Anti-bullying policy

Anti-Bullying Policy

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 MARIAN COLLEGE 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 and child protection procedures 2018

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 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
    • explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying.
  • 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.


The Catholic School is committed to the development of the whole person, since in Christ, the perfect person, all human values find their fulfilment and unity.

The Marist School, as envisaged by Father Champagnat offers families and approach to education which draws faith, culture and life into harmony.  It is an approach which stresses the values of self-forgetfulness and openness to others, which presents culture as a way of drawing people together, and proposes knowledge as a duty of service.   Marist schools give priority to a pastoral care that is adapted to the needs of young people, and which gives particular attention to pupils who are in difficulty.

The Marist view of their own roles as educators has been articulated in In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat which enunciates the basic principle that

to bring up children properly we must love them and love them all equally

From this principle flows the five particular characteristics which they have identified as the “Marist style”.  These are Presence, Simplicity, Family Spirit, Love of Work, In the Way of Mary.    The booklet expands on these characteristics with phrases such as

  • present to young people in ways that show that we care for them personally
  • establish relationships with them in their own space and in their own culture
  • we seek to be neither obsessively vigilant nor negligently laissez-faire
  • contacts are genuine and straightforward
  • an atmosphere of humility and modesty
  • our way of educating is rooted in real life.
  • live as members of a loving family intuitively do
  • build community
  • each person should feel at home amongst us
  • respect the dignity and need of each young person
  • our leaders develop an organisational approach which reflects our values by encouraging a spirit of partnership and shared responsibility, while, at the same time, allowing for the responsible autonomy of each person involved in the educative process.

Thus the Marist school

  • educates in gospel values (especially hope, love, justice, reconciliation and freedom)
  • develops tolerance
  • welcomes and involves parents as partners and assists them in their primary task of handing on the faith
  • places strong emphasis on a sense of self-worth and self-esteem
  • ensures that the uniqueness and dignity of each person is respected and responded to (especially through its pastoral care practices)
  • does not define the success of one individual in terms of superiority over others
  • facilitates the harmonious development of the spiritual, social, emotional, moral, intellectual and physical endowments of each person
  • provides a broad curriculum which cultivates cultural and aesthetic elements as well as intellectual and physical
  • responds to the expectations and needs of today’s young people
  • exercises a prophetic role in society especially on such issues as Justice, Peace and the Environment
  • leads students to imitate Mary by listening to God in their lives and by being attentive to and serving others
  • leads staff to be a caring presence for each other and for the students
  • fosters a family spirit that manifests itself in close co-operation between parents, students and teachers.

Finally, and very importantly, in the search for excellence, the students will be helped by a team of teachers of spirit, energy, humour and idealism who believe in the importance of self-esteem, character, integrity and conviction, and who are particularly proud of the happy, disciplined and caring environment that has always been the hallmark of the College.

Each student is expected to subscribe to the ethos of the College, to comply with the code of discipline, and to participate fully in the life of the school.

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
  • 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 are 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.


We at Marian College commit ourselves to working together to maintain a working and learning environment that recognises, protects, encourages and supports the right to dignity of each student, each teacher, each other employee and each visitor to the College.   All who work and study here are expected to respect the right of each individual to dignity in their working and learning life.  All will be treated equally and respected for their individuality and diversity.  Bullying in any form is not accepted by us and will not be tolerated.

The College is committed to the promotion of the wellbeing of everyone within our community.  We believe that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and courtesy, and deserves to be valued for themselves in all their uniqueness.

Bullying negates all the values we stand for.   It is unacceptable, destructive and damaging.   Nobody deserves it and nobody should be asked to put up with it.

The College therefore deplores bullying in any form, takes it very seriously and is committed to opposing it at every turn.  Our commitment is demonstrated by the ethos of respect that we promote at all levels of the school.  It begins in the classroom where every student is taught the value of social responsibility, of respecting others and standing up for anyone who is victimised.   As staff, we set an example for students by the manner in which we conduct our relationships, both with them and with each other.  We look for tell-tale signs and encourage parents to be vigilant and to contact the school if something is amiss.   It is our belief that the first step in stopping bullying is that it be reported.

4. Strategies

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 school community must continually re-state its commitment to the dignity of everyone in the community

  • through constant reference to the anti-bullying charter (see below) in teachers’ classrooms and at assemblies
  • through the work of the Care Team, SEN Team, Senior leadership Team, SCP team and wellbeing mentors
  • through discussions at Student Council, PTA, Staff and Board meetings
  • through our Marist Leadership programme

The staff, as well as the PTA, are conscious of the dangers of cyber-bullying (i.e. the use of information and communication technologies [ICT] to support deliberate, repeated and hostile behaviour by an individual or group that is intended to harm others).

CPD regarding cyber-bullying will be provided for parents and teachers. Restorative practice will be used as part of the armoury of the school in dealing with bullying behaviour. Please also see our acceptable use policy, GDPR policy, child protection policy etc

Each classroom to get a copy of our anti-bullying charter. Anti-bullying to be particularly highlighted during Positive Mental health week.

Student Charter – Bullying

We will not bully other pupils

We will care for each other’s safety and well being

We will try to help pupils who are bullied

We will make every effort to include pupils who are left out

We will report all incidents of bullying

We will not touch another’s belongings without their permission

We will not upset, insult, hurt, jeer others or frequently use derogatory names

We won’t tolerate bullying of any description in this class

5. Practical examples, tips, systems

  • Model respectful behaviour to all members of the school community at all times.
  • Explicitly teach pupils what respectful language and respectful behaviour looks like, acts like, sounds like and feels like in class and around the school. – SPHE, RSE and Wellbeing programmes and subject curricula
  • Display key respect messages in classrooms, in assembly areas and around the school.
  • Catch them being good – notice and acknowledge desired respectful behaviour by providing positive attention- positive feedback through the school year and at assemblies including systems of encouragement and rewards
  • Consistently tackle the use of discriminatory and derogatory language in the school – this includes homophobic and racist language and language that is belittling of pupils with a disability or SEN.
  • Give constructive feedback to pupils when respectful behaviour and respectful language are absent.
  • Explicitly teach pupils about the appropriate use of social media- digital media literacy progammes at junior cycle
  • Positively encourage pupils to comply with the school rules on mobile phone and internet use.
  • Follow up and follow through with pupils who ignore the rules.
  • Actively involve parents and/or the Parents’ Association in awareness raising campaigns around social media.
  • All staff can actively watch out for signs of bullying behaviour.
  • Ensure there is adequate outdoor supervision.
  • Support the establishment and work of student councils and Marist leadership programme
  • Reinforce message throughout the school year and at various key focus dates: active week, diversity week, Marist week, positive mental health week
  • Through extra-curricular sports and clubs
  • Through 1 to 1 guidance/ counselling
  • Through SCP programme
  • Feedback information to teaching staff from primary schools
  • Induction programme for 1st years and team building programme
  • CPD / guest speakers for staff and parents and students
  • FUSE programme
  • 1st year circle time and paired reading programme

6. Investigation of bullying

Reporting bullying behaviour

Bullying – or suspicion of it – should be reported by a student or parent to a teacher, to a year head, to a wellbeing mentor, to the Home School Liaison Teacher, or directly to the Deputy Principal or Principal.

Initially, the year head may consider the alleged bullying behaviour and carry out an initial investigation. When such a report warrants further intervention, the matter will be brought to the Deputy Principal. (In the absence of the Deputy Principal the investigation will be conducted by the Principal)

There will be a quick but low-key response which respects all parties.  The investigation will continue until the matter has been resolved.


When the Deputy Principal (or in his absence the Principal) receives a report of bullying, he/she will investigate the matter in a sensitive manner.

  • Talking separately with the student carrying out the bullying as well as the student being bullied
  • Talking with the students together using restorative practice techniques- When analysing incidents of bullying behaviour, the relevant teacher should seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why. This should 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 should be interviewed individually at first. Thereafter, all those involved should be met as a group.
  • Having ascertained the facts, he/she will then choose the appropriate action depending on the seriousness of the incidents
  • Talking with the parents of the students
  • Feedback to the relevant teacher, year head etc.

Using the disciplinary code, including suspension and recommendation of expulsion, if the incident warrants such action.

At the end of the process, the Deputy Principal may complete a standard report form and a generalised report on bullying incidents will be prepared for each Board meeting and presented to the Board by the Principal.

The principal will reference bullying under the CPOR at board meetings

Support programme

The Deputy Principal will report bullying incidents to the weekly SLT meeting- Senior Leadership Team

The Deputy Principal or principal will report bullying incidents to the weekly Pastoral Care team meeting.  Further support will be provided by the relevant members of the Pastoral Care team which consists of the Principal, Deputy Principal, Guidance Counsellor, Special Needs Co-ordinator, Home School Community Liaison teacher, School Completion coordinator

The SLT, SEN and Care teams will consider bullying prevention and improvements as part of their annual system reviews

The Procedures mention the following intervention strategies and reference Ken Rigby; Ken Rigby.pdf

Other resources

Impact of bullying

Anti-bullying resources

Advice for parents and pupils

National disability council- prevention of bullying for SEN students

web wise


PDST resources

SPHE / RSE /subject specific resources

Commitment of Board of Management

  1. Prevention of bullying:  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.
  1. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on 11th October 2021
  1. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website and provided to the Parents’ Association. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.
  1. 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, provided to the Parents’ Association and made available on request- It will be published in the school foyer. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department of Education.

Signed: ___Bro PJ McGowan________          Signed: ____Oonagh McCaul_______

                 (Chairperson of Board of Management)                        (Principal)

Date:   11th Oct 2021