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The original Anti- Bullying policy was formulated in 2001.The school staff, children, Board of Management and Parents’ Association were involved in its formulation. The policy was ratified by the Board of Management in 2002 and was reviewed on an annual basis.
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 Gaelscoil Inis Córthaidh 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.
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.
Types 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 Travelling community and bullying of those with disabilities or special educational needs.
We recognise also these types of bullying (detail found in Section 2 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools).
- physical aggression
- damage to property
- abusive telephone calls/texts
- name calling
- the passing of comments about a person’s physical appearance
- bullying of school personnel
Bullying may be planned and organised but it can be unconscious.
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.
Aims of Anti-Bullying Policy
- to raise awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour with school management, pupils, parents, guardians, and the wider community
- to create a school ethos which encourages children to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour
- to develop procedures for noting, reporting, investigating and dealing with incidents of bullying behaviour
- to support those affected and those involved in bullying behaviour
- to evaluate the effectiveness of the policy on a regular basis
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:
- 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 adequate playground/school yard/outdoor supervision. Record incidents in notebook when on yard supervision.
- School staff can get pupils to help them to identify bullying “hot spots” and “hot times” for bullying in the school.
- (Hot spots tend to be in the playground/school yard/outdoor areas, changing rooms, corridors and other areas of unstructured supervision.
- Hot times again tend to be times where there is less structured supervision such as when pupils are in the playground/school yard or moving classroom.)
- School staff can have an awareness day about bullying once a year.
Teachers can promote positive self-esteem, influence attitudes to bullying behaviour in a positive manner and help prepare children to recognise and report bullying through a range of curricular initiatives:
- Stay Safe programme
- SPHE programme ( Misneach)
- Sticks and Stones Drama Activity
- Talk for senior classes on internet safety (Zeeko is company used for number of years)
- Use of social stories to develop social understanding, social skills and emotional intelligence
- Use of circle time to discuss issues
- Magic Programme- transition from 6th class to 1st year in secondary school
Procedures for investigation, follow up and recording of Bullying Behaviour
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 are as follows:
The relevant teacher for investigating and dealing with bullying is the class teacher. Where classes are divided between two classrooms, the report will be made to the class teacher of the child reporting alleged bullying of him/her. Parents/ guardians may approach others members of staff and will, in this case, be referred to the relevant teacher ie the class teacher;
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);
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;
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’. 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;
Non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs), caretakers, cleaners must be encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher;
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;
It is very important that all involved (including each set of pupils and parents) understand the above approach from the outset;
Teachers should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying behaviour reported by pupils, staff or parents;
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.
It may also be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident(s).
Follow up interviews or group meetings may be needed and will be scheduled as the relevant teacher deems appropriate.
Negative behaviour that does not meet this definition of bullying will be dealt with in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour.
If after 20 school days the class teacher sees no improvement in the situation it is then referred to the principal. Referrals to the principal are made accompanied by approved document reporting bullying. (Appendix 1)
If problems are persistent the principal may refer the case to the NEPS psychologist relevant to the school.
Parents/ guardians may follow the school Grievance Procedure in the case that they have grievance to make regarding the handling of issues of bullying.
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 7th April 2014.
Reviews will be held in the final term of each school year .
This policy will be 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.
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.
Signed: _______________________ Signed: ___________________________
(Chairperson of Board of Management) (Principal)
Date: ______________ Date: __________________
Date of next review: _______________
Appendix 1: Template for recording bullying behaviour
- Name & Class of pupil being bullied
Name ________________________________ Class__________________
- Name(s) and class(es) of pupil(s) engaged in bullying behaviour
- Source of bullying concern /report
Pupil concerned _____________________________________________
Other pupil(s) ________________________________________________
- Location of incidents (More than one can be ticked)
- Name of person(s) who reported the bullying concern
- 6. Type of Bullying Behaviour Reported (More than one can be ticked)
Damage to Property
Where behaviour is regarded as identity-based bullying, indicate the relevant category:
Membership of Traveller community
- Brief Description of bullying behaviour and its impact
- Details of actions taken
Signed ______________________________ (Relevant Teacher)
(This report should be kept in the teacher’s own file and should only be submitted to the Principal in the event of repeated incidents and/or if the teacher has determined that bullying behaviour has been engaged in.)
Date submitted to Principal (If submitted) _______________________