methods of dealing with bullying of this nature: under pinned by sexist attitudes or gender stereotypes.

The Academy will ensure that an appropriate Protective Curriculum is in place to educate and safeguard young people within the Academy about such issues.

We understand that sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying is fundamentally an issue of equality. Although girls are most frequently harmed by sexist and sexual bullying, both sexual and transphobic bullying may affect boys and girls. We will consider all pupils as potentially at risk of such bullying, particularly where they are perceived by others not to conform to dominant or stereotypical gender roles.

The Academy will respond to and prevent this type of bullying by following the DFE Preventing and tackling Bullying July 2017 guidance and following the DCSF, ’Guidance for Schools on Preventing and Responding to Sexist, Sexual and Transphobic Bullying’ (2009) which is part of the suite of documents that comprise ‘Safe to Learn: Embedding Anti-bullying Work in Schools’.

Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment between children

Sexual Violence and sexual harassment (unwanted conduct of a sexual nature that may occur on or off line) can occur between two children of any age and sex. It can also occur through a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children. Sexual violence can occur online and offline and in physical or verbal forms or both.

Upskirting typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without them knowing, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks to obtain sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm. This is a criminal offence and any incident of upskirting within the Academy will be reported to the police.

The Academy will take all forms of sexual violence and sexual harassment seriously. The Academy is

aware that some groups may also potentially be at more risk. Evidence shows that girls, children with SEND and LGBT are at a greater risk.

All staff should be aware of the importance of:

  • Making clear that sexual violence and sexual harassment is not acceptable, will never be tolerated and is not an inevitable part of growing up

  • Not tolerating of dismissing sexual violence or sexual harassment as banter, part of growing up, just have a ‘laugh’ or boys being boys.
  • Challenging behaviours (potentially criminal in nature) such as grabbing bottoms, breasts and genitalia, flicking bras and lifting up skirts. Dismissing or tolerating such behaviours risks normalising them.

Any reports of sexual violence will be referred by the Designated Safeguarding Lead to police/children’s social care. Any reports of Sexual Harassment will investigated on a case by case basis by Designated Safeguarding Leads and where necessary a referral to Children’s Social care/police will be made.

Designated Safeguarding Leads will ensure that the victim is safe and feels safe in the building by completing an immediate Risk and Needs Assessment (AIMS assessment) at all times taking into the consideration of the victim and how they want to proceed.

Any reports of upskirting will be referred by the Designated Safeguarding Lead to police/children’s social care.

Reference will be made to Keeping Children Safe in Education (September 2023) and The Brook Traffic Light Tool where required. The Academy Designated Safeguarding lead will also inform the Trust Regional Safeguarding Lead in all instances where an AIMS assessment is being undertaken.

Cyber bullying, bullying by text message and the Internet

The Academy will respond to and prevent this type of bullying by following the DFE Preventing and tackling bullying – July 2017 guidance and the DFE guidance ‘Cyber Bullying – Advice for Headteachers and School Staff (2014)

The Academy will promote and develop a culture of confident technology users, to support innovation, e safety and digital literacy skills. To raise awareness of and tackle cyber bullying staff will;

  • Ensure the whole Academy community understand and talk about cyber bullying

  • Ensure all policies and practices including Acceptable Use Policies are shared with all staff, students and parents/carers
  • Make reporting cyber bullying easier by providing and publicising different ways of reporting it

  • Promoting the positive use of technology including e-safety and digital literacy

Mobile phones are not permitted throughout the school day within the Academy. This is to support the culture of developing confident technology users who have a healthy approach to the use of social media.

Methods of dealing with online/cyber bullying of this nature:

  • Students will be warned about the need for care when giving out their mobile phone number or personal details online. This will be done through various channels throughout the school year, such as PHSE lessons, ICT lessons, assemblies, workshops, and pastoral communications with targeted pupils.
  • A record will be kept of the date and time of any offensive messages or conversations
  • Students will be encouraged to show any messages to a member of Academy staff
  • Students who report bullying by text message, social media sites or other e-methods will be taken seriously
  • The student’s family may need to contact the police if bullying is serious and if a potential criminal offence has been committed
  • If such bullying is carried out on a persistent basis or if there is threat of violence, it will be treated as any other serious bullying incident

  • Students who take photographs or videos on their phones with malicious intent will be dealt with in the same manner
  • The Academy will involve the Police and or Children’s Social Care in the investigation/ consequence process as appropriate.

Bullying around Race, Religion or Culture

We recognise our Academy needs to be a tolerant and diverse community where racism and bullying has no place. Every child deserves respect and a safe learning environment whatever their racial or religious background and every child needs to learn that modern British society values diversity and mutual respect. Where bullying of a racial, cultural or religious nature occurs, it will be taken very seriously and a clear consequence of sanctions applied.

The law recognises the seriousness of abuse and attacks that are motivated by racism. The Academy has a duty at law to promote race equality. Staff at the Academy are Prevent Trained and this is updated regularly, so that they are able to spot signs and respond appropriately in tackling any incidents of this kind. The Academy will refer where appropriate any incidents to police and/or Children’s Social Care, (Please refer to the Academy Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy)

The Academy will respond to and prevent this type of bullying by following the DFE Preventing and tackling bullying – July 2017 guidance and Revised Prevent Duty Guidance for England and Wales (April 2019)

Prevention Strategies

Staff Charter

Staff will not misuse a position of power to dominate the students in this Academy. We will avoid:

  • Sarcastic comments

  • Derogatory nicknames

  • Dominating and humiliating behaviour

We will listen to students when they are willing to talk about bullying. We will be sensitive to a student’s need for privacy and respect, encouraging the ethos of ‘it is safe to tell’. Staff will challenge all aspects of Bullying behaviour when they see it, hear it or suspect it. Staff will report all aspects of Bullying to the Designated Safeguarding staff through CPOMS. Staff will support the Behaviour and Exclusion Policy, and Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy at all times.

Student Anti Bullying Charter

Students will recognise each other’s rights to:

  • be physically safe;

  • keep own possessions and money;

  • be free of insult, derogatory terms and teasing;

  • be able to associate with other young people for companionship and friendship.

The culture of the Academy will encourage students to ensure the:

  • physical safety of others;

  • security of everyone’s personal possessions and money;

  • freedom from hurt by name-calling, teasing and inclusion of all students in play and learning activities.

Under pinning all of the above are the Coop Academy Values which thread through all aspects of Academy life. The values are;

  • Do What Matters Most
  • Be Yourself Always
  • Show you Care
  • Succeed Together

The Curriculum

We aim to make anti-bullying initiatives an integral part of the curriculum for all years, with dedicated lessons in Citizenship and PHSE. Where appropriate subject teachers encourage discussion, group work and cooperative learning to demonstrate the importance of bullying issues. We also raise pupil awareness and tolerance through assemblies, workshops, external programmes with external providers such as the Pride Trust, Stonewall and Anti Bullying Surveys.

The Academy is part of the Anti-Bullying Ambassador programme with key staff and students trained to deliver Anti-Bullying training and awareness workshops to staff and students. The Student Anti Bullying Ambassadors hold a key role in promoting pupil awareness and understanding on Anti-Bullying through assemblies, workshops and mentoring.

Dealing with bullying

All incidents of bullying will be taken seriously and dealt with as quickly as possible. Staff will do all they can to support the victims of bullying and make it clear to the bully that this behaviour is not acceptable.

In dealing with bullying, Academy staff will:

  1. Never ignore it.

  1. Not make premature assumptions.

  1. Listen to all accounts of the incident.

  1. Adopt a problem-solving approach that encourages students to find solutions rather than simply justify themselves.
  2. Make regular follow-up checks to ensure that bullying has not resumed.

  1. Ensure that all relevant personnel within school (e.g. Designated Safeguarding Lead, Head of Year, SENCO) have been informed.
  2. Record the incident promptly through CPOMS, as soon as practically possible after the incident, ideally within the day. It is also encouraged to speak directly with the member of staff you are reporting it too.
  3. Incidents will be reviewed to identify students, type, style and location of bullying. This will enable the Academy to identify patterns and to develop appropriate action plans.
  4. Punitive measures will be implemented as appropriate and in consultation with all parties concerned.

  1. Liaison with the Designated Safeguarding Lead to ensure there is targeted support to address the underlying issues.
  2. Opportunities for Restorative Justice will be provided where appropriate.

Procedure to support a student who alleges that they are being bullied

  1. Talk to the student away from other students, but with other staff close by.

  1. Listen to the student’s account of the incident.

  1. Reassure the student that reporting the bullying incident was the right thing to do.
  2. Make it clear to the student that she/he is not to blame for what has happened
  3. Ideally, allow the student to write a statement or make a note of what has been alleged to have happened.
  4. Explain that the student should report any further incidents to a teacher or other member of staff immediately.

Ask the student

  1. What happened?

  1. Whether or not this was the first incident, of not how many other incidents have there been.

  1. Who was involved?

  1. Where it happened?

  1. Who saw what happened (staff as well as students)?

  1. What the student had already done about it?

  1. Is there any additional evidence (e.g. mobile phone or social media records)?

The student should be given the time and appropriate accommodation to make a written statement which will then be jointly checked by the student and member of staff and where necessary amended to ensure clarity. This information must then be passed as soon as possible to the Head of Year dealing with teh incident, who will then liaise with the Designated Safeguarding Lead or Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead. The Academy will also speak to the accused pupil and any identified witnesses as soon as possible. They will also be asked to write a statement in relation to the incident/s. (it is recognised that some students will need assistance and additional support to write statements.)

If a member of staff has witnessed an incident, they will be asked to write the relevant details down as soon as possible and give these to the staff investigating.

Parents will also be contacted and be offered an opportunity to provide any evidence (if applicable).

In certain instances the Academy will also refer to the Police and/or Children’s Social Care.

Supporting students

Students who have been bullied

It is likely that pastoral staff will work with these students, but it is essential that the students are fully supported during this traumatic time through contacts with staff and with students.

The student’s own peers as well as the Anti-Bullying Ambassadors and Academy staff will have an important role in acting as mediators and the role of Restorative Justice is important in all parties moving forwards.

Students who have bullied others

It is important for the bully to receive counselling and/or support, to prevent further incidents. Often, bullies themselves have been victims. Usually a member of the pastoral team will carry out this role:

Talk to the student about how things are going, their progress and friends. Suggested areas for discussion include:

  1. Why they acted as they did.

  1. Bullying is wrong and makes others unhappy.

  1. Social skills and how to interact with others without bullying.

  1. Giving praise and encouragement for the times when she/he is being kind and considerate to others.

Parents/Carers should be informed about any incident.

If appropriate, there could be a meeting between the victim and the bully to enable the bully to apologise/explain why, e.g. in the process of restorative justice.

Reporting and recording incidents

Bearing in mind the seriousness of these incidents it is imperative that all incidents are:

  • Promptly dealt with

  • Reported promptly to the DSL or Pastoral Leader

  • Recorded or reported through CPOMS

Reinforcement of the Anti-Bullying Policy

This policy will be reinforced effectively across the Academy via the following:

  • The Code of Conduct and a copy of the Anti-Bullying guidelines will be displayed throughout the Academy

  • The curriculum will address the issues of bullying and self-esteem as part of a dedicated curriculum delivered through Citizenship and PSHE.
  • Assemblies will promote positive behaviour and respect

  • All staff will be made aware of the Anti-Bullying Policy

  • Anti-Bullying Ambassadors who act as student mentors to support and educate students.

Dealing with Persistent Bullying

If counselling and other preventative measures, such as peer support strategies do not succeed, persistent bullying will be dealt with under the Academy’s behaviour policy. The bully may for example:

  • Be removed from the group/class.

  • Be put in pastoral detention

  • Be banned from an Academy trip or other events where these are not an essential part of the curriculum.
  • Be placed in Internal Isolation

  • Be placed in external isolation at another Academy

  • Be placed in the Academy Hub provision for a fixed period of time

  • Be suspended for a fixed period

In the most serious cases, permanent exclusion may be considered if the bullying:

  • Involves serious actual or threatened violence against another student.

  • Amounts to persistent and defiant misbehaviour.

Document Change Log

Issue - Date

Reason for Change

1 - Sep 20

Introduction of Document Control

2 - Sep 21

Policy Updated

3 - Sep 22

Policy updated

4 - Sep 23

Policy update