Our school cherishes all pupils equally and, to aid them in achieving their true potential, we hope to promote a harmonious environment, nurturing the child’s potential and developing co-operation between staff, parents and pupils.
Dromore N.S. has defined a very clear set of non-negotiable standards of personal behaviour, which are based on respect for themselves and for others; for his/her school and the environment; to teach themselves to work and play together, in a sharing and caring atmosphere so that each pupil reaches their full potential and grows into a mature and responsible person; and
· Dromore N.S. places self-discipline and a real sense of justice at the core in our determination to provide opportunities where each individual pupil can flourish and develop in safety.
This policy is an integral part of our Code of Behaviour.
The Board of Management of Dromore N.S. 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;
- is consistent with the Catholic ethos of Dromore N.S. and in this atmosphere the spiritual, intellectual, social and physical growth of the child is encouraging pupils and staff to care for each other and the world around us and to pray and work for peace in our school, our parish and our world;
- encourages students to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour in a nonthreatening environment; and promotes respectful relationships across the school community.
- Effective leadership;
- 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 of pupils;
- Supports for staff;
- Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including the use of established intervention strategies); and
- On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.
3. 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,
- 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.
The list of examples below is non exhaustive
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.
- 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/Ask.fm/ Twitter/You Tube or on games consoles
- Abusive website comments/Blogs/Pictures
- Abusive 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
This involves manipulating relationships as a means of bullying. Behaviours include:
- Malicious gossip
- Isolation & exclusion
- Excluding from the group
- Taking someone’s friends away
- 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
- Unwelcome or inappropriate sexual comments or touching
Special Educational Needs,
- 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:
- Class Teacher
- Deputy Principal
Education and Prevention Strategies Prevention Strategies
Dromore N.S. considers the area of prevention of bullying as the most important element of our policy and employs and promotes the following measures to ensure we do our utmost to prevent bullying or negative behaviour in general:
- A whole school and classroom atmosphere where all elements of good character - courtesy, kindness, respect, honesty, tolerance, integrity and compassion are modelled by adults and shared and practiced by the pupils.
- Classroom management and the teaching style places emphases on fairness, co-operation and tolerance.
- Bi-annual Anti-Bullying Week during which all aspects and issues related to bullying behaviour are explored, taught and reinforced through lessons, discussions, sharing of experiences and cross curricular activities.
- Dromore N.S. will use a range of activities and sanctions to encourage good behaviour and relationships between pupils and to deter potential bullying:
- The range of rewards and sanctions outlined in our Code of Behaviour will be used, especially the methods of promoting good behaviour.
- The allocation of specific roles and responsibilities, both at staff and pupil level, in order that incidents may be detected, behaviour monitored and after-care given.
- All staff are identified to the pupils as adults in whom they can confide. Pupils are frequently reminded that they can approach all staff freely at any time to discuss any problems. Teachers on daily supervision and duty at break times are supported by the Principal for reporting, recording and following up any incidents or concerns. In particular teachers are ready to supervise any pupil who is upset or need a ‘cooling off’ period or to follow through any disciplinary action. The teacher on duty reports any serious incident or injury to the Principal and/or Deputy Principal and these are recorded in the incident report book and followed up where necessary.
- Pupils and staff will continue to reflect on the effectiveness of this and all support systems. Through the frequent use of Circle Time discussions in class, we take account of the views of the pupil/pupils. Records of incidents will be kept and collated by the Principal. Where the frequency or severity of incidents raises a cause for concern the necessary action in line with our Code Behaviour will be initiated.
- Good communication and transparency is encouraged among all the partners in the school so that worries and issues of concern can be aired at an early stage and resolved.
- Positive reinforcement of good behaviour is practised by staff; opportunities are provided for pupils’ talents, successes and achievements are celebrated during Teacht le Cheile.
- Curricular and extra-curricular group activities are used to provide opportunities for all pupils to participate in, integrate and communicate with each other.
- Active and thorough supervision of pupils in class and in school yard at all times ensures teachers are very familiar with and acutely aware of the needs of the pupils. They are also highly attuned to any changes or conflicts which may arise and are aware of early warning signs.
- The Stay Safe Programme and SPHE curriculum, which both deal with issues of bullying, are taught systematically each year in all classes.
Involvement of the pupil council in contributing to a safe school environment e.g. Buddy system, mentoring, Lunchtime Pals and other student support activities that can help to support pupils and encourage a culture of peer respect and support.
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.
- 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.
- Get a parent(s)/guardian(s) or friend to tell on your behalf.
- Ensure bystanders understand the importance of telling if they witness or know that bullying is taking place.
- All pupils are aware that the school is a telling and listening school where they can approach teachers or designated peers in some senior classes to discuss their concerns..
- 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.
Procedures for Investigation, follow-up and recording of bullying behaviour Procedures for Noting and Reporting an incident of Bullying Behaviour
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);
The school’s procedures must be consistent with the following approach.
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 should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach.
- Where possible incidents should be investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved;
- All interviews should 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 should seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why. This should 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 should be interviewed individually at first. Thereafter, all those involved should be met as a group. At the group meeting, each member should 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 should 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 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 school should 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 should be made clear to him/her how he/she is in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy and efforts should be made to try to get him/her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied;
- It must 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 must, 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 should 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) must 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 must 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 must be 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. All incidents must be recorded in the relevant incident report book or on the Aladdin system. 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 same and attach them to the child’s documents on Aladdin system.
- 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 which will assist his/her efforts to resolve the issues and restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved.
- The school in consultation with the relevant teacher/s should develop a protocol for the storage of all records retained by the relevant teacher.
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.
The school should list behaviours that must be recorded and reported immediately to the principal. These should be in line with the school’s code of behaviour.
When the recording template is used, it must be retained by the relevant teacher in question and a copy maintained by the principal. Due consideration needs to be given to where these records are kept, who has access to them, and how long they will be retained. Decisions around record keeping should be noted in this policy.
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 interventions
- No Blame Approach
- Circle Time
- Restorative interviews
- Restorative conferencing