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Department of Education and Skills Action Plan on Bullying And Department of Education and Skills Anti-Bullying procedures Available on

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1 Department of Education and Skills Action Plan on Bullying And Department of Education and Skills Anti-Bullying procedures Available on

2 Background, context What was the situation beforehand? SPHE curriculum, Code of Behaviour, All policies must reflect the equality legislation How came the thinking that led to the change? What were the driving forces? Elements of context? High rate of suicide in Ireland, high number of teen suicides associated with bullying Working group established to consider what could be done to address bullying: It consulted with government departments and agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), academics and researchers, colleagues from the UK and individuals who had experience of bullying. It considered national and international literature and research on approaches and interventions that have been tried over recent decades. The impact of bullying and the very serious consequences for individuals and families was also considered. It considered what children and young people had to say about bullying and how it impacts on their lives. The Ombudsman for Children’s Report, which was produced during the course of the work of the group, was very helpful, as were the various recent surveys and reports which consulted young people.

3 Action Plan on Bullying (January 2013). Action Plan on Bullying Launched by the Minister for Education and Skills, and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs “Bullying can have a devastating effect on our children and young people that can sometimes end in tragedy….. I ….want to see implementation begin immediately, alongside other related initiatives, including the new Well-Being in Post-Primary Schools: Guidelines for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention (2013)…..” “Today is a significant step in the Government’s absolute commitment to address the serious impact which bullying continues to have on our children. This Action Plan on Bullying is the first of its kind in Ireland and highlights the critical role of schools in dealing with bullying. Bullying is not limited to classrooms, so we must have a broader approach. That means making sure that wherever young people are, they are protected by strong anti-bullying guidelines and strong practice. ’’

4 Action Plan on BullyingAction Plan on Bullying (January 2013). Action plan committed to: Supporting a media campaign focused on cyber bullying; Training for parents and for school boards of management; support Stand Up! Awareness Week Against Homophobic Bullying organised by BeLonG To Youth Services; Enhancing Teacher Education and CPD, revise some school programmes and curriculum and address stereotyping in publications, And Begin development immediately of new national anti-bullying procedures for all schools.

5 ANTI-BULLYING PROCEDURES FOR PRIMARY AND POST-PRIMARY SCHOOLS (2013) The purpose of these procedures is to…. give direction and guidance to school authorities and school personnel in preventing and tackling school-based bullying behaviour amongst its pupils and in dealing with any negative impact within school of bullying behaviour that occurs elsewhere. All Boards of Management must formally adopt and implement an anti-bullying policy that fully complies with the requirements of these procedures. The school’s anti-bullying policy must 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) and to the Department (e.g. the Inspectorate) if requested.

6 Definition of bullying…… ‘Bullying is defined as unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical, conducted by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time. These procedures make clear that this definition includes cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying (such as homophobic bullying and racist bullying).’ Types of bullying - Physical aggression, Intimidation, Isolation/exclusion and other relational bullying, cyber bullying, name calling, damage to property, extortion, Homophobic and transphobic bullying (bullying targeted at those who are or who are perceived to be LGBT) has also been found to be prevalent with evidence that such pupils have particular difficulty in speaking up or reporting the bullying behaviour. Key principles of best practice for both preventing and tackling bullying are: o Positive school culture and climate, Effective leadership, a school-wide approach, a shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact, iimplementation of education and prevention strategies (including awareness raising measures); 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.

7 These procedures emphasize prevention of bullying. A school must state the education and prevention strategies that will be implemented and it must deal with the issue of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying. These procedures emphasize resolution and the restoration of the relationships of the parties involved (rather than to apportion blame). Role of the teacher: Where bullying behaviour has occurred- o the parents should be contacted at an early stage to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken and o the 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. o If the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days, t he teacher must use Appendix 3 to record the behaviour and must provide a copy to the Principal or Deputy Principal.

8 Role of the principal: At least once in every school term, the Principal will provide a report to the Board setting out: the overall number of bullying cases reported to the Principal or Deputy Principal since the previous report to the Board and confirmation that all of these cases have been, or are being, dealt with in accordance with the school’s anti-bullying policy and these procedures. Role of the Board: The Board must undertake an annual review of the school’s anti-bullying policy and its implementation by the school. A standardised notification which must be used for this purpose is included at Appendix 4. A record of the review and its outcome must be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.

9  - What has been the impact? What the next steps are?

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