EBENEZER SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL
This behaviour policy document sets out policies and procedures to promote and reward good behaviour and together with the strong systems that are in place, make expectations clearer and to record, monitor and, where necessary, modify behaviour.
This does not mean that nobody ever behaves badly in our school, but it does mean that we do not tolerate poor behaviour and that, when it occurs, we respond strongly and consistently.
Systems are in place to ensure that all students, parents and staff are aware of our rules, procedures and expectations. Teaching the rules, alongside all the measures we take to encourage good behaviour, is important in creating an environment in which all students can thrive and progress.
Maintaining and further improving standards of behaviour in the school is always a key priority which is addressed in a variety of ways:
• In order to achieve good classroom behaviour, it is essential that lessons are well planned and well taught by suitably qualified staff and that they are appropriately resourced. This is the school’s prime focus and great energy; cost and strategic planning is committed to ensuring that it is successful.
• Outside lessons the school has adequate facilities in playing fields, e-libraries, and so forth to enable students to play and study. A range of extra-curricular opportunities is also provided to encourage positive and purposeful use of students’ free time.
• Strong systems for praise and rewards are in place in the school and are used to affirm good behaviour and to encourage its increase.
However, despite all of these measures to support and develop positive behaviour, there may be times when students let themselves down and fail to meet our standards. When this occurs, we have a duty to the whole school community to act promptly and fairly, to challenge the poor behaviour, to take steps to prevent its repetition and to ensure that the rule is strengthened rather than undermined by the breach.
This policy sets out our behaviour expectations and it describes the school’s procedures for managing behaviour and dealing with that which falls short of our required standard. In setting out our policy, we acknowledge our legal duties in respect of safeguarding and in respect of students with special educational needs.
At Ebenezer Senior High School (ESHS), we expect and require high standards of behaviour from our students at all times. We believe that effective teaching and learning can only take place in a disciplined, orderly and purposeful environment underpinned by respect for oneself
and for others. The school takes seriously its responsibility to encourage high standards of personal conduct and to create an inclusive and effective learning culture by:
• providing a happy, stimulating, caring and supportive environment that will enable each student to achieve their full potential;
• providing a safe environment; free from disruption, violence and all forms of bullying and harassment;
• promoting and reinforcing good behaviour and discipline
• promoting zero tolerance to all forms of anti-social behaviour
• promoting self-esteem, self-discipline, proper regard for authority and positive relationships based on mutual respect;
• ensuring equality and fairness of treatment for all;
• responding consistently to both positive and negative behaviour;
• promoting a culture of praise and encouragement in which all students can achieve;
• encouraging students to take responsibility for their actions;
• celebrating the diversity of our School community;
• promoting excellent attendance and punctuality;
• enlisting the active support of parents and old students in ensuring compliance with school rules, procedures and expectations.
CODE OF CONDUCT
The behaviour and safety of our students is of paramount importance to the staff and Governors of Ebenezer Senior High School. In order to ensure the effective running of the school and to deliver high standards of progress and attainment it is vital that all students feel secure and happy coming to school; that they are free from bullying and intimidation; and that learning is not hindered by poor behaviour.
In order to achieve and maintain this, it is necessary to have clear rules, expectations and procedures and to ensure that all students have written copies of these and receive frequent reminders about the required standards. All of our rules are detailed in school rule documents and are available on request and are also explained and re-enforced in lessons, registration sessions and assemblies.
We also require parental support for our policy and rules.
Positive behaviour is encouraged through our rewards system and through use of praise. Equally, all instances of poor behaviour are recorded on students’ behaviour records and are dealt with using sanctions as appropriate.
It is our strong belief that poor behaviour should never be tolerated, and that our effective response to minor misdemeanors ensures high standards overall and reduces the likelihood of more serious incidents.
There are four main rules which we expect all students to observe and memorise:
• Follow all instructions given by staff first time.
• Keep hands, feet, objects and inappropriate comments to yourself.
• Do all classwork, projects and homework, allow others to do theirs, and meet all deadlines.
• Be on time for class, be properly dressed and always have the right work and equipment with you.
These overarching rules are defined more precisely as follows:
Our rules apply to all students not only when they are on the premises but also on their way to and from school. When our students are outside school, they are ambassadors for Ebenezer Senior High School. Therefore, we will take action against any student who behaves in a way that brings the School into disrepute, irrespective of where and when such misbehaviour occurs.
- Students must be lined up in the designated area in the playground at 8:10 am every morning.
- Students must wear full school uniform not only in school but on their journey to and from school each day. Headscarves or head coverings must not be worn except for religious reasons. No hair accessories are permitted.
- No jewelry is permitted except a wristwatch and one plain small stud worn in each ear (for girls). No other visible body piercing or tattoo or any other body marks are allowed. Necklaces and bracelets must not be worn.
- False eyelashes and false nails are not permitted. Nail varnish must also not be worn. Excessively long natural nails are also not permitted for health and safety reasons.
- Excessive makeup is not permitted and staff have the right to ask students to remove any make up that they consider to be excessive.
- Students are not allowed to come into the school with a hair colour that is not their natural hair colour. Outlandish hair styles are not permitted.
- Face must be clean shaven. No facial hair, moustache, beard or sideburn is allowed.
- Mobile phones and other electronic devices are banned on school campus. Any such items will be confiscated for the duration of the length of a term and will only be returned following a meeting with a parent/guardian.
- Chewing gum is not permitted anywhere on the school campus.
- All students must carry a school bag large enough to carry A4 folders and books and must bring the correct equipment, kit and books for all lessons.
- Students are required to complete all classwork, projects and homework and must do so in a manner that does not disrupt the learning of others.
- Students should not leave the class during lessons without written permission from a member of staff or without an official authorisation slip.
- Students must not leave the school campus during the day (or re-enter the premises after leaving the school at the end of the school day) without the written permission from a senior member of staff and without signing out at the school office.
- Students must move around the school campus quietly, and purposefully, showing courtesy to others.
- When queuing for lessons, assembly, lunch or for any other reason students must do so in an orderly manner and must show respect and courtesy to all catering and other staff members.
- Students are not permitted to go home during the long break for lunch.
- No food or drink is to be consumed anywhere other than in the canteen, cafeteria, and designated areas of the campus.
- Students must respect their school campus and facilities at all times. It is not permissible to drop litter anywhere on the campus; nor to graffiti or otherwise de-face/damage school property.
- Active games must only be played in the designated areas of the playcampus.
- Students must enter and leave the school each day through only the designated gates. All other school gates must remain locked.
- Students are expected to go home promptly from the school each day and must have left the vicinity of the school and local shops by 18.00 GMT unless involved in organised, after-school activity. Students must not loiter on street corners or drop litter on the streets.
- Students are not permitted to return to the school campus (after they have left at the end of the school day), without the permission of a senior member of staff.
The further rules below should hardly need to be stated since they refer to behaviour that would be unacceptable in any school at any time. However, for clarity, it is important to list them.
- Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the school campus. Students must not smoke on their way to and from the school or at any other time while in school uniform or on journeys/outings.
- Students must not consume, be in possession of, or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances whilst on the school campus, or at any other time.
- Swearing, rudeness, using foul language or verbally abusing students or staff is totally unacceptable. Fighting or ‘play-fighting’ is not allowed under any circumstances.
- Students must not bring any unauthorised material to school, including plastics.
- Students must not engage in any behaviour that brings the school into disrepute or is at odds with the fundamental Ghanaian values.
- Rudeness and/or aggressive behaviour towards staff is unacceptable.
- It is an offence under the law to set off a fire alarm falsely. To do so endangers all school staff and students and could lead to injury or death.
- Under no circumstances are students to invite any member of the public into the school without first obtaining the permission of a senior member of staff and reporting to the school administration office.
- Students must not indulge in any behaviour of a sexual nature. This includes all forms of contact and communication. It is expressly forbidden for any student to bring any materials with sexual content onto the school campus, including having inappropriate content on phones or other electronic devices. Equally, it is forbidden to access any such materials from school via the Internet.
- Prohibited activities also include gang membership and association with gang members.
In addition to the rules above it is important to list the serious behaviour categories that could lead to a PERMANENT EXCLUSION, even for a first or one-off offence. They are:
• Carrying an offensive weapon, including any type of knife or gun.
• Possession of any article that has been or is likely to be used to commit an offence, cause personal injury or damage to property
• Handling, using or supplying (illegal) drugs, solvents or alcohol at any time
• Aggression / assault, intimidation or threatening behaviour towards staff
• Serious actual or threatened violence against another student
• Sexual harassment, online sexual abuse and sexual violence (including sexualised language) or possession/distribution of pornographic/obscene images
• Engaging in any type of behaviour or act that is designed to (or has the potential to) cause offence to others because of their disability, race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin), gender, sex, sexual orientation, religion or belief, disability or other protected characteristics
• Persistent defiant misbehaviour
• Engaging in behaviour which damages the reputation of the school
Please note that the above is not an exhaustive list
Students who are found to make malicious allegations or accusations against school staff can expect a strong disciplinary action against them, which could be a permanent exclusion.
• All students have a copy of the School Code of Conduct in their school diaries which they are required to carry at all times.
• All parents are required to confirm their support for the Code of Conduct by signing the Home/School Agreement in their child’s diary.
• All aspects of the Code of Conduct are taught and regularly re-enforced through lessons, registration sessions and assemblies.
The school will record and monitor positive and negative student behaviour and any rewards or sanctions applied. All incidents of positive behaviour leading to a reward and all incidents of poor behaviour will be recorded and thus form a behaviour record for each student at the school. These records will be available to staff to help design effective improvement measures. It also allows the school to provide parents with a comprehensive breakdown of each student’s positive and negative behaviour.
This ensures that the school authorities have a detailed awareness of standards of behaviour throughout the school and are able to shape positive developments in student and teacher performance.
Ebenezer Senior High School’s motto is “Semper Perstate” (translated “Always persevere”). This underpins the school’s approach to achieving academic excellence, but also to achieving high standards of behaviour through perseverance.
In every aspect of school life students are encouraged to show great effort and determination and are rewarded where appropriate.
Whilst taking all possible steps to promote good behaviour we re-state that unsatisfactory behaviour will not be tolerated or ignored at Ebenezer Senior High School.
All staff (not just teachers) have a responsibility to challenge inappropriate behaviour wherever they encounter it. This applies not only on the school campus but also on trips and visits.
Where such behaviour warrants a sanction the staff member concerned should ensure that the event is recorded and that a suitable sanction is imposed. Non-teaching staff should refer the matter to a member of the teaching staff for this to be done.
If a teacher considers that further action beyond their sanction may be required from a more senior member of staff, they must escalate the incident to a higher power in the school.
Staff are required to record all incidents of poor behaviour which lead to the imposition of a sanction, even if the sanction is only a ‘timely word’ or a ‘pep talk’. This includes failure to meet school expectations, such as completing homework or bringing correct equipment to school.
A range of sanctions are used by the school, most of which are self-explanatory and common in most schools. One or two, however, are described a little more fully. In applying our sanctions, we embrace the principles of restorative justice.
Our typical sanctions are:
• A verbal reprimand
• Phone call/letter home and/or meeting with parents/guardians
• Removal of student from classroom to another teacher’s classroom in the same subject – removing the student from the class to a colleague’s class to prevent further disruption. This is simply to allow the rest of the class to get on with the lesson and should also lead to a further sanction for the student concerned.
• Extra work or repeating unsatisfactory work until it meets the required standard
• The setting of written tasks as punishments, such as writing lines or an essay
• Loss of privileges – for instance the loss of a prized responsibility or not being able to participate in a non-uniform day, rewards trips etc.
• Missing break time (whilst allowing the student reasonable time to use the toilet)
• Detention including during lunch-time, after school
• School based community service such as picking up litter or weeding school campus; tidying a classroom; cleaning the washrooms, cleaning the gutters, helping clear up the canteen/cafeteria after meal times; or removing graffiti
• In more extreme cases, the principal may impose a suspension or permanent exclusion
• Any exclusion from our school will be carried out in line with the statutory guidance set out in the school rules/statutory guidance.
• Only the head teacher (principal) of the school can exclude a student and this must be on disciplinary campus.
• The behaviour of a student outside school can be considered campus for an exclusion.
• A student may be excluded for one or more fixed periods (up to a maximum of 45 school days in a single academic year), or permanently.
• A fixed-period exclusion does not have to be for a continuous period and can also be for parts of the school day. For example, if a student’s behaviour at lunchtime is disruptive, they may be excluded from the school premises for the duration of the lunchtime period.
• In exceptional cases, usually where further evidence has come to light, a further fixed-period exclusion may be issued to begin immediately after the first period ends; or a permanent exclusion may be issued to begin immediately after the end of the fixed period.
• Any decision of the school, including exclusion, must be made in line with the principles of administrative law, i.e., lawful; rational; reasonable; fair; and proportionate.
• The decision to exclude a student must be lawful, reasonable and fair. We have a statutory duty not to discriminate against students on the basis of protected characteristics, such as disability or race. We will give particular consideration to the fair treatment of students from groups who are vulnerable to exclusion.
• When establishing the facts in relation to an exclusion decision the head teacher must apply the civil standard of proof; i.e., ‘on the balance of probabilities’ it is more likely than not that a fact is true, rather than the criminal standard of ‘beyond reasonable doubt.’ This means that the head teacher should accept that something happened if it is more likely that it happened than that it did not happen.
• Under the Equality Act, schools must not discriminate against, harass or victimise students because of: sex; race; disability; religion or belief; sexual orientation; pregnancy/maternity; or gender reassignment. For disabled students, this includes
a duty to make disabled students, this includes a duty to make reasonable adjustments to policies and practices and the provision of auxiliary aids.
• We have the power to direct a student off-campus for education to improve their behaviour. A student can also transfer to another school as part of a ‘managed move’ where this occurs with the consent of the parties involved, including the parents and the admission authority of the school. However, the threat of exclusion will never be used to influence parents to remove their child from the school.
• The head teacher will only take a decision to permanently exclude a student:
• in response to a serious breach or persistent breaches of the school’s behaviour policy; and
• where allowing the student to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the student or others in the school.
Parents/Guardian have the right to appeal or make representations against exclusions as set out in the statutory guidance.
OFFCAMPUS PROVISION/MANAGED MOVE
• The school also has the power to direct a student off-campus for education to improve his or her behaviour. A student can also transfer to another school as part of a ‘managed move’ where this occurs with the consent of the parties involved, including the parents. However, the threat of exclusion will never be used to influence parents to remove their child from the school.
The school must review student behaviours and sanctions to enable them identify students whose behaviour is repeatedly poor.
As a result of these reviews the school may impose further sanctions. For example, this might include requiring parents/carers to attend a meeting at the school to address poor behaviour before it leads to exclusion. Another example might be to impose a longer detention for someone who has missed an earlier detention.
In some cases, where it is clear that poor behaviour is continuing despite sanctions, the school may determine that a student is ‘at risk of exclusion’. In such circumstances the advice of a school councilor must be sought or a Pastoral Support Plan must be put in place for the student concerned.
All students at risk of permanent exclusion from school will receive additional support to help improve and/or modify their behaviour. The exact nature of the support provided will vary depending on the individual needs of the students.
Students who are late to school receive some form of punishment like, weeding, cleaning washrooms, picking litter or even detention. We’ll endeavour to telephone parents to notify them of punishments for the more serious cases.
Items which are banned on school campus will be confiscated by staff. This includes:
o Clothing items which are not part of the school uniform
o Jewellery which does not comply with our rules
o Mobile phones and other such electronic devices
o Prohibited items such as alcohol, tobacco, e-cigarettes, vapes, lighters, matches, drugs, weapons, knives, stolen property, materials of a sexual or graphically violent nature, materials promoting unacceptable views such as racial hatred or views that are at odds with the fundamental Ghanaian values. This list is not exhaustive!
All confiscated items [except prohibited items], will be held for the duration of the length of a school term and only returned after a meeting with the parent/guardian.
Prohibited items are never returned to students and rarely to parents. In fact, it is illegal for a student to bring any of the prohibited items into school and we therefore refer such matters (weapons and knives and extreme or child pornography) to the police. Regardless of whether a case is referred to police the school will impose its own sanctions as appropriate as well as confiscating the prohibited item.
The school will routinely without advanced notice search for banned and prohibited items.
SEARCHING, SCREENING AND CONFISCATION
All searches, screening and confiscation will be carried out in line with the statutory guidance.
SEARCHING WITH CONSENT
• Staff can search students with their consent for any item which is banned by the school rules.
• There is no requirement to have formal written consent from the student for this sort of search – it is enough for the teacher to ask the student to turn out his or her pockets or for the teacher to search the student’s bag and for the student to agree. If the student refuses, the teacher can apply an appropriate sanction as set out elsewhere in this policy.
POWER TO SEARCH STUDENTS WITHOUT CONSENT
• Headteachers and staff authorised by them have a statutory power to search students or their possessions, without consent, where they have reasonable grounds for suspecting that the student may have a prohibited item. Prohibited items are:
o knives (including cutlasses) or weapons
o illegal drugs
o stolen items
o tobacco and cigarette papers
o pornographic images
o any article that the member of staff reasonably suspects has been, or is likely to be, used:
to commit an offence, or
to cause personal injury to, or damage to the property of, any person (including the student) or school property.
o Headteachers and authorised staff can also search for any item banned by the school rules which has been identified in the rules as an item which may be
searched for. These include: vapes, mobile phones, electronic devices, plastic bottles and plastic bags.
• Members of staff can use such force as is reasonable given the circumstances when conducting a search for knives or weapons, alcohol, illegal drugs, stolen items, tobacco and cigarette papers, fireworks, pornographic images or articles that have been or could be used to commit an offence or cause harm.
• There is no requirement for the principal to authorise staff in writing to carry out searches.
• Staff members can be authorised to search for some items, but not for others (e.g. to search for stolen property but not for knives).
• The principal can ask, but not require, a member of staff to carry out a search. The staff member has a right to refuse.
• The staff member must have reasonable campus for suspecting that a student may have in his or her possession a prohibited item. It is for the teacher to determine what constitutes reasonable campus for suspicion in each particular circumstance.
• Where the student is found not to have the suspected, prohibited item the decision to search remains valid since it hinges on grounds for suspicion rather than certainty of guilt.
• The staff member carrying out the search must be the same sex as the student being searched.
• There must be a witness (also a staff member) who, if at all possible, should be the same gender as the student being searched.
• It is permissible for the staff member who is not the same gender as the student to witness a search where there is no alternative (for example, on a trip or outing where there is only one male and one female teacher).
• The person conducting the search cannot require the student to remove any clothing other than outer clothing (i.e., clothing that is not worn next to the skin or immediately over a garment that is being worn as underwear).
• School staff can require students to undergo screening by a walk-through or hand- held metal detector (arch or wand) even if they do not suspect them of having a weapon and without their consent.
• If a student refuses to be screened, the school may refuse to have the student on the premises. This does not count as an exclusion, but as ‘unauthorised absence’. The student must comply with the rules and attend.
• Teachers have the legal power to issue detentions to students aged under 21.
• Parental consent is not required for detentions.
• When we impose a detention to be served after school, we will always prioritise the safety and wellbeing of the student. In this regard, we will always use our best endeavours to notify you of the detention using the contact details we have for you on record.
• Where a detention of longer than 20 minutes is to be served on the same day that it is imposed, we will endeavour to inform parents/carers, despite not being required to do so.
USE OF REASONABLE FORCE
• 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 students.
• Force is usually used either to control or restrain. This can range from guiding a student 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.
• ‘Reasonable in the circumstances’ means using no more force than is needed.
• The school does not require parental consent in order to use force on a student. Furthermore, the school does not have a ‘no contact’ policy.
• As mentioned above, schools generally use force to control students and to restrain them. Control means either passive physical contact, such as standing between students or blocking a student’s path, or active physical contact such as leading a student by the arm out of a classroom.
• Restraint means to hold back physically or to bring a student under control. It is typically used in more extreme circumstances, for example when two students are fighting and refuse to separate without physical intervention.
• Staff should always try to avoid acting in a way that might cause injury, but in extreme cases it may not always be possible to avoid injuring the student.
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 students 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 students from hurting themselves or others, from damaging property, or from causing disorder.
• In our school, force is used for two main purposes – to control students 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 would always depend on the individual circumstances.
WE WILL USE REASONABLE FORCE TO:
• remove disruptive students from the classroom where they have refused to follow an instruction to do so;
• prevent a student behaving in a way that disrupts a school event or a school trip or visit;
• prevent a student leaving the classroom, where allowing the student to leave would risk their safety or lead to behaviour that disrupts the behaviour of others;
• prevent a student from attacking a member of staff or another student, or to stop a fight in the playground; and
• restrain a student at risk of harming themselves through physical outbursts.
This is not an exhaustive list
WE CANNOT AND WE WILL NOT:
• use force as a punishment – it is always unlawful to use force as a punishment.
RECORDING AND REPORTING WHEN FORCE HAS BEEN USED ON A STUDENT
It should be remembered that staff should never strike students; nor should they use more force than is required to gain necessary compliance. In all circumstances where force is used, staff are required to:
• report the matter without undue delay to the head teacher. If reasonable force has been used by the principal, the matter should be referred to the chair of the school governing body, who will liaise with the appropriate bodies.
• record details of the incident, including the nature of the force used promptly.
Where appropriate and applicable the head teacher/chair of school board of governors may need to interview the member of staff and any witnesses if appropriate, including obtaining any CCTV footage if available.
Depending on the amount of force used, the head teacher/chair of school board of governors will make a determination about whether or not to contact the parent/guardian of the student as soon as possible.
SERIOUS DISCIPLINARY PROBLEMS IN LESSONS
No teacher at Ebenezer Senior High School should tolerate misbehaviour which disrupts the learning of others or which threatens the progress of the lesson.
Where serious misbehaviour occurs, which does threaten the progress of the lesson it is sometimes necessary to ask a student to leave the room. Under no circumstances should a disruptive student simply be told to leave the room without being given a specific place or person to go to and without being given a note to authorise their movement from the lesson.
Most commonly this will be managed by moving the student to the classroom of another colleague who is teaching the same subject and year group at the time. All departments have timetables in place to deal with such situations. In all cases where a student has had to be removed from the classroom, the original teacher must impose a further sanction (a detention, for example) and make a record.
Where, in more serious situations, it would not be appropriate to send a student from the room unaccompanied, or where assistance is needed in the classroom the teacher should call for their head of department, who in turn will notify the head teacher/or appropriate senior leader. The teacher should send another student (not involved in the misbehaviour) to get staff assistance. The teacher should not leave students unsupervised in the classroom in order to seek assistance.
At all times when dealing with serious disciplinary problems staff must prioritise their own safety and the safety of students.
Serious Disciplinary Problems Out of Lessons
All staff are expected to confront misbehaviour wherever in the school it occurs regardless of whether they are ‘on duty’ at the time. If a staff member encounters a serious disciplinary problem outside of the classroom similar principles apply to those described above. Staff should intervene to bring the behaviour under control and then either impose sanctions as described earlier or refer the student(s) concerned to a more appropriate member of staff for sanctioning.
Again, it will be a matter of judgement for the staff member to determine whether a student who has misbehaved can be sent unaccompanied to another member of staff or whether they should be attended.
In certain situations (for example where a number of students are misbehaving or where there is fighting or aggression) the teacher who encounters a situation may need assistance at the scene. In circumstances where misbehaviour is continuing or where there might be risk to any person or to property the teacher should avoid leaving the scene in order to seek assistance. It is always preferable to send a student (not involved in the misbehaviour) to seek staff assistance and for the staff member at the scene to monitor everything that happens even if they are unable or feel unsafe to bring the misbehaviour under control.
As already stated in this document (page 3; rule 2), all students must wear our full school uniform at all times in school and on their journey to and from school. The school policy makes it clear that ‘Teachers can discipline students for breaching the school’s rules on appearance or uniform. This should be carried out in accordance with the school’s published behaviour policy’.
• The principal, or a person authorised by the Principal, may ask a student to go home briefly to remedy a breach of the school’s rules on appearance or uniform. This is not a suspension but an authorised absence.
• However, if the student continues to breach uniform rules in such a way as to be sent home to avoid school, or takes longer than is strictly necessary to effect the change, the student’s absence may be counted as an unauthorised absence. In either case the student’s parents must be notified and the absence should be recorded.
• Persistent breaches of the school’s uniform rules will be treated as defiance and appropriate sanctions will be applied in line with our behaviour policy.
STUDENT ON STUDENT ABUSE
• The school places great importance on creating a safe, happy school environment in which all students are able to thrive. This can only be achieved by ensuring that student-on-student is not tolerated.
• All staff should be aware that students can abuse other students (often referred to as student-on-student abuse), and that it can happen both inside and outside of school and online. All staff should be clear as to our policy and procedures with regard to student-on-student abuse and the important role they have to play in preventing it and responding where they believe a student may be at risk from it.
• All staff should understand that even if there are no reports in our school, it does not mean it is not happening. It may be the case that it is just not being reported. As such it is important if staff have any concerns regarding student-on-student abuse they should speak to the head teacher or deputies.
• It is essential that all staff understand the importance of challenging inappropriate behaviours between students, many of which are listed below, that are abusive in nature. Downplaying certain behaviours, for example dismissing sexual harassment as “just banter”, “just having a laugh”, “part of growing up” or “boys being boys” can lead to a culture of unacceptable behaviours, an unsafe environment for students and in worst case scenarios a culture that normalises abuse leading to students accepting it as normal and not coming forward to report it.
student-on-student abuse is most likely to include, but may not be limited to:
bullying (including cyberbullying, prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying)
abuse in intimate personal relationships between students (sometimes known as ‘teenage relationship abuse’)
physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm (this may include an online element which facilitates, threatens and/or encourages physical abuse)
sexual violence, such as rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault; (this may include an online element which facilitates, threatens and/or encourages sexual violence)
sexual harassment, such as sexual comments, remarks, jokes and online sexual harassment, which may be standalone or part of a broader pattern of abuse
causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent, such as forcing someone to strip, touch themselves sexually, or to engage in sexual activity with a third party
consensual and non-consensual sharing of nude and semi-nude images and/or videos (also known as sexting or youth produced sexual imagery)
upskirting, which typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without their permission, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks to obtain sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress, or alarm, and
initiation/hazing type violence and rituals (this could include activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group and may also include an online element).
Bullying takes many forms and all of them are our concern. No student should suffer in silence; nor should they be afraid to report bullying for fear of reprisal. Staff are trained to be sensitive to disclosures of bullying and should ensure that victims of bullying are always supported.
Students have sometimes thought that bullying which occurs outside school, or which happens electronically (cyber-bullying using text messages, emails or social networks, for example) is not the school’s business. This is not the case. It certainly is our business and it is our job to help.
Sexual violence and sexual harassment
Sexual violence and sexual harassment can occur between two or more students of any age and sex, It can occur also through a group of students sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single student or group of students. Sexual violence and sexual harassment exist on a continuum and may overlap; they can occur online and face-to-face (both physically and verbally) and are never acceptable. Staff should be aware of the importance of:
• making clear that there is a zero-tolerance approach to sexual violence and sexual harassment, that it is never acceptable, and it will not be tolerated. It should never be passed off as “banter”, “just having a laugh”, “a part of growing up” or “boys being boys”. Failure to do so can lead to a culture of unacceptable behaviour, an unsafe environment and in worst case scenarios a culture that normalises abuse, leading to students accepting it as normal and not coming forward to report it.
• recognising, acknowledging, and understanding the scale of harassment and abuse and that even if there are no reports it does not mean it is not happening, it may be the case that it is just not being reported.
• challenging physical behaviour (potentially criminal in nature) such as grabbing bottoms, breasts and genitalia, pulling down trousers, flicking bras and lifting up skirts. Dismissing or tolerating such behaviours risks normalising them.
Students who are victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment wherever it happens, may find the experience stressful and distressing. This will, in all likelihood, adversely affect their educational attainment and will be exacerbated if the alleged perpetrator(s) attends the same school or college.
Whilst any report of sexual violence or sexual harassment should be taken seriously, staff should be aware it is more likely that girls will be the victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment and more likely it will be perpetrated by boys. Students with special educational needs and disabilities are also three times more likely to be abused than their peers.
Ultimately, it is essential that all victims are reassured that they are being taken seriously and that they will be supported and kept safe.
It is important that staff are aware of sexual violence and the fact students can, and sometimes do, abuse other students in this way and that it can happen both inside and outside of school/college. When referring to sexual violence in this policy, we do so in the context of student-on-student sexual violence.
When referring to sexual violence we mean:
Rape: A person (A) commits an offence of rape if: he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
Assault by Penetration: A person (A) commits an offence if: s/he intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of another person (B) with a part of her/his body or anything else, the penetration is sexual, B does not consent to the penetration and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
Sexual Assault: A person (A) commits an offence of sexual assault if: s/he intentionally touches another person (B), the touching is sexual, B does not consent to the touching and A does not reasonably believe that B consents. (Staff should be aware that sexual assault covers a very wide range of behaviour so a single act of kissing someone without consent, or touching someone’s bottom/breasts/genitalia without consent, can still constitute sexual assault.)
Causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent: Person (A)commits an offence if: s/he intentionally causes another person (B)to engage in an activity, the activity is sexual, B does not consent to engaging in the activity, and A does not reasonably believe that B consents. (NOTE–this could include forcing someone to strip, touch themselves sexually, or to engage in sexual activity with a third party.)
APPENDIX A: ANTI-BULLYING POLICY
Statement of intent
Ebenezer Senior High School is committed to ensuring that all students are able to learn in a supportive, caring and safe environment without the fear of being bullied. Bullying is an anti- social behaviour and affects everyone; it is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in Ebenezer Senior High School. If bullying does occur, all students should know who to tell and know that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively. We are a telling school.
What Is bullying?
“Bullying is deliberately hurtful behaviour repeated often over a period of time or on isolated occasions, where somebody deliberately intimidates or harasses another”.
Types of bullying
Bullying can be:
• Emotional – being unfriendly, excluding, tormenting (e.g., hiding books, threatening gestures, spreading rumours.)
• Physical – pushing, kicking, hitting, punching or any use of violence
• Racist – racial taunts, graffiti, gestures
• Sexual – unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments
• Homophobic – because of, or focusing on the issue of sexuality
• Verbal – name calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, teasing
• Cyber – all areas of internet, such as email & internet chat room misuse, mobile threats by text messaging & calls, misuse of associated technology, i.e., camera and video facilities
Why is it important to respond to bullying?
• Bullying hurts. No one deserves to be a victim of bullying. Everybody has the right to be treated with respect. Students who are bullying need to learn different ways of behaving.
• We at Ebenezer Senior High School have a responsibility to respond promptly and effectively to issues of bullying.
Aims of the policy
• To assist in creating an ethos in which attending school is a positive experience for all members of the school community.
• To make it clear that all forms of bullying are unacceptable at Ebenezer Senior High School.
• To enable everyone to feel safe while at school and encourage students to report incidences of bullying.
• To deal effectively with bullying.
• To support and protect targets of bullying and ensure they are listened to.
• 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 and other appropriate members of the school community.
• To ensure all members of the school community feel responsible for combating bullying.
Signs and symptoms of bullying
A student may indicate by signs or behaviour that they are being bullied. Adults should be aware of these possible signs and they should investigate if a student:
• is frightened of walking to or from school
• doesn’t want to go on the school / public bus
• begs to be driven to school
• changes their usual routine
• is unwilling to go to school (school phobic)
• begins to truant
• becomes withdrawn, anxious, or lacking in confidence
• starts stammering
• attempts or threatens suicide or runs away
• cries themselves to sleep at night or has nightmares
• feels ill in the morning
• begins to do poorly in school work
• comes home with clothes torn or books damaged
• has possessions which are damaged or ” go missing”
• asks for money or starts stealing money (to pay bully)
• has dinner or other monies continually “lost”
• has unexplained cuts or bruises
• comes home starving (money / lunch has been stolen)
• becomes aggressive, disruptive or unreasonable
• is bullying other children or siblings
• stops eating
• is frightened to say what’s wrong
• gives improbable excuses for any of the above
• is afraid to use the internet or mobile phone
• is nervous & jumpy when a cyber-message is received
These signs and behaviours could indicate other problems, but bullying should be considered a possibility and should be investigated
Prevention is clearly the strategy of choice. Bullying is often secret, rewarding and shameful and therefore it is difficult to deal with it after it occurs. We at Ebenezer Senior High School need to address prevention vigorously by a variety of techniques:
• At whole school level – through assemblies when students will be informed of the school’s zero-tolerance policy and the actions that will be taken to prevent bullying taking place. This issue will be raised regularly when the whole school will be informed of the progress of the anti-bullying policy and any changes which may be introduced. This time will also be used to challenge the notion that there can be innocent, neutral bystanders with regards to the issue of bullying.
• At classroom level – during lessons. Here the focus will be on developing strong anti-bullying messages and challenging the idea that bullying is acceptable as part of growing up.
• Ebenezer Senior High School recognises that there are particular times when students may be more vulnerable to bullying – lunch and break times and the beginning and end of the school day. Arrangements will be made to ensure that at such times there is adequate supervision available to reduce the risk of bullying incidents.
• There are locations around the school where incidents of bullying are more likely to occur and again arrangements will be made to ensure that these are properly supervised or students will be forbidden access to these areas.
• Students will have the opportunity for confidential/anonymous communications, e.g., questionnaires.
• The Student Council will set up and run an anti-bullying programmes.
• Mentors and mediators will be available for those students requiring extra support.
• Parents who believe their children are the victim of bullying should share their concerns with the school at the earliest opportunity and be prepared to work with school to keep their children safe in future. All expressions of concern will be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly.
Ebenezer Senior High School is firmly committed to working in partnership with parents and believes that the best outcomes emerge when professionals and parents/carers are able to work together when bullying occurs.
We recognise the important influence which parents/carers have on their children and would wish, using the school’s pastoral support plan, to enlist their support when their child is involved in bullying – either as victim or a perpetrator.
If a student is involved in a single serious incident of bullying or there is evidence that the same student is involved repeatedly in less serious incidents (either as a victim or a perpetrator) the school will inform parents and invite them to become involved in the management of the problem and the prevention of further incidents. Isolated and less serious incidents will be managed by school staff and parents will be informed.
All staff involved in the teaching and/or supervision of students will take responsibility for addressing incidents which fall with the school’s definition of bullying and ensure that the victim receives the support required; the bully is informed of the unacceptability of their behaviour and a record is made of the incident.
All students need to be aware that staff want to be informed of any incidents or concerns and that action will be taken when bullying is reported. We have posters around the school with names and photographs of staff that children can go and talk to.
The school will take firm and decisive action to deal with any incident of bullying which is witnessed by or reported to any member of staff. All incidents of bullying must be recorded.
Post incident responses for the target of bullying
When a member of staff receives information, either directly or indirectly, that a studdent may have been the victim of a bullying incident, this report will be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. A log of the incident will be made principal informed immediately.
The school will offer a proactive, sympathetic and supportive response to students who are the victims of bullying. The exact nature of the response will be determined by the particular student’s individual needs and may include:
• immediate action to stop the incident and secure the student’s safety
• positive reinforcement that reporting the incident was the correct thing to do
• reassurance that the victim is not responsible for the behaviour of the bully
• strategies to prevent further incidents
• sympathy and empathy
• assertiveness training
• extra supervision/monitoring
• creation of a support group
• peer mediation/peer mentoring
• informing/involving parents
• adult mediation between the perpetrator and the victim (provided this does not increase the victim’s vulnerability)
• arrangements to review progress
For the bully
Ebenezer Senior High School takes bullying behaviour very seriously and will adopt a supportive, pragmatic, problem-solving approach to enable bullies to behave in a more acceptable way.
We will respond to incidents of bullying behaviour in a proportionate way – the more serious the cause for concern, the more serious the response. When sanctions are felt to be necessary, they will be applied consistently and fairly. The following options will be considered:
• immediate action to stop an incident of bullying in progress
• engagement with the bully to reinforce the message that their behaviour is a breach of school rules and is unacceptable
• loss of lunch/break time privileges
• put on report/pastoral support plan
• removal from class/group
• withholding participation in extra-curricular sports or optional out of school activity
• parents informed
• counselling/instruction in alternative ways of behaving
• adult mediation between the perpetrator and the victim, where appropriate
• internal exclusion
• fixed periods of exclusion
• permanent exclusion
• rewards/positive reinforcement for students in order to promote change and bring unacceptable behaviour under control
• external training by appropriate bodies.
This policy will be evaluated annually and updated where necessary. The views of parents, students and staff will be used to make changes and improvements to the policy on an on-going basis.