Introductory Statement :
An initial review of our code of discipline was discussed at Staff Planning Day 8/12/2009 by the full staff. This has been reviewed and updated on many occasions.
Current practices were looked at and evaluated and at intervals over the following few months a review of the policy undertaken with reference to the NEWB guidelines.
- It is an area of concern identified by the school community.
- The existing policy is due for review/amendment.
- To ensure an orderly climate for learning in the school.
- It is a requirement under the Education Welfare Act, 2000
Relationship to Spirit of the School :
In our school we aim to provide balance and excellence in education where children will have a successful happy school experience. The code of behaviour will help make the school a good and safe place for teaching and learning in an orderly harmonious school.
We aim to develop good personal relationships with mutual respect and trust and see the code of behaviour as a means to achieving this. The code promotes equality for all members of the school community.
The aims of this code of discipline are :
- To ensure that each individual child gets fair play and receives the basic right to education in a relatively disruption free environment.
- That the school can operate efficiently, with good order and a happy atmosphere.
- That the children develop self-discipline based on consideration, respect, co-operation and tolerance for others.
- To promote positive behaviour and self-discipline, recognising the differences 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 form part of the code of behaviour and to seek their co-operation in the application of these procedures.
- To ensure the system of rules, rewards, and sanctions are implemented in a fair and consistent manner throughout the school.
Guidelines for behaviour in School:
Pupils: General Behaviour
- 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 / adult’s and for their own belongings.
- Each pupil is expected to attend school on a regular basis and to be punctual.
- Each pupil is expected to do his/her best in school and for homework.
- Each pupil is expected to co-operate with class rules and to work to the best of his/her ability.
- Pupils are expected to listen to the teacher and to other pupils and to show respect at all times to staff, pupils and visitors.
- Each pupils is expected to follow direction of the teacher and must obtain permission to leave the classroom.
- Pupils are expected to value their time and property, that of others and the school.
- Clear concise rules clarify acceptable behaviour. Children play in assigned areas of the playground. Teachers supervise on a rota basis (on display in staffroom).
- On wet days children remain in their classrooms where they may watch DVD, play board games /draw/ chat…
- Pupils from 5th /6th come to the hall ( at teacher’s discretion).
- If a child is unwell or if a parent requests a child is to remain indoors due to illness, the teacher will arrange a friend or two to stay with the child and the group sit quietly in the hall and read / chat /draw /play.
- Children are allowed use toilets during playtime. If there are any incidents of
- misbehaviour or anything remarked by a teacher on yard duty – she will deal with it. If it needs further action, class teacher / Principal will be informed.
- Serious accidents are recorded.
Behaviour in other school areas
Clear concise rules clarify expected behaviour in cloakrooms, hallways and toilet areas. Children are regularly reminded and all staff are aware of what is acceptable.
Behaviour during school outings/activities
The Code of Behaviour applies to all school related activities ex. matches / outings / swimming. Children are expected to follow the teacher’s directions at all times and to remain with the teacher/supervisor and group of pupils at all times. Each pupil is expected to observe the rules of general good behaviour, show respect and behave politely towards those they meet.
Whole School Approach :
A positive school ethos is based on the quality of relationships between teachers and the ways in which pupils and teachers treat and respect each other.
School climate, values, policies, practices and relationships must support the code of behaviour.
In our school we treat all children with respect and dignity and we are committed to the welfare of every student. We all agree that promoting good behaviour is the goal of the code and we aim to affirm the positive.
The adults in the school have a responsibility to model the school’s standard of behaviour in their dealings with students, with each other and with parents. If there is a student with special needs who had behavioural difficulties – particular care will be taken to support the pupil and specific strategies ex. I.E.P. with specific targets devised.
The school’s SPHE curriculum is used to support the code of behaviour.
Through this subject area – children learn communication skills, appropriate ways of interacting and behaving together with conflict/resolution skills. It also aims to foster self- esteem and to help children accommodate differences and develop citizenship.
It is the Principal’s responsibility to ensure the Code of Behaviour is administered in a manner that is consistent and fair to all pupils.
Each staff member has responsibility for the maintenance of discipline within common areas of the school. Teaching staff are specifically responsible for the management of discipline within their own class.
- Discuss the Code of Behaviour with their class in an age appropriate manner at the beginning of the school year.
- Frequently remind children of rules.
- Display rules in classroom.
- Encourage self discipline and positive behaviour
- Implement reward/sanction scheme in a fair and consistent manner.
- Keep written record of all incidents of continued, serious or gross misconduct.
- Inform pupils when misbehaviour is being recorded.
- Report repeated/serious misbehaviour to the Principal.
Parents / Guardian’s
Parents play a crucial role in shaping attitudes in their children which produce positive behaviour.
Parents can assist by encouraging children to abide by school rules, encouraging punctuality and regular attendance and by giving due time and effort to the completion of homework.
They can ensure children have necessary requisites and attend meetings when/if requested.
It is school policy to communicate with and involve parents and we feel when they are aware of and understand the school’s behavioural policy – they are more likely to support it and it is more successful.
Parent representatives of the Board of Management are included in the policy formation.
Parents are invited to view the draft policy and to make contributions.
On enrolment – parents receive a copy of the Code Of Behaviour and are asked to confirm in writing that the code is acceptable to them and that they shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure compliance with the code by their child.
Through discussion, children are helped realise the need for and value of good behaviour. They are involved in making suggestions contributing towards class rules. At intervals during the year, rules are refreshed and reviewed with the pupils.
Board of Management
The members of the Board of Management were each given a copy of “Developing a Code of Behaviour” and invited to make contributions.
The Board of Management is supportive of the staff and Principal Teacher in the application of the code. In the event of serious breaches of behaviour the Board of Management will follow correct procedure.
Internet Safety & Cyber Bullying: The BOM and staff are aware of the negative impacts of Cyber Bullying. To address this subject, a guest speaker will be invited to speak to the senior pupils. Pupils will also be given the opportunity to attend an information evening .
Positive Strategies –
- There are behavioural expectations in each class that are appropriate and arrived at by discussion and involvement.
- Rules and clear and simple.
- The rationale is explained, understood and agreed.
- They are communicated and referred to regularly.
- There are rewards for good behaviour and sanctions for misbehaviour.
- Classroom management with variety of activity and efficient timetabling will assist and sustain pupil interest.
Promoting Positive Behaviour
In our school the emphasis is on developing Good Behaviour and Affirming the positive.
This is reinforced through praise and reward.
Special attention is paid to pupils who show improvement and this is acknowledged.
Rewards and Sanctions:
Acknowledgement of good behaviour.
When appropriate – good behaviour is publicly recognised.
Within each class there are various systems in place –ex. praise / reduction of homework / Golden time / Homework pass / note on homework diary – Parents.
This may vary from merit awards/stars/stickers – to a treat on Friday.
For particular pupil achievement – pupils may be sent to other classes / named at assemblies.
Class teachers / Principal will share a common responsibility for good order within the school and will use a common sense approach to the seriousness and frequency of misdemeanours.
The key word in our code is ‘respect’ and any breach is seen as a lack of this.
Unacceptable Behaviour :
In order to establish a common understanding and consistent response, in the Code of Behaviour.
Three levels of misbehaviour are recognised:
Minor (level 1), Serious (level 2) and Gross (level 3).
All everyday instances of a minor nature are dealt with by the class teacher. In cases of serious misbehaviour or instances of gross misbehaviour, parents will be involved at an early stage and invited to meet the teacher and/or the Principal to discuss their child’s behaviour.
Behaviours that interfere with the orderly environment of the school.
Examples of minor misbehaviour: ( list is not exhaustive )
- Non completion of homework
- Interruption of the smooth flow of the work of the classroom
- Interfering with others (work, property or person)
- Undermining another’s self-esteem (through comment/behaviour)
- Rough play
- Bad language
- Ignoring staff requests
- Sanctions include:
- Verbal reprimand/reminders
- Temporary separation from peers
- Loss of privileges
- Prescribing additional work
Level 2 behaviours seriously interfere with the orderly environment of the school and are potentially dangerous to the safety and well being of students and staff.
Examples of serious misbehaviour: (list is not exhaustive)
- Repeated instances of minor misbehaviour
- Behaviour that is hurtful/dangerous (including bullying, harassment, discrimination and victimisation, fighting, hitting, kicking, spitting, pushing etc.)
- Behaviour that consistently interferes with teaching and learning
- Threats or physical hurt to another person
- Damage to property
- Using mobile phone at school
- Contact parents/guardians
- Referral to other teacher and/or principal
- Break-time detention (child will be supervised, engaged in work of educational value. Child is allowed time to eat, toilet facilities and a break).
- Record in incident book.
Level 3 behaviours are considered the most serious violations. They endanger health/safety and the orderly operation of the school.
Examples of gross misbehaviour: (list is not exhaustive)
- Assault on a teacher or pupil
- Serious theft
- Serious damage to property
- Immodest/inappropriate behaviour
- Bringing to school any article or item which could be a source of physical or moral danger.
- As for Serious Misbehaviour
- Board of Management consulted
- Suspension/Expulsion as per NEWB Guidelines
Managing aggressive / violent behaviour: Depending on the nature of the need, the school will make every effort to address the issue and if there are other agencies that may help, they will be contacted. Psychological assessment may be considered and referral made.Relevant professional development for staff may be offered ex. course / books.
- Through the SENO appropriate support is sought from services available ex. HSE, Speech Therapy…
- Presently we do not have a child presenting with violent behaviour. If this becomes an issue for the school in the future – further consultation would be necessary with SENO and appropriate resourcing / alternative placement ….to be considered.
This means “requiring the student to absent himself / herself from the school for a specified, limited period of school days”. Suspension will only be used when there is a serious issue of gross misconduct and inappropriate behaviour. It should be a proportionate response to the behaviour causing concern. Generally, all other interventions will have been tried first and staff and parents will have reviewed why these have not worked. The decision to suspend requires serious grounds such as:
- the student’s behaviour has a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other students
- the student’s continued presence 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.
Before suspension is decided on – its possible impact and value are clearly considered. If it is then decided on as part of a behaviour management plan – fair set procedures will be followed. See Code Of Behaviour Guidelines Sec. 10.3, 10.4
Authority to Suspend: The Board Of Management has the authority to suspend a student and this sanction (Suspension) would normally be approved by the Board of Management. However, in exceptional circumstances an immediate suspension may be necessary and should such a situation arise.
The Board of Management of Templederry N.S. has formally and in writing delegated the authority to impose an ‘immediate Suspension’ to the Principal Teacher or in the Principal’s absence, to the Acting Principal.
Gardaí can be called if there is a criminal threat by parent/pupil.
Forms of Suspension:
Informal Suspension – exclusion of student for part of the day as a sanction or asking parents to keep a child from school as a sanction.
Immediate Suspension – with immediate effect because (a) student is a serious threat to pupils or staff (b) physical violence resulting in serious damage to property.
Automatic Suspension – The Board may decide certain serious misbehaviour incur suspension as a sanction authorised.
Rollover Suspension – A student should not be suspended again shortly after they return but should it arise and a student is suspended at intervals over 20 days in a year, the Board of Management must contact NEWB using standard form.
In all suspensions, fair procedures are observed in full.
Period of Suspension : A student should not be suspended for more than 3 days. This may be extended to 5 in consultation with the Chairperson and to a maximum of 10 days with the approval of the Board.
The Board of Management should offer an opportunity to appeal.
Where decision to suspend was made by Board of Management – appeal process may be provided by the Patron.
Implementing a Suspension
Parents will be informed of an immediate suspension by telephone and arrangements will be made to have the pupil collected. In no circumstances will a child be sent home from school prior to parents being notified. Formal written notification will issue in due course but not later than two days after the implementation of the suspension.
The Principal should notify parents in writing of the decision.
Letter must include:
- Dates on which suspension will begin and end
- Any study programme to be followed
- Arrangements for returning to school
- Provision for an appeal (Section 29 Education Act)Letter should be clear and easy to understand.
Engaging with Parents
The Board of Management acknowledges that the decision to impose either an Immediate or Automatic Suspension does not remove the duty to follow due process and fair procedures. In this regard and following a formal investigation, to be completed no later than two days after the incident the Board will invite the pupil and his/her parent(s) to a meeting to discuss;
- The circumstances surrounding the suspension
- Interventions to prevent reoccurrence of such misconduct.
The Board of Management of Templederry N.S. acknowledged the fundamental importance of impartiality in the investigation process. In this regard the following undertaking is given: No person with a vested interest or personal involvement in the matter will be involved in the organisation of implementation of the investigation procedure. The Principal or delegated staff member may attend meeting.
Suspension will be recorded on NEWB ‘Student absence Report Form’.
The Education Welfare Officer will be informed when a student has been suspended for 6 days or more cumulatively.
Removing a Suspension
A suspension can be lifted if the Board of Management decides to or if the Department of Education and Science directs it be removed following an appeal.
The period of suspension will end on the date given in the letter of notification to the parents. Every effort will be made by the school to reintegrate the student socially and academically. A record of misbehaviour and sanction is kept but a student is given the opportunity for a fresh start.
Formal written records should be kept of
- The investigation
- The decision making process
- The rationale for the decision
- The duration of the suspension and any conditions attached.
Principal should report all suspension to the Board of Management with reasons for and the duration.
The Board of Management should review the use of suspension in the school at regular intervals.
A student is expelled when the BOM makes a decision to permanently exclude the student from the school. Expulsion should be proportionate to the student’s behaviour and only taken in extreme cases of serious unacceptable misbehaviour. Subsequent to the above suspension procedures and meetings with parents/ guardians, if serious/gross incidents of misbehaviour continue, the pupil will be recommended for permanent expulsion by the Board of Management. School authorities will have tried a series of other interventions and exhausted all possibilities.
In exceptional circumstances, pupils may be expelled for a first offence e.g.
- a serious threat of violence
- actual violence or physical assault
- supplying illegal drugs
- sexual assault (list is not exhaustive )
Authority to expel:
- The Board of Management has the authority to expel a student and this authority is not delegated. The Board will follow due process and fair procedures.
Factors to be considered:
- The nature and seriousness of the behaviour
- The context
- The impact
- Interventions tried to date
- If expulsion is proportionate
- Impact of expulsion
Procedure for Expulsion
1. A detailed investigation
If a student and their parents fail to attend a meeting, the Principal should write advising the gravity of the matter, the importance of attending a re-scheduled meeting and, failing that, the duty of the school authorities to make a decision to respond to the inappropriate behaviour. The school should record the invitation issued to parents and their responses.
2. A Recommendation to the Board of Management by the Principal.
Where the Principal forms a view, based on investigation of the alleged misbehaviour, that expulsion may be warranted, the Principal makes a recommendation to the Board of Management to consider expulsion. The Principal should:
- Inform the parents and the student that the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion
- Ensure that parents have records of: allegations against the student; the investigation; written notice on grounds of which the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion
- Provide the Board of Management with the same comprehensive records as are given to parents
- Notify the parents that they can make a written and oral submission to the Board of Management
- Ensure that parents have enough notice to allow them to prepare for the hearing.
3. Consideration by the Board of Management of the Principal’s recommendation and the holding of the hearing.
- It is the responsibility of the Board to review the initial investigation and satisfy itself that the investigation was properly conducted in line with fair procedures.After both sides have been heard, the Board should ensure that the Principal and parents are not present for the Board’s deliberation.
- The Board should undertake its own review of all documentation and the circumstances of the case. It should ensure that no party who has had any involvement with the circumstances of the case is part of the Board’s deliberations.
- Where a Board of Management decides to consider expelling a student, it must hold a hearing. The Board meeting for the purpose of the hearing should be properly conducted in accordance with Board procedures. At the hearing, the Principal and the parents, or a student aged eighteen years or over, put their case to the Board in each other’s presence. Each party should be allowed to question the evidence of the other party directly. The meeting may also be an opportunity for parents to make their case for lessening the sanction. In the conduct of the hearing, the Board must take care to ensure that they are, and are seen to be, impartial as between the Principal and the student. Parents may wish to be accompanied at hearings and the Board should facilitate this, in line with good practice and Board procedures.
- After both sides have been heard, the Board should ensure that the Principal and parents are not present for the Board’s deliberation
4. Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing:
- Having heard from all the parties, it is the responsibility of the Board to decide whether or not the allegation is substantiated and, if so, whether or not expulsion is the appropriate sanction.
- Where the Board of Management, having considered all the facts of the case, is of the opinion that if the student should be expelled, the Board must notify the Education Welfare Officer in writing of its opinion, and the reasons for this opinion. (Education (Welfare) Act 2000, s24(1). The Board of Management should refer to National Education Welfare Board reporting procedures for proposed expulsions. The student cannot be expelled before the passage of twenty school days from the date on which the EWO receives this written notification (Education (Welfare) Act 2000, s24(1).
- The Board should inform the parents in writing about its conclusions and the next steps in the process.
5. Consultations arranged by the Education Welfare Officer.Within twenty days of receipt of a notification from a Board of Management of its opinion that a student should be expelled, the Educational Welfare Officer must:
- Make all reasonable efforts to hold individual consultations with the principal, the parents and the student, and anyone else who may be of assistance
- Convene a meeting of those parties who agree to attend (Education (Welfare) Act 2000, section 24
The purpose of the consultations and the meeting is to ensure that arrangements are made for the student to continue in education.
6. Confirmation of the decision to expel:
When the twenty day period following notification to the Welfare Officer has elapsed, and where the Board of Management remains of the view that the student should be expelled, the Board of Management should formally confirm the decision to expel (this task might be delegated to the Chairperson and the Principal). Parents should be notified immediately that the expulsion will now proceed. Parents and the student should be told about the right to appeal and the standard form on which to lodge an appeal. A formal record should be made of the decision to expel the student.
Appeals: A Parent, or a student aged over eighteen years, may appeal a decision to expel to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science (Education Act 1998 section 29). An appeal may also be brought by the National Education welfare Board on behalf of a student.
Review of use of expulsionThe Board of Management should review the use of expulsion in the school at regular intervals.
7. Keeping Records
Class teachers record more serious incidents in their own classes and are encouraged to record positives as well as negatives. Class teacher is responsible for storage of these records for the school year. Recurring problems and serious breaches of the code of discipline are reported verbally and discussed with the Principal. Behaviour is on the agenda at Parent Teacher Meetings and it is referred to in the end of year report. All records in relation to a child’s behaviour are kept in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1988 and the data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003.
8. Notification of Pupils Absences
- Parents are informed of their duty to notify the school of a student’s absence and the reason. Generally written notes, signed and dated, are received. However, if a parent rings or meets the teacher to explain – this is acceptable. Absence notes are retained by the class teacher for that school year.
- Once a child has been absent over 15 days – the school notifies parents and reminds them that on reaching 20 days – it must be notified to NEWB.
- The school reports online pupil absences over 20 days to NEWB at specified dates during the year.
Other Policies – relating to Code of Behaviour.
- Policy on Bullying
The success of the policy is judged by:
- Observation of positive behaviour in classrooms, playgrounds and the school environment.
- The implementation of practices and procedures listed
- Positive feedback.
Roles and Responsibilities
- There is a whole school approach to the code of behaviour. This means Board of Management, Principal, teachers, other staff, parents and students all have responsibilities at different levels.
- The Principal and teachers have direct responsibility for implementing this policy.
Parents have been invited to view the draft and make suggestions. Final draft brought to BOM for perusal and ratification at meeting in September. Revised Code of Behaviour becomes accepted policy and will be implemented by all school staff.
Review: The Policy will be reviewed in 2 years time.
Ratification : Board Of Management Meeting Date: 29/11/2016