The school has a central role in the children's social and moral development just as it does in their academic development. In seeking to define acceptable standards of behaviour it is acknowledged that these are goals to be worked towards rather than expectations that are either fulfilled or not.
The children bring to school a wide variety of behaviour. As a community environment, in school we must work towards standards of behaviour based on the basic principles of honesty, respect, consideration and responsibility. It follows that acceptable standards of behaviour are those that reflect these principles.
Children need limits set for them in order to feel secure and develop the skills for co-operation. Therefore any rules will be age appropriate, with clear agreed consequences.
Parents can co-operate with the school by encouraging their children to understand the need for school rules, by visiting the school and by talking to the members of staff.
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.
Aims of the Code
•To create a positive learning environment that encourages and reinforces good behaviour
•To promote self-esteem and positive relationships
•To encourage consistency of response to both positive and negative behaviour
•To foster a sense of responsibility and self-discipline in pupils and to support good behaviour patterns based on consideration and respect for the rights 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
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.
•Respect for self and others
•Respect for other’s property
•Respect other students and their learning
•Kindness and willingness to help others
•Follow instructions from staff immediately
•Walk quietly in the school building
•Courtesy and good manners
•Honesty and integrity
•Readiness to use respectful ways of resolving difficulties and conflict
•Ask permission to leave the classroom
•Do your best in class
•Take responsibility for your own work
These can be summed up as 7 main rules;
•Respect/ Be nice
•Do your best
At the beginning of each academic year, the class teacher will make the class aware of the six class rules. Rules will be applied in a fair and consistent manner, with due regard to the age of the pupils and to individual difference.
Why School Rules?
School rules are there for the health, safety and welfare of all members of the school community. Rewards for good behavior and posts of responsibility are given in the hope that pupils will acquire the skills of self-discipline.
Strategies to reinforce good behavior:
•A quiet word or gesture to show approval
•A comment in pupil’s exercise book
•A visit to another member of staff or to principal for commendation
•A word of praise in front of a group or class
•A system of merit marks (stickers/stars)
•Delegating some special responsibility or privilege
•A mention to parents, written or verbal communication
The degree of misdemeanors i.e. minor, serious and gross, will be judged by the teachers and or Principal based on a common sense approach with regard to the gravity/frequency of such demeanors. Children will be given every opportunity to give their side of the situation and are encouraged to be responsible for their actions, and to be honest and truthful at all times
Examples of minor misdemeanors:
•Interrupting class work
•Running in school building
•Leaving litter around the school
•Not completing homework without good reason
Examples of steps to be taken when dealing with regular occurrences of minor misdemeanors
Phase 1 (within the classroom)
•Note in homework journal to be signed by parent
•Temporary separation from peers, i.e. detention during break/lunch time
•Sending to another teacher
•Denial of participation in some activities
Phase 2 (Should behaviour continue)
•Class teacher meets one or both parents
•Principal meets one or both parents concerning behaviour
Examples of serious misdemeanor:
•Constantly disruptive in class
•Making false accusations
•Damaging school or other pupils’ property
•Back answering a teacher in a disrespectful manner
•Frequenting school premises after school hours without permission
•Deliberately causing injury to another pupil
Steps to be taken when dealing with a serious misdemeanor:
•Principal gives child a class appropriate behavior reflection sheet to be completed at home and signed by parent
•Principal may meet with one/both parents
•Chairperson of Board of Management may be informed and parents requested to meet with Chairperson and Principal
Examples of gross misdemeanor:
•Deliberately acting in a manner which causes serious damage to school property
•Aggressive, threatening or violent behavior towards a teacher or pupil
•Bringing weapons to school
•Deliberately causing physical injury to a fellow pupil, e.g. kicking, punching etc
•Overtly sexual behavior
It should be noted that these lists of gross misdemeanors are not exhaustive and consist of examples only. It is not meant to be a totally comprehensive list of misdemeanors and procedural steps.
Examples of steps to be taken when dealing with gross misdemeanor:
•Chairperson/ Principal may need to sanction immediate suspension pending discussion with parents.
•Expulsion will be considered in an extreme case in accordance with Rule 130 (6)
The use of sanctions or consequences should be characterised by certain features;
•It must be clear why the sanction is being applied
•The consequence must relate as closely as possible to the behaviour. Therefore a child, who does not do his work in class or who has not completed his homework, may be detained at break time to finish the work
•It must be made clear what changes in behaviour are required to avoid future sanctions
•It should be the behaviour rather than the person that is the focus
Suspension and Expulsion
For gross misdemeanor or repeated instances of serious misdemeanor suspension may be considered. Parents concerned will be invited to come to the school to discuss their child’s case. Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards a teacher or pupil will be regarded as serious or gross misdemeanor.
Where there are repeated instances of serious misdemeanor, the Chairperson of the Board of Management will be informed and the parents will be requested in writing to attend at the school to meet the Chairperson and the principal. If the parents 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 teachers and other members of the school community involved.
In the case of gross misdemeanor, 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 Local Welfare Education 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 parent/s 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.
Children with Special Needs
All children are required to comply with the code of behaviour. However the school recognises that children with special needs may require assistance in understanding certain rules.
Methods of Communicating with Parents
Parents should be 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.
The following methods are to be used at all levels within the school:
•Informal parent/teacher meetings and Formal parent/teacher meetings
•Through children’s homework journal (infants do not have a homework journal-check bags)
•Letters/notes from school to home and from home to school
•School notice board
•Text a parent
Parents are requested to familiarize themselves with this policy and to co operate with the school with regard to its implementation. Parents should be 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. Should a parent/guardian wish to speak to the class teacher regarding any school related matter, please make prior contact with the school, to arrange a mutually suitable meeting time. Should a teacher wish to meet a parent regarding any matter relating to their child, prior contact will be made by the teacher to arrange a mutually suitable meeting time.
This policy was amended in 2018, and ratified by the Board of Management.