Bullying Policy

Bullying Policy

Policy Owner: St. Paul’s Secondary School
Policy Status: Final
Rev. No.

Approved By BOM

Operational Plan Period
Review of Policy
Rev 1
1 year
Rev 2
2 years
Rev 3
2 years
Rev 4 21-5-2014 22-5-2014 2 years 22-5-2016


St Paul’s Secondary School Mission Statement

St. Paul’s Secondary School provides an inclusive climate of learning based on the key value of respect within a nurturing and stimulating educational setting.
We are a secondary school of the community for the community. Each student is expected to strive to fulfil his or her potential. Each person is encouraged to develop personally, academically, spiritually, socially and culturally.

“When we aspire, believe and achieve, together we can succeed.”

St Paul’s Secondary School Ethos

St. Paul’s Secondary School is a Catholic voluntary co-educational secondary school under the Trusteeship of the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin. St Paul’s is a welcoming and inclusive school. It is the secondary school of the community, for the community. It is the natural extension of the family with brothers and sisters, neighbours and relations learning, sharing and growing together.

The school strives to maintain and promote an atmosphere of Christian care, concern and respect where our students grow into well-adjusted men and women. The school has a strong Christian tradition, in which the Sisters of Mercy have had, and continue to have, an important role.

Inbuilt structures and procedures in the daily life of the school offer the students opportunities to develop personal initiative and responsibility, together with a questioning mind, which will help them assess, with a critical eye, the wide and varied values of the world they live in today. In school they also learn the importance of personal commitment, punctuality, regular attendance, planning for the future and working as a team.

At St Paul’s the holistic development of each student is supported, promoted, encouraged and celebrated. On completion of their education students will be prepared for life, further education, work and the varied and exciting challenges of adult life.
In preparation for life, students at St Paul’s will be taught essential habits, skills and values. Christian values and the key principles of “respect” and “doing one’s best” will remain central to what we are and all we do.

Through its curriculum, teachers and timetable, the school will provide a comprehensive education for its students. Subjects will be offered at all levels and programmes and specific courses of study will be tailored to the students’ needs. A wide range of additional academic opportunities will be afforded to students. Support, advice and guidance on further education and careers will be extensive.

Through its unique atmosphere, the school will help students develop into well-adjusted men and women. Through its pastoral care and guidance, students and their families will be supported through difficult times. The provision of physical education, sports and the promotion of healthy living will remain paramount. Through extra-curricular, subject and programme related activities students will have many opportunities to showcase their talents, perform or experience the arts. The School Charter sets out the conditions and the expectations for all the school partners to achieve St Paul’s Mission Statement through the school ethos.

Section 2:

Aims of the Bullying Policy:

  1. To give a rationale for the Anti-Bullying Policy
  2. To detail the key principles of best practice used by the school.
  3. To define bullying.
  4. To detail the relevant teacher and staff members who deal with bullying
  5. To detail the education and prevention strategies that will be used by the school.
  6. To outline the procedures for investigation, follow-up and recording of bullying behaviour.
  7. To detail the school’s programme of support to students affected by bullying.
  8. To detail the schools supervision and monitoring of students.


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 St Paul’s Secondary 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.

(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.


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 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.

The list of examples of bullying behaviour below is non-exhaustive:

Examples of Bullying Behaviour

General behaviours which apply to all
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Denigration: Spreading rumors, 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/YouTube/Snapchat/ Instagram 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

RelationalThis involves manipulating relationships as a 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”


  • Unwelcome or inappropriate  sexual comments or touching
  • Harassment

Special Educational Needs,
Gifted StudentsHigh Achievers

  • 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
  • Name calling
  • Exclusion
  • Isolation
  • “The Look”

The school reserves the right to apply its bullying policy in respect of bullying that occurs at a location, activity, function or programme that is not school related if in the opinion of the Principal and/or Board of Management the alleged bullying has created a hostile environment at school for the victim, has infringed on the rights of the victim of the school and/or has materially or substantially disrupted the education process or orderly operation of the school. Similarly the school will deal with false accusations of bullying as per the code of behaviour.


4. The relevant teacher for investigating and dealing with bullying are as follows:

In St. Paul’s Secondary School the relevant teacher for investigating and dealing with bullying is Ms Martina Behan:
Ms Behan will be supported by any one of the following from the Pastoral Care Team
Year Head.
Deputy Principal.


5. 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

The policy addresses bullying behaviour, harassment and sexual harassment.
While it primarily addresses issues related to bullying of students, it applies also to teaching and other school staff, parents/guardians and others insofar as measures under the policy relate to them.

The policy applies

  • During school time (including break and lunch times)
  • Going to and from school
  • During school tours/fieldtrips
  • During extra-curricular activities
  • To any behaviour of a bullying nature (outside school) which seriously impacts on a students’ participation in school and / or where the matter relates to the school’s duty of care of a student.

Actions to prevent bullying

  • Our Anti-Bullying Policy is an integral part of St. Paul’s Secondary School’s Code of Behaviour.
  • Everyone in this school has a duty to look out for any behaviour which can be deemed bullying (from the table in Section 3). This includes parents/guardians and the wider school community.
  • The following Bullying Statement is placed in all classrooms.

Here at St. Paul’s our aim is to provide an environment in which all can teach, learn and work free from intimidation.

  • Ensuring all parents/guardians receives a copy of this policy prior to commencing school including the advice sheet for parents and guardians see appendix A.
  • Assigning a relevant teacher and providing training for same.
  • Educating staff members on how to recognise and deal with bullying.
  • Supporting the Meitheal leaders in their work with 1st years.
  • Educating and supporting prefects in their work.
  • Include Bullying in the code of discipline and in school journals.
  • Reviewing this written policy periodically.
  • Displaying the statement on bullying in each classroom and on corridors.
  • Educating students through the SPHE programme at Junior Cycle regarding bullying in all its forms including cyberbullying, homophobic and transphobic bullying.
  • Educating students through the Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) programme by providing opportunities to explore and discuss areas such as human sexuality and relationships, which have particular relevance to identity based bullying.
  • Ensuring that within the teaching of all subjects there is an attitude of respect for all: to promote the value of diversity; to address prejudice and stereotying and to highlight the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.
  • Ensuring appropriate supervision of students.
  • Providing an anonymous comment box.
  • Ensure bystanders understand the importance of telling if they witness or know that bullying is taking place.

Links to other policies and to curriculum:

  • Admissions Policy.
  • Code of Behaviour.
  • Child Protection Policy
  • Critical Incident Policy
  • Internet Use.
  • Substance Abuse
  • SPHE and RSE Curriculum
  • Dignity at Work Policy

Other activities that support the promotion of this policy may include

  • A Bullying Awareness Day/ Week
  • Posters and Displays
  • Visual Arts Display – where student’s work (Poems slogans) are displayed.
  • An awareness evening for parents.


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

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, must 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.
  • Any incidents of bullying behaviour towards a staff member will be dealt with through the school’s Dignity at Work Policy.

Investigating and dealing with incidents: Style of approach
When an allegation of bullying is brought to the attention of the school staff, the relevant teacher, supported by any one of the afore mentioned Pastoral Care Team, will investigate and depending on the nature of the allegation, the following procedures are usually applied

  • 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 will 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 will 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 will 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 will 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 will seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why. This will 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 will be interviewed individually. Thereafter, those involved may be met as a group.
  • Each member of a group will 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 will 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 will 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 will be made clear to him/her how he/she is in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy and efforts will be made to try to get him/her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied;
  • It will 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 and recording
In determining whether a bullying case has been adequately and appropriately addressed the relevant teacher will, as part of their 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;

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 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 will advise the parents 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. The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour are as follows:

Informal – pre-determination that bullying has occurred

  • All staff must keep a written record of any incidents witnessed by them or notified to them. Consideration needs to be given to where the records will be made e.g. incident book. All incidents must be reported to the relevant teacher
  • 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 should inform the principal of all incidents being investigated.

 Informal-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 relevant teacher will be responsible for securely storing all records.


7. The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows

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.

  • Counsellor
  • Year Head
  • Form Teacher
  • Meitheal
  • Prefects

If pupils require counselling of 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.


8. 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.

  • There are agreed appropriate monitoring and supervision practices in the school.
  • Bullying danger spots been identified
  • Parents and pupils been consulted in the identification of these danger spots
  • Senior pupils, Meitheal leaders and Prefects will be involved as a resource to assist in counteracting bullying.
  • In relation to Acceptable Use Policy in the school are the following issues addressed:
    • Internet sessions are supervised by a teacher
    • The school regularly monitor pupils’ Internet usage.
    • Pupils have been instructed to access only those chat rooms, discussion forums and messaging or other electronic communication fora 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. 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.


10. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on ________________ [date].


11. 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.


12. 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.

Signed: ______________________                Signed: ___________________________

(Chairperson of Board of Management)                                  (Principal)

Date: ______________                                  Date: __________________

Date of next review: _______________