Anti-Bullying Policy

A copy of this document may be viewed here Anti-Bullying-Policy-Dec-14

Holy Rosary Primary School Anti-Bullying Guide

Policy Statement:
Holy Rosary Primary School recognises the requirement of having an agreed policy for dealing with bullying if it happens.


All schools in Ireland must have a guide that explains what bullying is and what will happen in the school when a pupil or group of pupils have been bullied. Schools must follow the Education (Welfare) Act (which is part of the laws of Ireland) and the guidelines for behaviour that were written by the National Educational Welfare Board. The Department of Education and Skills, which looks after all schools in Ireland, has written a guide to help schools understand and tackle bullying called Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools (September, 2013).

The Holy Rosary Primary School Anti-Bullying Guide (2014) has been written by people from the School of Psychology at University College Dublin with the help of the pupils, parents and staff from the school. A project was run in the school between September 2012 and June 2014, which used surveys to gather information from pupils, parents and staff about bullying and then brought groups together in workshops to discuss the best ways to stop bullying in Holy Rosary Primary School. Finally, a small group of pupils, parents and staff formed a committee to use all this information to write this guide.

The Board of Management of Holy Rosary have accepted this guide as part of the school’s overall rules and guidelines for good behaviour. This guide is our way of making sure that the School has an agreed way of dealing with bullying if it happens. We have written it using language that pupils, parents and staff will be able to understand. We are happy that this guide includes all the elements required by the Department of Education and Skills Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools (September, 2013). The Board of Management of Holy Rosary will take all necessary and reasonable steps to ensure that the school community works to prevent harassment of pupils, parents or staff based on gender, status, religion, disability and culture.

The Holy Rosary Primary School Anti-Bullying Guide starts by describing some of the things that pupils, parents and staff believe are important about our school. We call these the key principles. Next we have included information on the nature of bullying behaviour. The next section outlines steps for tackling bullying directly and the guide finishes with information for pupils, parents and staff.

Key Principles

Our school community includes the pupils, parents, families, staff and Board of Management of Holy Rosary and has lots of different types of people, including adults and children, boys and girls, and families from different countries. We want to make sure that each pupil grows and learns in a safe and happy place, where they are helped to be the best that they can be. Everybody in Holy Rosary should be allowed to be safe in school and should be treated with respect and kindness at all times. We all have to work together to make sure this happens, using information and ideas from other schools, the Department of Education and Skills, and other groups.

Many things happen in school that can hurt and upset members of the school community. Bullying behaviour is one of these things. The Board of Management of Holy Rosary believe that bullying is very serious and can have a bad effect on the lives of pupils, families and staff in school.

The whole school community agree to do our best to stop bullying from happening in our school. The steps that we will follow include:

  • Sharing information about bullying behaviour with pupils, parents and staff;
  • Working to prevent bullying, which means stopping bullying before it happens;
  • Encouraging and helping pupils and parents to report bullying when it happens – We are a telling school;
  • Repairing any harm caused by the bullying – We are a forgiving school;
  • Helping all those involved to find better ways to get on together.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • BOM – approve and review Anti Bullying Policies and involved in Step 5 of Procedures for Dealing with Incidents
  • Principal –  Overall responsibility for ensuring implementation of Anti Bullying Policy in the school.  Involved directly from Step 4.
  • Class Teachers  –  involved from Steps 1 – 5
  • Support Teacher  – involved from Step 2

Defining Bullying Behaviour

Everybody in Holy Rosary  Primary School understand that there are lots of different ways that pupils can be bullied in school and that different people describe bullying in different ways.

The Department of Education and Skills’ Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools (September, 2013) describes bullying as “unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical, conducted by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated overtime” (p.39). They also say that bullying includes behaviours such as deliberate exclusion, nasty gossip, cyberbullying and bullying people because of their identity (who they are).

As part of the anti-bullying project run in Holy Rosary Primary School we collected information from pupils, parents and staff about how they describe bullying. The points below are our definition or description of bullying:

  • Bullying behaviours hurt and upset all those involved, but not everyone is upset in the same way.
  • Bullying involves different types of actions including:
    • verbal actions (e.g. name calling and slagging);
    • gestures or signs (e.g. a nasty look);
    • physical actions (e.g. hitting and kicking);
    • taking or breaking other peoples’ belongings;
    • leaving people out of games, ignoring them or telling others not to play with them (these are types of exclusion) and spreading rumours about people;
    • cyberbullying (e.g. bullying on the Internet and online, bullying by mobile phone, computer or games console or any electrical device);
    • bullying based on things like how you look, your religion or race, your family, gender and sexuality (identity-based bullying e.g., using the word gay as a mean word).
  • Bullying behaviours can range from very serious cases where a child is at risk, to more minor incidents that can be resolved within the school.
  • Often bullying behaviours happen over time. But once-off incidents can have the same effect on those involved and might be the start of a bullying problem
  • Some behaviours happen in private (e.g. being sent a nasty text or a note in class) and others happen in public in front of other people. Both of these types of behaviours can be upsetting and hurtful
  • Bullying usually happens in the school but behaviours that happen outside (including online or by phone) that effect people in school will be considered bullying.
  • Bullying should not be confused with everyday quarrels or fights where all those involved are equally upset.

This is not a list of every type of bullying and it is important to remember that other things can happen in school that will upset people. Pupils, parents and staff should be encouraged to report all problems in the school. Bullying will be dealt with using this guide but other problems will be dealt with as part of the school’s rules and guides on behaviour and safety.

Ways of preventing bullying behaviour

In Holy Rosary there are many ways the school community work to educate pupils, parents and staff about bullying and to prevent problems from happening.

  • The Holy Rosary Primary School Anti-Bullying Guide is made available to staff, parents and pupils at the beginning of the school year.
  • The school’s Key for Learning Policy is included in pupils’ journals and is available to parents.
  • The school’s Supervision Policy and Information Technology & Acceptable Use Policy are reviewed in light of the Anti-Bullying Guide.
  • The Information for pupils, parents and staff at the end of this guide is designed to give members of the school community ideas around responding to bullying.
  • The school regularly runs specific events to promote positive behaviour (e.g., Bullying Awareness Week) and increase awareness of diversity and difference in the school, which include information and activities for pupils, parents and staff.
  • [need to include a list of programmes such as Walk Tall, Stay Safe that have a link to promoting positive outcomes and reducing negative behaviours. NB the DES guidelines specifically require that there are strategies relating to cyberbullying and identity based bullying]
  • other programmes to prevent bullying include, Stay Safe, Walk Tall and specific SPHE lessons on Cyber Safety

Steps for dealing with an incident of bullying behaviour

In Holy Rosary a number of staff might be involved in an incident of bullying. If the incident is taking place within the class group the Class Teacher is the first person involved in dealing with the incident. If behaviours are witnessed by other staff or parents these should be reported to the class teacher. The class teacher can and should also link with the Behaviour Support Teacher (BST). Where a serious incident has occurred or the bullying continues over time the School Principal/Deputy Principal is also involved, as described in the steps in this section of the Guide.

If a class teacher becomes aware (either through pupil or parent report) or suspects that bullying has or is happening, the steps below are the agreed procedure within the school. The steps are linked to Holy Rosary’s Key for Discipline (KFD) policy. This is available in pupils’ homework diaries. These steps should be on display in each classroom and on posters around the school. In dealing with possible bullying problems it is also important to remember the key principles included in this policy.

Keep in mind that staff in the school will be required to deal with a range of behaviours and incidents, including minor problems and more serious cases. While the steps are seen as being followed in a particular order, it may be necessary to move quickly to later steps when dealing with more serious cases (based on the type of behaviour or multiple incidents). Also, if a pupil is deemed to be at risk of harm at any stage the staff should consult and be guided by the school’s child protection policy and guidelines as outlined in Children First and the Child Guidance Act. At all times staff work to support the pupils who are affected by bullying.

Step 1: The first step in the process allows the teacher to gather information about the incident. This might involve speaking with the pupil or pupils who have experienced the behaviours (without labelling them as victims of bullying), gathering information on who is involved (without labelling them as bullies), and recording any posts on the Internet, social media or mobile phones. The main task is to determine if the incident constitutes bullying as described in this policy.

Step 2: The incident has been confirmed as bullying and the class teacher and pupils are involved in dealing with the problem.

  • From this point teachers are asked to keep a record of the incident and any strategies used to resolve the problem.
  • The Behaviour Support Teacher (BST) is informed and may provide support to the teacher; the BST keeps a formal record.
  • Parents of the pupils involved are informed by a phone call, that there has been an incident and the steps that are being taken to resolve the problem within the class. However they are not called to meet with the teacher.
  • If the incident involves the Internet or social media any relevant information or posts (text or photos) must be removed.

Step 3: If the bullying continues formal contact is made with the parents of the pupils involved and the incident is formally referred to the BST.

  • The teacher and BST may meet with the parents separately to discuss the issue and possible solutions.   Possible solutions might also be discussed with the Care Team.
  • The teacher, BST, pupil(s) and parents work together to resolve the problem.
  • The teacher and BST continue to keep a formal record of steps taken.

Step 4: If the bullying continues the issue is reported formally to the principal.

  • At this point the teacher and BST are asked to submit a record of steps taken to date.
  • A meeting with parents, teachers and pupils may be called by the principal to discuss the issue and further possible solutions.  This may include Care Team. This step in the process will be linked to Stage 5 in the Key for Discipline (KFD) and the incidents will be recorded in “The Book”.
  • The minutes of any meetings are kept and the decisions taken are recorded.

Step 5: If the bullying continues in spite of the steps taken to resolve the problem the case is brought to the attention of the Board of Management in order to explore other options and to draw on the expertise of the board members.

Final Points

This Anti-Bullying Guide has been made available to all members of the school community (pupils, parents and staff), published on the school website, and provided to the Holy Rosary Parents’ Association. A copy will be made available to the Department of Education and Skills and the school’s patron if requested.

The Holy Rosary Board of management will review the policy once in every school year using the checklist from Appendix 4 of the Department of Education and Skills Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools. The Board will inform members of the school community that the review has been completed using the notification template from the Department of Education and Skills Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.

Practical Tips for Building a Positive School Culture and Climate

(from Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools; September, 2013)

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, parents and staff 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.


Information and Tips for Pupils


  • Keep unhelpful hands, feet, objects and comments to yourself.
  • Know the difference between TELLING and TELLING ON.
  • Play preferred games.
  • Be in the right place at the right time
  • Say no to bullies
When you are being bullied:

  • Tell yourself that bullying is wrong. You do not deserve to be bullied.
  • If you can, be firm and clear ‑ look them in the eye and tell them to stop
  • Try not to fight back
  • Get away from the situation and tell an adult as quickly as possible
  • If you can, try not to be on your own in places where bullying happens
After you have been bullied:

  • Don’t blame yourself for what has happened
  • Tell a teacher or another adult in your school
  • Tell your family
  • If you are scared to tell a teacher or an adult on your own, ask a friend to go with you
  • Keep on speaking up until someone listens
  • If the bullying has happened by text message or on the Internet do no delete the message without copying it or taking a screenshot/photo of it.
When you are telling an adult about being bullied be clear about:

  • What has happened to you
  • How often it has happened
  • Who was involved
  • Who saw what was happening
  • Where it happened
  • What you have done about it already
  • How it started in the first place
What pupils who witness bullying can do:

  • Tell a teacher or staff member what is happening
  • Do not allow someone to be deliberately left out of a group
  • Do not smile or laugh in a mean way when someone is being bullied
  • Encourage people who are bullied to join in with group games etc.
  • If you can, tell the bully to stop what they are doing


Information and Tips for Parents

General things to remember

  • Be aware of the school’s policy on bullying. Remember we are a telling school.
  • The staff are always willing to speak with parents but remember to organise a good time to talk.
  • Get more information on bullying and be comfortable with your understanding of it.
  • Maintain good communication with your child, provide opportunities for one-to-one chats.
  • Support any bullying awareness campaigns in the school and wider community.
  • Remember, there will always be conflicts between children. However bullying is different to the normal conflicts that children have.
  • Respect your child and teach them to respect others.
  • Don’t let your children come to school too early or hang around after school – there is only supervision during school hours.
  • If you witness what appears to be a bullying incident in the school, make your concerns known to a member of staff.

What if your child is involved in bullying?

  • If your child tells you they have witnessed a bullying incident, find out what happened and let the school know.
  • If your child is upset over something that happened to them, try to determine whether there was genuine bullying involved. Again you can approach the teacher and get their perspective.
  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms of bullying and watch for signs your child may be being bullied.
  • If you are worried that your child is being bullied, ask him/her directly. Give your child a chance to vent his/her feelings about being bullied. But remember to stay calm and listen to your child.
  • Take bullying seriously and find out the facts when told about an incident of bullying. Keep a written diary of all incidents. Don’t agree to keep the bullying a secret
  • Empower your child with the skills to deal with bullies. Help children practice strategies such as shouting no, walking with confidence and keeping away from bullies.
  • If the bullying is happening on the way to or from school arrange to meet your child and walk with them.
  • If your child has been identified as displaying bullying behaviour, stay calm and don’t panic. Try to find out the reasons why.

Information and Tips for Staff

General things to remember

  • Promote a culture of respect in the school – children respecting children, children respecting staff, staff respecting children, staff respecting staff. Praise respectful behaviour.
  • Tell the pupils from Day One that bullying is not tolerated in the school.
  • Make sure children know the difference between bullying and normal conflict.
  • Ensure that children, parents and teachers take responsibility for any bullying that goes on in the school. Everyone is expected to ensure that it does not happen.
  • Promote the idea of the school as being a telling school. Explain the difference between telling about and telling on. Tell children to tell and back them up.
  • Raise awareness of the school policy on bullying. Keep parents informed and involved.
  • Use circle time or class based discussion to discuss bullying behaviour with the class. Role-play situations and discuss possible solutions or strategies. Be open to involving pupils in developing ideas. If they are part of the problem they can be part of the solution.
  • Discuss the general discipline policy and anti-bullying policy with the class.
  • Teach children to be confident. Differences should be acceptable and never a cause for bullying.

Dealing with incidents of bullying

  • Be guided by the steps outlined in the KFD policy and the Anti-Bullying Policy.
  • Support and encourage pupils to report bullying. Provide a discrete way for pupils to report bullying and encourage pupils who witness it to report.
  • Take bullying seriously and find out the facts when told about a possible incident of bullying. Gather information, talk to the pupils involved individually. Keep a written record of dates, incidents and steps taken.
  • If an incident of bullying occurs, challenge it directly and follow the steps in the bullying policy.
  • Support children who are being bullied and help the bullies to change their behaviour.
  • Inform parents (informally at first), ask for their suggestions and seek their support.
  • If the bullying is about a particular issue (e.g. differences among pupils), you could initiate a discussion on the issue in class, but not focused on any particular child.
  • Watch out for signs which may point to a child being bullied, be aware of suspicious you may have based on children’s behaviour.
  •  If necessary break up the group dynamics by assigning places. Most bullying groups have a leader with other children being frightened of not bullying. Turn peer pressure against bullying.

From Department of Education and Skills Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools (September, 2013)

Bulling Form [Sample]

Bulling Form [Sample] If you need to fill in this form, please print out the word document and drop it into the school office.

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Anti Bullying Policy December 14