The Board of Management is very conscious of the damaging effect bullying can have and has a fully developed policy for addressing it, should it ever occur. To read the policy, which has the approval of the Department of Education and the Irish Primary Principals’ Network, click here.
As a Christian school, we seek to foster, within our pupils, a spirit of kindness, tolerance, fairness and forgiveness. We take a positive, pro active approach. We create an atmosphere of trust, in which pupils know that they can talk openly about such things and that they will be listened to and supported. In circle time pupils are encouraged to talk about behaviours which upset them or which they find unacceptable. Teachers are vigilant and pro active in intervening appropriately to minimise the chance for bullying to occur and in fostering attitudes of mutual respect, sharing and inclusiveness among the pupils.
St Matthias NS Roll Number 13976U
Anti Bullying Policy
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 of St Matthias NS has adopted the following anti-bullying policy within the framework of the school’s overall code of behaviour. This policy filly 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 (See Appendix 1) 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; involves collaboration among and between staff & pupils and promotes respectful relationships across the school community; encourages the work of the student council in this area
- 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
- Support for staff
- Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies) and ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.
- In accordance with the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools bullying is defined as follows:
“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
√ 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 do not fall within the definition of bullying and should be dealt with, as appropriate, in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour.
Negative behaviour that does not meet the 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 and appears as Appendix 1 of this document.
- The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying are as follows:
- The class teacher(s) initially
- The principal thereafter if necessary
- The following education and prevention strategies, at the appropriate level for each class, will be used by the school:
- Prevention and awareness raising measures across all aspects of bullying and involves strategies to engage pupils in addressing problems when they arise. In particular, such strategies need to build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils
- Provide pupils with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self-worth
- Prevention and awareness raising measures focusing on cyber-bullying by educating pupils on appropriate online behaviour, how to stay safe while online
- Teachers can influence attitudes to bullying behaviour in a positive manner
- There are a number of curriculum components and programmes which are particularly relevant to the prevention of bullying and the promotion of respect for diversity and inclusiveness. The SPHE curriculum makes specific provision for exploring bullying as well as the inter-related areas belonging and integrating, communication, conflict, friendship, personal safety and relationships. The Stay Safe & RSE programmes at primary level are personal safety skills programmes which seek to enhance children’s self-protection skills including their ability to recognise and cope with bullying. Various other social, health and media education programmes can further help to address the problem of bullying behaviour.
- The work could be extended into many other areas such as Art, Drama, Religious Education, and Physical Education. Co-operation and group enterprises can be promoted through team sports, school clubs and societies as well as through practical subjects
- Sporting activities in particular can provide excellent opportunities for channelling and learning how to control aggression. GAA and soccer coaching is offered to some classes from outside agencies and teachers are also involved in coaching the school’s soccer and gaelic teams.
- 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,
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 (rather than to apportion blame). With this in mind the schools procedures are as follows,
(i)In investigating and dealing with bullying, the teacher(s) will exercise his/her/their professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred, what type if it has and how best the situation might be resolved
(ii)All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher(s).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
(iii)Non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs), must be encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher
(iv)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
(v)It is very important that all involved (including each set of pupils and parents) understand the above approach from the outset
(vi)Teachers should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying behaviour reported by pupils, staff or parents
(vii)Initial investigations of bullying will be done in class where possible but some incidents might be best investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved
(ix)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
(x)When analysing incidents of bullying behaviour, the relevant teacher(s) should seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why. This should be done in a clam manner, setting an example in dealing effectively with a conflict in a non-aggressive manner
(xi)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 his/her account of what happened to ensure that everyone in the group is clear about each other’s statements
(xii)Each member of a group should be supported through the possible pressures that they may face them from the other members of the group after interview by the teacher
(xii)Where the relevant teacher(s) has/have 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 het him/her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied
(xiii)It may also be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident(s)
(xiv)In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher(s) that bullying behaviour has occurred, the parents of the parties involved should be contacted at an early stage to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken. The school should give parents an opportunity of discussing ways in which they can reinforce or support the actions being taken by the school and the supports for their pupils
(xvi)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 parents, and the school;
(xvii)Follow up meetings with the relevant parties involved may 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
(xviii)An additional follow-up meeting with parents of the children involved may take place after an appropriate time to ensure that the matter has been resolved satisfactorily
(xx)Where a parent is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parents must be referred , as appropriate, to the school’s complaints procedures
(xxi)In the event that a parent has exhausted the school’s complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school must advise the parents of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.
RECORDING: Noting and reporting of bullying behaviour is to be documented using the template for recording bullying behaviour(Appendix3).All records must be maintained in accordance with relevant data protection legislation. The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour will adhere to the following:
(i)While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher(s), the relevant teacher(s) will use his/her/their professional judgement in relation to the records to be kept of these reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same
(ii)If it is established by the relevant teacher(s) that bullying has occurred, the relevant teacher(s) 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
(iii)The relevant teacher(s) must use the recording template at Appendix 3 to record the bullying behaviour which is available on the server
- St Matthias’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying involves a whole school approach. Given the complexity of bullying behaviour, no one intervention/support programme works in all situations. Therefore various approaches and intervention strategies may be used including suggesting that parents seek referrals so that appropriate outside agencies in order to receive further support for the pupils and their families if needed.
- 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.
St Matthias NS 13976U
APPENDIX 1: Practical tips for building a positive school culture and climate
The following are some practical tips for immediate actions that can be taken to help build a positive school culture and climate and to help prevent and tackle bullying behaviour.
- 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 school – this includes homophobic and racist language and language that is belittling of pupils with a disability of 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 the common areas
- All staff can actively watch out for signs of bullying behaviour
- Ensure there is adequate playground/school yard/outdoor 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 classrooms.
- Support establishment and work of student councils