This Code of Behaviour Policy has been developed to create a caring, ordered environment based on respect and tolerance where each member of our school can feel secure and confident.
Principles of Behaviour Policy
If the school is to achieve a happy, secure environment in which children can develop to their full potential, it is necessary to provide a framework which promotes constructive behaviour and discourages unacceptable behaviour. The aim is to ensure that the individuality of each child is accommodated while acknowledging the right to each child to an education in a relatively disruption free environment. The school code places a greater emphasis on rewards rather than on sanctions, and the ideal is that pupils will acquire self-discipline. There are times however, when it may be necessary to impose sanctions in order to maintain good order and to discourage offenders. We recognise the importance of a strong sense of community within the school and the existence of a high level of cooperation among teachers, ancillary staff, pupils, parents and the Board of Management.
Strategies to promote Positive Behaviour:
Most of the pupils are very well behaved and rewarding good behaviour is an important part of our Code of Behaviour. The following strategies may be employed to reward good behaviour:
- A quiet word or gesture to show approval
- Matching work with pupil’s abilities. A prize/reward carefully noted by the teacher to ensure that all children at regular stages during the school year are rewarded for effort/behaviour/skills etc.
- Teachers creating moments of success and then acknowledging them.
- A comment in a pupil’s exercise book
- A visit to another member of staff or the Principal for commendation
- A word of praise in front of a group or class
- Delegating some responsibility or privilege
- A mention to a parent – written or verbal
- Raffle ticket system for student of the month
- Teacher notes improvement in the behaviour of a disruptive pupil
- Annual presentation of the Dan and Mary Boyle Awards
- Boy or girl in each class to form council
- Council meet with Breda Gallagher (special duties teacher) routinely
- Council should be used positively as a vehicle for children to make suggestions for the school.
School rules are devised with regard to the health, safety and welfare of all members of the school community. It is imperative that adults “practise what they preach” in their interaction with children every day. The School Rules listed below provide clear guidelines for all members of the school community.
- Pupils are expected to treat all staff members, themselves and each other with due respect and courtesy.
- Bullying is never allowed. Any behaviour that interferes with the rights of others to learn and to be safe is unacceptable.
- Bad language is unacceptable. Inappropriate language if used towards a teacher or anywhere within the school is considered a breach of the code.
- We encourage pupils to wear their full school uniform.
- Chewing gum, glass bottles, correction fluids, other solvents, matches, cigarettes, alcohol or drugs are not allowed.
- We encourage children to bring healthy lunches (see Healthy Lunch Policy)
- Children are not allowed mobile phones in class or on the school yard. If a child is found with a mobile phone it will be confiscated. In exceptional circumstances arrangements may be made between the principal and parents of the child to hold a mobile phone for a child in the office for use after school hours.
- We encourage hairstyles to be kept neat and conventional. For hygiene purposes, it is advisable that hair must be back.
Behaviour in the School Environment and within the School Building:
- Pupils are expected to value our school environment and to care for it.
- Cycling in school grounds is prohibited.
- Pupils must respect the school building and property. If any deliberate damage is caused, the parent/guardian will be responsible for the cost of repair/replacement.
- Pupils enter and leave the school building at all times in an orderly fashion.
- In the interest of safety pupils must walk within the school building.
Behaviour in Class:
- Pupils must not behave in such a manner as to disrupt class work or to cause unnecessary disturbance.
- It is the school policy that every pupil listens to the class teacher, works hard, making best use of their time in school and works to the best of their ability.
- No leaving your seat without permission.
- Keep your classroom tidy and neat at all times.
- Pupils must have all books and required materials.
Behaviour in the Playground:
- Children must stay within their designated play areas at all times
- All pupils have a right to enjoy their time out in the playground in a safe environment at break periods.
- The playground is a food-free/litter-free zone.
- Children must stay in their designated play areas and stay out of banned wet/muddy areas.
- Misdemeanor consists of any action that puts the safety of self or others at risk.
- Fighting, rough play or any physical force is never allowed or tolerated.
- In the interests of safety, climbing on the school railings is strictly forbidden.
- In the interest of safety when the bell rings during playtimes the children stop playing and walk to their classrooms.
On wet days children remain in their classrooms during breaks, while there these additional rules apply:
- Sharp implements are used only when a teacher is in the classroom
- Children do activities in classroom based on the class teacher’s instructions or supervising teacher’s instructions.
- Children are expected to stay seated on wet days.
- Every pupil listens to and obeys the class teacher.
- A bus picks the children up at the school.
- Children will be supervised on the bus and at the pool.
- No shouting or playing in dressing rooms.
- Every pupil listens to and obeys the instructor and lifeguard.
- No running around pool area.
- Swimming caps required. Arm bands needed for beginners and shower socks may be worn.
- Children do not leave the pool without permission from the instructor or teacher.
- No jumping into the pool from the side – unless under the instructor’s directions.
- No pushing or rough play in the pool.
- Children are expected to dress quickly after each session.
- No drinks/sweets are bought from the machine.
- Pupils enter/leave the bus in an orderly manner.
- Pupils are expected to arrive 15 minutes before departure time. Parents are expected to contact the school 15 minutes before departure time if child is sick or unable to attend.
- School Rules apply to school tours.
- On the bus pupils must sit in their seats and avoid loudness that would distract the driver.
- Pupils are encouraged to take drinks and sweets at the appointed lunch breaks.
- Pupils stay in their appointed groups at all times.
- Pupils wear uniform on school tours unless told otherwise.
Disciplinary Procedures “A Staged Approach”
1st incident – yellow card. The rule that has been broken is explained to the pupil.
2nd incident – yellow card. The pupil is given an oral warning not to break the same rule again.
3rd incident – red card. ‘Stage 2’ comes into effect.
Recording and Reporting
- All yellow/red card incidents in class or yard are recorded in teachers’ individual pupil records
- Teacher on yard will inform class teacher of any incidents
- At the discretion of the Principal, a red card may be issued for a first offence depending on the seriousness of the rule broken
Parents contacted by Principal. Sanction for a red card is one week of detention (20min loss of playtime daily from 12:30pm – 12:50pm only)
If a pupil misbehaves on a continuous basis or if there is a serious incident of misbehaviour, it may be necessary to suspend/expel a pupil. Procedures for the suspension of a pupil are as follows:
- Parent is invited to discuss the matter with the class teacher and the principal.
- If suspension is being invoked, the parent is informed, and then confirmation of the duration of the suspension is provided in writing.
- The maximum period of an initial suspension is three school days.
- A special decision of the Board of Management is necessary to authorise a further period of exclusion up to a maximum of ten school days to allow for consultation with the pupils’ parents. In exceptional circumstances, the Board of Management may authorise a further period of exclusion in order to enable the matter to be reviewed.
The Board of Management has the authority to suspend a pupil and may do so for up to 10 consecutive days at one time or for 20 days in a school year. A single incident of misconduct may be grounds for suspension.
Suspension is defined as “requiring the student to absent himself/herself from the school for a specified, limited period of school days”.
Suspension should be a proportionate response to the behaviour that is causing concern. Normally other interventions will have been tried before suspension.
The decision to suspend a pupil requires serious grounds such as:
- The student’s behaviour has had seriously detrimental effect on the education of other students.
- The student’s continued presence in the school at this time constitutes a threat to safety.
- The student is responsible for serious damage to property.
- A single incident of serious misconduct may be grounds for suspension.
Procedures for Suspension:
Schools are required by law to follow fair procedures when proposing to suspend a student. The school will observe the following:
- Inform the pupil and their parents about the complaint
- Give parents and pupil an opportunity to respond
- Initial suspension no longer generally than three days (except in exceptional circumstances)
- BOM will formally review any proposal to suspend a student for 20 or more days in a school year (in total). Any such suspension is subject to appeal under Section 29 of the Education Act (1998).
The Board of Management has the right to expel a pupil. Before expelling a pupil, the school will have taken significant steps to address the misbehaviour and to avoid expulsion of a pupil including, as appropriate:
- Meeting with parents and pupil to try to find ways of helping the pupil to change their behaviour
- Making sure the pupil understands the possible consequences of their behaviour, it if should persist
- Ensuring that all other possible options have been tried
- Seeking the assistance of support agencies, if appropriate
A proposal by the Board of Management to expel a student requires serious grounds, such that:
- The student’s behaviour is a persistent cause of significant disruption to the learning of others or to the teaching process.
- The student’s continued presence in the school constitutes a real and significant threat to safety.
- The student is responsible for serious damage to property.
Expulsion should be a proportionate response to student’s behaviour – should only be taken in extreme cases of unacceptable behaviour.
Expulsion for a first time offence:
The kind of behaviour that might result in a proposal to expel on the basis of a single breach of the code could include:
- A serious threat of violence against another student or member of staff
- Actual violence or physical assault
- Supplying illegal drugs to other students in the school
- Sexual assault
Procedures for expulsion (fair procedures/right to be heard)
Where a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant expulsion, the following procedural steps will include:
- A detailed investigation carried out under the direction of the principal (includes contacting parents re behaviour as with suspension)
- A recommendation to the Board of Management by the Principal (parents informed of same)
- Consideration by the Board of Management of the Principal’s recommendation; and the holding of a hearing
- Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing (including informing Educational Welfare officer. The pupil cannot be expelled before the passage of 20 school days from the date the EWO receives the written notification)
- Consultations arranged by an Education Welfare Officer (BOM may consider suspending the pupil during this period if the continued presence of the pupil will seriously disrupt the learning of others, or represent a threat to the safety of other pupils or staff).
- Confirmation of the decision to expel (letter to parents, information on right to appeal – section 29)
Under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998, Parents are entitled to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science against decisions of the Board of Management in relation to suspension and expulsion.
Success Criteria: (by which the policy will be judged)
- Atmosphere of discipline within the school
- Children are aware of school rules
- Staff apply school rules
- Growth in self discipline
- Cooperation between parents, teachers and pupils in maintaining the code
- Comments or compliments on behaviour
- Children working to the best of their ability
- Class working to the best of their ability
- Improvements in behaviour
Monitoring and Review:
Each staff member is responsible for the implementation of the Code of Behaviour and Anti-Bullying Policy. Within the classroom the teacher monitors his/her class. Teachers consider themselves responsible for the behaviour of children within sight or sound of them and respond to any instance of unacceptable behaviour.
The deputy principal will act as advisor/support to pupils, parents and staff in matters relating to the Code of Behaviour.
The principal is responsible for monitoring and reviewing Policy at staff level on a regular basis and reports any review the staff deem necessary to the Board of Management.
The Board of Management (BOM) has ultimate responsibility for discipline in the school under its management and a duty to ensure that a fair code of discipline applies therein. The BOM will ensure the Code of Behaviour and Anti-Bullying policy is reviewed yearly or more often if the need arises.