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 (National Educational Welfare Board), the Board of Management of Good Shepherd N.S. 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 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 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
  • Effective leadership
  • A school-wide approach
  • A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact
  • Implementation of education and prevention strategies (including awareness-raising measures) that:
  • build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils
  • explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying, in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying
  • Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils
  • Supports for staff
  • Consistent recording, investigation and follow-up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies)
  • 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
  • identity-based bullying such of homophobic bullying, racist bullying, bullying based on a person’s ethnicity 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. For more information see:


4. The relevant teacher/s for investigating and dealing with bullying is/are as follows:
  • Normally, the relevant teacher for investigating and dealing with bullying is the class teacher.
  • Incidents can be brought to the attention of the class teacher by other teachers or staff members who observe behaviour on corridors, on buses (going on school tours, or to the swimming pool), in the school yard, etc.
  • A pupil or a parent may bring any bullying concerns to the attention of the class teacher for investigation also.
  • It will then be up to the class teacher to determine whether the incident is an isolated one and needs to be dealt with under the school’s Code of Behaviour, or whether it meets with the definition of bullying as set out at the outset of this Policy Document.
  • The class teacher will then investigate and deal with the bullying behaviour.
  • In this s/he may seek support and a second opinion from the Deputy Principal / Principal.
  • The class teacher must keep written records of his/her investigations and results and a copy of these must be given to the Deputy Principal for filing in a School Bullying File if investigations show it is deemed a bullying incident (Appendix 1)
  • The primary aim of 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).
  • Teachers should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying behaviour.
  • Incidents are best investigated outside the classroom to ensure the privacy of all involved.
  • 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’. 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.
  • 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.
  • In all cases where the relevant teacher considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately resolved within 20 school days after the behaviour occurred, it MUST be recorded using the template in Appendix 1.

5. The education and prevention strategies that can be used by the school are as follows:
  • The Stay Safe Programme
  • RSE and Walk Tall
  • Trained staff deliver the ‘Friends for Life’ programme with 5th and 6th
  • Guest speakers for 5th and 6th classes –on internet safety.
  • Circle Time
  • Grow in Love
  • All of these education programmes emphasise building up the child’s self-esteem and ability to disclose anything they are concerned about to a trusted adult
  • The Solemn Covenant against Bullying in our School Diary must be signed annually with all children have from 1st to 6th class
  • Buddy Bench (red bench) on junior and senior yard
  • Older children visiting junior yard to encourage ease of play and friendship development.

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:
  • Incidents are to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis
  • Discretion is emphasised
  • Specific use of some of the programmes named in No. 5 above can be used as needed
  • Written records are to be kept by the relevant teacher
  • All reports of alleged bullying are to be investigated
  • Parents are required to be involved and need to co-operate in the investigation.
  • Records are kept on file by the Principal and/or Deputy Principal for the following purposes:
  • Any incidents of bullying are highlighted at every BOM meeting.
  • Information on incidents of bullying will be given to the DES on request
  • Relevant information will be shared among staff when changing class/teacher to facilitate following up of both perpetrators and victims.
  • All incidents of bullying are dealt with according to this policy.

7. The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying includes:
  • Involving and updating parents
  • Ongoing contact between the parents and the HSCL teacher
  • Use all resources available to build the self-esteem
  • Ongoing close observation of all children involved
  • Target lessons using Stay Safe, Walk Tall, Friends for life, incredible years etc.
  • Keep reiterating the message that it’s good to tell, to ask for help, keep lines of communication open
  • Look into the reasons for the bully to behave as they did (e.g. their background, bullied in the past etc.).

8. Supervision and Monitoring of Pupils
The BOM confirms that appropriate supervision and monitoring policies and practices are in place to deal with bullying behaviour and to facilitate early intervention where possible.

9. Prevention of Harassment
The BOM confirms that the school will, in accordance with its obligations under equality legislation, take all such steps that are reasonably practicable to prevent 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 ethnicity.

10. Availability
This Policy has been made available to school personnel and is readily accessible to parents and pupils on the school’s website. A copy of this Policy will be made available to the Patron and the Department of Education and Skills if requested.

11. Review
This Policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the BOM as part of our annual Child Protection review. Written notification that the review has been completed will be made available to all school personnel and parents by newsletter. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available to the Patron and the Department of Education and Skills if requested.

12. Ratification
This Anti-Bullying Policy was reviewed and approved by the Board of Management of the Good Shepherd National School at its meeting held on 7th March 2019.

Signed: Órlaith Veale


Signed: William McAuliffe

Chairperson Board of Management

Date of next review: March 2020