(Effective 6th October 2020)
Introduction and Rationale
The school community of Le Chéile E.T.N.S. believes that each pupil has a right to an education free from fear and intimidation. The school regards bullying as a serious infringement of individual rights and a serious threat to the self-esteem and self-confidence of targeted pupil(s). Therefore it does not tolerate bullying of any kind. Every report of bullying is treated seriously and dealt with, having due regard for the well being of the targeted pupil(s) and the perpetrator(s). We recognize the possibility that unfounded allegations of bullying can be vexacious and this in turn will be dealt with as bullying. An ‘Anti-Bullying Team,’ consists of all staff members, over seen by the Principal and exists to cultivate an environment free from bullying.
Our immediate priority, should a bullying incident occur, is ending the bullying, (thereby protecting the person(s) being targeted) and resolving the issues and restoring the relationships involved insofar as is practicable using a “Reform, not Blame” restorative justice approach.
All pupils are expected to contribute to the creation and maintenance a safe environment in the school. On becoming aware of any bullying situation, in or outside the school, involving members of the school community they should notify a trusted responsible adult. Bullying behaviour is too serious not to report. Pupils’ participation in school life in general is encouraged through existing school structures. Awareness of bullying, and willingness to take action to prevent or stop it, is part of this participation.
The original school policy complied with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools, which were published in September 2013. The aim of the revised policy is to
- Improve the effectiveness of the policy by having a whole school approach with school templates
- Improve the collection of records
- Provide opportunities for staff to complete training in restorative justice
- Ensure more continuity across the school in dealing with issues that arise on the yard
- Communicate Dignity at Work Policy to all staff
In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the Code of Behaviour Guidelines issued by the National Education Welfare Board, the Board of Management of Le Chéile ETNS school adopted an Anti Bullying Policy in 2014 within the framework of the school’s overall code of behaviour. This policy also complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools, which were published in September 2013. This policy was reviewed in 2020 and will be reviewed annually by the staff and then by the Board of Management every September. Our patron, Educate Together, also requires an annual report which will be completed by the principal.
- Key Principles
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
- 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.
What is 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 (damaging peer relationships)
- Physical aggression
- Damage to property
- Gesture bullying
- Name calling
- 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 will 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 could 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. This definition includes a wide range of behaviour, whether verbal or written, whether physical or social, whether targeting person or property, whether carried out directly or indirectly or through any electronic or other medium, which could harm a pupil or undermine her/his self-esteem or self-confidence.
- Whole School ApproachThe relevant teacher for investigating bullying in the first instance in Le Chéile E.T.N.S. is the class teacher. Teachers will follow the following procedures for investigating, follow up and recording of bullying behaviour for children aged 7 and over and also report to the Anti Bullying Co-ordinator. We use the Anti-Bullying Campaign templates and a staged approach.
- Education and Prevention Strategies
The education and prevention strategies that will be used by the school are explicit teaching, awareness raising and the use of the particular materials.
- Explicit teaching of what is regarded as bullying behavior. 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, either spontaneously or through questionnaires that are regularly used in the school. Through presentations 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. Explicit teaching of use of the internet and mobile phones with appropriate reference to social media will take place as age appropriate.
Use of particular programmes/lessons to raise awareness
- Our school uses the Anti-Bullying website https://www.antibullyingcampaign.ie/ which has a series of anti-bullying awareness-raising classroom exercises for pupils to empower pupils to recognise bullying, reject it and report it. There are 9 exercises for 2nd to 6th classes including a selection of videos, worksheets, games etc
- Walk Tall Programme lessons at each level
- The Stay Safe Programme Topic 2 Friendship and Bullying
- Learn Together Ethical Education Strand: Equality and Justice
- For cyber-bullying in particular webwise.ie– online collection of Internet Safety resources for school and home use
Dealing with Incidents
We use the Reform not blame approach which is a method of discovering if there is bullying taking place in the school and if so, a way of bringing it to an end that delivers a “win-win” outcome (and therefore no negative backlash) for anyone involved.
The Role of the teacher is
As with all instances of misbehaviour in school, if there is an accusation of bullying in school, the class teacher (or member of staff on yard, if the incident occurs on yard) will investigate the incident in the first instance.
The teacher on yard will discuss the incident with the child(ren)’s class teacher who will be responsible for investigating, recording and mediating.
To promote and discuss the school’s Anti Bullying Policy with the pupils through various forums with the teacher acting as guide and facilitator e.g. Circle-time, Assemblies, role-play etc.
Building self esteem through celebrating individual differences, achievements, acknowledging and rewarding good behaviour and providing opportunities for success throughout the curriculum and the school
To follow the procedures outlined in this policy and ensure compliance with the school’s Acceptable Use Policy
Implement the School’s Code of Behaviour and to consistently tackle discriminatory, threatening and derogatory language or actions
All staff members actively watch for signs of bullying behaviour and foster an atmosphere of respect and friendship, guided by this policy and the Anti- Bullying Co-ordinator
Closely supervise children on the yard. We recognize that SNAs are more regularly on the yard than teachers and play an important part in observing and reporting behaviours.
The Role of the Anti Bullying Co-ordinator is to
Raise awareness by organising school events such as an Anti Bullying Day, Week or competitions
To lead the annual review of policy by all members of staff in May and by the Board in September
Collect collate and analyse data from reports at end of each school year
Through regular reports in school newsletters and other communications as well as at
meetings with parent/guardian groups, parents/guardians are regularly informed of the
activities of the school and encouraged to support its work in the area of anti bullying.
In conjunction with PTA organize talk for parents and keep parent body updated on recent
developments etc online safety, recognising the signs of bullyingand encouraging all stakeholders to keep themselves informed and vigilant in these matters on an ongoing basis
- School Procedures
Here are the school’s procedures for investigation, follow-up and recording of bullying behaviour and the established intervention strategies for dealing with cases of bullying behavior.
Investigate and Record
- The class teacher investigates all instances of reported or suspected bullying behaviour, whether these take place within the school or outside it, with a view to establishing the facts and bringing any such behaviour to an end.
- The School, through the class teacher reserves the right 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 class teacher to establish the nature and extent of the behaviour and any reasons for it. In the event that they have been involved in bullying behaviour they are asked to sign a binding promise that they will treat all pupils fairly, equally and respectfully including the targeted pupil(s).
- The class teacher does not apportion blame but rather treats bullying behaviour as a
“mistake” that can and must be remedied. S/he 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.
Intervene and Report
- When an investigation is completed and/or a bullying situation is resolved the class 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. This documentation does not transfer to other schools nor do reports of bullying.
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:
– S/he may be required to sign another promise, this time countersigned by a parent/guardian;
– Parent(s)/guardian(s) may be contacted 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 class teacher and the Principal and the pupil may be suspended from school.
– The case may be referred to the Board of Management and the pupil may be suspended or expelled from the school.
- Support for Pupils
The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
– Ending the bullying behaviour,
– Changing the school culture to foster more respect for bullied pupils and all pupils,
– Changing the school culture to foster greater empathy towards and support for bullied
– Indicating clearly that the bullying is not the fault of the targeted pupil through the
– 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 complete a victim-impact statement,
– 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).
– Making it clear that bullying pupils who reform are not blamed or punished and get a
– Making it clear that bullying pupils who reform are doing the right and honorable thing
and giving them praise for this,
– Making adequate counseling facilities available to help those who need it learn other ways
of meeting their needs besides violating the rights of others, Support teachers may be asked to organize a series of classes or workshop for pupils
– 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 behavior in general, encouraging teachers and parents to focus on, challenge and correct the behaviour while supporting the child,
– In 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.
- 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.
- Equality Legislation
The Board of Management confirms that the school will, in accordance with its obligations under equality legislation, take all such steps as 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.
- Home-School Links
Le Chéile ETNS recommends the following resources for parents:
- Download the following http://www.npc.ie/images/uploads/downloads/BullyingVertical.pdf
- Telephone the National Parents Council helpline: 01 8874477 which provides support and information for parents on how to deal with situations relating to the issue of bullying or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Read “Bullyproof Kids” by Stella O’ Malley, published by Gill Books which shows ways to empower children to navigate the world of peer networks, both face-to-face and in cyberspace.
- Talking to children and empowering them with information and skills in an age appropriate way before they encounter bullying behavior. These skills will also stand to them in secondary school.
Tips for Parents What to do if your child tells you that they are being bullied?
Listen to your child
- Ask questions but don’t interrogate
- Avoid treating your child as a victim
- Help your child to build his/her confidence and self esteem in other areas. This can be supported through your child engaging in out of school activities, such as sports, music or art activities.
- Talk with your child’s teacher if the bullying is school related.
- A pupil or parent may bring a bullying concern to any teacher in the school. Where possible, we advise parents to make an appointment with the class teacher in the first instance, so that time can be given to it. The school also has an Anti-Bullying Co-ordinator.
- Individual teachers must take appropriate measures regarding reports of bullying behaviour in accordance with the school’s anti- bullying policy.
- Familiarise yourself with this policy, so you know the steps to be taken if required.
- In the case of a complaint regarding a school staff member, you should, in the first instance raise the issue with the staff member in question and/or if necessary, with the Principal. Where cases, relating to either a pupil or a teacher remain unresolved, the matter should be referred to the School’s Board of Management.
Possible signs of bullying
- anxiety about going to school each day
- loss of trust in friends
- loss of confidence
- unexplained or poorly explained physical injury
- deterioration in educational performance
- loss of concentration and loss of enthusiasm and interest in school
- pattern of physical illnesses e.g. headaches, stomach aches unexplained changes either in mood or behaviour
- possessions missing or damaged.
Why do children bully?
Children become bullies for many reasons, for example they may be:
- feeling insecure experiencing bullying themselves
- finding it difficult to fit in with other children
- feeling under pressure to succeed
- lacking boundaries and their behaviour may be going unchallenged at home
What to do if my child is bullying?
- Don’t panic
- Listen to your child
- Try to establish the cause of the behaviour rather than focus on who is to blame
- This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on the 10th of June 2020
- This policy has been made available to school personnel, is available on the school website and is 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 in May. Written notification that the review has been completed will be made available to school personnel, be readily accessible to parents and pupils on request 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 Department.
Christopher Humphries Susan McCullen
Ratified by the Board of Management
Date 6th October 2020
Appendix 1 Summary for Teachers
Use the reform not blame approach and work towards “win-win” outcome without negative backlash for the pupils involved. Anti bullying handbook and templates are available on the school server.
Before Bullying Cases arises
Explicit teaching of what bullying is
Awareness creating using Anti Bullying campaign, Walk Tall, Webwise , Learn together and Stay Safe
Creating a climate against it
Step I Record reports
Incident Report and record of Action Taken
Where parents make a report of bullying the same template is used
Explanation to Pupils of Reform not Blame approach
Regular Class Survey
Step 3 Gathering information
To facilitate separate interviews outside the classroom, a support teacher will be asked to supervise a class
Use recording template Alleged Bullying Interview Sheet
· All pupils involved will be interviewed.
Additional Steps or resources used occasionallyoingin in Promise Form
ces used on occassionally)sed
Joining in Promise Form
Named bullied pupil alert notice
Pupil incident observer form
Difficult cases whole class interview sheet
Impact statement form
Records will be collected and collated by the Anti Bullying Co-ordinator
Anti Bullying Co-ordinator for 2020/21 is Arianna
Appendix 1 Annual Review and ET checklist
Appendix 2 Forms of Bullying
Bullying can take a number of forms. These may include any of the following (this list is
Repeated aggressive behaviour/attitude/body language, for example:
Shouting and uncontrolled anger,
Offensive language directed at an individual,
Continually shouting or dismissing others,
Public verbal attacks/criticism,
Offensive gestures and unwanted physical contact.
Intimidation, either physical, psychological or emotional, for example:
Treating in a dictatorial manner,
Deliberate staring with the intent to discomfort.
Persistent rudeness in behaviour and attitude toward a particular individual.
Asking inappropriate questions/making inappropriate comments re. personal life/family
Asking inappropriate questions/making inappropriate comments re. social life or schoolwork.
Interference with property, for example:
Stealing/damaging books or equipment
Stealing/damaging clothing or other property
Demanding money with menaces
Persistently moving, hiding or interfering with property
Undermining/Public or Private Humiliation, for example:
Deliberately withholding significant information and resources,
Writing of anonymous notes,
Malicious, disparaging or demeaning comments,
Malicious tricks/derogatory jokes,
Knowingly spreading rumours,
Belittling others’ efforts, their enthusiasm or their new ideas,
Derogatory or offensive nicknames (name-calling),
Using electronic or other media for any of the above (cyber bullying),
Disrespectfully mimicking a particular individual in his/her absence,
Deliberately refusing to address issues focusing instead on the person.
Ostracising or isolating, for example:
Deliberately marginalising an individual
Deliberately preventing a person from joining a group,
Deliberately preventing from joining in an activity, schoolwork-related or recreational
Blaming a pupil for things s/he did not do.
Practical tips for building a positive school culture and climate
- 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 the school – this includes homophobic and racist language and language that is belittling of pupils with a disability or 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 Parent Teacher 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 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.
- Involve the Student Council in preventing bullying