Thursday, February 12, 2015

Anti Bullying Policy

Anti-Bullying Policy
(reviewed February 2014 and on-going)

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 (BOM) of Scoil Chaitríona Junior Primary School has adopted the following anti-bullying policy within the framework of the school's overall code of behaviour. The 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 BOM 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 in preventing and tackling bullying behaviour:
·         A positive school culture and climate which
Ø   is welcoming of difference and diversity and is based on inclusivity;
Ø  encourages pupils to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour in a non-threatening environment; and
Ø  promotes respectful relationships across the whole 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
Ø  build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils and explicitly address the issues of cyber bullying and
Ø   identity based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying
·         Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils;
·         Supports for staff
·         Consistent recording, investigating 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 unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical conduct, 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, bullying based on a person's ethnicity 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 will be dealt with as 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. The relevant teachers for investigating and dealing with bullying are the class teacher, Mrs. Teresa Carleton, Deputy Principal, Mrs. Patricia Coleman, Principal. The relevant LSRT / EAL teacher will also be involved with the specific class. HSCL will be involved where necessary.

5. The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying) will be as follows:

Create a culture of "telling".
·         Teachers should repeatedly reinforce the message that if anyone is the victim of bullying behaviour, they should not retaliate in any way, but they should tell an adult. Victims should be reassured that if they tell, something will be done about the bullying in a safe manner and all reported incidents will be dealt with.
·         Class lessons to be provided to enable pupils "how to tell" (telling protocol)
·         Bystanders can be the key to resolving bullying and if anyone witnesses bullying behaviour, they should always tell a teacher. This is not telling tales but a means of protecting victims.

Raising the awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour by -
·         Displaying school's anti-bullying statement (Bullying is wrong and is not tolerated in Scoil Chaitrona Junior. We are a telling school) in school foyer and other prominent places around the school environment; Addressing aspects of bullying at morning assemblies. (What is bullying? What is not bullying? What to do if you feel you are being bullied? What to do if you see somebody else being bullied?)
·         Engaging in formal teaching within the class setting through SPHE, Stay Safe, Incredible years programme, Junior Dina and RE programmes. (school to research materials on identity bullying)
·         Creating an annual awareness week for school community about bullying. (The date for this week to be decided at September Staff meeting). This will involve discussion, anti - bullying games, poster/slogan competitions appropriate to class level.

Other Strategies:
·         Formal programmes of work are a vital element in raising children's self-esteem and equipping children to cope with bullying behaviour e.g. Walk Tall, RSE, Alive-O, Webwise, Stay safe, Incredible Years Programme, Junior Dina. Positive reinforcement by teachers in classroom setting (Treasure Ticks, Students of the week, Golden time, Golden ticket; Spot Prizes, Stars, Stickers etc.)
·         Modelling of respectful behaviour and language by teachers and staff.
·         Promotion of extra-curricular activities which encourage co-operation among pupils   (to extend this beyond sport eg drama, dance, music) eg Art, Gardening.
·         Rewarding incidents of good and improved behaviour and showing acts of kindness at class level and whole-school through Class of the Week.
·         Encouraging students to look out for each other and to be responsible for their own behaviour.
·         All teachers are required to be vigilant on yard duty- record all significant incidences in the Yard Book - monitor repeat offenders
·         Immediate affirmation of children who report incidents of bullying which they have witnessed.
·         Circle-time sessions, role-play, Socially Speaking programmes and puppetry are methodologies which are used to discuss and explore issues of bullying through LS / resource work.
·         Each class to have a set of class rules which compliment the school's Code of Behaviour.
·         A  buddy programme for 2nd classes in June to aid transition to senior school.
·         Ensure Code of behaviour is received  and signed by all parents
·         Renew the signs around the school.
·         Supervision at all times when pupils can access the internet.
·         Teacher's face-book accounts should be private
·         Sanctions for unauthorised use of the internet/electronic devices will be imposed as per the Code of Behaviour and AUP .
·         All teachers to do a lesson on internet safety- coincide with Internet Safety Day.
·         To focus on the topic of bullying on at least one school assembly ( Nov. of each school year as per the recommendations from Dealing with Bullying in Schools (Office of the Ombudsman for Children 2013).
·         Parent workshop on anti- bully with a focus on cyber bullying.

6. The school's procedure for investigation, follow up and recording of bullying behaviour and the established intervention strategies used by the school for dealing with cases of bullying are as follows:

Incidents of Bullying will be dealt with on a staged basis.

Stage 1

All reports of bullying must be dealt with initially by the class teacher.
·         When a pupil tells a teacher s/he is being bullied, it is important to gather all of the facts from both sides (What, where, when, who, why?). This will involve an interview with the alleged bully using template in Appendices.
·         In investigating and dealing with bullying, the teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best to resolve the situation.
·         The aim for the class 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).
·         Non- teaching staff will be encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them to the relevant teacher.
·         The teacher should take a calm, unemotional, problem-solving approach.
·         All sides are listened to separately and notes are taken.
·         The notes are brief, factual and should be void of emotional, or judgemental language.
·         Instances are investigated outside the classroom to avoid public humiliations.
·         All interviews should be conducted with sensitivity and with due regards to the rights of all pupils concerned. Pupils who are not directly involved can also provide very useful information in this way. (See Anti bullying Procedures for Primary and Post -Primary Schools 6.8.9 page 30-31) for further suggestions.
·         Where possible, a witness is present.
·         It is explained to the alleged bully how hurtful their behaviour is and attempts are made to encourage them to empathise with the alleged victim.
·         The child/ children involved will be asked to sign "Pupil Behaviour Promise 1".
·         Parents of both parties to be verbally informed.

Stage 2

If this child breaks the promise and re-offends then the Deputy Principal or Assistant Principal with the class teacher will interview the child/children again. It is explained to them that this is their second time offending and that they have not committed to their promise. Again attempts will be made to resolve the situation. Once more students will sign the "Pupil Behaviour Promise 2". This time this has to be signed by their parents. They are now advised that if they break this promise again , they will have a meeting with the principal and their parents in the office and could face suspension.
·         Parents and pupils are required to co-operate with any investigations and assist the school in resolving any issues and restoring, as far is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved as quickly as possible.
·         Information spoken about should not become available, so that the victim would not be further tormented. (Need to know basis)

Stage 3

If a child breaks their promise twice then the matter is referred to the Principal. The Principal meets with the child and the parent. The child may be suspended for up to 3 days. The Principal has the permission of the Board of Management to suspend for up to 3 days.

Recording of incidents: All incidents will be logged by class teacher. Incidents which have not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days will be recorded by the class teacher on the recording template as in Appendix 3 (Anti bullying Procedures for Primary and Post -Primary Schools). This template will be completed in full and a copy given to the Deputy Principal and Principal. At least once every school term the Principal will provide a report to the BOM setting out the overall number of bullying cases reported by means of this template and confirmation that all cases are being dealt with in accordance with procedure.

7. The school's programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:

o Victims are reassured from the outset that they are not to blame.
o Strategies for restoring self-esteem are explored between teacher and parents/guardians.
o Where deemed necessary, the child in consultation with parents may be referred for counselling.
o Staged approach- class support, school support( as per Continuum -Behavioural, Emotional and Social difficulties- NEPS).
o Victims may be chosen for Drama Therapy sessions.
o The parents of the pupils concerned will be advised to contact the local Gardai if appropriate.

o Where deemed necessary, the child in consultation with parents may be referred for counselling. They may need to learn other ways of meeting their needs without violating the rights of others. Empathy awareness needs to be developed.
o Bullies may be chosen for Drama Therapy sessions and personal development groups.
o Clinical referral and assessment may be necessary.
o Staged approach - class support, school support (as per Continuum-Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties- NEPS)
·         Incidents of bullying can extend beyond the school and the journey to and from school is one which can provide particular opportunities for bullying to occur. The school's policy may be given to those who are closely involved at this stage so that if bullying behaviour is witnessed by them, that they may report it to the school.
·         In certain cases too it may be necessary to invite assistance from formal agencies such as Gardai,(J.L.O) Health Board, Local Youth Groups etc.
·         The school will constantly remind parents of the dangers of "cyber- bullying" as can happen with the use of social networking sites and mobile phones. We also direct their attention to the school's internet Acceptable Use Policy (AUP).
The school cannot be responsible for disagreements between pupils that happen outside the school grounds but will make reasonable efforts to cooperate with parents in assisting them to resolve the issues.
The suggestions of The Cool School’s Programme developed by the North Eastern Health Board will be implemented when working with both victims and bullies.

8. Supervision and Monitoring of pupils:

The BOM 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 BOM confirms that the school will, in accordance with its obligations under equality legislation, take all such steps that are reasonably practical 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 Travelling community.

10. Evaluation of the effectiveness of the policy:

The evaluation of the policy will happen on both an informal (through teacher observation) and formal basis (use of surveys and questionnaires).

Success Criteria:
·         Positive feedback from teachers, parents and pupils
·         Well-being and happiness of the whole school community in the light of incidents of bullying behaviour encountered and fewer problems in the yard.
·         Increase in numbers of children reporting

11. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on April 8th,  2014.

12. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website and provided to the Parent's Association. A copy of the policy will be made available to the Department and patron if requested.

13. This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the BOM 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 and provided to the Parent's association. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and to the Department.

 Appendix 2 Practical tips for building a positive school culture and climate

The following are some practical tips for immediate actions that can be taken to help build a positive school culture and climate and to help prevent and tackle bullying behaviour.

*      Model respectful behaviour to all members of the school community at all times.

*      Explicitly teach pupils what respectful language and respectful behaviour looks like, acts like, sounds like and feels like in class and around the school.
*      Display key respect messages in classrooms, in assembly areas and around the school. Involve pupils in the development of these messages.
*      Catch them being good - notice and acknowledge desired respectful behaviour by providing positive attention.
*      Consistently tackle the use of discriminatory and derogatory language in the school this includes homophobic and racist language and language that is belittling of pupils with a disability or SEN.
*      Give constructive feedback to pupils when respectful behaviour and respectful language are absent.
*      Have a system of encouragement and rewards to promote desired behaviour and compliance with the school rules and routines.

*      Explicitly teach pupils about the appropriate use of social media.

*      Positively encourage pupils to comply with the school rules on mobile phone and internet use.

*      Follow up and follow through with pupils who ignore the rules.

*    Actively involve parents and/or the Parents’ Association in awareness raising campaigns around social media.

*      Actively promote the right of every member of the school community to be safe and secure in school.
*      Highlight and explicitly teach school rules in pupil friendly language in the classroom and in common areas.

*      All staff can actively watch out for signs of bullying behaviour.

*      Ensure there is adequate playground/school yard/outdoor supervision.

*      School staff can get pupils to help them to identify bullying “hot spots” and “hot timesfor bullying in the school.

o   Hot spots tend to be in the playground/school yard/outdoor areas, changing rooms, corridors and other areas of unstructured supervision.
o   Hot times again tend to be times where there is less structured supervision such as when pupils are in the playground/school yard or moving classrooms.
*      Support the establishment and work of student councils.

Appendix 3 Template for recording bullying behaviour         

1. Name of pupil being bullied and class group

Name _________________________________________Class__________________

2. Name(s) and class(es) of pupil(s) engaged in bullying behaviour

3. Source of bullying concern/report (tick relevant box(es))*

4. Location of incidents (tick relevant box(es))*

Pupil concerned


Other Pupil







School Bus


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

6. Type of Bullying Behaviour (tick relevant box(es)) *
Physical Aggression


Damage to Property



Malicious Gossip 

Name Calling

Other (specify)

7.  Where behaviour is regarded as identity-based bullying, indicate the relevant category:

Disability/SEN related
Membership of Traveller community
Other (specify)

8. Brief Description of bullying behaviour and its impact

9.       Details of  actions taken

Signed ______________________________ (Relevant Teacher)   Date ___________________________

Date submitted to Principal/Deputy Principal ___________________
* Note: The categories listed in the tables 3, 4 & 6 are suggested and schools may add to or amend these to suit their own circumstances.

Appendix 4 Checklist for annual review of the anti-bullying policy and its implementation

The Board of Management (the Board) must undertake an annual review of the school’s anti-bullying policy and its implementation. The following checklist must be used for this purpose. The checklist is an aid to conducting this review and is not intended as an exhaustive list.  In order to complete the checklist, an examination and review involving both quantitative and qualitative analysis, as appropriate across the various elements of the implementation of the school’s anti-bullying policy will be required.
                                                                                                                                         Yes /No
Has the Board formally adopted an anti-bullying policy that fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools?

Has the Board published the policy on the school website and provided a copy to the parents’ association?

Has the Board ensured that the policy has been made available to school staff (including new staff)?

Is the Board satisfied that school staff are sufficiently familiar with the policy and procedures to enable them to effectively and consistently apply the policy and procedures in their day to day work?

Has the Board ensured that the policy has been adequately communicated to all pupils?

Has the policy documented the prevention and education strategies that the school applies?

Have all of the prevention and education strategies been implemented?

Has the effectiveness of the prevention and education strategies that have been implemented been examined?

Is the Board satisfied that all teachers are recording and dealing with incidents in accordance with the policy?

Has the Board received and minuted the periodic summary reports of the Principal?

Has the Board discussed how well the school is handling all reports of bullying including those addressed at an early stage and not therefore included in the Principal’s periodic report to the Board?

Has the Board received any complaints from parents regarding the school’s handling of bullying incidents?

Have any parents withdrawn their child from the school citing dissatisfaction with the school’s handling of a bullying situation?

Have any Ombudsman for Children investigations into the school’s handling of a bullying case been initiated or completed?

Has the data available from cases reported to the Principal (by the bullying recording template) been analysed to identify any issues, trends or patterns in bullying behaviour?

Has the Board identified any aspects of the school’s policy and/or its implementation that require further improvement?

Has the Board put in place an action plan to address any areas for improvement?

Signed _____________________________________                        Date ________________
Chairperson, Board of Management

Signed _____________________________________                  Date ________________

Notification regarding the Board of Management’s annual review of the anti-bullying policy

To: _____________________________________

The Board of Management of ____________________ wishes to inform you that:

o   The Board of Management’s annual review of the school’s anti-bullying policy and its implementation was completed at the Board meeting of _______________ [date].

o   This review was conducted in accordance with the checklist set out in Appendix 4 of the Department’s Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.

Signed _____________________________________                        Date ________________
Chairperson, Board of Management

Signed _____________________________________                       Date ________________

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