St. Brigid’s N.S Castleknock
1. In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the code of behaviour guidelines issued by the NEWB, The Board of Management (BOM) of St. Brigid’s Primary School has adopted the following anti-bullying policy within the framework of the school’s overall code of behaviour. The policy fully complies with the requirements of the Anti bullying Procedures for Primary and Post -Primary Schools which were published in September 2013.
2. The BOM 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 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 whole 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.
- Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils;
- Supports for staff
- Consistent recording, investigating and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies)
- Ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti- bullying polic
- 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
- Identity based bullying such as homophobic bullying, racist bullying, bullying based on a person’s membership of the travelling community and bullying of those with disabilities or SEN.
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 will be dealt with as 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.
4. The relevant teachers for investigating and dealing with bullying are all class teachers, the Deputy Principal and Principal. The relevant LST teacher will be involved if necessary with pupils with special educational needs.
5. The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber bullying and identity-based bullying) will be as follows:
Creation of a culture of “telling”
- Encourage a culture of telling, with particular emphasis on the importance of bystanders. 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.
- Ensuring that pupils know who to tell and how to tell, e.g.:
- Direct approach to teacher at an appropriate time, for example after class.
- Hand note up with homework.
- Make a phone call to the school or to a trusted teacher in the school.
- Get a parent(s)/guardian(s) or friend to tell on your behalf.
- Worry box/ niggle box in class
- Ensure bystanders understand the importance of telling if they witness or know that bullying is taking place.
- Teachers should repeatedly reinforce the message that if anyone is the victim of bullying behaviour, they should not retaliate in any way, but they should tell an adult. Victims should be reassured that if they tell, something will be done about the bullying in a safe manner and all reported incidents will be dealt with.
- Class lessons to be provided to enable pupils “how to tell” (telling protocol)
- Bystanders can be the key to resolving bullying and if anyone witnesses bullying behaviour, they should always tell a teacher. This is not telling tales but a means of protecting victims.
Raising the awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour by –
- Engaging in formal teaching within the class setting through SPHE programmes.
- Poster campaign targeting bullying coinciding with stay safe programme in Sept/Oct
- Affirming good behaviour in our school
- Awareness of bullying is addressed in the classroom as part of the Stay Safe Programme, at school assemblies, through the school policy on pastoral care and on other informal occasions when the opportunity arises.
- Encouraging pupils to report any incident of bullying
- Complaints of bullying to be reported quickly, firmly and fairly and are recorded
- The Principal is informed of any instance of bullying.
Teachers may choose a selection of the following strategies
- Formal programmes of work are a vital element in raising children’s self-esteem and equipping children to cope with bullying behaviour e.g. Alive-O, Webwise, Stay safe, Walk Tall.
- Positive reinforcement by teachers in classroom setting (Class dojo, class reward system, students of the week, gaelgeoir na seachtaine, golden time, spot prizes, stars, stickers etc.)
- Modelling of respectful behaviour and language by teachers and staff.
- Promotion of extra-curricular activities which encourage co-operation among pupils (to extend this beyond sport).
- Rewarding incidents of good and improved behaviour and showing acts of kindness at class level and whole-school e.g. Student of the Week.
- Encouraging students to look out for each other and to be responsible for their own behaviour.
- All teachers are required to be vigilant on yard duty- record all incidences- monitor repeat offenders
- Immediate affirmation of children who report incidents of bullying which they have witnessed.
- Circle-time sessions, role-play, and puppetry are methodologies which are used to discuss and explore issues of bullying.
- To prepare a quiet area for circle time and other programs.
- Each class to have a set of class rules which complement the school’s Code of Behaviour.
- Buddy system, peer mentoring, worry box
- Renew the signs around the school.
- Ensure supervision at all times when pupils can access the internet.
- All teachers to do a lesson on internet safety- coincide with Internet Safety Day.
- The school’s procedure for investigation, follow up and recording of bullying behaviour and the established intervention strategies used by the school for dealing with cases of bullying are as follows:
Incidents of Bullying are generally dealt with on a staged basis.
All reports of bullying must be dealt with initially by the class teacher. At the Principal’s/ teacher’s discretion other interventions may be used in relation to a serious offence e.g. it is necessary to bring serious incidents to the attention of parents.
The aim for the class 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).
An important part of our school approach to behaviour is the concept of ‘Restorative Practices’ and this approach is intertwined with our ‘anti-bullying’ policy.
This approach is designed to help build understanding, encourage accountability and provide opportunities for healing.
An important element in Restorative Practice is ‘Fair Process’
Expectations: everyone knows what is expected of them
Engagement: involves individuals in decisions/listening to views
Explanation: clarify how decisions are reached
In investigating and dealing with bullying, the teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best to resolve the situation.
- When a bullying incident comes to the notice of a teacher, it is important to gather all of the facts from both sides (What, where, when, who, why?). This will involve an interview with the alleged bully, victim and/or witnesses.
- In line with ‘Restorative Practices’, once off offenders are asked the following questions
- What happened?
- What were you thinking at the time?
- What have you thought about since?
- Who has been affected by what you have done? In what way?
- What do you need to do to make things right?
- Non-teaching staff will be encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them to the relevant teacher.
- The Teacher should take a calm, unemotional, problem-solving approach.
- All sides are listened to separately and notes are taken.
- The notes are brief, factual and should be void of emotional or judgemental language.
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.
- Where possible, a witness is present.
- It is explained to the alleged bully how hurtful their behaviour is and attempts are made to encourage them to empathise with the alleged victim.
- The child/ children involved will be asked to sign “Pupil Behaviour Promise “.
If this child breaks the promise and re-offends then the Deputy Principal or Principal with the class teacher will interview the child/children again. It is explained to them that this is their second time offending and that they have not committed to their promise. Again attempts will be made to resolve the situation. Once more students will sign the “Pupil Behaviour Promise 2”. This time this has to be signed by their parents. They are now advised that if they break this promise again, they will have a meeting with the principal and their parents in the office and will face relevant sanctions.
- Parents and pupils are required to co-operate with any investigations and assist the school in resolving any issues and restoring, as far is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved as quickly as possible.
If a child breaks their promise twice then the matter is referred to the Principal. The Principal meets with the child and the parent. The child will face relevant sanction.
Recording of incidents:
Follow up and recording
In determining whether a bullying case has been adequately and appropriately addressed the relevant teacher must, as part of his/her professional judgement, take the following factors into account:
– Whether the bullying behaviour has ceased;
– 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
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 that bullying has occurred
- All staff must keep a written record of any incidents witnessed by them or notified to them. Consideration needs to be given to where the records will be made e.g. incident book. All incidents must be retained and reported to the relevant teacher each year.
- 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 and Deputy 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 which will assist his/her efforts to resolve the issues and restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved.
Formal Stage 2-Appendix 3 (From DES Procedures)
- The relevant teacher must use the recording template at Appendix 3 to record the bullying behaviour in the following circumstances:
All incidents will be logged by class teacher and incidents which have not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days will be recorded by the class teacher on the recording template (Anti bullying Procedures for Primary and Post -Primary Schools). This template will be completed in full and a copy given to the Deputy Principal and Principal. At least once every school term the Principal will provide a report to the BOM setting out the overall number of bullying cases reported by means of this template and confirmation that all cases are being dealt with in accordance with procedure.
The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
- Victims are reassured from the outset that they are not to blame.
- Strategies for restoring self-esteem are explored between teacher and parents/guardians.
- Where deemed necessary, the child in consultation with parents may be referred for counselling.
- Staged approach- class support, school support( as per Continuum -Behavioural, Emotional and Social difficulties- NEPS).
- The parents of the pupils concerned will be advised to contact the local Gardaí if appropriate.
- If pupils require counselling of further supports the school will endeavour to liaise with the appropriate agencies to organise same. This may be for the pupil affected by bullying or involved in the bullying behaviour.
- Staged approach – class support, school support (as per Continuum-Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties– NEPS)
Incidents of bullying can extend beyond the school and the journey to and from school is one which can provide particular opportunities for bullying to occur. The school’s policy could be given to those who are closely involved at this stage so that if bullying behaviour is witnessed by them, that they may report it to the school.
In certain cases too it may be necessary to invite assistance from formal agencies such as Gardaí,(J.L.O) Health Board, Local Youth Groups etc.
The school will constantly remind parents of the dangers of “cyber- bullying” as can happen with the use of social networking sites and mobile phones. We also direct their attention to the school’s internet Acceptable Use Policy (AUP).
The school cannot be responsible for disagreements between pupils that happen outside the school grounds but will make reasonable efforts to cooperate with parents in assisting them to resolve the issues.
8. Supervision and Monitoring of pupils:
The BOM confirms that appropriate supervision and monitoring policies and practices are in place to both prevent and deal with bullying behaviour and to facilitate early intervention where possible.
9. Prevention of Harassment:
The BOM confirms that the school will, in accordance with its obligations under equality legislation, take all such steps that are reasonably practical 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 Travelling community.
10. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on ___________
11. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website and provided to the Parent’s Association. A copy of the policy will be made available to the Department and patron if requested.
12. This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the BOM once in every school year. Written notification that the review has been completed will be made available to school personnel, and will be readily accessible to parents and provided to the Parent’s association. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and to the Department.