Code of Behaviour
INTRODUCTION – HOW OUR CODE WAS DEVELOPED
We, the staff, Board of Management, pupils and Parents’ Association of Scoil Naomh Áine have devised the following Code of Behaviour. In devising this Code, consideration has been given to the particular needs and circumstances of Scoil Naomh Áine. The aim is to ensure the individuality of each child is respected while providing a safe and relatively disruption free environment in which children can learn and staff can work and teach. This Code was developed following the guidelines laid out in the National Educational Welfare Board’s (NEWB) "Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools" (2008).
It is also prepared in accordance with the Education Welfare Act 2000, Section 23 (1) which refers to the obligation on schools to prepare a code of behaviour in respect of the students registered at the school. It details in Section 23(2), that the code of behaviour shall specify:
The standards of behaviour that shall be observed by each student attending the school;
The measures that shall be taken when a student fails or refuses to observe those standards;
The procedures to be followed before a student may be suspended or expelled from the school concerned;
The grounds for removing a suspension imposed in relation to a student; and
The procedures to be followed in relation to a child’s absence from school
OUR VISION FOR RELATIONSHIPS AND BEHAVIOUR IN SCOIL NAOMH ÁINE
A. In Scoil Naomh Áine we strive for an environment where pupils feel safe and are inspired to learn and grow.
B. Respect for all members of the school community is our core value.
C. Teachers and parents are partners in a child’s education. Co-operation and communication between home and school are essential for the child to receive the most from their years in primary school.
D. Scoil Naomh Áine recognises that all children are different but all are equal.
E. While Scoil Naomh Áine is a school with a Catholic Ethos, pupils from different religious denominations are welcomed and respected.
F. Our classrooms and school environment are characterised by fair treatment, teamwork, opportunity to grow and learn, high expectations and all children working to the best of their ability.
OUR SCHOOL PHILOSOPHY AND MISSION STATEMENT
Scoil Naomh Áine is a Catholic Primary School under the patronage of the Bishop of Ferns. It promotes a Catholic ethos, while welcoming and respecting the values of children of all denominations.
Our aim is to impart Christian values and standards within a constructive learning environment. We endeavour to ensure that the individuality of the child is accommodated while acknowledging the right of each child to education in a relatively disruption free environment. Our Code of Behaviour shows caring and concern for each child and we nurture self-esteem, self-respect and respect for others.
We encourage the active learning of each child at his/her own pace and to his/her full potential. We strive to provide a well ordered, caring, happy and secure atmosphere where the intellectual, spiritual, physical, moral and cultural needs of the pupil are identified and addressed.
Scoil Naomh Áine promotes excellence in teaching and learning.
We in Scoil Naomh Áine subscribe to the aims of education:
- To enable the child to live a full life as a child and to realise his or her potential as a unique individual.
- To enable the child to develop as a social being through living and co-operating with others and so contribute to the good of society.
- To prepare the child for further education and lifelong learning
- [Revised Primary School Curriculum]
THE PURPOSE OF THE SCHOOL RULES
The purpose of the School Rules is to ensure all pupils and staff can work and learn in a safe environment where disruptions are kept to a minimum, everyone is encouraged to reach their potential and an atmosphere of teamwork and respect permeate all interactions.
Expectations of pupils, staff and parents and how they will treat each other
Pupils can expect to:
- be treated with respect
- be treated fairly
- feel safe and secure
- have their individual differences recognised
- have positive behaviour re-affirmed
- have sanctions imposed for misdemeanours
- receive quality teaching
School rules (applies to ALL school activities)
Pupils are expected to:
- arrive in school between 9:10am and 9:20am and leave the school premises at 3pm (Infants 2pm)
- queue and board the school bus safely, use seatbelts and remain seated while the bus is travelling
- show respect to teachers, pupils, all school staff and visitors
- be mindful of their own safety and that of others and never do anything that would endanger that safety
- keep the school premises neat and tidy
- wear a school uniform
- jewellery (watch and stud earrings allowed), make up, false nails etc not allowed
- work to the best of their ability at all times
- have the correct books and materials in school
- follow class rules and procedures
- stay on the premises during school hours
- do homework to the best of their ability
- leave mobile phones at home
Pupils are expected to:
- play in their class play area/pitch:
- Junior Infants – 2 nd class on the basketball court
- 3 rd & 4 th class on the middle yard
- 5 th & 6 th on the top yard
- when the bell rings, walk to your line and stand quietly
- wear pitch gear when playing on the pitch
- Show respect for the play equipment:
- Equipment including sandboxes must not be walked on
- No throwing of balls or beanbags at one another
- Put play equipment into baskets when finished using them
- Children can go onto the grass only with the permission of an adult
- Running is allowed at playtime. Dangerous running is not allowed.
- Adults are only allowed on the hill
Classroom rules will be devised in collaboratively with the pupils at the beginning of each school year.
All classroom rules will be based on the following 6 Golden Rules:
We are gentleWe are kind and helpfulWe listenWe are honestWe work hardWe look after property
Staff can expect to:
- be treated with respect
- feel supported by colleagues, management and parents
- be listened to and participate in decision making which affects their own work and that of the school in general
- work in a well maintained environment
- work in an atmosphere that supports Continued Professional Development
- work in a positive, supportive environment where collegiality is valued
- have grievances dealt with in accordance with the guidelines laid out in CPSMA Board of Management Handbook 2016
Staff are expected to:
- treat pupils fairly and with respect
- act professionally in their dealings with all members of the school community
- be cognisant of their duty of care towards all pupils both in and out of school
- adhere to the Codes of Professional Conduct for Teachers as developed by the Teaching Council
- create a safe, welcoming atmosphere for pupils
- be punctual
- implement the Code of Behaviour and all other school policies
- aim to develop and nurture a sense of high self esteem in all pupils
- recognise and value individual differences in pupils
- adopt a positive approach to behaviour, praise desirable behaviour
- enable pupils to reach their full potential
- minimise opportunities for disruption
- keeps records of serious misbehaviour and repeated instances of misbehaviour
- support colleagues
- avail of Continued Professional Development
- devise class rules in consultation with pupils and in line with the Code of Behaviour
- discuss the Code of Behaviour with their class and teach relevant lessons
- plan lessons, use a variety of teaching methodologies and assess pupil progress
Parents/guardians can expect to:
- be treated with respect
- have a safe and welcoming environment for their child
- have individual differences recognised having due regard for resources
- receive a progress report on pupils – Parent Teacher Meeting and Annual School Report
- receive information on school policies and procedures
- be informed early of problems regarding their child
Parents/guardians are expected to:
- ensure their child attends school
- ensure pupils arrive in school between 9:10am and 9:20 am and are collected at 3pm (Infants 2pm)
- encourage their children to follow the school’s Code of Behaviour
- arrange a meeting with the class teacher if he/she has concerns about their child in school
- ensure their child wears the school uniform
- ensure their child has the correct books and materials
- label all of their child’s belongings
- report to the office if calling to the school during the day for any reason
- Use the Sign In/Sign Out Book in the office if arriving to school late or collecting a child before 3pm
- arrange a meeting beforehand if he/she needs to speak with a teacher
- treat all members of the school community with respect
- return an Absence Report Form to the school following their child being absent
- inform the school of any change to collection procedure for their child
- co-operate with teachers and the principal in instances where their child’s behaviour is causing difficulty for others
- communicate to the school any problems/changes in personal circumstances which may affect their child’s behaviour
- attend meetings at school if requested
- help their child with homework, ensure it is completed and signed in all classes up to 4 th class
- follow the Healthy Eating policy
- distribute party invitations outside of school
SYSTEMS FOR ACKNOWLEDGING GOOD BEHAVIOUR AND EFFORT
In Scoil Naomh Áine, we promote an atmosphere of positive behaviour. Good and improved behaviour is acknowledged and rewarded through implementing the following strategies: (This list is not exhaustive…)
A quiet word or gesture of praiseA word of praise in front of the class/groupSend a child to another teacher/principal to show them their good workA mention to the PrincipalA mention to parentsA note homeA small prizeStars / StickersPupil of the Week (Dalta na Seachtaine)Golden student AwardA mention at AssemblyWhole class points / Group points / Individual pointsDojosGolden TimeReduction in homework/Homework Pass
THE CONSEQUENCES OF UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOUR
Where unacceptable behaviour has become an issue, the following strategies are used in response:
Reasoning with the pupilReprimand including advice on how to improveTemporary separation from peersThinking time / Time Out to reflect on behaviour – in the classroom or at the wall during breaktimesWithdrawal from class temporarily to another classCompletion of unfinished written activity at home or at breaktimeParents notified (note from teacher, phonecall or meeting)Confiscation of itemsLoss of Privilege - golden time/ class activities/school tour etc.Written reflection on behaviourReferral to PrincipalDetention during breaktimesSuspensionExpulsion
This list is in no particular order and the context and nature of the unacceptable behaviour will determine the strategy used in response.
Serious incidences of misbehaviour will be addressed by prioritising repairing harm caused rather than apportioning blame. In doing so, teachers will use the following questions when investigating incidences of misbehaviour.
What happened?What were you thinking?How were you feeling?Who else has been affected?How can you make things better?
The purpose of a sanction is to help children learn that their unacceptable behaviour may have a negative effect on themselves, on others and on their learning. Sanctions aim to help them make better choices in the future.
Scoil Naomh Áine has a separate and comprehensive Anti Bullying Policy developed in line with "Anti Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools" September 2013 Department of Education and Skills.
Bullying is defined as unwanted, negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical conducted by an individual or group against another person (or persons) which is repeated over time.
PROCEDURE FOR NOTIFYING THE SCHOOL ABOUT REASONS FOR ABSENCE FROM SCHOOL
In accordance with the Education Welfare Act 2000, if a child is absent from school, the school must be notified in writing of the reason for absence.
On returning to school following an absence, the child will receive an "Absence Report Form". Parents are required to sign this form and indicate the reason for absence.
The school is obliged to report absences of more than 20 days to the Tusla.
PROCEDURES FOR RAISING A CONCERN OR BRINGING A COMPLAINT ABOUT A BEHAVIOUR MATTER
If a parent has a concern he/she should:
- write a note to the teacher/phone the teacher
- arrange an appointment to meet with the teacher to discuss the issue
- arrange an appointment to meet with the principal (following step 2) if necessary.
Please refer to the Parental Complaints Policy
If a teacher has a concern he/she should:
- inform the principal
- write a note to the parent outlining behaviour
- speak with the parent in a phone call or in a meeting
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR SUSPENSION
Suspension is defined as requiring the student to absent himself/herself from the school for a specified, limited period of school days. The Board of Management of Scoil Naomh Áine has delegated the authority to suspend a student, to the principal, for suspensions of up to three days. Suspension will only be used where all other sanctions have failed, or in instances of very serious misbehaviour.
The decision to suspend a student requires serious grounds such as that:
• the student’s behaviour has had a 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 misbehaviour may be grounds for suspension.
Teachers shall keep a written record of all instances of serious misbehaviour. Before resorting to Suspension, the normal channels of communication between school and parents will be utilised. Parents will be involved at an early stage, rather than a last resort.
The factors to be considered before suspending a student as per the NEWB guidelines for schools pg.72 will be used when considering a suspension. See appendix 1 attached
In exceptional circumstances, the Principal may consider an immediate suspension to be necessary where the continued presence of the student in the school at the time would represent a serious threat to the safety of students or staff of the school, or any other person. Fair procedures must still be applied.
Where an immediate suspension is considered by the Principal to be warranted for reasons of the safety of the student, other students, staff or others, a preliminary investigation will be conducted to establish the case for the imposition of the suspension. The formal investigation will immediately follow the imposition of the suspension. All of the conditions for suspension apply to immediate suspension. Parents will be notified, and arrangements made with them for the student to be collected.
Procedures in respect of suspension
Where a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant suspension, the school should observe the following procedures:
• inform the student and their parents about the complaint
The school will let the student and their parents know about the complaint, how it will be investigated, and that it could result in suspension. Parents may be informed by phone or in writing, depending on the seriousness of the matter.
• give parents and student an opportunity to respond.
Parents and student will be given an opportunity to respond before a decision is made and before any sanction is imposed. A meeting with the student and their parents provides an opportunity for them to give their side of the story and to ask questions about the evidence of serious misbehaviour, especially where there is a dispute about the facts. If a student and their parents fail to attend a meeting, the Principal will write advising of 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 negative behaviour. The school will record the invitations made to parents and their response.
The period of suspension
A student will not be suspended for more than three days, except in exceptional circumstances where the Principal considers that a period of suspension longer than three days is needed in order to achieve a particular objective. If a suspension longer than three days is being proposed by the Principal, the matter will be referred to the Board of Management for consideration and approval. The Board of Management will normally place a ceiling of ten days on any one period of suspension imposed by it. The Board will formally review any proposal to suspend a student, where the suspension would bring the number of days for which the student has been suspended in the current school year to twenty days or more. Any such suspension is subject to appeal under section 29 of the Education Act 1998.
The Board of Management will offer an opportunity to appeal a Principal’s decision to suspend a student. In the case of decisions to suspend made by the Board of Management, an appeals process may be provided by the Patron.
Section 29 Appeal
Where the total number of days for which the student has been suspended in the current school year reaches twenty days, the parents, may appeal the suspension under section 29 of the Education Act 1998, as amended by the Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007.
Implementing the suspension
The Principal will notify the parents and the student in writing of the decision to suspend. The letter will confirm:
• the period of the suspension and the dates on which the suspension will begin and end
• the reasons for the suspension
• any study programme to be followed
• the arrangements for returning to school, including any commitments to be entered into by the student and the parents (for example, parents might be asked to reaffirm their commitment to the code of behaviour and to commit to an individual behaviour plan)
• the provision for an appeal to the Board of Management
• the right to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science (Education Act 1998, section 29).
Grounds for removing a suspension
A suspension may be removed if the Board of Management decides to remove the suspension for any reason or if the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills directs that it be removed following an appeal under section 29 of the Education Act 1998.
Re-integrating the student
The school will plan to help the student to take responsibility for catching up on work missed.
When suspension, is completed, a student will be given the opportunity and support for a fresh start. Although a record is kept of the behaviour, and any sanction imposed, once the sanction has been completed the school should expect the same behaviour of this student as of all other students.
Records and reports
Records of investigation and decision-making Formal written records will be kept of:
• the investigation (including notes of all interviews held)
• the decision-making process
• the decision and the rationale for the decision
• the duration of the suspension and any conditions attached to the suspension.
Report to the Board of Management The Principal will report all suspensions to the Board of Management, with the reasons for and the duration of each suspension.
Report to NEWB The Principal is required to report suspensions in accordance with the NEWB reporting guidelines (Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, section 21(4)(a)).
Review of use of suspension
The Board of Management will review the use of suspension following the imposition of a suspension.
A student is expelled from the school when the Board of Management makes a decision to permanently exclude him/her from the school. Expulsion may be considered in an extreme case, in accordance with Education Welfare Act. The Board of Management of Scoil Naomh Áine has the authority to expel a student.
Expulsion for a first offence
There may be exceptional circumstances where the Board of Management forms the opinion that a student should be expelled for a first offence. The kinds 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
The factors to be considered before expelling a student as per the NEWB guidelines for schools pg.82 will be used when considering an expulsion. See appendix 2 attached
Procedures in respect of expulsion
Where a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant expulsion, the procedural steps will include:
1. A detailed investigation carried out under the direction of the Principal.
2. A recommendation to the Board of Management by the Principal.
3. Consideration by the Board of Management of the Principal’s recommendation; and the holding of a hearing.
4. Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing.
5. Consultations arranged by the Educational Welfare Officer.
6. Confirmation of the decision to expel.
The school will refer to the guidelines pg.83-86 in the event of an expulsion. Where expulsion is being considered the parents of the pupil involved will be given a copy of the procedures in relation to expulsion.
A parent 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 Educational Welfare Board on behalf of a student.
Review of use of expulsion
The Board of Management will review the use of expulsion in the school following an expulsion.
The school will have taken significant steps to address the misbehaviour and to avoid expulsion of a student including, as appropriate:
• meeting with parents and the student to try to find ways of helping the student to change their behaviour
• making sure that the student understands the possible consequences of their behaviour, if it should persist
• ensuring that all other possible options have been tried
• seeking the assistance of support agencies (e.g. National Educational Psychological Service, Health Service Executive Community Services, the National Behavioural Support Service, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, National Council for Special Education, Special Education Support Service).
A proposal to expel a student requires serious grounds such as 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.
The grounds for expulsion are similar to the grounds for suspension. In addition to factors such as the degree of seriousness and the persistence of the behaviour, a key difference is that, where expulsion is considered, school authorities have tried a series of other interventions, and believe they have exhausted all possibilities for changing the student’s behaviour.
Class, yard and school level
The Aladdin online school database is used for recording individual instances of misbehaviour.
There is also a standard school report form for recording serious incidents of misbehaviour. The record notes the following information:
Date and location
Incident of misbehaviour
Signature of supervising teacher
Signature of person who wrote the report
These records are stored in the school office at the end of year school year and kept on file until a pupil has reached 25 years of age.
THE PLAN FOR REVIEWING THE CODE
This code of behaviour policy was ratified by the Board of Management on February 5 th 2019. It will be reviewed and updated regularly. The next formal review will take place in the school year 2022 / 2023.