Anti-Bullying Policy

Revised Anti-Bullying Behaviour Policy

 

INTRODUCTION
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. Patrick’s Loreto, Bray 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.

ETHOS
The Loreto Philosophy of Education is based on relationships which are characterised by respect, justice, honesty, sincerity, courage and compassion. The uniqueness of each child is cherished and celebrated. In St. Patrick’s we aim to provide the highest possible standard of education for all pupils in an environment which is free from bullying or intimidation of any kind. Bullying by its nature undermines and dilutes the quality of education and may impose psychological damage.

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
  • 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
– On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy

DEFINITION
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.

 

Where can Bullying happen?

Bullying can take place:

  • in school
  • on the way to and from school
  • at activities outside school
  • on the road, street, at home
  • via mobile phone call, text, e-mail or social media

In keeping with the school’s Code of Behaviour, this policy will apply to incidents of bullying outside school, when a child is not under the care and supervision of the school, only when there is a clear connection with the school and a demonstrable impact on its work e.g. intimidation/bullying by means of the internet/mobile phones.

 

Why do children bully?

  • Children can engage in bullying behaviour for many reasons:
  • They may feel insecure and inadequate
  • They may be bullied by parents, older siblings or others
  • They may find it difficult to fit in with others
  • They may feel that they must succeed at all costs
  • They may be frequently humiliated by others and in turn do this to others
  • Inappropriate behaviour may go totally unchallenged at home
  • They may have been, or continue to be, physically, sexually, psychologically or emotionally abused themselves.

Types of Bullying

– Name calling

– Intimidation

– Extortion

– Isolation / exclusion

– Abusive Telephone Calls

– Malicious rumour

– Taunting / Attempting to embarrass or humiliate

– Physical aggression

– Damage to school property

– Bullying of school personnel

– Cyber bullying:

  • Text message bullying Taking, sending and publication of photographs or video clips via mobile phone cameras
  • Phone call bullying
  • Email bullying
  • Chat room bullying
  • Bullying through instant messaging
  • Bullying via websites (social networking sites)

– 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.

Signs of Bullying
– Unexplained bruising, cuts or damaged clothes
– Visible signs of anxiety or distress – refusal to say what is wrong
– Unexplained mood swings or behaviour

  • becoming withdrawn 

  • becoming uncharacteristically clingy 

  • attention seeking behaviour

  • aggressive behaviour

– Out of character behaviour in class
– Deterioration in educational attainments
– Loss of concentration
– Loss of interest in school
– Erratic attendance
– Reluctance to attend school
– Absence from school without parental permission
– Lingering behind in school after classes are over
– Increased requests for pocket money or stealing money
– Loss of or damage to personal possessions or equipment
– Artwork expressing inner turmoil

KEY PERSONNEL
The relevant teachers for investigating and dealing with bullying are as follows:

  • Class teacher
  • Supervising teacher where relevant
  • Deputy Principal
  • Principal

PREVENTION STRATEGIES
The education and prevention strategies that will be used by the school are as follows

  • 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.
  • Support the work of the Student Council.

SPECIFIC MEASURES

  • Prior to start of each school year parents/guardians of all new entrants will receive a copy of the school’s Code of Behaviour to be read and signed             
  • At the start of each School Year the parents of all new entrants will be informed of the school’s Anti- Bullying Policy, copies of which are available through the office/school website.
  • Each class teacher will highlight the children’s awareness of bullying as unacceptable behaviour, in an age-appropriate way. This will be explored through Religion Class, Circle Time and S.P.H.E. Lessons. Teachers to emphasise that the Golden Rule at all times must be:   “Treat others as you would like them to treat you”.    While the Social, Personal and Health Education Programme [S.P.H.E.] provides the main focus for dealing with issues around bullying, all teachers can influence attitudes to bullying behaviour in a positive manner through a range of curricular initiatives.
  • Staff members will use specific questions [Appendix 1] together with School Rules and Code of Behaviour to help our pupils analyse any misbehaviour that may occur. These questions need to be modelled / practised to ensure their effectiveness.
  • Staff members are aware that each pupil is a unique person, created in God’s image, has a past, present and future and has been called by God by a name of his/her own. Specific lessons in the R.E. programme will be used to emphasise this concept.
  • We request and actively encourage parents to make their children aware of the unacceptability of bullying behaviour and encourage them to report such behaviour to the teachers whenever they witness it.
  • We acknowledge the vital role that all ancillary staff members play in helping to counter potential bullying behaviour in our school.

Procedures for noting and reporting incidents of bullying
1. The primary aim for the relevant 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);
2. 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;
3. All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher. 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;
4. 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;
5. 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;
6. It is very important that all involved (including each set of pupils and parents) understand the above approach from the outset;
7. Teachers should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying behaviour reported by pupils, staff or parents;
8. Incidents are generally best investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved;
9. 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;  
10. 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;
11. 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;
12. 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;
13. It may also be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident(s);
14. The relevant teacher will record their investigation of the incident(s)/behaviour(s) by completing Appendix 2A;
15. In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher 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 (by reference to the school policy). 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;
16. 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;
17. 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;
18. 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. This can have a therapeutic effect;
19. 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 must be recorded by the relevant teacher in the recording template at Appendix 2
20. 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;
– 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; and
– Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parents or the school Principal or Deputy Principal;
21. 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;
22. 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.

Procedures for recording bullying behaviour
1. While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher, the relevant teacher will use his/her professional judgement in relation to the records to be kept of these reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same;
2. If it is established by the relevant teacher that bullying has occurred, the relevant teacher will complete Appendix 2 as a record of the investigation.
3. 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 occurred, a copy of the completed Appendix 2 Form will be provided to the Principal/Deputy Principal. It should also be noted that the timeline for recording bullying behaviour in the recording template at Appendix 2 does not in any way preclude the relevant teacher from consulting the Principal or Deputy Principal at an earlier stage in relation to a case.
4. If the relevant teacher determines that the bullying behaviour has been adequately and appropriately addressed, the completed Appendix 2 Form may be submitted to the Principal/Deputy Principal at the end of the school year.

Periodic summary reports to the Board of Management 

– At least once in every school term, the Principal will provide a report to the Board of Management setting out:

(i) the overall number of bullying cases reported (by means of the bullying recording template at Appendix 2) since the previous report to the Board and
(ii) confirmation that all cases referred to at (i) above have been or are being, dealt with in accordance with the school’s anti-bullying policy and the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary schools.

– The minutes of the Board of Management meeting will record the above but will not include any identifying details of the pupils involved.

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.

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. 

This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on 6th May 2014.

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

This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year using the template in Appendix 3. 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, using the template in Appendix 4. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.

Signed:_________________________________
(Chairperson of Board of Management)

Date: ________________

Signed: _________________________________
(Principal)

Date: ________________
Date of next review: May 2015

Appendix 1

Restorative Questions

Questions for the chid alleged to be involved in the bullying behaviour

  • What happened?
  • What were you thinking of then/since?
  • Who could have been affected by what you did and how?
  • What could you have done differently?
  • What needs to happen now to make things right?

Questions for the child alleged to be the victim of the bullying behaviour  

  • What did you think when you realised what was happening?
  • How did this make you feel?
  • How did this impact on others?
  • What was the hardest thing?
  • What needs to happen to make things right?

Appendix 2

Form 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))*

Pupil concerned

Other Pupil

Parent

Teacher 

Other

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

Playground 

Classroom

Corridor

Toilets

School Bus

Other

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

6. Date concern was reported                                          _____________________________

7. Type of Bullying Behaviour (tick relevant box(es)) *

Physical Aggression

Cyber-bullying

Damage to Property

Intimidation

Isolation/Exclusion

 

Malicious Gossip  

Name Calling

Other (specify)

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

Homophobic

Disability/SEN related

Racist

Membership of Traveller community 

Other (specify)

9. Brief Description of bullying behaviour and its impact

10. Details of actions taken

Signed ______________________ (Relevant Teacher)   Date ____________________

Date submitted to Principal/Deputy Principal ________________

Appendix 2A

Form for investigating alleged bullying behaviour
1. Name(s) of pupil(s) subjected to the alleged bullying behaviour

Name __________________________________Class________________

Name __________________________________Class________________

Name __________________________________Class________________

Name __________________________________Class________________

2. Name(s) of pupil(s) engaged in alleged bullying behaviour

Name __________________________________Class________________

Name __________________________________Class________________

Name __________________________________Class________________

Name __________________________________Class________________

3. Date on which the allegation was made    ________________________________

4. How behaviour came to light

Pupil concerned

 

Other Pupil

 

Parent

 

Teacher 

 

Other

 

5. Where behaviour took place

Playground 

 

Classroom

 

Corridor

 

Toilets

 

School Bus

 

Other

 

6. Brief description of behaviour and its impact

7. Details of actions taken

8. Does the behaviour constitute bullying behaviour?    Yes                       No

Signed ___________________________ (Relevant Teacher)   Date ____________________

Appendix 3

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

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 _____________
Principal

Appendix 4

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

The Board of Management of St. Patrick’s Loreto P.S. wishes to inform you that:

  • The Board of Management’s annual review of the school’s anti-bullying policy and its implementation was completed at the Board meeting of _______________.
  • This review was conducted in accordance with the checklist set out in the Department’s Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.

Signed __________________________________                     Date ______________
Chairperson, Board of Management

Signed __________________________________                     Date ______________
Principal