Anti-Bullying Policy







NEXT REVIEW September 2019

Policy Agreement

We, the Board of Trustees of Hebden Bridge School having considered and reviewed the attached policy, agree to accept all the Statements, Principles and Procedures as listed in the document.

Policy Ratified at Full Governors:                                           

Signed Anil Sarna____________              Signed Wendy Hollway
(Lead teacher)                                            (Chair of Trustees)
Date: 17/02/2016                                        Date: 17/02/2016

With ref to :Anti-bullying; Complaints Procedure; Discipline and Exclusions; Ex-offender; Health and Safety; Promoting Good Behaviour; Special Educational Needs, Safeguarding, Child protection.

Anti-Bullying Policy


This policy forms part of a series of policies whose purpose is to promote and protect pupils’ welfare throughout their education at Hebden Bridge School. Other policies, which should be read in conjunction with this policy, are those relating to (a) Child Protection and Safeguarding, (b) Health and Safety, (c) Health and Safety of Pupils on School Visits and (d) Promoting Good Behaviour, Discipline and Sanctions. The keynote of all these policies is that pupils will learn best in a safe and calm environment that is free from disruption and in which education is the primary focus.


Hebden Bridge School will not accept bullying in any of its forms. This policy exists to help prevent and combat bullying so far as is reasonably practicable promote welfare and allow all members of the school community to live as one together. Prevention of bullying comes first, followed by swift intervention to deal with any incidents that do occur.

What Is Meant By Bullying?

  • Bullying may be understood as the persistent or systematic use of superior strength or influence to intimidate another person (or persons) such that the repeated treatment received by that person (or persons) from the other (or others) causes, or is likely or intended to cause, hurt or harm. Such hurt or harm includes the physical, sexual, psychological and social (for example besmirching a person’s reputation).
  • It follows that bullying can take many forms besides the physical, including verbal, gestural, taking property belonging to another, and ‘cyber’ (the misuse of technology, e.g. texts, mobile phones, emails and the internet, including social networking sites, films and photographs), and can involve extortion, humiliation, spreading rumours and exclusion.
  • The intimidating treatment of a person on the basis of that person’s attachment to (or supposed attachment to) a particular group or sub-group is unacceptable. Such groups and sub-groups can be based, for instance, on sexual orientation, homophobia, race, age, gender, colour, culture, religion, other beliefs, particular learning needs [or ‘Special Educational Needs’], disability, physical appearance.
  • Overarching any such list, it is ostracism by identification with sub-groupings or ‘out groups’ that is unacceptable.
  • Whatever form bullying takes, the effect on its victim is the main concern. The School recognises, and tries to educate pupils about, the fine line that sometimes exists between what one party may regard as ‘harmless teasing’, a ‘joke’ or a ‘prank’ and what another may feel is genuinely hurtful and perceive as bullying, such as initiation ceremonies that might cause pain, anxiety or humiliation.
  • All forms of bullying should be treated seriously and dealt with appropriately.

Policy Aims

  • To create an environment that prevents bullying from occurring.
  • To prevent and/or deal with any behaviour that might constitute bullying.
  • To promote an awareness of the need to ensure everyone is entitled to live in the school community free from intimidation.
  • To respond to any incident of bullying in a reasonable, proportionate and consistent manner.
  • To safeguard and provide appropriate support to any pupil who has been the victim of bullying.
  • To apply measures (including disciplinary sanctions, in accordance with the School’s Discipline Policy), to any pupil who is found to be responsible for bullying, in addition to providing them with appropriate help and guidance on how they can take steps to repair the harm caused. While each case must be considered on its own terms, it should be noted that strong sanctions, including exclusion, may be appropriate in cases of severe and persistent bullying.

Prevention and Tackling of Bullying

  • The creation as the norm of an ethos of respectful behaviour in relation to other pupils and staff where staff model such behaviour at all times.
  • To promote a climate of openness (a) in which it is widely perceived as ‘right’ to report any instance of anyone being treated improperly by anyone else, (b) in which bullying specifically is understood to be unacceptable, and (c) which works on the twin principles that bullying thrives on secrecy and prevention is better than cure.
  • To provide and publicise a clear and effective reporting system for dealing with bullying and suspected bullying.
  • The provision of opportunities to discuss bullying by pupils and staff within the School’s PSHCE and pastoral programmes, assemblies, and curricular openings (e.g. through empathy work in History and English).
  • To incorporate anti-bullying in the induction of new staff.
  • To implement effective procedures, including supervision, to combat bullying at the times and places where it is most likely to occur, namely before formal school activities begin, during breaks both inside and outside, in school toilets and when travelling to and from school by bus.
  • To ensure that pupils are aware of the Anti-bullying Policy in particular through the information sheet for pupils.
  • To ensure, through vigilance and the education of pupils, that there are no ‘initiation ceremonies’.
  • To ensure that pupils are aware of the standards and expectations set by the School’s Student Acceptable ICT Use Policy (a copy of which is in every student’s Planner) regarding cyber activities (as defined above).
  • To provide opportunities for continuing professional development to staff, via Inset and other means, regarding their roles and responsibilities in preventing and responding to bullying.
  • To ensure that all pupils have access at all times to an adult in school to whom they may talk in confidence and know that that adult will deal with the matter urgently and with discretion.

To make pupils aware of National Anti Bullying Helpline:  0845 22 55 78 so the number is prominently displayed in and around the School.

To involve outside agencies with like  the police force for particularly acute cases of bullying.

  • To follow up every incident of bullying so as (a) to take any initial precautionary steps to ensure that a pupil who says (s)he has been bullied feels protected and reassured (b) to establish by investigation those facts which are knowable (c) to provide support for the victim and perpetrators, where bullying has indeed taken place (d) to ensure that false allegations are identified as such and dealt with appropriately and (e) to help prevent any recurrence of bullying where it has occurred.
  • To make clear to pupils and parents that bullying is unacceptable and that the School will not tolerate such behaviour.
  • To be aware that although bullying itself is not a specific criminal offence, it is important to bear in mind that some types of harassing or threatening behaviour – or communications – can amount to a criminal offence: for instance, under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, the Malicious Communications Act 1988, the Communications Act 2003 and the Public Order Act 1986. The School may seek assistance from the police in appropriate circumstances.

Reporting bullying

  • New pupils will be informed as to who they can report any incident of possible bullying. (Incidents may be reported from a variety of sources, parents, prefects, pupils and teaching, administrative or ancillary staff.)
  • Administrative and ancillary staff who receive a report of suspected bullying from a pupil or a parent must inform a member of staff; any a staff member or tutor should inform the lead teacher.
  • Following a report of possible bullying a suitable member of staff will investigate the incident in order to check the facts, assess its seriousness and decide how best to proceed. Consideration will be given, amongst others, to the following issues:
    • whether or not to contact parents, and at what stage
    • whether or not the matter should be brought to the attention of the School Meeting
    • if punishment is necessary, what sanction should be imposed. This punishment will always be proportionate and not oppressive

Examples of punishments (sometimes called ‘sanctions’) in order of seriousness include:

  • a telling-off
  • a letter home
  • removal from a class or group
  • detention
  • being sent home early
  • suspension for a day
  • suspension for a week
    • if the victim (or perpetrator) needs guidance, what advice will be appropriate
    • what, if any, follow-up work is required, and by whom it will be undertaken.
  • Written records of every investigation and any communication with parents should be kept in the pupils’ files. Attach proforma for recording incidents to the policy.

Register for recording bullying:

The Lead teacher keeps in School a central log of allegations and/or incidents of bullying to help any patterns to be identified and for internal review purposes and inspection, as required by the Chair of Trustees.

Monitoring the effectiveness of the policy

  • To review and update (as necessary) this policy and its procedures annually and to circulate a copy of any updated version of it to staff
  • To involve parents and guardians by making a copy of this policy available via the School’s website.
  • To seek feedback form children on the effectiveness of the policy via the School Meeting
  • To seek feed back form parents on the effectiveness of the policy through PT meetings and informal meetings.


Using Physical Force Advice from the DfE

This is non-statutory advice from the Department for Education. It is intended to provide clarification on the use of force to help school staff feel more confident about using this power when they feel it is necessary and to make clear the responsibilities of head teachers and governing bodies in respect of this power.

  • School staff have a power to use force and lawful use of the power will provide a defence to any related criminal prosecution or other legal action.
  • Suspension should not be an automatic response when a member of staff has been accused of using excessive force.
  • Senior school leaders should support their staff when they use this power.

“All schools” include Academies, Free Schools, independent schools and all types of maintained schools

What is reasonable force?

  1. The term‘ reasonable force’ covers the broad range of actions used by most teachers at some point in their career that involve a degree of physical contact with pupils.
  2. Force is usually used either to control or restrain. This can range from guiding a pupil to safety by the arm through to more extreme circumstances such as breaking up a fight or where a student needs to be restrained to prevent violence or injury.
  3. ‘Reasonable in the circumstances’ means using no more force than is needed.
  4. As mentioned  above, schools generally use force to control pupils and to restrain them. Control means either passive physical contact, such as standing between pupils or blocking a pupil’s path, or active physical contact such as leading a pupil by the arm out of a classroom.
  5. Restraint means to hold back physically or to bring a pupil under control. It is typically used in more extreme circumstances, for example when two pupils are fighting and refuse to separate without physical intervention.
  6. School staff should always try to avoid acting in away that might cause injury, but in extreme cases it may not always be possible to avoid injuring the pupil.

Who can use reasonable force

All members of school staff have a legal power to use reasonable force

  • This power applies to any member of staff at the school. It can also apply to people whom the headteacher has temporarily put in charge of pupils such as unpaid volunteers or parents accompanying students on a school organised visit.

When can reasonable force be used?

  • Reasonable force can be used to prevent pupils from hurting themselves or others, from damaging property, or from causing disorder.
  • In a school, force is used for two main purposes – to control pupils or to restrain them.
  • The decision on whether or not to physically intervene is down to the professional judgement of the staff member concerned and should always depend on the individual circumstances. Section 93, Education and Inspections Act 2006
  • The following list is not exhaustive but provides some examples of situations where reasonable force can and cannot be used.

Schools can use reasonable force to:

  • remove disruptive children from the classroom where they have refused to follow an instruction to do so;
  • prevent a pupil behaving in a way that disrupts a school event or a school trip or visit;
  • prevent a pupil leaving the classroom where allowing the pupil to leave would risk their safety or lead to behaviour that disrupts the behaviour of others;
  • prevent a pupil from attacking a member of staff or another pupil, or to stop a fight in the playground; and
  • restrain a pupil at risk of harming themselves through physical outbursts.

Schools cannot:

  • use force as a punishment – it is always unlawful to use force as a punishment.

Power to search pupils without consent

In addition to the general power to use reasonable force described above, head teachers and authorised staff can use such force as is reasonable given the circumstances to conduct a search for the following “prohibited items”

  • knives and weapons
  • alcohol
  • illegal drugs
  • stolen items
  • tobacco and cigarette papers
  • fireworks
  • pornographic images
  • any article that has been or is likely to be used to commit an offence, cause personal injury or damage to property.

Force cannot be used to search for items banned under the school rules. Section 550ZB(5) of the Education Act 1996

Separate guidance is available on the power to search without consent – see the ‘Further sources of information’ section for a link to this document.

Communicating the school’s approach to the use of force

  • Every school is required to have a behaviour policy and to make this policy known to staff, parents and pupils. The governing body should notify the head teacher that it expects the school behaviour policy to include the power to use reasonable force.
  • There is no requirement to have a policy on the use of force but it is good practice to set out, in the behaviour policy, the circumstances in which force might be used. For example, it could say that teachers will physically separate pupils found fighting or that if a pupil refuses to leave a room when instructed to do so, they will be physically removed.
  • Any policy on the use of reasonable force should acknowledge their legal duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled children and children with special educational needs (SEN).
  • Schools do not require parental consent to use force on a student.
  • Schools should not have a ‘no contact’ policy. There is a real risk that such a policy might place a member of staff in breach of their duty of care towards a pupil, or prevent them taking action needed to prevent a pupil causing harm.
  • By taking steps to ensure that staff, pupils and parents are clear about when force might be used, the school will reduce the likelihood of complaints being made when force has been used properly.

Using force

  • A panel of experts identified that certain restraint techniques presented an unacceptable risk when used on children and young people. The techniques in question are:
  • the ‘seated double embrace’ which involves two members of staff forcing a person into a sitting position and leaning them forward, while a third monitors breathing;
  • the ‘double basket-hold’ which involves holding a person’s arms across their chest; and
  • the ‘nose distraction technique’ which involves a sharp upward jab under the nose.

Physical Control in Care Medical Panel – 2008

Staff training

  • Schools need to take their own decisions about staff training. The head teacher should consider whether members of staff require any additional training to enable them to carry out their responsibilities and should consider the needs of the pupils when doing so.
  • Some local authorities provide advice and guidance to help schools to develop an appropriate training programme.


Telling parents when force has been used on their child

  • It is good practice for schools to speak to parents about serious incidents involving the use of force and to consider how best to record such serious incidents. It is up to schools to decide whether it is appropriate to report the use of force to parents
  • In deciding what is a serious incident, teachers should use their professional judgement and consider the:
    • pupil’s behaviour and level of risk presented at the time of the incident;
    • degree of force used;
    • effect on the pupil or member of staff; and
    • the child’s age.

What happens if a pupil complains when force is used on them?

  • All complaints about the use of force should be thoroughly, speedily and appropriately investigated.
  • Where a member of staff has acted within the law – that is, they have used reasonable force in order to prevent injury, damage to property or disorder – this will provide a defence to any criminal prosecution or other civil or public law action.
  • When a complaint is made the onus is on the person making the complaint to prove that his/her allegations are true – it is not for the member of staff to show that he/she has acted reasonably.
  • Suspension must not be an automatic response when a member of staff has been accused of using excessive force. Schools should refer to the “Dealing with Allegations of Abuse against Teachers and Other Staff” guidance (see the ‘Further sources of information’ section below) where an allegation of using excessive

References to parent or parents are to fathers as well as mothers, unless otherwise stated.

force is made against a teacher. This guidance makes clear that a person must not be suspended automatically, or without careful thought.

  • Schools must consider carefully whether the circumstances of the case warrant a person being suspended until the allegation is resolved or whether alternative arrangements are more appropriate.
  • If a decision is taken to suspend a teacher, the school should ensure that the teacher has access to a named contact who can provide support.
  • Governing bodies should always consider whether a teacher has acted within the law when reaching a decision on whether or not to take disciplinary action against the teacher.
  • As employers, schools and local authorities have a duty of care towards their employees. It is important that schools provide appropriate pastoral care to any member of staff who is subject to a formal allegation following a use of force incident.

What about other physical contact with pupils?

  • It is not illegal to touch a pupil. There are occasions when physical contact, other than reasonable force, with a pupil is proper and necessary.
  • Examples of where touching a pupil might be proper or necessary:
    • Holding the hand of the child at the front/back of the line when going to

assembly or when walking together around the school;

  • When comforting a distressed pupil;
  • When a pupil is being congratulated or praised;
  • To demonstrate how to use a musical instrument;
  • To demonstrate exercises or techniques during PE lessons or sports coaching; and
  • To give first aid.

 Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I’m worried that if I use force a pupil or parent could make a complaint against me. Am I protected?
Yes, if you have acted lawfully. If the force used is reasonable all staff will have a robust defence against any accusations.

Q: How do I know whether using a physical intervention is ‘reasonable’?
A: The decision on whether to physically intervene is down to the professional judgement of the teacher concerned. Whether the force used is reasonable will always depend on the particular circumstances of the case. The use of force is reasonable if it is proportionate to the consequences it is intended to prevent. This means the degree of force used should be no more than is needed to achieve the desired result. School staff should expect the full backing of their senior leadership team when they have used force.

Q: What about school trips?
The power may be used where the member of staff is lawfully in charge of the pupils, and this includes while on school trips.

Q: Can force be used on pupils with SEN or disabilities?
Yes, but the judgement on whether to use force should not only depend on the circumstances of the case but also on information and understanding of the needs of the pupil concerned.

Q: I’m a female teacher with a Year 10 class – there’s no way I’d want to restrain or try to control my pupils. Am I expected to do so?
There is a power, not a duty, to use force so members of staff have discretion whether or not to use it. However, teachers and other school staff have a duty of care towards their pupils and it might be argued that failing to take action (including a failure to use reasonable force) may in some circumstances breach that duty.

Q: Are there any circumstances in which a teacher can use physical force to punish a pupil?
No. It is always unlawful to use force as a punishment. This is because it would fall within the definition of corporal punishment, which is illegal.