Loreto College - Coleraine, Co. Derry, Northern Ireland
Loreto Crest

Anti-Bullying Policy

The College will do its utmost to prevent pupils from becoming either victims or perpetrators of bullying.  The College is proactive in creating a whole school anti-bullying ethos and culture.  In the Pastoral Programme pupils are made aware of the various forms of bullying and the circumstances in which it tends to occur.  The School Rules and Positive Behaviour and Discipline Policy outline the behaviour which the College expects of its students.  All students, staff and parents are encouraged to be vigilant in the recognition and reporting of bullying.  Sanctions are administered in accordance with the Positive Behaviour and Discipline Policy of the College, but the main emphasis is on promoting positive behaviour.

Awareness of the nature of bullying is part of the whole school curriculum.  The College accepts a definition of bullying which includes bullying of one person by another irrespective of rank within the school, but recognises that the overwhelming majority of incidents are likely to be pupil to pupil.  All other reported or suspected incidents will be dealt with directly by the Principal.

It should be noted that the College reserves the right to discipline pupils for their actions/behaviour outside school.

Aim of the Policy
The aim of this policy is to ensure that pupils learn in a safe, supportive and caring environment without fear of being bullied.  Bullying is regarded as anti-social behaviour and affects everyone.  It is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

It is the aim of the College to create such an environment where pupils feel confident about reporting bullying, seeking help and knowing they will receive support and help.

Bullying may be defined as deliberately hurtful behaviour, repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves.  The four main types of bullying are:
• physical e.g. hitting, theft
• verbal e.g. name calling, spiteful/hurtful remarks
• indirect e.g. exclusion, spreading rumours
• threatening, intimidating behaviour including phone, text and cyber-bullying
Pupils who are being bullied may show changes in behaviour e.g. becoming nervous, withdrawn, feigning illness, not eating, not wanting to come to school etc.  There may be evidence of changes in work patterns, application, concentration, late-coming or truanting from school.

Pupils must be encouraged to report bullying.  The notion that if it is ignored it will go away is wrong.  Often the perpetrators have themselves been bullied at a younger age.  They also need help.
All the staff in the College will be alert to signs of bullying and act promptly and firmly to deal with it.  Bullying falls into the SERIOUS category of offences and may become GRAVE.

Implementation of Policy
1 The College
 The following steps will be taken when dealing with incidents of bullying

• if bullying is suspected or reported it will be dealt with immediately by the member of staff who becomes aware of it.
• the incident will be reported to the Form Teacher and/or Year Head
• the pupils concerned will be interviewed to determine the extent of the problem
• if considered necessary parents will be informed
• if considered necessary subject teachers will be informed
• disciplinary measures may be used and parents informed (see below)

2 The Pupils
Pupils who have been bullied will be supported by

• offering an opportunity to discuss the incident with a member of staff (usually the Form teacher or Year Head)
• reassuring the pupil
• offering on-going support
• working to restore the self-esteem and confidence of the pupil
• encouraging the pupil to discuss the incident with parents
• offering counselling within the College

Pupils who have bullied will be helped by
• offering an opportunity to discuss the incident with a member of staff
• discussing why and how the situation came about
• establishing the wrong-doing and the need for it not to be repeated
• informing parents/guardians and seeking their assistance in these areas
• offering counselling within the College

The following disciplinary steps may be taken in relation to incidents of bullying
• verbal warning by member of staff
• detention (parents informed)
• suspension (parents informed and invited to interview with the Principal)
• expulsion (dealt with at Board of Governor level)

Teachers will endeavour to keep incidents of bullying in perspective, making a distinction between minor and more serious incidents, isolated and repetitive incidents.  They will also use their judgement based upon comparative incidents, the particular circumstances of the incident, the age of the pupil(s) and the record of the pupil(s) concerned.

As a learning-for-all school the College is committed to promoting and facilitating relevant training for both the professional and personal development of staff enabling them to carry out their duties and responsibilities more effectively.

The College will review this policy annually.  It will be promoted and implemented throughout the school.

Related Policies
Code of Conduct Policy
General Complaints Policy
Guidelines for Self-Protection
Use of Reasonable Force
Using Images of Pupils and Staff – Guidance
Education for Wholeness, Dignity and Self Esteem
ICT Policy regarding misuse of.
School Rules regarding mobile phones and recording devices.