Scoil Muire agus Treasa, Swinford NS

Antibullying Policy


The school community of Swinford NS wants to prevent and tackle, when necessary, bullying behaviour. We encourage everyone to become very familiar with this policy.

  1. In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the code of discipline guidelines issued by the NEWB, the Board of Management of Swinford NS 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:
  3. 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;
  • Promotes respectful relationships across the school community;
  1. Effective leadership
  2. A school-wide approach
  3. A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact
  4. 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;
  1. Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils
  2. Supports for staff
  3. Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies); and
  4. 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.

Additional information on different types of bullying is set out in Section 2 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools and in Appendix 2 of this Policy

  • During school time (including break times)
  • Going to and from school
  • Extra-curricular activities

Swinford NS reserves the right to take action against bullying perpetrated outside the school, which spills over into the school.

  1. The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying are as follows:
  • The class teacher
  • The Principal/Deputy Principal if necessary

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

  1. The education and prevention strategies that will be used 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.
  • 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 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 school’s anti-bullying policy is discussed with pupils
  • Inform parents/guardians that the school’s anti-bullying policy can be accessed on the school website
  • The implementation of regular whole school awareness measures eg. a dedicated notice-board in the school and classrooms on the promotion of friendship, and bullying prevention, annual Friendship week, student surveys (see Appendix 5) conducted every term
  • Encourage a culture of telling, with particular emphasis on the importance of bystanders. In that way pupils will gain confidence in ‘telling’. This confidence 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, eg.:
  • 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
  • Get a parent(s)/guardian(s) or friend to tell on your behalf
  • Administer a confidential questionnaire once a term to all pupils(Appendix 5)
  • 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 would be in line with our policy on Complaints by Parents.
  • The enforcement of our Acceptable Use Policy in the school to include the necessary steps to ensure that the access to technology within the school is strictly monitored.

Implementation of curricula

  • The full implementation of the SPHE , the RSE and the Stay Safe Programmes
  • Continuous Professional Development for staff in delivering these programmes
  • School wide delivery of lessons on bullying from evidence based programmes eg. The Walk Tall Programme, The Stay Safe Programme.
  • School wide delivery of lessons on Relational Aggression (Cool School Programme: A Friend in Deed), Cyber Bullying (#UP2US, Be Safe Be Webwise, Think Before you Click, Let’s Fight it Together, Web wise Primary Teachers resources).
  • Delivery of the Garda SPHE Programmes. 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, PDST Booklet)
  • The work could extend into many other areas such as Art, Drama, Religious Education, and Physical Education. Co-operation and group work can be promoted through team sports as well as through practical subjects
  • Sporting activities in particular can provide opportunities for channelling and learning how to control aggression. Gaelic coaching is offered to some classes from outside agencies and volunteers from our parent body and the wider community are involved in coaching the schools gaelic teams.

Links to other policies

  • This policy should be read in conjunction with our Code of Behaviour, Child Protection Policy, Supervision Policy, Acceptable Use Policy, Attendance Policy, Parents’ Complaints Policy, etc.
  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:


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
  • 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 (see section 6.8.9 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools)

  • 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;
  • 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.

Follow up

  • 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) 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 the 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.

Informal pre-determination that bullying has occurred

  • 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. Recurring incidents will be recorded in a Bullying Incident book which is kept in the filing cabinet in each building.
  • 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.
  • The school in consultation with the relevant teacher/s should develop a protocol for the storage of all records retained by the relevant teacher. A Bullying Incident book will be kept in the filing cabinet in each building.

Formal Stage 2 – Appendix 4 (From DES Procedures)

The relevant teacher must use the recording template at Appendix 4 to record the bullying behaviour in the following circumstances;

  1. 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
  2. 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 school should list behaviours that must be recorded and reported immediately to the principal. These should be in line with the school’s code of behaviour.

When the recording template is used, it must be retained by the relevant teacher in question and a copy maintained by the principal. This Bullying Incident book will be kept in the filing cabinet in each building.

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) to support interventions
  • No Blame Approach
  • Circle Time
  • Peer mediation where suitable training has been given

The Procedures mention the following intervention strategies and reference Ken Rigby: Ken Rigby.pdf

  • The traditional disciplinary approach
  • Strengthening the victim
  • Mediation
  • Restorative practice
  • The Support Group Method
  • The Method of Shared Concern


  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)
  • 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.
  • Buddy/Peer mentoring system
  • Group work such as Circle Time
  • If pupils require counselling /further supports the school will endeavour to liaise with the appropriate agencies to organise same. 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.
  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.

  1. Prevention of Harassment

The Board of Management confirms that the school will, in accordance with its obligations under equality legislation, take all 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.


  1. This policy was reviewed by the Board of Management on ___________________


  1. This policy has been 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.



  1. 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: _____________________________

Chairman, Board of Management

Date: ___________________

Date of next review: ________________________


Swinford National School Anti Bullying Policy

Appendix 1 – Types of bullying and Examples of Bullying Behaviours

The following are some of the types of bullying that can occur amongst pupils:

Physical aggression: This behaviour includes pushing, shoving, punching, kicking, poking and tripping people. It may also take the form of severe physical assault. While pupils often engage in ‘mess fights’, they can sometimes be used as a disguise for physical harassment or inflicting pain.

Intimidation: Some bullying behaviour takes the form of intimidation: it may be based on the use of very aggressive body language with the voice being used as a weapon. Particularly upsetting can be a facial expression which conveys aggression and/or dislike.

Isolation/exclusion and other relational bullying: This occurs where a certain person is deliberately isolated, excluded or ignored by some or all of the class group. This practice is usually initiated by the person engaged in bullying behaviour and can be difficult to detect. It may be accompanied by writing insulting remarks about the pupil in public places, by passing around notes about or drawings of the pupil or by whispering insults about them loud enough to be heard. Relational bullying occurs when a person’s attempts to socialise and form relationships with peers are repeatedly rejected or undermined. One of the most common forms includes control: “Do this or I won’t be your friend anymore” (implied or stated); a group ganging up against one person (girl or boy); non-verbal gesturing; malicious gossip; spreading rumours about a person or giving them the “silent treatment”.

Cyber-bullying: This type of bullying is increasingly common and is continuously evolving. It is bullying carried out through the use of information and communication technologies such as text, social network sites, e-mail, instant messaging (IM), apps, gaming sites, chat-rooms and other online technologies. Being the target of inappropriate or hurtful messages is the most common form of online bullying. As cyber-bullying uses technology to perpetrate bullying behaviour and does not require face to face contact, cyber-bullying can occur at any time (day or night). Many forms of bullying can be facilitated through cyber-bullying. For example, a target may be sent homophobic test messages or pictures may be posted with negative comments about a person’s sexuality, appearance etc.

Name-calling: Persistent name calling directed at the same individual(s) that hurts, insults or humiliates should be regarded as a form of bullying behaviour. Often name calling of this type refers to physical appearance, e.g. size or clothes worn. Accent or distinctive voice characteristics may attract negative attention. Academic ability can also provoke name-calling. This tends to operate at two extremes. There are those who are singled out for attention because they are perceived to be weak academically. At the other extreme there are those who, because they are perceived as high achievers are also targeted.

Damage to property: Personal property can be the focus of attention for bullying behaviour. This may result in damage to clothing, mobile phone or other devices, school books and other learning material or interference with a pupil’s locker or bicycle. The contents of school bags and pencil cases may be scattered on the floor. Items of personal property may be defaced, broken, stolen or hidden.

Extortion: Demands for money may be made, often accompanied by threats (sometimes carried out in the event of the targeted pupil not delivering on the demand). A pupil may also be forced into theft of property for delivery to another who is engaged in the bullying behaviour.

Examples of Bullying Behaviours

The list of examples is non exhaustive, and schools may wish to add behaviours which reflect their own circumstances.




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, gender including transgender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community

·         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 above

Cyber ·         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 calls

·         Abusive telephone/mobile phone calls

·         Abusive text messages

·         Abusive email

·         Abusive communication on social networks e.g.Facebook/ 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 the 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

Relational This involves manipulating relationships as 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

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

Appendix 3

Practical tips for building a positive school culture and climate

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 about the appropriate use of social media
  • Positively encourage pupils to comply with the school rules on mobile phones and internet use
  • Follow-up and follow through with pupils who ignore the rules
  • Actively involve parents and /or the Parent’s Council 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.


Appendix 4

Template for Recording Bullying Behaviour

  1. Name of pupil being bullied and class group

Name: ____________________________________  Class: _______________________

  1. Name(s) and class(es) of pupil(s) engaged in bullying behaviour


  1. Sources of bullying concern/report – tick relevant box(es)
Pupil concerned


Other pupil(s)











  1. Location of incidents – tick relevant box(es)













  1. Name of person(s) who reported the bullying concerns


  1. Type of Bullying Behaviour – tick relevant box(es)
Physical aggression




Damage to property




Malicious gossip
Name calling


Other (specify)



  1. Brief Description of bullying behaviour and its impact



  1. Details of actions taken



Signed________________________________               Date ______________________

(Relevant teacher 1)


Date submitted to Principal/Deputy Principal __________________________________





Appendix 5

Swinford National School “Bullying Awareness Survey” – administered throughout the school every term


Name:______________________                       Date_____________________


Are you happy in class?          ____________________________________

Are you happy in the playground?__________________________________

Who is making you unhappy?______________________________________

How are they making you unhappy?________________________________

What are they doing to you? ______________________________________

Do you know someone whom you feel is being made feel unhappy?


Who is making them unhappy? ____________________________________

Have you anything else you want to say? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thank you for your honest answers.


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