Scoil Fhionáin, Kilfinane
- Adoption of Policy
In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the code of behaviour guidelines issued by the NEWB, the Board of Management of Scoil Fhionáin 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.
This policy replaces all previous Anti-Bullying Policies.
- 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:
o is welcoming of difference and diversity and is based on inclusivity;
o encourages pupils to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour in a non-threatening environment; and
o 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
o build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils; and
o explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, transphobic and homophobic 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.
We in Scoil Fhionáin view bullying as an unacceptable behaviour that will not be tolerated in our school.
We encourage all pupils to support each other by reporting all instances of bullying.
All reports of bullying in our school will be investigated and be dealt with sympathetically.
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. (See also Appendix 1)
- Role of school personnel
Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools) recommends that the relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying in Primary Schools is/are the class teacher(s).
In the case where children from two different classes are involved, both class teachers will be deemed to be the relevant teachers. In such a case a local agreement can be made between the two relevant teachers that one of them take on the case, or they can work together on this.
- Education and prevention strategies
The Anti- Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools
(KEY PRINCIPLES OF BEST PRACTICE, 6.1 Positive school culture and climate, 6.1.1 & 6.1.2) state:
“A cornerstone in the prevention of bullying is a positive school culture and climate that is welcoming of difference and diversity and is based on inclusivity and respect. A school policy on bullying is most effective when supported by a positive school climate which encourages respect, trust, care, consideration and support for others.
Central to a positive school culture is respectful relationships across the entire school community. This encompasses relationships amongst peers (e.g. pupil to pupil, teacher to teacher) and relationships between groups (e.g. teachers and pupils, parents and teachers etc.).”
It is with this in mind that the education and prevention strategies which will be used in Scoil Fhionáin are as follows:
- Children will be made aware of what to do if they feel they are being bullied, or if they see another child being bullied. The role of the bystander will be specifically explained to all children.
- Anti-bullying lessons within the SPHE programme.
Specific target lessons are taught should a need arise.
- Anti-cyberbullying lessons will be given to classes from 3rd to 6th annually.
- A variety of resources are used by teachers (Stay Safe, Walk Tall, RSE and Webwise).
- Friendship week. This is a whole school, cross-curricular approach to the theme of friendship.
Talks by invited guest speakers (gardaí, health professionals etc.)
- Support systems for yard times from September 2017:
o Senior yard – Buddy system (older children volunteer to be a friend to a child who needs support).
o Friendship stop in Junior yard. A child needing someone to play with can stand at the Friendship Stop, any child can offer to play with that child.
- Staff meetings will address issues which may have potential to lead to bullying.
- In Scoil Fhionáin we operate a whole school approach to all behaviour management including bullying. All adults working in the school are made aware of and implement these policies.
- We recognise that this list is not exhaustive. All anti-bullying education and prevention strategies used during the school year will be included in the annual report as required by legislation.
- Procedures for investigation, follow-up and recording of alleged bullying behaviour & established intervention strategies:
- In Scoil Fhionáin we note that some children engage in low-level negative behaviours towards others. These behaviours may be the same as behaviours which can be deemed as bullying, but do not always fall under the definition of bullying e.g. a child may laugh at another child, this may be hurtful but a one -off experience, or it can be part on an on-going pattern of behaviour that may amount to bullying.
- Teachers monitor these behaviours as part of their responsibilities. In Scoil Fhionáin, the teacher/s are encouraged to keep a note of behaviours, if and when they see a pattern emerging and to alert other staff and the Principal. However minor or once-off occurrences of negative behaviour may not be recorded and can generally be dealt with informally through our Code of Behaviour.
Having said that, the school’s procedures for investigation, follow-up and recording of alleged bullying behaviour and the established intervention strategies used by the school for dealing with cases of alleged bullying behaviour are as follows (see Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools):
- Initial verbal report from child and or parent/staff member to designated teacher.
- Should any member of staff witness possible bullying behaviour s/he should tell the perpetrator to stop immediately and make the relevant class teacher aware of the incident.
- On receipt of a report the relevant teacher will take a three-step approach to dealing with the allegation of bullying;
- Step 1 – The relevant teacher speaks to individuals concerned to establish chain of events and whether bullying has occurred. (See Section 6.8.9 of Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools for detailed steps on how to conduct an investigation). In the case of suspected bullying the relevant teacher will keep written records of the case.
- Step 2 -If it is established by the relevant teacher that bullying has occurred the relevant teacher must keep appropriate written records which will assist his/her efforts to resolve the issues and restore as far as is practical the relationships of the parties involved. The teacher will establish a plan of action on how to resolve the issues within the next 20 school days. These records will be held by the class teacher.
This period of time gives the child who has been engaging in bullying behaviour the opportunity to change his/her behaviour.
- If it is established by the relevant teacher that bullying has occurred, parents/guardians of all parties concerned will be contacted by the relevant teacher to inform them of the incident, findings and the plan of action for the next 20 school days.
- When the 20 school-day period has elapsed, the relevant teacher will determine whether a bullying case has been adequately and appropriately addressed. In doing so the relevant teacher must, as part of his/her professional judgement, take the following factors into account:
o Whether the bullying behaviour has ceased;
o Whether any issues between the parties have been resolved as far as is practicable;
o Whether the relationships between the parties have been restored as far as is practicable.
- Step 3 – In cases where the relevant teacher considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately resolved by the children 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 provided in the information pack given to staff members (Appendix 3 of Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools) and inform the Principal.
- Should the relevant teacher require the support of the Principal and/or Deputy Principal at any point in the procedure, the relevant teacher should discuss the case with the Principal/Deputy Principal. Where appropriate the Principal/Deputy Principal can proceed with the case. The relevant teacher shall be included in all further stages of the procedures.
- The purpose of these procedures is to resolve the bullying behaviour so that it stops, rather than apportioning blame. Below are intervention strategies that will be used.
- If it is deemed necessary that sanctions be implemented, the relevant teacher shall refer to the school’s Code of Behaviour.
- A behaviour plan is implemented for the child who has been deemed to be bullying. The aim of this is to reward positive behaviour and to encourage the child to make positive choices in his/her behaviour towards other children. A trusted adult can act as a mentor to encourage positive behaviour in this child in the future.
- In relation to bullying in schools, Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2011 (Children First) and the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools provide that in situations where “the incident is serious and where the behaviour is regarded as potentially abusive, the school must consult the HSE Children and Family Social Services (Túsla) with a view to drawing up an appropriate response, such as a management plan”.
- 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.
- 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.
- Programme of support
The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows (see Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools):
This policy draws on the expertise in the DES Action Plan on Bullying 2013 & The Anti-Bullying Centre, Trinity College Dublin.
- It is recognised in our school that bullying affects the victim, the person who is doing the bullying and the person who witnesses bullying.
Support for the child who has been bullied
- Support in the form of a trusted adult to speak to is offered to the child who has been bullied, for as long as this is deemed necessary.
- Self-esteem building exercises and opportunities to increase feelings of self-worth will be undertaken with the child who has been bullied in order to restore their self-esteem.
- Where appropriate or necessary friendship groups or a buddy system will be implemented for the child for yard times.
- If it is deemed appropriate the child will be offered concrete support in how to deal with a similar situation in the future i.e. given the language tools to react and seek help immediately. This can be practised with role play and drama. This is particularly useful for children with Special Educational Needs who may lack the necessary verbal and/or non-verbal skills to do so. The teacher, with the support of the SEN team will offer this support.
Support for the child who has deemed to be engaging in bullying behaviour
- The child who has been engaging in bullying behaviour will be offered concrete support in changing her/his behaviour. This can involve self-esteem building exercises and opportunities to increase feelings of self-worth. This child may also be given the opportunity to speak to a trusted adult on a regular basis to encourage her/him to continue to make positive behaviour choices.
- Where deemed appropriate follow-up meetings with the relevant parties involved may be arranged separately with a view to possibly bringing both sides together at a later date if the pupil who has been bullied is ready and agreeable. This can have a therapeutic effect.
Support for the child who has witnessed bullying behaviour
- The child who has witnessed bullying behaviour will be offered concrete support if necessary, by being given the opportunity to speak to a trusted adult to help him/her process what s/he has witnessed.
- Children who make an initial report on what is later deemed to be bullying behaviour will be praised. The importance of the bystander will be highlighted.
- 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.
- Date of adoption of policy
This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on ________________ [date].
- Availability of policy
This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website 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.
- Review of policy
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 and provided to the Parents’ Association (where one exists). A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.
(Chairperson of Board of Management)
Date of next review: _______________
Addendum to Anti-bullying Policy
Anti-bullying Resources for Staff
- Recommendations from Anti-bullying Centre TCD
- Recommendations from Dr. Lori Ernsberger (SESS Bullying Awareness course)
- Anti-bullying websites
- Recommendations from Anti-bullying Centre TCD
WHAT TO TELL CHILDREN IF THEY ARE BEING BULLIED
What to Do
Act as confident as you can. Face them and tell them clearly to stop. Try and be calm and move away from them.
Don’t Hit Out
If someone is bullying you don’t try to hit/kick them. You may get badly hurt in a fight and even if you don’t, the bully can sometimes use how you hit them against you, and make it seem like you are the bully.
If They Call You Names
If they tease you or slag you off, try and laugh it off. Don’t let them see that they have hurt you. Bullies like to get a reaction, if they don’t get one there is no point in them bullying you.
Remember, It’s Not About You
Often people who bully other people do it to make themselves feel better, because they are unhappy, at school or at home. Remember that they have the problem not you. Don’t believe what they say to you, and don’t blame yourself.
Tell Your Friends//People You Can Trust In Class
Tell them what is going on and how you feel. Ask them to come with you to tell a teacher if you are afraid. Ask them to stand up with you against the bully.
If you’re being bullied, try and tell someone about it.
Talk to :– Your parents
– Someone in your family
– Your teachers
– A Helpline
If your school has a peer mediation or mentoring program try to use it. No one can help you if you don’t tell them.
- Recommendations from Dr Lori Ernsperger
3 R’s: recognise, respond, report – Anti-bullying Workshop – SESS Oct 2013
- Make a child friendly definition of bullying and teach it so children are clear.
- Teach children what to say, how to stick up for themselves , what to do in immediate instance of bullying:
- Assertive body language
- Say something (Stop, Go away)
- Move away
- Get someone inspirational to talk to children
- Public displays of anti-bullying ethos
- Make anti-bullying posters: sample catchphrase
o Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it
o Right is right even if no-one is doing it
- Teach self-protection, self-image, strong body language
- Never ignore or dismiss an accusation of bullying.
- Give children the opportunity to report bullying
- Anti-bullying websites
www.r_word.org – particularly for SEN students, but useful for all cases
www.bully4u.ie – parent resources
www.stopbullying.gov – US gov site
www.micheleborba.com CALM approach – immediate reaction to bullying
 Transphobic bullying is when an individual (or group), usually repeatedly, harms another individual or intentionally makes them unhappy because of their gender or sexuality