Anti- Bullying Policy
St. Fintan’s B.N.S. Roll No. 07636K
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 St. Fintan’s 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 principals of best practice in preventing and tackling bullying behaviour:
(a) 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
(b) Effective leadership
(c) A school-wide approach
(d) A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact
(e) 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;
(f) Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils
(g) Supports for staff
(h) Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies); and
(i) On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.
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,
- cyber-bullying and
- 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.
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 should 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.
Parents need to be informed of negative behaviour that does not meet this definition of bullying will be dealt with in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour.
Additional information on different types of bullying is set out in Section 2 of the Anti- Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.
Some examples of bullying behaviours
General behaviours which apply to all types of bullying
· Harassment based on any of the nine grounds in the equality legislation e.g. sexual harassment, homophobic bullying, racist bullying etc.
· Physical aggression
· Damage to property
· Name calling
· The production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other materials aimed at intimidating another person
· Offensive graffiti
· Insulting or offensive gestures
· The “look”
· Invasion of personal space
· A combination of any of the types listed.
· Denigration: Spreading rumors, lies or gossip to hurt a person’s reputation
· Harassment: Continually sending vicious, mean or disturbing messages to an individual
· Impersonation: Posting offensive or aggressive messages under another person’s name
· Flaming: Using inflammatory or vulgar words to provoke an online fight
· Trickery: Fooling someone into sharing personal information which you then post online
· Outing: Posting or sharing confidential or compromising information or images
· Exclusion: Purposefully excluding someone from an online group
· Cyber stalking: Ongoing harassment and denigration that causes a person considerable fear for his/her safety
· Silent telephone/mobile phone call
· Abusive telephone/mobile phone calls
· Abusive text messages
· Abusive email
· Abusive communication on social networks e.g. Facebook/Ask.fm/ Twitter/You Tube or on games consoles
· Abusive website comments/Blogs/Pictures
· Abusive posts on any form of communication technology
Identity Based Behaviours
Including any of the nine discriminatory grounds mentioned in Equality Legislation (gender including transgender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community).
Homophobic and Transgender
· Spreading rumours about a person’s sexual orientation
· Taunting a person of a different sexual orientation
· Name calling e.g. Gay, queer, lesbian...used in a derogatory manner
· Physical intimidation or attacks
Race, nationality, ethnic background and membership of the Traveller community
· Discrimination, prejudice, comments or insults about colour, nationality, culture, social class, religious beliefs, ethnic or traveller background
· Exclusion on the basis of any of the above
This involves manipulating relationships as a means of bullying. Behaviours include:
· Malicious gossip
· Isolation & exclusion
· Excluding from the group
· Taking someone’s friends away
· Spreading rumours
· Breaking confidence
· Talking loud enough so that the victim can hear
· The “look”
· Use or terminology such as ‘nerd’ in a derogatory way
· Unwelcome or inappropriate sexual comments or touching
Special Educational Needs,
· Name calling
· Taunting others because of their disability or learning needs
· Taking advantage of some pupils’ vulnerabilities and limited capacity to recognise and defend themselves against bullying
· Taking advantage of some pupils’ vulnerabilities and limited capacity to understand social situations and social cues.
· Mimicking a person’s disability
· Setting others up for ridicule
4. The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying is (are) as follows: (see Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools):
The Relevant Teachers in this school are:
· Classroom related incidents: The Class Teacher
· Yard incidents: The supervising teacher or it may be passed onto the class teacher and/or deputy principal or principal.
Any teacher may act as a relevant teacher if circumstances warrant it.
No parent may confront or apprehend a child when they have an issue or a grievance with a child in the school building or grounds.
5. The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber-
bullying, homophobic and transphobic bullying) that will be used by the school are as follows (see Section 6.5 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools):
· A culture of respect, responsibility, encouragement, positivity, support, enabling, consideration and tolerance for all within the school is encouraged throughout every school day, in line with our school ethos.
· Supervision of pupils during the school day and at school events with particular attention given to SEN pupils and pupils where there is a concern.
· The encouragement of empathy, respect and resilience amongst pupils.
· Provide pupils with opportunities to develop a positive sense of worth.
· Develop pupils’ awareness and understanding of bullying and how the school deals with bullying including its causes and effects to include where age appropriate cyber bullying, identity based bullying, homophobic/transphobic bullying. (We will have a guest speaker on a
· Education of pupils, where age appropriate, on appropriate online behaviour.
( A repersentative of An Garda Síochána each year)
· Close supervision of access and use of technology in school. (See acceptable use policy).
· Development of social skills and inclusion amongst pupils particularly focusing on those children with SEN.
· Bullying to be discussed formally at regular intervals by staff but at a minimum at one staff meeting per year.
· Use of curricular programmes such as The Stay Safe programme, RSE curriculum and SPHE curriculum which are particularly relevant to the prevention of bullying and the promotion of respect for diversity and inclusiveness as well as the inter-related areas of belonging, integrating, communication, conflict, friendship, personal safety and relationships.
· Respect is fostered across all curriculum areas and in all teaching and curricular opportunities are used to promote the value of diversity, to address prejudice and stereotyping and to highlight the unacceptability of bullying behaviour. Co-operation and group enterprise are particularly encouraged through school activities and all pupils are encouraged to participate in the wide variety offered throughout the school year.
· The provision of large areas for play and sporting activities both during and after school(panel training), help to engage pupils in positive behaviour and provide opportunities for pupils to channel their energies and learn how to control their aggression.
· Friendship Day e.g. Each class group plays the same game for the play session.
· The school’s anti-bullying policy is discussed with pupils and all parent(s)/guardian(s)s are given a copy as part of the Code of Behaviour of the school.
· Encourage a culture of telling, with particular emphasis on the importance of bystanders. In that way pupils will gain confidence in ‘telling’. 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.:
o Direct approach to teacher at an appropriate time, for example after class.
o Hand note up with homework.
o Anti-bully or Niggle box?
· Eencourage parent(s)/guardian(s) to approach the school if they suspect that their child is being bullied.
· 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.
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. Stay Safe Programme, The Walk Tall Programme.
· School wide delivery of lessons on Relational aggression: (A Friend in Deed), Cyber Bullying Be Safe-Be Web wise, Web wise Primary teachers’ resources. The school should list every resource related to the SPHE curriculum, and make a list of supports.
· Delivery of the Garda SPHE Programmes. 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.
Links to other policies
· List school policies, practices and activities that are particularly relevant to bullying, e.g. Code of Behaviour, Child Protections policy, Supervision of pupils, Acceptable Use policy, Attendance, Sporting activities.
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 (see Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.
Procedures for Investigating and Dealing with Bullying
The primary aim 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);
The school’s procedures must be consistent with the following approach.
Every effort will be made to ensure that all involved (including pupils, parent(s)/guardian(s)) understand this approach from the outset.
Reporting bullying behaviour
· Any pupil or parent(s)/guardian(s) may bring a bullying incident to any teacher in the school.
· All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying, will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher.
· Teaching and non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs), bus escorts, caretakers, cleaners must report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher;
Investigating and dealing with incidents: Style of approach (see section 6.8.9)
· In investigating and dealing with bullying, the (relevant)teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved;
· Parent(s)/guardian(s) 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;
· Teachers should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach.
· Where possible incidents should be investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved;
· All interviews will 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;
· When analysing incidents of bullying behaviour, the relevant 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;
· If a group is involved, each member should 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 account of what happened to ensure that everyone in the group is clear about each other’s statements;
· Each member of a group should be supported through the possible pressures that may face them from the other members of the group after the interview by the teacher;
It may also be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident(s).
· In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred, the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the parties involved should be contacted at an early stage to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken (by reference to the school policy). The school should give parent(s)/guardian(s) an opportunity of discussing ways in which they can reinforce or support the actions being taken by the school and the supports provided to the pupils;
· Where the relevant teacher has determined that a pupil has been engaged in bullying behaviour, it should be made clear to him how he is in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy and efforts should be made to try to get him to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied;
· It must also be made clear to all involved (each set of pupils and parent(s)/guardian(s)) that in any situation where disciplinary sanctions are required, this is a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, his parent(s)/guardian(s) and the school;
Follow up and recording
· In determining whether a bullying case has been adequately and appropriately addressed the relevant 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;
-Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parent(s)/guardian(s)s or the school Principal or Deputy Principal
· Follow-up meetings with the relevant parties involved should 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.
· Where a parent(s)/guardian(s) is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parent(s)/guardian(s) must be referred, as appropriate, to the school’s complaints procedures.
· In the event that a parent(s)/guardian(s) has exhausted the school's complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school must advise the parent(s)/guardian(s) of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.
Recording of bullying behaviour
It is imperative that all recording of bullying incidents must be done in an objective and factual manner.
The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour are as follows:
Informal- pre-determination that bullying has occurred
· All staff must keep a written record of any incidents witnessed by them or notified to them. Consideration needs to be given to where the records will be made e.g. incident book. All incidents must be reported to the relevant teacher. Records will be kept in classroom bullying incident book.
· While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher, the relevant teacher must keep a written record of the reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same
· The relevant teacher must inform the principal of all incidents being investigated.
Formal Stage 1-determination that bullying has occurred
· If it is established by the relevant teacher that bullying has occurred, the relevant 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.
· The school will keep a written record retained by relevant teacher and passed on at the end of the year with the class.
Formal Stage 2-Appendix 3 (From DES Procedures)
The relevant teacher must use the recording template at Appendix 3 (of Anti Bulling Guidelines) 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) 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. In such cases the behaviour will be dealt with in accordance with the school’s Code of Behaviour Policy and referral will be made to the relevant external agencies and authorities as appropriate.
In cases where the school has serious concerns in relation to managing the behaviour of a pupil, the advice of the National Education Psychological Service (NEPS) will be sought.
When the recording template is used, it must be retained by the relevant teacher in question and a copy maintained by the principal. These will be kept in a secure filing cabinet for 18 + 3 years. (Page 8 Bullying Booklet).
Established intervention strategies
· Teacher interviews with all pupils
· Negotiating agreements between pupils and following these up by monitoring progress. This can be on an informal basis or implemented through a more structured mediation process
· Working with parent(s)/guardian(s)s to support school interventions
· Circle Time
7. The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows (see Section 6.8.16 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools) :
· Pupils affected by bullying both those who have been bullied and those who have bullied may need counselling, unfortunately the school does not have a counsellor. The school will advise parents on where counselling services may be available.
· The school runs a wide range of activities for children throughout the year. The school will encourage pupils affected by bullying to become involved in these activities if they are not already involved.
· Class teachers will check with pupils affected by bullying on a regular basis.
· The school will seek to identify areas of responsibility for children affected by bullying which will help to improve their self-esteem.
· Pupils who observe incidents of bullying behaviour are encouraged to discuss them with their class teachers.
· The school will seek assistance from NEPs as required in each case and will act on advice received.
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 (or where none exists, is otherwise readily accessible to parents and pupils on request) and provided to the Parents’ Association (where one exists). 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 2 Building a positive school culture and climate
The following are some actions that are taken in our school to help build a positive school culture and climate and to help prevent and tackle bullying behaviour.
· All school users are expected to model respectful behaviour to all members of the school community at all times.
· Pupils are explicitly taught what respectful language and respectful behaviour looks like, acts like, sounds like and feels like in class and around the school.
· Key respect messages are displayed in classrooms, in assembly areas and around the school. Pupils are involved in the development of these messages.
· Pupils receive positive attention for being good.
· Staff consistently tackle the use of discriminatory and derogatory language in the school – this includes homophobic and racist language and language that is belittling of pupils with a disability or SEN.
· Staff give constructive feedback to pupils when respectful behaviour and respectful language are absent.
· A system of encouragement and rewards is used to promote desired behaviour and compliance with the school rules and routines.
· Pupils are taught about the appropriate use of social media.
· Pupils are encouraged to comply with the school rules on mobile phone and internet use. Pupils who ignore these rules are followed up on in accordance with the school’s Code of Behaviour.
· The school actively promotes the right of every member of the school community to be safe and secure in school.
· The school highlights and explicitly teaches school rules in pupil friendly language in the classroom and in common areas.
· All staff actively watch out for signs of bullying behaviour.
· Pupils are supervised during school times and at all school activities.