Holy Family National School 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 Holy Family National School has adopted the following anti-bullying policy within the framework of the school’s overall code of behaviour. This policy fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-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 including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying;
  • effective supervision and monitoring of pupils;

(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.

  1. 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.

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


·The production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other materials aimed at intimidating another person

·Offensive graffiti



·Insulting or offensive gestures

·The “look”

·Invasion of personal space

·A combination of any of the types listed.


 ·Denigration: Spreading rumours, 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/Ask.fm/ 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 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
·Excluding from the group
·Taking someone’s friends away
·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

Sexual ·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


  1. The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying is (are) as follows: (see Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools):

Refer to section 6.8.3. and 6.8.4 in the Procedures.

 The Relevant Teachers in this school are:       (To be determined by school management) e.g.


Primary School Post- Primary School Other Centres of Education
Principal/Deputy Principal/All class teachers Principal/Deputy Principal/Year heads/TutorsCare Team /Student Support Team Personnel/Guidance counsellor   Coordinator/Deputy Coordinator/Class teachers/Mentors/Tutors/Care Team Personnel  


Any teacher may act as a relevant teacher if circumstances warrant it.

  1. 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):

Sample Education and prevention strategies

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.

·An annual audit of professional development needs with a view to assessing staff requirements through internal staff knowledge/expertise and external sources

·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.

·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 included in student journals and displayed publicly in classrooms and in common areas of the school.

·The school’s anti-bullying policy is discussed with pupils and all parent(s)/guardian(s)s are given a copy as part of the Code of Behaviour of the school (every year).

·The implementation of regular (e.g. per year/per term/per month/per week) whole school awareness measures e.g. a dedicated notice board in the school and classrooms on the promotion of friendship, and bullying prevention; annual Friendship Week and parent(s)/guardian(s) seminars; annual or term or monthly student surveys; regular school or year group assemblies by principal, deputy principal, year heads etc.

·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.

Anti-bully or Niggle box?

Get a parent(s)/guardian(s) or friend to tell on your behalf.

Administer a confidential questionnaire once a term to all pupils.

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 protocol should be developed in consultation with parents.

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, as is the pupils’ use of mobile phones.

The listing of supports currently being used in the school and the identification of other supports available to the school e.g. GLEN, BeLonGTo

Implementation of curriculum

· The full implementation of the SPHE and CSPE curricula and the RSE and Stay Safe Programmes.

· Continuous Professional Development for staff in delivering these programmes.

· School wide delivery of lessons on bullying from evidence based programmes, e.g. Cool School Lessons, #UP2US, Stay Safe Programme, The Walk Tall Programme, On My Own Two Feet.

· School wide delivery of lessons on Relational aggression (Cool School Programme: A Friend in Deed), Cyber Bullying (#UP2US, Be Safe-Be Web wise, Think Before you Click, Let’s Fight it Together, Web wise Primary teachers’ resources), Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying (Growing up LGBT, Stand Up Programme, The Trust pack) Diversity and Interculturalism, Yellow Flag Programme. The school should list every resource related to the SPHE curriculum, and make a list of supports.

· Delivery of the Garda SPHE Programmes at primary and post- primary level. These lessons, delivered by Community Gardai, 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.

· The school will implement the advice in “Sexual Orientation advice for schools” (RSE Primary, see booklet).

 Links to other policies

List school policies, practices and activities that are particularly relevant to bullying, e.g. Code of Behaviour, Child Protections policy, Supervision of pupils, Acceptable Use policy, Attendance, Sporting activities.

  1. 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):

  1. The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows (see Section 6.8.16 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools) :
  1. 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 following Prompt Questions may be useful in considering this aspect of the policy: 
  • Are there agreed appropriate monitoring and supervision practices in the school?
  • Have bullying danger spots been identified?
  • Have parents and pupils been consulted in the identification of these danger spots?
  • How will the student support/care structures (including year heads, class tutors, SPHE, Guidance, RE, CSPE, HSCL, Learning Support teachers) support measures to counteract bullying behaviour?
  • How will pupils, in particular senior pupils, be involved as a resource to assist in counteracting bullying? In this regard, has a mentoring/buddy system been considered?
  • How will the student council and school clubs be involved?
  • In relation to Acceptable Use Policy in the school are the following issues addressed:
    • Are all Internet sessions supervised by a teacher?
    • Does the school regularly monitor pupils’ Internet usage?
    • Have pupils been instructed to use only approved class accounts for email purposes and to use these only under teacher supervision?
    • Have pupils been instructed to access only those chat rooms, discussion forums and messaging or other electronic communication that have been approved by the school?

(Note that the Schools Broadband Programme has blocked all social networking sites on the basis that they waste time and take up too much of the bandwidth which is been provided for educational purposes only).

9. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website (or where none exists, is otherwise readily accessible to parents and pupils on request) and provided to the Parents’ Association (where one exists). A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.

10. 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 (or where none exists, be otherwise readily accessible to parents and pupils on request) and provided to the Parents’ Association (where one exists). A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.