|Scoil Uí Cheithearnaigh, Béal Átha na Slua|
|SCHOOL BEHAVIOUR POLICY|
The Whole School Behaviour Policy of Scoil Uí Cheithearnaigh has been revised in accordance with the Guidelines issued by the National Education Welfare Board . These guidelines are published on-line at www.educationwelfareboard.ie
Scoil Uí Cheithearnaigh is committed to implementing and adhering to these guidelines.
- Reflects the vision, mission and values of the school community and its Patron.
- Translates the expectations of staff, parents and students into practical arrangements that will help to ensure continuity of instruction to all students.
- Helps to foster an orderly, harmonious school where good standards of behaviour are expected and supported.
- Sets out the rationale for having a code of behaviour along with the roles and responsibilities of the school’s partners in relation to its implementation.
- The standards of behaviour expected in the school;
- The plan for promoting good behaviour;
- The ways in which the school responds to unacceptable behaviour
- The plan for implementing the code;
- Procedures for reporting student absences;
- School procedures governing the use of suspension and expulsion.
- The Education Act 1998.
- The Education Welfare Act 2000
- The Health & Safety & Welfare at Work Acts 1989 – 2008
- The Education for Persons with Special Education Needs Act 2004
The following school policies are an essential part of the Whole School Behavioural Policy :
- Anti-bullying Policy.
- Substance use Policy.
- Special Education Needs Policy.
- Mobile Phone Policy.
- ICT Usage Policy.
- School Attendance Policy.
- Homework Policy.
The school’s code of behaviour is a set of practices and procedures which form an essential part of the school plan for helping pupils in the school to behave and to be educated. It helps the school community to promote the school ethos, relationships, policies, procedures and practices that encourage good behaviour and prevent misbehaviour. It also assists teachers, other members of staff, students and parents to work together for a happy, effective and safe school.
By its nature the school has to be an ordered community where certain norms of behaviour are set down and observed. This is necessary not merely to establish a proper environment for learning, but also to educate children in social adjustment which will enable them to benefit from later education and to fulfill their lives as adults in society.
It is recognised that challenging behaviour is a complex problem, which does not lend itself to simple solutions. Incidents of misbehaviour have a range of immediate and/or long-term causes. Events in school are influenced by a complex mixture of expectations, attitudes, regulations and policies which are shaped by events in the classroom, school playground, home, local community and society.
Reducing challenging behaviour is a realistic aim. Eliminating it completely is not. Children have a need to discover where the boundaries of acceptable behaviour lie. It is natural for them to test those boundaries even in some cases for the excitement of a challenge. It is important that the school authorities quickly confirm the existence of the boundaries when they are challenged. Uncertain or delayed responses invite renewed challenges, which can lead children into more serious misbehaviour. Children should not be left in doubt as to what constitutes unacceptable behaviour. As stated above the elimination of challenging behaviour is unrealistic but the reduction of such behaviour to a minimum is not. This will be achieved by implementing concerted policies for raising expectations, for improving standards, and for promoting good behaviour with the consequential influence of marginalising challenging behaviour. It is reasonable that breaches of acceptable norms of conduct merit disapproval, which may be conveyed by certain sanctions.Similarly, good behaviour in particular circumstances deserves special merit and reward.
Aims of the School
The school aims to promote the aesthetic, spiritual, moral, intellectual, cultural, mental, physical and social development of the pupils and to prepare them so that they can avail of opportunities, responsibilities and experience of later education and adult life. The school exists to teach values as well as knowledge and skills. Many of these values are acquired through the affective curriculum and through specific lessons and activities covering religious, personal and social education. School rules and regulations, in conjunction with the fostering of positive relationships between teachers, pupils and parents are also important ways for promoting good behavioural values.
We consider that promoting responsible behaviour and self-discipline and the values on which they are based are essential school and home tasks which should not be separated from the practical need to maintain good order for the purpose of teaching and learning.
In drafting the code of discipline, due consideration has been given to the particular circumstances and needs of the school.
The Aims of the Code of Behaviour
The code of behaviour aims to:
- Create a climate that encourages and reinforces good behaviour.
- Create a positive and safe environment for teaching and learning.
- Encourage students to take personal responsibility for their learning and their behaviour.
- Help the students to experience the value of being responsible, participating members of the school community and to mature into responsible participating citizens.
- Assist the school community in building positive relationships of mutual respect and support among students, staff and parents.
- Promote equality for all members of the school community.
- Reflect the school’s commitment to provide positive support, including active teaching of relevant skills, for those students who are more vulnerable to behaviour problems.
- Prevent discrimination and allows for appropriate accommodation of difference, in accordance with Equality legislation.
- Promote a positive and safe working environment for all staff.
- Ensure that the school’s high expectations for the behaviour of all the members of the school community are widely known and understood.
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 and between management, staff, pupils and parents. All parties of the school have a role to play in promoting good behaviour and discipline.
The Role of the Board of Management
The Board of Management has responsibility for governing the school on behalf of the Patron and for the benefit of the students, parents and teachers. The Board recognizes that promoting good behaviour and preventing misbehaviour are the main goals of the Code
The Board of Management will ensure where possible, that:
- The Code of Behaviour is informed by the principles of equality and fairness and administered in a fair and impartial manner.
- The school’s policies, and practices that help to promote positive behaviour and prevent inappropriate behaviour are implemented in the school.
- A stimulating and happy atmosphere, which is conducive to learning and teaching, is fostered within the school.
- A student is not discriminated against on grounds of equality.
- The Principal, teaching staff, parents and students will be supported with regard to the administration of a fair and efficient code of behaviour.
The Role of the Principal Teacher
The Principal teacher is responsible for the day to day management of the school subject to the authority of the Board of Management and therefore has a central role to play in promoting good
order and discipline. The Principal Teacher shall:
- Encourage a sense of collective responsibility among teachers, pupils and parents, whilst fostering a sense of commitment to the school.
- Work to create a climate within which individuals within the school can fulfill their obligations and responsibilities.
- Ensure that the policy of behaviour and discipline is implemented in a manner, which is consistent and fair to all.
- Endeavour to ensure that appropriate support personnel both within and available to the school are involved to assist students and teachers.
- Be supportive of individual teachers with regard to the administration of the code of discipline.
- Deploy teachers in a way, which makes appropriate provisions for pupils with serious learning and behavioural problems.
- Consult with teachers when delegating specific responsibilities to pupils.
- Ensure effective communication between home and school.
- Ensure that staff members are familiar with the code of discipline.
- Establish meaningful authority, structures, through which teachers may actively participate in the organisation and management of the school.
- Establish meaningful structures and activities through which children may form an identity with the school and benefit from school life.
The Role of the Teacher
The quality of relationships between teachers and students is one of the most important influences on student behaviour. Mutually respectful relationships balance warmth and empathy with objectivity, professional detachment, fairness and consistency.
The teacher is responsible for the effective implementation of the school’s code of behaviour within his or her classroom / SEN room, and in the communal areas during recreation and at other times in accordance with the established policy of the school.
- All teachers are entitled to, and will be supported by the Principal teacher, the Board of Management and parents with regard to the fair implementation of the code.
- Teachers may refer pupils to the Principal for serious breaches of discipline and for repeated incidents of minor misbehaviour but shall keep to a minimum the number of such referrals.
- Teachers will encourage the pupils by word and example to have respect and pride in their school and also involve the students in discussing and understanding the rationale for the school code of behaviour.
- Teachers will implement the Policy fairly and consistently, with due regard for the individual child, and will assist colleagues in the administration of the Policy.
- Learning Support/ Resource teachers and Special Needs Assistants will ensure that the Code is communicated in a manner that can be understood by students with special educational needs.
The Role of Parents
Parents have a most important role in shaping the attitudes which produce good behaviour in school. Consequently, the school needs the support of parents in order to achieve a level of order which will ensure the optimal development of all its pupils. Clearly, therefore, a high level of co-operation and communication between parents and school staff is essential and will be very rewarding. Parents should take full advantage of all formal and informal channels of communication within the school.
- Parents are encouraged to visit the class teacher informally during the year to discuss their child’s progress and to get to know the teacher. Such contact is mutually beneficial. It is important not to delay a visit until a problem emerges. When a parent wishes to discuss a matter of concern with a teacher, it is recommended to make an appointment rather than making an unscheduled visit which may result in a rushed and less than satisfactory discussion for all concerned (except in case of an urgent matter).
Parents can support the school by:
- Encouraging their child, when necessary, to abide by school rules and to help in their enforcement.
- By visiting the school for discussion when asked to do so by the Principal/Class Teacher.
- By providing the school with relevant information on any aspect of the child (e.g. medical, sight, hearing, emotional, personal, social) which may impact on the child’s behaviour and would improve the teacher’s understanding of the child.
- By helping the child to realise that sanctions when they are applied are a consequence of his own and other behaviour and are applied with the expectation of improving behaviour in the future. Should a parent have reservations about a sanction applied in a particular case, it is usually better to speak with the teacher before reaching any firm conclusions.
- Providing the school/teacher with an emergency telephone number at which parents may be contacted during school hours.
- Assisting appropriately with homework in accordance with school homework policy.
If a child is absent, parents are advised to contact the school and give a reason for the absence. When the child returns to school he should be given a written note (not in the journal) which contains:
- his name
- the date/s of absence/s
- the reason for the absence/s
The absence explanatory note will form a record which may be inspected by the Education Welfare Officer on a visit to the school. The school is obliged under Section 20 of the Act to maintain such a record for all pupils.
The day-to-day excellence of school and classroom management enables most students to behave in ways that supports their own learning and development. Teachers and staff use a wide range of strategies for promoting good behaviour and for marginalising misbehaviour at both school and class level.
We encourage our students to behave well by:
- Praising and affirming their homework, classwork, behaviour, and by writing commendations in diaries and copies.
- Displaying their work as much as possible which provides opportunities for the Principal and/or colleagues to affirm good work and/or behaviour when visiting classrooms.
- Recognising participation, achievement and contribution to the school across a wide range of areas such as attendance, behaviour, sports, art, music, drama, and academics.
- Giving special rewards on particular occasions to the whole class in recognition of good effort.
- Allocating special duties as rewards to pupils as a mark of respect for their special efforts.
- Giving responsibility to them in the school and by involving them in the preparation and implementation of school and classroom rules.
- Giving them opportunities to discuss the Code so that they understand that the code is important, fair and that they have a role in making it work.
- Setting high expectations for student behaviour with clear and consistent standards.
- Creating a happy school atmosphere whereby parents, teachers and pupils support each other and interact positively together.
- Modeling the behaviour that is expected from students.
- Creating good school and classroom routines, and setting and implementing clear boundaries and rules for students.
- Monitoring student behaviour.
- Helping students to acquire values of good behaviour through specific subjects such as SPHE, Religion and Drama.
- Utilising SEN resources and professional support services for students who require support.
- Putting in place appropriate supervisory management structures for overseeing school discipline.
Strategies which may be used to prevent and correct unacceptable behaviour:
- Reasoning with pupils in both public and private.
- Advising and alerting students to the consequences of inappropriate behaviour
- Reprimanding students (including advising and practicing how to improve).
- Temporary separating students from peers, friends or others.
- Withdrawing privileges.
- Detention during a break.
- Prescribing additional work.
- Confiscating disruptive items.
- Referring students to the Principal or Deputy Principal..
- Communicating with parents through school journal or telephone:
All students and staff have the right to be treated fairly and with dignity in an environment free from disruption, intimidation, harassment, discrimination and victimisation. There will be cases of unacceptable behaviour where it will be in the best interests of the school community and/or the student involved, for the student to be removed from the school for a period of time or completely. Suspension and expulsion are the options available to the Board of Management in these situations.
When making a decision on a suspension the school considers that suspension should be a proportionate response to the behaviour that is causing concern. Normally, a range of appropriate student welfare and behavioural interventions will have been tried before suspension, and the school staff will have reviewed the reasons as to why these have not worked. Communication with parents may be verbal or by letter depending on the circumstances.
The decision to suspend a student requires serious grounds such as:
- the student’s behaviour has had a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other student/s and/or on the administration and management of the school.
- 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.
The following Factors will be considered before a pupil is suspended:
- The Nature and seriousness of the behaviour
- The context of the behaviour
- The impact of the behaviour
- The interventions tried to date
- Whether suspension is a proportionate response
- The possible impact of suspension
Authority to Suspend
The Board of Management of the school has the authority to suspend a student. This authority is delegated in accordance with procedure by The Board to the Principal in the event of a suspension being imposed for three days or less. The Chairperson of the Board of Management and the Principal are authorized to impose a suspension, up to and including 5 days in circumstances where a meeting of the Board cannot be convened in a timely fashion. This authority will be exercised by them having regard to their responsibilities to the whole school community and to the principles of procedural fairness.
All subsequent or longer term suspensions can only be imposed by the Board of Management.
Procedures to be followed in respect of suspension
When proposing to suspend a pupil the school authority will apply the principles of fair procedure. Where a preliminary assessment of an incident confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant suspension the following procedures will apply:
- A formal investigation will be conducted
- The pupil and parent will be informed of the complaint and of the investigation and will be given the right to respond to the complaint and to state their position before a decision is made to impose a suspension.
The period of suspension
- A student should not be suspended for a period exceeding 3 days unless the Principal considers that a longer period of suspension is required.
- If a suspension longer than 3 days is being proposed, the matter will be referred to the Board of Management in accordance with procedure.
- The Board places a ceiling of ten days on any one period of suspension.
- The Board will formally review any proposal to suspend a student when the period of suspension, in the current school year, accumulates to twenty school days or more.
Notification of suspension
The Principal will notify the pupil and the parent in writing of the decision to suspend. The notification will confirm:
- The period of the suspension and the dates on which the suspension will begin and end.
- The reasons for the suspension
- The arrangements for returning to school, including any commitments to be entered into by the student and the parents.
- The right of appeal to either the Board of Management or the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science.
Appealing a suspension
Parents who wish to appeal a decision of the school to suspend should discuss the matter with the school principal who will inform them of their rights. An appeal may be made by a parent/guardian if they consider that correct procedures have not been followed, or that an unfair decision has been made. An appeal should be made in writing stating the reason for the appeal.
- The decision of the Principal to suspend a pupil may be appealed only to the Board of Management.
- The decision of the Board of Management to suspend a pupil may be appealed to the Patron in the event of a suspension for less than 20 days and to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science for a suspension of 20 days or more.
Grounds for removing a suspension
A suspension may be removed if the Board of Management/Patron decides to remove the suspension for any reason or if the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science directs that it be remove following an appeal under section 29 of the Education Act 1998.
Records and Reports
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 and also to the NEWB as required.
Report to NEWB
The Principal is required to report suspensions in accordance with the National Education Welfare Board reporting guidelines [Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, section 21 (4)(a)]
The Grounds for Expulsion
The Board of Management is the decision-making body in relation to expulsions.
Expulsion should be a proportionate response to the student’s behaviour. The step to expel a student is very serious and will only be taken by the Board of Management in extreme cases of unacceptable behaviour. The grounds for expulsion may be 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.
Factors to Consider Before Proposing to Expel a Student
- The nature and seriousness of the behaviour
- The context of the behaviour
- The impact of the behaviour
- The interventions tried to date
- Whether expulsion is a proportionate response
- The possible impact of expulsion
Procedures in respect of expulsion
- Fair procedures as well as procedures prescribed under the
Education (Welfare) Act 2000, will be applied where a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant expulsion. The procedural steps will include:
- The parents and student will be informed in writing that a detailed investigation in line with fair procedures will be carried out under the direction of the Principal to ascertain the veracity of the allegations.
- The Principal will make a recommendation to the Board to consider expulsion.
- The parents and student will be provided with all details and be invited to meet with the
- The Board of Management will consider the recommendation and conduct a hearing in accordance with fair procedure.
- The Board will inform the parents in writing about its conclusions and the next steps in the process.
- Where expulsion is proposed, the parents will be told that the Board of Management will inform the Educational Welfare Officer to that effect.
- The student cannot be expelled before the passage of twenty school days from the date on which the EWO receives a written notification (Education (Welfare) Act 2000, s24(1).
- An appeal against an expulsion under section 29 of the Education Act 1998 will automatically succeed if it is shown that the Educational Welfare Officer was not notified in accordance with section 24(1) or that twenty days did not elapse from the time of notification to the Educational Welfare Officer to the implementation of the expulsion (Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007, S4a).
It is a matter for the Board of Management to decide which of the tasks involved in these procedural steps requires separate meetings and which tasks can be accomplished together in a single meeting, consistent with giving parents due notice of meetings and a fair and reasonable time to prepare for a Board hearing.
A parent may appeal a decision of the Board of Management to expel a student to the Secretary General of the Department of Education & Science. An appeal may also be brought by the National Educational Welfare Board on behalf of a student. All appeals must be made in writing.
Implementing the Code of Behaviour
The success of the code of behaviour depends on having a good plan for its implementation.
The essential elements of an implementation plan are:
- Communicating the code
- Teaching students the behavioural and learning skills they need
- Identifying the educational and care needs of individual students
- Securing parental support for the code
- Monitoring behaviour in the school
- Reviewing the code
Communicating the code of behaviour
- The Code of Behaviour will be communicated to parents by providing them with a copy of the code and/or by making the code available to them on-line on the school website. Parents are expected to support the school’s Code of Behaviour and to ensure that their children attending the school support it.
- The school Principal discusses the code with parents of Junior Infant pupils at the specially convened induction meeting for parents which is held in April/May of the school year.
- Essential elements of the code are published in the Student’s Journal each year and are available to students and parents.
Teaching the code and building student confidence and competence
The school will define and teach the behaviours which it expects from the students in order to foster in them the skills to manage their own behaviour and to respond appropriately to the behaviour of others. This will include:
- Revising the code with all pupils at the beginning of each school year.
- Referring to the code in class on a regular basis and applying the values in class and throughout the school.
- Clarifying students’ understanding of expected behaviours at appropriate times.
- Teaching and discussing appropriate and inappropriate behaviour with them as situations arise.
- Providing opportunities for students to learn and practice the rules.
- Using the Social, Personal and Health Education programme & the RE programme and extra-curricular opportunities (music, sport, drama, as means for teaching skills for responsible behaviour and relationships.
- involving students in reviewing and developing school policies, as part of school development planning.
- Assisting students with special educational needs to understand and observe the code.
Identifying the educational and care needs of individual students
- The school sets out on an annual basis to identify students who may require special support to enable them to access the school curriculum appropriately for their needs and to have the necessary supports put in place.
Building relationships with parents
Parental understanding and support for the implementation of the code of behaviour is
strengthened through activities such as:
- Informing parents of the content of the code at the meeting for parents of new students.
- Encouraging parents to share information about matters that might affect a student’s behaviour in school.
- Having in place an early warning systems to alert parents to concerns about a student’s behaviour, so that ways of helping the student can be discussed and agreed
- Having in place clear channels through which parents can communicate any concerns they may have about a student.
- Information sessions offered through the Parent Association, such as talks or workshops on behavioural matters and aspects of child and adolescent development
- Involving parents in reviewing and planning school policies, as part of school development planning.
Monitoring behaviour in the school
The school needs to know how the code is working and how well it is achieving its goals. To achieve this the school:
- Has arrangements in place for reporting, monitoring, and recording misbehaviour.
- Uses staff meetings and meetings between staff, supervisory staff and the Principal for these purposes.
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. It draws on a range of sources of information and evidence, including the experience and views of students, teachers and other staff and parents. It uses this information and analysis to plan ways to strengthen the operation of the code.
The school community recognizes the importance of conducting a formal review of the code every 5 years. This does not preclude a formal review at an earlier time.
The one general rule for all of us in school is – everyone will act with courtesy, respect and consideration to/for others at all times.
The rules and regulations of the school exist:
- for the primary purpose of ensuring the right of each child to education in a relatively disruptive-free environment whilst accommodating the individuality of each child as far as possible;
- to assist in creating and maintaining an orderly environment in which learning and teaching may occur;
- to protect children from harm;
- for promoting responsible behaviour and for helping children to become self-directing people.
- In the interest of the overall appearance of the children as individuals and as a group, all children are requested to wear the school uniform on all school days and at all school functions as appropriate.
- the school tracksuit on all school days and at all school functions as appropriate.
The school uniform consists of:
- Navy trousers/pinafore/skirt
- White shirt/blouse
- V-necked red jumper(boys) Round neck jumper (girls)
- A navy tie for boys
- School tracksuit – a red/navy/white tee-shirt should be worn with the school tracksuit.
2. Appearance and Hygiene:
Pupils are expected to be neat and presentable on all occasions. The wearing of jewellery of any kind is forbidden in school (except watch).
The highest standards of personal hygiene are expected from all pupils.
- Attendance and Punctuality:
We expect regular attendance from every pupil throughout the school year.
Class time: Junior classes – 8.50 a.m. – 1.30 p.m.
All other classes – 8.50 a.m. – 2.30 p.m.
Pupils should not be absent without due reason.
Pupils who have been absent are required to give a written explanation from their parents/guardian to their teacher on return to school.
Pupils are expected to record their homework in a journal. Parents are requested to sign the homework journal when they are satisfied that the work has been completed to their satisfaction. If children are experiencing consistent difficulty with homework parents should contact the class teacher.
- Assembly areas at the school:
Pupils are expected to go promptly in an orderly manner to the appropriate assembly area when the bell rings. Good behaviour is expected from pupils. Pupils are to remain silent when requested by the teacher in charge.
- Entering and Egressing from the school:
Pupils are requested to enter and egress from the building in a calm, quiet manner showing mutual respect and concern for everybody on the school premises. Loud talk or boisterous behaviour is inappropriate and unacceptable.
- Classroom Expectations;
Pupils are expected to work and behave sensibly at all times in class. This means that pupils should apply good effort to lessons and should not distract or be distracted or annoyed by their class-friends. The highest standards of courtesy and politeness are expected and there is no excuse for rudeness or disrespect.
- Moving throughout the school premises:
Pupils are requested to be orderly, quiet and mannerly when moving throughout the school premises. This means that running or loud talking is inappropriate. Children are expected to be courteous and helpful to parents, teachers, friends and adults on the school premises.
- The Play Areas of the School and Games:
The children are expected to play and enjoy themselves whilst not infringing the rights of others to enjoy themselves as well. Rough play is not allowed. Pupils must remain within the school designated area once they arrive at school.
Pupils are not to leave the school premises during school time.
- Children cycling to or from school are expected to walk with their bicycles when on the school grounds. Bicycles should always be kept locked on school premises.
- Cyclists should wear a safety helmet.
- Children are not allowed to have chewing gum at school.
- In the interest of safeguarding against commercial manipulation, children are requested not to have sports cards and stickers etc. at school.
- Birthday invitations are not to be distributed at school as this invariably leads to children being excluded.
Pupils are expected to keep the school environment litter free and to assist in making it a welcoming place for everybody. There is no excuse for mixing waste – food and organic material goes in the brown bin; clean recyclables go in the blue bin; items which cannot be recycled go in the black bin. It should be remembered that our waste need not be dirty, it is how we handle our waste that makes it dirty.
- Travelling to and from School and School Functions:
The highest standard of good behaviour is expected from all children while travelling to and from school and whilst attending functions organised by or on behalf of the school.
21. Mobile Phones:
- The use of mobile phones by the pupils is forbidden on the school premises unless permission and supervision is provided by a teacher.
- Mobile phones / technology which contain cameras with photographic and/or recording capability should not be used in any way which will (i) offend the privacy of any school individual and or (ii) be damaging to the reputation of the school.
This policy has been ratified by the Board of Management.