Anti-Bullying Policy - Scoil Naomh Áine NS

Go to content

Main menu:

Anti-Bullying Policy

Policies

Scoil Naomh Áine, Rathgarogue, New Ross, Co. Wexford     
 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 Scoil Naomh Áíne, Rathgarogue 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.  [Ref: education.ie Circular 045/2013]

2. This policy was drawn up giving due care and attention to the Anti Bullying Procedures as published by DES.  [cf education.ie]
In the formulation of this policy we worked with the staff, Board of Management and Parents of the children in Scoil Naomh Áine.  While this policy is specific to Scoil Naomh Áine, attention was particularly paid to the mandatory areas within the document.

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;
• 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.

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.
Examples of bullying behaviours - this list is not 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
• Physical aggression
• Damage to property
• Name calling
• Negative comments
• Slagging
• The production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other materials aimed at intimidating/embarrassing/offending another person
• Offensive graffiti
• Extortion
• Intimidation
• Insulting or offensive gestures
• The “look”
• Invasion of personal space
• Isolation/exclusion
• 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 via any electronic device or application
• Abusive email
• Abusive, unwelcome/unwarranted 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


The Relevant Teachers in this school are:    The class teacher, learning support/resource teacher and principal
Any teacher may act as a relevant teacher if circumstances warrant it.


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 develops an awareness of what bullying is, how it impacts on pupils’ lives and the need to respond to it-prevention and intervention.
• An annual audit of professional development needs with a view to assessing  staff requirements  through internal staff knowledge/expertise and external sources as deemed necessary
• Professional development with specific focus on the training of the relevant teacher(s) as deemed necessary
• School wide awareness raising and training on all aspects of bullying, to include pupils, parent(s)/guardian(s) and the wider school community as deemed necessary
• 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.
• Involvement of the pupils in contributing to a safe school environment e.g.  cairde system, Lunchtime Pals and other student support activities that can help to support pupils and encourage a culture of peer respect and support.
• Development and promotion of an Anti-Bullying code for the school-to be displayed publicly in classrooms and in common areas of the school and put on the school website.
• 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 .
• The implementation of regular  whole school awareness measures e.g. a dedicated notice board in the classrooms on the promotion of friendship during friendship week, bullying prevention event, occasional school assemblies
• 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 My story box
o Get a parent(s)/guardian(s) or friend to tell on your behalf.
o Administer a confidential questionnaire once a year to all pupils - where appropriate
o Ensure bystanders understand the importance of telling if they witness or know that bullying is taking place.

• We have identified  clear protocols to encourage parent(s)/guardian(s) to approach  Scoil Naomh Áine if they suspect that their child is being bullied.

Procedures are as follows:

o Approach the relevant teacher by phone call / prearranged meeting
o Should the mater not be resolved following steps taken by the relevant teacher, the parents /guardians may arrange a meeting with the Principal
o Follow up meetings may be arranged if required
o If the situation is still not satisfactorily resolved the parents /guardians may refer the matter to the Board of Management in writing for their consideration.
o 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.

• An Acceptable Use Policy has been developed 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 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 a cyber  bullying programme
• Delivery of the Garda SPHE Programmes at primary level. These lessons, delivered by Community Gardai, cover issues around personal safety and cyber-bullying
• The school will specifically consider the individual needs of SEN pupils with regard to programme implementation and the development of skills and strategies to enable all pupils to respond appropriately.
• The school will refer to the advice in “Sexual Orientation advice for schools” (RSE Primary)

Links to other policies

• Links to school policies, practices and activities that are particularly relevant to bullying, e.g. Code of Behaviour, Child Protections policy, Supervision of pupils, Acceptable Use policies etc will be made available through the school website: www.rathgaroguens.com and our old website www.scoilnaomhaine.scoilnet.ie




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 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.
• The investigation will be recorded by the relevant teacher
• Teaching and non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs), bus prefects, 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

• 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 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 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 spoken to 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;
• All staff  members will be made aware of any concerns regarding incidents of bullying behaviour
•  Each member of a group should be supported through the possible pressures that may face them from the other members of the group after they are spoken to by the teacher(s);
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/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 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;

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
• Stop, stop, tell, tell, talk, talk
• Say no, walk away, tell

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 they believe 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 procedures [as outlined in Page 8]
• 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.  Teachers make their own notes, a copy of which will be available to the Principal.
• 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 in consultation with the relevant teacher/s should develop a protocol for the storage of all records retained by the relevant teacher. A copy will be stored in the Principal’s office.

        Formal Stage 2-Appendix 3 (From DES Procedures)

The relevant teacher must use the recording template at 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 occurred.

When the recording template is used, it must be retained by the relevant teacher in question and a copy maintained by the principal. This will be kept in the filing cabinet in the Principal’s office and will be accessible to the relevant teacher, the Principal and the Chairperson of the Board of Management. These records will be stored indefinitely.

The Procedures mention the following intervention strategies and reference Ken Rigby;
www.bullyingawarenessweek.org/pdf/BullyingPreventionStrategiesinSchools Ken Rigby.pdf
• The traditional disciplinary approach
• Strengthening the victim
• Mediation

 7. Scoil Naomh Áine’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 and social skills and build resilience e.g.  
        
        - Buddy / Peer mentoring system
        -   In class Student Support Team
        - Group work such as 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 bullying or involved in the bullying behaviour.
• Pupils should understand that there are no innocent bystanders and that all incidents of bullying behaviour must be reported to a teacher.


8. Supervision and Monitoring of Pupils
The Board of Management  of Scoil Naomh Áine 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.

The Scoil Naomh Áine Supervision and Monitoring Policy deals effectively with the supervision and monitoring of pupils

• We have identified areas that may cause potential problems. In identifying same we have taken steps to ensure these problems are minimised / eliminated. Each class group plays in a specific area of the school yard / pitches for break time.   Lining up before school and at the end of breaks, access to and leaving the school building are all carefully monitored and supervised.

• In relation to Acceptable Use Policy in the school the following issues are addressed:
o all Internet sessions are supervised by a teacher
o the school regularly monitors pupils’ Internet usage
o  pupils have been instructed to use only approved class accounts for email purposes and to use these only under teacher supervision
o  Pupils have been instructed to access only those chat rooms, discussion forums and messaging or other electronic communication fora that have been approved by the school
(Note that the Schools Broadband Programme has blocked all social networking sites on the basis that they waste time and take up too much of the bandwidth which is been provided for educational purposes only)

We are satisfied that we have address all the above  issues, however as changes frequently occur, especially in the area  of technology, we will address the attending issues regularly.


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 April 3rd, 2014 [date].

11. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website is otherwise 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.

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.  A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.



Date of next review:  April 2015


 
Back to content | Back to main menu