St Mary's NS Knockbridge

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Anti-bullying Policy

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Anti-Bullying Policy
St. Mary’s NS, Knockbridge

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 St. Marys N.S. , Knockbridge has adopted the following anti-bullying policy within the framework of the school’s overall Code of Discipline. This policy fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for 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;
(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.
(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 Discipline.

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”- unwelcome looks or glances intended to undermine.
  • Invasion of personal space
  • A combination of any of the types listed.


  • 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).

Homophobic and Transgender

  • Spreading rumours about a person’s sexual orientation
  • Taunting a person of a different sexual orientation
  • Name calling 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
  • Spreading rumours
  • Breaking confidence
  • Talking loud enough so that the victim can hear
  • The “look”- unwelcome looks or glances intended to undermine.
  • Use or terminology such as ‘nerd’ in a derogatory way
  • Ridiculing
  • Undermining


  • 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:
All teaching staff

Deputy Principal
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:

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.
  • 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 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.
  • The anti-bullying policy is communicated to pupils and parents and posted on the school websites. A copy of the policy will be provided to the in-coming parents annually.
  • 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, including bystanders, 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.
Get a parent(s)/guardian(s) or friend to tell on your behalf.
Ensure bystanders understand the importance of telling if they witness or know that bullying is taking place.

  • Identify clear protocols to encourage parent(s)/guardian(s) to approach the school if they suspect that their child is being bullied.
  • The development of an Acceptable Use Policy in the school to include the necessary steps to ensure that the access to technology within the school is strictly monitored. Mobile phones are not permitted in school, except with the permission of the principal teacher.

Implementation of procedures and curricula that help prevent bullying by fostering empathy, respect, resilience and self worth-

  • The full implementation of the SPHE, RSE ,Stay Safe ,Walk Tall and Friends for Life Programmes
  • Continuous Professional Development for staff in delivering these programmes.
  • Circle Time
  • Delivery of the Garda SPHE Programmes. These lessons, delivered by Community Gardai, cover issues around personal safety and cyber-bullying.
  • Observation of ‘Safer Internet Day’
  • Promotion by staff of safe internet use as per Rules for Responsible Internet Use in AUP and implementation of discrete lessons via websites such as Webwise.
  • Reminders at assembly regarding school rules
  • Positive class rules
  • 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.

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:

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).

Reporting bullying behaviour

  • Any pupil or parent(s)/guardian(s) may bring a bullying incident to any teacher in the school.
  • All reports will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher.
  • Teaching and non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs), bus escorts, 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

  • 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;
  • In situations where -

the bullying behaviour persists
the bully refuses to engage with restorative practices
the bully refuses to enter into a contract promising to refrain from the bullying behaviour
and all efforts have been made on the part of the staff to modify the perpetrators behaviour sanctions as per the schools Code of Behaviour may come into play and be used.

  • 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;

Recording of bullying behaviour

It is imperative that all recording of bullying incidents must be done in an objective and factual manner.

  • All staff must keep a written record of any incidents witnessed by them or notified to them. All incidents must be reported to the relevant teacher.
  • All 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.
  • 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.
  • 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;

  • 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.
  • The relevant teacher must use the recording template at Appendix 1 to record the bullying behaviour in the following circumstances:

a) 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.
b) 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.
When the recording template is used, it must be retained by the relevant teacher in question and a copy maintained by the principal.

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

  • 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.

Pastoral care system
Learning Support intervention
Buddy / Peer mentoring system
Group work such as circle time

  • If pupils require counselling or further supports the school will endeavour to liaise with the appropriate agencies eg NEPS to organise same.

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.

The Board also acknowledges the need for parental responsibility in the area of digital and social media and notes that parents will be made aware of the following:
The legal age for children using Facebook and other social media is 13.
There may be risks and dangers associated to a child’s use of social media and that parental supervision is required in this area.
The school has safeguards in place with regard to pupil internet access at school and that use outside school falls under parental responsibility.
That parents should avail where possible of any information evenings organised by the school and/or Parents and Friends Association in relation to these issues.

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 May 20th 2014.

11. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website and noted in the school Newsletter. 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 noted in the school Newsletter. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the Patron and the Department.

This policy was ratified by the Board of Management of the school on 14th December 2016.

Next review will occur in December 2017.

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