In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the Code of Behaviour Guidelines issued by the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB), the Board of Management of St. Peter’s 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, published in September 2013.
ST. PETER’S NS ANTI-BULLYING POLICY
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
-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
– 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)
– Ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of the Anti-Bullying Policy
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.
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.
Investigation of Bullying:
The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying is (are) as follows:
Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools states that the member of teaching staff who has responsibility for investigating and dealing with bullying is referred to as the “relevant teacher”. In our school, the relevant teacher is the class teacher.
Education and Prevention Strategies:
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:
- The core values of our school: Kindness, Respect and Belonging.
- Bullying, including Cyber Bullying is addressed formally as part of the SPHE curriculum. Bullying is specifically addressed in the Stay Safe programme which is taught in all classes.
- Bullying is addressed in the Code of Behaviour and in school and class rules. It is also referred to in the class and yard, where required.
- The school welcomes regular input from parents in all matters regarding children’s welfare. The staff are committed to creating a happy and safe learning environment for the children.
- The school disseminates information regarding real time and online training to parents in relation to bullying (e.g. the facilitation of internet safety/cyberbullying talks for parents).
- Children are encouraged to “tell” in confidence, as early as possible. Confidentiality is assured except when to do so could result in harm to themselves or others.
- Children will be encouraged to say “No” to bullying behaviour. They will also be made aware of the difference between telling tales about minor incidents and telling to stay safe or keep others safe.
- Students will be reminded that if they feel uncomfortable talking to the teacher for fear others would hear, a note left on the teacher’s table will prompt a more discreet conversation.
- Staff members will attend relevant training when provided.
- Continuing Professional Development in Restorative Practice is being facilitated for staff. Through Restorative Practice the development of a mutually respectful and friendly atmosphere is promoted and conflict is handled in a healthy and restorative way.
- The school will hold annual events (e.g. Anti Bullying Awareness Week & Kindness Week).
- Bullying is not a problem schools can solve on their own.
Parents need to:
- be good role models for children and young people
- teach young people to respect and value difference and diversity
- make it their business to know what bullying is and understand the different types and forms of bullying
- educate themselves in relation to social media and take an active interest in how children and young people are using the internet, social media and mobile phones
- know, and look out for, the signs that a child or young person may be being bullied or may be engaged in bullying behaviour
- offer support and listen to what a child or young person wants you to do to help
- become aware of the dangers of cyberbullying and attend training
- familiarise themselves with, and cooperate with the procedures for reporting bullying behaviour
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):
- The primary aim for the relevant 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).
- 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.
- All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher. 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 that they are not considered to be telling tales but are behaving responsible.
- Non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs), bus escorts, caretakers, cleaners must be encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher.
- Parents and pupils are required to cooperate 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.
- It is very important that all involved (including each set of pupils and parents) understand the above approach from the outset.
- Teachers should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying behaviour reported by pupils, staff or parents.
- Incidents are generally best investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved.
- 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.
- When analysing incidents of bullying behaviour, the relevant teacher should seek answers to key questions (e.g. What happened?). 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/her 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 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 parents of the parties involved should be contacted at an early stage to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken. The school should 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.
- Where the relevant teacher has determined that a pupil has been engaged in bullying behaviour, it should be made clear to him/her how he/she is in breach of the school’s Anti-Bullying Policy and efforts should be made to try to get him/her 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 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
- 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. This can have a therapeutic effect.
- 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 (see Appendix 1).
- 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; and Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parents or the school Principal or Deputy Principal.
- 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.
- 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.
Programme of Support:
The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows (see Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools):
- Staff have engaged in CPD to support pupil wellbeing (e.g. Restorative Practice, JESS programme).
- Social Personal Health Education including Stay Safe Programme, Walk Tall, Webwise, Relationship and Sexuality Education
- Social skills groups and cooperative games
- Annual events (e.g. Anti-Bullying Awareness Week and Kindness Week) to foster more respect, empathy and support for bullied pupils and all pupils.
- ‘Grow in Love’ programme
- Ongoing communication with NEPS and TUSLA, where required
- The provision of a ‘buddy bench’ in the yard for those who would like someone to play with them.
- In the event of a serious incident and where the behaviour is regarded as potentially abusive, the school will consult with TUSLA and/or the Gardaí as appropriate.
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.
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).
Review and Ratification
This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on 22/03/2022.
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.
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 Template for recording bullying behaviour
Name of pupil being bullied and class group
Name ______________________ Class__________________
Name(s) and class(es) of pupil(s) engaged in bullying behaviour
|Source of bullying concern/report (tick relevant box(es))*||Location of incidents (tick relevant box(es))|
Name of person(s) who reported the bullying concern
Type of Bullying Behaviour (tick relevant box(es))
|Damage to Property||Intimidation|
|Name Calling||Other (specify)|
Where behaviour is regarded as identity-based bullying, indicate the relevant category:
|Homophobic||Disability/SEN related||Racist||Membership of Traveller community||Other (specify)|
Brief Description of bullying behaviour and its impact
Details of actions taken
Signed ______________________________ (Relevant Teacher)
Date submitted to Principal/Deputy Principal ________________________