Code of Behaviour 2018

 

Code of Behaviour Policy

Scoil Fhionáin

 

  1. Introduction

 

In compliance with Section 23 of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, the Board of Management of Scoil Fhionáin has prepared and made available a Code of Behaviour for its Pupils, Staff and Parents.

 

The Code of Behaviour details:

 

  1. The standards of behaviour that shall be observed by each pupil attending the school;
  2. The whole school approach in promoting positive behaviour;
  3. The measures that shall be taken when a pupil fails or refuses to observe those standards;
  4. The procedures to be followed before a pupil may be suspended or expelled from the school concerned;
  5. The grounds for removing a suspension imposed in relation to a pupil
  6. The school’s Anti-Bullying Policy; and
  7. The procedures to be followed in relation to a child’s absence from school.

 

The Code of Behaviour of Scoil Fhionáin has been developed in accordance with ‘Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools’, National Educational Welfare Board, 2008.

 

 

  1. Policy Formulation

 

In formulating this policy the Board of Management completed the following steps;

  1. Parents and Staff were informed that an initial draft of the Code of Behaviour was available and they were invited to make submissions on the content of the code within a specified timeframe.
  2. Class teachers were requested to discuss the topic of ‘rules’ with their classes and submit a list of pupils suggestions to the Principal.
  3. The initial draft of the Code of Behaviour was reviewed and where appropriate amended in-line with the feedback received.
  4. The finalised draft of the policy was submitted for the Patron’s Approval.

 

 

  1. aims & objectives of the Code

 

The aims and objectives of the code are:

 

  • To create a positive learning environment that encourages and reinforces good behaviour
  • To promote self-esteem and positive relationships
  • To encourage consistency of response to both positive and negative behaviour
  • To foster a sense of responsibility and self-discipline in pupils and to support good behaviour patterns based on consideration and respect for the rights of others
  • To facilitate the education and development of every child
  • To foster caring attitudes to one another and to the environment
  • To enable teachers to teach without disruption
  • To ensure that the school’s expectations and strategies are widely known and understood through letters to parents, availability of policies and an ethos of open communication
  • To encourage the involvement of both home and school in the implementation of this policy

 

 

 

  1. Whole School Approach

 

The Board of Management recognises the importance of creating consistent values, policies, practices and relationships that support the Code of Behaviour.  Such an environment may only be formed by involving the entire school community and in this respect the Board acknowledges the importance of the roles played by, the principal, teachers, ancillary staff and parents in the review and operation of the Code.

 

 

  1. Standards of Behaviour

 

5.1 Pupils

 

General Behaviour

Each pupil is expected to:   

  • be well behaved and to show consideration for other children and adults
  • show respect for the property of the school, other children and their own belongings
  • attend school on a regular basis and to be punctual
  • do his/her best both in school and for homework.

 

Classroom Behaviour

Each pupil is expected to:

  • listen – to the teacher and other pupils if they are speaking
  • work – to the best of his/her ability
  • value – school property and the belongings of fellow pupils.
  • follow – the directions of his/her teacher
  • obtain – his/her teachers permission to leave the classroom
  • respect – the teacher, other pupils and visitors to the classroom.

 

Playground (Playing Pitches) Behaviour

Each child has a right to play happily and safely in the school yard.

  • Pupils are expected to be respectful and considerate towards fellow pupils and teachers
  • Pupils must play within their own designated area.
  • The teacher on yard duty or at P.E. must be obeyed immediately and at all times.
  • No rough play, fighting, mock fighting or bad language.
  • No bullying.
  • No cartons or papers to be taken outside.
  • All pupils must go out and stay outside in the school yard or playing field unless given permission to do otherwise.
  • When the first bell rings walk calmly to the line.
  • Walk quietly into the classroom when instructed by an adult in charge.

 

 

Behaviour in other School Areas

Each pupil is expected to:

  • walk – in the school corridors

 

Behaviour during School Outings/Activities

During school outings (tours, matches, etc.) each pupil is expected to adhere to the general school rules and also to specific guidelines which will be relayed to pupils prior to the outing.  Broadly, pupils will be expected to follow the directions of the teacher and /or other adult in charge, to remain with their assigned group and to behave politely towards those they meet on the outing.

The following procedures will assist in the smooth running of the school outings;

 

  • Locations suitable for the education, enjoyment and safety of children will be chosen.
  • Reputable bus companies will be used and all legal requirements will be adhered to.
  • Adequate supervision of children will be provided.
  • All children will be in the care of a particular staff member for the duration of the trip.
  • Parents of children with a particular need or condition may be asked to accompany a child where relevant.
  • Advice will be given on suitable clothing to be worn by children.
  • Parents will be notified of details of the trip.
  • Any accidents or incidents which occur during an outing will be documented on the relevant school form.

 

School Rules

These are based on the following principles of good behaviour

 

  • Respect for self and others
  • Respect for property of others
  • Respect other students and their learning
  • Kindness and willingness to help others
  • Courtesy and good manners
  • Readiness to use respectful way of resolving difficulties and conflict

 

These can be summed up as 11 main rules;

 

  • Follow direction of the teachers
  • Show respect, be nice to everyone
  • Do your best in class and at homework
  • Walk quietly inside school building
  • Value the property of school and others
  • Attend school on a regular basis and be punctual
  • Use toilets in a respectful and hygienic manner
  • Disrespectful or foul language, tone or manner are not allowed
  • Ignoring staff requests is not tolerated
  • School uniform must be worn on non P.E. days with dark shoes
  • Plain navy or school tracksuit must be worn on P.E. days with runners

Class Rules

 

At the beginning of each academic year, the class teacher will draft a list of class rules with the children with the aim of promoting a positive learning environment within the classroom.  These reflect and support the school rules but are presented in a way that is accessible to the children.  Class rules should be kept to a minimum and are devised with regard for the health, safety and welfare of all members of the school community.  They should where possible, emphasise positive behaviour (e.g. ‘Walk’ and not ‘Don’t run’).  Rules will be applied in a fair and consistent manner, with due regard to the age of the pupils and to individual difference.  Where difficulties arise, parents will be contacted at an early stage.

 

 

 5.2 Staff

It is the Principal’s responsibility to ensure the school’s Code of Behaviour is administered in a manner that is consistent and fair to all pupils. However, each staff member has responsibility for the maintenance of discipline within common areas of the school.

 

Teaching staff are specifically responsible for the management of behaviour within their own class. They will:

  • Discuss the Code of Behaviour with their class in an age appropriate manner at the beginning of the school year.
  • Ensure classroom and playground rules are displayed in the classroom.
  • Remind children regularly of these rules.
  • Encourage self-discipline and positive behaviour.
  • Ensure there is an appropriate level of supervision at all times.
  • Implement the reward/sanction scheme in a fair and consistent manner.
  • Keep a written record of all incidents of continued, inappropriate behaviour and serious incidents. This record will indicate the advice and/or warnings given to the child on the misbehaviour and the consequences of its repetition.
  • Inform pupils when instances of misbehaviour on their part are being recorded.
  • Report repeated instances of serious misbehaviour to the Principal.
  • Incidents of bullying behaviour will be recorded on a special template as directed by DES and kept by the Principal. (Appendix 3 Template for recording bullying behaviour).

 

 

5.3 Parents/Guardians

 

Parents/guardians play a crucial role in shaping attitudes in their children which produce positive behaviour in school. Parents/guardians can assist the school by encouraging their children to abide by the school rules, encouraging punctuality and regular attendance and by ensuring that homework is given due time and effort.

 

Should a parent/guardian be concerned about any aspect of their child’s behaviour they are welcome to make an appointment to discuss their concerns.

In cases of an identified pattern of misbehaviour parents will be invited to participate in the intervention process.

 

  1. Promoting Positive Behaviour

 

Part of the vision for Scoil Fhionáin is to help children achieve their personal best – academically, intellectually and socially.  We recognise that there are many different forms of intelligence and that children use a variety of approaches to solve problems.  Children will be encouraged, praised and listened to by adults in the school.  Praise is earned by the maintenance of good standards as well as by particularly noteworthy personal achievements. Levels of praise for behaviour and effort should be as high as for work

 

The following are some samples of how praise might be given;

  • A quiet word or gesture to show approval
  • A comment in a pupil’s exercise book
  • Special privileges
  • A visit to another member of staff or to the Principal for commendation
  • A word or praise in front of a group or class
  • A system of merit marks or stickers
  • Delegating some special responsibility or privilege
  • A mention to parent, written or verbal communication
  • General positive comments by staff when dealing with children around the school eg. play, in corridors etc.

 

 

 

 

  1. Inappropriate Behaviour

 

In order to establish a common understanding and consistent response the Code of Behaviour classifies misbehaviour into three levels based on the degree of disruption caused by the misconduct. The Code also specifies the disciplinary actions and supportive interventions that will be employed.

 

 

Level One

 

Level 1: Behaviours

 

Level 1 behaviours are those that interfere with the orderly learning environment of the school, classroom, and common areas. Students learn through their mistakes.  To this extent, responses to the daily behaviours, which occur in school, will be developmentally appropriate, instructive and positive. Children will be taught what is expected and how they should behave.  Listed below are some examples of the types of Behaviour that are included in Level 1.  Please note the list is not exhaustive.

 

  • Failure to prepare for class, as defined by individual teachers
  • Running/ shouting in the hallways
  • Disturbing the work or play of others
  • Disrespectful language, tone, or manner
  • Ignoring staff requests

 

 

Level 1: Disciplinary Actions

 

Consequences for Level 1 behaviour are dependent upon the severity and frequency of the specific behaviour.  Teachers will discipline students at level 1.  Some examples of Level 1 responses are:

 

  • Verbal reprimand/reminder(s)
  • Reinforcement of alternative positive behaviour
  • Temporary separation from peers, friends or others
  • Prescribing additional work
  • Loss of privileges
  • Parent contact
  • Behaviour contract

 

 

Level 1 Supportive Interventions

 

Listed below are some examples of Level 1 supportive actions:

 

  • Classroom-based interventions, such as Open Circle or class meetings, with the option of informal consultation, (e.g. with parent(s)/guardian(s) or staff members)
  • Discussion of behaviour with the child
  • Informal notes regarding incident/intervention/date.  This information would be useful should a problem persist.

 

 

 

Level Two

 

Level 2: Behaviours

 

Level 2 behaviours are those that seriously interfere with the orderly environment of the school and are potentially dangerous to the safety and well being of the students and staff.  Listed below are some examples of the types of behaviour that are included in Level 2.  Please note the list is not exhaustive.

 

  • Repeated instances of Level 1 behaviour which have not been modified by intervention
  • Behaviour which is dangerous to self or others (e.g. shoving, pushing, hitting)
  • Intentionally damaging school or personal property
  • Stealing
  • Cheating
  • Use of profanity
  • Derogatory reference to another person’s race, gender, religion, physical condition, disability, or ethnic origin
  • Disrespectful language or behaviour toward an adult
  • Possession or use of dangerous toys or sporting equipment (e.g. bow and arrows, any kind of knives, etc.)
  • Leaving the school without permission during the school day or leaving the care of school staff during school outings.

 

 

Level 2: Disciplinary Actions

 

The disciplining of students for Level 2 behaviour is dependent upon the severity and frequency of the specific behaviour and developmentally appropriate levels.  The disciplinary actions at Level 2 are administered by the Principal, and include the formal notification of parents, with written documentation.  Some examples of Level 2 responses are:

 

  • Supervised detention
  • Report submitted to the Board of Management
  • Meeting with parent(s)/guardian(s)
  • Suspension from school of one to five days, depending on the severity of the . The Principal, following due process and procedure, can issue a suspension.
  • Implementation of a behaviour management plan

 

 

Level 2: Supportive Interventions

Listed below are some examples of Level 2 supportive actions:

 

  • Team conference to include classroom teacher, other involved staff, Assistant Principal or Principal.
  • Request for assistance from external agencies such as the National Educational Psychological Service, Health Service Executive Community Services, the National Behavioural Support Service, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, National Council for Special Education.
  • Referral of a child displaying behavioural problems for psychological assessment (with parental consent).

 

 

Level Three

 

Level 3: Behaviours

Level 3 behaviours are considered the most serious violations.  These behaviours endanger the immediate health, safety and personal well being of the pupils and staff of the school.  They represent a direct threat to the orderly operation of the school environment.  Situations, which include illegal activity, may result in contact with the Garda Síochána after parental involvement.  Listed below are some examples of the types of behaviour that are included in Level 3.  Please note that the list is not exhaustive.

 

  • Repeated or serious instances of Level 2 behaviour which have not been modified by intervention
  • Setting fires
  • Intentional possession or use of weapons
  • Violent fighting or intentionally causing physical harm to others
  • Discriminatory or prejudicial activities or actions toward another person or group involving race, gender, religion, physical condition, handicap, or ethnic origin

 

 

Level 3:  Disciplinary Actions

Behaviour at Level 3 may involve suspension from school. The length of the suspension will depend

upon the severity and frequency of the specific Behaviour.  Specific information about due process and procedures in respect of the issuing of a suspension is contained in this document.  Level 3 responses:

 

  • Suspension from school for one to five days:

This response will occur with the first incidence of Level 3 behaviour or Level 2 behaviour of significant severity.  The Principal following due process and procedure, can issue a suspension.

 

  • Suspension from school for five to ten days:

This response will occur with the repeated incidence of Level 3 behaviour or a severe expression of this Behaviour.  A suspension of this magnitude will only be issued with the approval of the Board of Management.

 

 

  • Expulsion:

Repeated incidents of Level 3 behaviour can result in a pupil being expelled.

 

Children with Special Needs

 

All children are required to comply with the code of behaviour.  However,the school recognises that children with special needs may require assistance in understanding certain rules.  Specialised behaviour plans will be put in place in consultation with parents and the class teacher, learning support/resource teacher, and or Principal will work closely with home to ensure that optimal support is given.  Cognitive development will be taken into account at all times.  Professional advice from psychological assessments will be taken into consideration.

 

The children in the class or school may be taught strategies to assist a pupil with special needs to adhere to the rules and thus provide peer support.  This will be done in a supportive and safe way, acknowledging and respecting the difference in all individuals.

 

 

 

 

Procedures for Suspensions & Expulsions

 

8.1 Suspension

 

Definition of Suspension:

 

‘requiring the student to absent himself/herself from the school for a specified, limited period of school days’

 

Developing  A Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools, National Educational Welfare Board

 

Authority to Suspend:

 

The Board of Management of Scoil Fhionáin has formally and in writing delegated the authority to impose an ‘Immediate Suspension’ to the Principal Teacher. An ‘Immediate Suspension’ may be for a period of one to three school days depending on the severity of the specific behaviour, in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the Chairperson of the Board the suspension may be for a longer period but in any event will not exceed 5 school days.

 

Furthermore, the Board of Management has formally and in writing delegated to the Principal Teacher the authority to impose an ‘Automatic Suspension’ for named behaviours detailed in this policy. An Automatic Suspension may be for a period of one to three school days depending on the severity of the specific behaviour, in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the Chairperson of the Board the suspension may be for a longer period but in any event will not exceed 5 school days.

 

The Board retains its authority to suspend a student in all other cases/circumstances.

 

 

Immediate Suspension and Automatic Suspension

 

An ‘Immediate Suspension’ will be deemed to be necessary where after a preliminary investigation the Principal reaches the determination that the continued presence of the pupil in the school at the time would represent a serious threat to the safety and wellbeing of pupils or staff of the school. An ‘Immediate Suspension’ may be for a period of one to three school days depending on the severity of the specific behaviour, in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the Chairperson of the Board the suspension may be for a longer period but in any event will not exceed 5 school days.

 

An ‘Automatic Suspension’ is a suspension imposed for named behaviours. The Board of Management of Scoil Fhionáin, having given due consideration to its duty of care as prescribed by Health & Safety Legislation, has determined that the following named behaviours will incur ‘Automatic Suspension’ as a sanction;

 

  • Physical assault/violence resulting in bodily harm to a pupil or member of staff

or

  • Physical violence resulting in serious damage to school property

or

  • Leaving the school without permission during the school day.

 

 

An Automatic Suspension may be for a period of one to three school days depending on the severity of the specific behaviour, in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the Chairperson of the Board the suspension may be for a longer period but in any event will not exceed 5 school days.

 

Parent(s)/Guardian(s) will be informed of an Immediate or Automatic Suspension by telephone, and arrangements will be made with them for the pupil to be collected. In no circumstance will a student be sent home from school prior to his/her parent(s)/guardian(s) being notified. Formal written notification of the suspension will issue in due course, but no later than 2 school days after the imposition of the suspension. Such a notification will detail:

 

  • the duration of the suspension and the dates on which the suspension will begin and end
  • the reasons for the suspension
  • any study programme to be followed
  • the arrangements for returning to school, including any commitments to be entered into by the pupil and the parent(s)/guardian(s).

 

The Board of Management acknowledges that the decision to impose either an Immediate or Automatic Suspension does not remove the duty to follow due process and fair procedures. In this regard, and following a formal investigation, to be completed no later than 2 school days after the incident the Board will invite the pupil and his/her parent(s)/guardian(s) to a meeting to discuss;

  • the circumstances surrounding the suspension,
  • interventions to prevent a reoccurrence of such misconduct.

 

The Board of Management of Scoil Fhionáin acknowledges the fundamental importance of impartiality in the investigation process. In this regard the following undertaking is given;

  1. No person with a vested interest or personal involvement in the matter will be involved in the organisation or implementation of the investigation procedure.

 

 

Procedures in Respect of Other Suspensions:

 

In cases other than those of Immediate or Automatic Suspension the following procedures will apply;

 

Where a preliminary assessment of the fact confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant suspension, the Board of Management of Scoil Fhionáin will initiate a formal investigation of the matter.

 

The following procedures will be observed;

 

A written letter containing the following information will issue to Parent(s)/guardian(s);

  1. Details of the alleged misbehaviour, details of the impending investigation process, and notification that the allegation could result in suspension.
  2. An invitation to a meeting, to be scheduled no later than 5 school days from the date of the letter, where parent(s)/guardian(s) are provided with an opportunity to respond before a decision is made or a sanction imposed.

 

The Board of Management of Scoil Fhionáin acknowledges the fundamental importance of impartiality in the investigation and decision-making process. In this regard the following undertakings are given;

  1. No person with a vested interest or personal involvement in the matter will be involved in the organisation or implementation of the investigation procedure, nor will such a person be involved in the decision-making process.
  • The person(s) involved in the investigation process will on presentation of a full report of the facts absent himself/herself/themselves from the decision-making process.

 

Where a decision to suspend has been made the Chairperson of the Board of Management will provide written notification to the parent(s)/guardian(s) and the pupil of the decision. The letter will confirm:

  • the duration of the suspension and the dates on which the suspension will begin and end
  • the reasons for the suspension
  • any study programme to be followed
  • the arrangements for returning to school, including any commitments to be entered into by the pupil and the parent(s)/guardian(s)
  • the provision for an appeal to the Board of Management.

 

 

Where a suspension brings the total number of days for which the pupil has been suspended in the current school year to twenty days the parent(s)/guardian(s) will be informed of their right to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills under Section 29 or the Education Act 1998 and will be provide with information on the submission of such an appeal.

 

 

 

 

8.2 Expulsion

 

Definition of Expulsion:

 

‘A student is expelled from a school when a Board of Management makes a decision to permanently exclude him or her from the school, having complied with the provisions of section 24 of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000.’

 

Developing A Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools, National Educational Welfare Board

 

 

Authority to Expel:

 

The authority to expel a pupil is reserved by the Board of Management.

 

 

Procedures in Respect of Expulsion:

 

Where a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant expulsion the following procedures will apply:

 

 

  1. A detailed investigation will be carried out under the direction of the Principal (or a Nominee of the Board if required)

 

As part of the investigation a written letter containing the following information will issue to parent(s)/guardian(s);

 

  • details of the alleged misbehaviour, details of the impending investigation process, and notification that the allegation could result in expulsion.
  1. An invitation to a meeting, to be scheduled no later than 5 school days from the date of the letter, where parent(s)/guardian(s) are provided with an opportunity to respond

 

 

  1. The Principal (or BoM Nominee) will make a recommendation to the Board of Management

 

Where the Principal (or nominee) forms a view, based on the investigation of the alleged misbehaviour, that expulsion may be warranted, the Principal (or nominee) makes a recommendation to the Board of Management to consider expulsion.

 

In this event the Principal (or nominee) will:

  1. inform the parent(s)/guardian(s) that the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion
  2. ensure that parent(s)/guardians have records of: the allegations against the student; the investigation; and written notice of the grounds on which the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion
  • provide the Board of Management with the same comprehensive records as are given to parent(s)/guardian(s)

 

 

  1. Consideration by the Board of Management of the Principal’s (or BOM’s Nominee) Recommendations & the Holding of a Hearing

 

If, having considered the Principal’s report, the Board of Management decides to consider expelling a student a hearing will be scheduled.

 

The parent(s)/guardian(s) will be notified in writing

  1. as to the date, location and time of the hearing
  2. of their right to make a written and oral submission to the Board of Management
  • that they may if they so choose be accompanied at the hearing

The Board of Management undertakes that the timing of such written notification will ensure that parent(s)/guardian(s) have enough notice to allow them to prepare for the hearing.

 

In respect of the expulsion hearing the Board gives an undertaking that;

  1. the meeting will be properly conducted in accordance with Board procedures
  2. the principal (or BoM nominee) and parent(s)/guardian(s) will present their case to the Board in each other’s presence
  • each party will be given the opportunity to directly question the evidence of the other party
  1. the parent(s)/guardian(s) may make a case for a lesser sanction if they so choose

 

 

  1. Board of Management Deliberations & Actions following the Hearing

 

Where the Board of Management, having considered all the facts of the case, is of the opinion that the pupil should be expelled the Board

  1. Will notify the Educational Welfare Officer in writing by registered post of its opinion, and the reasons for this opinion.
  2. Will not expel the student before the passage of 20 school days from the date on which the Educational Welfare Officer receives this written notification
  • Will in writing notify the parent(s)/guardian(s) of their decision and inform them that the Educational Welfare Officer is being contacted
  1. Will be represented at the consultation to be organized by the Educational Welfare Officer
  2. Will suspend the student, if it is deemed likely that the continued presence of the student during this time will seriously disrupt the learning of others, or represent a threat to the safety of other pupils or staff.

 

 

  1. Confirmation of the Decision to Expel

 

Where the twenty-day period following notification to the Educational Welfare Officer has elapsed,

and where the Board of Management remains of the view that the student should be expelled, the

Board of Management will formally confirm the decision to expel.

 

Parent(s)/guardian(s) will be notified in writing that the expulsion will now proceed. They will also be informed of their right to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills under Section 29 or the Education Act 1998 and will be provide with information on the submission of such an appeal.

 

 

 

The Board of Management of Scoil Fhionáin acknowledges the fundamental importance of impartiality in the investigation and decision-making process. In this regard the following undertakings are given;

  1. No person with a vested interest or personal involvement in the matter will be involved in the organisation or implementation of the investigation procedure, nor will such a person be involved in the decision-making process.
  2. The person(s) involved in the investigation process will on presentation of a full report of the facts absent himself/herself/themselves from the decision-making process.

 

 

 

  1. Notification of a Child’s Absence from School

 

Parent(s)/guardian(s) should adhere to the following procedures when notifying the school of a pupil’s absence;

 

  • The school should be notified of the absence on the first day the pupil returns to school
  • The reason for the absence should be notified to the class teacher
  • The absence should be notified using the school’s absence form
  • Details pertaining to the absence, such as duration and reason, should be provided
  • Significant absences caused by ill health should be certified.

 

 

The school will inform the Education Welfare Officer in writing where a child is suspended or expelled for 6 days or more, where the child has missed 20 or more days in a school year, where attendance is irregular and when the pupil is removed from the school register

 

  1. Records

 

A standardised record system will be used to track an individual pupil’s behaviour. Such records will contain;

  • Incidents of misbehaviour,
  • Interventions used to improve behaviour, including contact with parent(s)/guardian(s) or referral to other agencies
  • Evidence of improved behaviour
  • Any sanctions imposed, and the reasons they were imposed

 

Pupils will be told when a record is being made about their behaviour, and the reasons for keeping a record will be explained.

 

All records will be kept in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1988 and the Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Anti-Bullying 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 by the Department of Education & Skills in September 2013.

 

11.1 Best Practice in the Prevention of Bullying Behaviour

 

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 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.

 

 

11.2 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 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, DES, 2013.

 

Examples of Bullying Behaviours

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

 

·            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, religious beliefs, ethnic or traveller 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

 

 

 

 

11.3 School Contact Personnel

 

The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying is (are) as follows:

Class Teacher

Principal

Any teacher may act as a relevant teacher if circumstances warrant it.

 

11.4 Education & Prevention Strategies

There is a strong sense of community and cooperation between Board of Management, staff, pupils and parents and each has a clear role in the prevention of bullying.

The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber- bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying) that will be used by the school are as follows:

  • The school Code of Conduct encourages respect for each individual and clearly forbids inappropriate behaviour. The development of self-discipline in the children is a fundamental aim of the code of conduct.
  • Classroom Rules to be drawn up in each classroom with the help of the children. These rules discourage unkind behaviour.
  • It has been noted that most bullying incidents occur during “free – play” time, i.e. breaktime, lunchtime. Teachers are very conscious of the potential for bullying at these times. Children are supervised at breaktimes and lunchtimes.
  • Staff have identified specific times and places where opportunities for bullying may arise and will monitor these areas and situations. This will be discussed regularly at staff meetings and also informally.
  • External Personnel i.e. – Games Coaches will be informed that it is school policy, not to allow children to choose teams or partners as it leads to isolation of certain individuals and can increase tensions where there may be or has been a problem.
  • Every effort will be made by staff members to be consistent and fair in their approach to the children at all times.
  • Through a programme of positive action, the school promotes an atmosphere of friendship, respect and tolerance.
  • The SPHE curriculum, including the Walk Tall, Bí Folláin, Stay Safe and Web Wise programmes are used throughout the school to support the anti-bullying policy.
  • A ‘Friendship Week’ will continue to take place once in every school year.
  • Organised activities for outdoor breaks will continue as an effective strategy in keeping children active and to encourage co-operation and friendliness.
  • Friendship Groups are organised in response to emerging situations or incidents, to encourage positive and inclusive relationships within the school.
  • The Anti-Cyber Bullying Policy is incorporated into the Anti-Bullying Policy.
  • Positive self-esteem is fostered among the pupils by celebrating individual differences/achievements, by acknowledging and rewarding good behaviour and by providing opportunities for success.
  • Pupils are helped to develop empathy by discussing feelings and by trying to put themselves in the place of others.
  • The school’s anti-bullying policy is discussed regularly with the pupils.
  • Staff are particularly vigilant in monitoring pupils who are considered at risk of bullying/being bullied. The topic will be raised at all staff meetings.
  • All disclosed incidents of bullying are investigated.
  • Members of the BOM are familiar with the school’s policy on bullying and actively promote it on a repeated basis among staff, parents and pupils.
  • Parents contribute to and support the school’s policy on bullying by encouraging positive behaviour both at home and at school, by being vigilant for signs and symptoms that their child is being bullied or is bullying others, by communicating concerns to the school.
  • The school maintains an awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour by

reminding pupils of school’s anti-bullying policy and by using the curriculum formally and informally to emphasise the message .

 

It is acknowledged that incidents which occur outside school frequently influence pupil behaviour and relationships in school.  However, only incidents which occur within school can be dealt with by school staff.

 

 

 

11.5 Investigation & Follow-Up Procedures

 

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:

  • In investigating and dealing with bullying, the relevant teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved;
  • Parent(s)/guardian(s) 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;
  • Teachers should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach.
  • Where possible incidents should be investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • Each member of a group should be supported through the possible pressures that may face them from the other members of the group after the interview by the teacher;
  • In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred, the parent(s)/guardian(s) 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 parent(s)/guardian(s) an opportunity of discussing ways in which they can reinforce or support the actions being taken by the school and the supports provided to the pupils;
  • 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;
  • It must also be made clear to all involved (each set of pupils and parent(s)/guardian(s)) that in any situation where disciplinary sanctions are required, this is a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, his or her parent(s)/guardian(s) and the school.

 

  • Where a pupil has been found to be engaged in bullying behaviour, has formally promised to stop and has broken that promise, any of the following sanctions may be imposed:
  • S/he may be temporarily excluded from playground/lunchtime activities and supervised by a teacher.
  • S/he may be required to sign another promise, this time countersigned by a parent/guardian. Parent(s)/guardian(s) may be invited to a meeting with the ‘Relevant Teacher’ and informed 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 and periodically reviewed.
  • Parent(s)/guardian(s) may be invited to a meeting with the ‘Relevant Teacher’ and the Principal.
  • The school’s Code of Behaviour will be invoked.

 

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;
  • Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parent(s)/guardian(s)s or the school Principal or Deputy Principal
  • 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.
  • Where a parent(s)/guardian(s) is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parent(s)/guardian(s) must be referred, as appropriate, to the school’s complaints procedures.
  • In the event that a parent(s)/guardian(s) has exhausted the school’s complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school must advise the parent(s)/guardian(s) of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.

 

Recording of Bullying Behaviour

 

It is imperative that all recording of bullying incidents must be done in an objective and factual manner.

 

The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour are as follows:

 

Informal – Pre-determination of the occurrence of bullying

  • All staff must keep a written record of bullying incidents witnessed by them or notified to them. Records will be written into the Incident Book. All incidents must be reported to the relevant teacher.
  • While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher, the relevant teacher must keep a written record of the
  • reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same.
  • The relevant teacher must inform the Principal of all incidents being investigated.

 

Formal Stage 1– Determination that bullying has occurred

  • If it is established by the relevant teacher that bullying has occurred, the relevant teacher must keep appropriate written records in the Minor Accidents / Incident Book which will assist his/her efforts to resolve the issues and restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved.
  • All records noted by the relevant teacher will be retained in the Minor Accidents / Incidents Book will be stored in the Principal’s locked desk drawer.

 

Formal Stage 2 – Appendix 3

  • The relevant teacher must use the recording template at Appendix 3 to record the bullying behaviour in the following circumstances:

 

  1. a) in cases where he/she 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; and
  2. b) in all circumstances, bullying behaviour must be recorded and reported immediately to the Principal as applicable.

 

When the recording template is used, it will be retained by the relevant teacher in question in a folder in a locked desk drawer and a copy given to the Principal, who will store the recording template in the same way. Once the case has been dealt with and resolved, the recording template will be filed in a locked filing cabinet, in the files of the children involved.

 

 

11.6 Working with Pupils Affected by Bullying

 

The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying, whether victim or perpetrator, is as follows:

  • In-school supports and opportunities will be provided for the pupils affected by bullying to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem and self-awareness, to develop friendships and social skills and to help build resilience. This will be delivered through;
  • Pastoral care provided by the class teacher and Special Education Teacher
  • Friendship Groups
  • SPHE lessons
  • Group work such as circle time, social games, discussion groups, etc .

 

  • If pupils require counselling or further supports, the school will endeavour to liaise with the appropriate agencies to organise same (NEPS, CAMHS, HSE). This may be for the pupil affected by bullying or involved in the bullying behaviour.
  • Pupils should understand that there are no innocent bystanders and that all incidents of bullying behaviour must be reported to a teacher

 

 

11.7 Supervision & Monitoring

 

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.

 

 

11.8 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.

 

 

11.9 Policy Adoption

 

This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on ________________ [date].

 

 

11.10 Communication

 

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.

 

 

11.11 Implementation 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 (or where none exists, be otherwise readily accessible to parents and pupils on request) 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.