Anti-bullying Policy


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 Mhuire  has adopted the following Anti-Bullying Policy within the framework of the school’s overall Code of Behaviour  and is not a stand-alone policy. This policy fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools which were published in September 2013. The full document can be accessed at

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;


Refer Table A   (6.1.5.Procedures): Key elements of a positive school culture and climate,   and also Appendix 2: Practical tips for building a school culture and   climate.


 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;

 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.

Measures to embed these key principles  in school practice are outlined throughout this 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 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.

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’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/ Twitter/You Tube or on games consoles
  •   Abusive website   comments/Blogs/Pictures
  •   Abusive posts on any form of   communication technology
Identity Based BehavioursIncluding 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
  •   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
  •   Excluding from the group
  •   Taking someone’s friends away
  •   “Bitching”
  •   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
  •   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.
  •   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: (Refer Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools):

A pupil or parent may bring a bullying concern to any teacher in the school. In the normal classroom context the class teacher is deemed the “relevant” teacher to take note of and follow up on the complaint. Teachers on supervision may be the initial point of contact and should pass on details to the class teacher. All teachers have copies of the Template for recording bullying behaviour (Appendix 3 of Procedures) .

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):




School-wide approach

  •   A   school-wide approach to the fostering of respect for all members of the   school community  underpins the   characteristic spirit of Scoil Mhuire .
  •   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 behaviours to ensure that all   staff develop an awareness of what bullying is, how it impacts on pupils’   lives and the need to respond to it through 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
  •   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 and   extra- curricular activities. Non-teaching and ancillary staff will be   encouraged to be vigilant and report issues to relevant teachers. Supervision   will also apply to monitoring student use of communication technology within   the school.
  •   Involvement   of the student 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.
  •   Development   and promotion of an Anti-Bullying code for the school-to be displayed   publicly in classrooms and in common areas of the school.
  •   The   school’s anti-bullying policy will be regularly highlighted with pupils and   all parent(s)/guardian(s)s will be given a copy as part of the Code of   Behaviour of the school (included in the Enrolment Pack)
  •   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.:
    •   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.
    •   Feelings  box in classroom
    •   Get a   parent(s)/guardian(s) or friend to tell on your behalf.
    •   Administer   a confidential questionnaire occasionally to  pupils.
    •   Ensure   bystanders understand the importance of telling if they witness or know that   bullying is taking place.



  •   We will   endeavour to ensure that parents understand and follow the policy procedures   outlined in this document which are DES requirements , not guidelines, when   dealing with bullying behaviours.
  •   The  Acceptable Use Policy in the school  includes the necessary steps to ensure that   the access to technology within the school is strictly monitored.


Implementation of curricula   and specific skill-building programmes


  •   SPHE curriculum strands Myself   ( Self-identity strand unit) and Myself   and others (My friends and other people/Relating to others strand units)   across all classes
  •   The revised Stay Safe programme  (2016) throughout the  school
  •   Use of  for Internet safety lessons. School   participation in designated Safer   Internet Day . Mobile phones and personal electronic devices are not   allowed in school. However, use of apps such as Viber Group texts and   Facebook are widely used by children from 3rd class up  outside of school and use on these may have   follow-on repercussions in school. The school’s role is one of raising awareness   of the dangers of cyber-bullying and highlighting this to pupils and parents.   Parents have a primary responsibility in monitoring use of technology at home   e.g. children need to be 13 to have a social profile.
  •   Clear teacher instructions on appropriate on-line behaviour   when using ipads , laptops or classroom computers.
  •   Relationships and Sexuality Programme- Growing and Changing   Strand in 6th class ( the scope of the curriculum is clearly   defined at primary level and does not include sexual orientation). Homophobic   or trans-gender name –calling or associated comments are dealt with in the   context of Feelings and Emotions and   should be referred back to parents.
  •   Materials from  
  •   A school wide awareness of being a “telling” school. A   focus on positive behaviour in whole school assemblies
  •   Delivery   of the Garda SPHE Programmes at primary  level. These lessons, delivered by the   Community Garda, 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. e.g. Socially Speaking/   Social Stories/Feelings cards/Walk Tall/Stay Safe


The following programmes   have been introduced to Scoil Mhuire in recent years and  are aimed at developing strategies and   skills to help children deal with and respond to incidents and to help build   resilience and positive self-image in pupils:


  •   SMARTS programme in Junior Infants.   (The SMARTS programme is an early intervention, arts based, behavioural   support programme developed to resolve simple behavioural challenges in a fun   and positive environment.)
  • Zippy’s Friends– A senior Infant programme (HSE)
  •   S.A.L.T. Programme – 1st   – 4th (The S.A.L.T. process is a conflict resolution process Stop, Ask, Listen, Talk -that children can use to help   them handle their rows and disputes )
  •   Friends for Life – 5th and 6th   classes (Training provided by NEPS (National Educational Psychological   Service) The Friends for Life programme aims to help children  develop resilience and positive life-coping   skills so that they can deal with whatever life throws their way.
  • Drama lessons using scenarios to explore the theme of Bullying


               Links to other policies

  •    School policies, practices and activities   that are particularly relevant to bullying, e.g. Code of Behaviour, Child   Protection policy, Supervision of pupils, Acceptable Use policy, Attendance.


Supports for Staff

  •   The Board of Management,   through the principal Ms Rossiter, will ensure that school staff have   sufficient familiarity with the school’s anti bullying policy to enable them   to effectively and consistently apply the policy when required. This will   include all temporary and substitute staff.
  •    Continuous Professional Development (CPD)   will be provided to up-skill teachers in    programmes which might   assist the school’s anti-bullying programme. The school will avail of Professional Development offered by the PDST support   service




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 (Refer 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);


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 in line with the school’s Code of Behaviour
  •   Teaching and non-teaching   staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs),  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 (see   section 6.8.9)

  •   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 (Restorative Practice)
  •    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.
  •   Disciplinary sanctions will   reflect the school’s Code of Behaviour up to and including suspension and   expulsion. However, the guiding principle in dealing with bullying is that of   changing behaviour in the person using bullying behaviour and building   self-esteem/coping skills in those targeted by bullying behaviour.


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. While parents may feel strongly that their   child is being subjected to bullying behaviour they need to allow the school   to follow due process when reporting bullying behaviour.


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. Each teacher   will have a designated Incident recording book. 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
  •   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.
  •    All records will be retained by the relevant   teacher who will pass on the class Incident Recording Book to the principal   at the end of the school year. These will be retained in storage for at least   a year as a reference in the event of on-going patterns of behaviour.


         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 following are considered to fall into the above   category:


  •   Serious physical assault with   intent and causing deliberate injury
  •   Inappropriate use of sexual   language directed intentionally at a child
  •   Sexual assault
  •   Abusive communication on   social networks/ messaging apps
  •   Circulation of written words   or pictures aimed at intimidation of another person
  •   Offensive graffiti on school   property or grounds




When the recording template is used, it must be   retained by the relevant teacher in question and a copy maintained by the   principal in her office. Information on the number of forms is passed on to   the Board of Management .   They will   be retained as part of a pupil’s record and may be alluded to in transfer of   information to new schools.


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








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

(Refer 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 e.g.

– Classroom Code of   respect

– Buddy  system

–   Group work such as circle time

  •   If pupils require counselling   or further supports the school will endeavour to liaise with the appropriate   agencies to organise same. E.g. HSE, NEPS .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.(See Supervision policy)

The yard supervision rota has been amended to ensure senior class teachers supervise the senior yard and junior class teachers the junior yard as they teachers are more familiar with children within those classes. The senior duty teacher can use the “Permission to go in “ notebook to record an incident if felt necessary. Professional judgement will be used by teachers on supervision to assess if an intentional bullying incident occurred or whether there is a simple dispute (e.g. over game rules) in which case  Code of Behaviour practices are followed.



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.

Parents should make an appointment if they need to discuss issues of concern and check in with the office on visiting the school.


10. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on ________________ [date].


11. This policy will forthwith be 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.



Signed: ____________________________________        Signed: ___________________________

(Chairperson of Board of Management)                                 (Principal)



Date: ______________                                                              Date: __________________



Date of next review: _______________