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 Loreto Primary School, Rathfarnham 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.
Our Anti-bullying policy needs to be seen in the context our Loreto Philosophy of Education. The Loreto Philosophy of Education is centred in God and rooted in Gospel values and so how we treat and interact with each other is important in our school
Our Loreto education
- Gives priority to the integration of the spiritual, intellectual, moral, physical and emotional development of the individual student (Loreto.Kolkata Guidelines)
- In Loreto Grange Road education is for the wholeness and dignity of each class. It is a friendly, welcoming place where staff, children and parents express a sense of warmth, friendship and belonging.
- The quality of relationship within the entire school community is of a high level. Active partnership between management, staff and parents is encouraged and fostered.
- We have a committed staff who ensure that the potential of each pupil is recognised, that this potential is nurtured and developed and that each pupil experiences same success. Success at whatever level is acknowledged and rewarded and the self esteem of all pupils is nurtured.
- Special care and interest is given to children who are in any way disadvantaged or have special needs – physical, material, emotional social or intellectual.
- The attitudes of love, freedom, justice, sincerity and especially joy are practised and encouraged.
- Through a gentle yet firm discipline the pupils are encouraged to take responsibility for their own actions, to have respect for themselves and others and to realise that rules are there to protect the safety and well being of the school community.
- 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.
- 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 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.
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.
- Persons responsible for dealing with Bullying.
As with all instances of misbehaviour in school, if there is an accusation of bullying in school the class teacher or the teacher on the yard, if the incident occurs on yard, will investigate the issue in the first incidence, the teacher on yard will discuss the incident with the child(ren)’s class teacher. The principal is then informed of the incident and the school’s agreed procedures are followed. Any teacher may act as a relevant teacher if circumstances warrant it.
- 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:
Programmes that help prevent bullying by fostering empathy, respect, resilience, self worth:
The full implementation of SPHE, Stay Safe, the Relations Sexuality Education (RSE) Programmes and the Religious Education Programme Grow in Love.
- OUR WELLBEING POLICY and the promotion of self worth
- yearly garda visit re cyberbullying
- – Pupils are helped to examine the issue of bullying in a calm rational way, outside of the tense context of particular bullying incidents. In the process they are made more aware of the nature of bullying and the various forms that it can take.
- – Pupils are made aware that the consequences of bullying behaviour are always bad for those who are targeted, even if this is not always obvious at the time.
- – Pupils are encouraged to recognise, reject and report bullying behaviour*
- – Through presentations EG ZEEKO or other exercises, the school staff and parents/guardians are made aware of the nature of bullying and the signs that might indicate that a pupil is being bullied. They are encouraged to be vigilant in watching out for signs of bullying and to report any suspicion of bullying they may have to the ‘Relevant Teacher’ (in the case of staff members) or any staff member (in the case of parents/guardians).
The school will 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.
- Administer a confidential questionnaire once a term to all pupils.
- Ensure bystanders understand the importance of telling if they witness or know that bullying is taking place.
- The importance of familiarity with the school’s Acceptable Use Policy in the school to include the necessary steps to ensure that the access to technology within the school is strictly monitored, as is the pupils’ use of mobile phones.
Procedures that help prevent bullying:
Yard Rule reminders
Yard Book recording system
Positive classroom rules
Individual Behaviour Plans
Partnership/Communication with Parents/Guardians
Individual Education/Behaviour Planning meetings
Parent Teacher Association activities
Annual talks on bullying/ cyber bullying for parents and children
School Policies that help prevent bullying:
Social Personal and Health Education Plan (SPHE)
Acceptable Use of Technology Policy
Code of Behaviour
Continuous Professional Development
Training for staff funded by Board of Management:
- summer courses / evening courses
- in-service provided by Professional Development Service For Teachers (PDST)
- discussions during staff meetings
- 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: ( adapted from the ‘Dealing with Incidents’ section of the Anti-Bullying Campaign website)
(i) 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);
(ii) 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;
(iii) All reports of bullying will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher. 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;
(iv) Non-teaching staff such as secretary, special needs assistants (SNAs), school warden, caretaker, are encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher;
(v) Parents are requested to inform the class teacher of any incident of bullying and allow the school to investigate. Parent to parent approach is discouraged;
(vi) 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;
(vii) Parents are requested to maintain the confidentiality of the incident;
(viii) It is very important that all involved (including each set of pupils and parents) understand the above approach from the outset;
- The School, through the ‘Relevant Teacher’ reserves the right ( where age appropriate) to ask any pupil to write an account of what happened, as part of an investigation. This will be a standard procedure and does not necessarily imply that a pupil is guilty of misbehaviour.
- Pupils who are alleged to have been involved in bullying behaviour are interviewed by the ‘Relevant Teacher’ to establish the nature and extent of the behaviour and any reasons for it. The relevant teacher may seek the help of the Principal.
- The ‘Relevant Teacher’ does not apportion blame but rather treats bullying behaviour as a ‘mistake’ that can and must be remedied. She emphasises that the intention is not to punish perpetrators but to talk to them, to explain how harmful and hurtful bullying is and to seek a promise that it will stop. If that promise is forthcoming and is honoured there will be no penalty and that will be the end of the matter. Pupils who report bullying therefore are not getting others ‘in trouble’ so much as enabling them to get out of trouble into which they may ultimately get if the bullying continued.
- Teachers will take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying behaviour reported by pupils, staff or parents; Incidents will be investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved.
- All interviews will 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 will seek answers to questions of
- What happened?
- What were you thinking at the time?
- Who has been affected?
- In what way?
- What needs to be done to make things right?
This will 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 will be interviewed individually at first. Thereafter, all those involved will be encouraged to meet as a group if appropriate. At the group meeting, each member will be asked for his/her account of what happened. Each member of a group will be supported through the possible pressures that they may face from the other members of the group after interview by the teacher.
- In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred, the parents of the parties involved will be contacted at an early stage to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken. The school will 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; Where the relevant teacher has determined that a pupil has been engaged in bullying behaviour, it will 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 her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied;
- It will 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; When an investigation is completed and/or a bullying situation is resolved the ‘Relevant Teacher’ will complete a report, to include the findings of the investigation, the strategy adopted and the outcome of the intervention, as well as any other relevant information. If a pupil has signed such a promise but then chooses to break that promise and continue the bullying behaviour, this can then no longer be considered a ‘mistake.’ In this event parent(s)/guardian(s) will be informed and requested to countersign their daughter/son’s promise. Breach of this additional promise by further bullying behaviour is regarded as a very grave matter and a serious sanction may be imposed by the school authorities (See sanctions below).
- All documentation regarding bullying incidents and their resolution is retained securely in the school. Follow-up meetings with the relevant parties involved will be arranged where appropriate;
- In cases where the relevant teacher considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour has occurred, it must be recorded by the relevant teacher in the recording template at Appendix 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; and Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parents or the school Principal or Deputy Principal;
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.
In the event that a parent has exhausted the school’s complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school will advise the parents of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.
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:
- Parent(s)/guardian(s) will be contacted by 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.
- Parent(s)/guardian(s) may be invited to a meeting with the ‘Relevant Teacher’ and the Principal. As a result, the pupil may be suspended from school.
- The case may be referred to the Board of Management and the pupil may be expelled from the school.
- The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
- Ending the bullying behaviour.
- Re-affirming the school culture to foster telling when an incident happens.
- Re-affirming the school culture to foster more respect for bullied pupils and all pupils,
- Re-affirming the school culture to foster greater empathy towards and support for bullied pupils,
- Indicating clearly that the bullying is not the fault of the targeted pupil through the awareness-raising programme,
- Indicating clearly that the bullying is not the fault of the targeted pupil through the speedy identification of those responsible and speedy resolution of bullying situations,
- After resolution, enabling bullied pupils to express how they are feeling,
- Making adequate counselling facilities available to pupils who need it in a timely manner,
- Helping bullied pupils raise their self-esteem by encouraging them to become involved in activities that help develop friendships and social skills (e.g. participation in group work in class and in extra-curricular group or team activities during or after school).
Pupils who have bullied another child:
- Making it clear that bullying pupils who reform are not blamed or punished and get a ‘clean sheet,’
- Making it clear that bullying pupils who reform are doing the right and honourable thing and giving them praise for this,
- Making adequate counselling facilities available to help those who need it learn other ways of meeting their needs besides violating the rights of others,
- Helping those who need to raise their self-esteem by encouraging them to become involved in activities that develop friendships and social skills (e.g. participation in group work in class and in extra-curricular group or team activities during or after school),
- Using learning strategies throughout the school and the curriculum to help enhance pupils’ feelings of self-worth,
- In dealing with negative behaviour in general, encouraging teachers and parents to focus on, challenge and correct the behaviour while supporting the child,
- n dealing with bullying behaviour seeking resolution and offering a fresh start with a ‘clean sheet’ and no blame in return for keeping a promise to reform
Procedures for recording bullying behaviour
The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour are as follows:
(i) While all reports, will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher, the relevant teacher will use his/her 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 that bullying has occurred, the relevant teacher will 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 will use the recording template at Appendix 1 to record the bullying behaviour 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.
(iv) The recording template at Appendix 1 will be completed in full and retained by the teacher in question and a copy provided to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable. It should also be noted that the timeline for recording bullying behaviour in the recording template at Appendix 1 does not in any way preclude the relevant teacher from consulting the Principal or Deputy Principal at an earlier stage in relation to a case.
(v) At least once in every school term, the Principal will provide a report to the Board of Management setting out:
- the overall number of bullying cases reported (by means of the bullying recording template at Appendix 1) since the previous report to the Board and
- confirmation that all cases referred to above have been or are being, dealt with in accordance with the school’s anti-bullying policy and the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary schools
Our programmes of support are similar to our prevention strategies (refer to Section 5).
- 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 reviewed , updated and ratified by the Board of Management on 8th November 2021.
- This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website and provided to the Parent Teacher 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. Written notification that the review has been completed will be made available to school personnel, published on the school website and provided to the Parent Teacher Association. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the DES.
(Chairperson, Board of Management)
Date: 8th November 2021
Date for review: September 2022
Date 8th November 2021