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 Scoil Ghobnatan Primary School 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 staff 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.
3. In accordance with the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools bullying is defined as follow:
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
- Bullying based on a person’s membership of the ethnic or racial minorities and bullying of those with disabilities or special educational needs.
Isolated or once-off incidents or 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.
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-Buying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.
A pupil/parent may bring a bullying incident/concern to any teacher in the school.
4. Class teachers and Principal or Deputy Principal is the relevant staff members for investigating the bullying incident.
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:
Effective practice 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 need to build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils.
As self-esteem is a major factor in determining behaviour, we will, through both their curricular and extra-curricular programmes, provide pupils with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self-worth.
Initiatives and programmes focused on developing pupils’ awareness and understanding of bullying, including its causes and effects, should deal explicitly with the issue of bullying, teaching the Social, Personal, Health Education (SPHE) resource, Walk Tall and RSE.
The school 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 to an adult. The school-wide approach and the role of parents as outlined in Section 6.3.1 is of importance in this regard. The school will provide education on staying safe on line to senior pupils on a yearly basis. The prevention and awareness raising measures should also take into account the scope for cyber-bullying to occur as a result of access to technology from within the school. See Acceptable Use Policy re use of technology in school.
Our school’s approach to tackling and preventing bullying takes particular account of diverse groups and of the needs of pupils with disabilities or with SEN include inclusion, focusing on developing social skills, paying attention to key moments such as transitioning from primary to post-primary and cultivating a good school culture which has respect for all and helping one another as central.
Ours school’s prevention and awareness raising measures to all types of bullying take into account the age and gender of the pupils involved. Our school community will strive to raise the awareness of bullying so that all members of the school community understand what bullying is and how the school deals with bullying so that all members of the school community understand what bullying is and how the school deals with bullying behaviour.
As part of our prevention and awareness strategies the school proposes to have an awareness day on the subject of bullying complemented by an awareness day for pupils and parents and staff.
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:
Procedures for noting and reporting incidents of Bullying:-
- Incidents of bullying behaviour are reported to the Class Teacher/staff member child/children/parents.
- All incidents of bullying will be recorded. Incidents will be investigated and dealt with by members of staff.
- Reported incidents of bullying by pupils will be referred by the Class teacher to the Principal or Deputy-Principal.
- Parents/Guardians of victims and pupils responsible for bullying will be informed by the Principal or Deputy-Principal earlier rather than later and a plan of action discussed.
- It will be made clear to all pupils that reporting incidents of bullying is not “telling tales” but behaving responsibly. Pupils will be helped to handle the possible pressures that face them from others after reporting to or being questioned by the teacher.
Action to be taken when Bullying is suspected
Procedures for investigation and dealing with bullying:-
If bullying is suspected, we talk to the suspected (s), the pupil suspected of being responsible for the bullying behaviour and any witnesses. If any degree of bullying is reported or identified, the following action will be taken:-
- Staff members will take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with reported incidents.
- Incidents will be investigated outside the classroom situation.
- The class teacher once informed will speak separately to the pupils involved.
- All interviews will be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all pupils concerned.
- Relevant information regarding the incident will be sought.
- If a group is involved, each member will be interviewed individually.
- Teachers who are investigating cases of bullying behaviour will keep a written record of their discussions with those involved. (It may also be appropriate and helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident(s).)
- In cases where it has been determined that bullying behaviour has occurred, meetings will be arranged with the parents/guardians of any pupil involved in the bullying behaviour (a) to explain the actions being taken and the reasons for them, referring them to the school policy, (b) to discuss ways in which they can reinforce or support the procedures taken by the school.
- See Disciplinary Procedure.
7. The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
Help and support will be given as is appropriate to both the victim(s) and the pupil(s) suspected of being responsible for the bullying behaviour.
Support for the victim
We support the victim in the following ways:
- By offering him/her an immediate opportunity to talk about the experience with his/her class teacher or another teacher.
- By informing the victim’s parents/guardians and suggesting how they might help.
- By offering continuing support in the form of:
- Regular follow-up (documented) discussions to check on progress/positive outcomes or to record further incidents of bullying behaviour.
- Through the SPHE programme, assistance with social and/or emotional aspects of bullying will be explored (self-esteem issues, assertiveness skills, knowing how to respond when an incident occurs, exploring “how not to be a victim “.etc)
Support for Pupils involved in Bullying
In addition to applying appropriate consequences/sanctions for the incidents(s) of bullying behaviour, as per the School’s Code of Behaviour (See appendix 1), we also try to help any pupil involved in bullying in the following ways:
- By offering him/her an opportunity to talk about what happened, to discover why he/she became involved, to help him/her see the incidents(s) from the victim’s perspective, to help him/her see the seriousness of the behaviour
- By informing his/her parents/guardians and suggesting how they might help
- By offering continuing support to the individual in the form of:
- Regular follow-up (documented) discussions to check on progress/positive outcomes, to offer positive feedback and encouragement if the bullying behaviour has ceased, and to discuss and develop a plan of action to address any subsequent incidents of bullying behaviour
- Assistance with social and/or emotional aspects of bullying (self-esteem issues, emotional empathy, popularity issues, etc.)
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 and 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 or ethnic grounds.
10. The policy was reviewed by the following Committee: Bernie Cremin, Kay Cottrell, Anne Herlihy, Siobhan Buckley, Reena O’Sullivan, Louise O’Hanlon, Elís Gayer, Sandra Kiely, Alison McDonnell, Caroline Kelly, Marie Keogh, Brida Foley and Catriona Ring. It was presented to Staff for discussion at a Staff meeting on June 17th 2014. It was subsequently circulated to Parent Association for review.
11. This policy will be presented to the Board of Management on ___________________ for discussion with a view to ratification.
12. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website is (readily accessible to parents and pupils on request) and provided to the Parents’ Association). A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.
13. 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 (readily accessible to parents and pupils on request and provided to the Parents’ Association). A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.
In the case of the intra-staff bullying, Scoil Ghobnatan will adopt the procedures outline in Section C (c2) of the INTO booklet: “working together: Procedures and Policies Staff Relations”. A copy of this document is available for free download on the INTO website.
In case of Parent-Teacher bullying, the Principal/Deputy Principal should be informed in the first instance, and if deemed necessary the Board of Management should subsequently be informed in writing.
In case of Parent/Visitor to the school – Child bullying, the complaint should be referred in the first instance to the child’s class teacher and subsequently to the Principal if unresolved. If the complaint is still unresolved the Board of Management should be informed.
In case of Principal – Parent/Child bullying, the matter should be discussed with the Principal if possible, or referred to the Chairperson of the Board of Management.