Our code of behaviour has recently been revised and updated. The purpose of this code is to ensure:
- The efficient operation of the school and the structuring
of in-class discipline so that there exists an efficient and
stimulating learning environment.
- The maintenance of good order throughout the school and
respect for the school environment.
- The development of self discipline in pupils based on consideration, respect and tolerance for others.
Any form of behaviour that interferes with the rights of others
to learn and to feel safe is unacceptable. The following steps will be taken when children behave inappropriately:
1) Reasoning with pupil
2) Verbal reprimand, including advice on how to improve
3) Temporary separation from friends/peers and may include being sent to another class
4) Note in homework journal to parents
5) Detention during breaks
6) Withdrawal of privileges
7) Extra exercises to write out
8) Pupils who misbehave frequently may not be allowed to participate in school outings for their own safety and that of other pupils.
9) Where a single incident is deemed to be of a very serious nature where a pupil is persistently in breach of the code of discipline, and the above procedures have been followed, the case may, at the discretion of the Principal, be referred to the Board of Management.
Anti-bullying policy 2014 – Scoil Bhríde Rathdowney
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 Scoil Bhríde 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 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;
- 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); and
- 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.
- Further information on sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying has been produced by the Department for Children, Schools and Families in the UK and is available by clicking the link below:
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. The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying is (are) as follows: (see Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools):
Denis Doheny, Principal
Marie Dunne, Deputy Principal.
As with all instances of misbehaviour in school, if there is an accusation of bullying in school, the class teacher (or the teacher on yard, if the incident occurs on yard) will investigate and deal with the incident in the first instance. The teacher on yard will discuss the incident with the child(ren)’s class teacher. The principal is then informed of the incident.
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 (see Section 6.5 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools):
- Promotion of a positive school environment as per code of behaviour and school rules.
- Modelling positive inclusive behaviour.
- Effective supervision, investigation of allegations and swift follow up.
- Actively discussing and discouraging sexist, sexual bullying in line with strategies contained in Appendix 3.
- The Stay Safe Programme
- RSE Programme
- Walk Tall Programme
- Circle of Friends (NEPs programme) (Staff Training 2014)
- Anti-Bullying website – http://www.antibullyingcampaign.ie/
and strategies contained therein.
- Posters and books addressing cyber-bullying will be placed in the computer room
- As self-esteem is a major factor in determining behaviour, Scoil Bhríde will through both its curricular and extra-curricular programmes, provide pupils with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self-worth.
- The school’s approach to tackling and preventing bullying will take particular account of the needs of pupils with disabilities or with SEN.
- The school’s prevention and awareness raising measures will to be appropriate to the type of bullying and take into account the age and gender of the pupils involved.
- Scoil Bhríde will work with the Triple P Parenting Partnership in helping parents in this area. A seminar for parents in Febuary 2014 will deal with the following topics: Raising resilient children, self-esteem, being bullied. The schools anti-bullying policy will also be discussed on that evening.
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 (see Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools) :
- Swift action by the relevant teacher when an allegation is made, in accordance with due process and the principles of natural justice.
- Scoil Bhríde reporting template is used to record all pertinent information.
- A bullying monitoring/tracking sheet (Appendix 5) will be used to monitor behaviours in the days/weeks/months following the receipt of complaint.
- Staff, pupils, parents, Guidance and HSE will be involved as appropriate.
- Sanctions will be imposed as per the schools code of behaviour.
7. The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows (see Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools) :
- Counselling in school
- Advice to parents
- Referral to HSE in cooperation with parents,
- Building self-esteem of victims (and the bully if deemed necessary)
- Strategies as outlined in antibullyingcampaign.ie
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.
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 ________________ [date].
11. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website and provided to the Parents’ Association. 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 and provided to the Parents’ Association. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.
The following are some practical tips for immediate actions that can be taken to help build a positive school culture and climate and to help prevent and tackle bullying behaviour.
- Model respectful behaviour to all members of the school community at all times.
- Explicitly teach pupils what respectful language and respectful behaviour looks like, acts like, sounds like and feels like in class and around the school.
- Display key respect messages in classrooms, in assembly areas and around the school. Involve pupils in the development of these messages.
- Catch them being good – notice and acknowledge desired respectful behaviour by providing positive attention.
- Consistently tackle the use of discriminatory and derogatory language in the school – this includes homophobic and racist language and language that is belittling of pupils with a disability or SEN.
- Give constructive feedback to pupils when respectful behaviour and respectful language are ignored.
- Have a system of encouragement and rewards to promote desired behaviour and compliance with the school rules and routines.
- Explicitly teach pupils about the appropriate use of social media.
- Positively encourage pupils to comply with the school rules on mobile phone and internet use. Follow up and follow through with pupils who ignore the rules.
- Actively involve parents and/or the Parents’ Association in awareness raising campaigns around social media.
- Actively promote the right of every member of the school community to be safe and secure in school.
- Highlight and explicitly teach school rules in pupil friendly language in the classroom and in common areas.
- All staff can actively watch out for signs of bullying behaviour.
- Ensure there is adequate playground/school yard/outdoor supervision.
- School staff can get pupils to help them to identify bullying “hot spots” and “hot times” for bullying in the school.
- Hot spots tend to be in the playground/school yard/outdoor areas, changing rooms, corridors and other areas of unstructured supervision.
- Hot times again tend to be times where there is less structured supervision such as when pupils are in the playground/school yard or moving classrooms.
- Support the establishment and work of student councils.
- We will endeavour to adopt many of the strategies outlined in www.antibullyingcampaign.ie
APPENDIX 2 – Types of Bullying
Types of bullying
The following are some of the types of bullying behaviour that can occur amongst pupils:
Physical aggression: This behaviour includes pushing, shoving, punching, kicking, poking and tripping people. It may also take the form of severe physical assault. While pupils often engage in ‘mess fights’, they can sometimes be used as a disguise for physical harassment or inflicting pain.
Intimidation: Some bullying behaviour takes the form of intimidation: it may be based on the use of very aggressive body language with the voice being used as a weapon. Particularly upsetting can be a facial expression which conveys aggression and/or dislike.
Isolation/exclusion and other relational bullying: This occurs where a certain person is deliberately isolated, excluded or ignored by some or all of the class group. This practice is usually initiated by the person engaged in bullying behaviour and can be difficult to detect. It may be accompanied by writing insulting remarks about the pupil in public places, by passing around notes about or drawings of the pupil or by whispering insults about them loud enough to be heard. Relational bullying occurs when a person’s attempts to socialise and form relationships with peers are repeatedly rejected or undermined.
One of the most common forms includes control: “Do this or I won’t be your friend anymore”(implied or stated); a group ganging up against one person (girl or boy); non-verbal gesturing; malicious gossip; spreading rumours about a person or giving them the “silent treatment”.
This type of bullying is increasingly common and is continuously evolving. It is bullying carried out through the use of information and communication technologies such as text, social network sites, e-mail, instant messaging (IM), apps, gaming sites, chat-rooms and other online technologies. Being the target of inappropriate or hurtful messages is the most common form of online bullying.
As cyber-bullying uses technology to perpetrate bullying behaviour and does not require face to face contact, cyber-bullying can occur at any time (day or night). Many forms of bullying can be facilitated through cyber-bullying. For example, a target may be sent homophobic text messages or pictures may be posted with negative comments about a person’s sexuality, appearance etc.
Name calling: Persistent name-calling directed at the same individual(s) which hurts, insults or humiliates should be regarded as a form of bullying behaviour. Often name-calling of this type refers to physical appearance, e.g., size or clothes worn. Accent or distinctive voice characteristics may attract negative attention. Academic ability can also provoke name calling. This tends to operate at two extremes. There are those who are singled out for attention because they are perceived to be weak academically. At the other extreme there are those who, because they are perceived as high achievers, are also targeted.
Damage to property: Personal property can be the focus of attention for bullying behaviour. This may result in damage to clothing, mobile phone or other devices, school books and other learning material or interference with a pupil’s locker or bicycle. The contents of school bags and pencil cases may be scattered on the floor. Items of personal property may be defaced, broken, stolen or hidden.
Extortion: Demands for money may be made, often accompanied by threats (sometimes carried out in the event of the targeted pupil not delivering on the demand). A pupil may also be forced into theft of property for delivery to another who is engaged in bullying behaviour.
Sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying: Sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying occurs when a pupil (or group), usually repeatedly, harms another pupil or intentionally makes them unhappy because of their sex or because they may not be perceived to conform to normal gender roles. The root cause of sexist and sexual bullying is gender inequality.
See Appendix 3 below, which is a copy of a document on the topic from the UK Department for Children, Schools and Families. It gives advice on dealing with this type of bullying and is inserted as an appendix to this policy due to the lack of information and advice on the subject from the Irish Department of Education and Skills.
Appendix 3 – “A quick guide for schools on preventing and responding to sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying” produced by the Department for Children, Schools and Families(DCSF) in the UK.
A quick guide to Safe to Learn: Preventing and responding to sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying
Every child in every school has the right to learn free from the fear of bullying, whatever form that bullying may take. Everyone involved in a child’s education needs to work together to ensure this is the case.
What is sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying?
Sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying occurs when a pupil (or group), usually repeatedly, harms another pupil or intentionally makes them unhappy because of their sex or because they may not be perceived to conform to normal gender roles. The root cause of sexist and sexual bullying is gender inequality.
Sexist bullying can be defined as bullying based on sexist attitudes that when expressed demean, intimidate or harm another person because of their sex or gender. These attitudes are commonly based around the assumption that women are subordinate to men, or are inferior. Young people’s expectations and attainment can be limited by sexist attitudes. Sexist bullying may sometimes be characterised by inappropriate sexual behaviours.
Sexual bullying can be defined as bullying behaviour that has a specific sexual dimension or a sexual dynamic and it may be physical, verbal or non-verbal/psychological. Behaviours may involve suggestive sexual comments or innuendo including offensive comments about sexual reputation; or using sexual language that is designed to subordinate, humiliate or intimidate. It is also commonly underpinned by sexist attitudes or gender stereotypes. Sexual bullying can be seen as sexual harassment in the school.
Transphobic bullying stems from a hatred or fear of people who are transgender. ‘Transgender’ is as an umbrella term that describes people whose sense of their gender or gender identity is seen as being different to typical gender norms.
Where children and young people are perceived not to be conforming to the dominant gender roles that may be widely expected of them, schools should be alert for signs of bullying. Anyone whose expression of their gender identity may be interpreted as different from wider cultural or social norms of being male or female may experience bullying related to this.
Young women and girls are disproportionately experiencing sexual and sexist bullying. Young women and girls report that it has become a normal part of their everyday lives. It is because of the gender stereotypes and social norms surrounding female identity that they experience sexual, sexist bullying.
Guidance for schools on preventing and responding to sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying
Transphobic bullying is commonly underpinned by sexist attitudes. Boys and girls may be equally affected. An individual may also experience transphobic bullying as a result of perceptions that a parent, relative or other significant figure displays gender ‘variance’ or is transgender.
Behaviours displayed in these forms of bullying are in many cases similar to those of other forms of bullying, but there is the additional element of inappropriate or coercive sexual behaviours, which can in extreme cases constitute criminal behaviour such as sexual abuse. Some of the behaviours associated with sexist, sexual or transphobic bullying, such as the use of sexist or inappropriately sexual language, can sometimes go unchallenged in schools as school staff are unsure how to respond appropriately. Examples of some behaviours which may be seen in instances of sexist, sexual or transphobic bullying include: inappropriate and unwanted touching, spreading rumours of a sexual nature, use of humiliating or offensive sexist, sexual or transphobic language (eg. reversing he/she pronouns) and the display or circulation of images of a sexual nature.
Sexual and sexist bullying is a form of violence against women and girls as it disproportionately impacts on girls and young women. Girls are more commonly at risk from sexual and sexist bullying and this is a crucial issue to address because of its relationship to the broader issue of violence against women in society. However, boys have also reported being subjected to sexual or sexist bullying (as shown in data provided by ChildLine), and transphobic bullying may be targeted towards young people of either sex. It is important to note the links to homophobic bullying as young men are bullied when they do not fit in to heterosexual gender roles.
Why should schools deal with this kind of bullying?
Schools should take an active approach to tackling all forms of bullying, and need to address sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying as a specific issue. By working to prevent this type of bullying from taking place, schools can safeguard the welfare of their pupils, while at the same time playing their part to create a society in which people have positive attitudes to difference and treat each other with respect. Schools can take an active role in promoting the development of healthy and respectful relationships.
Schools must respond to this type of bullying as they are responsible for safeguarding the health and well-being of their pupils, which can be adversely affected by bullying. Sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying can damage lives. It may cause fear and anxiety, increase the likelihood of self-harm and limit aspirations and achievement. The effects of exposure to bullying can last well into adulthood.
Because of the particular potential for this form of bullying to be characterised by inappropriate sexual behaviour and because of the particular seriousness of violence (including sexual violence), schools must always consider in cases of sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying whether safeguarding children processes need to be followed. In addition to this, serious cases may constitute criminal behaviour and require police involvement, and school staff need to be fully aware of when and how police involvement should be sought (see further details under the ‘Responding’ heading below).
Legally, schools are required to take measures to prevent all forms of bullying among pupils and to protect pupils from harm, ensuring their physical and mental health and well-being. Schools also have specific duties in equalities legislation to protect their pupils from
iscrimination. The Gender Equality Duty specifically mentions the legal requirement for schools to be working towards eliminating sex discrimination and harassment, and to promote equality between men and women, girls and boys.
Schools have a unique and important role to play in challenging the sexist, sexual and transphobic attitudes that underpin this form of bullying before they become embedded patterns of behaviour. Challenging the attitudes underpinning sexual, sexist and transphobic bullying from an early age helps to combat the potentially violent and criminal behaviours that can be motivated by these attitudes later in life.
It is also important to note that teachers may well be victims and perpetrators of sexual, sexist and transphobic bullying.
How should schools deal with this kind of bullying?
Prevention and response go hand in hand in any successful anti-bullying strategy. This is a particularly important dynamic when considering bullying that is prejudice-related. Where bullying behaviours may be predicated on values or beliefs that require challenge it is critical that the school takes action to deal with both the behaviour and the underpinning attitudes that drive it.
Steps for schools to take to prevent sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying
●The first step to take in dealing with sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying is to make clear the whole school’s commitment to addressing the issue. This should take the form of a written statement, which should be included in the school’s anti-bullying policy and be devised with input from the whole school community including teaching and non-teaching staff, the leadership team, governors, parents and carers and, crucially, pupils themselves. This statement should be regularly promoted across the whole-school.
●Then the school needs to ensure it has a clear understanding of the nature and extent of sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying within the school. This can be done through gathering baseline data, through analysing bullying records, conducting focus groups etc, to provide a common reference point from which the school can further explore, analyse and respond to the underlying issues or causes of this form of bullying.
●Next the school needs to act on this information, to develop practices and activities that seek to prevent sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying from happening, and address negative attitudes that underpin this behaviour. For example, the school may produce a script providing prompts for how to respond to uses of sexist, sexual or transphobic language in the classroom, or a leaflet or a series of assemblies, or an event such as International Women’s Day could stimulate a whole-school activity that stimulates discussion of gender issues and promotes positive attitudes amongst pupils.
●Staff training and development is one important issue. All school staff will need professional support and training to be fully equipped to deal with sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying. This may include training in how to safeguard the welfare of pupils experiencing this kind of bullying, how to challenge inappropriate use of language, and how to apply disciplinary sanctions consistently, appropriately and proportionately to bullying of this nature.
●The way schools design their curriculum also has an important part to play. The curriculum should be designed to address issues related to sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying at all key stages. The national curriculum already provides a range of opportunities to do this, for example the ‘developing good relationships and respecting the differences between people’ section of the Key Stage 1 and 2 national framework for PSHE; or the PSHE personal well-being programme of study for key stages 3 and 4.
●There are also wider opportunities to proactively and positively address these issues through school activities. Using the taught curriculum and wider school activities, schools can work to build a positive ethos where diversity is respected and sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying is not tolerated.
Finally, it is important that schools maintain a comprehensive and current understanding of the nature and extent of sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying in the school, and engage in a regular review process to ensure current practices and activities are having the desired impact. They could have a specific working group lead by young people and senior management.
●The recording system used by the school to record incidents of bullying needs to be capable of recording incidents as sexist, sexual or transphobic, so schools have clear and specific information about these forms of bullying. It also needs to be designed and promoted in such a way that pupils feel encouraged and confident using it to report sensitive information if they need to.
●This information then feeds in to the school’s ongoing policy and practice review process, which should incorporate an ongoing programme of review of issues related to sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying.
Responding to specific incidents
When responding to an incident of sexist, sexual or transphobic bullying, the school needs to ensure it is engaging with: the individual or group who have experienced bullying (and possibly their families/carers), the individual or group engaging in bullying behaviour (and possibly their families/carers), and the wider school community.
Responses to individuals experiencing bullying need to ensure the immediate safety of the pupil is protected, immediate action is taken to limit and prevent further harm, and longer term support is put in place (including involving specialist agencies where appropriate).
●As stated above, with cases of sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying, safeguarding issues are of particular relevance, and schools must always consider whether safeguarding children processes need to be followed. These processes may need to be followed in order to protect a child or young person experiencing sexist, sexual or transphobic bullying (which could constitute sexual abuse or intimidation) from the perpetrator of the abuse, or to protect a perpetrator whose behaviour is thought to be underpinned by abuse taking place at home or another setting.
All staff should have an up-to-date understanding of safeguarding children issues and be able to implement the school’s safeguarding children policy and procedures appropriately, and should be provided with support to enable them to identify cases where safeguarding may be an issue.
●Issues of confidentiality and disclosing sensitive information are also especially pertinent in cases of sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying, and school staff need to be fully trained in how to deal with this. The school’s confidentiality policy should provide a framework for staff when deciding whether or not they can offer confidentiality to a pupil who discloses information about themselves or their situation.
●Relevant support structures need to be in place within the school. This can include the training of school councillors and pastoral support staff. It may also include referrals to specialist support organisations.
Responding to pupils who engage in bullying behaviour involves applying appropriate disciplinary sanctions to arrest the bullying behaviour, and putting appropriate support in place to address the attitudes and problems that underlie the bullying behaviour.
●School staff should be trained to ensure they respond consistently, appropriately and proportionately to pupils engaging in sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying. Schools should determine what sanctions to use in light of the specific bullying incident.
●It is important to remember that displaying bullying behaviour of this nature may in some cases expose underlying problems such as abuse at home, so again staff need to consider whether safeguarding processes should be followed.
●Specialist external agencies may need to be involved in responding to bullying behaviour. For example the police or education programmes that work with young men.
Responses that involve the whole school community are also an important part of preventing and responding to sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying.
●Incidents should be analysed to see if they highlight any issues of wider relevance to groups in the school who were not directly involved, and appropriate activities should be planned to engage with these groups and address the highlighted issues.
●●Celebrating success in anti-bullying work and organising positive, proactive activities for the whole school is also crucial for building a positive anti-bullying ethos and preventing sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying.