Anti Bullying Policy

Our School Ethos:

Scoil Mhuire Naofa, Rhode, is a Catholic co-educational school that promotes Catholic teaching and values. We cater for the uniqueness and special talents of each individual child and endeavour to promote an atmosphere of tolerance and respect for individual difference and for different views and beliefs.

Our school is a focal point for our community. We take seriously our links with the community and encourage the involvement and interest of parents, management and others in the welfare of individual children, and in the school as a whole.

We aim to provide an excellent holistic education for the children in our school.

The following are the aims of our anti-bullying policy:

  • Create a positive anti-bullying ethos;
  • Create a positive school climate that focuses on/fosters self-respect, self-discipline and mutual respect and consideration for all members of the school community.
  • Create a school ethos which encourages children to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour. (This may require a change in attitudes so that pupils realise they are not ‘ratting’ or ‘telling tales’ but looking out for the welfare and safety of fellow pupils).
  • To raise awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour with school management, teaching and non-teaching staff, pupils and parents/guardians.
  • To develop procedures for investigating, reporting and dealing with incidents of bullying behaviour
  • Parent education – awareness of definition of bullying, forms of bullying, signs to look out for if suspicious that child is being bullied and suggestions re what both the victim of bullying and the bully can do.

What do we mean when we say one person is bullying another?

Bullying is repeated aggression, verbal, psychological or physical conducted by an individual or group against others.

This may involve physical aggression, emotional; verbal; damage to property; extortion; non-verbal; abusive telephone calls; inappropriate text messages, isolation; E-bullying.

How can we promote friendship and anti-bullying?

  • In our school Code of Behaviour, bullying is portrayed as unacceptable behaviour. Mutual respect and co-operation are promoted.
  • While everyone can’t be ‘best friends’ stress the importance of being friendly and showing respect to all;
    Comprehensive supervision and monitoring of all school related activities.
  • Our school endeavours to fully inform all members of the school community, of the policy aims, content, preventative strategies and procedures for investigating and resolving bullying problems
  • Building self-esteem – circle time; pupils rewarded for effort and improvement; positive expectations of pupil behaviour and performance;
  • Teachers model tolerance and understanding and embrace habits of mutual respect, courtesy and an awareness of the interdependence of people in group and community

Strategies to Affirm and Promote Positive Behaviour (as per Code of Behaviour)

  • Promoting good behaviour is the main goal of our code. All staff actively supports our school ethos which emphasises care, respect and responsibility.
  • Positive relationships between teachers, parents and pupils are promoted and affirmed.
  • Adults model the behaviour that is expected from students.
  • Good school and class routines are in operation. Core routines necessary for the smooth running of classroom learning are clearly established – e.g. entry to the classroom, settling for whole class teaching, appropriate seat planning, transition time routines, how to fairly get teachers attention, noise level for pair/group work. etc,
  • Teachers develop clear and simple classroom rules in discussion with the children. Each class will agree five to seven rules stated in terms of observable behaviours.
  • Teachers use a classroom management plan to promote positive behaviour. This includes the class rules as mentioned above, the agreed reward system and the consequences that apply when a child fails to adhere to the rules.
  • We regularly have school assemblies where success (in relation to behaviour, attendance, class and homework) is acknowledged, rewarded and celebrated.
  • Teachers ensure that the class timetable is as varied as possible and present a balanced and interesting educational programme for the pupils.
  • Children are aware that misbehaviour and failure to adhere to school and class rules will incur clear, consistent consequences.
  • SPHE is used as a structure within which to address the teaching of social skills, self-esteem and respect and care for others
  • Other aspects of the curriculum will be used to positively influence pupil attitudes and values: These include: Stay Safe: Walk Tall and Religious Education

Procedures for dealing with incidents of bullying.

  • An Incident Book on bullying will be kept.
  • All incidents will be noted, investigated and dealt with by the teachers. In that way pupils will gain confidence in ‘telling’. Pupils will be encouraged to report incidents of bullying and told that they are not telling tales but are behaving responsibly.
  • Teachers will take a calm unemotional problem-solving approach. They will listen to both sides separately and try to resolve the situation
  • Investigations will take place outside the classroom situation to avoid humiliation.
  • Seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why?
  • If a group is involved, each member will be asked for his/her account, in writing. Each member will then be interviewed individually and then the group.
  • If it is concluded 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 anti bullying policy and the Code of Behaviour. Attempts will be made to try to get him/her to see the situation from the victim’s point of view.
  • Each member of the group will be helped to handle the possible pressures that often face them from the other members after interview by the teacher.
  • Teachers will keep a written record of incidents/allegations of bullying and of their discussions with those involved in the Incident Book on Bullying.
  • The Incident Book on Bullying will be kept locked in the Principal’s office.
    The class-teacher/principal will meet with the parents or guardians of the two parties involved as appropriate. An explanation of the actions to be taken and the reasons for them – with reference to the Policy and school’s Code of Behaviour, will be given. Ways in which parents can reinforce or support the actions taken by the school will be discussed.
  • Both the victim and bully will be monitored to prevent further incidents of bullying.

Programme for work with victims, bullies and their peers.

  • Specific lessons dealing with respect, self-esteem, friendship and the issue of bullying will be taught through the SPHE programme, Circle time, Stay Safe Programme and Religious Education.
  • Our school will implement strategies for promoting friendship and positive behaviour mentioned above.
  • Referral to counselling if necessary. Victims may also need counselling and opportunities to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem and to develop their friendship and social skills.
  • An IBP (Individual Behavioural Plan) may be put in place for persistent offenders. They may also be referred to outside agencies e.g. NEPS, Health Board, Gardaí (See DES Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures p.20).
  • The school will promote home/school/community links to counter bullying behaviour.
  • For cases of adult bullying the procedures as outlined in the INTO/Management Bodies publication “ Working Together. Procedures and Policies for Positive Staff Relations” will be followed.
  • Our anti-bullying policy will be evaluated regularly – by regularly assessing the level and type of bullying behaviour that may be happening in the school. Amendments/action to be taken as a result of these findings will be recorded.

Parental Involvement

Parents are always welcome to come to the school to discuss issues relating to their child’s education and behaviour. However, parents are requested to make an appointment with the secretary (as per Code of Behaviour), if they wish to meet their child’s teacher or the principal.

Guidelines for parents in relation to bullying will be issued to each family at the beginning of each school year.

  • Be aware of signs that might indicate if a child is being bullied – unexplained bruising, anxious and afraid when going to or coming from school; school performance deteoriating; signs of regular interference with personal property etc.
  • Listen to your child. Get all the details – who what, when, where etc.
  • Write down the details and check the information with your child.
  • Remember there may be another side to the story.
  • Ask your child how he/she can deal with the situation.
  • Ask your child how he/she wants you to help.
  • Speak directly to the class teacher.
  • If the issue is not addressed and the bullying continues, speak to the Principal.
  • If this is unsuccessful write to the BOM.

Responsibility and Communication Systems:

The Principal and deputy Principal will coordinate the policy and, together with all the staff, will monitor the implementation of this policy.

Success Criteria

  • Positive feedback from teachers, parents, pupils
  • Observation of behaviour in class rooms, corridors, yard

This policy will be implemented from the February Mid-Term break.

Ratification & Communication

This policy was officially communicated to the members of the school community via the school website on 31st January 2011 and subsequently to the Board of Management.

It was ratified by the Board of Management.

Review Date: May/June 2012.