Developing an Anti-Bullying Culture
I am very proud of the excellent standards of behaviour in our school and am so pleased with how our children look after one another. And I want to keep it this way!
Bullying behaviour will never be accepted in Maghaberry and so we regularly review our Anti-Bullying Procedures. As part of this process I am sharing our procedures with you and ask that you read them through and let me know if you have anything you would like to contribute.
Our Definition of Bullying is the repeated use of:
- any verbal, written or electronic communication,
- any other act (or omission), or
- any combination of those,
by a pupil or a group of pupils against another pupil or group of pupils, with the intention of causing physical or emotional harm to that pupil or group of pupils.
(from the Addressing Bulling in Schools Act, 2016)
Forms of Bullying
- Taunting, or disparaging a pupil, his/her abilities or achievements, physical appearance or way of talking, or his/her family;
- Telling lies/spreading rumours about a pupil;
- Offensive gestures, expressions and notes;
- Use of racist, sectarian, homophobic or disabilist language;
- Using digital technology, including Mobile Phones, Messaging Services, Email and the Internet to target, exclude, or in any way deride another pupil;
- Not talking to a pupil, or not letting him/her join in activities;
- Taking/hiding/damaging a pupil’s property;
- Physical attacks on a pupil;
- Incitement of others to bully or intimidate
The Department of Education’s View
Bullying must have no place in schools. It advises schools to act and be seen to act promptly and firmly to combat bullying wherever and whenever it occurs. (DENI 2001)
The School’s View – Statement against Bullying
We aim to establish an environment where the worth and value of each child is respected. Our goal is to ensure that all members of the school community work in a secure and caring environment. Each member has a responsibility to protect and maintain this ethos. Bullying, therefore, has no place in Maghaberry Primary School.
Procedures for Staff
- If bullying is reported or suspected, the teacher will immediately inform the Designated Teacher for Child Protection.
- Following consultation with the DT, the teacher will follow The Seven Steps and will ensure that a record is kept.
- If the Seven Steps are successful in obtaining a solution there will be no further action taken, although a record will be kept.
- If there is no improvement following The Seven Steps, or if there is a repetition of the bullying, the Discipline Procedures will be implemented.
- In certain circumstances (at the discretion of the Principal) involving very serious cases of bullying, the Seven Steps may be bypassed and discipline procedures immediately implemented.
Responsibilities of Staff in Maghaberry Primary School
Our Staff will:
- Foster in our pupils self-esteem, self-respect and respect for others;
- Uphold the rights of vulnerable groups and individuals;
- Demonstrate, by example, the high standards of personal and social behaviour we expect of our pupils;
- Discuss the implications of bullying for all concerned throughout the school;
- Make children aware of the distinction between bullying, and that which is not bullying;
- Be alert to signs of distress and other possible indications of bullying;
- Listen to children who have been bullied, take what they say seriously and act to support and protect them;
- Follow up any complaint by a parent about bullying, and report back promptly and fully on the action which has been taken;
- Deal with instances of bullying promptly and effectively, in accordance with agreed procedures;
- Record any reported instances of bullying and action taken;
- Ensure that Head of Key Stage is fully informed.
The Responsibilities of Pupils
We expect our pupils to:
- Refrain from being involved in any kind of bullying;
- Not to stand by and observe, but do something to help immediately, and not after the incident has occurred;
- Report to a member of staff any witnessed or suspected instances of bullying.
Anyone who becomes the target of bullies should:
- Tell someone they trust and not suffer in silence.
The Responsibilities of Parents
We ask our parents to support their children and the school by:
- Watching for signs of distress or unusual behaviour in their children;
- Advising their children to report any bullying to a member of staff and explain the implications of allowing the bullying to continue unchecked for themselves and for other pupils;
- Advising their children not to retaliate to any form of bullying;
- Being sympathetic and supportive towards their children, and reassuring them that appropriate action will be taken;
- Informing the school of any suspected bullying, even if their children are not involved;
- Co-operating with the school, if their children are accused of bullying and try to ascertain the truth.
The Responsibilities of All
- Work together to combat and, hopefully in time, to eradicate bullying.
The Seven Steps
Step One – meet with the victim
When the teacher finds out that bullying has happened s/he starts by talking to the victim about his/her feelings. S/he does not question him about the incidents but does need to know who was involved.
Step Two – convene a meeting with the people involved
The teacher arranges to meet with the group of pupils who have been involved. This will include some bystanders or colluders and even friends of the.
Step Three – explain the problem
S/he tells them about the way the victim is feeling and might use a poem, piece of writing or a drawing to emphasise his/her distress. At no time does s/he discuss the details of the incidents or allocate blame to the group.
Step Four – share responsibility
The teacher does not attribute blame but states that the group are responsible and can do something about it.
Step Five – ask the group for their ideas
Each member of the group is encouraged to suggest a way in which the victim could be helped to feel happier. The teacher should give some positive responses.
Step Six – leave it up to them
The teacher ends the meeting by passing over the responsibility to the group to solve the problem. S/he arranges to meet with them again to see how things are going.
Step Seven – meet them again
About a week later the teacher discusses with each student, including the victim, how things have been going. This allows the teacher to monitor the bullying and keeps the young people involved in the process.