St. Joseph’s Primary School  Anti – Bullying Policy

Introduction:In accordance with Circular 0045/2013, this new policy on Anti- Bullying has been formulated and approved by the Board of Management. St. Joseph’s Primary School community want to prevent and tackle bullying behaviour. We encourage everyone to become familiar with the policy.



  1. Full Compliance
  2. Key Principles of Best Practice
  3. Definition of Bullying
  4. Who is Responsible for What?
  5. Strategies for Education & Prevention
  6. Procedures re Bullying Behaviour
  7. Programme of Support for Pupils
  8. Supervision and Monitoring of Pupils
  9. Prevention of Harassment
  10. Adoption Date of Policy
  11. Availability of Policy
  12. Review of Policy
  13. List of Appendices


  • Appendix 1: St. Joseph’s Primary School Anti-Bullying Charter
  • Appendix 2: Practical Tips for Building a Positive School Culture & Climate
  • Appendix 3: Bullying Incident Investigation Form
  • Appendix 4: Incident Record Sheet
  • Appendix 5: Checklist for Annual Review of the Anti–Bullying Policy & it’s implementation


  1. Full Compliance: 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. Joseph’s Primary School, Charleville 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.


  1. Key Principles of Best Practice: 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 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;
  • 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; and
  • Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils;
  • Supports for staff;
  • Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies); and
  • On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the Anti-Bullying policy.


3.Definition of Bullying: 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 and bullying of those with disabilities or special educational needs.


Isolated or once-off incidents of intentional negative behaviour, 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.


4.Who is Responsible for What ? The relevant teachers for investigating and dealing with bullying are as follows:

  • Class Teacher: deals with the initial allegation/suspicion of bullying behaviour. Principal: where bullying behaviour is suspected by the class teacher the principal should be informed.
  • All staff are responsible for formulating the Behaviour Support System (Code of Behaviour, Anti-Bullying Policy, Supervision Rota).

See Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.


  1. 5. Strategies for Education & Prevention: The education and prevention strategies, including strategies specifically aimed at cyber- bullying and identity-based bullying that will be used by the school are as follows:


  • General:
    • An awareness on the part of staff of the extremely serious nature of bullying and the severe consequences that may result in situations where it is not addressed.
    • A recognition by staff of the fact that any student can be the victim of, or perpetrator of bullying behaviour.
    • Regular reminder in class of our school ethos where pupils and staff reflect on the importance of a positive school climate, where each individual is respected and where the development and preservation of self-esteem is valued.
    • Preventative strategies include staff vigilance and a comprehensive SPHE plan in every class.
    • A school approach to discipline which reflects the fact that pupils model their behaviour on adults and which therefore employs techniques such as positive motivation and recognition as opposed to methods based on threat and fear.
    • Raising the awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour through curricular initiative in areas such as novel exploration, drama, co-operation and the control of aggression.
    • The school Anti-Bullying Charter is displayed in all classrooms and opportunities to focus on the theme for an awareness week are taken in November each year.
    • Comprehensive supervision and monitoring measures are in place through which all areas of school activity are kept under observation. This includes separate junior infants, senior infants and first class yard areas for supervised play times.


Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying includes (but is not limited to) communicating via electronic means with the objective of causing hurt, fear, embarrassment, humiliation, alarm and/or distress to one or more persons. Cyber bullying includes the use of mobile phones and the internet with the objective of upsetting someone. It may take the form of general insults or impersonation, defamation or prejudice-based bullying.

Unlike other forms of bullying a once-off posting can constitute bullying.

While this policy addresses issues related to cyber bullying of students (i.e. situations in which one or more students are the victim[s] of bullying), the policy also applies to teaching and other school staff.


Key Measures re Cyber Bullying

  • Staff will endeavour to identify signs of cyber bullying and to keep informed about the technologies that children commonly use.
  • Advice will be communicated to help students protect themselves from being involved in bullying (as perpetrator or as victim) and to advise them on reporting any incidents.
  • Gardaí visit the school regularly and will talk about cyber bullying from time to time.
  • Students and staff are expected to comply with the school’s policy on the use of computers in the School. (Acceptable Use Policy)
  • Parents will be provided with information and advice on cyber bullying.
  • Parents and students are advised that it is illegal for a child under 13 to register with and use many social media networks, including Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat.
  • Joseph’s Primary School’s internet is filtered by PDST which endeavours to block access to inappropriate web sites, apps etc.


Identity Based Bullying

 Identity Based Bullying includes (but is not limited to) homophobic and transphobic bullying, racist bullying and bullying of those with disabilities or special educational needs.


Key Measures re Identity Bullying

“Our aim is to build a warm, caring, respectful and compassionate school atmosphere where each child feels accepted, trusted and valued” is central to our vision.

Many of the above issues are dealt with on an ongoing basis through our S.P.H.E. curriculum of which R.S.E. is a key component. Programmes such as Stay Safe and Walk Tall are followed in the school.


6.Procedures for Bullying Behaviour

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:


The School Recognises that:

  • early intervention is crucial
  • a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach should be adopted
  • incidents are best investigated outside the classroom situation
  • humiliation of victim or bully should be avoided at all costs
  • interviews should be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all pupils concerned
  • other pupils can sometimes provide useful information
  • dealing effectively with conflict in a non-aggressive manner is setting an example for pupils
  • parental input and co-operation is valuable
  • Both victim and bully need help.


Investigation of Bullying:

  • All interviews will take place outside the classroom situation with due regard to Child

Protection measures e.g. door to office/room will be left open.

  • A written record of discussions will be kept (see Appendix 4 Incident record Sheet)
  • And the pupil may be asked to give his own account, if this is appropriate.
  • If more than two individuals are involved, pupils will be interviewed individually and then they will be met as a group, where each will be asked to give his account. Each individual will be helped to handle the possible pressures that often face them from other members after interview by teacher/Principal.


  • If it is concluded that a pupil has engaged in bullying behaviour, it will be made clear to the child that they are in breach of the schools Code of Behaviour and Discipline.
  • Efforts will be made to assist the pupil in seeing the situation from the victim’s point of view.
  • In cases where bullying behaviour has occurred, parents/guardians of the two parties involved will be contacted. They will be referred to this school policy. Action being taken and the reason for it will be explained to them and ways in which they can reinforce or support the school action will be explored.


Follow Up:

  • Follow-up contact with the two parties may be organised to take place within one month of the investigation. The possible therapeutic effect of a bringing together of victim and bully at a future date will be considered if the victim is ready and agreeable to do so.
  • Following any incident of bullying, the school recognises that issues relating to the prevention of bullying may need to be examined. This will involve exploration of suitable programmes with victims, bullies and their peers. Whole school focus or specific class lessons may need to be revised dealing with respect, self-esteem, aggression or the issue of bullying itself.
  • If, during the course of the investigation, there are child protection concerns, the Children First 2011 guidelines become relevant as does the schools Child Protection policy.
  • Information re any past Bullying issues will be passed on to new teacher at the start of each year.
  • Where the school feels an individual needs specific support from outside agencies, a referral to NEPS will be considered.
  • The effectiveness of this school policy will be assessed regularly with regard to the level and type of bullying behaviour that may be happening in the school. Amendments will be made to reflect any change in approach deemed necessary.


Recording of Bullying Behaviour:

  • Where a bullying investigation has been carried out the class teacher will keep a written record of the incident. See Appendix 4.
  • Where the principal has used the Bullying Incident Investigation Record Form (see Appendix 3), a copy will be kept in the office along with his/her own records of the investigation. See Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools


7.Programme of Support for Pupils

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

  • The relevant teacher will endeavour to assure the child that they are the victim and that they did the right thing by telling.
  • The teacher will monitor the situation in the period after the bullying incident/s and regularly check with the child/children to see how things are going.
  • The Principal will follow up by checking in regularly on how the situation has developed.
  • Information re any past Bullying issues will be passed on to new teacher at the start of each year.

See Section 6.8 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.


  1. 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.Adoption Date of Policy:

 This policy was reviewed and updated by the Board of Management on 13th February 2024


  1. Availability of Policy:

This policy has been made available to school personnel, and a hard copy is readily accessible to parents and pupils on request. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.


12.Review of Policy:

 This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department. The Principal is required to report to the BOM once a term as to the number, if any, of reports that have been compiled and whether the matter has been resolved in accordance with this Policy.


The full document can be downloaded here Feb 2024 anti bullying policy