Anti-bullying Policy

Grange National School’s Anti-Bullying Policy

 

  • INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT

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  Grange National School 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 SCHOOL’S MISSION STATEMENT

Grange National School, with the cooperation of parents, aims to encourage each child to reach their full potential in a safe, supportive environment. It aims to inspire and challenge every child to learn and grow into realising their full potential, valuing themselves, and being respectful of others.

 

  • PRIMARY AIMS OF OUR SCHOOL’S ANTI-BULLYING POLICY
  • To comply with the requirements of the 2013 Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.
  • To raise awareness amongst the entire school community (including school management, teachers, pupils, parents, volunteers etc.) that bullying is unacceptable behaviour;
  • To revise procedures for investigating and dealing with bullying behaviour;
  • To revise procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour;
  • To develop a programme of support for those affected by bullying behaviour and for those involved in bullying behaviour;
  • To work with and through the various local agencies in countering all forms of bullying and anti-social behaviour; and
  • To facilitate ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of the school’s anti-bullying policy.

 

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.

 

 

  • KEY PRINCIPLES OF BEST PRACTICE IN PREVENTING AND TACKLING BULLYING BEHAVIOUR

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.

 

 

  • DEFINITION OF BULLYING

In accordance with the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools bullying is defined as follows:

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.

 

Appendix 1 outlines Types of Bullying; Impacts of bullying behaviour; Indicators of bullying behaviour ; Characteristics associated with bullying;

 

 

  • STAFF CHARGED WITH INVESTIGATING AND DEALING WITH BULLYING INCIDENTS

The relevant teacher for investigating and dealing with bullying is the class teacher.  The matter will be reported to the Principal and/or Deputy Principal. (Where a short term substitute teacher is in charge of the class, the matter will be investigated by the Principal or Deputy Principal).

 

  • THE SCHOOL’S EDUCATION & PREVENTION OF BULLYING STRATEGIES

According to the guidelines: ‘A school’s prevention and awareness raising measures need to be appropriate to the type of bullying and take into account the age and gender of the pupils involved. Each school must work to raise the awareness of bullying so that all members of the school community understand what bullying is and how the school deals with bullying behaviour.’

The education and prevention strategies that will be used by the school are as follows:

  • The Catholic Ethos of the school encourages positive attitudes to inclusivity and equality.  This permeates all aspects of the school day and throughout the teaching of the curriculum.
  • Awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour can be maintained by using both the formal and informal curriculum to emphasise that bullying is unacceptable.    There is space within the teaching of all subjects to foster an attitude of respect for all: to promote the value of diversity; to address prejudice and stereotyping and to highlight the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.
  • 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. The Stay Safe programme at primary level, is a personal safety skills programme which seeks to enhance children’s self-protection skills including their ability to recognise and cope with bullying.
  • Positive self-esteem is fostered among the pupils by celebrating individual differences, by acknowledging good behaviour and by providing opportunities for success.
  • Pupils are helped to develop empathy by discussing feelings and by trying to put themselves in the place of others.
  • The school’s anti-bullying policy is discussed regularly with the pupils.
  • Staff are particularly vigilant in monitoring pupils who are considered at risk of bullying/ being bullied, with particular regard to pupils with SEN.
  • Through familiarising themselves with the school’s anti-bullying policy, parents can support the school’s policy on bullying by encouraging positive behaviour both at home and at school, by being vigilant for signs and symptoms that their child is being bullied or is bullying others, by communicating concerns to the school.
  • Cyber-Bullying requires access to technology.  Pupils are supervised at all times when working with technology in the school.
  • Pupils are not allowed to use mobile phones on school property or on school related excursions. Mobile phones must remain switched off at all times while pupils are at school or on school related excursions.
  • Parents will be notified of the school’s AUP at the beginning of each school year.
  • A school anti-bullying charter for display in classrooms and other prominent locations will be devised and consulted regularly.
  • Supervision: Insofar as is reasonably practicable school activities will be supervised and monitored at all times, with particular emphasis on those occasions when situations of bullying are more likely to occur, such as play time.
  • Annual Friendship Week will take place.
  • Non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs), bus escorts, caretakers, cleaners are encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher;

 

 

  • PROCEDURES FOR INVESTIGATION, DEALING WITH AND RECORDING INCIDENTS OF BULLYING

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 (see Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools) :

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.

 

In Grange National School, the class teacher has responsibility for investigating and dealing with allegations of bullying.

  1. The primary aim for the 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);
  2. 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;
  3. All reports, including anonymous reports (by pupils) of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher. 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; (If a parent has a complaint regarding the behaviour of another pupil towards their child, they must make their concern known to the class teacher who will deal with their complaint as per school procedures. If the parent alleges that bullying has taken place and uses the word ‘bullying’ in their complaint, the parents of the other child will be informed that a complaint of ‘bullying’ has been lodged with the school and the identity of the complainants and the nature of their complaint will be fully disclosed to the parents of the other child. )
  4. Teachers should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying behaviour reported by pupils, staff or parents;
  5. Incidents are generally best investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved;
  6. 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;
  7. When analysing incidents of bullying behaviour, the relevant teacher should seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why. This should 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 should be interviewed individually at first. They may be asked to write an account of what happened. Thereafter, all those involved should be met as a group where possible*. 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; *Depending on the dynamics of the group, this might not be in the best interests of some individuals involved as it may lead to ‘informers’ being subsequently targeted by others in the group. The investigating teacher will determine when it’s appropriate to adopt this strategy.

    1. In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher 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 (by reference to the school policy). 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;
    2. The parents of the pupil/s exhibiting bullying behaviour will be informed that if the behaviour doesn’t change after 20 days, the form at Appendix 2 will be completed and the child may face suspension or expulsion.
    3. Where the teacher has 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 get him/her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied; (this is a strategy already used in the school when minor conflicts between pupils occur)

 

  • 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.

 

In any situation where there is an alleged incident between pupils of the school no parent has the right to approach, speak to, admonish or threaten a child who is the alleged victim or alleged perpetrator.

  1. Follow-up meetings with the relevant parties involved should 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. This can have a therapeutic effect;
  2. 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 2
  3. The parents of the child who is in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy will be notified that a report has been recorded and placed in the child’s file. They will be asked to meet with the Principal and/ or Deputy Principal who will outline the sanctions available to the school in that particular instance i.e. suspension and expulsion.

(xiv) 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;

(xv) 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;

(xvi) 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.

 

PROCEDURES FOR RESORDING BULLYING BEHAVIOUR

The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour are as follows:

  1. 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;
  2. 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.
  3. The relevant teacher will use the recording template at Appendix 2 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.
  4. The recording template at Appendix 2 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 2 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.

 

 

  • SCHOOL’S PROGRAMME OF SUPPORT FOR  ALLEDGED BULLIES & THEIR VICTIMS

The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows (see Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools) :

 

Victims:

 

  • 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.

 

Alledged Bullies: 

  • Where deemed necessary, the child in consultation with parents may be referred for counselling. They may need to learn other ways of meeting their needs without violating the rights of others. 

 

 

  • SUPERVISION & 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.

 

Ratified: 31st/03/2014

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