Early Identification & Resolution of Hidden Bullying

Promoting cooperative and psychologically safe schools

Helping Hands is a high-quality programme for teachers and school support teams.

Our easy-to-use diagnostic tool

  • Accesses student relationship dynamics normally hidden from teachers, parents and school management.
  • Produces a heat map to inform teachers of the potential for bullying or isolation to occur or escalate.
  • Provides SMART data on class dynamics and school cultures for use in SSE.
  • Generates inclusive teams for implementing cooperative learning in classrooms.

This knowledge, in combination with our online and in-school professional learning, can be used to:

  • intervene early to prevent, identify, and resolve bullying.
  • to develop inclusive and psychologically safe classroom teams
  • create conditions that make it safe for vulnerable students to confide in teachers.

Helping Hands is committed to creating psychologically safe spaces for all your pupils.

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Supported by

    • Local Enterprise Office
    • European Union
    • Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council

The Problem of Hidden Bullying

Schools take their responsibilities towards the students in their care very seriously and most have a zero-tolerance approach to bullying. This approach can prevent visible but often not  invisible behaviours. Teachers rarely have access to the world of student relationships outside of the formal setting of the classroom. This includes time spent during school lunch breaks, unsupervised time between classes, travel to and from school, sporting and leisure events outside of school and time spent on social media. Bullying is typically hidden in the peer group. Bullied students are not able to defend themselves and they are frequently unable to tell.

The Growing up in Ireland (2009) survey found that only 23% of 9-year old’s who were bullied told their parents. A figure of 15% has been found for older students (Card & Hodges, 2008). When students do report, the investigations are post-facto in nature and attempt to resolve bullying that has already escalated. Many anti-bullying interventions deal with the 15% who report. The Helping Hands Programme is about giving teachers access to the world of the silent and often unnoticed 85%.

Helping Hands is an award winning programme.

It has been developed through rigorous research and is based on international best practice and leading thinking.

  • It provides cutting edge knowledge, skills and an easy to use diagnostic tool to help teachers access relationship dynamics hidden in the peer group
  • Vulnerable students can be identified before problems escalate or complaints are made. This allows measures to assist them to be put in place
  • The programme combines online professional learning with access to the software instrument for school leaders and teachers
  • This new approach means that vulnerable students can be identified before problems escalate or complaints are made, permitting appropriate supports to be put in place
  • The focus is on empowerment of the victims and keeping them psychologically safe
  • Recognising that resolving bullying is a process and not an event, teachers are equipped with knowledge and skills to identify targeted students and support them through the process of empowerment
  • Our training is supported by best in class software. The software can be used to assign students to classwork teams, ensuring that all students are included and are in teams where they feel wanted and welcome

Teachers can use this new knowledge to:

  • Prevent bullying
  • Intervene early before bullying becomes entrenched
  • Create inclusive psychologically safe classrooms
  • Develop classroom teams that are welcoming to all
  • Build support networks around vulnerable students
  • Create conditions that make it safe for students to tell
  • Help empower students who are victimised
  • Ensure that students who engage in bullying behaviour learn to have appropriate levels of power

The distress experienced by bullied students can negatively affect their health, school attendance, educational performance, and have an ongoing negative impact on their lives into the future.

Most bullying is invisible to school staff and parents. Up to 85% of bullying victims do not tell anyone what is happening to them.

Current approaches to tackling bullying rely on reporting and investigating. They depend on solid proof of bullying that has already taken place. They are overly focused on the – already powerful – person who has bullied, rather than the – already disempowered – target of the bullying.

If we truly wish to ensure the well-being of all students and make schools inclusive and psychologically safe places for everyone, we need a new approach to tackling the problem. The Helping Hands Programme provides such an approach.

The software instrument can also be employed for School Self-Evaluation (SSE). it can yield high quality data with minimum teacher input required in design and implementation.

Client Testimonials

    • Helping Hands wellbeing and anti-bullying programme is unique in the way it helps schools identify and deal with bullying. This evidence-based programme, that tackles the hidden bullying in the classroom, gives the teacher the information, the training and the tools to create a safe and productive learning environment for all students. The programme is an excellent resource that empowers and supports schools to tackle bullying, I would highly recommend it for every teacher in every school.

      Paul Crone
      Director, National Association of Principals and Deputies (NAPD)
      Paul Crone
    • Helping Hands increases our awareness of our students’ social environment in the classroom. This well researched, easy-to-use tool immediately tells what’s a play and allows us to intervene before a situation escalates. It gives teachers an intimate knowledge of the culture of the classroom and identifies students who may be struggling. This allows us to create an environment where every voice is heard, and they have an atmosphere conducive to learning.

      Katherina Broderick
      Principal, Presentation Secondary School, Listowel
      Katherina Broderick
    • The Bullying of students is a perennial and difficult problem for schools to manage. The manifestations and effects of bullying are generally neither visible nor understood. The dynamics and nuances of bullying behaviours are extremely complex. Dr. Maria Garvey gets it. Her programme offers an in-depth and comprehensive analysis of every aspect of this multidimensional problem. Her proposed interventions are clear, meticulous and groundbreaking. I am happy to endorse it, in the realistic hope that children who are being tortured on a daily basis by those who bully, will finally get the appropriately focused support that they need and deserve.

      Jacinta Kitt
      Author, Lecturer, former teacher, expert on workplace bullying
      Jacinta Kitt
    • Bullying exists in all schools, Helping Hands is supporting our school to develop into an environment that is safe and positive for all. We were amazed, at first, at what Maria could tell us about the class dynamics from looking at the sociometric results. It was like she was sitting in the back of the room with them. She has provided massive support to us from day one. We have seen improvements in enrollment and attendance since we started using the programme. Helping Hands has helped me to empower staff to become leaders in dealing with bullying in our school.

      Donal Madden
      Principal, Newport College
      Donal Madden
    • If the children who suffer at the hands of hidden bullying ran the schools, this is the programme they would implement. Maria’s vision and this concept gives families, educators and most importantly the victims a way forward that gets the right results …a voice for those who don’t have one.

      Anita O’Hara
      Parent and Joint Chair of Parents’ Association
      Anita O’Hara

Helping Hands Resources

Please see below for our product offering

Additional Resources

This resource helps teachers in a practical, experiential way to ensure the inclusion, belonging and psychological safety of students. Each workbook is designed for use by a small team of (optimally) three students. This resource has proven to be most suitable for Tutor / Form / Wellbeing / SPHE / Student Support classes.


  • Student team workbooks (1 per team)
  • Complimentary teacher manual
  • Complimentary online teacher professional learning (1 hour)


  • A class pack for 30 students (10 workbooks + 1 teacher manual) = €100
  • A class pack for 24 student (8 workbooks only) = €80
  • Teacher Manual = €7
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Helping Hands Programme Package

Helping Hands is a high-quality intervention programme for teachers and student support teams. It includes an easy-to-use diagnostic tool that reveals hidden power dynamics in student relationships, which are normally not visible to adults. The software assists with detection of vulnerable students and early identification of hidden bullying.

  • Fully GDRP compliant


  • Annual license for sociometric, diagnostic software
  • 5 modules of online professional learning
  • Expert analysis of 2 sociometric reports including recommendations for interventions
  • Ongoing evening collegial support zooms
  • Introductory Manual for School Leaders and Core Team members
  • Support documents & resources
  • Video for parents and parent leaflet explaining the programme
  • Continuing email/phone support throughout set up and running of the programme.


  • €5 per student for whole school license
  • €7 per student for partial school license (€250 minimum)
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Further Resources Available


  • Expert analysis report of sociometric results - €55
  • Zoom consultation with Dr. Maria Garvey - €100
  • In school consultation with Dr. Maria Garvey
    • Half day €350 + expenses*
    • Full day €500 + expenses*

* Dr. Garvey is based in Dublin and expenses will vary depending on distance from there

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About us

    • Maria is a 2019 Social Entrepreneur Ireland Awardee. The Helping Hands Programme represents the culmination of her life’s work. Her mission is to make this new approach available to teachers to help them to identify hidden bullying in real time and to ensure that all students feel included and psychologically safe in school.

      Maria Garvey
      CEO and designer of the Award-winning Helping Hands Programme
      Maria Garvey
    • Marius has over 20 years experience as an IT professional working as a Developer, Architect, IT manager and Agile expert for numerous clients in and around Dublin.

      Marius Curtin
      Chief Operating Officer
      Marius Curtin
    • Emer originally graduated in Electronic Engineering but has spent the last 18 years working in a DEIS school in Dublin. Inhabiting the roles of Maths teacher, numeracy coordinator, wellbeing coordination and latterly Home School Community Liaison, Emer has a wealth of experience. While currently pursuing a PhD in the area of adolescent wellbeing, Emer has come on board with Helping Hands to provide comprehensive, ongoing and practical support for our active schools.

      Emer Byrne
      Support and Development Officer
      Emer Byrne
    • Remco is a deeply technical IT professional with over 15 years working in the industry as a Developer, Architect and team lead across multiple clients in both Ireland and The Netherlands.

      Remco de Wit-Peijs
      Chief Technology Officer
      Remco de Wit-Peijs
    • Mary has spent 20 years as a school secretary managing all aspects of a busy office. She joined Helping Hands to manage our school and user account setup. She is adept in managing correspondence and organizing office operations and procedures.

      Mary Cody
      Administration and Finance Officer
      Mary Cody