Catherine Fitzpatrick
Patrician Academy,

February 28th 2014


To Whom it May Concern,

Pat Courtney worked with staff in my school to help us develop a whole school approach to Anti-Bullying. He carried out a Student Survey to enable staff to gauge the extent to which students reported being bullied. He interacted in a very professional and positive manner with students in carrying out this survey which inspired staff confidence in the validity of the survey. It was also a very good awareness raising exercise for students.

Pat facilitated an excellent staff development day for staff during which he presented the results of the survey. Staff had an opportunity to reflect on bullying in its various forms. Pat worked very collaboratively with staff encouraging responses and discussion while at the same time having the facility to get staff to reflect on and question their own behaviours and even prejudices. A very valuable aspect of the approach was to get staff to reflect on their relationships with each other as well as with their students. The focus was very much on the creation of a positive whole school climate where all relationships are based on respect for the individual.

Pat visited the school on two occasions after the staff day to work with a subcommittee of staff who worked on a review of the Anti-Bullying policy. He provided a template within which to work which ensured that the work progressed well and that key elements of policy development were not overlooked. He again met all staff when the policy was finalised.

Pat gave a talk to our Parents Association A.G.M. on Bullying and Cyber Bullying. Feedback from parents was very positive. They appreciated his clear presentation style and breadth of knowledge.

Staff were very impressed by Pat’s facilitation skills. He drew on his own experiences as a teacher and Year Head and so earned the trust and respect of staff. As a Principal I found his work very valuable in progressing policy development and in allowing us to structure the work involved in a focused and structured way within a definite time frame. Pat was available at all times to discuss issues and to provide support and he provided the school with many very useful resources. The work progressed over a year and during that time we successfully reviewed our Anti-Bullying Policy while at the same time gaining valuable insights into how we could improve the climate in our school.

We had the major work on Anti-Bullying done when the Minister for Education and Skills launched the new procedures!

Donal O'Sullivan
Coláiste Mhuire

March 4th 2014


To whom it may concern,

During the ‘12/’13 and ‘13/’14 academic years Mr. Pat Courtney worked closely with Coláiste Mhuire assisting the school to develop an effective anti-bullying policy and effective staff/parental approaches to dealing with instances of bullying when they arise.

Initially Pat worked very closely with our SPHE department with a view to reviewing our anti bullying policy in line with new national guidelines. The department found Pat’s insight and expertise invaluable and he was of great assistance in drafting and redrafting our new policy.

Once the policy was in place Pat surveyed students to gain an insight into the type of environment and attitudes that pertained in the school. Once Pat had ascertained this information Mr Courtney facilitated insightful and relevant staff and parent workshops.

Teachers found Pat’s session extremely informative and worthwhile and were very impressed by the practical approaches and strategies put forward to deal with difficult issues that may arise. The school has since put such theories and approaches into practice and have found them extremely helpful, both for gaining an insight into situations and as a means of gathering evidence about what can be sensitive and tricky situations for teachers and management to deal with.

Parents also commented on how deep an insight Mr Courtney has into the whole area of bullying. They found the session very informative and commented that for many it was an “eye opener” into the world of what was going on in the life of a teenager. I believe that this session also helped the parents present to gain a deeper appreciation of the issues that are facing schools in this area and also helped to create a deeper understanding of the importance of parental responsibility and support.

Our school benefitted greatly from Mr Courtney’s expertise. His deep understanding of the intricate nature of bullying behaviour and his vast practical experience working through issues in schools allows Pat to draw from a rich bank of informed and effective solutions. I would recommend any school involved in developing anti-bullying or SPHE areas within their schools to get Mr. Courtney on board.

Regards, Donal O'Sullivan