Anti-bullying policy

Anti-Bullying Policy of St Patrick’s N.S.

 (As incorporated into the school’s Code of Behaviour)

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. Patrick’s 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.

2. 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) 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;

(b) Effective leadership

(c)  A school-wide approach

 (d) A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact

(e) 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;

(f) Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils

(g) Supports for staff

(h) Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies); and

(i) On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.

3. 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 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.

Additional information on different types of bullying is set out in Section 2 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.

Examples of bullying behaviours

General  behaviours which apply to all types of bullying   Harassment based on any of the nine grounds in the equality legislation e.g. sexual harassment, homophobic bullying, racist bullying etc.
Physical aggression
Damage to property
Name calling
The production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other materials aimed at intimidating another person
Offensive graffiti
Insulting or offensive gestures
The “look”
Invasion of personal space
A combination of any of the types listed.  
  Cyber   Denigration: Spreading rumors, lies or gossip to hurt a person’s reputation
Harassment: Continually sending vicious, mean or disturbing messages to an individual
Impersonation: Posting offensive or aggressive messages under another person’s name
Flaming: Using inflammatory or vulgar words to provoke an online fight
Trickery: Fooling someone into sharing personal information which you then post online
Outing: Posting or sharing confidential or compromising information or images
Exclusion: Purposefully excluding someone from an online group
Cyber stalking: Ongoing harassment and denigration that causes a person considerable fear for his/her safety
Silent telephone/mobile phone call
Abusive telephone/mobile phone calls Abusive text messages Abusive email
Abusive communication on social networks e.g. Facebook/ Twitter/You Tube or on games consoles Abusive website comments /Blogs/PicturesAbusive posts on any form of communication technology
Identity Based Behaviours Including any of the nine discriminatory grounds mentioned in Equality Legislation  (gender including transgender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community).
Homophobic and Transgender   Spreading rumours about a person’s sexual orientation
Taunting a person of a different sexual orientation
Name calling e.g. Gay, queer, lesbian…used in a derogatory manner
Physical intimidation or attacks
Race, nationality, ethnic background and membership of the Traveller  community   Discrimination, prejudice, comments or insults about colour, nationality, culture, social class, religious beliefs, ethnic or traveller background
Exclusion on the basis of any of the above
      Relational   This involves manipulating relationships as a means of bullying.
Behaviours include: Malicious gossip
Isolation & exclusion
Excluding from the group
Taking someone’s friends away
“Bitching”Spreading rumours
Breaking confidence
Talking loud enough so that the victim can hear
The “look”
Use or terminology such as ‘nerd’ in a derogatory way
Sexual Unwelcome or inappropriate  sexual comments or touchingHarassment  
Special Educational Needs, Disability Name calling
Taunting others because of their disability or learning needs
Taking advantage of some pupils’ vulnerabilities and limited capacity to recognise and defend themselves against bullying
Taking advantage of some pupils’ vulnerabilities and limited capacity to understand social situations and social cues.
Mimicking a person’s disability
Setting others up for ridicule  

4. The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying is (are) as follows:

The Relevant Teachers in this school are: the pupils concerned class teacher(s), however any  teacher may act as a relevant teacher if circumstances warrant it.  

5. The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber- bullying, homophobic and transphobic bullying) that will be used by the school are as follows

School-wide approach A school-wide approach to the fostering of respect for all members of the school community. The promotion of the value of diversity to address issues of prejudice and stereotyping, and highlight the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.
The fostering and enhancing of the self-esteem of all our pupils through both curricular 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. An annual audit of professional development needs with a view to assessing  staff requirements  through internal staff knowledge/expertise and external sources.
Professional development with specific focus on the training of the relevant teacher(s)School wide awareness raising and training on all aspects of bullying, to include pupils, parent(s)/guardian(s) and the wider school community.Supervision and monitoring of classrooms, corridors, school grounds, school tours and extra- curricular activities. Non-teaching and ancillary staff will be encouraged to be vigilant and report issues to relevant teachers. Supervision will also apply to monitoring student use of communication technology within the school.Involvement of the student council in contributing to a safe school environment e.g.  Buddy system, mentoring, Lunchtime Pals Friendship-stops and other student support activities that can help to support pupils and encourage a culture of peer respect and support.Development and promotion of an Anti-Bullying code for the school-to be included in student journals and displayed publicly in classrooms and in common areas of the school.The school’s anti-bullying policy is discussed with pupils and all parent(s) / guardian(s)  are given a copy as part of the Code of Behaviour of the school. The anti bullying policy will be available on the school web-site and from the office upon request.The implementation of regular (i.e/per term) whole school awareness measures e.g. a dedicated notice board in the school and classrooms on the promotion of friendship and bullying prevention; annual Friendship Week and parent(s)/guardian(s) seminars; term ?monthly ?student surveys; 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.Anti-bully or Niggle box?  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.  
Identify clear protocols to encourage parent(s)/guardian(s) to approach the school if they suspect that their child is being bullied. The protocol should be developed in consultation with parents.The development of an 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.     Implementation of curricula The full implementation of the SPHE curriculum and the RSE and Stay Safe Programmes.
Continuous Professional Development for staff in delivering these programmes. School wide delivery of lessons on bullying from evidence based programmes, e.g. Stay Safe Programme, The Walk Tall Programme, School wide delivery of lessons on Cyber Bullying, Web wise Primary teachers’ resources),
Diversity and Interculturalism, Yellow Flag Programme.. Delivery of the Garda SPHE Programmes at primary level. These lessons, delivered by Community Gardai, cover issues around personal safety and cyber-bullying.
The school will specifically consider the additional needs of SEN pupils with regard to programme implementation and the development of skills and strategies to enable all pupils to respond appropriately. The school will implement the advice in “Sexual Orientation advice for schools” (RSE Primary, see booklet).                 
Links to other policies The following school policies,
Code of Behaviour,
Child Protections policy,
Supervision of pupils,
Acceptable Use policy,
Attendance  are particularly relevant to bullying,

 6. 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

Procedures for Investigating and Dealing with Bullying  
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); Every effort will be made to ensure that all involved (including pupils, parent(s)/guardian(s)) understand this approach from the outset.    
 Reporting bullying behaviour  
Any pupil or parent(s)/guardian(s) may bring a bullying incident to any teacher in the school. All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying, will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher. Teaching and non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs), bus escorts, caretakers, cleaners must report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher;  
Investigating and dealing with incidents:
Style of approach In investigating and dealing with bullying, the (relevant)teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved;
Parent(s)/guardian(s) 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; 
Teachers will take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach. Where possible 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, where, when,
who and why. 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 met as a group. At the
group meeting, each member will be asked for his/her account of what happened to ensure that everyone in the group is clear
about each other’s statements; 
Each member of a group will be supported through the possible
pressures that may face them from the other members of the
group after the interview by the teacher;  
It may also be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident(s)
In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher
that bullying behaviour has occurred, the parent(s)/guardian(s)
of the parties involved will 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 will give parent(s)/guardian(s) an opportunity of
discussing ways in which they can reinforce or support the actions being taken by the school and the supports provided to the 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 will be made to try to get him/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 parent(s)/guardian(s)) that in any situation where disciplinary sanctions are required, this is a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, his or her parent(s)/guardian(s) and the school;  
Follow up and recording  
In determining whether a bullying case has been adequately and appropriately addressed the relevant teacher will, 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;
Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parent(s) /guardian(s)s or the school Principal or Deputy Principal  
Follow-up meetings with the relevant parties involved will 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.
Where a parent(s)/guardian(s) is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures,
the parent(s)/guardian(s) will be referred, as appropriate, to the
school’s complaints procedures.In the event that a parent(s)
/guardian(s) has exhausted the school’s complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school will advise the parent(s)/guardian(s) of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.  
Recording of bullying behaviour  
It is imperative that all recording of bullying incidents are done in an objective and factual manner.  
The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying
behaviour are as follows:         
Informal- pre-determination that bullying has occurred
All staff must keep a written record of any incidents witnessed by them or notified to them. Records will be made in a class incident book. All incidents must be reported to the relevant teacher.
While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher, the
relevant teacher must keep a written record of the reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding
The relevant teacher must inform the principal of all incidents being investigated.         
Formal Stage 1-determination that bullying has occurred If it is established by the relevant teacher that bullying has occurred, the relevant teacher must keep appropriate written records using the recording template at
Appendix 3 which will assist his/her efforts to resolve the issues and restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved. All records (from Formal Stage 1) retained by the relevant teacher, will be stored in a file marked Formal Stage 1in a locked filing cabinet in the staff room.          
Formal Stage 2-Appendix 3 (From DES Procedures)
The relevant teacher must use the recording template at Appendix 3 to record the bullying behaviour in the following circumstances:  
a) 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; and
b) Where the school has decided as part of its anti-bullying policy that in certain circumstances bullying behaviour must be
recorded and reported immediately to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable.
Behaviours that must be recorded and reported immediately to
the principal are listed in our Code of Behaviour policies  
When the recording template is used, it must be retained by the
relevant teacher in question and a copy maintained by the principal.
Access to these reports will be available to the Principal and
relevant class teachers the pupils may have during their time in
the school.
Records will be maintained until pupils reach the age of 21 years.. All records (from Formal Stage 2) retained by the relevant teacher, will be stored in a file marked Formal Stage 2 in a locked filing cabinet in the staff room.  
Established intervention strategies
Teacher interviews with all pupils
Negotiating agreements between pupils and following these up
by monitoring progress. This can be on an informal basis or
implemented through a more structured mediation process.
Working with parent(s)/guardian(s)s to support school
No Blame Approach,
Circle Time
Restorative conferencing
Implementing sociogram questionnaires  
Other  intervention strategies that may be employed as the situation warrants are; Strengthening the victim
Restorative Practice
The Support Group Method
The Method of Shared Concern    


7. The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows ;

All in-school supports and opportunities will be provided for the pupils affected by bullying to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem, to develop friendships and social skills and build resilience e.g.           – Buddy / Peer mentoring system                      

– Group work such as circle time    

-Paired /small group class work  

If pupils require counselling of further supports the school will endeavour to liaise with the appropriate agencies e.g. N.E.P.S., Lucena Clinic to organise same. This may be for the pupil affected by bullying or involved in the bullying behaviour.

Pupils should understand that there are no innocent bystanders and that all incidents of bullying behaviour must be reported to a teacher.  

The school has an Acceptable Use Policy in the school that addresses the following:

supervised use of the internet sessions, use only of approved class accounts for email purposes.

The Schools Broadband Programme has blocked all social networking sites on the basis that they waste time and take up too much of the bandwidth which is been provided for educational purposes only

8. 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. Bullying danger spots have been identified. Parents and pupils have been consulted in the identification of these danger spots.

After school clubs will be made aware of the school’s supervision and monitoring requirements and furnished with a copy of the school’s Anti Bullying Policy.

9. 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.

10. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on 21st Oct 2015

11. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website  and provided to the Parents’ Association (where one exists). A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.

12. 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 (or where none exists, be otherwise readily accessible to parents and pupils on request) and provided to the Parents’ Association (where one exists). A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.

Signed: _Cristin Déiseach   (Chairperson of Board of Management)                                

Mary Conroy                                      (Principal)

Date:21st October 2015

Reviewed 6th December 2022

Date of next review: School year November 2023