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 Templederry 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) 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.
b) Effective Leadership.
c) A Whole School 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
- 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).
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
- 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.
- Further descriptions of bullying behaviour are set out in Appendix 1.
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.
4. In Templederry N.S. the relevant teacher for investigating and dealing with bullying is the class teacher.
- All parents are informed that the policy is available for viewing at the school and that it is reviewed annually. A copy is available on request.
- A copy of the school’s anti – bullying policy will be included in the Templederry N.S. information booklet, given to the parents of incoming Junior infants / new pupils to the school.
- Continuous Professional Development for staff.
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:
- Building and maintaining positive school culture (Appendix 2)
- Providing continuous opportunities for the children to develop a positive sense of self- worth (through curricular and extra-curricular programmes
- Each class will devise classroom rules at the beginning of each school year which will promote inclusion and respect for one another.
- Set standards of acceptable behaviour in every class and ensure children know right from wrong.
- Supervision and monitoring of classrooms, corridors, school grounds, school tours and extra curricular activities.
- Effective delivery of the S.P.H.E. subject, Stay Safe, R.S.E. and Alive O programmes.
- Additional lessons which deal specifically with bullying will be taught.
- The school’s anti bullying policy is discussed with pupils.
- Encourage a culture of “telling” and acting responsibly (with particular emphasis on bystanders).
- Ensure pupils know who to tell and how to tell…. 1. Direct approach 2. Hand up note with homework 3. Get parent/guardian/ friend to tell on your behalf.
- Encourage parent/ guardian to approach the school ( make an appointment ) if concerned.
- Where the opportunity arises, guest speakers with an expertise in the area of bullying prevention (e.g. gardaí) will be invited to address pupils and staff.
- Awareness events (poster displays / talks at assembly ….)
- Anti Bullying / Code of Behaviour will form part of the agenda of staff meetings.
- Develop social skills and paying attention to key moments such as transition to post primary
- Promoting co operation, group work and team games.
- Using opportunities (e.g. sport /extra curricular) for channelling and learning how to control aggression.
- Cyber-bullying: The best way to address cyber- bullying is to prevent it happening. Children are educated on appropriate online behaviour and the school internet is filtered. Internet is used for educational purposes only. ( Acceptable Use Policy)
- Parents are responsible for children’s use of social media and internet outside of school and are reminded that legally children under 13 are not permitted on Facebook.
6. The primary aim for 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 apportion blame). 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:
- 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.
- Non teaching staff are encouraged to report any incidents of bullying.
- 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.
- Incidents are generally best investigated outside the classroom to ensure the privacy of all.
- Teachers should take a calm , unemotional problem solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying behaviour reported by pupils, staff or parents..
- All interviews should be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all pupils concerned. Pupils not directly involved can also provide very useful information and may be interviewed.
- When analysing incidents, the relevant teacher should seek answers to questions of who, where, when, why, what… This should be done in a calm manner…setting an example of 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 a 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 the interview.
- It may be helpful or appropriate to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident.
- In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred and in consultation with the Principal, the parents of the parties involved should be contacted to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken (as per school policy). The school should give parents the opportunity to discuss ways they can reinforce or support the actions taken and the supports for their pupils.
- When a 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 get him/her see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied.
- Follow up meetings with the relevant parties involved should be arranged separately with a view to possibly bringing them together at a later date.
- In cases where the relevant teacher considers that the bullying behaviour has not 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 stopped
- Whether any issues between the parties have been resolved as far as is practicable.
- Whether relationships between the parties have been restored as far as is practicable.
- Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parents or the staff.
When a parent / guardian is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parent/ guardian must be referred, as appropriate, to the school’s complaints procedure.
In the event that a parent / guardian has exhausted the school’s complaint procedures and is still not satisfied, the school must advise the parent/guardian of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.
7. Recording Of Bullying Behaviour:
- Informal: * All serious intentional incidents must be reported to the relevant teacher.
- All reports must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher. A written record will be kept of the report, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same.
- Relevant teacher must inform the Principal.
Formal Stage 1:
- If established that bullying has occurred, the relevant teacher must keep appropriate written records which will assist efforts to resolve the issues and restore as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved.
- When noting complaints the school registration no will be used to identify the child.
- Each class teacher will keep records. At the end of the year, sheets are collected, filed and locked away.
- Records will be kept (as other school records are) until the child is 21 years old.
- The Principal and Deputy Principal have access to the locked cabinet.
Formal Stage 2: Appendix 3
- The relevant teacher must use the recording template Appendix 3 to record the bullying behaviour in the following circumstances:
- 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 has occurred.
- 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 .
- When the recording template is used, it must be retained by the relevant teacher in question and a copy maintained by the Principal.
- These records will be filed, stored and locked away.
- Principal & Deputy Principal have access to the locked cabinet.
The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
- All 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, social skills and build resilience. Ex. group work, Circle time.
- If pupils require counselling or further supports, the school will endeavour to liaise with the appropriate agencies to organise same. This may be for the pupil affected by the bullying or involved in the bullying behaviour.
- Pupils should understand there are no innocent bystanders and that all incidents of bullying behaviour must be reported to the teacher.
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 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 has been made available to school personnel and is available to parents and pupils on request. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the Patron if requested.
11. The 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 and parents.
12. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested to the Patron and the Department.
13. This policy was adopted by the Board Of Management of Templederry N.S. on 27/9/2016