Anti-Bullying Policy

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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 Holy Family 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.           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) 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;

See DES Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools, September 2013

·      See Table A (6.1.5.): Key elements of a positive school culture and climate, and also

·        Appendix 2: Practical tips for building a school culture and climate.

(b)   Effective leadership

(c)    A school-wide approach

 (d)   A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact

(e)   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;

 (f)   Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils

(g)   Supports for staff

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

(i)    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.

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 behaviourAdditional information on different types of bullying is set out in Section 2 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.

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

·            Slagging

·            The production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other materials aimed at intimidating another person

·            Offensive graffiti

·            Extortion

·            Intimidation

·            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’sreputation

·            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/ 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).


Identity based bullying

·            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

·            Threats


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

·            Ignoring to exclude

·            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 of derogatory terminology


·            Unwelcome or inappropriate  sexual comments or touching

·            Harassment

Special Educational Needs,Disability

·        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.

·         Mimickinga person’s disability

·         Setting others up for ridicule


4.   As detailed in Section 6.8.3 and Section 6.8.4 in the 2013 DES Anti-Bullying Procedures, the relevant teacher for monitoring/restoring class behaviour is the class-teacher. Adult

      supervisors in the yarduse restorative questioning when dealing with minor once-off incidences and record significant negative behaviours on incident report forms for school-monitoring

      purposes. The incident reports are kept in a locked filing cabinet in the office. The Principal will monitor these reports on an ongoing basis.  These reports will be kept for reference should

     further serious incidents arise.   Investigation of repeated negative behaviour will be conducted by class-teacher, Deputy Principal and Principal. If dealing with a repeated incident, the parent is informed.

     Any teacher may act as a relevant teacher if circumstances warrant it.

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):

Education and prevention strategies

School-wide approach

·         A school-wide approach to the fostering of respect for all members of the school community.

·         The promotion of the value of diversity to address issues of prejudice and stereotyping, and highlight the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.

·         The fostering and enhancing of the self-esteem of all our pupils through both curricular and extracurricular activities. Pupils will be provided with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self-worth through formal and informal interactions.

·         Whole staff professional development on bullying to ensure that all staff develops an awareness of what bullying is, how it impacts on pupils’ lives and the need to respond to     it-prevention and intervention.

·         An annual audit of professional development needs with a view to assessing  staff requirements  through internal staff knowledge/expertise and external sources

·         Professional development with specific focus on the training of the relevant teacher(s)

·         School wide awareness raising and training on all aspects of bullying, to include pupils, parent(s)/guardian(s) and the wider school community.

·         Supervision and monitoring of classrooms, corridors, school grounds, school tours/extra- curricular activities. Non-teaching and ancillary staff will be encouraged to be vigilant and report issues to relevant teachers.

·         Promotion and awareness of Bullying/Respecting others to be included in student homework diaries and in classrooms and common areas of school.

·         The full Anti-Bullying Policy is available to parents through the school website   Parents are also informed through Holy Family School Induction Pack that a hard copy of the policy is available on request from the school office.

·         The implementation of regular whole school awareness measures e.g. a dedicated notice board in the school and classrooms on the promotion of friendship, and bullying prevention; annual Friendship Week and parent(s)/guardian(s) seminars.

·         Encourage a culture of telling, with particular emphasis on the importance of bystanders. In that way pupils will gain confidence in ‘telling’. This confidence factor is of vital importance. It should be made clear to all pupils that when they report incidents of bullying they are not considered to be telling tales but are behaving responsibly.

·         Ensuring that pupils know who to tell and how to tell, e.g.:

Ø  Direct approach to teacher at an appropriate time, for example after class.

Ø  Hand note up with homework.

Ø  Make a phone call to the school or to a trusted teacher in the school.

Ø  Get a parent(s)/guardian(s) or friend to tell on your behalf.

Ø  Ensure bystanders understand the importance of telling if they witness or know that bullying is taking place.

 It is recognized that mobile phones can be intrusive and distracting in all situations and particularly in schools.  In addition to the inconvenience, the debate still goes on about the possible harmful effects of the frequent use of mobile phones. 

  • Holy Family School have banned the use of mobile phones among pupils.  A child found in possession of a mobile phone will have the phone confiscated and a fine of €20 will have to be paid for its return.  A second offence will mean permanent confiscation of the phone.
  • Our school internet security system does not allow school access to Facebook Social Media. Children in our school are too young to access Facebook and parents/guardians need to be vigilant. In the event of an accusation of bullying among our students through Facebook (or other social media), outside the school setting, parents will be notified. The Gardaí may need to intervene if the issue becomes too difficult for school personnel to deal with, quickly and positively.
  • Internet access in our school is strictly under teacher/SNA supervision only.

Implementation of curricula

·         The full implementation of the Social, Personal, Health Education (SPHE) which involves building up their self-esteem and helping children to learn to communicate, make decisions and express feelings in an appropriate way.

·         The full implementation of the Stay Safe Programme, learning to deal with negative attention including bullying behaviours.

·          Continuous Professional Development for staff in delivering these programmes.

·         Delivery of the Garda SPHE Programmes at primary level as the school requires. These lessons, delivered by Community Gardaí, cover issues around personal safety and cyber-bullying.

·         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.

Links to other policies

·         Code of Behaviour, Child Protection policy.


 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):

6.8.9.      Procedures for Investigating and Dealing with Bullying

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);

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),caretaker, cleaners must report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the class teacher, Deputy Principal or Principal.

Investigating and dealing with incidents: Style of approach (see section 6.8.9)

·         In investigating and dealing with bullying, the class teacher, Deputy Principal or Principal 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. Significant yard incidents are recorded in the incident report forms. This is instantly available to all teachers and to the Principal. The class teacher keeps a written observation of incidences observed or reported to him/her.

·         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.

·         The relevant teacher must inform the Principal/Deputy 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.

·         All written records of reported or actual bullying incidences will be maintained indefinitely in the school strong room.

Formal Stage 2-Appendix 3 (From DES Procedures)

The relevant teacher must use the recording template at Appendix 3 (see end of this document) 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) In our school repeated bullying behaviour must be recorded and reported to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable.

When the recording template is used, it must be retained by the relevant teacher in question and a copy maintained by the principal. These records will be kept indefinitely in the school strong room.

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 or discussion

The Procedures mention the following intervention strategies and reference Ken Rigby; Ken Rigby.pdf

·         The traditional disciplinary approach

·         Strengthening the victim

·         Mediation

·         Restorative Practice

·         The support group method

·         The method of shared concern

All teachers and SNAs in Holy Family School seek at all times to engage in a positive, pro-active incentive approach to promoting children’s social and emotional competence.

  7.          The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows (see Section 6.8.16 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools):

·         All in-school supports and opportunities will be provided for the pupils affected by bullying to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem, to develop friendships and   social skills and build resilience


·         If pupils require counselling of further supports the school will endeavour to liaise with the appropriate agencies to organise same. This may be for the pupil affected by bullying or    involved in the bullying behaviour.

·         Pupils should understand that there are no innocent bystanders and that all incidents of   bullying behaviour must be reported to a teacher.

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 has been made available to school personnel, is published on the school website,  a hard copy is available to parents and pupils on request and a copy was provided to the 

                Parents’ Association. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and to the  patron if requested.

11.         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.

Table A:

Key elements of a positive school culture and climate

·        The school acknowledges the right of each member of the school community to enjoy school in a secure environment.

·        The school acknowledges the uniqueness of each individual and his/her worth as a human being.

·        The school promotes positive habits of self-respect, self-discipline and responsibility among all its members.

·        The school prohibits vulgar, offensive, sectarian or other aggressive behaviour or  language by any of its members.

·        The school has a clear commitment to promoting equity in general and gender equity in particular in all aspects of its functioning.

·        The school has the capacity to change in response to pupils’ needs.

·        The school identifies aspects of curriculum through which positive and lasting influences can be exerted towards forming pupils’ attitudes and values.

·        The school takes particular care of "at risk" pupils and uses its monitoring systems to facilitate early intervention where necessary and it responds to the needs, fears or anxieties of individual

          members in a sensitive manner.

·        The school recognises the need to work in partnership with and keep parents informed on procedures to improve relationships on a school-wide basis.

·        The school recognises the role of parents in equipping the pupil with a range of life-skills.

·        The school recognises the role of other community agencies in preventing and dealing with bullying.

·        The school promotes habits of mutual respect, courtesy and an awareness of the interdependence of people in groups and communities.

·        The school promotes qualities of social responsibility, tolerance and understanding among all its members both in school and out of school.

·        Staff members share a collegiate responsibility, under the direction of the Principal, to act in preventing bullying/aggressive behaviour by any member of the school community.


Appendix 2

Practical tips for building a positive school culture and climate


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 absent.

·        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.


Appendix 3      

Template for recording bullying behaviour         

1. Name of pupil being bullied and class group

Name _________________________________________              Class__________________

2. Name(s) and class(es) of pupil(s) engaged in bullying behaviour






3. Sourceof bullying concern/report (tick relevant box(es))*



4. Locationof incidents (tick relevant box(es))*



Pupil concerned






Other Pupil





















School Bus









5. Name of person(s) who reportedthe bullying concern



6. Typeof Bullying Behaviour (tick relevant box(es)) *

Physical Aggression




Damage to Property






Malicious Gossip 


Name Calling


Other (specify)


7.  Where behaviour is regarded as identity-based bullying, indicate the relevant category:


Disability/SEN related


Membership of Traveller community

Other (specify)







8. Brief Description of bullying behaviour and its impact



9.       Details of  actions taken




Signed ______________________________ (Relevant Teacher)   Date ___________________________


Date submitted to Principal/Deputy Principal       ____________________________________________


* Note:The categories listed in the tables 3, 4 & 6 are suggested and schools may add to or amend these to suit their own circumstances.


Appendix 4

Checklist for annual review of the anti-bullying policyand its implementation


                  Yes /No

Has the Board formally adopted an anti-bullying policy that fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools?


Has the Board published the policy on the school website and provided a copy to the parents’ association?


Has the Board ensured that the policy has been made available to school staff (including new staff)?


Is the Board satisfied that school staff are sufficiently familiar with the policy and procedures to enable them to effectively and consistently apply the policy and procedures in their day to day work?


Has the Board ensured that the policy has been adequately communicated to all pupils?


Has the policy documented the prevention and education strategies that the school applies?


Have all of the prevention and education strategies been implemented?


Has the effectiveness of the prevention and education strategies that have been implemented been examined?


Is the Board satisfied that all teachers are recording and dealing with incidents in accordance with the policy?


Has the Board received and minuted the periodic summary reports of the Principal?


Has the Board discussed how well the school is handling all reports of bullying including those addressed at an early stage and not therefore included in the Principal’s periodic report to the Board?


Has the Board received any complaints from parents regarding the school’s handling of bullying incidents?


Have any parents withdrawn their child from the school citing dissatisfaction with the school’s handling of a bullying situation?


Have any Ombudsman for Children investigations into the school’s handling of a bullying case been initiated or completed?


Has the data available from cases reported to the Principal (by the bullying recording template) been analysed to identify any issues, trends or patterns in bullying behaviour?


Has the Board identified any aspects of the school’s policy and/or its implementation that require further improvement?


Has the Board put in place an action plan to address any areas for improvement?




Signed _____________________________________                            Date ________________

Chairperson, Board of Management


Signed _____________________________________                  Date ________________






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