What is bullying?


At the Heys School, we define bullying as:


The repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power. It can happen face to face or online.”


Learning to understand and manage conflict is an important part of growing up. However, bullying is not simply a ‘falling out’. Research shows that experiencing bullying can have a significant impact on a child’s life well into adulthood. To ensure we are able to prevent bullying, act quickly when it takes place and avoid misidentifying bullying, everyone who belongs to our community has to have a shared definition of bullying.

The Heys School has a zero tolerance approach to bullying and encourages compassionate behaviour.  The aim of our anti-bullying policy is to clarify for students and staff that bullying is always unacceptable. We aim to create an environment where everyone is welcome and where  tolerance and respect, including respect for difference and diversity, are promoted.  Every student and member of staff has the right to be safe and happy in school, and the right to be protected when they are feeling vulnerable.

What is bullying behaviour?

Bullying behaviour can be:

  • Physical – pushing, poking, kicking, hitting, biting, pinching etc.
  • Verbal  – name calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, threats, teasing, belittling.
  • Emotional – isolating others, tormenting, hiding books, threatening gestures,  ridicule, humiliation, intimidating, excluding, manipulation and coercion.
  • Sexual – unwanted physical contact, inappropriate touching, abusive comments, homophobic abuse, exposure to inappropriate films etc.
  • Online /cyber – posting on social media, sharing photos, sending nasty text messages, social exclusion
  • Indirect – Can include the exploitation of individuals.

Banter or bullying?

Banter and bullying regularly get confused. However, it is important that children understand where to draw the line between acceptable language and unacceptable language and to recognise if and when banter goes too far?

What is online bullying?

Online bullying (often referred to as cyberbullying) is any form of bullying that is carried out through the use of electronic media devices, such as computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, or gaming consoles.

What makes online bullying different?

We know there is a strong link between online bullying and face to face bullying. Research has shown that 80% of victims of online bullying were also bullied face to face.

Bullying is far more wide spread now it is online – it doesn’t just happen in school. It affects your social life. Your social life is online. How many people like your status or your picture. Social pressures are just made worse.  People who cyberbully often don’t see the reaction of those experiencing it so it can sometimes be harder for them to see the impact of their actions

What does online (cyber) bullying look like?

Online or cyberbullying behaviours can include:

  • sending threatening or abusive text messages
  • creating and sharing embarrassing images or videos
  • trolling – the sending of menacing or upsetting messages on social networks, chat rooms or online games
  • excluding children from online games, activities or friendship groups
  • shaming someone online
  • setting up hate sites or groups about a particular child
  • encouraging young people to self-harm
  • voting for or against someone in an abusive poll
  • creating fake accounts, hijacking or stealing online identities to embarrass a young person or cause trouble using their name
  • sending explicit messages, also known as sexting
  • pressuring children into sending sexual images or engaging in sexual conversations.

We encourage students at the Heys School not to be “bystanders”

This short video shows can you how to be an “upstander”, not a “bystander”.

Video link:

What to do if you think you are being bullied?

If you think you might be the victim of bullying, please speak to your year team immediately. You can go to see them, email them or send them an Impero Confide message alert from any computer in school.

 For online support, we recommend the following websites:

Young Minds: