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Anti-Bullying Policy

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Geashill National School

Anti Bullying Policy

1. Legislative Requirements

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 Geashill 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. Anti Bullying within the School Context

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 inclusiveness;
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; 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

Supports for staff

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

On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.
Definition of 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.
Additional information on different types of bullying is set out in Section 2 of the
Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.

4. Relevant Teachers

The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying in our school are as follows:

All teachers including Learning Support and Resource Teachers.

5. Prevention Strategies

The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber- bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying) that will be used by the school are as follows:

Awareness Raising

The school aims to prevent bullying by raising awareness through the SPHE curriculum which is taught at each class level. Programmes such as Walk Tall, RSE and Webwise will instil empathy, respect and resilience in pupils.the teaching of all subjects teachers aim to foster an attitude of respect for all, to promote diversity, to address prejudice and stereotypes and to highlight the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.

Building Self-Esteem

The school will endeavour to enhance the self esteem of all pupils through specific lessons across all class levels. Opportunities for team building exercises will be encouraged at an age appropriate level. Many opportunities to reinforce positive behaviour arise daily which also enhances self-esteem.

Whole School Approach

Each staff member will be made aware of the school’s Anti-Bullying Policy. It will be discussed and reviewed at least once every year at staff meetings.
Professional development in the area of anti- bullying will be encouraged.
Parents will receive a copy of this policy on their child’s enrolment. Parents will be encouraged to inform the school of any concerns that may arise.
This policy will be published on the school’s website.
Anti Bullying will be on the agenda for at least one Board of Management meeting each term.
This policy will be discussed and reviewed annually by the Board of Management.

Web Etiquette/Safe Surfing

The school has an Acceptable Use Policy which deals web etiquette and safe surfing.
Parents receive a copy of this policy on their child’s enrolment.
Teachers will regularly discuss and review this policy at staff meetings.
The school has a web filter operating which controls the online content available.
Children will be taught appropriate online behaviour.
Specific lessons will focus on skills needed for surfing the web such as: effective and safe searching, downloading images and determining what online content can be trusted, communicating online or by text message at an age-appropriate level. Issues such as the sharing of personal information online, the treating of others with respect, cyber bullying, responding to digital media and dealing with spam will be covered at an age-appropriate level.

Children with Special Needs

Teachers will endeavour to create an atmosphere of inclusion for all pupils with disabilities or with SEN.
Approaches to decreasing the likelihood of bullying for pupils with SEN will focus on developing social skills, paying attention to key moments such as transitioning from primary to post-primary and cultivating a good school culture which has respect for all.School has a very fine tradition in this area as is demonstrated by our Special Class for Deaf Children.

6. School Procedures for Investigation, Follow-Up and Recording of Bullying Behaviour.

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:

A consistent and clear approach to dealing with bullying when it occurs is essential to effective practice.a parent or pupil brings a bullying concern to any teacher in the school, individual teachers must take appropriate measures. primary aim for all teachers when investigating and dealing with bullying is to resolve any issues and to restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved. teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved. receipt of a bullying concern the teacher will record details using the agreed template as found in Appendix 3, Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post Primary School.will take a calm, unemotional problem solving approach.will generally be investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved.will be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all pupils concerned. teacher will seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why.a group is involved, each member will be interviewed individually at first. Thereafter, all those involved should be met as a group. At this meeting each member should be asked for his/her account of what happened to ensure that everyone involved is aware of each other’s statements.member of a group will be supported through the possible pressures that they may face from the other members of the group after interview by the teacher.appropriate, the teacher may ask those involved to write down their account.cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred, the parents 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). a 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.must also be made clear to all involved (each set of pupils and parents) that in any situation where disciplinary sanctions are required, this is a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, his or her parents and the school.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. cases where the relevant teacher considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within twenty school days the recording template will be submitted to the principal or deputy principal. a teacher makes the judgement that the bullying is of very serious nature, he/she will report it immediately to the Principal or Deputy Principal.

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 parents or the school Principal or Deputy Principal.

Where a parent is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parents must be referred, as appropriate, to the school’s complaints procedures;
In the event that a parent has exhausted the school’s complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school must advise the parents of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.

Procedures for Recording Bullying Behaviour

Teachers will record allegations of bullying using recording template at Appendix 3 (as detailed above). must be retained by the teacher in question and a copy provided to the Principal and Deputy Principal as applicable. gathered from these reports must be regularly (at least once in every school year) collated and analysed with a view to monitoring levels of bullying behaviour and identifying any particular issues that require attention or any significant trends in behaviour. record of this analysis must be retained and be made available to the Board of Management. least once in every school term, the Principal will provide a report to the Board of Management setting out:
• The overall number of bullying cases reported to the Principal or Deputy Principal since the previous report to the board and;
• Confirmation that all these cases are being dealt with in accordance with the school’s anti-bullying policy which was formulated following the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary schools.

It is also important to note that bullying behaviour can be part of a continuum of behaviour rather than a stand-alone issue and in some cases behaviour may escalate beyond that which can be described as bullying to serious physical or sexual assault or harassment. To ensure that any such cases are dealt with appropriately, the school’s anti-bullying policy will link in with the overall code of behaviour and provide for referral to be made to relevant external agencies and authorities where appropriate. In cases where the school has serious concerns in relation to managing the behaviour of a pupil, the advice of the National Education Psychological Service (NEPS) will be sought.

In relation to bullying in schools, Children First National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2011 (Children First) and the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools provide that in situations where “the incident is serious and where the behaviour is regarded as potentially abusive, the school must consult the HSE Children and Family Social Services with a view to drawing up an appropriate response, such as a management plan”.

7. School Supports

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

A programme of support for pupils who have been bullied is in place. pupils may need counselling and/or opportunities to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem, to develop their friendship and social skills and thereby build resilience whenever this is needed.programme of support for those pupils involved in bullying behaviour is also part of the schools intervention. involved in bullying behaviour need assistance on an on-going basis. those with low self-esteem, opportunities will be developed to increase feelings of self-worth. It is, therefore, important that the learning strategies applied within the school allow for the enhancemen