Code of Behaviour

Code of Behaviour at Garrydoolis National School.

Introductory Statement

The teaching staff of Garrydoolis National School decided in the school year 2013/14 to review our existing Code of Behaviour. Staff met and discussed the existing Code of Behaviour and highlighted areas for review/discussion. The content of the policy was discussed and the staff thus formulated the reviewed Code of Behaviour. Following consultation with parent representatives, the Code of Behaviour was presented to the Board of Management for discussion and ratification on ____ 2013.

Rationale

The Code of Behaviour in our school was selected for review/amendment during the school year 2013/14.

The formulation of a Code of Behaviour is a requirement under the Education Welfare Act 2000 (Section 23) which refers to ‘the obligation on schools to prepare a code of behaviour in respect of the students registered at the school”, specifying:

  1.  The standards of behaviour that shall be observed by each student attending the school.
  2. The measures that shall be taken when a student fails or refuses to observe those standards.
  3. The procedures to be followed before a student may be suspended or expelled from the school.
  4. The procedures to be followed in relation to a child’s absence from school

Our Code of Behaviour and Discipline ensures an orderly climate for teaching and learning in our school.

Relationship to Spirit of the School

Garrydoolis National School is a co-educational, Catholic, primary school, which strives to provide a well-ordered, caring, happy and secure atmosphere where the intellectual, spiritual, physical, moral and cultural needs of the pupils are identified and nurtured. We endeavour to enhance the self-esteem of everyone in the school community, to imbue in the pupils respect for people and property and to encourage them to be thoughtful, responsible and caring.

The Code of Behaviour intends to achieve this aim, and all partners in the school are required to subscribe to it.

A positive attitude permeates the code, which is based on respect, courtesy and self-discipline. The school rules are put in place to create an atmosphere of harmony and security for the children.

Parents are recognized as the primary educators of their children. Teachers are recognized as professionals in education, and work in partnership with parents. Garrydoolis National School strives to foster a positive relationship between home and school.

Aims

Through this policy Garrydoolis National School hopes:

  • To ensure an educational environment that is guided by our vision statement
  • 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 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

Content

The Code of Behaviour endorses a whole school approach to promoting positive behaviour. The Code of Behaviour in Garrydoolis National School recognises the right of each pupil to an education in as secure an environment as possible. All members of staff will approach the code in a positive way and will use motivation and encouragement to help our pupils. A high standard of behaviour comes from a high level of co-operation among staff and parents. Such co-operation can be witnessed through teacher and parents discussing issues as they arise, distribution of the Code of Behaviour at enrolment, reinforcement of our positive behaviour message regularly in the school newsletter and through formal Parent/Teacher meetings.

The overall responsibility for discipline lies with the Principal. Each teacher is responsible for his/her own class and is required to foster good behaviour within the school.

Our aim is to create a happy, secure environment for all our pupils, within which there is a sense of good order and effective teaching and learning.

These sentiments are contained in the Golden Rules for our school listed as follows:

  1. I will be gentle – I will not hurt anyone
  2. I will be kind and helpful – I will not hurt people’s feelings
  3. I will be honest – I will not hide the truth
  4. I will listen – I will not interrupt
  5. I will look after property – I will not waste or damage things
  6. I will work hard – I will not waste time

Classroom Rules are designed to ensure a positive teaching and learning environment for each pupil. General classroom rules for Garrydoolis National School are as follows:

  1. Sit in your seat
  2. Put up your hand
  3. Be kind to your classmates
  4. Always try your best
  5. Look after your belongings and those of others

The emphasis in Garrydoolis National School is on the positive. 

Our Code of Behaviour aims to achieve the efficient operation of our school and create a stimulating environment for the children in our care.

Procedures are in place to ensure that good habits/practice are developed and encouraged:

Assembly and Dismissal

School hours are 9.20am to 3.00pm. Children should arrive on time for school and be should be collected punctually after school. Children are encouraged to become independent and are expected to make their own way to their classrooms each morning. Junior Infant pupils may be escorted to their rooms by parents/guardians but should also be encouraged to develop independence in coming to their classrooms by themselves.

Regular late arrivals for school or requests for early departure form bad habits for your child and these disruptions are unfair to the children and class teachers. Parents are requested to ensure that the children arrive on time for school and should only request early departures in the most exceptional circumstances.

Home time

Children must remain with their teacher at dismissal time when their class is brought to the front yard until their parent/guardian/minder collects them. Children may never leave the front yard area without adult supervision. Parents are requested to come to the school gate at collection time as children cannot be allowed onto the road unaccompanied.

Absences/Illness/Medical Appointments

Regular attendance at school is essential for the child. Absences should be explained by note when the child returns to school. Any cases of infectious illness should be notified to the school without delay. Absences in excess of 20 school days will be reported to the N.E.W.B (National Education Welfare Board)

Uniforms

Garrydoolis National School has a designated school uniform;

  • Boys- Grey trousers, white shirt , wine jumper and wine tie
  • Girls- Grey skirt/ pinafore/ trousers, white shirt , wine jumper, wine tie and grey socks

Pupils are expected to wear the full school uniform to school each day, with school tracksuit worn on PE/Sports Days.

Link to SPHE Curriculum

The school’s SPHE curriculum is used to support the code of behaviour. It aims to help our 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.

Positive Reinforcement

We believe that the best way to encourage good pupil behaviour is through a system of positive recognition and encouragement. Teachers have reward systems for:

  1. Good Behaviour
  2. Improvement in Behaviour
  3. Hard work

Rewards include:

  1. Praise for behaving well/working hard
  2. Notes to parents acknowledging good behaviour
  3. Prizes & Stickers
  4. Certificates

Garrydoolis National School expects particular standards of behaviour that shall be observed by each student attending the school:

  • Each pupil is expected to be well behaved and to show consideration for other children and adults
  • Each pupil is expected to show respect for the property of the school, other children’s and their own belongings
  • Each pupil is expected to attend school on a regular basis and to be punctual
  • Each pupil is expected to do his/her best both in school and for homework.

Procedures for dealing with unacceptable behaviour:

The degree of misdemeanours i.e. minor, serious or gross, will be judged by the teachers and/or Principal based on a common sense approach with regard to the gravity/frequency of misdemeanours as follows:

Minor Misdemeanours

 Examples of minor misdemeanours may include:

  • Interrupting class work
  • Littering
  • Being discourteous/unmannerly
  • Refusing to stay with class group in line

Minor Misdemeanours may be dealt with in the following manner:

  • Reasoning with pupil
  • Reprimanding pupil – including advice on how to improve
  • Loss of privileges e.g. Timeout

Serious Misdemeanours

Examples of serious misdemeanours may include:

  • Any minor misdemeanour which is persistent & repeated
  • Constantly disruptive in class
  • Telling lies
  • Stealing
  • Damaging other pupil’s/school property
  • Speaking inappropriately or in a challenging manner to teachers, SNAs or other school personnel
  • Oppositional Behaviour e.g. refusing to complete work/participate in class
  • Deliberately injuring a fellow pupil e.g. hitting, spitting, kicking, choking, biting (isolated incidents)
  • Name-calling
  • Using foul/inappropriate language
  • Misbehaviour in school toilets

Serious Misdemeanours may be dealt with in the following manner:

  • Verbal reprimand
  • Circle Time/Whole Class discussion
  • Loss of privileges e.g. Timeout
  • Referral to Principal if deemed necessary
  • Apology from pupil – this may be in oral, pictorial or written form
  • Note/meeting with parents. In accordance with Circular 20/90 parents are kept fully informed. Fair procedure is followed and parents are encouraged to work on strategies agreed.

Gross Misdemeanours

  • Persistent aggressive/violent/threatening behaviour towards teacher/pupil
  • Any serious misdemeanour which is persistent

Gross Misdemeanours may be dealt with in the following manner:

  • Referral to Principal
  • Meeting with parents
  • Suspension / Expulsion  – in consultation with SENO and/or EWO

It should be noted that these lists consist of examples only and are non-exhaustive.

The above examples are not meant to be a totally comprehensive list of misdemeanours and procedural steps.

Suspension

If there is a case of gross misdemeanour the Chairperson of the Board of Management will be informed. Parents will be asked to come to the school to meet with the principal and class teacher.

Fair procedures are followed.

In the case of gross misdemeanour the Board of Management may authorise the Chairperson or Principal to exclude a pupil from the school for a period of three days. A special decision of the board is necessary to extend this period up to a maximum of ten days. In the case of suspension for a cumulative total of six or more days NEWB are notified using form on their website. In exceptional circumstances the Board of Management may authorise a further period to allow for further consultation with parents/guardians.

It should be noted that teachers, the Principal and the Board of Management do not wish to have to suspend any pupils and will only do so when every other possible avenue of action has been exhausted.

Appeals

As per Section 29 of the Education Act, parents will be informed of their entitlement to appeal a decision by the Board of Management in relation to suspension / expulsion.

Bullying

Garrydoolis National School is a ‘bully-free’ zone. (See AntiBullying Policy formaulated in line with Circular 0045/2013)

Pupils with emotional/behavioural difficulties

Every effort will be made to assist a child who presents with emotional/behavioural difficulties. Such pupils will be referred by the class teacher to the Special Education teacher and/or Principal. In some cases it may be deemed necessary to refer the child to NEPs.

Parents may be advised to seek professional help and/or child guidance services.

The school will do its utmost to help any pupil who has a problem of any kind. To enable us to do this it is most important that parents inform the school of any social, emotional, behavioural, intellectual  problem which may exist. All such information will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.

Parents

The school Communications Policy outlines parent/teacher contact in Garrydoolis National School.

Keeping Records

We refer to the school’s Record Keeping Policy.

  • Teachers will keep a written record of incidents of repeated serious misdemeanours and gross misdemeanours – including date, time, location, description of misdemeanour and action taken. Using his/her judgement he/she may report these incidents to the principal.
  • Formal records regarding serious misdemeanours should be kept by the class teacher in advance of meeting with parents.
  • If the incidents are not repeated the record may be disposed of by the class teacher at the end of the school year.
  • In the case of a child who shows little/no improvement in behaviour and shows a record of frequent serious misdemeanours, such records are sent to the Principal for storage at the end of the school year. These records will be kept by the Principal until the child’s age of majority.
  • These records may also outline improvements in the behaviour of troublesome pupils.
  • Pupils’ behaviour may be reported in the end-of-year school report to parents.
  • Incidents of misbehaviour in the school yard during recreation time are dealt with by the supervising personnel and are verbally reported to the class teacher who may record them if deemed necessary.

Success Criteria

The success of this policy is dependent upon practices and procedures listed being consistently implemented by teachers.

This policy will ensure positive behaviour permeates through the school; in classrooms, yard and the whole school environment.

Roles and Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of all teachers to ensure the implementation of this policy. The overall responsibility for discipline lies with the Principal. Each teacher is responsible for his/her own class and is required to foster good behaviour within the school.

Parents are required to familiarise themselves with the code of behaviour and discipline and to ensure that their children adhere to it.

The Principal and assistant teacher are responsible for the review and update of the policy.

Implementation Date

This policy is currently being implemented (September 2013).

Timetable for Review

The policy will be reviewed /amended as deemed necessary by the relevant personnel.

The Code of Behaviour will be reviewed again after a three year period, in September 2016.

Ratification & Communication

The Code of Behaviour was ratified by the Board of Management on .

Signed: Chairperson of Board of Management

Appendix of Organisations

NEWB – National Education Welfare Board.

SENO – Special Educational Needs Officer

EWO – Education Welfare Officer

Reference Section

  • Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 Section 23(1 -5), 24 (1-5)
  • Education Act, 1998 Section 15 (2(d))
  • Circular 45/2013 Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools
  • Circular 20/09 on Discipline (DES web site www.irlgov.ie/educ). Also in CPSMA Handbook
  • Circular 22/02 Appeals Procedures under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998. (DES website).  Deals with appeals under the following headings:
    1. Permanent exclusion from a school
    2. Suspension
    3. Refusal to enrol
  • Guidelines for Developing School Codes of Behaviour (National Education Welfare Board) Draft edition published for consultation in 2007
  • Department of Education and Science Guidelines on Countering Bullying Behaviour in Primary and Post Primary Schools (1993) available on DES website
  • Report to the Minister of Education Niamh Breathnach, T.D. on Discipline in Schools. Maeve Martin, 1997. Ch. 4 p.56-61 Recommendations for Schools
  • Stay Safe and Walk Tall Programmes
  • Management Board Members’ Handbook. Revised 2007. CPSMA: A suggested Code of Behaviour & Discipline for National Schools
  • INTO (2004) Managing Challenging Behaviour: Guidelines for Teachers
  • INTO (2006) Towards Positive Behaviour in Primary Schools
  • INTO (1995) Enhancing Self Esteem
  • The Education Act 1998. The Education Welfare Act 2000. Questions and Answers, INTO
  • The Principal’s Legal Handbook Oliver Mahon B.L. IVEA 2002 Ch. 2 School Discipline
  • Responding to Bullying. First Steps for Teachers. The Cool School Programme. NE Health Board

Our Motto: Working Together / Ag obair le chéile