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 Rutland 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.
- Key Principles of Best Practice 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
- 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)
- On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.
- Definition and Types of Bullying
In the context of these procedures, bullying is defined as 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 this non-exhaustive definition:
- 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 this 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 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.
Additional information on different types of bullying is set out in Section 2 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.
This policy applies to activities and events that take place:
- During school time (including break times)
- Going to/from school
- School tours/trips
- Extra – Curricular Activities (including homework club and football club)
- Our School Shield Statements
- Bullying can happen anywhere, anytime
- In our school we have a plan to limit and stop bullying. Our plan can be found on our website
- We do what we say in our plan. We record and investigate all bullying incidents
- The pupils, staff and parents of Rutland NS worked together to create this plan and make it work
- We celebrate that no two people are the same and we are all equal
- We have lots of ways to offer help to everyone involved when bullying happens
- We all keep working on changing and improving our plan and trying hew ideas to stop bullying
- We tackle bullying by talking about it and learning how best to deal with bullying. We are a telling school
- In our school everyone’s worries are listened to and we will support everyone
- In this school all children can ‘tell’ any adult about bullying and they will be listened to.
- Roles and Responsibilities
The relevant teachers(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying are as follows:
- Darina Burke (Principal)
- Marie Daly (Deputy Principal)
Those Responsible for Implementing This Policy:
- Enda O Flaherty (HSCL Co-ordinator)Responsibility for links with parents and dispersal of relevant information and support
- Special Needs Assistants: Responsibility for assisting teachers in monitoring pupils and activities in yard and on canteen
- All Teaching Staff: Responsibility for investigating and recording incidents of bullying behaviour
- The Anti-Bullying Committee – Darina Burke/Ian Cherry/Emma Nugent/Susan Bailey: Responsibility for reviewing the policy annually and monitoring its implementation, including the creation and implementation of annual action plans
- Education and Prevention Strategies
- A school wide approach to the fostering of respect for all members of the school community as laid down in the school’s ethos and mission statement
- Child Protection Policy and Procedure
- Religious Education Policy
- Internet Acceptable Usage Policy
- Cyber Bullying Policy
- Supervision Policy
- Explicitly teach pupils what respectful language and respectful behaviour looks like, acts like, sounds like and feels like in class and around the school
- Focused teaching of the CALM approach – Cool, Assert Yourself, Look them in the eye, Mean it
- Constant reinforcement of school catchphrase – Bully-free it starts with Me!
- Fostering and enhancing the self-esteem of all pupils through both curricular (SPHE curriculum – Stay Safe/Walk Tall) and extracurricular activities. Pupils will be provided with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self -worth through formal and informal interactions
- Whole staff professional development on bullying to ensure that all staff develops an awareness of what bullying is, how it impacts on pupils lives and the need to respond to it – prevention and intervention
- School wide awareness raising and training on all aspects of bullying to include pupils, parents/guardians and the wider school community. This will take the form of workshops, information sessions and website updates
- Specific focus on new pupils as they settle into school – class buddy system
- ‘Catch them being good’ – notice and acknowledge desired respectful behaviour by providing positive attention. This lies at the core of the Discipline for Learning approach with focus on Pupil of Week, Most Improved, Compliment Board and Marbles in the Jar
- Beginning of year focus the Rights and Responsibilities of all pupils (Reference: Me, You, Everyone – Amnesty International UK)on 4 classroom agreements – Respect, Safety, Learning and communication. School rules are categorised into these 4 classroom agreements with pupils signing a Classroom Contract
- All class teachers will deliver one anti-bullying lesson per month simultaneously from evidence based programmes e.g. Cool School Lessons, Webwise, Om My Own Two Feet. This will be introduced at assembly
- Professional development for staff with specific focus on training in relation to teaching children presenting with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties
- Care Team – weekly meetings to support the social, behavioural and emotional needs of pupils
- School Support Plans in place for children on ‘School Alert’
- Implementation of regular whole school awareness measures e.g Friendship Week, Say No to Bullying Week, Safer Internet Day, Intercultural Week, a dedicated notice board in the school, termly student anti bullying surveys.
- All electronic equipment handed to class teacher for storage until end of school day and is only allowed to be used at the discretion of the teacher
- Teachers and pupils will identify bullying ‘hot-spots’ and ‘hot-times’ and appropriate steps will be taken to ensure adequate supervision.
- Anti-Bullying Policy will be discussed at all September Welcome Meetings and distributed to all new parents together with the Behaviour and Discipline Policy. Both will be available for viewing on the school website www.rutlandns.ie
- Shield Statements will be included in pupil’s journals and displayed publicly in classrooms and in common areas of the school. Specific teaching time will be devoted to teaching the Shield Statements
- School Acceptable Usage Policy include the necessary steps to ensure that the access to technology within the school is strictly monitored
- Procedures for Investigating, Follow Up and Recording of Bullying Behaviour
- Since the failure to report bullying can result in a continuation or deterioration in bullying behaviours, the school and parents encourage pupils to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying. This can be with any teacher, Special Needs Assistants, the Principal or parents. All school staff consistently relay the message that reporting incidents of bullying is responsible behaviour, and is not considered to be ‘telling tales’. This is a ‘Telling School’ as defined in the Stay Safe programme
- A reported or observed incident of bullying behaviour will be noted by the class teacher and recorded on the Databiz system
- Reports of bullying behaviour will be investigated in a fair and professional manner by the school staff, with the aim of resolving the issue(s) and restoring relationships of the parties involved in so far as is practicable
- Parents and pupils are required to co-operate with any investigation
- In cases of incidents involving children from more than one class, all class teachers will be involved in the investigation
- The Relevant Teacher will investigate in a manner that aims to ensure the privacy of the alleged incident(s) and those involved. This will normally happen outside the classroom where practicable. SET teachers will facilitate this by sitting in with class.
- The questions – who, what, where, when will form the basis of all investigations. The relevant teacher should keep a record of this investigation on Databiz system.
- Pupils not directly involved in the bullying incident(s) maybe interviewed to ascertain a clearer picture of what happened. Children should understand that there are no innocent bystanders if they remain passive where bullying is concerned – All bystanders must report bullying
- If a group is involved, each member will be interviewed individually at first. Thereafter all those involved will be met as a group. Each member will be asked for his/her account of what happened. A written account may be requested from group members.
- In cases where it has been determined by the Relevant Teacher that bullying 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 Principal should be notified by the Relevant Teacher at this stage.
- In such an instance, it should be made clear to the pupil (and his/her parents) engaging in the bullying behaviour that he/she has broken the school’s policy and efforts should be made to elicit a meaningful apology. The pupil concerned maybe required to sign an undertaking or behaviour contract that ‘this behaviour will not reoccur’.
- The situation will be carefully monitored by all staff working with the pupil. A plan of support may be put in place for the parties involved.
- Once off serious incidents or a recurring bullying incident of bullying behaviour which in the opinion of the Relevant Teacher has not been adequately or appropriately addressed within 20 school days will be recorded on the DES template and shall be reported to Principal/Deputy Principal. The Relevant Teacher has the discretion to complete the standard DES Recording Template prior to the 20 days if they consider it necessary or if they consider the bullying behaviour to constitute serious misconduct.
- The Code of Behaviour will be invoked in circumstances where it is deemed prudent by the Relevant Teacher and Principal.
- Where a parent is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parent 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 must advise the parents of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children
- The School’s Programme of Support
The school may access the following supports pupils affected by bullying (both victims and those involved in bullying behaviour):
- Regular reinforcement of Shield Statements
- Code of Discipline (DFL System) – Pupil of Week, Most Improved
- Circle Time
- Restorative Practice Techniques
- No Blame Approach – supporting both parties without apportioning blame
- Referral to school Care Team – focus on ‘at-risk’ pupils
- Close monitoring of pupils (those bullying and those being bullied) on yard/in canteen in the weeks following an incident of bullying
- Provision of opportunities in/outside class to participate in activities designed to raise self-esteem, to develop friendship and social skills and thereby build resilience (as per SPHE programme)
- Individual Behaviour Plans – Continuum of Support
- Access to Support Teacher – facilitation of self-esteem building activities
- Homework Club/Football Club/Chess Club/Boxing Club
- Referral to after school clubs – CASPr, Foundations, Belvedere, Hill Street
- School based support provided by NYP1
- Play Therapy
- Information re any past bullying issues will be passed on to new teachers in the June Handover Meeting
- Buddy Systems/Peer Monitoring
Key Measures re Cyber Bullying
- The Anti-Bullying Co-ordinators will act as Cyber-Safety Officers to oversee the practices and procedures in this policy/Acceptable Internet Usage Policy and Cyber Bullying Policy
- Pupils and parents will be urged to report all incidents of cyber bullying to the school
- Staff will be trained to identify signs of cyber bullying and will be helped to keep informed about the technologies that children commonly use
- The school will engage a speaker to facilitate a workshop on cyber bullying for 4th/5th and 6th classes annually as part of Say No to Bullying Week
- 3 of the yearly 9 specif anti-bullying lessons will focus specifically on cyber bullying (particularly for Senior Classes).
- Parents will be invited to a workshop annually on bullying to include cyber bullying
- Parents will be provided with information and advice on cyber bullying
- Parents and students are advised that it is illegal for a child under 13 to register with and use many social media networks, including Facebook, Instagram and Snapshot
- The school will engage a speaker to facilitate a workshop on cyber bullying for 5th and 6th classes annually as part of Say No to Bullying Week
- Pupils will sign an Acceptable Use of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) contract annually from Third Class to Sixth Class
- Parents will be expected to sign an Acceptable Use of ICT contract prior to enrolment and to discuss its meaning with their children
- Rutland NS endeavours to block access to inappropriate web sites, using firewalls, anti-virus protection and filtering systems and no pupil is allowed to work on the internet in the school without a member of staff present
- Supervision and Monitoring of Pupils
The Board of Management confirms that appropriate supervision and monitoring policiies 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 it 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 travelling community
- Policy Ratification
This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on April 24th 2014.
- Availability of Policy
This policy has been made available to school personnel and published on the school website. A copy of this policy will be made available to the DES and the patron on request
- Policy Review
This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the Board of Management annually. Written notification that the review has been completed will be made available to school personnel and published on the school website. A record of the review will be made available to the DES and the patron on request.
Supporting your child in relation to bullying
- Teaching your child to say “No” in a good assertive tone of voice will help deal with many situations. A child’s self -image and body language may send out messages to potential bullies
- Parents should approach their child’s teacher by appointment if the bullying is school related. It is important for you to understand that bullying in school can be difficult for teachers to detect because it often happens behind the teacher’s back. Teachers will appreciate you talking to them. School bullying requires that parents and teachers work together for a resolution
- Often parents advise their children to “hit back” at the bully if the abuse is physical. Instead of this message we would encourage you to talk to your child about CALM….. Teaching children to tell and be more assertive is far more positive and effective
- It is important to be realistic. It will not be possible for a single child to assert his/her rights if attacked by a group. Children should be advised to get away and tell in this type of situation
- Keep a log of incidents to help you get a sense of how serious the problem is. Many children with a little help and support can overcome this quickly
What if your child is bullying?
- Do not panic. Focus on staying calm and listening to what your child is saying
- This may be a temporary response to something else in your child’s life e.g bereavement in the family, problem at home, birth of a sibling etc. Give your child and opportunity to discuss anything that may be upsetting him/her.
- Don’t punish bullying by being a bully yourself. Hitting and verbal attack will make the situation worse. Talk to your child and try to find out if there is a problem. Explain how the victim felt. Try to get the child to understand the victim’s point of view. This may take some time.
- Bullies offer suffer low self- esteem. Take every opportunity to praise and affirm good, respectful, considerate behaviour. Focus on the positive
- Talk to your child’s teacher and find out more about your child’s behaviour in school. The teacher can provide you with help and support in tackling the negative behaviour. Consistency of approach between you and teacher is very important
- If the situation is serious you may need to ask the school or G.P to refer your child for further guidance and support to local child guidance services
Appendix 3 Template for recording bullying behaviour
1. Name of pupil being bullied and class group
2. Name(s) and class(es) of pupil(s) engaged in bullying behaviour
3. Source of bullying concern/report (tick relevant box(es))* 4. Location of incidents (tick relevant box(es))* Pupil concerned Playground Other Pupil Classroom Parent Corridor Teacher Toilets SNA Canteen Other Reception Stairs Other
5. Name of person(s) who reported the bullying concern
6. Type of Bullying Behaviour (tick relevant box(es)) *
|Damage to Property||Intimidation|
|Name Calling||Other (specify)|
7. Where behaviour is regarded as identity-based bullying, indicate the relevant category:
|Homophobic||Disability/SEN related||Racist||Membership of Traveller community||Other (specify)|
8. Is the pupil(s) engaged in bullying on the school SEN register? ___________________________
9. Brief Description of bullying behaviour and its impact
10.Details of actions taken
Signed ______________________________ (Relevant Teacher) Date ___________________________
Date submitted to Principal/Deputy Principal __________________