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.
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:
Aims of Policy:
The aims of this policy are:
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.
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:
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:
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.
Woodland National School strives to:
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.
The following strategies are used to promote positive behaviour in the classroom and the school yard and other areas of 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
There are degrees of unacceptable behaviour. Examples of minor misdemeanours include:
Examples of more serious unacceptable behaviour include:
The above lists are not exhaustive and are only examples.
Examples of strategies for dealing with unacceptable behaviour are as follows;
More serious unacceptable behavior:
Interventions for managing exceptionally challenging behaviour are found in Appendix B.
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:
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).
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 and/or 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:
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 is a very serious step and will only be taken by the Board of Management in extreme cases of unacceptable behaviour which may include:
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.
4. 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.
5. 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).
6. Linked Policies:
A number of other school policies are linked to the Code of Behaviour policy. These include:
Health and Safety Policy
Substance Abuse Policy
Healthy Eating Policy
SPHE, Alive O, RSE
Stay Safe Programme
Practices and procedures listed in this policy being consistently implemented by teachers.
5th December 2017
The Policy will be reviewed during the school year 2019-2020 or earlier if necessary.
Signed: Susan Kenny Date: 4/12/2017
(Chairperson of Board of Management)
Signed: Patricia Slevin Date: 4/12/2017
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, no logo, navy or black soles)
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. White vest or white round neck t-shirt may be worn under the white shirt in colder weather.
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.
Apart from stud earrings no other jewellery is permitted.
The paramount concerns are for the safety and welfare of the pupils in the school as well as for the safety and welfare of the adults who look after them. These guidelines form part of a structured plan of preventative strategies and interventions to be used in times of distress and they will be reviewed in light of identified risks.
Our school, in the first instance, applies the principles outlined above on the use of day to day behavioural management strategies. These are intended to help all pupils to manage their own behaviour in the long-term. Where these strategies are not working and it is foreseeable that a pupil might engage in high risk behaviours requiring physical intervention, this section of the policy applies.
It is recognised that there are many times when physical contact is used in our school such as patting a child on the arm in affirmation, administering first aid, meeting toileting needs and physical prompting to support learning. However, our duty of care to the child and to others means that it may also be necessary to use a physical intervention to prevent children from harming themselves or others or causing significant harm to school property.
Types of physical interventions, such as prompts, guiding by the elbows, leading by the arm or holding around the shoulders are sometimes used. Touch in this way is a positive reinforcement to relationships and a comfort in times of distress. For pupils who present with challenging behaviour which may pose a risk of harm to themselves or others, formal risk assessments are written which describe forms of physical contact which have proved helpful for those children in the past, along with those which should be avoided if possible.
This section is written with the aim of supporting staff regarding the use of physical intervention in school. It has been drawn up with the support and guidance of our NEPS psychologists and with reference to the publication “Physical Contact – Care, Comfort, Reassurance and Restraint” by Bernard Allen. Reference has also been made to the DES publication “Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties – A Continuum of Support”, and “Children First Guidelines 2011”.
Teachers and SNAs in the Autism Unit, as well as three support teachers and the deputy principal attended four days of specialised training in school, funded by the Board of Management in February and March 2017. This training in “Positive Behaviour Support and Management of Violence and Aggression” was facilitated by Martha McGinn Consultancy.
Some relevant definitions:
Physical contact: This covers the full range of physical interventions ranging from light to firm pressure touch. It is necessary for a variety of purposes including the provision of care, comfort, reassurance and safety.
Prompts and Guides: The use of touch to gain attention or direct movement as part of teaching.
Reassuring and Comforting: A hug around the shoulders or upper arms to comfort, calm and reassure a distressed pupil.
Restraint: The use of physical intervention to overcome rigorous resistance; completely directing, deciding and controlling a person’s free movement.
Risk Assessment: This is the process of identifying and controlling potential hazards. Formal risk assessments are written for children who have presented with challenging behaviour likely to put them or others at risk of harm. They alert people to hazards and suggest ways of avoiding or reducing risk. Dynamic risk assessments are those conducted in real time when staff are faced with a situation that requires an urgent response.
Time out/quiet time: Used to informally mean a cooling off period, giving space to calm down and think things through. This could be a desk or a separate area in the classroom.
Withdrawal: Moving to another place, where a child is continually monitored by staff either in another classroom, or by staying with him/her in a quiet room, or through observation through a glass panel in the door. This may involve physically preventing the child from leaving until the staff consider it is safe to do so.
Physical intervention: holding a child, intervening between two people, separating pupils from other pupils, blocking a door to detain a child.
Triggers for behavior:
In line with the continuum of support and positive behaviour management, triggers for certain children will be identified and risk assessments put in place. Parents will be involved in agreeing and renewing these plans.
The following sets of circumstances have been observed which may lead to challenging behaviour in children:
Types of behaviour which may initiate a response including physical intervention:
In accordance with our Code of Behaviour staff seek, in the first instance to be pro-active at all times to prevent and minimize risk by deploying de-escalation strategies and environmental alterations as follows:
Reasons for using physical interventions:
Types of Physical Intervention:
1. Removal of other people from the room: In the event of one child’s behaviour posing a risk to the safety of the other people in the room, it may be necessary to move them to another place until it is safe enough for them to return.
2. Lifting, moving or restraining a child: Staff will avoid these actions if at all possible, but if they find themselves in a situation where they must make physical contact with a child for one of the reasons listed above, they must ask themselves the following questions:
In the event that a child must be lifted or moved, then there must be two staff members holding the child under the arms using the minimum force, all the while encouraging him/her to walk themselves, using visual supports or coaxing. In the event of a staff member being on their own, they must seek assistance, while trying to keep the child safe.
3. Withdrawal to another area: Sometimes a child cannot manage in a classroom setting for a variety of reasons and needs to be withdrawn to allow teaching and learning to continue for the rest of the pupils. This can happen in three ways:
a. Withdrawal to give the child an opportunity to regulate their behaviour/emotions:
This may be used informally for pupils who need time or space to calm/cool down, i.e. child is encouraged or prompted to move to another table, chair or designated area for a period of time or may be sent ‘on a message’. The purpose of this is to divert or distract the pupil or reduce overstimulation.
b. Withdrawal from the classroom to another room:
This may be used to move children to another classroom or to a room where he or she is continually supported or monitored by staff who remain in the room with the child. This may involve physically intervening to move the child and/or preventing the child from leaving the area until staff consider that it is safe to do so. Doors may or may not be secured in this instance depending on the risk to safety. It is important to note that if staff members are in the room with the child and the door is secured, it is still considered to be a deprivation of liberty because the pupil cannot leave the room without staff intervention. Incident reports must be filled out for each instance where a door is secured in this way. This is to ensure that the Principal is aware of the incident and can provide support to pupils and staff to reduce the risks associated with the practice. The purpose of this is to safeguard pupils and staff in situations that have the potential to be high risk to themselves or others.
c . Removal to a room where the door is secured from the outside:
This is only considered in exceptional circumstances. The purpose of this is to safeguard pupils and or staff in situations of high risk to themselves or others.
· Following an incident such as this, the pupil’s risk assessment would have to be reviewed, parents consulted and an agreement reached that this type of intervention would only be used in exceptional circumstances.
· The use of this intervention must be proportionate to the risk presented by the pupil. It may be used at times where the potential risk of significant injury to pupils or staff are very high or there is a risk of significant damage to school property and it is not practicable to otherwise communicate with the child.
· To ensure their safety and emotional well-being pupils should be continuously monitored from outside the room by staff through a glass panel.
· Strategies that are known to help the child to calm and settle will used, such as using calm voice/stance/scripts, visuals or other communication aids. This is to increase the likelihood of communication and negotiation thus reducing risk. These will be specific to the child, outlined in the Risk Assessment in advance and noted in the Incident Report afterwards.
· Drinks/food or other preferred items may be offered if it is judged that such offers will help the child to calm.
· The Principal or Deputy will be called as soon as possible to monitor the safety of the child and to oversee the event.
· The Principal or Deputy may decide that it is in the best interests of the child to return to class, go to work in another safe place or to contact parents and ask them to take the child home depending on circumstances.
· The child should be assisted to recover from the incident afterwards and assisted to ‘repair’ his or her relationship with staff/other pupils.
· Incident reports will be completed, outlining the details of what took place.
Post Incident Support:
Following an incident the priority is to look after the pupils and staff involved before reports are filled out and reviews held.
The pupil and the member of staff will be checked for any sign of injury after an incident. First aid will be administered to anyone who requires it. A quiet space and refreshments, if required, will be offered to those involved in order for them to regain composure. Following this, the incident will be discussed with the pupil, where appropriate, and at an appropriate time. All necessary steps will be taken to re-establish the relationship between the pupil and the member(s) of staff involved in the incident.
Recording of incidents:
Routine incidents of physical intervention, usually for pupils with identified needs as set out in the pupil’s Individual Education Plan will need to be recorded in the Class Incident Book as follows:
Non-routine incidents of physical intervention All incidents that result in non-routine interventions will be recorded in detail on the non-routine Incident Report forms. These forms will be signed by the Principal or Deputy Principal.
The following information will be recorded: