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 Ballyshannon 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. 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 (See Appendix 1) 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; involves collaboration among and between staff & pupils and promotes respectful relationships across the school community; encourages the work of the student council in this area
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 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) and ongoing 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:
‘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:
ü Deliberate exclusion, malicious gossip and other forms of relational bullying
ü 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 do not fall within the definition of bullying and should be dealt with, as appropriate, in accordance with the school’s code of 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 and appears as Appendix 1 of this document.
4. The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying are as follows:
The class teacher(s) initially
The principal thereafter if necessary
5. The following education and prevention strategies, at the appropriate and relevant level for each class, will be used by the school:
· A school-wide approach to the fostering of respect for all members of the school community; adults should model the type of behaviours they promote to pupils.
· 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 are 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; the topic of bullying is addressed at each staff meeting.
· Supervision and monitoring of classrooms, corridors, school grounds, school tours and extra- curricular activities. Non-teaching and ancillary staff are encouraged to be vigilant and report issues to relevant teachers. Supervision also applies to monitoring pupils’ use of communication technology within the school.
· Buddy system and other student support activities that can help to support pupils and encourage a culture of peer respect and support.
· The school’s Anti-Bullying Policy is discussed with pupils and all parent(s)/guardian(s) are given a copy as part of the Code of Behaviour of the school upon entry. It is also available on the school website.
· The implementation of regular whole school awareness measures, including posters, competitions, group assemblies etc.
· Encourage a culture of telling, with particular emphasis on the importance of bystanders. In that way pupils 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.:
ü Direct approach to teacher at an appropriate time, for example after class.
ü Hand note in with homework.
ü Worry box for older children.
ü Get a parent(s)/guardian(s) or friend to tell on your behalf.
ü Ensure bystanders understand the importance of telling if they witness or know that bullying is taking place. All teachers will teach children to recognise bullying behaviour and encourage them to use their voice to say ‘no’ to such behaviour.
· Identify clear protocols to encourage parent(s)/guardian(s) to approach the school if they suspect that their child is being bullied.
· Ensuring that children and parents accept the Acceptable Use Policy of the school.
Implementation of curricula
· The implementation of the SPHE curriculum, according to our school plan, including the RSE and Stay Safe Programmes.
· School wide delivery of lessons on bullying from evidence based programmes, e.g. Stay Safe Programme and The Walk Tall Programme (integrated); cyberbullying (Webwise teachers’ resources) and lessons from www.antibullyingcampaign.ie
· Delivery of the Garda SPHE Programmes at primary level. These lessons, delivered by Community Gardai (when available) cover issues around personal safety and cyber-bullying.
· The school will specifically consider the additional needs of SEN pupils with regard to programme implementation and the development of skills and strategies to enable all pupils to respond appropriately.
Prevention and awareness raising measures across all aspects of bullying and involves strategies to engage pupils in addressing problems when they arise. In particular, such strategies need to build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils
Provide pupils with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self-worth. SPHE curriculum makes specific provision for exploring bullying as well as the inter-related areas of belonging and integrating, communicating, conflict, friendship, personal safety and relationships. The Stay Safe Programme covers areas of personal safety and seeks to enhance pupils’ self-protection skills including the ability to recognise and cope with bullying. Walk Tall Programme covers strategies to build empathy, respect, resilience and a positive sense of self-worth. RSE programme in 6th class covers the areas of human sexuality and relationships and identity – based bullying. Co-operation and group enterprises are promoted through sport activities, school tours and project work, drama, circle time. Sporting activities in particular can provide excellent opportunities for channelling and learning how to control aggression. GAA coaching and tag rugby is offered to some classes from outside agencies and teachers are also involved in coaching the school’s soccer and gaelic teams.
Prevention and awareness raising measures focusing on cyber-bullying by educating pupils on appropriate online behaviour, how to stay safe while online. Bully 4 U gives a workshop on Cyber bullying for 3rd to 6th class pupils in January every third year. There is also a talk given to parents outlining the dangers of social networks and how to tackle cyber bullying. We use wibewise as a resource for both teachers and pupils in our school.
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,
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). With this in mind the schools procedures are as follows:
(i) In investigating and dealing with bullying, the teacher(s) will exercise his/her/their professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred, what type if it has and how best the situation might be resolved
(ii) All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher(s). 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
(iii) 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
(iv) 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
(v) It is very important that all involved (including each set of pupils and parents) understand the above approach from the outset
(vi) Teachers should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying behaviour reported by pupils, staff or parents
(vii) Initial investigations of bullying will be done in class where possible but some incidents might be best investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved
(ix) 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
(x) When analysing incidents of bullying behaviour, the relevant teacher(s) 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
(xi) 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
(xii) Each member of a group should be supported through the possible pressures that they may face them from the other members of the group after interview by the teacher
(xii) Where the relevant teacher(s) has/have 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
(xiii) It may also be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident(s)
(xiv) In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher(s) 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
(xvi) 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;
(xvii) Follow-up meetings with the relevant parties involved may 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
(xviii) An additional follow-up meeting with parents of the children involved may take place after an appropriate time to ensure that the matter has been resolved satisfactorily
(xx) 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
(xxi) 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.
RECORDING: Noting and reporting of bullying behaviour is to be documented using the template for recording bullying behaviour (Appendix 3). All records must be maintained in accordance with relevant data protection legislation. The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour will adhere to the following:
(i) While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher(s), the relevant teacher(s) will use his/her/their professional judgement in relation to the records to be kept of these reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same
(ii) If it is established by the relevant teacher(s) that bullying has occurred, the relevant teacher(s) 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
(iii) The relevant teacher(s) must use the recording template at Appendix 3 to record the bullying behaviour which is available on the server
7. The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying involves a whole school approach. Given the complexity of bullying behaviour, no one intervention/support programme works in all situations. Therefore various approaches and intervention strategies may be used including suggesting that parents seek referrals so that appropriate outside agencies in order to receive further support for the pupils and their families if needed.
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. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on ________________.
10. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website (or where none exists, is otherwise readily accessible to parents and pupils on request) and provided to the Parents’ Association (where one exists). A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.
11. 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.
Signed: _____________________ Signed: ___________________________ (Chairperson of Board of Management) (Principal)
Date: ______________ Date: __________________
Date of next review: _______________
APPENDIX 1: 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 times’ for bullying in the school
Hot spots tend to be in the playground/school yard/outdoor areas, changing rooms, corridors and other areas of unstructured supervision
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 2: Types of bullying
The following are some of the types of bullying behaviour that can occur amongst pupils:
Physical aggression: This behaviour includes pushing, shoving, punching, kicking, poking and tripping people. It may also take the form of severe physical assault. While pupils often engage in ‘mess fights’, they can sometimes be used as a disguise for physical harassment or inflicting pain
Intimidation: Some bullying behaviour takes the form of intimidation. It may be based on the use of very aggressive body language with the voice being used as a weapon. Particularly upsetting can be a facial expression which conveys aggression and/or dislike.
Isolation/exclusion and other relational bullying: This occurs where a certain person is deliberately isolated, excluded or ignored by some or all of the class group. This practice is usually initiated by the person engaged in bullying behaviour and can be difficult to detect. It may be accompanied by writing insulting remarks about the pupil in public places, by passing around notes about or drawings of the pupil or by whispering insults about them loud enough to be heard. Relational bullying occurs when a person’s attempts to socialise and form relationships with peers are repeatedly rejected or undermined. One of the most common forms includes control: ‘Do this or I won’t be your friend anymore’(implied or stated), a group ganging up against one person (girl or boy), non-verbal gesturing, malicious gossip, spreading rumours about a person or giving them the ‘silent treatment’.
Cyber-bullying: This type of bullying is increasingly common and is continuously evolving. It is bullying carried out through the use of information and communication technologies such as text, social network sites, email, instant messaging (IM), apps, gaming sites, chat rooms and other online technologies. Being the target of inappropriate or hurtful messages is the most common form of online bullying. As cyber-bullying uses technology to perpetrate bullying behaviour and does not require face-to face-contact, cyber-bullying can occur at any time (day or night). Many forms of bullying can be facilitated through cyber-bullying. For example, a target may be sent homophobic text messages or pictures may be posted with negative comments about a person’s sexuality, appearance etc.
Name calling: Persistent name-calling directed at the same individual(s) that hurts, insults or humiliates should be regarded as a form of bullying behaviour. Often name calling of this type refers to physical appearance, e.g. size or clothes worn. Accent or distinctive voice characteristics may attract negative attention. Academic ability can also provoke name calling. This tends to operate at two extremes. There are those who are singled out for attention because they are perceived to be weak academically. At the other extreme there are those who, because they are perceived as high achievers are also targeted
Damage to property: Personal property can be the focus of attention for bullying behaviour. This may result in damage to clothing, mobile phone or other devices, school books and other learning material or interference with a pupil’s locker or bicycle. The contents of school bags and pencil cases may be scattered on the floor. Items of personal property may be defaced, broken, stolen or hidden
Extortion: Demands for money may be made, often accompanied by threats (sometimes carried out in the event of the targeted pupil not delivering on the demand). A pupil may also be forced into theft of property for delivery to another who is engaged in bullying behaviour.
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)
5. Name of person(s) who reported the bullying concern
6. Type of Bullying Behaviour - tick relevant box(es)
7. Brief Description of bullying behaviour and its impact
8. Details of actions taken
Signed ______________________________ Date ________________
(Relevant Teacher 1)
Date submitted to Principal/Deputy Principal ___________________