School Policies

Healthy Eating Policy

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Introductory Statement

  This policy was formulated following consultation with members of staff and discussion with class pupils.            



It was decided to focus on this area for development in order to improve the pupils’ eating habits and thus increase awareness of their own health. Our SPHE / Science and PE programmes endorse this view:


·         Strand Unit:Taking Care of My Body: Food and Nutrition  (Curriculum J. Infants – 6thClass Making choices (See Teacher Guidelines, pp 11-13)


·         Living Things: Strand Unit: Myself: Human Life Processes   (Curriculum J. Infants – 6th  Class) (See Teacher Guidelines p.10-11)                      


·         Encompassing all strand units

Relationship to Characteristic Spirit of the School

  In accordance with our aim to develop the pupils to the best of their ability so that they achieve their potential, we see ourselves as having a role in

  the process of enabling pupils to increase control over their eating habits and thus improve their health.                              




             Ideally, we hope:

·         To heighten an awareness of the importance of a balanced diet

·         To encourage the children to make wise choices about food and nutrition

·         To raise levels of concentration within class by way of consumption of healthy food

·         To encourage pupils to be aware, alert and responsive to litter problems caused by junk food,pre-prepared food, juice cartons etc.

·         To enable the children to develop  healthy eating habits for life.

·         To foster an awareness and an appreciation of the value of preparing one’s own food as opposed to an over-dependency on processed foods.

·         To increase pupils’ awareness of reading the wrapper to establish and compare the nutritional value of food products.

The current practice is –

                           Healthy eating Monday through Friday - a small treat is allowed on Fridays (e.g.  a mini-bar, biscuit or bun)


A healthy lunch is a recommended mix of items from the food pyramid.                                                                           

Foods from the top tier of the food pyramid should not be included in your child’s lunchbox.


Children study the food pyramid in class during SPHE. In recent years great progress has been made by many pupils in our water only initiative with as many as 90% of some classes drinking water only.With your help as parents we hope to extend this to 100%.

  Drinks :

·         Water

·         Milk

·         Homemade juices,

·         Home flavoured water.


      *  Children should be encouraged to use re-useable containers for safety and litter reasons. Cans and glass bottles are not permitted.      

  Suggestions for a healthy lunchbox: 

·         Sandwiches or rolls with cheese, meat, tuna, egg or other fillings

·         Pitta bread, wraps,crackers,crispbread, ryvita, rice cakes(plain), pretzels

·         Fruit (peeled and chopped for small children)

·         Raisins

·         Pasta, rice, couscous

·         Salad Small, plain biscuits (no chocolate)

·         Yoghurt (easy to open)

·         Fruit (for example, an apple or banana, handful of grapes)

·         Washed, raw vegetable pieces (for example, sticks of carrot, celery, peppers, cucumber,cherry tomatoes, mangetout etc.)

·         Plain breadsticks, unsalted plain or wholewheat crackers, crispbreads or water biscuits served with fruit or cheese.

·         Plain rice cakes.

·         Wholemeal, fruit/plain scones.

The following foods do not support a healthy lunch policy and should be excluded from your child’s lunch box:

 crisps, chewing gum, sweets ,bars including cereal bars, cakes, lollipops, chocolate, winders, crispie buns and especially peanuts and nut products.

       Please note

·         It isn’t possible to include everything but  foods which are high in sugar, colourings and additives are bad for one’s teeth and one’s health       and should be avoided.

·         In the interests of best practice and fairness to all pupils, birthday parties/cakes cannot be accommodated in school.

** Children should never share their lunches (owing to allergies etc.).**

Due to the incidence of severe allergy to peanuts and mixed nuts amongst some pupils, we ask you to be vigilant in the following:-

  • Avoid peanuts or any other type of nut in school lunches.
  • Avoid giving peanut butter sandwiches, chocolate spreads containing nuts such as  Nutella, nut based breads and cereal/health bars containing nuts or labelled “may contain nut traces” in school lunches.  

        Promotion of the Policy:

       All members of the teaching staff promote this policy through regular verbal reminders and good example to the children.                                                           

        If children bring” discouraged” food / drinks to school:

-  They will be allowed to eat/drink them, but warned not to bring them on other days.

      -     If they persist in bringing unhealthy food to school, the teacher will inform parents re Healthy Eating Policy throughout the school.


          Exceptions are allowed:

−    End of term parties

−    School trips

    −    School events – concerts, matches, etc.

    −    Friday treat


EAL Policy

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Introductory Statement 

This policy was devised following a consultative process with all interested parties and is guided by the relevant legislation such as DES Circular 0015/2009, Primary School Assessment Kit, DES 2007, the Toolkit for Diversity in the Primary School, 2007, Intercultural Education in the Primary School, Guidelines for schools, NCCA 2005 and Up and Away IILT 2006


This policy was drawn up in order to

·         Promote and facilitate the inclusion of all children in Holy Family School

·         Promote the EAL pupils’ development of English Language proficiency so that they can gradually gain access to the curriculum

·         Ensure that pupils are encouraged and facilitated to maintain a connection with their own culture and language

·         Nurture each child to develop his/her potential in a caring environment where the talents of each child are valued

Relationship to characteristic spirit of the school

The main aim of this policy is to create an inclusive school environment which reflects and affirms linguistic, ethnic and cultural diversity and the catholic ethos of Holy Family School.


·         To enable pupils of ethnic minorities to have a sense of belonging

·         To provide supplementary teaching and additional support and resources for those pupils for whom English is and additional language

·         To maximise the progress, academic attainment and personal achievement of EAL pupils throughout the curriculum

·         To promote the welfare of EAL pupils within the school by valuing and raising an awareness of ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic diversity in the school

·         To promote effective home school links and increase parental involvement among parents of children for whom English is an additional language

·         To ensure that EAL children use English confidently and competently

·         To provide as much and as often as possible  opportunities for meaningful interaction in the form of collaborative work and partnership work, where EAL pupils can mutually support and learn with others

·         To promote collaboration among class teacher, learning support teacher and resource teacher.

Role of the language support teacher

The primary responsibility of the language support teacher is to promote the pupil’s development of English language proficiency so that he or she can gradually gain access to the curriculum, ultimately achieving the same educational opportunities as English- speaking peers. This is achieved by:

·                Preparing the pupil on an ongoing basis to access mainstream learning , initially, in part and later, more fully

·                Helping pupils to develop appropriate strategies and skills to support future formal education in general

“In collaboration with parents and mainstream class teachers, EAL support teachers identify pupils requiring additional language support, assess pupils’ proficiency in English using the assessment materials, devise appropriate language programmes, deliver the programmes and record and monitor pupils’ progress. They share their expertise with mainstream class teachers and assist in developing and disseminating good practice to support the development of students’ English language proficiency.” Circular 0015/2009

The responsibility of the language support teacher is to deliver a program of English language tuition, which is based exclusively on the primary curriculum and which prepares and supports the child in

·         Accessing classroom learning

·         Socialising with peers

 The language support teacher, however, cannot teach the curriculum and this remains the role and responsibility of the mainstream teacher (Up and Away p. 5)

 “The principal objective of the language support programme is to integrate the pupil as quickly as possible into all mainstream learning and activities of the school.”   (Up and Away p. 20)

 Collaboration between the language support teacher and the class teacher

Mainstream classroom teaching themes are aligned with the thirteen units of work of the EAL programme. These units are:

1.                Myself

2.                Our school

3.                Food and clothes

4.                Colours, shapes and opposites

5.                People who help us

6.                Weather

7.                Transport and travel

8.                Seasons, holidays and festivals

9.                The local and wider community

10.             Time

11.             People and places in other areas

12.             Animals and plants

13.             Caring for my locality

 Mainstream class teachers keep the language teacher informed, on an informal basis, about forthcoming themes or units of work in the different subject areas and about how the EAL pupil is reacting in class and coping with interaction with peers. Mainstream class teachers also monitor the EAL pupils’ progress in the mainstream setting through the agreed following IILT documents: 

·            Checklist for observing progress during the silent period  (Appendix 1)

·           First feedback from class teacher shortly after arrival of new language support pupil   (Appendix 2)

·            Feedback from  class teacher on progress of language support pupil (Appendix 3)

 Collaborative teaching takes place through the Literacy Lift-Off  initiative, a literacy programme developed by staff members to promote positive attitudes to reading and to increase the Reading levels of all pupils in targeted classes, through the medium of Team/Station Teaching.

If the new student can answer more than 6 questions correctly in ythe initial assessment, they must be assessed after a couple of weeks with PSAK Set 2.

 Organization of language support in this school

 Pupils who have less than B1 proficiency in English (based on the Primary School Assessment Kit), may be withdrawn from class on a time-tabled basis

Team teaching may occur in six week blocks in targeted classrooms as part of the Literacy Lift-Off  initiative within the school

The principal objective of the language support programme is to integrate the pupil as quickly as possible into all mainstream learning and activities of the school.

Pupils are identified for language support through the following process:

·                Obtaining feedback from class teacher

·                Language support teacher carrying out a basic assessment using ‘Initial interview assessment for new pupils’ (Up and Away page 21)

·                Language support teacher identifying the most appropriate period for child’s class each day, taking the age, class and English language proficiency of the pupil into account

Language support teachers ensure that the global benchmarks of communicative proficiency in relation to listening, speaking, reading and writing are adhered to.

Assessment of the language proficiency of pupils for whom English is an additional language

Formal testing of the pupil using the Placement Set of the Primary School Assessment Kit  takes place at least six weeks after they have begun language support

·         If the new student can answer more than 6 questions correctly in ythe initial assessment, they must be assessed after a couple of weeks with PSAK Set 2.

·         Junior Infants and Senior Infants are assessed on listening and speaking

·         First class to sixth class are assessed on listening, speaking, reading and writing.

·        The Language support teacher may use Set 2 of the PSAK to assess progress when the first six units of work have been covered; Myself,  Our school, Food and clothes, Colours, shapes and opposites, People who help us and Weather


·       The Language support teacher may use Set 3 of PSAK to assess progress when all thirteen units of work have been covered: Myself, Our  school, Food and clothes, Colours, shapes and opposites, People who help us,  Weather, Transport and travel, Seasons, holidays and festivals, The local and wider community, Time, People and places in other countries, Animals and plants and Caring for my locality

When a pupil has achieved level B1 in all language skills, i.e. the receptive language skills of listening and reading and productive skills of spoken interaction, spoken production and writing (UP and Away P.36), then he / she is deemed to have achieved the minimum level of proficiency to access the curriculum in the mainstream setting and is no longer entitled to receive language support.

The school principal applies to the DES for additional support for pupils who have not achieved level B1 in all language skills and require language support for more than two years.

 Standardised testing

 In reference to Circular 0138 / 2006 :  “Pupils may be excluded from the test if in the view of the school principal they have learning or physical disability which would prevent them from attempting the test, or in the case of newcomer pupils, where their level of English is such that attempting such a test would be inappropriate.”

Reporting to parents

Communication with parents whose mother tongue is not English is facilitated in the following manner:

Programme Planning

 Language support will be organised in level appropriate class groups and may be withdrawn from class on a daily basis.

Collaborative teaching takes place through the Literacy Lift-Off  initiative, a literacy programme developed by staff members to promote positive attitudes to reading and to increase the Reading levels of all pupils in targeted classes, through the medium of Team/Station Teaching. 

Junior Infants                    – Withdraw to EAL room each day for oral language and listening

Senior Infants                   – Withdraw to EAL room for 4 days for oral language and listening. 1day in class for conversation station or oral language development

1st  Class                         -  Team teaching for 2 days.  Withdraw to EAL room for 3 days for oral language and listening

2nd/3rd/4th/5th                  -  Withdraw in groups for writing

The EAL teacher will promote the oral language station.  The areas focused on are:-

·         Sequencing

·         Narrative Language/Inferential Comprehension

·         Language of book

·         Language of comprehension

·         Debating

These areas will be planned to appropriate age level.

Language support resources currently in use:

Books   Up and Away IILT 2006

              Integrate Ireland Language and Training (English language-teaching materials based on Units of Work of the Primary Curriculum)

                        Primary School Assessment Kit DES 2007

                        Wonderland – Oral Language Development Scheme A/B/C  Easy Learn “Start Listening B” – Listen & Remember  

                        A Way with Words 4 – CJ Fallon                                                                    

                        Spotlight on Words – Gillian Aitken                                                           

                        Ticking Texts 1 – Easy Learn                                                                  

                        Sound Activities Level 2 Volume 2


Shared Drive     Jolly Phonics Interactive Set 1      /   Look & Listen   /  Basic Concepts


 Recording and monitoring of pupils’ progress

 With reference to Circular 0015/2009: All documentation in relation to the administration of tests must be retained by the school for audit/inspection purposes. 

·              PSAK assessments are kept by the language support teachers in their classrooms

·              Collated results are kept in the school principal’s office

·              Teacher observation – Samples of pupils work are kept in folders

Individual teacher planning and reporting

 Language support teachers maintain a weekly / fortnightly teaching plan and a monthly progress record using an agreed template

Long term planning is carried out using the agreed template provided by the Primary Professional Development Service. 

Success Criteria

·                 Inclusion of EAL pupils in Holy Family School

·                 Progress of EAL pupils

·                 Feedback from school principal, teaching staff, SNAs, parents, DES inspectors

·                 Implementation of the policy

Roles and Responsibility

·         The school principal will monitor implementation of the plan.

·         All teachers will be responsible for implementation of the policy.


Special Education Needs Policy

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Beliefs & Principles:    The Special Education Needs service is designed to ensure that all pupils achieve basic literacy and numeracy skills by the time they complete their primary education through effective whole school policies in a team approach involving pupils, class teachers, learning support and resource teachers, principal and parents.

SEN Support

The spectrum of pupils with SEN ranges from under achieving pupils to high achievers.  A range of assessment methods are used to ensure that pupils who require intervention receive it.

The Continuum of Support identifies different levels of support for pupils with SEN that build on each other. There are 3 stages in this process.

Stage 1 is the Classroom Support level and involves the teacher, parent and pupil.

Stage 2 is the School Support level and involves the teacher, parent, pupil and Learning Support Teacher.

Stage 3 is the School Support Plus level and involves the teacher, parent , pupil, Educational Psychologist, other professionals, Learning Support Teacher or Resource Teacher Support



  • Support and monitor school policy.
  • Oversee the development, implementation and review of school policy.
  • Ensure adequate classroom accommodation and resources are provided.
  • Provide secure storage for records.


  • The Principal has overall responsibility for the SEN school policy.
  • He should monitor the implementation of whole school screening tests in May.
  • Maintain tracking systems at whole school level to monitor progress of all pupils.
  • Maintain list of pupils receiving supplementary teaching.
  • Liaise with psychological services to arrange assessments for pupils with special needs.


The class teacher has primary responsibility for the progress of all pupils in his/her class, including those selected for supplementary teaching

The class teacher should:

  • Create a classroom environment in which learning difficulties can be prevented or at least alleviated e.g. adapting learning materials for lower achieving pupils, ‘buddy’ system for paired reading.
  • Implement school policy in Screening e.g. Micra/Drumcondra and Sigma Screening tests in May.
  • The class teacher will be able to confirm whether the score achieved by a pupil is an accurate reflection of the pupil’s ability in class.
  • Inform parents of concerns regarding child’s progress in the screening tests.
  • Seek approval of parents regarding diagnostic testing by Learning Support teacher, who may then provide supplementary teaching, if feasible.
  • Develop and implement a support programme, in consultation with the Learning Support teacher for those children who cannot be provided with supplementary teaching.
  • Collaborate with the Learning Support teacher in planning and developing IPLP targets for pupils attending supplementary teaching.

Supplementary teaching should be in addition to pupils’ regular class programme in English and/or Maths.

Pupils should not miss out in the same curricular area each time they receive supplementary teaching.


The role of the Special Needs Assistants involves tasks of a non-teaching nature and are supervised by either the Principal or the Class Teacher.

These include:

  • Preparation and tidying of classrooms in which the special needs child is/are being taught.
  • Assisting children to board and alight from the school bus.
  • Special assistance for pupils with physical difficulties.
  • Assisting with toileting.
  • Assisting with out of school visits, walks or similar activities.
  • Assisting the teachers in the supervision of pupils with special needs during recreational and dispersal periods.
  • Accompanying individuals or small groups who have to be withdrawn temporarily from the class.
  • General assistance to the class teachers under the direction of the principal with duties of a non-teaching nature.



  1. Provide supplementary teaching in English and Maths for low achieving pupils especially those on or below the 12th percentile in ‘Micra-T’/Drumcondra English Screening tests and ‘Sigma-T’ Maths Screening Tests.
  2. Provide early intervention to pupils at risk in junior classes in English and Maths.
  3. Develop self-esteem and positive attitudes about school and learning in these pupils.


The main focus of this role is:

  • The provision of supplementary teaching in English and Maths to pupils on or below the 12th percentile, from 1st6th classes
  • Provide early intervention in English and Maths to pupils at risk in the junior classes
  • Junior classes take precedence over senior classes
  • English takes precedence over Maths
  • Flexibility in the deployment of Learning Support Teachers will only be possible if there is spare capacity in caseload

Supplementary Teaching:   Selection and Implementation:

Learning Support teachers will:

  • Screen new pupils and absentees June/Sept.
  • Provide updated list results to class teachers in September.
  • Consult with class teachers about the selection of pupils for supplementary teaching.
  • Administer diagnostic tests to pupils at risk in June/Sept.
  • Discuss the results with class teachers and parents.
  • Provide supplementary teaching, if necessary.
  • Request parent to sign a non-consent form if they do not wish to avail of Learning Support.
  • Develop IPLP in consultation with class teacher, for pupils attending Learning Support.
  • Maintain weekly planning and progress record for each group.
  • Maintain attendance record.
  • Review pupil progress at the end of each instructional period e.g. February/June.
  • Consult with class teacher and parents when supplementary teaching is to be discontinued and identify ways in which pupil’s learning can be supported in class or at home.    

IPLP Guidelines:


The LST (Learning Support Teacher) is responsible for drawing up an IPLP (Individual Profile and Learning Programme) for each pupil in the group.

IPLPs are developed in consultation with the class teacher and parents for pupils receiving supplementary teaching. The IPLP will have the pupils name, class teacher, LST as well as the date on which the pupil first joined the supplementary teaching programme.

The second part is used to record information obtained through screening and diagnostic assessment. Additional information from parents, pupils themselves, the class teacher or other professionals is also recorded before planning the IPLP.

Following the completion of the assessment/information sections the pupils strengths/attainments and priority learning needs can be stated. Learning targets are now set for the specific period of time and the date on which the pupil is considered to have achieved a particular target is noted under “Date Achieved”.

Internal Provisions:  Prevention Strategies:

Early  Intervention:

We identify pupils at risk in Junior Infants each June through consultation with class teachers and through the use of MIST (Middle Infants Screening Sub-tests) e.g. listening skills and initial letter sounds/writing skills.  The MIST programme is used to identify learning targets for supplementary teaching in Senior Infants and First classes.

Reading Supports:

Literacy Lift-Off

The Literacy Lift-Off Programme was initiated in the 2012/13 school year.  This is an intervention in which each class will engage in a six week intensive reading programme.

 It is a daily literacy session where resource teachers in collaboration with class teachers will work in the classroom each morning from Monday to Thursday for six week in five eight minute rotating sessions on a range of literacy activities.

All pupils are assessed before the intervention to establish their Instructional Level and Reading (entry score).  They are then grouped according to their reading ability.  The school uses specially graded PM+

Readers which are also read at home with a parent.  At the end of the programme pupils are re-assessed to establish their new levels of literacy (exit score).

Paired Reading advice leaflets and Home Reading Library lists are used in junior classes.

Library Books:  

  • Each class has its own individual library
  • Oxford Literacy Web, Story Rhyme Books are used in Jnr./Snr. Infant classes to develop phonological/rhyme awareness
  • Oxford Reading Tree – Floppy Phonics and Songbirds in Snr. Infants class
  • ‘Storyworld’ Library Books and Software (Infants to 2nd class)
  • ‘Sails’ Library Series  (Infants to 3rd class)
  • PM+ Series Levels 1 – 30 (Literacy Lift-Off Groups)

Jolly Phonics Programme:  Jolly Phonics is used in our school as a thorough foundation for reading and writing.  Children learn the 42 letter sounds of the English Language. They are then taken through the steps of blending and segmenting words to develop reading and writing skills.  The programme continues through the school enabling the teaching of essential grammar.



  • To ensure early identification of any special educational needs
  • To ensure access to a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum
  • To make a flexible response to individual needs and make efficient use of resources
  • To work together with other organisations with the aim of making best use of resources
  • To ensure that provision is regularly monitored and evaluated


All pupils attending Resource Teaching will have an Individual Education Plan (IEP).  An IEP is a mechanism of review as well as assessment and planning.

Input to an IEP is made by:-

-          Pupil

-          Class teacher

-          Resource teacher

-          Parents

-          Principal

-          Partner agencies e.g. Speech & Language, Physio, O.T., Social Worker, Psychologist etc. where appropriate

-          Any relevant personnel e.g. Special Needs Assistant

Meetings are held in the school.  Targets with specified time limits are set.  The IEP also helps to identify resource implications for the school.  IEP’swill be reviewed on a regular basis.


Resource teachers are appointed to “meet the needs and abilities of children assessed as having disabilities” and “to provide additional teaching support for these children who have been fully integrated into mainstream schools”.  (DES 8/99)

The advent of Resource Teaching reflects the movement of children across the spectrum of education, from isolation and exclusion to acceptance and integration. 

The nature and extent of disabilities which entitle pupils to resource hours is very broad so the age and ability differences of those attending is also broad.  Consequently, individual work is very important.

It is important therefore, that time with a resource teacher is positive and successful.  Time is needed for the pupil and teacher to get to know each other.  The child must learn to trust another adult and get to know a new environment.  He must learn a new timetable and a new way of relating to a teacher. 

That teacher must make the child feel that attending resourcesessions is not another sign of failure, rather that it is recognition that the child has a potential that can be developed. 

It is also important that the resource teacher has as much information as possible about the child.  This involves interviews with parents, pupils and teachers, as well as extensive data collection from teachers.

The child’s medical history may be relevant to the resource teacher.  Extended absences from school affect performance.  It is also useful to know if the child has stress related problems such as asthma or psoriasis. Domestic situations such as bereavements and separations can affect learning.

Success at school builds esteem, confidence and self-belief.  The objective of resource teaching is to provide the experience of that success.


A child already in school, who is showing signs of needing extra resources, is referred to NEPS, as already outlined.  On completion of this assessment, the Dept. SENO will allocate a set number of hours of Resource Teaching for the child.

A child assessed by an agency other than NEPS e.g. Southern Health Board Speech & Language Therapist, will be referred directly to the SENO by the school, for approval for Resource Teaching hours.

A child commencing school who has already been assessed as having special needs will be referred to the SENO for approval for Resource Teaching hours.


Assessments in the school are carried out by Orla Griffin, an appointed psychologist from NEPS.

Generally, children referred to NEPS fall into specific categories:-

  1. Visual/Hearing Impairment/Physical Disability
  2. Mild General Learning Disability – the pupil cannot keep up with large amounts of class work
  3. Emotional Disturbance – This includes Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  It could also refer to children exhibiting high levels of anger and aggression.  It may also refer to boys who seem sad or depressed
  4. Autism/Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD).  This is a complicated disorder but within school, some of the warning signs would be poor social interaction with peers, resistance to change, odd but well developed language, good rote memory, poor motor co-ordination, lack of imagination in play, fixation on certain topics
  5. Specific Speech & Language disorders – Indicated by poor articulation, slowness to respond to questions, though appearing to know the answer.
  6. Specific Learning Disability – Pupil copes overall but has difficulty in one or more areas e.g. Literacy & Maths if the child is dyslexic.                           This is a very basic guide to the criteria for referring to NEPS.  Children can have symptoms of any of the above and function normally.  If the symptoms interfere with school work, then there may be cause for concern.

 If  in the opinion of the teacher any child would benefit from a referral to NEPS, the principal must be informed in writing giving the following information:-

 a)  Child’s name  b) class   c) teacher    d) date of birth    e)  brief reason for referral

When referrals are received, they are prioritised by the Principal in consultation with class teachers.   The principal then meets with the parents of those pupils prioritised and outlines the situation to them.  



-          How to detect and manage Dyslexia

-          Lost for Words

-          Dyslexia – A Teaching Handbook

-          Teaching reading and spelling to Dyslexia children

-          Maths for the Dyslexia

-          Dyslexia – a staff handbook

-          Dyslexia, bullying and other issues


Autism & Related Issues

-          Autistic Spectrum Disorders

-          Asperger Syndrome

-          The self help guide for special kids and their parents

-          Teaching Children with Autism


-          Dyspraxia in the early years

-          Dyspraxia Handbook

-          Helping Children with Dyspraxia

-          Dyspraxia

-          Developmental Dyspraxia

-          The out of Sync child has fun


Visual Impairment

-          Teaching Children with Visual Impairment

-          When you have a visually impaired child in your class


-          Key Stage 2:  Helping with Reading Difficulties

-          Games to Improve Reading Levels


-          Essential Guide to Special Education in Ireland

-          Controversial issues in Special Education

-          Investigations & Problem Solving

-          Integrating pupils with disabilities in mainstream schools

-          Special Education in Irish classrooms

-          Let me speak

-          What to do about your brain injured child

-          Teaching gifted children in the regular classroom

-          Getting it right – a behaviour curriculum

-          How to use contingency contracting in the classroom

-          SNA’s – working in partnership

-          Working with challenging behaviour



-          Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder



























Assessment Policy

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Policy Rationale

The core of the policy is that all children should experience success at school.  This policy endeavours to identify at the earliest possible opportunity, children who may have learning difficulties and put in place a whole school response to their needs.  Our school believes that an effective assessment policy is central to this core objective.  It is of overriding importance that assessment at Holy Family School should motivate pupils and enable and encourage them to achieve to the best of their ability.  It is important that it is accessible to parents/guardians and involves them in the process.

Assessment is the process of gathering, recording, interpreting, using and reporting information about a child’s progress and achievement in developing knowledge, skills and attitudes.

Our policy covers both assessment of learning and assessment for learning.  What we understand this to mean is that assessment of learning is assessment for accountability purposes, to determine a student’s level of performance on a specific task or at the conclusion of a unit of teaching and learning, and assessment to enable teachers to compare the Reading and Math performances of their pupils with Reading and Math standards nationally.  The information gained from this kind of assessment will be used in reporting.

Assessment for learning, on the other hand, acknowledges that assessment will occur as a regular part of teaching and learning and that the information gained from assessment activities will be used to shape the teaching and learning process in our school.

Relationship to School Ethos

We aim to provide a well-ordered, caring, happy and secure atmosphere where the intellectual, spiritual, physical, moral and cultural needs of the pupils are identified and addressed.  The school adopts a holistic approach to the education and development of each child and to the enhancement of teaching and learning processes.  We believe that an effective Assessment Policy will help teachers to identify early interventions that need to be put in place to ensure that enhancement, increased confidence and raised self-esteem is achieved.

Aims and Objectives

The primary aims and objectives of the policy are:

·         To facilitate improved teaching and pupil learning.

·         To create a procedure for monitoring achievement.

·         To track learning processes which assist the long and short term planning of teachers.

·         To co-ordinate assessment procedures on a whole school basis involving parents and pupils in managing strengths and weaknesses.

·         To plan the assessment of learning outcomes that informs future teaching

·         To diagnose difficulties in learning in order to provide intervention strategies

·       To identify gifted and able or talented children who require extension activities

·         To give positive feedback to the learner with clear ways forward

·         To encourage increasing skills of self assessment

·         To keep records of attainment that will inform the reporting process

·         To use validated assessment data to inform target setting and to raise expectations and standards

·         To ensure consistency and the standardised agreement of levels of work collated by teachers

·         To analyse performance of different genders and ensure appropriate intervention is taken

Policy Content

This policy outlines how assessment is used to inform planning and to identify the needs of all pupils including the exceptionally gifted so that suitable strategies are put in place to facilitate meeting their needs.  These strategies may include pupil self-assessment, teacher led assessment, formal assessment, communication between parents and teachers, modification of teacher programme, differentiated learning, Individual Profile and Learning Programmes(IPLPs) from Learning Support Guidelines and Individual Education Plans (IEPs) from Resource Teaching Guidelines.

 Assessment Methods

The following eight assessment methods can be used for AfL (Assessment for Learning) and AoL (Assessment of Learning):-

·         Self-assessment

·         Conferencing

·         Portfolio assessment

·         Concept mapping

·         Questioning

·         Teacher observation

·         Teacher-designed tasks and tests

·      Standardised testing

No one assessment method, of itself, will provide sufficiently useful information to the teacher and it is inevitable that at various stages methods will overlap.  For example, a teacher-designed task may also involve questioning and observing children. While no single assessment method is exclusive to AfL or AoL the first four methods generally have a stronger AfL focus while the last four generally have a stronger AoL focus.

Assessment Folders

By September 2014 each class will have received an assessment folder with examples of particular assessment techniques enclosed.  These techniques are based on Assessment in the Primary School Curriculum-Guidelines for teachers -  in particular samples of pupil-led assessment, such as traffic lights/WALT, WILF/ KWL charts/Learning Logs/Rubrics/Mindmaps, Graphic Organisers, etc.  

Over the course of the school year each assessment folder will show a number of completed assessments, both teacher-led and pupil-led. The folder will be kept in each class and will be passed on to the next teacher from year to year.

Assessment for  Learning (Formative Assessment)

Assessment for Learning (AfL),often referred to as formative assessment, actively involves the child as well as the teacher and should always inform planning.  In AfL the learning intention and the learning criteria are shared with the pupils and the teacher provides feedback.  The feedback focuses on the learning or task in hand and indicates the next steps, points to areas of achievement and challenges and has a positive impact on the child’s learning.  Developing the skills of self assessment in children is a gradual process involving assessment techniques such  as those outlined in Assessment in the Primary School Curriculum-Guidelines for teachers, which will be promoted and developed on a whole school basis.

Standardised Testing and Record Keeping
Assessment of Learning (Summative Assessment)

·         Standardised tests i.e. Micra-T and Sigma-T are administered in the month of May from  1st6th classes.

·         M.I.S.T. Letter Sounds/Jolly Phonics Assessment and Maths Mastery Check-Up are given to Junior Infants.

·         Drumcondra Early Literacy Test and Maths Mastery Check-Up time 1 are given to Senior Infants.

·         The N.N.R.I.T. is given by the Learning Support Teacher (LST) to all pupils 1st and 4th class.

Standardised tests are administered by the class teachers. The infant testing is done in small groups by the LST.

A broad range of assessment methods are used by all teachers in Holy Family School (HFS) These include teacher observation, portfolio assessment, teacher designed tasks and tests, checklists and questioning. We also encourage self assessment by pupils(traffic lights,PMI/,KWL charts,learning logs,rubrics, etc..) when they look at their own work in a reflective way, identify aspects of it that are good and that could be improved, and then set personal learning targets for themselves with the assistance of the teacher.

On completion of standardized testing, diagnostic tests are administered to pupils at risk in June/September. These include Drumcondra test of Early Literacy - Diagnostic, Jackson Phonics Tests 1 - 11,Basic Sight Vocabulary tests, Marino/Schonell Word Reading Test, RAIN sentence reading, Schonell/MALT Spelling Tests and various checklists.

Administration of Standardised Tests

Standardised tests and teacher Manuals are distributed to each class teacher by the LST on the evening prior to testing. Instructions to be given and total time required for administration of tests are highlighted in each test manual in Section 2 “Administering the Test”.

The assessments indicate which pupils are selected for supplementary teaching.  We endeavour to provide supplementary teaching in English and Maths to pupils on or below the 12th percentile from1st to 6th classes. We provide early intervention to pupils at risk in Junior Classes. The assessments also help the class teacher to identify children’s individual learning strengths and weaknesses. When it is felt that students have serious difficulties, they are referred for psychological assessment.

The class teacher is responsible for the administration, correction and recording of tests as outlined for classes.  Class teachers are responsible for passing the results to the office where the data is collated and given to the learning support team, currently Linda Hanafin and Francis Quill.  Scores on standardised tests will be analysed and discussed on a whole school basis.

The test results are stored on the office computer. A hard copy is kept by the LST in class files and also in the records room in a bound book. Each test booklet is kept and filed alphabetically for 2 years in the records room.  The last test administered to each pupil in 6th class (i.e. Micra – T level 4 /Drumcondra / Sigma - T  level 5) is kept for 10 years. Under NCCA guidelines the score given for standardised tests in Maths and English in the end-of-year report is the STEN score.  An explanatory leadlet explaining the STEN score accompanies the result. 


Under NCCA guidelines the score given for standardised tests in Maths and English in the end-of-year report is the STEN score.  An explanatory leaflet explaining the STEN score accompanies the It has been agreed that no teacher will give the result of a test without carefully explaining the meaning of the results to the parents.

Using assessment information

The principal use of information from assessment tests is to identify gaps in pupil learning and to address these gaps in order to improve learner outcomes.  In order to facilitate easy access to individual pupil attainment scores year-on-year pupil assessment records are available from 1st to 6th .  This will help to track pupil progress in a more comprehensive manner and also highlight those pupils in need of special attention.

Children with Special Educational Needs

Children with learning disabilities find it more difficult to learn, understand and do things than other children of the same age. They can continue to learn and make progress all through their lives, but at a slower pace than other children. A learning disability can be at the level of mild, moderate or severe/profound.

Children with mild learning disabilities develop at a slower rate than other children. Their speech and language may take longer to develop. They have difficulty in putting their thoughts and ideas into words. Some children may show a lack of coordination in motor activities e.g. handwriting.

Children with moderate learning disabilities show significant delays in reaching educational milestones such as appropriate reading age, writing skills, etc. They have considerable difficulties with basic literacy and numeracy and their language communication is affected.

Children with severe learning difficulties show serious delays in reaching educational and developmental milestones. They usually have considerable difficulties in communicating with other people.

A special educational need (SEN) represents only one aspect of a child’s development, it should not define the child.

SEN Support

The spectrum of pupils with SEN ranges from under achieving pupils to high achievers.  A range of assessment methods are used to ensure that pupils who require intervention receive it.

The Continuum of Support identifies different levels of support for pupils with SEN that build on each other. There are 3 stages in this process.

Stage is the Classroom Support level and involves the teacher,parent and pupil.

Stage 2 is the School Support level and involves the teacher,parent, pupil and Learning Support Teacher.

Stage is the School Support Plus level and involves the teacher,parent , pupil, Educational Psychologist, other professionals, Learning Support Teacher or Resource Teacher Support

Roles and responsibilities 

The role of the class teacher at the Classroom Support Stage (Stage 1) is to make parents aware of concerns about their child’s progress and to liaise with them in designing supports which will best support their child’s development.This may involve setting out an individual classroom support plan and differentiated teaching and learner outcomes.

Where a pupil’s needs are such that extra intervention is required , access to the School Support Stage (Stage 2) is made available to the pupil. This access is contingent on parental consent. This extra support builds on the classroom support already being received and engages the support of the Learning Support Teacher. This support may be in the form of withdrawal from class for small group teaching or in-class support .

While the supports at Stage 1 and Stage 2 may meet the needs of the majority of pupils a minority of cases may need additional professional support to fully address pupil needs. These needs are best met at the School Support Plus Stage (Stage 3) and will involve input from outside agencies. These agencies may be DES based, HSE based or privately sourced. In the best interests of pupil needs further assessments will be carried out. These assessments will be in the form of any or a combination of the following : an educational psychological assessment, a psychiatric assessment, a speech and language assessment, an occupational therapy assessment or an assessment of need. The findings of these assessments may recommend the provision of resource teaching hours to be provided on an individual or small group basis by a Resource Teacher.

The LST (Learning Support Teacher) is responsible for drawing up an IPLP (Individual Profile and Learning Programme)for each pupil in the group.

IPLPs are developed in consultation with the class teacher and parents for pupils receiving supplementary teaching. The IPLP will have the pupils name, class teacher, LST as well as the date on which the pupil first joined the supplementary teaching programme.

The second part is used to record information obtained through screening and diagnostic assessment. Additional information from parents, pupils themselves, the class teacher or other professionals is also recorded before planning the IPLP.

Following the completion of the assessment/information sections the pupils strengths/attainments and priority learning needs can be stated. Learning targets are now set for the specific period of time and the date on which the pupil is considered to have achieved a particular target is noted under “Date Achieved”.

The RT (Resource Teacher)  is responsible for drawing up an IEP ( Individual Education Plan)for each pupil who is awarded resource teaching hours.

This plan is drawn up in consultation with class teachers, parents, learning support teachers and resource teachers . The principal is also consulted.

A weekly planning and progress record or equivalent is maintained  for each individual or group of pupils in receipt of support.

SEN also includes a responsibility to cater for pupils with exceptional ability. Every effort is made to provide a differentiated programme within the classroom for these pupils. Accelerated reading programmes , use of SRA Reading Labs and extensive use of ICT is accommodated where possible.

SNA Support

The role of the Special Needs Assistants involves tasks of a non-teaching nature and are supervised by either the Principal or the Class Teacher.

These include:

  • Preparation and tidying of classrooms in which the special needs child is/are being taught.
  • Assisting children to board and alight from the school bus.
  • Special assistance for pupils with physical difficulties.
  • Assisting with toileting.
  • Assisting with out of school visits, walks or similar activities.
  • Assisting the teachers in the supervision of pupils with special needs during recreational and dispersal periods.
  • Accompanying individuals or small groups who have to be withdrawn temporarily from the class.
  • General assistance to the class teachers under the direction of the principal with duties of a non-teaching nature.
Informal Assessment

The most common form of assessment used in our school is teacher observation, teacher designed tests, projects and homework.  These informal assessments are at the discretion of individual teachers.  Records of teacher-designed tests are kept by the individual teachers and communicated to parents at the Parent/Teacher meeting each November and end-of-year report.

Each teacher has discretion as to the format, administration and frequency of in-class testing.  The most common types of informal teacher designed testing in our school are tests on the strands and strand units for each curricular area, spelling tests and tables tests.

Access  to  assessment results

Assessment records of individual children are confidential.  Direct access to individual, group or class assessment information may be given to the following designated persons in appropriate circumstances as follows:

  • The child’s class teacher
  • The class teacher to whom the child is transferring
  • Relevant support teachers, and other relevant professionals
  • The principal
  • The DES inspector
  • The school secretary (for recording purposes only)
  • The relevant NEPS psychologist, currently  Ms. Orlaith Griffin
  • The  Education Welfare Board and its officers
  • Parents and/or guardians, who should have access to assessment information about their own children
  • Another school, primary or post-primary, to which the child is transferring, subject to the written consent of the child’s parent(s) or guardian(s)
Roles  and  Responsibilities

Class Teacher:   Responsible for the administration, correction and recording of tests as outlines for classes.  Class teachers are responsible for passing copy of results to the office where they are recorded.  These results will in turn be given to the resource teachers.   Scores on standardized tests will be analysed and discussed on a whole school basis.

Support/Resource Teacher:   Responsible for the administration and recording of diagnostic tests and for the dissemination of the test results to class teachers, parents and principal.

Principal:  Overall responsibility.

Effective feedback to pupils needs to be managed

a)      In the context of an ongoing dialogue between pupil and teacher in a positive teaching environment.

b)      In a sensitive language appropriate to the pupil.

c)      In a way that allows comments on strengths and weaknesses to be sensitive and to motivate improved performance.

Effective reporting to parents/guardians needs to:

a)      Provide clear communication about the achievement and effort of pupils.  This needs to comply with the school’s mission statement.

b)      Provide consistency across classes in order to give parents/guardians confidence that they have an objective picture of how their child is performing.

c)      Be in concise appropriate and legible language, avoiding jargon.

d)     Provide a diagnosis of pupils’ strengths and weaknesses and clear strategies for improvement in Individual Pupil Learning Profiles.

e)      Be managed by teachers in a constructive manner.

Success Criteria

This policy is considered successful if:

  • Early identification and intervention is achieved
  • Clarity is achieved regarding procedures involved in staged approach
  • Procedures are clear and roles and responsibilities are defined
  • The support teaching team have clearly defined roles and objectives
  • There is efficient transfer of information between teachers
Lift –Off Literacy Programme

The Lift-Off Literacy programme was initiated in the 2012/13 school year following much research, visits to other schools and substantial investment in appropriate material by the Board of Management. Assessments were carried out on the pupils in each class at the beginning and end of the programme.  Pupil entry and exit scores are determined using the following tests:-

Senior Infants & 1st Class:-   Marino/Schonell Word Recognition Test and 72 Jolly Phonics Tricky Words

2nd Class:  D. Young Group Reading Test (If score >10 => Marino to determine R.A.

3rd Class:  D. Young Group Reading Test (If score > 10 => D. Young Cloze Reading Test)

Drumcondra Reading /Micra-T / Sigma-T Testing

In order to get the most out of the testing procedure and to assist the class teacher in the administration of the tests it has been decided, following discussion, to use the SEN staff as support.

A timetable will be drawn up to this effect and posted in the staff room.

·         The class teacher administers the test before sos break

·         The role of the second teacher in the classroom is as an extra pair of eyes to ensure each child completes as much of the test as possible

·         The second teacher is also willing to help out with correction of testing should any class teacher request it.


Anti-Bullying Policy

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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 Holy Family 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;

See DES Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools, September 2013

·      See Table A (6.1.5.): Key elements of a positive school culture and climate, and also

·        Appendix 2: Practical tips for building a school culture and climate.

(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 behaviourAdditional information on different types of bullying is set out in Section 2 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.

Examples of bullying behaviours


General  behaviours which apply to all types of bullying


·            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’sreputation

·            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/ Twitter/You Tube 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).


Identity based bullying

·            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



This involves manipulating relationships as a means of bullying. Behaviours include:

·            Malicious gossip

·            Isolation & exclusion

·            Ignoring to exclude

·            Excluding from the group

·            Taking someone’s friends away

·            Spreading rumours

·            Breaking confidence

·            Talking loud enough so that the victim can hear

·            The “look”

·            Use of derogatory terminology


·            Unwelcome or inappropriate  sexual comments or touching

·            Harassment

Special Educational Needs,Disability

·        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.

·         Mimickinga person’s disability

·         Setting others up for ridicule


4.   As detailed in Section 6.8.3 and Section 6.8.4 in the 2013 DES Anti-Bullying Procedures, the relevant teacher for monitoring/restoring class behaviour is the class-teacher. Adult

      supervisors in the yarduse restorative questioning when dealing with minor once-off incidences and record significant negative behaviours on incident report forms for school-monitoring

      purposes. The incident reports are kept in a locked filing cabinet in the office. The Principal will monitor these reports on an ongoing basis.  These reports will be kept for reference should

     further serious incidents arise.   Investigation of repeated negative behaviour will be conducted by class-teacher, Deputy Principal and Principal. If dealing with a repeated incident, the parent is informed.

     Any teacher may act as a relevant teacher if circumstances warrant it.

5.           The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber-bullying, homophobic and transphobic bullying) that will be used by the school

               are as follows (see Section 6.5 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools):

Education and prevention strategies

School-wide approach

·         A school-wide approach to the fostering of respect for all members of the school community.

·         The promotion of the value of diversity to address issues of prejudice and stereotyping, and highlight the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.

·         The fostering and enhancing of the self-esteem of all our pupils through both curricular and extracurricular activities. Pupils will be provided with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self-worth through formal and informal interactions.

·         Whole staff professional development on bullying to ensure that all staff develops an awareness of what bullying is, how it impacts on pupils’ lives and the need to respond to     it-prevention and intervention.

·         An annual audit of professional development needs with a view to assessing  staff requirements  through internal staff knowledge/expertise and external sources

·         Professional development with specific focus on the training of the relevant teacher(s)

·         School wide awareness raising and training on all aspects of bullying, to include pupils, parent(s)/guardian(s) and the wider school community.

·         Supervision and monitoring of classrooms, corridors, school grounds, school tours/extra- curricular activities. Non-teaching and ancillary staff will be encouraged to be vigilant and report issues to relevant teachers.

·         Promotion and awareness of Bullying/Respecting others to be included in student homework diaries and in classrooms and common areas of school.

·         The full Anti-Bullying Policy is available to parents through the school website   Parents are also informed through Holy Family School Induction Pack that a hard copy of the policy is available on request from the school office.

·         The implementation of regular whole school awareness measures e.g. a dedicated notice board in the school and classrooms on the promotion of friendship, and bullying prevention; annual Friendship Week and parent(s)/guardian(s) seminars.

·         Encourage a culture of telling, with particular emphasis on the importance of bystanders. In that way pupils will gain confidence in ‘telling’. This confidence factor is of vital importance. It should 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.

·         Ensuring that pupils know who to tell and how to tell, e.g.:

Ø  Direct approach to teacher at an appropriate time, for example after class.

Ø  Hand note up with homework.

Ø  Make a phone call to the school or to a trusted teacher in the school.

Ø  Get a parent(s)/guardian(s) or friend to tell on your behalf.

Ø  Ensure bystanders understand the importance of telling if they witness or know that bullying is taking place.

 It is recognized that mobile phones can be intrusive and distracting in all situations and particularly in schools.  In addition to the inconvenience, the debate still goes on about the possible harmful effects of the frequent use of mobile phones. 

  • Holy Family School have banned the use of mobile phones among pupils.  A child found in possession of a mobile phone will have the phone confiscated and a fine of €20 will have to be paid for its return.  A second offence will mean permanent confiscation of the phone.
  • Our school internet security system does not allow school access to Facebook Social Media. Children in our school are too young to access Facebook and parents/guardians need to be vigilant. In the event of an accusation of bullying among our students through Facebook (or other social media), outside the school setting, parents will be notified. The Gardaí may need to intervene if the issue becomes too difficult for school personnel to deal with, quickly and positively.
  • Internet access in our school is strictly under teacher/SNA supervision only.

Implementation of curricula

·         The full implementation of the Social, Personal, Health Education (SPHE) which involves building up their self-esteem and helping children to learn to communicate, make decisions and express feelings in an appropriate way.

·         The full implementation of the Stay Safe Programme, learning to deal with negative attention including bullying behaviours.

·          Continuous Professional Development for staff in delivering these programmes.

·         Delivery of the Garda SPHE Programmes at primary level as the school requires. These lessons, delivered by Community Gardaí, cover issues around personal safety and cyber-bullying.

·         The school will specifically consider the additional needs of SEN pupils with regard to programme implementation and the development of skills and strategies to enable all pupils to respond appropriately.

Links to other policies

·         Code of Behaviour, Child Protection policy.


 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 (see Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for  Primary and Post-Primary Schools):

6.8.9.      Procedures for Investigating and Dealing with Bullying

The primary aim 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);

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, will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher.

·         Teaching and non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs),caretaker, cleaners must report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the class teacher, Deputy Principal or Principal.

Investigating and dealing with incidents: Style of approach (see section 6.8.9)

·         In investigating and dealing with bullying, the class teacher, Deputy Principal or Principal will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved;

·         Parent(s)/guardian(s) 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;

·          Teachers should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach.

·         Where possible incidents should  be investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved;

·          All interviews should 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 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. At the group meeting, each member should be asked for his/her account of what happened to ensure that everyone in the group is clear about each other’s statements;

·          Each member of a group should be supported through the possible pressures that may face them from the other members of the group after the 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 parent(s)/guardian(s) of the parties involved should 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 should give parent(s)/guardian(s) an opportunity of discussing ways in which they can reinforce or support the actions being taken by the school and the supports provided to the pupils;

·          Where the relevant teacher has determined that a pupil has been engaged in bullying behaviour, it should be made clear to him/her how he/she is in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy and efforts should be made to try to get him/her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied;

·          It must 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 must, as part of his/her 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;

-Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parent(s)/guardian(s)s 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(s)/guardian(s) is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parent(s)/guardian(s) must be referred, as appropriate, to the school’s complaints procedures.

·         In the event that a parent(s)/guardian(s) has exhausted the school's complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school must advise the parent(s)/guardian(s) 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. Significant yard incidents are recorded in the incident report forms. This is instantly available to all teachers and to the Principal. The class teacher keeps a written observation of incidences observed or reported to him/her.

·         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.

·         The relevant teacher must inform the Principal/Deputy Principal of all incidents being investigated.

       Formal Stage 1-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.

·         All written records of reported or actual bullying incidences will be maintained indefinitely in the school strong room.

Formal Stage 2-Appendix 3 (From DES Procedures)

The relevant teacher must use the recording template at Appendix 3 (see end of this document) to record the bullying behaviour in the following circumstances:

 a) in cases where he/she considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying  behaviour occurred; and

b) In our school repeated bullying behaviour must be recorded and reported to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable.

When the recording template is used, it must be retained by the relevant teacher in question and a copy maintained by the principal. These records will be kept indefinitely in the school strong room.

Established intervention strategies

·         Teacher interviews with all pupils

·         Negotiating agreements between pupils and following these up by monitoring progress. This can be on an informal basis or implemented through a more structured mediation process

·         Working with parent(s)/guardian(s)s to support school interventions

·         No Blame Approach

·         Circle Time

·         Restorative interviews or discussion

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

·         The traditional disciplinary approach

·         Strengthening the victim

·         Mediation

·         Restorative Practice

·         The support group method

·         The method of shared concern

All teachers and SNAs in Holy Family School seek at all times to engage in a positive, pro-active incentive approach to promoting children’s social and emotional competence.

  7.          The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows (see Section 6.8.16 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools):

·         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


·         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.

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 has been made available to school personnel, is published on the school website,  a hard copy is available to parents and pupils on request and a copy was provided to the 

                Parents’ Association. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and to the  patron if requested.

11.         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 and provided to the Parents’ Association. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.

Table A:

Key elements of a positive school culture and climate

·        The school acknowledges the right of each member of the school community to enjoy school in a secure environment.

·        The school acknowledges the uniqueness of each individual and his/her worth as a human being.

·        The school promotes positive habits of self-respect, self-discipline and responsibility among all its members.

·        The school prohibits vulgar, offensive, sectarian or other aggressive behaviour or  language by any of its members.

·        The school has a clear commitment to promoting equity in general and gender equity in particular in all aspects of its functioning.

·        The school has the capacity to change in response to pupils’ needs.

·        The school identifies aspects of curriculum through which positive and lasting influences can be exerted towards forming pupils’ attitudes and values.

·        The school takes particular care of "at risk" pupils and uses its monitoring systems to facilitate early intervention where necessary and it responds to the needs, fears or anxieties of individual

          members in a sensitive manner.

·        The school recognises the need to work in partnership with and keep parents informed on procedures to improve relationships on a school-wide basis.

·        The school recognises the role of parents in equipping the pupil with a range of life-skills.

·        The school recognises the role of other community agencies in preventing and dealing with bullying.

·        The school promotes habits of mutual respect, courtesy and an awareness of the interdependence of people in groups and communities.

·        The school promotes qualities of social responsibility, tolerance and understanding among all its members both in school and out of school.

·        Staff members share a collegiate responsibility, under the direction of the Principal, to act in preventing bullying/aggressive behaviour by any member of the school community.


Appendix 2

Practical tips for building a positive school culture and climate


The following are some practical tips for immediate actions that can be taken to help build a positive school culture and climate and to help prevent and tackle bullying behaviour.

·        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.

·        Display key respect messages in classrooms, in assembly areas and around the school. Involve pupils in the development of these messages.

·        Catch them being good - notice and acknowledge desired respectful behaviour by providing positive attention.

·        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.

·        Have a system of encouragement and rewards to promote desired behaviour and compliance with the school rules and routines.

·        Explicitly teach pupils about the appropriate use of social media.

·        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.

·        Actively promote the right of every member of the school community to be safe and secure in school.

·        Highlight and explicitly teach school rules in pupil friendly language in the classroom and in common areas.

·        All staff can actively watch out for signs of bullying behaviour.

·        Ensure there is adequate playground/school yard/outdoor supervision.

·        School staff can get pupils to help them to identify bullying “hot spots” and “hot times” for bullying in the school.

·        Hot spots tend to be in the playground/school yard/outdoor areas, changing rooms, corridors and other areas of unstructured supervision.

·        Hot times again tend to be times where there is less structured supervision such as when pupils are in the playground/school yard or moving classrooms.

·        Support the establishment and work of student councils.


Appendix 3      

Template for recording bullying behaviour         

1. Name of pupil being bullied and class group

Name _________________________________________              Class__________________

2. Name(s) and class(es) of pupil(s) engaged in bullying behaviour






3. Sourceof bullying concern/report (tick relevant box(es))*



4. Locationof incidents (tick relevant box(es))*



Pupil concerned






Other Pupil





















School Bus









5. Name of person(s) who reportedthe bullying concern



6. Typeof Bullying Behaviour (tick relevant box(es)) *

Physical Aggression




Damage to Property






Malicious Gossip 


Name Calling


Other (specify)


7.  Where behaviour is regarded as identity-based bullying, indicate the relevant category:


Disability/SEN related


Membership of Traveller community

Other (specify)







8. Brief Description of bullying behaviour and its impact



9.       Details of  actions taken




Signed ______________________________ (Relevant Teacher)   Date ___________________________


Date submitted to Principal/Deputy Principal       ____________________________________________


* Note:The categories listed in the tables 3, 4 & 6 are suggested and schools may add to or amend these to suit their own circumstances.


Appendix 4

Checklist for annual review of the anti-bullying policyand its implementation


                  Yes /No

Has the Board formally adopted an anti-bullying policy that fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools?


Has the Board published the policy on the school website and provided a copy to the parents’ association?


Has the Board ensured that the policy has been made available to school staff (including new staff)?


Is the Board satisfied that school staff are sufficiently familiar with the policy and procedures to enable them to effectively and consistently apply the policy and procedures in their day to day work?


Has the Board ensured that the policy has been adequately communicated to all pupils?


Has the policy documented the prevention and education strategies that the school applies?


Have all of the prevention and education strategies been implemented?


Has the effectiveness of the prevention and education strategies that have been implemented been examined?


Is the Board satisfied that all teachers are recording and dealing with incidents in accordance with the policy?


Has the Board received and minuted the periodic summary reports of the Principal?


Has the Board discussed how well the school is handling all reports of bullying including those addressed at an early stage and not therefore included in the Principal’s periodic report to the Board?


Has the Board received any complaints from parents regarding the school’s handling of bullying incidents?


Have any parents withdrawn their child from the school citing dissatisfaction with the school’s handling of a bullying situation?


Have any Ombudsman for Children investigations into the school’s handling of a bullying case been initiated or completed?


Has the data available from cases reported to the Principal (by the bullying recording template) been analysed to identify any issues, trends or patterns in bullying behaviour?


Has the Board identified any aspects of the school’s policy and/or its implementation that require further improvement?


Has the Board put in place an action plan to address any areas for improvement?




Signed _____________________________________                            Date ________________

Chairperson, Board of Management


Signed _____________________________________                  Date ________________





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