Anti-Bullying Policy

 

1.DEFINITION

Bullying is the use of power to intentionally hurt, harm or adversely affect the rights and needs of others, over a period of time.  It can be physical, emotional or social.  It can occur within groups or by individuals and may include adults as well as pupils.

 

2.GENERAL PRINCIPLES

  1. Bullying is a serious issue - it must not be seen as inevitable or as part of growing up or as merely horse-play.

  2. The classroom must provide a safe and secure learning and working environment for all pupils and adults.

  3. Bullying must be dealt with immediately when it is identified.

  4. All the staff in the school - teachers, support staff, caretakers and lunchtime supervisors must support the school in its action against bullying.

  5. It is important for all the staff teaching and non-teaching to provide a caring and secure environment for everyone in the school.

  6. Parents should be encouraged to raise any concerns with the principal, Ms M. McCallion or their child’s class teacher.

  7. The class teacher or Nurture Centre teacher should discuss bullying with the class and encourage pupils to discuss their experiences - pupils should be encouraged to share either in the class or privately.

  8. Pupils must feel they can communicate with teachers and that they will be listened to.

  9. Clear communication lines will be kept between teachers, parents, principal and pupils.

  10. Principal and/or class teacher will keep a record of serious incidents in the book held in the office.

 

3.VICTIMS

It is the role of staff to watch out for pupils who may be vulnerable, those who may be perceived as different in some ways – this may be because of individual characteristics, ethnic origin, religion, nationality, colour or some form of disability.

 

Bullying can be minimised if all adults in the school are aware of it and appropriate and immediate action is being taken.  Pupils are encouraged to talk about it from the point of view of the bully and the victim.  Provocative behaviour from either bully or victim will be investigated to ensure fairness and thoroughness.

 

4.THE NATURE OF BULLYING

At St Brigid’s we recognise four levels of bullying behaviour:

  • Low Level

  • Intermediate Level

  • Complex Level

  • High Risk Level

In defining the nature of bullying we have taken into account the NIABF guidelines ‘challenging Bullying Behavioiur’ in Primary Schools.

 

There are many definitions of bullying, but it is generally accepted to be

  • Deliberately hurtful (including aggression)

    • Repeated often over a period of time

    • Difficult for victims to defend themselves against

    •  Bullying can take many forms, but four main types are:

  • Physical – nipping, hitting, kicking, taking belongings

  • Verbal – name calling, insulting, making offensive remarks

  • Emotional – spreading nasty stories about someone, repeated unreasonable exclusion from social groups, being made the subject of malicious rumours

  • Cyberbullying using electronic devices – “an aggressive intentional act using these forms of contact repeatedly over time against a victim

    Research shows that name-calling is the most common form of direct bullying.  This may be because of

    individual characteristics, but pupils can be called nasty names because of their ethnic origin, 

    religion, nationality or colour, or some form of disability.

     

    Some children and adults may confuse bullying with one off experiences of fighting and nasty experiences generally – making it difficult to identify actual bullying.

     

    5.INVOLVING PARENTS

     

    Parental support is essential to the success of our Anti - Bullying Policy.

    We aim to consult and communicate with parents on a regular basis.

     

    What should parents do if they feel their child is being bullied?

     

    Any parent contacting the school with a particular concern will always be taken seriously.  The first point of contact for the parents is the child’s class teacher.

    As a class teacher we will follow the following steps:

  • Recognise that the parent may be angry or upset

  • Keep an open mind – bullying can be difficult to detect, so a lack of staff awareness does not mean that no bullying has occurred

  • Show understanding and concern

  • Make it clear that the school does care and the appropriate action will be taken

  • Explain the agreed school procedures and policy and ensure these are followed

  • Communicate any parental involvement to the principal

     

    If a parent doesn’t feel that the situation has been dealt with adequately by the class teacher then the next stage of the complaints procedure is to contact the principal.

 

SCHOOL STRUCTURES FOR DEALING WITH BULLYING

 

THE ROLE OF THE CLASS TEACHER

The class teacher will encourage his/her class to understand the distress and humiliation that bullying can cause.  The pupils should be made to understand that to ignore bullying, taunting, teasing or name calling in the class or to act as a group to exclude one pupil is wrong and they are condoning this

behaviour if they do nothing.

The class teacher will emphasise to the class that he/she will listen and is available to any pupil who

is being bullied or who knows of another child who is being bullied.

As Pastoral Care is about self-awareness, relationships and Personal Development and Mutual Understanding the class teacher should discuss bullying and offer teaching situations, where victims and bullies within the class can get to know each other in a safe and supportive atmosphere and deal with their respective difficulties. 

Circle Time and the Class Council are designated opportunities to develop understanding and awareness of this important issue.

The role of the auxiliary team (assistants / supervisors) is to inform class teachers of any concerns they observe during the school day.  The class teacher should record any significant incidents and action taken.

 

The following resources will be used:

The Department of Education ‘Let’s Stop Bullying Now’ will be used as a supplementary resource.

Northern Ireland bullying forum effective responses to bullying behaviour.

                                                                               

THE ROLE OF THE NUTURE CENTRE TEACHER.

The Nurture Centre teacher will, over time, address bullying issues.  This will reinforce the strategies being put in place by the class teachers and give additional support to identified pupils including the bullies and their victims.  There is a need to build the confidence of the victim and rehabilitate the bully.

Bring the victim and bully together to agree a strategy for change.

 

THE ROLE OF THE VICE-PRINCIPAL

The Vice-Principal will reinforce the work of the class teachers.  He will make sure that all pupils are aware of the high priority the school places on preventing bullying and dealing with it when it occurs. 

 

THE ROLE OF THE PRINCIPAL

The principal will ensure the implementation of the school policy on bullying in line with article 19 of the Education and Libraries Order NI 2003. The principal will be actively involved and will deal immediately with any complaints of bullying.

All serious issues will be brought to the principal.

 

THE PRINCIPAL WILL:

 

  1. Meet the victim/s separately - a record will be kept of what has happened.

  2. Meet with the bully/ies make it clear that this behaviour will not be tolerated and must change. 

  3. Inform both sets of parents regarding any serious or repeated incidents.

  4. Bring the victim and the bully together to agree a strategy for change.

  5. Agree actions to be taken to ensure that the victim feels secure.

 

STRATEGIES IN SCHOOL TO PREVENT BULLYING BEHAVIOURS

              

  • Making clear links between our Bullying Policy, Behaviour Management Policy and E Policy

  • Teaching children strategies to avoid conflict situations

  • Records kept by class teachers and principal

  • Being aware that even the youngest children can understand the consequence of their own actions

  • Listening carefully to pupils and providing opportunities for them to express views and opinions – for example during Circle Time and Class Council

  • Involving parents

  • Making use of preventative educational strategies, such as the use of circle time and curriculum opportunities to raise pupil awareness e.g. through RE, PDMU, cross curricular themes, drama, story writing and literature

  • Ensure that the Anti-Bullying Policy is closely linked to the Positive Behaviour Policy and

    E Policy

  • Teaching children to say “no” when appropriate or to get help

  • Follow up by class teacher, VP and principal to ensure bullying does not resume

  • Monitoring of websites and email sites used by children

  • Regular discussions/action taken via Class and School Councils.

  • Include all staff in relevant training

  • Involve governors, parents and staff in the implementation of the Anti-Bullying Policy

  • Positive whole school approach, which includes the following:

     

      • Most Caring Pupil of the Month Award

      • Class of the week/term Award

      • Pupil of the Week Award

      • Pupil daily self-evaluation of emotions

      • Certificates/Rewards for improvement

 

Sanctions are set out below:

We will:

  1. Issue a verbal warning.

  2. If it is serious or the child has repeated the behaviour after being warned, a telephone call will be made to their parents or a letter will be sent to their parents/carers and they will lose privileges or sanctions will be applied.

  3. Principal will give a formal warning.

  4. Parents/carers will be invited into school to discuss the incident.

  5. Parents will be invited again to review progress and/or for a final warning before suspension.

  6. In case of cyber bullying – internet access will be disabled for a period of time.

     

MONITORING AND EVALUATING THE POLICY

The policy will be regularly monitored and evaluated by the principal, SLT and 

 class teachers through the following methods:-

  • Reviewed at staff meetings

  • Talking with pupils using Circle Time (weekly)

  • Class Councils / School Council

  • Assemblies.