Code of Behaviour
The Code of Behaviour is the set of programmes, practices and procedures that together form the school’s plan for helping students in the school to behave well and to learn well.
It is agreed that a high standard of behaviour requires a strong sense of community within the school and a high level of co-operation among Staff, Pupils and Parents. We expect parents to educate children to show respect for fellow pupils, and in particular respect for teachers. We strongly advise that all parents show full and positive support of the teachers’ decisions which are taken in the best interests of the children concerned. We consider it the duty of parents to support teachers’ decisions openly to their children. Should they have reservations on a particular matter an appointment should be made to discuss it with the teacher concerned. A copy of this Code of Behaviour shall be provided on registration.
The overall aim of the Code of Behaviour is to encourage, reinforce and promote positive behaviour among the pupils and to reward good behaviour, good attitude and courtesy. The aim of this document is to raise awareness among Parents and Staff of the importance of maintaining positive / appropriate behaviour. Prevention rather than cure is our aim.
The Code of Behaviour aims to :
- allow the school to function in a harmonious and orderly way.
- create an atmosphere of respect, tolerance and consideration for others.
- promote positive behaviour and self-discipline.
- ensure the safety and well-being of all the members of the school community.
- seek the co-operation of parents and pupils in its application.
- allow each child reach their educational potential without behavioural disruptions from other children in class.
- ensure that the system of rules, rewards and sanctions are implemented in a fair and consistent manner.
The school recognises the variety of differences that exist between children and the need to accommodate these differences.
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 on a regular basis and to be punctual.
Each pupil is expected to be dressed neatly in the specified uniform.
Each child is expected to do his / her best in school and for homework.
The wearing of hair dye, make-up or accessories that may cause distraction is not permitted.
A note is required from parents in relation to :
(1) Any failure to wear the school uniform on a given day.
(2) Homework that is undone.
(3) Any change in school routine / collection hours etc..
Whole School Approach
In our school we treat all children with respect and dignity. There is a strong sense of community and co-operation among Staff, Pupils and Parents, and all are agreed that their focus is primarily on the promotion and recognition of positive behaviour. Children will be required to take responsibility for their own behaviour. The promotion, acceptance and maintenance of this code by all will be a priority each year. This will be achieved through :
(a) regular discussion about disciplinary issues at Staff Meetings.
(b) briefing of Parents at the General Meeting of Parents in September.
(c) briefing of all new and temporary Staff on appointment (all to be issued with copy of code)
(d) consultation with the Board on matters pertaining to Discipline.
(e) providing children with an opportunity to have input into the implementation of the Code of Behaviour i.e. Drafting Classroom Rules , Buddy Systems, Circle Time.
(f) Ongoing Professional Development and / or support for Staff
(g) Units of the SPHE Programme are specifically tailored towards the promotion of good behaviour.
(i) School and Class Awards and announcements.
(j) Playground Routines.
(k) Input to Parents / Home School Liaison.
Parents will appreciate that it is not possible to have an exhaustive list of rules regarding unacceptable behaviour. The following are merely examples for the classroom, the playground and around the school in general.
- Children have input in devising class rules.
- Teachers ensure that pupils understand and are frequently reminded of how they are expected to behave.
- Each teacher to have a clear system of acknowledging and rewarding good behaviour, and sanctions for misbehaviour.
- Each teacher to employ classroom management techniques that ensure a variety of activities and methodologies to sustain pupil interest and motivation.
The following behaviour is to be encouraged :
- Completing work in Class
- Completing homework.
- Working quietly when requested.
- Putting hands up to speak / taking turns to speak.
- Remaining in the seat.
- Respecting the property of all others.
- Eating in Class only at the designated times. (Exceptions will be made for children with medical conditions which require regular intake of food).
- Respecting classmates both inside and outside the classroom.
- Wearing the specified school uniform.
- Refraining form using inappropriate or vulgar language.
Our Playground Rules are as follows :
· We play safely and stay in our own designated area
· We stop when the bell rings
· We line up quietly
· We talk to the adults on duty if we need to
· We ask for permission to leave the playground to use the toilet facilities, and we inform an adult when we return.
· We use appropriate language at all times
· We do not annoy or interfere with other children in any way.
A detailed schedule for yard duty is drawn up for each day of the school year. Teachers are assisted by the Special Needs Assistants. Zones have been created within the playground for the various class groupings. Footballs have been provided as well as marked playground games. Board games and other comparable activities have been provided for in class activities during breaks on wet days. Incidents of misbehaviour are recorded in the incident book. Any breaches of the Playground Rules may result in Detention and / or loss of certain privileges as decided by the teacher on the yard in consultation with the class teacher.
Children from 3rd Class upwards may be put on detention. Children in Infant Classes, 1st Class and 2nd Class may be put standing in special circles for a short period of time during lunch break for fighting, using bad language or breaking class / yard rules.
Children will also be reminded of the following rules :
· All potentially harmful items (e.g. blades and knives etc. ) are not allowed in school.
· No loitering in the toilets.
· No running in the hallways or on the stairs.
· No Chewing Gum.
· Hooped / Drop Earrings, Nose Studs or any piece of jewellery that may be deemed a risk to the Health and Safety of pupils are not to be worn in school.
· Pens / Pencils / Crayons / Food not to be taken into toilet areas or outside.
· Money should not be left in pockets in the cloaks areas. Coats should be clearly marked.
· Classroom areas / toilets / corridors and outdoor areas to be kept neat and tidy. Bins are provided in all areas.
· Children are not allowed to play near the oil tank, on walls or on fencing.
· The use of mobile phones is not permitted. These will be confiscated and parents can collect them from the Principal’s Office.
· Smoking is prohibited and parents will be contacted immediately.
· Each child is expected to enter and leave the school in an orderly manner. Good behaviour is necessary to avoid accidents. Avoid rushing or pushing towards buses.
· Bullying, including cyber bullying, is a matter which the school takes extremely seriously and will not be permitted.
Parents will be informed of serious or persistent misbehaviour in class or in the school playground.
No two disciplinary situations are ever precisely the same. The circumstances and particular needs of students, teachers and others will vary together with the particular conditions in which breaches of discipline may occur. Therefore, each case will be judged on its merits.
The following are strategies which may be used in response to incidents of unacceptable behaviour :
· Reasoning with pupil
· Reprimand (including advice on how to improve)
· Loss of privileges
· Detention during a break
· Prescribing additional work
· Suspension from school representation e.g. sports teams /quiz teams
· Referral to Principal Teacher
· Communication with Parents
· Individual Behaviour Programmes
Suspension is the withdrawal of permission from a pupil to attend school (and all school related activity) for a specified period of time or pending the completion of a particular event or instruction. Suspension of a pupil will take place following a serious breach of school rules.
Circumstances in which suspension might be considered may include the following which is by no means an exhaustive list :
(1) Repeated incidents of indiscipline in spite of warnings and counselling by Staff.
(2) Failure to recognise and submit to legitimate authority.
(3) Behaviour which is considered to interfere with the right to learn of other students.
(4) Serious incidents which endanger the welfare of others.
(5) Deliberate destruction or damaging of school property.
(8) Total Refusal to work.
Suspension may last for a period of one to three days depending on the severity of the offence. The Principal in conjunction with the Board of Management will determine the length of time of the suspension. In exceptional circumstances the Principal and the Board of Management may agree that a suspension of longer than three days is needed in order to achieve a particular objective. Parents will be informed by telephone of the complaint and that it may result in suspension depending on the seriousness of the matter. They will also be informed in writing of the reasons for the suspension. This ensures that there is a formal and permanent record of letting the parents know what their child is alleged to have done.
This letter will confirm –
- Period of suspension and dates.
- Reason for suspension.
- Any study programme to be followed. Parents will be asked to make a written undertaking that assigned work will be completed during the period of suspension.
- The fact that the decision may, if applicable, be appealed and the timeframe within which to do so.
Parents and pupil will be given an opportunity to respond before a decision is made and any sanction imposed. This will preferably be done in the form of a meeting at which it is very important parents and pupil attend so that they can present their side of the situation.
The Board of Management authorises the Principal to impose a suspension of up to three days in circumstances where a Board meeting cannot be convened in a timely fashion.
Where an immediate suspension is considered by the Principal to be warranted for the safety of the pupil, other pupils, Staff and/or others, a preliminary investigation will be conducted to establish the case for an immediate suspension. A formal investigation will immediately follow the imposition of such a suspension. In this case parents / guardians will be notified and arrangements made with them for the student to be collected.
Reintegrating the pupil
On returning to school following the suspension, the parents/ guardians of the said pupil should accompany the child and a commitment must be given, in writing, in relation to good behaviour. The pupil must agree to adhere to all school policies and rules governing them i.e commitment to the Code of Behaviour.
The school will help the pupil to take responsibility to catch up on work missed. The class teacher will provide support to the student during the reintegration process. The pupil will be given the opportunity and support for a fresh start.
Where the Principal makes a decision to suspend a student an appeal may be made in writing within 5 days to the Board of Management.
In the case of a decision to suspend by the Principal, in conjunction with the Board of Management, an appeal may be provided to an appeals committee of the Board of Management. This committee will be constituted of a minimum of three, at least two of which will be members of the Board of Management.
A guardian / parent has a right to appeal any suspension in excess of twenty days to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998. The Principal is required to report suspensions in accordance with the Board’s Guidelines when a suspension is in excess of twenty days or more.
A pupil is expelled from school when the Board of Management makes a decision to permanently exclude him / her from school. If, in the judgement of the Principal a pupil should be expelled, the Principal shall refer the matter to the Board of Management for decision.
It is not possible to be exhaustive when listing the circumstances that would justify the expulsion of a student. The following are some examples :
(a) The pupil is so disruptive that he is seriously preventing other pupils from learning and /or the teacher from teaching.
(b) The pupil is uncontrollable and is not amenable to any form of school authority.
(c) The parent / guardian refuses to exercise their responsibility for the pupil.
(d) The pupil’s conduct is a source of serious bad example and is having an adverse influence on the other pupils in the school.
(e) The pupil’s misbehaviour towards a Staff member or management is of a serious nature.
(f) If the pupil’s behaviour is in contravention of the Health & Safety Act.
(g) The pupil is responsible for serious damage to property.
Expulsion should be a proportionate response to a pupil’s behaviour. Expulsion is a very serious step that that will only be taken by the Board of Management in extreme cases of unacceptable behaviour.
The school will take significant steps to address misbehaviour and to avoid the expulsion of the pupil including, as appropriate :
· Meeting with Parents and the pupil to try and find ways to help the pupil to change his / her behaviour.
· Attempting to ensure that the pupil understands the possible consequences of his / her behaviour , if it should persist.
· Seeking the assistance of support agencies (e.g. National Educational Psychological Service, HSE Primary and Continuing Community Care, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, the National Council for Special Education.
It is the right of the Board of Management to take such other reasonable measures as it considers appropriate to ensure that good order and discipline are maintained in Scoil Mhuire to ensure the safety of the pupils.
Expulsion for a first offence
The Board of Management may form the opinion that a pupil 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 Physical violence or assault.
- Supplying illegal substances to other pupils in the school.
Procedures in respect of expulsion
Where a preliminary assessment of the facts confirm serious misbehaviour that could warrant expulsion, the procedural steps will include :
- A detailed investigation carried out under the direction of the Principal.
- A recommendation to the Board of Management by the Principal.
- Consideration by the Board of Management of the Principal’s recommendation and the holding of a hearing. In accordance with the principles of natural justice, the parents / guardians of the pupil whose expulsion is being considered will be given the opportunity of attending the Board meeting and presenting their case. They can also present their case in writing.
- Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing.
- Consultations arranged by the Educational Welfare Officer.
A parent may appeal a decision to expel to the Secretary General of the Department of Education & Science (Education Act 1998 Section 29) within 42 calendar days from the date the decision of the school was notified to the parent or student. The National Education Welfare Board may also bring an appeal on behalf of a student.
The Education Welfare Act 2000 stipulates that parents must notify the school of a student’s absence and the reason for this absence. The Education Welfare Board will be notified when the cumulative number of days in which any child has been absent exceeds twenty days. This matter will then be dealt with by the School Attendance Officer. Parents are asked to complete the School Attendance Card (Copy Attached) for each absence.
Reviewing the Code
The process of reviewing the Code of Behaviour is part of a continuous cycle arising from the use of the Code in the school. Our Code will be reviewed every two years. The review will look at how the Code of Behaviour is working. It will draw on a range of sources of information and evidence, including the experience and views of teachers, other staff, pupils and parents. Any information will be used to strengthen the Code. A review of a specific area of the Code will :
· Look at what is happening in that area
· Evaluate how well this is working
· Explore and generate options for improvement or development.
· Make a Plan for implementing agreed proposals.
School Principal Chairperson B.O.M. Patron
Mr. Fintan Keating Mr. Francis P. Quinn Bishop Philip Boyce
Scoil Mhuire Scoil Mhuire Ard Adhamhnáin
Stranorlar Stranorlar Letterkenny
Co. Donegal Co. Donegal Co. Donegal