Star of the Sea B.N.S : ANTI BULLYING POLICY
1. In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the Code of Behaviour guidelines issued by the NEWB, the Board of Management of Star of the Sea B.N.S has adopted the following anti-bullying policy within the framework of the school’s overall Code of Behaviour. This policy fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools which were published in September 2013.
2. The Board of Management recognises the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact that it can have on the lives of pupils and is therefore fully committed to the following key principles of best practice in preventing and tackling bullying behaviour:
- A positive school culture and climate which-
* is welcoming of difference and diversity and is based on inclusivity;
* encourages pupils to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour
in a non- threatening environment; and
* promotes respectful relationships across the school community;
- Effective leadership;
- A school-wide approach;
- A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact;
- Implementation of education and prevention strategies (including awareness raising measures) that-
* build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils; and
* explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying
including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying
- Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils;
- Supports for staff;
- Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies); and
- On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy
Appendix 1: Key elements of a positive school culture and climate
3. In accordance with the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-
Primary Schools bullying is defined as follows:
Bullying is unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical conducted, by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time.
The following types of bullying behaviour are included in the definition of bullying:
*deliberate exclusion, malicious gossip and other forms of relational bullying,
* identity-based bullying such as homophobic bullying, racist bullying, bullying based on a person’s membership of the Traveller community and bullying of those with disabilities or special educational needs.
* persistent mimicking and impersonating of peers
Isolated or once-off incidents of intentional negative behaviour, including a once-off offensive or hurtful text message or other private messaging, do not fall within the definition of bullying and will be dealt with, as appropriate, in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour.
However, in the context of this policy, placing a once-off offensive or hurtful public message, image or statement on a social network site or other public forum where that message, image or statement can be viewed and/or repeated by other people will be regarded as bullying behaviour.
Negative behaviour that does not meet this definition of bullying will be dealt with in accordance with the school’s Code of Behaviour.
Appendix 2: Examples of bullying behaviours.
4. The relevant teacher for investigating and dealing with bullying is the class teacher.
A pupil or parent may bring a bullying concern to any teacher in the school. Individual teachers must take appropriate measures regarding reports of bullying behaviour in accordance with our school’s anti-bullying policy.
5. The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber- bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying) that will be used by the school are as follows:
* Build a positive school culture and climate- see Appendix 3 attached
* Teaching the Social, Personal, Health Education curriculum( to include Walk Tall. Stay Safe , Human Rights Education, R.S.E programmes) in all classes is an effective resource which includes prevention and awareness raising measures across all aspects of bullying and involves strategies to engage pupils in addressing problems when they arise. In particular, such strategies build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils and provide pupils with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self-worth.
* Awareness raising and training on all aspects of bullying, to include pupils, parents/guardians, teachers and the wider school community
* Give pupils opportunities to talk about bullying in general e.g., Circle Time.
* Use of posters to stimulate discussion, involvement in poster design and display can assist in preventing bullying.
* Use drama or role-play about bullying.
* Friendship Week : Friendship week is held annually and promotes the themes of friendship, inclusion, communication and co-operation. These themes are explored on a whole-school basis. Anti-bullying behaviours and friendship skills are highlighted and discussed in class and at assembly. School councillors visit classes to play co-operative games and to discuss how to be a ‘good friend’ with their peers.
* School Council: School council representatives are elected in each class from 1st – 6th. The school councillors are elected to represent the views of all pupils to improve the school. Prior to School Council meetings each class has a discussion about the issues to be brought before the council. Pupils are encouraged to make suggestions for improving the school which may involve addressing any concerns they may have in relation to play, bullying and pupil relations.
* School Assembly: Regular reminders of the school rules and our poem on the theme of respect and inclusivity -“I’m important”.
* Guest Speakers and workshops for pupils, parents and teachers
* Class Contract
* Christian Name Only (name-calling prevention)
The best way to address cyber-bullying is to prevent it happening in the first place. Prevention and any awareness raising measures will focus on educating pupils on appropriate online behaviour, how to stay safe while on-line and also on developing a culture of reporting any concerns about cyber-bullying.
Appendix 4: Education and prevention strategies
Measures which may assist in highlighting awareness:
- Ask pupils to write anonymously about bullying and what should be done about it.
- Ask pupils to write about (or draw a plan of) areas of the school which are safe or unsafe and what should be done about this.
- Carry out a questionnaire survey.
The School’s procedures for investigating and dealing with Bullying
6. The school’s procedures for investigation, follow-up and recording of bullying behaviour and the established intervention strategies used by the school for dealing with cases of bullying behaviour are as follows:
(i) The primary aim for the teacher in investigating and dealing with bullying is to resolve any issues and to restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved (rather than to apportion blame);
(ii) In investigating and dealing with bullying, the teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved;
(iii) All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying will be investigated and dealt with by the teacher. In this way pupils will gain confidence in ‘telling’. This confidence factor is of vital importance. Pupils will be made aware that when they report incidents of bullying they are not considered to be telling tales but are behaving responsibly;
(iv) Non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs), caretakers, cleaners will be encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher;
(v) Parents and pupils are required to co-operate with any investigation and assist the school in resolving any issues and restoring, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved as quickly as possible;
(vi) It is very important that all involved (including each set of pupils and parents) will be informed and understand the above approach from the outset;
(vii) Teachers should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying behaviour reported by pupils, staff or parents;
(viii) Incidents are generally best investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved;
(ix) All interviews should be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all pupils concerned. Pupils who are not directly involved can also provide very useful information in this way;
(x) When analysing incidents of bullying behaviour, the teacher should seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why. This should be done in a calm manner, setting an example in dealing effectively with a conflict in a non-aggressive manner;
(xi) If a group is involved, each member may be interviewed individually at first. Thereafter, all those involved should be met as a group. At the group meeting, each member should be asked for his/her account of what happened to ensure that everyone in the group is clear about each other’s statements;
(xii) Each member of a group should be supported through the possible pressures that they may face them from the other members of the group after interview by the teacher;
(xiii) It may also be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident(s);
(xiv) In cases where it has been determined by the teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred, the parents of the parties involved should be contacted at an early stage to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken . See sanctions (refer to Code of Behaviour).
The school will give parents an opportunity of discussing ways in which they can reinforce or support the actions being taken by the school and the supports for their pupils;
(xv) Where the teacher has determined that a pupil has been engaged in bullying behaviour, it will be made clear to him/her how he/she is in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy and efforts will be made to try to get him/her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied;
(xvi) It will also be made clear to all involved (each set of pupils and parents) that in any situation where disciplinary sanctions are required, this is a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, his or her parents and the school;
(xvii) Follow-up meetings with the relevant parties involved will be arranged separately with a view to possibly bringing them together at a later date if the pupil who has been bullied is ready and agreeable. This can have a therapeutic effect;
(xviii) In cases where the relevant teacher considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour has occurred, it must be recorded by the relevant teacher in the recording template at Appendix 5 (attached)
In determining whether a bullying case has been adequately and appropriately addressed the teacher must, as part of his/her professional judgement, take the following factors into account:
* Whether the bullying behaviour has ceased;
* Whether any issues between the parties have been resolved as far as is practicable;
* Whether the relationships between the parties have been restored as far as is practicable; and
* Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parents or the school Principal or Deputy Principal;
(xx) Where a parent is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parents must be referred, as appropriate, to the school’s complaints procedures;
(xxi) In the event that a parent has exhausted the school’s complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school must advise the parents of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.
Procedures for recording bullying behaviour :
The Board of Management will ensure that the school has clear procedures for the formal noting and reporting of bullying behaviour and are documented in the school’s anti-bullying policy. All records will be maintained in accordance with relevant data protection legislation. The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour will adhere to the following:
(i) While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the teacher, the teacher will use his/her professional judgement in relation to the records to be kept of these reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same;
(ii) If it is established by the teacher that bullying has occurred, the teacher must keep appropriate written records which will assist his/her efforts to resolve the issues and restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved.
(iii) The teacher must use the recording template at Appendix 5 to record the bullying behaviour in the following circumstances:
a) in cases where he/she considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour occurred; and
b) where the school has decided as part of its anti-bullying policy that in certain circumstances bullying behaviour must be recorded and reported immediately to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable.
In each of the circumstances at (a) and (b) above, the recording template at Appendix 5 must be completed in full and retained by the teacher in question and a copy provided to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable. It should also be noted that the timeline for recording bullying behaviour in the recording template at Appendix 5 does not in any way preclude the teacher from consulting the Principal or Deputy Principal at an earlier stage in relation to a case.
Teachers will record incidences which may indicate bullying tendencies
- Class teacher is responsible for recording bullying. Class teacher will use his/her professional judgement when dealing with reports of bullying.
- Separate ‘bullying book’ dedicated to recording serious incidences of bullying.
- Pupils will be entered into the ‘bullying book’ after three entries into the discipline book. Teachers should use their professional judgement when recording incidences.
- Parents should be notified when an entry is made into the ‘bullying book’.
- Principal and deputy principal should be informed when an entry is made into the ‘bullying book’.
- Curriculum meetings in September/Information night for Parents- Internet safety should be discussed with parents at the meetings.
- Internet Security Tips to be included in school diary.
- End of every term- relevant information transferred from discipline book to ‘bullying book- all teachers have access- to be kept in Principal’s office.
- Records kept until child is 21. All entries must be signed and dated.
- At every staff meeting bullying will be on the agenda.
- Information on internet safety will be made available to parents.
- Teachers should discuss the policy with parents/children- everyone made aware of policy
Bullying as part of a continuum of behaviour:
It is important to note that bullying behaviour can be part of a continuum of behaviour rather than a stand-alone issue and in some cases behaviour may escalate beyond that which can be described as bullying to serious physical or sexual assault or harassment. The school will refer to relevant external agencies and authorities where appropriate. In cases where a school has serious concerns in relation to managing the behaviour of a pupil, the advice of the National Education Psychological Service (NEPS) should be sought.
In relation to bullying in schools, Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2011 (Children First) and the Child Protection Procedures for Primary Schools provide that in situations where “the incident is serious and where the behaviour is regarded as potentially abusive, the school must consult the HSE Children and Family Social Services with a view to drawing up an appropriate response, such as a management plan”.
Serious instances of bullying behaviour should, in accordance with the Children First and the Child Protection Procedures for Primary Schools, be referred to the HSE Children and Family Services and/or Gardaí as appropriate.
The Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools also provide that where school personnel have concerns about a child but are not sure whether to report the matter to the HSE, the Designated Liaison Person must seek advice from the HSE Children and Family Social Services.
Supports for pupils affected by bullying
- Perpetrator/Victim interviewed separately.
- Prep for interview done individual.
- Children brought together for approx half an hour.
- Imbalance of power removed- Facilitator and pupils in room.
- Each side listened to- emphasis on empathy for both parties.
- Perpetrator discusses behaviour and reasons for behaviour.
- Victim has chance to express feelings.
7. The class teacher and a learning support/resource teacher will provide a programme of support for pupils who have been bullied. Such pupils may need counselling and/or opportunities to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem, to develop their friendship and social skills and thereby build resilience whenever this is needed.
This programme of support is also part of the school’s intervention process. Pupils involved in bullying behaviour need assistance on an ongoing basis. For those with low self-esteem, opportunities will be developed to increase feelings of self-worth. The learning strategies applied within the school allow for the enhancement of the pupil’s self-worth. Pupils who engage in bullying behaviour may need counselling to help them learn other ways of meeting their needs without violating the rights of others.
Pupils who observe incidents of bullying behaviour should be encouraged to discuss them with teachers.
8. Supervision and Monitoring of Pupils
The Board of Management confirms that appropriate supervision and monitoring policies and practices are in place to both prevent and deal with bullying behaviour and to facilitate early intervention where possible.
9. Prevention of Harassment
The Board of Management confirms that the school will, in accordance with its obligations under equality legislation, take all such steps that are reasonably practicable to prevent the sexual harassment of pupils or staff or the harassment of pupils or staff on any of the nine grounds specified i.e. gender including transgender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community.
10. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on ____________ [date].
11. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website and provided to the Parents’ Association .A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.
12. This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year. Written notification that the review has been completed will be made available to school personnel, published on the school website (or where none exists, be otherwise readily accessible to parents and pupils on request) and provided to the Parents’ Association (where one exists). A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.
Signed: ____________________________ Signed: _____________________
(Chairperson of Board of Management) ( Principal)
Date: ______________ Date: __________________
Date of next review: _______________
Appendix 1 Key elements of a positive school culture and climate
- The school acknowledges the right of each member of the school community to enjoy school in a secure environment.
- The school acknowledges the uniqueness of each individual and his/her worth as a human being.
- The school promotes positive habits of self-respect, self-discipline and responsibility among all its members.
- The school prohibits vulgar, offensive, sectarian or other aggressive behaviour or language by any of its members.
- The school has a clear commitment to promoting equity in general and gender equity in particular in all aspects of its functioning.
- The school has the capacity to change in response to pupils’ needs.
- The school identifies aspects of curriculum through which positive and lasting influences can be exerted towards forming pupils’ attitudes and values.
- The school takes particular care of “at risk” pupils and uses its monitoring systems to facilitate early intervention where necessary and it responds to the needs, fears or anxieties of individual members in a sensitive manner.
- The school recognises the need to work in partnership with and keep parents informed on procedures to improve relationships on a school-wide basis.
- The school recognises the role of parents in equipping the pupil with a range of life-skills.
- The school recognises the role of other community agencies in preventing and dealing with bullying.
- The school promotes habits of mutual respect, courtesy and an awareness of the interdependence of people in groups and communities.
- The school promotes qualities of social responsibility, tolerance and understanding among all its members both in school and out of school.
- Staff members share a collegiate responsibility, under the direction of the Principal, to act in preventing bullying/aggressive behaviour by any member of the school community.
Appendix 2: Examples of Bullying Behaviours
|General behaviours which apply to all types of bullying||
|Identity Based BehavioursIncluding any of the nine discriminatory grounds mentioned in equality Legislation ( gender including transgender, civic status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community)|
|Homophobic and Transgender||
|Race, nationality, ethnic background and membership of the Traveler community||
|Relational||This involves manipulating relationships as a means of bullying. Behaviours include:
|Special Educational needs disability||
Appendix 3: Practical tips for building a positive school culture and climate
|The following are some practical tips for immediate actions that can be taken to help build a positive school culture and climate and to help prevent and tackle bullying behaviour.
Explicitly teach pupils what respectful language and respectful behaviour looks like, acts like, sounds like and feels like in class and around the school.
Catch them being good – notice and acknowledge desired respectful behaviour by providing positive attention.
Appendix 4: Suggested Education and prevention strategies
- A school-wide approach to the fostering of respect for all members of the school community.
- The promotion of the value of diversity to address issues of prejudice and stereotyping, and highlight the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.
- The fostering and enhancing of the self-esteem of all our pupils through both curricular and extracurricular activities. Pupils will be provided with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self-worth through formal and informal interactions.
- Whole staff professional development on bullying to ensure that all staff develops an awareness of what bullying is, how it impacts on pupils’ lives and the need to respond to it – prevention and intervention.
- An annual audit of professional development needs with a view to assessing staff requirements through internal staff knowledge/expertise and external sources
- Professional development with specific focus on the training of the relevant teacher(s)
- School wide awareness raising and training on all aspects of bullying, to include pupils, parent(s)/guardian(s) and the wider school community
- Supervision and monitoring of classrooms, corridors, school grounds, school tours and extra-curricular activities. Non-teaching and ancillary staff will be encouraged to be vigilant and report issues to relevant teachers. Supervision will also apply to monitoring student use of communication technology within the school.
- Involvement of the student council in contributing to a safe school environment e.g. Buddy system, mentoring, Lunchtime Pals and other student support activities that can help to support pupils and encourage a culture of peer respect and support.
- Development and promotion of an Anti-bullying code for the school – to be included in student journals and displayed publicly in classrooms and in common areas of the school.
- The school’s anti-bullying policy is discussed with pupils and all parent(s)/guardian(s) are given a copy as part of the Code of Behaviour of the school (every year)
- The implementation of regular (e.g, per year/per term/per month/per week) whole school awareness measures e.g. a dedicated notice board in the school and classrooms on the promotion of friendship, and bullying prevention; annual Friendship Week and parent(s)/guardian(s) seminars; annual or term or monthly student surveys; regular school or year group assemblies by principal, deputy principal, year heads etc.
- Encourage a culture of telling, with particular emphasis on the importance by bystanders. In that way pupils will gain confidence in “talking”. This confidence factor is of vital importance. It should be made clear to all pupils that when they report incidents of bullying they are not considered to be telling tales but are behaving responsibly.
- Ensuring that pupils know who to tell and how to tell, e.g.
- Direct approach to teacher at an appropriate time, for example after class
- Hand note up with homework
- Make a phone call to the school or to a trusted teacher in the school
- Anti-bully or Niggle box
- Get a parent(s)/guardian(s) or friend to tell on your behalf
- Administer a confidential questionnaire once a term to all pupils
- Ensure bystanders understand the importance of telling if they witness or know that bullying is taking place.
- Identify clear protocols to encourage parent(s)/guardian(s) to approach the school if they suspect that their child is being bullied. The protocol should be developed in consultation with parents.
- The development of an Acceptable Use Policy in the school to include the necessary steps to ensure that the access to technology within the school is strictly monitored, as is the pupils’ use of mobile phones.
- The listing of supports currently being used in the school and the identification of other supports available to the school e.g. GLEN www.glen.ie BeLonGTo www.belongto.org
Implementation of curricula
- The full implementation of the SPHE and CSPE curricula and the RSE and Stay Safe Programmes.
- Continuous Professional Development for staff in delivering these programmes
- School wide delivery of lessons on bullying from evidence based programmes, e.g. Cool School Lessons, Stay Safe Programme, The Walk Tall Programme,
- School wide delivery of lessons on Relational aggression (Cool School Programme: A Friend in Deed), Cyber Bullying ( Be Safe – Be Web wise, Think Before you Click, Let’s Fight it Together, Web wise Primary teacher’s resources), Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying (Growing up LGBT, Stand Up Programme, The Trust pack) Diversity and Interculturalism, Yellow Flag Programme. The school should list every resource related to the SPHE curriculum, and make a list of supports.
- Delivery of the Garda SPHE Programmes for 5th class. These lessons, delivered by Community Gardai, cover issues around personal safety and cyber-bullying.
- The school will specifically consider the additional needs of SEN pupils with regard to programme implementation and the development of skills and strategies to enable all pupils to respond appropriately.
- The school will implement the advice in “Sexual Orientation advice for school” (RSE Primary, see booklet)
Links to other policies
- Our school policies, practices and activities that are particularly relevant to bullying are Code of Behaviour, Child Protections policy, Supervision of pupils, Acceptable Use policy, Attendance, Sporting activities.
Appendix 5 : Template for recording bullying behaviour
1. Name of pupil being bullied and class group
2. Name(s) and class(es) of pupil(s) engaged in bullying behaviour
3. Source of bullying concern/report (tick relevant box(es))*
4. Location of incidents (tick relevant box(es)
5. Name of person(s) who reported the bullying concern
6. Type of Bullying Behaviour (tick relevant box(es))
|Damage to Property||Intimidation|
|Name Calling||Other (specify)|
7. Where behaviour is regarded as identity-based bullying, indicate the relevant category:
|Homophobic||Disability/SEN related||Racist||Membership of Traveller community||Other (specify)|
8. Brief Description of bullying behaviour and its impact
9. Details of actions taken
Signed ___________________________(Teacher) Date __________________
Date submitted to Principal/Deputy Principal ___________________
Notification regarding the Board of Management’s annual review of the anti-bullying policy
The Board of Management of ____________________ wishes to inform you that:
1. The Board of Management’s annual review of the school’s anti-bullying policy and its implementation was completed at the Board meeting of _______________ [date].
2. This review was conducted in accordance with the checklist set out in Appendix 4 (attached) of the Department’s Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.
Signed _____________________________________ Date ________________
Chairperson, Board of Management
Signed _____________________________________ Date ________________
Checklist for annual review of the anti-bullying policy and its implementation
The Board of Management (the Board) must undertake an annual review of the school’s anti-bullying policy and its implementation. The following checklist must be used for this purpose. The checklist is an aid to conducting this review and is not intended as an exhaustive list. In order to complete the checklist, an examination and review involving both quantitative and qualitative analysis, as appropriate across the various elements of the implementation of the school’s anti-bullying policy will be required.
|Has the Board formally adopted an anti-bullying policy that fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools?|
|Has the Board published the policy on the school website and provided a copy to the parents’ association?|
|Has the Board ensured that the policy has been made available to school staff (including new staff)?|
|Is the Board satisfied that school staff are sufficiently familiar with the policy and procedures to enable them to effectively and consistently apply the policy and procedures in their day to day work?|
|Has the Board ensured that the policy has been adequately communicated to all pupils?|
|Has the policy documented the prevention and education strategies that the school applies?|
|Have all of the prevention and education strategies been implemented?|
|Has the effectiveness of the prevention and education strategies that have been implemented been examined?|
|Is the Board satisfied that all teachers are recording and dealing with incidents in accordance with the policy?|
|Has the Board received and minuted the periodic summary reports of the Principal?|
|Has the Board discussed how well the school is handling all reports of bullying including those addressed at an early stage and not therefore included in the Principal’s periodic report to the Board?|
|Has the Board received any complaints from parents regarding the school’s handling of bullying incidents?|
|Have any parents withdrawn their child from the school citing dissatisfaction with the school’s handling of a bullying situation?|
|Have any Ombudsman for Children investigations into the school’s handling of a bullying case been initiated or completed?|
|Has the data available from cases reported to the Principal (by the bullying recording template) been analysed to identify any issues, trends or patterns in bullying behaviour?|
|Has the Board identified any aspects of the school’s policy and/or its implementation that require further improvement?|
|Has the Board put in place an action plan to address any areas for improvement?|