Code of Behaviour Policy

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Code of Behaviour Policy

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Code of Behaviour Policy

 

Introduction

 

In compliance with Section 23 of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, the Board of Management of St. John’s N.S. has prepared and made available a Code of Behaviour for its Pupils, Staff and Parents.

 

The Code of Behaviour details:

 

  1. The standards of behaviour that shall be observed by each pupil attending the school;
  2. The whole school approach in promoting positive behaviour;
  3. The measures that shall be taken when a pupil fails or refuses to observe those standards;
  4. The procedures to be followed before a pupil may be suspended or expelled from the school concerned;
  5. The grounds for removing a suspension imposed in relation to a pupil
  6. The school’s Anti-Bullying Policy; and
  7. The procedures to be followed in relation to a child’s absence from school.

 

The Code of Behaviour of St. Johns’s N.S. has been developed in accordance with ‘Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools’, National Educational Welfare Board, 2008.

 

Policy Formulation

 

In formulating this policy the Board of Management completed the following steps;

  1. Class teachers were requested to discuss the topic of ‘rules’ with their classes and submit a list of pupils suggestions to the Principal.
  2. Parents and Staff were informed that an initial draft of the Code of Behaviour was available and they were invited to make submissions on the content of the code within a specified timeframe.
  3. The initial draft of the Code of Behaviour was reviewed and where appropriate amended in-line with the feedback received.
  4. The finalised draft of the policy was submitted for the Patron’s Approval.

 

aims & objectives of the Code

 

The aims and objectives of the code are:

  • To allow the school to function in an orderly way where children can make progress in all aspects of their development
  • To create an atmosphere of respect, tolerance and consideration for others
  • To promote positive behaviour and self-discipline, recognising the differences between children and the need to accommodate these differences
  • To ensure the safety and well being of all members of the school community
  • To assist school staff, 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 that the system of rules, rewards, and sanctions are implemented in a fair and consistent manner throughout the school.

 

Whole School Approach

 

The Board of Management recognises the importance of creating consistent values, policies, practices and relationships that support the Code of Behaviour.  Such an environment may only be formed by involving the entire school community and in this respect the Board acknowledges the importance of the roles played by, the principal, teachers, ancillary staff and parents in the review and operation of the Code.

The elements of a whole school approach to behaviour include

  • An ethos, policies and practices that are in harmony
  • A teamwork approach to behaviour
  • A whole-school approach to curriculum and classroom management
  • An inclusive and involved school community
  • A systematic process for planning and reviewing behaviour policy

 

Standards of Behaviour

 

St. John’s N.S. Code of Behaviour aims at creating ordered environment based on respect and tolerance where each child feels secure and confident.  We work hard to ensure the St. John’s N.S. is a happy place for both children and staff.  We aim to catch children being good and reinforce positive behaviour.

School rules and class rules are displayed in prominent locations throughout the school.  Each pupil has a copy of the golden rules/code in their homework journal (see appendix 1)

 

Pupils

 

School Rules

 

  • Pupils enter and leave the school building at all times in an orderly fashion.
  • In the interest of safety pupils must walk within the school building and enter and exit the building quietly.
  • Specific rules to apply to all stairs within the school and rules are posted in prominent location on all stairs.
  • Pupils are expected to treat all staff members, themselves and each other with due respect and courtesy.
  • Bullying is never allowed. Any behaviour that interferes with the rights of others to learn and to be safe is unacceptable.
  • Bad, inappropriate language is unacceptable.
  • Pupils are expected to wear their full school uniform/tracksuit on designated days.
  • Chewing gum, glass bottles, other solvents, matches, cigarettes, alcohol or drugs are not allowed.
  • Jewellery is not allowed except watches and one small stud earring in the bottom of each ear.
  • Make-up is not worn during school times.
  • Cycling in school grounds is forbidden.
  • We encourage children to bring healthy lunches (see healthy lunch policy).
  • All electronic devices are forbidden at school.
  • Children are not allowed mobile phones at school except by prior arrangement. If a child is found with a mobile phone it will be confiscated.  If in exceptional circumstances arrangements may be made between the principal and parents of the child to hold a mobile phone for a child in the office for use after school hours.  No responsibility will be taken in the event of loss or damage.
  • Hairstyles are expected to be kept neat and conventional – with hair in its natural colour. For hygiene purposes hair must be tied back.
  • Pupils must respect the school building and property. If any damage is caused, the parent/guardian shall be responsible for the cost of repair/replacement.
  • Fighting, rough play or any physical force is never allowed or tolerated.

 

 

General Behaviour

Each pupil is expected to:  

  • be well behaved and to show consideration for other children and adults
  • show respect for the property of, the school, other children and their own belongings
  • attend school on a regular basis and to be punctual
  • Do her best both in school and for homework.
  • Leave non essential personal belongings items at home including mobile phones, game console, I pods etc.

 

Classroom Behaviour

Each pupil is expected to:

  • listen – to the teacher and other pupils if they are speaking
  • work – to the best of his/her ability and have required materials available for class.
  • value – school property and the belongings of fellow pupils.
  • follow – the direction of her teacher
  • obtain – her teachers permission to leave the classroom
  • respect – the teacher, other pupils and visitors to the classroom.

 

Playground Behaviour

Each pupil is expected to:

  • play – safely avoiding any games or play that are rough or dangerous
  • follow – the directions of the playground supervisor(s)
  • remain – on school grounds at all times in the designated zone only
  • entering the school building during break periods is allowed in the event of an accident
  • respect – the yard supervisor and fellow pupils
  • avoid – swearing, fighting or name calling

 

Behaviour in other School Areas

Each pupil is expected to:

  • walk – in the school corridors in single file and leave classrooms in order of rotation system in place.
  • Children should step back to allow adults to pass.
  • Children should join class line on arrival in morning.
  • Children should sit down while eating in classroom.

 

Behaviour during School Outings/Activities

Each pupil is expected to:

  • follow – her teacher’s directions at all times
  • remain – with the teacher/organiser/facilitator/supervisors and group of pupils at all times
  • behave – politely towards those they meet on such trips
  • observe – the rules of general good behaviour
  • listen respectfully when attending any public event in the G.P.
  • children should leave classroom immediately at 10.50a.m. and 12.40p.m. once bell rings.
  • Observe safe travel procedures on different modes of transport during school tours/outings e.g. wearing safety belt, following instructions etc.

 

Staff

It is the Principal’s responsibility to ensure the school’s Code of Behaviour is administered in a manner that is consistent and fair to all pupils. However each staff member has responsibility for the maintenance of discipline within common areas of the school.

 

Teaching staff are specifically responsible for the management of behaviour within their own class. They will:

  • Discuss the Code of Behaviour with their class in an age appropriate manner at the beginning of the school year.
  • Ensure the rules are displayed in the classroom.
  • Encourage self-discipline and positive Behaviour.
  • Ensure there is an appropriate level of supervision at all times.
  • Implement the reward/sanction scheme in a fair and consistent manner.
  • Keep a written record of all incidents of continued, serious or gross misconduct. This record will indicate the advice and/or warnings given to the child on the misbehaviour and, the consequences of its repetition.
  • Inform pupils when instances of misbehaviour on their part are being recorded.
  • Report repeated instances of serious misbehaviour to the Principal.
  • Invite parents to discuss instances of serious misbehaviour with a view to resolving the issues in a collaborative fashion and supporting the pupil in this way.

 

Parents/Guardians

 

  • Parents/guardians play a crucial role in shaping attitudes in their children which produce positive Behaviour in school. Parents/guardians can assist the school by encouraging their children to abide by the school rules, encouraging punctuality and regular attendance and by ensuring that homework is given due time and effort.
  • Parents/guardians can also assist the school by ensuring that their children have all the necessary materials needed during the school day.
  • Parents/guardians can assist the school by collaborating with the class teacher in relation to minor misdemeanors by singing note etc.
  • Parents/guardians can also assist by collecting appointment slip to discuss misdemeanors with class teacher or principal.

 

Should a parent/guardian be concerned about any aspect of their child’s behaviour they are welcome to make an appointment to discuss their concerns.

In cases of an identified pattern of misbehaviour parents will be invited to participate in the intervention process.

 

Promoting Positive Behaviour

 

As a general rule the school will endeavor to create an environment where positive Behaviour is reinforced through praise and reward. School staff will use encouraging language and gestures, both in class and around the school, so that positive Behaviour is instantly recognised and positively rewarded. Special attention will be paid to pupils who have previously been associated with poor Behaviour so that not only good Behaviour but also improvement in Behaviour is acknowledged.

 

A reward scheme for promoting positive Behaviour will be used. Such rewards will include;

  • Occasionally comment on good behaviour in homework journal/notebook where appropriate.
  • At infant level rewards are given at group and individual level e.g. stamps, stars, Friday treat.
  • At 1st and 2nd class level group awards and student of the week/Pupil of the Month.
  • At 3rd and 4th class level student of the week awards are given/Pupil of the Month.
  • At 5th and 6th special jobs and privileges are given.
  • Good attendance awards are given as medals at the end of the school year.

 

Inappropriate Behaviour

 

In order to establish a common understanding and consistent response the Code of Behaviour classifies misbehaviour into three levels based on the degree of disruption caused by the misconduct. The Code also specifies the disciplinary actions and supportive interventions that will be employed.

 

Level One

 

Level 1: Behaviours

 

Level 1 behaviours are those that interfere with the orderly learning environment of the school, classroom, and common areas. Children will be taught what is expected and how they should behave.  Listed below are some examples of the types of Behaviour that are included in Level 1.  Please note the list is not exhaustive.

 

  • Failure to prepare for class.
  • Running in the hallways
  • Disturbing the work or play of others including talking in class
  • Disrespectful language, tone, or manner in class or yard.
  • Not wearing appropriate uniform.
  • Wearing inappropriate jewellery or footwear.
  • Not remaining seated when required to do so but in particular during break times on wet days.

 

Level 1: Disciplinary Actions

 

Consequences for Level 1 behaviour are dependent upon the severity and frequency of the specific behaviour.  Teachers will apply sanctions at level 1.

  • Discussion aligned with a warning
  • Verbal reprimand/reminder(s)
  • Encouragement of positive behaviour
  • Temporary separation from peers, friends or others
  • Prescribing additional work
  • Loss of privileges
  • Parent contact
  • Behaviour contract

 

Level 1 Supportive Interventions

 

Listed below are some examples of Level 1 supportive actions:

  • Classroom-based interventions, such as Time Circle or class meetings, with the option of informal consultation, (e.g. with parent(s)/guardian(s) or staff members)
  • Discussion of behaviour with the child
  • Informal notes regarding incident/intervention/date.  This information would be useful should a problem persist.
  • Recording of incidents in teacher’s year book.

 

Level Two

 

Level 2: Behaviours

Level 2 behaviours are those that seriously interfere with the orderly environment of the school and are potentially dangerous to the safety and well being of the students and staff.  Listed below are some examples of the types of behaviour that are included in Level 2.  Please note the list is not exhaustive.

 

  • Repeated instances of Level 1 behaviour which have not been modified by intervention
  • Behaviour which is dangerous to self or others (e.g. shoving, pushing, hitting)
  • Intentionally damaging school or personal property
  • Stealing
  • Cheating
  • Use of profanity
  • Derogatory reference to another person’s race, gender, religion, physical condition, disability, or ethnic origin
  • Disrespectful language or behaviour toward a fellow pupil/teacher or member of staff.
  • Any form of bullying behavior.
  • Leaving school without permission.
  • Absentism from school without parental consent.

 

 

Level 2: Disciplinary Actions

The disciplining of students for Level 2 behaviour is dependent upon the severity and frequency of the specific behaviour and developmentally appropriate levels.  The disciplinary actions at Level 2 are administered by the Principal, and include the formal notification of parents, with written documentation.  Some examples of Level 2 responses are:

 

  • Write up according to sanctions for serious misdemeanours in Journal
  • Sent to Principal
  • Meeting with parent(s)/guardian(s)
  • Implementation of extensive Behaviour management plan which should include review of behavior at regular intervals.

 

Level 2: Supportive Interventions

Listed below are some examples of Level 2 supportive actions:

 

  • Team conference to include classroom teacher, parents, other involved staff, Deputy Principal or Principal.
  • Request for assistance from external agencies may be sought e.g. National Educational Psychological Service, Health Service Executive Community Services, the National Behavioural Support Service, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, National Council for Special Education.
  • Referral of a Child displaying behavioural problems for psychological assessment (with the parent(s)/guardian(s) consent).

 

Level Three

 

Level 3: Behaviours

Level 3 behaviours are considered the most serious violations.  These behaviours endanger the immediate health, safety and personal well being of the pupils and staff of the school.  They represent a direct threat to the orderly operation of the school environment and would require immediate suspension. Situations, which include illegal activity, may result in contact with the Garda Síochána after parental involvement.  Repeated incidents of Level 3 behaviour can result in a pupil being expelled.

 

Examples of level 3 behaviours include:

  • Assault on a member of staff.
  • Serious Theft
  • Serious Damage to property
  • Serious bullying
  • Carrying drugs, alcohol, cigarettes

 

 

Procedures for Suspensions & Expulsions

 

Suspension

 

Definition of Suspension:

‘requiring the student to absent himself/herself from the school for a specified, limited period of school days’

 

Developing  A Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools, National Educational Welfare Board

 

 

 

 

Authority to Suspend:

 

The Board of Management of St. Johns’s N.S. has the authority to impose an ‘Immediate Suspension’. An ‘Immediate Suspension’ may be for a period of one to three school days depending on the severity of the specific Behaviour, in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the Chairperson of the Board the suspension may be for a longer period but in any event will not exceed 5 school days.

 

Furthermore, the Board of Management has authority to impose an ‘Automatic Suspension’ for named behaviours detailed in this policy. An Automatic Suspension may be for a period of one to three school days depending on the severity of the specific behaviour, in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the Chairperson of the Board the suspension may be for a longer period but in any event will not exceed 5 school days.

 

The Board retains its authority to suspend a student in all other cases/circumstances.

 

 

Immediate Suspension and Automatic Suspension

 

An ‘Immediate Suspension’ will be deemed to be necessary where after a preliminary investigation the B.O.M. reaches the determination that the continued presence of the pupil in the school at the time

would represent a serious threat to the safety and wellbeing of pupils or staff of the school. An ‘Immediate Suspension’ may be for a period of one to three school days depending on the severity of the specific Behaviour, in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the Chairperson of the Board the suspension may be for a longer period but in any event will not exceed 5 school days.

An ‘Automatic Suspension’ is a suspension imposed for named behaviours. The Board of Management of St. John’s N.S., having given due consideration to its duty of care as prescribed by Health & Safety Legislation, has determined that the following named behaviours will incur ‘Automatic Suspension’ as a sanction;

 

  • Physical assault/violence resulting in bodily harm to a pupil or member of staff

or

  • Physical violence resulting in serious damage to school property

An Automatic Suspension may be for a period of one to three school days depending on the severity of the specific Behaviour, in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the Chairperson of the Board the suspension may be for a longer period but in any event will not exceed 5 school days.

 

Parent(s)/Guardian(s) will be informed of an Immediate or Automatic Suspension by telephone, and arrangements will be made with them for the pupil to be collected. In no circumstance will a student be sent home from school prior to his/her parent(s)/guardian(s) being notified. Formal written notification of the suspension will issue in due course, but no later than 2 school days after the imposition of the suspension. Such a notification will detail:

 

  • the duration of the suspension and the dates on which the suspension will begin and end
  • the reasons for the suspension
  • any study programme to be followed
  • the arrangements for returning to school, including any commitments to be entered into by the pupil and the parent(s)/guardian(s).

 

The Board of Management acknowledges that the decision to impose either an Immediate or Automatic Suspension does not remove the duty to follow due process and fair procedures. In this regard, and following a formal investigation, to be completed no later than 2 school days after the incident the Board will invite the pupil and his/her parent(s)/guardian(s) to a meeting to discuss;

  • the circumstances surrounding the suspension,
  • interventions to prevent a reoccurrence of such misconduct.

 

The Board of Management of St. John’s  N.S. acknowledges the fundamental importance of impartiality in the investigation process. In this regard the following undertaking is given;

  • No person with a vested interest or personal involvement in the matter will be involved in the organisation or implementation of the investigation procedure.

 

Procedures in Respect of Other Suspensions:

In cases other than those of Immediate or Automatic Suspension the following procedures will apply;

 

Where a preliminary assessment of the fact confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant suspension, the Board of Management of St. John’s will initiate a formal investigation of the matter.

 

The following procedures will be observed

 

A written letter containing the following information will issue to Parent(s)/guardian(s);

  1. details of the alleged misbehaviour, details of the impending investigation process, and notification that the allegation could result in suspension.
  2. An invitation to a meeting, to be scheduled no later than 5 school days from the date of the letter, where parent(s)/guardian(s) are provided with an opportunity to respond before a decision is made or a sanction imposed.

 

The Board of Management of St. John’s acknowledges the fundamental importance of impartiality in the investigation and decision-making process. In this regard the following undertakings are given;

  1. No person with a vested interest or personal involvement in the matter will be involved in the organisation or implementation of the investigation procedure, nor will such a person be involved in the decision-making process.
  2. The person(s) involved in the investigation process will on presentation of a full report of the facts absent himself/herself/themselves from the decision-making process.

 

Where a decision to suspend has been made the Chairperson of the Board of Management will provide written notification to the parent(s)/guardian(s) and the pupil of the decision. The letter will confirm:

  • the duration of the suspension and the dates on which the suspension will begin and end
  • the reasons for the suspension
  • any study programme to be followed
  • the arrangements for returning to school, including any commitments to be entered into by the pupil and the parent(s)/guardian(s)
  • the provision for an appeal to the Board of Management.

Where a suspension brings the total number of days for which the pupil has been suspended in the current school year to twenty days the parent(s)/guardian(s) will be informed of their right to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science under Section 29 or the Education Act 1998 and will be provide with information on the submission of such an appeal.

 

Expulsion

 

Definition of Expulsion:

 

‘A student is expelled from a school when a Board of Management makes a decision to permanently exclude him or her from the school, having complied with the provisions of section 24 of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000.’

 

Developing A Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools, National Educational Welfare Board

 

Authority to Suspend:

 

The authority to expel a pupil is reserved by the Board of Management.

 

Procedures in Respect of Expulsion:

 

Where a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant expulsion the following procedures will apply:

a) A detailed investigation will be carried out under the direction of the Principal (or a Nominee of the Board if required)

As part of the investigation a written letter containing the following information will issue to parent(s)/guardian(s);

 

  1. details of the alleged misbehaviour, details of the impending investigation process, and notification that the allegation could result in expulsion.
  2. An invitation to a meeting, to be scheduled no later than 5 school days from the date of the letter, where parent(s)/guardian(s) are provided with an opportunity to respond

b) The Principal (or B.O.M. Nominee) will make a recommendation to the Board of Management

 

Where the Principal (or nominee) forms a view, based on the investigation of the alleged misbehaviour, that expulsion may be warranted, the Principal (or nominee) makes a recommendation to the Board of Management to consider expulsion.

 

In this event the Principal (or nominee) will:

  1. ensure that parent(s)/guardians have records of: the allegations against the student; the investigation; and written notice of the grounds on which the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion
  2. inform the parent(s)/guardian(s) that the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion
  3. provide the Board of Management with the same comprehensive records as are given to parent(s)/guardian(s)

c) Consideration by the Board of Management of the Principal’s (or BOM’s Nominee) Recommendations & the Holding of a Hearing

 

If, having considered the Principal’s report, the Board of Management decides to consider expelling a student a hearing will be scheduled.

 

The parent(s)/guardian(s) will be notified in writing

  1. of their right to make a written and oral submission to the Board of Management
  2. as to the date, location and time of the hearing
  3. that they may if they so choose be accompanied at the hearing

The Board of Management undertakes that the timing of such written notification will ensure that parent(s)/guardian(s) have enough notice to allow them to prepare for the hearing.

 

In respect of the expulsion hearing the Board gives an undertaking that;

  1. the principal (or B.O.M. nominee) and parent(s)/guardian(s) will present their case to the Board in each other’s presence
  2. the meeting will be properly conducted in accordance with Board procedures
  3. each party will be given the opportunity to directly question the evidence of the other party
  4. the parent(s)/guardian(s) may make a case for a lesser sanction if they so choose

 

d) Board of Management Deliberations & Actions following the Hearing

 

Where the Board of Management, having considered all the facts of the case, is of the opinion that the pupil should be expelled the Board

  1. Will not expel the student before the passage of 20 school days from the date on which the Educational Welfare Officer receives this written notification
  2. Will notify the Educational Welfare Officer in writing by registered post of its opinion, and the reasons for this opinion.
  3. Will in writing notify the parent(s)/guardian(s) of their decision and inform them that the Educational Welfare Officer is being contacted
  4. Will be represented at the consultation to be organized by the Educational Welfare Officer
  5. Will suspend the student, if it is deemed likely that the continued presence of the student during this time will seriously disrupt the learning of others, or represent a threat to the safety of other pupils or staff.

e) Confirmation of the Decision to Expel

 

Where the twenty-day period following notification to the Educational Welfare Officer has elapsed, and where the Board of Management remains of the view that the student should be expelled, the Board of Management will formally confirm the decision to expel.

 

Parent(s)/guardian(s) will be notified in writing that the expulsion will now proceed. They will also be informed of their right to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science under Section 29 or the Education Act 1998 and will be provide with information on the submission of such an appeal.

 

 

The Board of Management of St. John’s N.S. acknowledges the fundamental importance of impartiality in the investigation and decision-making process. In this regard the following undertakings are given;

  1. No person with a vested interest or personal involvement in the matter will be involved in the organisation or implementation of the investigation procedure, nor will such a person be involved in the decision-making process.
  2. The person(s) involved in the investigation process will on presentation of a full report of the facts absent himself/herself/themselves from the decision-making process.