Code of Behaviour
This policy document was drawn up by the staff of St. Brigid’s N.S., in consultation with the Board of Management and parents/guardians in order to outline our practices and procedures in fostering a positive school culture where good behaviour is supported and promoted.
- It is a requirement under the Education Welfare Act, 2000, Section 23 to prepare a code of Behaviour in respect of the students of the school. This policy ensures compliance with the legal requirements and good practice as set out in Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools, NEWB, 2008.
- The Code of Behaviour will help the school community to promote our school ethos and will outline procedures and practices that encourage good behaviour and help prevent unacceptable behaviour.
- The Code of Behaviour will enable the staff, pupils and parents/guardians to work together for a happy, effective and safe school.
Relationship to the Characteristic Spirit of our school:
This policy complements our school ethos of nurturing potential in a caring environment where the welfare of children is paramount and where we promote the holistic development of the child including academic, physical, moral, emotional, spiritual, cultural, social & personal development.
A code of behaviour is established to ensure that the individuality of each child is accommodated while at the same time acknowledging the right of each child to education in a relatively disruption free environment.
The school recognises the variety of differences that exist between children and the need to accommodate these differences. 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 and between staff, pupils and parents/ guardians.
Parents/guardians can support the school by encouraging their children to understand the need for school rules, and by communicating any relevant concerns to the school.
The Board of Management of the school has ultimate responsibility for behaviour in the school. Within the school, the overall day to day responsibility for behaviour rests with the Principal. Each teacher has the responsibility for the maintenance of good behaviour and good order within his/her classroom while sharing a common responsibility for good behaviour within the school premises.
The aims of the Code of Behaviour are:
- To provide guidance for pupils, staff and parents/guardians on behavioural expectations
- To create a positive learning environment that encourages and reinforces good behaviour.
- To develop pupils’ self-esteem and to promote positive relationships
- To ensure that the system of rules, rewards and sanctions are implemented in a fair and consistent manner.
- To foster a sense of responsibility and self-discipline in pupils based on respect, consideration and tolerance of others
- To facilitate the education and development of every child
- To foster caring attitudes to one another and to the environment
- To enable teachers to teach without disruption
- To encourage the involvement of both home and school in the implementation of this policy
Responsibility of Adults
The adults encountered by the children at school have an important responsibility to model high standards of behaviour, both in their dealings with the children and with each other, as their example has an important influence on the children.
As adults we should aim to:
- Create a positive climate with realistic expectations.
- Promote positive behaviour, through example, honesty and courtesy.
- Provide a caring and effective learning environment.
- Encourage relationships based on kindness, respect and understanding of the needs of others.
- Ensure fair treatment for all regardless of age, gender, race, ability and disability.
- Show appreciation of the efforts and contribution of all.
General guidelines to good order in our school
School Hours: 9:20-3:00pm Preschool: 9:20-1:30pm
Please note we have adjusted our starting and finishing times due to Covid-19. 2nd and 6th Class start at 9am and finish at 2:40pm and 3rd, 4th and 5th class start at 9:10 and finish at 2:50pm.
The Board of Management is not responsible for anybody on the school grounds except during school hours.
Communication between parents and school
Communicating with parents is central to maintaining a positive approach to dealing with children. Parents/Guardians and teachers should develop a joint strategy to address specific difficulties, in addition to sharing a broader philosophy which can be implemented at home and in school.
A high level of co-operation and open communication is seen as an important factor encouraging positive behaviour in the school. Structures and channels designed to maintain a high level of communication among staff and between staff, pupils and parents have been established and are being reviewed regularly.
Parents/Guardians are encouraged to talk in confidence to teachers about any significant developments in a child’s life (in the past or present), which may affect the child’s behaviour.
Parents/Guardians and teachers may communicate by:
- Writing notes in pupils homework journal.
- Writing a letter or a note or by telephoning to make an appointment. Please do not disturb the teacher during class time especially after 9a.m. – If a teacher is away from his/her class, valuable teaching time is lost.
- The school will advise parents re: calendar of events and closures each term/year/via our new school website which will be available in the coming months.
- Changes of address or contact telephone numbers must be passed onto the school immediately so that a child’s parent is always contactable in case of an emergency.
- School Reports are sent to the parents at the end of June.
- Written parental consent is required for all school trips and extra-curricular activities.
- Educational platforms such as Seesaw and parents can also communicate by email
- Parents/Guardians are obliged to notify the school, in writing, regarding ALL absences – prolonged absences or patterns of absence on specific days i.e. Mondays and Fridays must, by law, be reported to TUSLA who will in turn contact the child’s parents/guardians regarding non-attendance at school. Very often, there will be good reasons for a child not being in school and these will be taken into account if they are explained to the school.
- Since the inception of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 schools are obliged to report on school attendance. Schools are required to submit Student Absence Reports twice each year on those students with serious attendance issues that have been identified during the current academic year i.e. students that have been absent from school for a cumulative total of twenty days or more falling within the following categories:
- Illness (b) Urgent Family Reason (c) Holiday (d) Other (e) Unexplained.
- Parents/Guardians will receive a notice when the 20 day limit has been reached. This notice will also inform them that TUSLA will be notified.
- When a child is absent, a note should be given to the class teacher explaining the child’s absence on the child’s return. Please telephone the school if your child will be absent for more than two days.
The school uniform should be worn every day and the school tracksuit should be worn on P.E. days. This consists of:
School Uniform: A blue jumper, blue tie, blue shirt, grey trousers. Runners or shoes can be worn.
School tracksuit: Grey tracksuit bottoms and school tracksuit top.
- Pupils are required to attend school regularly and to be punctual.
- Always be on time and be prepared for class.
- Pupils should line up quietly when the bell rings.
- School uniform is to be worn during school hours except when otherwise instructed.
- Pupils should walk quietly and orderly along the corridors and should not play in the toilet areas.
- In order to encourage a healthy diet and healthy teeth, sweets, crisps, and chocolate bars etc., are discouraged. Please see our Healthy Eating policy for further details.
- Pupils should respect teachers, non-teaching staff, other pupils, school property and other pupils’ property.
- All pupils should be willing to learn and participate in all activities.
- Obey the school rules and classroom rules.
- Obey the playground rules and rules for entering/leaving the school.
- Schoolwork should be done to the best of your ability.
- Be attentive to teacher at all times.
- Pupils may never leave the room without permission or building, without written permission.
- Respect and politeness in speech and behaviour are to be shown to the staff at all times.
- Show consideration for other pupils in the classroom. Listen attentively to the person speaking. If you wish to say or do something, raise your hand.
- Written homework must be neatly presented, and homework journals signed EVERY NIGHT. Non-written tasks should also be carried out to the best of each pupil’s ability and tests signed weekly.
- The use of mobile phones is prohibited during school hours. Mobile phones must be handed up to the class teacher at the beginning of the school day. Please see our Mobile Phone Policy for further details.
These can be summed up as 6 simple rules:
- We listen. We don’t interrupt.
- We are gentle. We don’t hurt others.
- We are honest. We tell the truth.
- We are kind.
- We work hard. We don’t waste time.
- We look after property. We don’t damage things.
These rules apply during school-time and on class/ school trips.
- Children are expected to be caring and courteous in their attitude to others- teachers, staff, parents, friends and other children.
- Be conscious of the safety and well-being of others and show good example of behaviour to younger children.
- Careful supervision at each break time ensures that all children are visible and actively involved
- Games which involve physical contact that could cause injury or hurt to others are not acceptable and both teachers and SNAs supervise in a proactive way to intervene if they see such play developing
- All pupils must play in their own playground.
- In order to monitor the movement of pupils they must ask permission from supervising teacher/ SNA to go indoors to use bathroom or get something.
- On wet days pupils remain in their classroom and board games, jigsaws, cards, D.V.D’s etc., are provided.
- Pupils walk promptly to the line when the bell rings at the end of break time.
- Pupils walk in an orderly line back to their classroom
At the beginning of each academic year, the class teacher will draft a list of classroom rules in collaboration with the pupils. Class rules will be kept to a minimum and are devised with regard for the health, safety and welfare of all members of the school community. Rules will be applied in a fair and consistent manner.
Affirming Positive Behaviour
Positive reinforcement of good behaviour leads to better self-discipline and we place a greater emphasis on rewards and incentives than on sanctions
The following are some samples of how praise might be given:
- A quiet word or gesture to show approval
- A comment in a pupil’s copy or homework journal
- A visit to another member of Staff or to the Principal for commendation
- Individual class merits, points
- Rewards for success and achievement
- A word of praise in front of a group or class
- Delegating some special responsibility or privilege
- A mention to parent/guardian, written or verbal communication
Where intervention is needed, the school will work in conjunction with the pupil and parent to formulate a behavioural plan which will set out clear targets. Similarly, pupils who are engaged with the continuum of support may have individualised behavioural plans according to need.
It is accepted that there is a need for sanctions to register disapproval of unacceptable behaviour. Sanctions will be applied according to the gravity of the misbehaviour, with due regard to age and emotional development of the child. Sanctions will be fair, just, predictable and consistent.
The following sanctions may be put in place when a pupil fails or refuses to observe the acceptable standard of behaviour for our school:
- Reasoning with pupil
- Verbal reprimand including advice on how to improve
- Warning from the teacher
- A change of seat
- Temporary separation from peers, friends or others
- Miss out on yard time if schoolwork or homework is incomplete (up to 5 minutes)
- Removal from classroom to sit in another classroom until work is completed
- Additional class work assigned
- Referral to the Principal
- Communication with the parents/guardians
- The Principal may request that the parent/guardians take the student home early from school due to serious misbehaviour
- Expulsion from school
Three levels of misbehaviour are recognised: Minor, Serious and Gross. All everyday instances of a minor nature are dealt with by the class teacher, or the supervising teacher at break-times. In cases of repeated serious misbehaviour or single instances of gross misbehaviour parents/guardians will be involved at an early stage and invited to meet the teacher and/or the principal to discuss their child’s behaviour.
Examples of serious misbehaviour:
- Behaviour that interferes with teaching and learning
- Threats or physical hurt to another person
- Damage to property (intentional)
- Use of mobile phone when outside of school mobile phone policy
- Damage to property, graffiti
- Verbally answering back a member of staff
- Use of bad or obscene language or gestures.
Examples of gross misbehaviour:
- Assault on a teacher or pupil
- Serious theft
- Serious damage to property (intentional)
- Carrying drugs, alcohol, cigarettes
Bullying of any nature will not be tolerated. If a problem should arise please inform the teacher. Bullying is defined as repeated aggression whether physical, verbal or emotional conducted by an individual or group against another or others.
-Physical: includes pushing, shoving, punching, kicking, poking, tripping, etc.
-Verbal: name calling which hurts, insults or humiliates.
-Emotional: threats or persistent hurtful remarks regarding sensitive areas e.g. appearance, dress, progress, colour, culture and disability. Isolating or shunning a child. Threats to extort money or possessions. “Cyber/text” bullying.
Isolated instances of aggressive behaviour which would be dealt with under the Code of Behaviour would not be described as bullying. However, when the behaviour is systemic and ongoing, it is considered bullying.
The school takes particular care to intervene early in responding to the needs, fears or anxieties of individual members in a sensitive manner. Issues in relation to Bullying are explored continually during SPHE lessons and using Circle Time, Drama etc. Staff and teachers try to support and work with all parties involved in a bullying incident. Please see our Anti Bullying Policy for further details.
Suspension and Expulsion
Before serious sanctions such as suspension or expulsion are used, the normal channels of communication between school and parents/guardians will be utilised. Communication with parents/guardians may be verbal or by letter depending on the circumstances. In the case of serious misbehaviour or persistent disruption, the following steps may be taken:
- Class teacher will keep a written record of all incidents of serious misbehaviour, as well as a record of improvements in the behaviour of disruptive pupils and will inform the Principal of the problem.
- Parents/Guardians will be notified, requesting one or both of them to meet with the class teacher. The Principal may be in attendance.
- The Principal may request that the parents/guardians take the student home early from school due to serious misbehaviour.
- Where there are repeated instances of serious misbehaviour, the Chairperson of the Board of Management will be informed and the parents/guardians will be requested in writing to attend at the school to meet the Chairperson and the principal. If the parents/guardians do not give an undertaking that the pupil will behave in an acceptable manner in the future the pupil may be suspended for a period.
- Prior to suspension, where possible, the Principal may review the case in consultation with the pupil, teachers and other members of the school community involved, with due regard to records of previous misbehaviours, their pattern and context, sanctions and other interventions used and their outcomes and any relevant medical information.
- Suspension will be in accordance with the Rules for National Schools, the Education Welfare Act 2000 and the NEWB guidelines 2008. Suspension must also be notified to parents in writing. Where the parents decline the offer of meeting the school authorities, the written notification is to be regarded as the notification of suspension.
- In the case of gross misbehaviour, where it is necessary to ensure that order and discipline are maintained and to secure the safety of the pupils, the Board may authorise the Chairperson or Principal to sanction an immediate suspension for a period not exceeding three school days, pending a discussion of the matter with the parents.
- Expulsion may be considered in an extreme case, in accordance with the Rule for National Schools and the Education Welfare Act 2000. Before suspending or expelling a pupil, the Board shall notify the Education Welfare Officer in writing in accordance with Section 24 of the Education Welfare Act.
Removal of Suspension (Reinstatement)
Following or during a period of suspension, the parents/guardians may apply to have the pupil reinstated to the school. The parents/guardians must give a satisfactory undertaking that a suspended pupil will behave in accordance with the school code and the Principal must be satisfied that the pupil’s reinstatement will not constitute a risk to the pupil’s own safety or that of the other pupils or staff. The Principal will facilitate the preparation of a behaviour plan for the pupil if required and will re-admit the pupil formally to the class.
Right of Appeal:
If a child has been suspended for a total of twenty days in a school year parent/guardian may appeal the suspension under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998. Likewise in the case of expulsion parents/ guardians may appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education. An appeal against expulsion may also be brought by the National Education Welfare Board on behalf of a student.
Reference to other Policies:
St. Brigid’s N.S. has a number of policies which support and consolidate the school’s Code of Behaviour. These include:
- SPHE plan
- Health & Safety
- Special Educational Needs
- Mobile Phone Policy
- Observation of positive behaviour in classrooms, playground and school environment
- Practices and procedures listed in this policy being implemented by teachers
- Positive feedback from teachers, SNAs, parents/guardian and pupils
Roles and Responsibility:
- Principal & Teachers work with parents/guardians and pupils to promote positive behaviour.
- Teachers liase with Principal regarding observations of inappropriate behaviour.
- Principal works with staff and parents/guardians to help pupils improve their behaviour.
- Pupils respect the ethos of the school and strive to behave in an appropriate manner.
- Parents/ guardians support the staff in their efforts to promote positive behaviour.