St Fiachra’s Junior School Anti-Bullying Policy

In accordance with the requirements of the Education Welfare Act (2000) and guidelines issued by the NEWB, the Board of Management has adopted the following anti-bullying policy within the frame work 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.

The Board of Management recognizes the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact it can have on the lives of pupils and therefore is 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, encourages disclosure and discussion incidence of bullying behaviour 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 that build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils and explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity based bullying.
  • Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils
  • Supports for staff
  • Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour
  • On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.

In accordance with the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools bullying is defined as follows:                                                                                                              Unwanted negative behaviour – verbal, psychological or physical – conducted by an individual or group against another person or persons and which is repeated over time.                                                                                                                                                                              Isolated 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 in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour. However, in the context of this policy, placing a one -off offensive public message, image or statement on a social network site or other public forum where it can be viewed and/or repeated by others will be regarded as bullying behaviour.It is important that parents are aware that users of Facebook and other social networking sites must be 13 years or over.                                                                                                                                        Negative behaviour which does not meet this definition of bullying will be dealt with in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour.

The relevant teachers for investigating and dealing with bullying are:

  • Principal
  • Deputy Principal
  • All Class Teachers
  • Learning Support Teachers
  • Any Teacher

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:

Reporting Bullying Behaviour: Any pupil parent or guardian may bring a bullying incident to the attention of any teacher in the school. All reports including anonymous reports of bullying, will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher. All staff members, teaching and non-teaching, must report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher.

Investigating Bullying Behaviour: In investigating and dealing with bullying, the relevant teacher will exercise professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved. Parents/guardians and pupils are required to co-operate with any investigation. Generally incidents will be investigated outside the classroom. Interviews will be conducted with sensitivity and due regard to the rights of all concerned. When analysing incidents of bullying behaviour, the relevant teacher will seek answers to questions of what where when who or why. If a group is involved, each member will be interviewed individually at first and thereafter as a group. It may be appropriate to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident. in cases where it has been determined that bullying has occurred, the parents/guardians of all involved will be contacted to inform them of the matter and explain the actions to be taken. It should be noted that any situation where disciplinary sanctions are required, is a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, his/her parents or guardians and the school.

Follow-up and recording: In determining whether a bullying case has been adequately and appropriately addressed, the relevant teacher must take into account whether the bullying has stopped, whether issues between the parties have been resolved, whether relationships between the parties have been restored and any feedback received from the parties involved. Follow-up meetings with relevant parties will be arranged separately with a view to bringing them together at a later date if the victim is ready and agreeable. Where parents/guardians are not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures they must be referred, as appropriate to the school’s complaints procedures. In the event that parents/guardians have exhausted the school’s complaints procedures and are still not satisfied, the school must advise them of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.

It is imperative that all recording of bullying incidents is worded in an objective and factual manner.  The school’s procedures for noting and recording are as follows:

Informal pre-determination that bullying has occurred

  • All staff will make a written record of any incident witnessed by them or notified to them. For any reports being investigated, the relevant teacher will keep a written record of the reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same. The relevant teacher will inform the principal of all incidents being investigated and will give her/him all reports for safe keeping. Written records will be kept on file in the principal’s office.

Formal Stage 1– determination that bullying has taken place

  • If it is established that bullying has taken place the relevant teacher will keep appropriate written records which will assist her /his efforts to resolve the issues and restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved. All written reports will be given to the principal for safe keeping.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Formal Stage 2    
  • The relevant teacher must use the recording template at Appendix 3 (DES Anti-Bullying Procedures) to record the bullying behaviour  where he/she considers that it has not been adequately or appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying occurred.
  • Where even a single incident involves any of the following behaviours it must be recorded and reported immediately to the Principle or Deputy Principal :- Physical aggression, Offensive graffiti, Extortion, Harassment or the production, display or circulation of written words or other material aimed at intimidating another person. 
  • When the recording template is used it must be retained by the relevant teacher and a copy maintained by the principal. These records will be stored in a safe secure way in the principal’s office.

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.

This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on 17th June 2014.