Anti bullying Policy
Archbishop McHale College anti-bullying policy sets out the school’s procedures for investigating and dealing with bullying and the school’s procedures for the formal noting and recording of bullying behaviour. The school’s procedures are consistent with the guidance and direction set out in Anti-bullying Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools September 2013.
Archbishop McHale College is co-educational, multi-denominational and inclusive school.
The aim of this school is to provide a comprehensive education in an environment that nurtures holistic development, fosters academic achievement, ensures that all students reach their full potential and are well prepared for the workplace and life’s challenges. Our success is measured in terms of student motivation, engagement with learning, success in public examinations and the destination of students after Leaving Cert. To ensure success, we commit to an extensive system of support and the use of innovative and diverse methods of teaching
Archbishop McHale College recognises the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact that it can have on pupils and is fully committed to the following key principles of best practice in preventing and tackling bullying behaviour:
- A positive 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
- Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils
- Supports for staff
- Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour
- On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.
Aims of our Ant bullying Policy
- To create a positive school culture and climate that is inclusive and welcoming of difference.
- To create a school climate which is open, supportive and encourages pupils to disclose and discuss bullying behaviour.
- To raise awareness amongst the entire school community (including school management, teachers, pupils, parents, volunteers etc.) that bullying is unacceptable behaviour.
- To ensure comprehensive supervision and monitoring through which all aspects of school activity are kept under observation.
- To provide procedures for investigating and dealing with bullying behaviour.
- To provide procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour.
- To develop a programme of support for those affected by bullying behaviour and for those involved in bullying behaviour.
- To work with and through the various local agencies in countering all forms of bullying and anti-social behaviour.
- To facilitate ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of the school’s anti-bullying policy
Role of the Relevant Teacher
The relevant teachers for investigating and dealing with bullying are:
The Classroom Teacher or the Teachers who has information regarding the Bullying firstly must investigate the deal with bullying.
- The primary aim for the relevant teacher 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)
- In investigating and dealing with bullying, the teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved.
- All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher. 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.
- Non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs), bus escorts, caretakers, cleaners must be encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher.
- Parents 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.
- It is very important that all involved (including each set of pupils and parents) understand the above approach from the outset.
- Teachers should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying behaviour reported by pupils, staff or parents.
- Incidents are generally best 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 they may face them from the other members of the group after 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 parents 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 parents an opportunity of discussing ways in which they can reinforce or support the actions being taken by the school and the supports for their 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 parents) that in any situation where disciplinary sanctions are required, this is a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, his or her parents and the school.
- 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. This can have a therapeutic effect.
- In cases where the relevant teacher considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour has occurred, it must be recorded by the relevant teacher in the recording template at Appendix 3 (attached)
- 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. and
- Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parents or the school Principal or Deputy Principal.
- Where a parent is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parents must be referred, as appropriate, to the school’s complaints procedures.
- In the event that a parent has exhausted the school’s complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school must advise the parents of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.
Procedures for Recording Bullying Behaviour
The Board of Management must ensure that the school has clear procedures for the formal noting and reporting of bullying behaviour and these must be documented in the school’s anti-bullying policy.
All records must be maintained in accordance with relevant data protection legislation. The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour must adhere to the following:
While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher, the relevant teacher will use his/her professional judgement in relation to the records to be kept of these reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same.
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.
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.
In each of the circumstances at (a) and (b) above, the recording template at Appendix 3 must be completed in full and retained by the teacher in question and a copy provided to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable. It should also be noted that the timeline for recording bullying behaviour in the recording template at Appendix 3 does not in any way preclude the relevant teacher from consulting the Principal or Deputy Principal at an earlier stage in relation to a case.
The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber- bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, 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):
The school will through the following subject’s education the students with regard to bullying and its impact:
- Information Technology
- Physical Education
At every opportunity the school will through other subject deal with bullying.
The school will at every opportunity invite speakers into the school who can emphasise the negative effects of bullying.
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):
See Role of Relevant Teacher
The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows (see Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools):
Support the student within the school and put specific supports in place for the student.
The student will be offered Counselling
The student will be mentored
Home School Liaison
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.
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.
Key elements of a positive school culture and climate:
- Archbishop McHale College acknowledges the right of each member of Archbishop McHale College community to enjoy school in a secure environment.
- Archbishop McHale College acknowledges the uniqueness of each individual and his/her worth as a human being.
- Archbishop McHale College promotes positive habits of self-respect, self-discipline and responsibility among all its members.
- Archbishop McHale College prohibits vulgar, offensive, sectarian or other aggressive behaviour or language by any of its members.
- Archbishop McHale College has a clear commitment to promoting equity in general and gender equity in particular in all aspects of its functioning.
- Archbishop McHale College has the capacity to change in response to pupils’ needs.
- Archbishop McHale College identifies aspects of curriculum through which positive and lasting influences can be exerted towards forming pupils’ attitudes and values.
- Archbishop McHale College 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.
- Archbishop McHale College recognises the need to work in partnership with and keep parents informed on procedures to improve relationships on a school-wide basis.
- Archbishop McHale College recognises the role of parents in equipping the pupil with a range of life-skills.
- Archbishop McHale College recognises the role of other community agencies in preventing and dealing with bullying.
- Archbishop McHale College promotes habits of mutual respect, courtesy and an awareness of the interdependence of people in groups and communities.
- Archbishop McHale College 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 Archbishop McHale College community.