St. Brendan's National School


Go to content

Anti-Bullying Policy

Parents > Policies

St. Brendan’s National School
Anti-bullying Policy

1. Rationale
This policy serves to outline the procedures followed in St. Brendan's National School to address incidents of bullying. As a school we believe that our pupils have the right to learn in a supportive,
caring and safe environment. 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 St. Brendan’s National 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. Key Principles:
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; and
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 and
explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying (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).
On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.

3. Definition of Bullying
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 (Refer to Appendix 6 for sub Policy on Cyberbullying)
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 (SEN).

Additional information on different types of bullying is set out at 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.

Staff members have a responsibility not to instigate, condone or ignore bullying behaviour. All staff
will watch out for signs of bullying. A list of indications of bullying is set out at Appendix 2

4. The Relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying are:
Class Teacher
Principal
Any teacher may act as a relevant teacher if circumstances warrant it.

5. Education and Prevention Strategies - School Wide Approach
As self-esteem is a major factor in determining behaviour, we will, through our curricular and extra-curricular programmes, provide pupils with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self-worth.
We will raise pupils' awareness and understanding of bullying, including its causes and effects.
Approaches to decreasing the likelihood of bullying for pupils with SEN will include - improving inclusion, focusing on developing social skills and cultivating a good school culture that has respect for all and helping one another as central.
We will use the anti-bullying module of the SPHE curriculum as appropriate during the year, as well as the inter-related areas of belonging and integrating, communication, conflict, friendship, personal safety and relationships. The Stay Safe programme, a personal safety skills programme will also be used to enhance children's self-protection skills including their ability to recognise and cope with bullying.
An anti-bullying awareness week may be organised in the first term of the year to raise awareness of issues involved with bullying e.g. racial issues, cyber bullying etc.

We will use all subjects to foster an attitude of respect for all: to promote the value of diversity, to address prejudice and stereotyping and to highlight the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.
Good supervisory and monitoring measures will continue to be utilised both to prevent and deal with bullying behaviour.
Arrangements will be made to ensure that temporary and substitute staff have sufficient awareness of the school's Code of Behaviour and its Anti-Bullying Policy.
Consistent investigation, follow up and recording of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies)


Individual class teachers
- may use some or all of the following systems as deemed appropriate :
praising appropriate behaviour "catch them being good"
proximal praise
star charts
'traffic lights'
golden time
homework pass
student of the week
group reward system
individual behaviour profiles

Teachers and students will identify bullying 'hot-spots' and 'hot-times' and appropriate steps will be taken to ensure there is adequate supervision at these times.

Procedures for investigating and dealing with bullying
The primary aim will be to resolve any issues and to restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved (rather than to apportion blame).

Reporting bullying behaviour
Any pupil or parent 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. and non-teaching staff are encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher.

Investigating and dealing with bullying
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.
Parents 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.
When analysing incidents of bullying behaviour, the teacher will seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why. This will be done in a calm manner, setting an example of dealing effectively with a conflict in a non-aggressive manner.

Incidents will generally be investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved.
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 they may face from the other members of the group after being interviewed by the teacher.
Where appropriate, those involved may be asked to write down their account of the incident(s).
Where it has been determined that a pupil has 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. Efforts will be made to get him/her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied.it is found that bullying behaviour was engaged in, both sets of parents will be informed at an early stage.
In the event that it is found that a pupil has been involved in bullying behaviour he/she will be asked to sign a binding promise that he/she will treat all pupils fairly, equally and respectfully including the targeted pupil.
If a pupil chooses to break their signed promise and continues the bullying behaviour, this can no longer be considered a ‘mistake’ or a ‘joke’. In this event the parent/s will be informed and requested to countersign the promise. A breach of this promise by further bullying behaviour will be regarded as a very serious matter and a sanction will be imposed by the school authorities. (See sanctions below)
It will 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. an investigation is completed and/or a bullying situation is resolved, the relevant teacher will complete a report, including the findings of the investigation, the strategy adopted and the outcome of the intervention, and any other relevant informationdocumentation regarding bullying incidents and their resolution will be retained securely in the school.

Sanctions
Where a pupil has been found to have been engaged in bullying behaviour, has formally promised to stop and has broken that promise, any of the following sanctions may be imposed.
The pupil may be required to sign a further promise, along with parents
Parents may be informed by the Relevant Teacher of the nature and extent of the bullying behaviour with a view to agreeing a strategy whereby a promise to end the bullying behaviour would be honoured. may be invited to meet with the Relevant Teacher and the Principal and the pupil may be suspended.case may be referred to the Board of Management and the pupil may be expelled from 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 and
whether any issues between the parties have been resolved as far as is practicable and
whether relationships between the parties have been resolved as far as is practicable
any feedback from the Principal

Follow up meetings with the relevant parties 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 is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these
procedures, the parents will be referred, as appropriate, to the school's complaints procedures.

If having exhausted these procedures the parent is still not satisfied, the school will advise the parents of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.
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 will be recorded by the Relevant Teacher in the recording template at Appendix 3.


Procedures for recording bullying behaviour
All records must be maintained in accordance with relevant data protection legislation. The
school's procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour is as follows:

Informal – pre-determination that bullying has occurred
Teaching staff must keep a record of any incident witnessed by them or reported to them. All incidents must be reported to the Principal.

Formal Stage 1 – determination that bullying has occurred
If it is established by the Relevant Teacher that bullying has occurred, he/she must keep appropriate records which will assist in resolving the issues and restoring, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved.

The Relevant Teacher will use the appropriate template to record the bullying behaviour. This form
will be passed to the Principal. In cases where the bullying has been resolved, the template form will
serve as a summary of the investigation (see Appendix 3). However, where appropriate, additional notes and details will be attached to the form to retain on file, particularly in cases where the bullying was not resolved within 20 days of the initial investigation. It should also be noted that the timeline for recording bullying behaviour in this recording template does not in any way preclude the teacher from consulting the Principal at an earlier stage in relation to a case.

There are six main methods of intervention that may be employed in cases of school bullying –
The Traditional Disciplinary Approach
Strengthening the Victim
Mediation
Restorative Practice
The Support Group Method
The Method of Shared Concern


In deciding which method to use, the following factors will be taken into account –
The nature of the cases (some are dealt with more effectively with one method than another)
The level of training that the teachers have in applying the method

For more information refer to the PDST Anti-Bullying Support Material p.28-47

7. Support for pupils:

The school's programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying (both victims and
those involved in bullying behaviour) is as follows:


Provide opportunities to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem, to develop their friendship and social skills and thereby build resilience (as per SPHE programme).
Encourage friendship and small-group team-building exercises focused on affected students.
Close monitoring of pupils (those bullying and those being bullied) in the classroom and in the
playground in the weeks following an incident of bullying.
Workshops to be made available if necessary throughout the year in particular to senior classes.
Follow up meetings with students on an ongoing basis following any incident of bullying
Learning strategies within the school to allow for the enhancement of the pupil's self-worth.
Counselling to help pupils learn other ways of meeting their needs without violating the rights of others.
Pupils who observe incidents of bullying behaviour will be encouraged to discuss them with teachers.


Code of Behaviour / Referral to Outside Agencies
Bullying behaviour can be part of a continuum of behaviour rather than a stand-alone issue and in some cases behaviour may escalate beyond that which can be described as bullying to serious physical or sexual assault or harassment. Accordingly instances of bullying will be dealt with in tandem with the school's overall code of behaviour. In cases where a school has serious concerns in relation to managing the behaviour of a pupil, the advice of the National Education Psychological Service (NEPS) will be sought.

Serious instances of bullying behaviour will, in accordance with the Children First and the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools, be referred to the HSE Children and Family Services and/or Gardaí as appropriate.

Where school personnel have concerns about a child but are not sure whether to report the matter to
the HSE, the Designated Liaison Person will seek advice from the HSE Children and Family Social
Services.
(cf .'Children First' National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2011
(cf. Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools, DES)

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. Ratification and Implementation
This policy was formulated by the staff of St. Brendan’s National School during the 2013-2014
School year as part of their Croke Park hours. It was subsequently ratified and adopted by the Board of Management on ……………………..(date).

Communication
This policy has been made available to school personnel. It will be published on the school website
and provided to the Parents’ Association. A copy will be made available to the patron and the
Department if requested.

12. Review
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 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.

Signed __________________________(Chairperson)
Signed __________________________(Principal)
Date ____________________
Date of next review: _________________________

Appendix 1 - Examples of Bullying Behaviour

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 Bullying
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, 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 - Indications of Bullying.

The following indicators may suggest that a pupil is being bullied. This list is not exhaustive.
anxiety about travelling to and from school,
requesting parents to drive and collect them,
changing route of travel
unwillingness to go to school or refusal to attend,
deterioration in educational performance,
loss of concentration
loss of enthusiasm and interest in school.
pattern of physical illnesses e.g. headaches, stomach aches.
unexplained changes in mood or behaviour: it may be particularly noticeable before returning to school after weekends or especially after longer school holidays.
unusual demands for money for school. The children will always get a note from school if they need to bring in money.
visible signs of anxiety or distress- stammering, withdrawing, nightmares, becoming clingy, attention seeking, difficulty in sleeping, crying, not eating, vomiting, bedwetting.
spontaneous, out of character comments about other children.
possessions missing or damaged.
reluctance and/or refusal to say what is troubling him/her.


Appendix 3 - Template for reporting Incidences of Bullying Behaviour

Appendix 4 - Checklist for Review of Anti-Bullying Policy

Appendix 5. Raising Awareness Of Bullying As A Form Of Unacceptable Behaviour.
Each school must raise the awareness of bullying in its school community so that pupils are more alert to its harmful effects “Guidelines on Countering Bullying Behaviour in primary and Post-Primary Schools, 1993”.

The following are some of the practical ways that we in St. Brendan’s National School can emphasise that bullying behaviour is unacceptable, e.g.

Teachers will discuss the following strategies with all classes.
Remember that your silence is the bully’s greatest weapon!
Tell yourself that you do not deserve to be bullied and that it is
WRONG!
Be proud of who you are. It is good to be individual.
Try not to show that you are upset in front of the bully. It is hard but a bully thrives on someone’s fear.
Stay with groups of friends/ people. There is safety in numbers.
Be assertive – shout “NO” Walk confidently away. Go straight to a teacher or member of staff.
Fighting back may make things worse. Talk to a teacher or parent/ guardian.

The school will use a range of strategies to encourage good behaviour and discourage bullying. We will seek to develop a positive school culture in the following ways:
Model respectful behaviour to all members of the school community at all times.
Explicitly teach pupils what respectful language and respectful behaviour looks 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 and 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 the playground.
All staff will actively watch out for signs of bullying behaviour (See Appendix 2).


Appendix 6: Policy on Cyber-Bullying

Cyber-bullying Policy

Cyber-bullying is defined as – an aggressive, intentional act, carried out by a group or individual, using electronic forms of contact, repeatedly over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him- or herself. This can include bullying via text messages, mobile telephone cameras, telephone calls, email, chat-rooms, instant messaging, websites and internet devices such as the X-Box and Nintendo DS etc.

In St. Brendan’s National School pupils have restricted access to mobile telephones, computers and specific websites: see specific written policies (i.e. Acceptable Use Policy and Anti-Bullying Policy).

Access to Facebook (or similar social media sites) is not allowed and parents and children in senior classes are regularly advised of the age restrictions associated with this website.

Teachers may use “Webwise” as a resource to tell students about cyber-safety.

School computers are regularly updated with antivirus and blocking technologies.

A three-part Complete E-safety Programme, comprising (i) thirteen Internet safety lessons (downloadable from www.webwise.ie), three of which address cyber-bullying; (ii) an in-service session for teachers; and (iii) in conjunction with the National Parents’ Council (NPC), the possibility of a free Internet Safety speaker for parents’ evenings, is also available for use.

Social media such as Facebook, Ask.com and other such sites that may arise are beyond the remit of this school. Facebook in particular states that members should be thirteen years and older. Primary school children are below this age and as a result should not be on this site. The school cannot get involved in incidents that occur on such sites outside of school hours. Such sites are not permitted to be accessed by pupils during school hours and are, in fact, blocked. School authorities may need to get legal advice where a situation is complex.

If it is discovered by / reported to the school that a child/children is/are involved in any form of cyber bullying outside of school hours the staff and/or the Board of Management will, with the agreement of the parents of the victim, inform the parents of the other child/children involved. The Staff/BOM will stay in close contact with parents of all those involved.

Further anti-cyber bullying resources can be found on www.into.ie/cyberbullying-november2011.pdf.

Examples of Cyber-bullying

Text messages
– can be threatening or cause discomfort.included here is
‘Bluejacking’ (the sending of anonymous text messages over short distances using
bluetooth wireless technology)

Picture/video-clips via mobile phone cameras
– images sent to others to make the victim feel threatened or embarrassed

Mobile phone calls
– silent calls, abusive messages or stealing the victim?s phone and using it to harass others, to make them believe the victim is responsible

Emails
– threatening or bullying emails, often sent using a pseudonym or somebody else?s name

Chat room bullying
– menacing or upsetting responses to children or young people when they are in a web-based chat room.

Instant messaging (IM)
– unpleasant messages sent while children conduct real-time conversations online using MSM (Microsoft Messenger), Yahoo Chat or similar tools/apps such as Snapchat.

Bullying via websites
– use of defamatory blogs (web logs), personal websites and online personal ‘own web space’ sites such as You Tube, Facebook, Ask.fm, Bebo (which works by signing on in one?s school, therefore making it easy to find a victim) and Myspace – although there are others.

NB: The above lists are not exhaustive. Refer to Appendix 1 for a further, non-exhaustive list.









Back to content | Back to main menu