Code of Behaviour Policy

Introductory Statement

This policy was formulated on 11th December 2009 and reviewed in March 2019 in consultation with all the staff, the Board of Management and the parent body.

Rationale

It was deemed necessary to review the Code of Behaviour because

  • It is an area prioritised by the school community.
  • We prioritise an orderly climate for learning in the school, which is linked, to our code of behaviour.
  • We want to ensure that the existing policy is in compliance with legal requirements and good practice as set out in Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools, NEWB, 2008.

Relationship to characteristic spirit of the school

This policy was drawn up in line with our Mission Statement. “We strive to promote a happy, caring, welcoming, secure and well-ordered environment for the pupils, staff, parents, Board of Management and the wider community.  We also endeavour to nurture each child’s educational, spiritual moral and cultural needs with due regard for the child’s unique individuality”.

Aims

By introducing this document we aim:

  • To ensure an educational environment this is guided by our Mission Statement.
  • To allow the school to function in an orderly way where children can make progress in all aspects of their development.
  • To create an atmosphere of respect, tolerance and consideration for others.
  • To promote positive behaviour and self-discipline, recognising the difference between children and the need to accommodate these differences.
  • To ensure the safety and well being of all members of the school community.
  • To assist parents and pupils in understanding the systems and procedures that forms the code of behaviour and to seek their co-operation in the application of these procedures.
  • To ensure that the system of rules, rewards and sanctions are implemented in a fair and consistent manner throughout the school.

Guidelines for Behaviour in the School

The standards of behaviour our school wishes to promote are as follows;

  • Each pupil is expected to be well behaved and to show consideration for other children and adults.
  • Each pupil is expected to show respect for the property of the school, other children’s and their own belongings.
  • Each pupil is expected to attend school regularly and be punctual.
  • Each pupil is expected to follow the school, classroom and yard rules.
  • Older pupils are expected to set the standards for the younger pupils.
  • Each pupil is expected to do his/her best both in schoolwork and for homework.

Parents/Guardians are advised to inform the class teacher who will in turn inform the Principal when incidents outside the school may influence a child’s mood or behaviour to enable us to understand problems that may arise.

Whole school approach to promoting positive behaviour

Each member of staff has a responsibility to ensure that discipline is maintained within the school and all its activities.

Board of Management Responsibilities:

  • Provide a comfortable and safe environment for pupils and staff
  • Ratify the Code of Behaviour
  • Support the staff in implementing the code

Principal’s Responsibilities:

  • Arrange a review of the Code of Behaviour
  • Ensure the Code of Behaviour is implemented fairly and consistently in school
  • Create a happy environment in school

Teacher’s Responsibilities:

  • Develop a good rapport with the pupils
  • Keep records of behaviour and implement sanctions
  • Support colleagues and principal
  • Provide a safe learning environment for pupils
  • Be consistent and fair
  • Communicate difficulties with parents
  • Deal appropriately with misbehavior

Parent’s Responsibilities:

  • Ensure their child attends school regularly
  • Ensure their child is punctual for school
  • Be aware of the Code of Behaviour and support it
  • Be interested, positive and encourage their child with school work
  • Ensure their child is in full and correct uniform
  • Homework journals must be checked and signed by parents every night
  • Provide note or phone call or email to teacher in case of pupil absence
  • Communicate to teacher if any problem arises at home which may affect their child’s behaviour at school
  • Make an appointment through the school secretary if they would like to meet with the teacher
  • Collect children promptly at 1.45pm or 2.45pm

Pupil’s Responsibilities:

  • Have all books and equipment required and take care of them
  • Behave in a reasonable manner
  • Older pupils set the standards for the younger pupils
  • Follow school, classroom and yard rules

Positive Strategies for managing behaviour:

  • Star charts and stickers for Junior classes
  • Homework Pass
  • Marble jar
  • Golden Time
  • Class Dojo

School Rules:

  • We will arrive at school on time and will only enter the school grounds when the bell rings at 8.50am.
  • We will wear our full and correct uniform every day.
  • Less than number 2 shaved haircuts are not permitted in school.
  • Haircut tattoos are not permitted or shaved lines.
  • Necklaces and loose earrings are not permitted in school.
  • Make-up/fake tan is not permitted in school.
  • When a child is absent an explanation from parents is required.
  • We will line up in an orderly manner.
  • We will show respect for others, school property and ourselves.
  • We will walk at all times in the school corridors.
  • Offensive language, spitting, bullying and kicking will not be tolerated and will be dealt with under the Code of Behaviour and Anti-Bullying Policy.
  • We will listen to others without interrupting.
  • We will raise our hand quietly to answer and ask questions and ask for permission to leave our seat.
  • We will keep our hands, feet, and unhelpful comments to ourselves.
  • We will take pride in our appearance and in our work.
  • We will remain seated in our place while eating our lunch during break time.
  • Mobile phones or any other technical devices are not allowed in school. Any pupil having a mobile phone in school will have it confiscated and can only be claimed by parents from the Principal.  In the event of a device being brought on a school tour the teacher will immediately confiscate the device and it will only be returned to the parents either at the end of the year or when they call to the principal.
  • We will not loiter in the schoolyard at home time.
  • Children cannot leave the school grounds without permission during school time or while attending after school activities.

Yard Rules:

  • We will play in a safe way and respect the right of others to enjoy their break time.
  • We will avoid reckless and dangerous play and always keep our hands and feet to ourselves.
  • We will seek permission to enter the school building during break time.
  • We will play in our designated areas of the schoolyard.
  • We will freeze when the first bell rings and walk to our line when the second bell rings.
  • Aggressive and bullying behaviour is not tolerated and will be dealt with under the Code of Behaviour and Anti-Bullying Policy.

School Related Activities

Standards and rules contained in the Code of Behaviour will apply in any situation where pupils are still the responsibility of school staff for example during school tours, games, extra-curricular activities and other school-linked events.

Rewards and Sanctions

The school places greater emphases on rewards rather than on sanctions, in the belief that this will, in the long run, give the best results.

Rewards used in school:

  • Verbal praise
  • Extra playtime
  • Golden time (t-am órga)
  • Homework Pass
  • Student of the Week trophy
  • Class dojo
Strategies for Dealing with Inappropriate Behaviour

There is a need for sanctions to register disapproval of unacceptable behaviour and will hopefully result in a change to more positive behaviour. Misbehaviour should be checked immediately.

Sanctions should make the distinction between minor and more serious misbehaviour clear to the pupils.

The following strategies may be used to show disapproval of unacceptable behaviour.

  • Reasoning with the pupil
  • Reprimand (including advice on how to improve)
  • Temporary separation from peers or friends
  • Communication with parents
  • Loss of privileges
  • Detention during a break or part thereof
  • Referral to the principal
  • Suspension

The overall responsibility for discipline within the school rests with the principal. Each teacher has responsibility for the maintenance of discipline within his/her classroom, while sharing a common responsibility for good order within the school premises. A pupil will be referred to the principal for serious breaches of discipline and for repeated incidents of minor misbehaviour.

 

Involving Parents in management of Problem Behaviour

  • Parents should be involved at an early stage when discipline problems arise.
  • Initially, parents are contacted by the class teacher informally through a note in the homework journal or speaking to them directly before or after school. If the problem persists, the matter will be referred to the principal and formal communication will then be requested.
  • Parent teacher meetings will be held annually in accordance with the guidelines set out by the Dept. of Education and Science.

Managing Aggressive or Violent Behaviour

The strategies used in our school for dealing with serious emotional and behavioral problems are as follows:

  • Children who present to be emotionally disturbed are immediately referred for psychological assessment.
  • Through the Special Educational Needs Organiser, appropriate support is sought from services available e.g. Health Service Executive, NEPS etc.

Suspension/Expulsion Procedures

In the unlikely event that a pupil has to be suspended and/or expelled, procedures as outlined in the Guidelines will be followed. These are outlined in chapters 10, 11 and 12 in developing a Code of Behaviour Guidelines for Schools NEWB 2008.

A pupil may be suspended for gross misbehaviour or repeated incidents of serious misbehaviour. This would be only considered as a final resort. The following procedure may then be followed.

  • Parents will be invited to meet the class teacher, the principal and/or the chairperson to discuss serious incidents of misbehaviour.
  • Communication to the parents regarding the suspension of a pupil or the possibility of suspension will be in writing.
  • A written statement of the terms and date of termination of a suspension will be given to the parents/guardians.
  • When a period of suspension ends, the pupil will be formally re-admitted to the class by the Principal.
  • Where a satisfactory resolution of a problem is achieved, a pupil may be re-admitted to the school within a suspension period at the discretion of the chairperson and the principal.
  • A record of serious misbehaviour by pupils will be kept in the school in our incident report booklet, which is kept in the staffroom.
  • Where there are a series of serious regular misconduct, the school will endeavour to assist the parents in seeking the support of outside agencies to help.
  • Children are encouraged to lead healthy lives by following the Nutrition Policy and by taking part in the various schools sporting activities. Rule 130.
  • Where the Board of Management deems it necessary to make provision to deal with continuous disruptive pupils or a serious breach of discipline, the maximum initial period of such suspension shall be three days. This is done by authorising the Chairperson or Principal to suspend a pupil or pupils from the school.
  • A special decision of the Board of Management is necessary to authorise a further period of suspension up to a maximum of ten school days to allow for consultation with the pupils or pupil’s parents or guardians. In exceptional circumstances, the Board of Management may authorise a further period of suspension in order to enable the matter to be reviewed.
  • No pupil shall be struck off the rolls for breaches of discipline without the prior consent of the patron and unless alternative arrangements are made for the enrolment of the pupil in another suitable school.
  • Where a pupil is suspended for a period greater than six days, the Principal must inform the Educational Welfare Officer. (Educational Welfare Act 2000, 21, 4, a.)
  • Expulsion may be considered in an extreme case, in accordance with Rule 130 (6) for National schools.

 

Appeals

Any suspension is subject to appeal under section 29 of the Education Act 1998 (see Ch. 2 Guidelines 11.6)

Any expulsion decision may be appealed to the Secretary General of D.E.S. (Education Act Section 29). An appeal may also be brought by the N.E.W.B. on behalf of a student.

Keeping Records

In line with the data protection legislation the following records will be kept in relation to pupil’s behaviour. Records will be written in a factual and impartial manner. This will include the following information

  • Date of incident
  • Name of person completing report
  • Who was involved
  • What happened
  • Why did it happen
  • When did it happen
  • Were there witnesses
  • Action taken

Class Level Recording

Teachers will use their Teachers Yearbook to record minor misbehaviours that are occurring frequently. For more serious misbehaviour or other incidents, this will be recorded in the Incident Report Book which is kept in the principal’s office.

Playground

Any misbehaviour occurring during playtime in the yard will be verbally reported by the teacher on duty/SNAs to the class teacher/principal. Serious misbehaviours will be recorded in the Incident Report Book which is kept in the staffroom.

School Records

The end of school year report will include a reference to behaviour whereby there will be a report on the child’s behaviour in class and in the schoolyard.

Procedures for Notification of Pupil Absences from School

  • Pupils are encouraged to attend school at all times when they are not ill.
  • When a pupil is absent parents are required to communicate the reason for their absence in writing to the class teacher.
  • Communication in writing is sent to parents when a child has missed 15 days. Any pupil absent more than 20 days will be reported to the National Education Welfare Board, as required under current legislation.
  • Parents are requested to ensure that children develop a good sense of punctuality in their earlier years at school. This is important for their future life. Pupils will be accepted for assembly from 8.50 each morning. Children should be in the school building no later than 9am as class teaching begins at 9.05.
  • Where pupils are regularly late the principal or class teacher may ask parents to explain the reason why.
  • If children leave school or arrive outside of normal school hours, parents need to sign them in and out on our Student Attendance Book in the school office. The secretary will call for them over the intercom and parents wait for them in the reception area.

Reference to other policies

The Code of Behaviour will have a bearing on other school policies such as

  • Anti-Bullying Policy
  • Nutrition Policy
  • P.E. Plan
  • SPHE Plan

Success Criteria

Some practical indicators of the success of the policy include:

  • Observation of positive behaviour in classrooms, playground and school environment.
  • Practices and procedures listed in this policy being consistently implemented by teachers.
  • Positive feedback from teachers, parents and pupils.

Ratification and Communication

The policy was ratified in March 2013 by the Board of Management. It was uploaded to our school website where the parent body can view it. The policy is part of our enrolment for all new pupils in the school. It was reviewed in September 2019 and is due to be reviewed again in September 2021 or sooner if circumstances demand it.