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 Sacred Heart 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 is therefore fully committed to the following key principles 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;

(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.

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.  See also Appendix 1 at the end of this document. 

4. The relevant teachers for investigating and dealing with bullying are as follows: (see Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools):

Class Teacher, Deputy Principal, Principal

Any teacher may act as a relevant teacher if circumstances warrant it. 

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):

Education and Prevention Strategies

School-wide approach                                                                 

  • 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 will develop an awareness of what bullying is, how it impacts on pupils’ lives and the need to respond to it-prevention and intervention.
  • School wide awareness raising and training on all aspects of bullying, to include pupils, parent(s)/guardian(s) and the wider school community.
  • The provision of a range of children’s literature which deals with the problem of bullying.
  • 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.
  • Development and promotion of an Anti-Bullying Code/Stay Safe Code for the school-to be 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 advised to access it on the school website and in the school office.
  • The promotion of friendship and bullying prevention through:

o   Annual Friendship Week in October

o   Seminars for parents/guardians every two years

o   Student survey/questionnaire each term

o   Art/Poster Competition

  • 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   Make a phone call to the school or to a trusted teacher in the school.

o   Get a parent(s)/guardian(s) or friend to tell on your behalf.

o   Administer a confidential questionnaire once a term to all pupils.

o   Ensure bystanders understand the importance of telling if they witness or know that bullying is taking place.

  • The school’s Acceptable Use Policy addresses the rights, privileges, responsibilities and sanctions associated with use of the internet.  Access to the internet within the school is strictly monitored, as is the use of mobile phones by pupils.
  • The centrally managed filter on the Schools Broadband Network allows access to websites or content that has been classified as appropriate for schools.
  • Though children in primary school are too young to access Facebook, teachers and parents/guardians need to be vigilant.   If we receive information about bullying among our pupils through Facebook or other social media parents will be notified.  It may be necessary to refer such cases to the Gardai if the issue proves difficult for school personnel to deal with.

Implementation of Curricula

  • The full implementation of the Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curriculum.
  • The full implementation of the Stay Safe Programme.
  • The full implementation of the Relationships & Sexuality Education (RSE) Programme.
  • Continuous Professional Development for staff in delivering these programmes.
  • School wide delivery of lessons on bullying from evidence-based programmes  e.g. The Stay Safe Programme, The RSE Programme and The Walk Tall Programme, Zippy’s Friends (1st & 2nd Class).
  • Delivery of the Garda SPHE Programme to Senior Classes. These lessons, delivered by the Community Garda, 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.
  • School wide delivery of lessons on Cyberbullying (Be Safe-Be Webwise, Webwise Primary Teachers Resources).
  • School wide delivery of lessons on Diversity and Interculturalism (Intercultural Education in the Primary School – Guidelines for Schools.  NCCA)

 Links to other policies

  • Existing school policies, practices and procedures that are particularly relevant to pupil safety are: The Code of Behaviour, Child Protection Policy, Supervision of pupils, Internet Acceptable Use Policy, Attendance Policy, Sporting Activities, Data Protection/Record Retention Policy.

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 are 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 the attention of any teacher in the school.
  • All reports of bullying will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher. Anonymous reports of bullying will be investigated at the discretion of the Principal.  In the exercise of his discretion as to whether or not such a report be investigated the Principal will consult with the Class Teacher and the Deputy Principal and with whosoever else he may deem it appropriate to consult.
  • Teaching and non-teaching staff such as secretary, special needs assistants (SNAs), caretaker, cleaners or Homework Club staff must report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the Class Teacher, Deputy Principal or Principal.

Investigating and dealing with incidents (see section 6.8.9)

  • In investigating and dealing with bullying, the class 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 will be investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved.  When the class teacher is engaged in such investigations the teacher in the nearest classroom or a Resource Teacher will supervise his/her class.
  •  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 will seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why. This will 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 will be interviewed individually at first. Thereafter, all those involved will be met as a group. At the group meeting, each member will be asked for his/her account of what happened to ensure that everyone in the group is clear about each other’s statements.
  • Each member of a group will 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 will 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 will 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 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.
  •  It will 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 or her 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 will be arranged if deemed appropriate.
  • 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) will 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 will 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 will keep a written record of any incidents witnessed by them or notified to them (Teacher’s Incident Report Book). Incidents that occur in the school playground are recorded in the Yard Incident Books. All incidents must be reported to the relevant teacher.
  • Level 2 behaviours as defined in the school’s Code of Behaviour  will be reported to the principal.  The Principal will record details of such incidents in the School’s Incident Report Book.  He will also summarise details on DataBiz, the school’s computerised administration system.
  • While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying will 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 will inform the Principal/Deputy 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.
  • Records will be kept in the Teacher’s Incident Report Book, which will be retained in the classroom during the school year.  These records are placed in the pupil’s general file at the end of the school year.
  • The School’s Incident Report Book, where incidences of serious misbehaviour and bullying reported to the Principal are recorded, will be retained in the office.
  • Please refer to the school’s Data Protection/Record Retention Policy for details on managing school records.

Formal Stage 2:  Record of Bullying Behaviour 

The relevant teacher must use the recording template 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/resolved within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour occurred; and

b) Repeated bullying behaviour must be recorded and reported to the Principal or Deputy Principal.  Note that all level two behaviours must be reported to the Principal.

When the recording template is used, it must be retained by the relevant teacher in question and a copy maintained by the principal in the School’s Incident Report Book. 

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
  • No Blame Approach
  • Circle Time
  • Restorative interviews or discussions

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) :

Bullied Pupils

  • Ending the bullying behaviour.
  • Changing the school culture through the awareness raising programme in order to foster respect for bullied pupils and all pupils.
  • Indicating clearly that the bullying is not the fault of the targeted pupil through the speedy identification of those responsible and the speedy resolution of bullying situations.
  • In-school supports and opportunities will be provided for the pupils affected by bullying to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem, to develop friendships and social skills and build resilience whenever this is needed (e.g. participation in group work in class and in extra-curricular group and team activities).
  • Using learning strategies throughout the school curriculum to help enhance pupils’ feelings of self-worth.
  • If pupils require counselling or further supports the school will endeavour to liaise with the appropriate agencies to organise same.
  • Pupils should understand that there are no innocent bystanders and that all incidents of bullying behaviour must be reported to a teacher.

Bullying Pupils

  • Making it clear that bullying pupils who reform are not blamed or punished and get a “clean sheet.”
  • Making it clear that bullying pupils who reform are doing the right thing and giving them praise for this.
  • If pupils require counselling or further supports the school will endeavour to liaise with the appropriate agencies to organise same.
  • In-school supports and opportunities will be provided for bullying pupils to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem and to develop friendships and social skills whenever this is needed (e.g. participation in group work in class and in extra-curricular group and team activities).
  • Using learning strategies throughout the school and the curriculum to help enhance pupils’ feelings of self-worth.
  • In dealing with negative behaviour in general, encouraging teachers and parents to focus on, challenge and correct the behaviour while supporting the child.

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 15th September 2014.

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.

APPENDIX 1

Examples of bullying behaviours (this list is non exhaustive)

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
  • Slagging
  • The production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other materials aimed at intimidating another person
  • Offensive graffiti
  • Extortion
  • Intimidation
  • Insulting or offensive gestures
  • The “look”
  • Invasion of personal space
  • A combination of any of the types listed.

Cyber

  • 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
  • Threats

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

Relational

This involves manipulating relationships as a means of bullying. Behaviours include:

  • Malicious gossip
  • Isolation & exclusion
  • Ignoring
  • Excluding from the group
  • Taking someone’s friends away
  • “Bitching”
  • 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

Sexual

  • Unwelcome or inappropriate  sexual comments or touching
  • Harassment

Special Educational Needs,

Disability

  • 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

APPENDIX 2

Record of Bullying Behaviour

Sacred Heart Primary School

(1).Name of pupil being bullied and class group

Name: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ _________________________________  _____     Class:  ____________________________

(2).Names and classes of pupils engaged in bullying behaviour

(3). Source of bullying concern/report                                           (4). Location of incidents

Tick relevant box(es)                                                                        Tick relevant box(es)

Pupil concerned

Playground

Other pupil

Classroom

Parent

Corridor

Teacher

Toilets

Other

School Hall

School Bus

Other

(5).Name of person(s) who reported the bullying concern.

(6).Type of bullying behaviour.   tick relevant box(es)

Physical Aggression

Cyber-bullying

Damage to Property

Intimidation

Isolation/Exclusion

Malicious Gossip

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:  ______________________________________       Date:  ____________________________

                                      (Relevant Teacher)

Date submitted to the Principal/Deputy Principal:  __________________________________