Code of Behaviour

Introduction

This Code of Behaviour Policy was developed by a sub-group consisting of the Principal, teachers and Board of Management representatives following consultation with staff, pupils and parents. The Policy has been approved by the Board of Management. It will be circulated to all parents of existing pupils and all parents of new pupils. All pupils will be made aware of the policy at the start of the school year.  Temporary and substitute teachers and other school staff will also be made aware of the policy. The Board of Management, Principal and staff are responsible for implementation of the policy.

 

Rationale

All policies need to be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that they meet the current needs of the school.  The Code of Behaviour Policy was reviewed because:

  • it is a requirement under Department of Education and Science Circular 20/90 on school discipline
  • the existing policy is due for review and amendment
  • it is a priority area identified by staff and Board of Management
  • it is a requirement under the Education Welfare Act 2000,Section 23 (1) which refers to the obligation on
  • school to prepare a Code of Behaviour in respect of the students registered at the school
  • to ensure policy is in compliance with legal requirement and good practice as set out in Developing a Code
  • of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools, NEWB, 2008

 

Aims of Policy

The aims of this policy are:

  • To allow the school to function in an orderly and harmonious way.
  • To enhance the learning environment where children can make progress in all aspects of their development.
  • To create an atmosphere of respect, tolerance and consideration for everyone.
  • To promote positive behaviour and self-discipline recognising the differences between children and the need
  • to accommodate these differences.
  • To promote the safety and well being of all members of the school community. (See separate Health and
  • Safety Policy)
  • To assist parents and pupils in understanding the systems and procedures that form part of the code of
  • behaviour and to seek their co-operation in the application of these procedures.
  • To ensure the system of rules, rewards, and sanctions are implemented in a fair and consistent manner.
  • To promote a strong sense of community and co-operation among staff, pupils, parents and Board of
  • To prevent, identify and deal with bullying (see separate Anti-Bullying Policy).

 

Whole School Approach in Promoting Positive Behaviour

Woodland National School strives to:

  • Create a happy, friendly caring and welcoming school that will provide for pupils’ needs in a sensitive way
  • Foster a positive self-image in pupils, building self-confidence through praise, reward and encouragement
  • Encourage a positive attitude to life and learning enabling each child to reach his/her full potential
  • Prepare pupils for life by teaching social independence and academic skills
  • Ensure that all pupils and staff are valued
  • Promote an atmosphere of co-operation, with management, staff, parents and pupils
  • Develop links with the wider community
  • Develop a positive awareness of self, sensitivity towards other people and a respect for the rights, views andfeelings of others
  • Develop a faith community through the teaching of Catholic beliefs

The Code of Behaviour policy requires the co-operation of staff, pupils, parents and Board of Management.  It is important that everyone knows what is expected, what procedures are in place to support and promote the policy and to deal with problems that may arise.

In promoting positive behaviour the school has in place policies and procedures which cover all aspects of the school day e.g. arrival, dismissal, in-class management, school yard, wet days, movement through the school, etc. In developing this Code of Behaviour all school policies and practices, curriculum and classroom management practices have been considered with regard to promoting positive behaviour.

 

Roles and Responsibilities of Key Stakeholders

Staff:

In accordance with the Code of Professional Conduct for Teachers (Teaching Council 2012), the staff are expected to treat all children with respect and dignity and to implement the Code of Behaviour in a fair, consistent and reasonable manner.

The school’s Social Personal and Health Education Curriculum is used to support the Code of Behaviour.  It aims to help the children develop communication skills, appropriate ways of interacting and behaving and conflict resolution skills.  It also aims to foster self-esteem and to help children accommodate differences and develop citizenship – New staff and substitutes are briefed on all policies and practices within the school by the staff mentor.

Staff will regularly make the children aware of the Code of Behaviour and will remind them of the expectations throughout the school year.

 

Board of Management:

The overall responsibility for ensuring that a Code of Behaviour is prepared rests with the Board of Management.  The Board of Management appoints a sub-committee to review and draft the Code of Behaviour in consultation with the whole school community.  The Board of Management will ratify the Code of Behaviour and will continually monitor its implementation making adjustments as necessary.

 

Parents:

The Code of Behaviour is drawn up in consultation with the parents.

When making application for enrolment parents will be given copies of the Code of Behaviour and Anti-Bullying policies.  On receiving an offer of a place for their child, parents will be required to confirm in writing that the Code of Behaviour and Anti-Bullying policy and any subsequent changes is acceptable to them and that they will make every effort to ensure compliance by their child.

Parents will support the school in the promotion of positive behaviour by:

  • ensuring their children attend regularly and punctually
  • encouraging their children to do their best and to take responsibility for their work
  • co-operating with the school’s rules and system of rewards and sanctions
  • attending meetings at the school if requested
  • helping their children with homework and ensuring that it is completed and signed
  • ensuring their children have the necessary books and materials for school
  • ensuring their children always wear the correct school uniform
  • sharing any relevant information with the school which may affect a pupil’s behaviour.

 

Pupils:

In drafting this Code of Behaviour, the senior classes in the school were consulted.  All children are involved in the drawing up of classroom rules.

Pupils are regularly made aware of the Code of Behaviour e.g. at the beginning of each school term/prior to school outings etc. and at different times through various subject areas, discussions and assemblies.

Standards of behaviour expected from pupils:

  • each child is expected to be well behaved and to show consideration and respect to other children andadults in school and in all school related activities e.g. school tours, sports outings, theatre/cinema trips,swimming, Church outings and any other out of school activities etc.
  • each child is expected to show respect for the property of other children, the staff, the school, and their own belongings.
  • each child is expected to comply with Homework policy, school and classroom rules
  • each child is expected to wear the correct school uniform and adhere to requirements regarding

(See Appendix A)

  • each child is expected to attend school regularly and to be punctual

It is recognised that certain factors may influence a child’s behaviour e.g. bereavement, trauma, educational needs, medical condition, etc and will be taken into consideration.

 

Positive Strategies for Promoting Positive Behaviour:

The following strategies are used to promote positive behaviour in the classroom and the school yard and other areas of the school:

  • ground rules/behavioural expectations are consistent with the ethos of the school
  • pupils are involved in devising classroom rules
  • clear systems of acknowledging and rewarding good behaviour include praise, Golden Time, RewardCharts, Homework Passes, notes home, pupils of the week, acknowledgement by the Principal etc.
  • classroom management techniques that ensure a variety of activities and methodologies to sustain pupil

Interest and motivation

  • zoned areas within the playground for the different age groups
  • clear arrangements and expectations for wet days
  • clear arrangements and expectations in the corridors and halls
  • Circle-time, SPHE, Drama, the Arts Curriculum, Religious Education, Friends for Life, Circle of Friends etc.
  • Giving children responsibility for particular tasks in the school

 

Rewards and Sanctions

Although the overall focus is on reinforcing positive behaviour it is important that sanctions for unacceptable behaviour are also in place

 

Unacceptable behaviour

There are degrees of unacceptable behaviour. Examples of minor misdemeanours include:

  • interrupting class work
  • running in school building
  • talking in class
  • leaving seat without permission
  • littering
  • not obeying lunch-time and classroom rules
  • not completing homework or not having it signed by a parent
  • possession of mobile phone (Mobile phones will be confiscated and will only be returned to a
    • Parent/Guardian)
  • Not treating other children/adults with respect.

Examples of more serious unacceptable behaviour include;

  • Persistently breaking school/classroom rules
  • Answering back, giving cheek or arguing with staff
  • Using bad language
  • Stealing
  • Bullying in all forms
  • Being untruthful
  • Leaving school without permission
  • Persistently failing to do or complete homework
  • Substance use
  • Persistently distracting other children
  • Damaging school or others property
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Being discourteous/unmannerly
  • Causing physical harm to another child/adult
  • Fighting
  • Being in possession of items that may cause damage to persons or property

The above lists are not exhaustive and are only examples.

 

Strategies

Examples of strategies for dealing with unacceptable behaviour are as follows;

Minor Misdemeanours:

  • Reasoning with the pupil.
  • Reprimand (including advice on how to improve).
  • Temporary separation from peers, friends or others for example time-out table.
  • Note home in homework diary/folder.

More serious unacceptable behaviour:

  • Reasoning with the pupil.
  • Reprimand (including advice on how to improve).
  • Temporary separation from peers, friends or
  • Note home in homework diary/folder.
  • Communication with Parents.
  • Temporary loss of privileges e.g. Golden-time, DVD time, removal from sports teams/school tours andoutings etc.
  • Prescribing additional work if appropriate.
  • Referral to principal teacher.

 

Involving Parents in Management of Behaviour:

Some students need more active intervention to help them to manage their behaviour.  Without additional help they may be at risk of failing behaviourally, socially and educationally.

In consultation with parents additional inputs or interventions might include:

  • referral to another teacher or adult who can work with the student
  • involving the Learning Support/Resource team
  • setting targets for behaviour and monitoring them with the student in a supportive way
  • behaviour contracts/plans with individualised strategies. (Further details available on request).

A small minority of students may have great difficulty in learning new behaviour and may not respond to low-level interventions.  These students will need a sustained and systematic response involving school and home.

The Principal and staff have good links with local support services that may be able to assist in responding to the needs of a student with behavioural difficulties.  These services include the National Educational Psychology Services (NEPS), HSE Community Psychology Services, the National Council for Special Education and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

 

Suspension

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 as a last resort.  Communication with parents will be verbal or by letter depending on the circumstances.  The parents concerned will be invited to the school to discuss their child’s behaviour and they will be given an opportunity to respond before a decision is made and before any sanction is imposed.

Circumstances relating to the allegations will be investigated in a fair and impartial manner.  Investigations where possible, will be carried out by a senior member of staff not directly involved and will present their findings to the Principal.  The Principal will make a decision in an objective way based on the findings.

For repeated instances of serious misbehaviour suspension will be considered.  Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards another person (pupil or staff) will be regarded as serious or gross misbehaviour, depending on circumstances.  Where it is necessary to ensure that order and discipline are maintained and to secure the safety of the pupils and staff the Board authorises 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.  Any suspension in excess of 3 days requires the approval of the Board of Management.

If a decision is made to suspend a pupil, under natural justice, the parents may appeal the decision to the Board of Management.  This appeal must be submitted in writing to the Board of Management stating the reasons for the appeal within 7 days of the date of notification of suspension.  Parents will be informed of the decision of the Board of Management within 7 days of the receipt of the written appeal.

Parents will be informed in writing:

  • the duration of the suspension
  • reasons for the suspension
  • arrangements for returning to school including a commitment to be entered into by the parents and pupil re-affirming their acceptance of the Code of Behaviour
  • the right to appeal to the Board of Management
  • the right to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science if the suspensionperiod bring the cumulative period of suspension to 20 school days or longer in the school year (Section 29Education act 1998, amended 2007).

When any sanction, including suspension, is completed, a pupil will be given the opportunity and support for a fresh start.

Suspension will be implemented in accordance with the terms of Rule 130 (5) of the Rules for National Schools.

 

Expulsion

Expulsion is a very serious step and will only be taken by the Board of Management in extreme cases of unacceptable behaviour which may include:

  • the pupils behaviour is a persistent cause of significant disruption to the learning of others or to the teachingprocess
  • the pupils continued presence in the school constitutes a real and significant threat to safety
  • the pupil is responsible for serious damage to property.

In the event of expulsion being considered by the Board of Management fair procedure and procedures prescribed by the Education Welfare Act 2000 will be followed.

 

Record Keeping

Homework Diary – from 1st to 6th class.  Teachers may make notes in Parent/Teacher comments section.  Teacher may send note to parents of Junior and Senior Infants in homework folder or lunchbox.

Classroom Incident Book – Kept by each classroom teacher.

Record of Behaviour Book – Kept in Principal’s office.

 

Reporting Absences

In accordance with the Educational Welfare Act 2000 the school has a duty to report any child who has missed 20 days or more to the National Educational Welfare Board.  Parents/guardians are obliged by law to provide a written explanation on their child’s absence to the school when the child returns (stating the reason for absence).

 

Linked Policies

A number of other school policies are linked to the Code of Behaviour policy.  These include:

  • Homework Policy
  • Anti-bullying Policy
  • Health and Safety Policy
  • Substance Abuse Policy
  • Healthy Eating Policy
  • SPHE, Alive O, RSE
  • Stay Safe Programme

 

Success Criteria

  • Positive feedback from teachers, parents and pupils
  • Observation of behaviour in class rooms, corridors, yard
  • General atmosphere in the school.

Practices and procedures listed in this policy being consistently implemented by teachers.

 

Implementation Date

28th August 2014

 

Timetable for review

The Policy will be reviewed during the school year 2016-2017 or earlier if necessary.

 

School Uniform

Children must have one uniform and one P.E. uniform

  • Crested Red School Jumper or Cardigan
  • White Blouse/Shirt to be worn with crested jumper/cardigan
  • Boys:  Navy Trousers
  • Tailored Navy Knee Length Shorts (Optional for summer)
  • Girls:   Navy Skirt/Pinafore/Trousers
  • Navy Knee Length Shorts (Optional for summer)
  • Boys/Girls:     Navy or Black Shoes/Runners (plain)
  • P.E. Uniform:            White Soft Collared Polo Shirt
  • Sweatshirt Red same as jumper (No Crest or Hood)
  • Navy Tracksuit Bottoms (No Stripes or Logos)
  • Runners (any colour) allowed for P.E.
  • No leggings allowed.
  • Socks or tights should be in keeping with school colours e.g. White or Navy

 

Crested school jumpers/cardigans are available only at County Seat uniform shop Lower Main Street.  All other uniform items are available there or at local department stores.  Please note that County Seat, for reasons of colour and quality is the only approved supplier of the crested jumper/cardigan.  No other garment should have a school crest – P.E. sweatshirt, coat/jacket.

P.E. uniform may be worn on P.E. Days only.  On all other days school jumper or cardigan, must be worn with pinafore, trousers or skirt.

If children are representing the school at formal functions i.e. Choir, Interschool Quiz, etc. they must wear the school jumper/cardigan not the sweatshirt and in this event advance notice will be given.

Wearing the school uniform is part of the Code of Behaviour and will be monitored on a regular basis.

All clothing must be marked with children’s names. Please Note: Apart from stud earrings no other jewelry is permitted.