Glenahulla National School

Anti – Bullying Policy

Rationale & Background                                                                                                                                                 In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the Code of Behaviour Guidelines issued by the TUSLA (Child and Family Agency), the Board of Management of Glenahulla NS 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 and the staff of Glenahulla NS recognise the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact that it can have on the lives of pupils and are 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;

(See Appendix 1 for ways we promote a positive school culture and climate in Glenahulla NS). 

  • 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
  • address issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying including, homophobic and transphobic bullying;
  • Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils
  • Supports for staff
  • Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies); and
  • On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.

Definition 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 Appendix 2 of this policy. 

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

  • The class teacher initially
  • The Principal/ Deputy Principal thereafter if necessary. 

The following education and prevention strategies, at the appropriate and relevant level for each class, will be used by Glenahulla NS

A school-wide approach to the fostering of respect for all members of the school community. 

  • Our Yard Misbehaviour Record Sheet will be used to record incidences of misbehaviour which concern the teacher on yard duty. Through this patterns of behaviour can be identified. This records what different teachers on yard duty may see as ‘once off’ incidents but are in fact establishing a pattern of behaviour over time.
  • The school’s Anti-Bullying Policy is discussed with pupils and all parent(s)/guardian(s) have access to it on the school website.  
  • Encourage a culture of telling, with particular emphasis on the importance of bystanders. 
  • 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. 
  • Get a parent(s)/guardian(s) or friend to tell on your behalf.
  • Ensure bystanders understand the importance of telling if they witness or know that bullying is taking place. 
  • Identify clear protocols to encourage parents / guardians to approach the school if they suspect that their child is being bullied. 

Implementation within the Curriculum

  • School wide delivery of lessons on bullying from evidence based programmes 
  • The implementation of SPHE programmes and Friendship week 
  • The SPHE curriculum makes specific provision for exploring bullying as well as the inter-related areas of belonging and integrating, communication, conflict, friendship, personal safety and relationships.
  • A  list of supports and resources linked to Bullying is available to all teachers. 
  • The school will implement the advice in “Sexual Orientation advice for schools” (RSE Primary). 
  • Glenahulla NS will encourage extracurricular activities as they can provide excellent opportunities for developing self-esteem and promoting positive relationships.

Procedures for Investigation, Follow-Up and Recording 

The primary aim 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: The school’s procedures must be consistent with the following approach: Every effort will be made to ensure that all involved (including pupils, parent(s)/guardian(s)) understand this approach from the outset.

Reporting bullying behaviour

  • Any pupil or parent(s)/guardian(s) may bring a bullying incident to any teacher in the school. 
  • Reports of bullying, will be investigated and dealt with by the class teacher.
  • Teaching and non-teaching staff such as secretaries and special needs assistants (SNAs) must report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the class teacher. 
  • Pupils should understand that there are no innocent bystanders and that all incidents of bullying behaviour must be reported to a teacher.

 

Approach for Investigating and dealing with Incidents

   Stage 1 Investigation

  • Carry out class survey
  • Interview pupils involved
  • Interview other pupils or witnesses
  • In investigating and dealing with bullying, the class teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved;
  • All staff members will be made aware of any bullying allegations/ incidents and will document any incidents on Aladdin (tagging relevant students). Class teacher to be informed of any documented incidents.

Where possible, incidents should be investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved. If necessary another teacher may be present when carrying out an investigation. All interviews should be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all pupils concerned. If a group is involved, each member should be interviewed individually at first.

Recording

All reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher. The relevant teacher must keep a written record of the reports on Aladdin, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same. (Incident Report Form – Appendix 3). 

It may also be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident(s) using the “Pupil Report Form” (Appendix 4). 

All incidents witnessed by or notified to staff must be reported to the class teacher. These incidents will be kept on file by the class teacher. 

The relevant teacher must inform the Principal of all incidents being investigated.

Stage 2 Where bullying is deemed to have occurred

If the investigation finds that bullying has not occurred the incident/s will be dealt with in accordance with the Code of Behaviour.

If this is a repeated incidence of bullying the situation will be dealt with as a major misdemeanor as per our Code of Behaviour.

In cases where it has been determined 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. 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 (rather than to apportion blame).

The child(ren) who is/are the victim(s) of bullying may also meet with the Principal/ Deputy Principal , Class Teacher and/or their Parents. The aim of this meeting will be to address emotional needs and devise strategies for the child(ren) to deal with the bullying.

Where the relevant teacher has determined that a pupil has been engaging 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 parents) 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.

Sanctions may include: (Refer to code of behaviour for full list)

  • Removal from play on yard
  • Loss of privileges
  • Temporary separation from peers within class and/ or temporary removal to another class
  • Placed on a daily report for a length of time determined by the school. Parents must attend meetings with the Principal/ Deputy Principal and Class teacher to review the reports.

Recording

If it is established by the class teacher that bullying has occurred, the class teacher must keep appropriate written records which will assist his/her efforts to resolve the issues and restore the relationships of the parties involved.

These report forms must be stored in the “Records of Bullying Behaviour” folder and filed securely in the Principal’s office. 

In extreme circumstances of bullying behaviour refer to Stage 3 Recording.

Stage 3 Follow Up

  • After 20 school days the class teacher may repeat the investigation process and use his/her professional judgement to determine if the bullying behavior has ceased.
  • Carry out class survey
  • Interview pupils involved
  • Interview other pupils or witnesses
  • Take into account any recent reported incidences 
  • Follow-up meetings with the relevant parties/ parents of the children involved may be arranged separately to ensure that the matter has been resolved satisfactorily.  

 

Sanctions

In cases where bullying behaviour has not ceased after 20 days it will be considered a major misdemeanor and the following sanctions may be applied;

  • Temporary separation from peers (within the classroom);
  • Additional work
  • Referral to another teacher/classroom with specific work 
  • Privileges are withdrawn
  • Detention for part of break
  • Reflection sheet ‘Stop and Think Sheet’ (describing incident) signed by parent/ guardian/teacher/student (kept on file by teacher)                                                                                                                                                            
  • Child may be placed on a daily report.                                                                                                                                  
  • Formal letter from school Principal informing parent/ guardian of continuous misbehaviour.
  • Denial of participation in some class activity e.g. school tour, sports events                                                                            
  • Class teacher and/or Principal will meet with one/both parents/ guardians
  • Chairperson of the Board of Management informed and parents/ guardians requested to meet with Chairperson or other designated Board member and the Principal/ Vice Principal.

Recording

The class teacher must use the recording template at Appendix 5 to record the bullying behaviour in the following circumstances: 

  • In cases where he/she considers that the bullying behaviour has not ceased within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour occurred; and
  • In extreme circumstances of bullying behaviour, these incidents must be recorded using Appendix 5 and reported immediately to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable. 

When the recording template (Appendix 5) is used, it must be retained by the class teacher in question and a copy maintained by the principal in the “Records of Bullying Behaviour” folder. This folder will be filed securely in the Principal’s office. Only the Principal and the Deputy Principal will have access to the records. The records will be retained by the Principal for 10 years after the pupil leaves 6th class.

Supporting Pupils Affected by Bullying

The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:

  • All in-school supports and opportunities will be provided for the pupils affected by bullying to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem, to develop friendships and social skills and build resilience and increase feelings of self-worth – Individualised programmes to meet the needs of the child(ren). 
  • If pupils require counselling or 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. 

Supervision and Monitoring of Pupils

The Board of Management confirms that appropriate supervision and monitoring 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. 

Complaints procedures

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.

Ratification/ Review / Implementation

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

This policy has been made available to school personnel, is readily accessible to parents  and pupils on request and provided to the Parents’ Association. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested. 

This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year (Appendix 6). 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: _______________

Appendices

Appendix 1: Key Elements of a Positive School Climate and Culture

Appendix 2: Types of Bullying

Appendix 3: Incident Report Form

Appendix 4: Pupil’s Report Form

Appendix 5: Record of Bullying Behaviour 

Appendix 6: Checklist for annual review of the anti-bullying policy and its implementation