CODE OF BEHAVIOUR & DISCIPLINE POLICY

Introduction
The Code of Behaviour is the set of programmes, practices and procedures that together form the schools plan for helping students in the school to behave well and learn well.
Good behaviour is based on good relations between parents/guardians, child and school.

In St. Patrick’s NS (Scoil Phádraig), we hope to foster this ideal in co-operation with our parents/guardians. We have adopted a positive code of behaviour with emphasis on encouragement and reward so that good behaviour can prevail in our school.

Aims:
• To create a positive learning environment that encourages and reinforces good behaviour
• To promote self-esteem and positive relationships
• To encourage a fair and consistent response to both positive and negative behaviour
• To promote positive behaviour and self-discipline recognising the differences between children and the need to accommodate these differences.
• To create an atmosphere of respect, tolerance and consideration for others and their environment
• To enable children to reach their educational potential without behavioural disruptions from other children in their class
• To ensure that the school’s expectations and strategies are widely known and understood through the parent’s enrolment pack, availability of policies and an ethos of open communication
• To encourage the involvement of both home and school in the implementation of this policy
• To promote a strong sense of community and co-operation among staff, pupils, parents and Board of Management.

Principles:
1. The school places greater emphasis on rewards than on sanctions in the belief that this will, in the long run, give the best results.

2. The school recognises the variety of differences that exist between children and the need to accommodate these differences.

3. It is agreed that a high standard of behaviour requires a strong sense of community within the school and a high level of co-operation among staff and between staff, pupils and parents.

4. The rules are being kept to a minimum and are positively stated in terms of what pupils should do.

5. The code of behaviour is based on a commitment to the welfare of every student and staff member, creating a positive and safe working environment for both pupils and staff.

6. The school promotes conditions for learning and teaching, dignity and freedom from threat of violence for both staff and students,

7. The overall responsibilities for discipline within the school rest with the principal. Each teacher has responsibility for good classroom management within his/her classroom while sharing a common responsibility for good order within the school premises. A pupil will be referred to the Principal for serious breaches of discipline and for repeated incidents of minor misbehaviour.

General Whole School Rules:

1. The school is open to receive pupils at 9:10a.m. No responsibility is accepted for pupils arriving before that time.
2. The school bell rings at 9:20a.m. Pupils should line up immediately. Junior and Senior Infants finish school at 2.00 pm. 1st to 6th class pupils finish school at 3:00p.m.

3. The School is not responsible for the behaviour of the children on their way to or from school.

4. Parents should inform the school of pupils who are allowed to walk home at 3p.m.

5. Full school uniform must be worn at all times – with the exception of P.E. days.

6. On hearing the school bell all pupils must walk slowly to their class line and remain there quietly until their teacher brings them into their respective classes.

7. A written note is required from parents when a child is absent from school any day or if a child wishes to leave the School during school hours. The school is obliged to inform the Statutory Educational Welfare Services of the Child and Family Agency if a child has missed 20 days or more in the school year.

8. All persons collecting children early are asked to report on arrival to the school secretary’s office and sign out pupils.

9. The children are expected to have their homework completed and signed by a parent/guardian Monday to Thursday.
10. The school follows healthy eating guidelines. A small treat is permitted on Fridays. All food is to be eaten in their classrooms before going out. The eating of chewing gum and food containing nuts is prohibited altogether.

11. Mobile phones are not permitted in the school.

12. For children’s safety, certain areas of the school are out of bounds:
• The steep banking above the fencing, at the back of the school.
• Climbing the trees, that surround the school.
• Play in the area where the teachers cars are parked
• Climb over any fence, wall or gate surrounding the School Grounds.
• During inclement weather conditions, children are to avoid the grass and steps.
• In times of frost or snow, children and parents are requested to use the salted pathway at the front of the school.

School Golden Rules:
In St. Patrick’s N.S. (Scoil Phádraig) we believe respect is central to creating a harmonious and safe learning environment
• We respect others by keeping our hands and feet to ourselves in all school related environments and activities
• We respect others by using good manners. We speak politely and mannerly at all times
• We respect other people’s property and also the school property

Classroom Rules:
• Pupils will have an input into devising their classroom rules.
• Each teacher is responsible for devising a clear system of acknowledging and rewarding good behaviour.

Playground Rules:
• We play safely and within our designated area
• We keep our hands and feet to ourselves
• We use appropriate language at all times
• We stop when the bell rings and line up quietly
• We inform an adult if we need to leave the yard to use the toilet or in the case of 5th and 6th class pupils, to pick up a ball from the road.
• We bring footballs onto yard only at lunch time.

Rewards & Sanctions
Promoting good behaviour is the main goal of the code. The staff will highlight positive aspects of pupil behaviour and work at every opportunity either individually or on a class basis.
Children have an inherent need for a safe and secure environment. Teachers model positive behaviour, by treating children and adults with respect and building up a positive relationship with pupils.
In general, children react well to routines and boundaries. Establishing and maintaining rules and routines in the classroom has been shown to promote positive behaviour.
Some actions taken to prompt positive behaviour in classrooms:
• Positive everyday interactions between teachers and pupils.
• Involve children in the preparation of classroom rules.
• Careful lesson planning.
• Good class routines.
• Help pupils to recognize and affirm good behaviour.
• Explore with pupils how they should treat each other.
• Pupil work and behaviour is praised in class.
• A favourable comment or note to parent.
• Positive aspects of pupil or class behaviour/work may be highlighted as the Principal visits classroom.
• Award system for good behaviour.

These systems are more likely to motivate students when they are meaningful and the pupil understands what the reward is given for. Care is needed to ensure that rewards do not become the goal of learning, do not result in unhelpful competition, are not repeatedly awarded to the same students and do not seem unattainable to some students and as a result de-motivate them.

Rewards:
At St. Patrick’s N.S. (Scoil Phádraig), we encourage good behaviour by using a variety of reward systems. Rewards can be individual, group and/or for the whole class.
• Praise statements
• Stickers
• Stamps
• Certificates of good work
• Weekly – “Pupil of the Week Award” for each mainstream class
• “Pupil of the Term” certificates at school assemblies
• Homework tokens
• Showing good work to other teachers and/or the Principal
• Positive notes home
• Raffle tickets
• Individual sticker chart
• Golden time

Rewards on yard: the best line up class at the end of the week, will receive 10 minutes additional yard time.

Sanctions:

We hope to put more emphasis on rewards than on sanctions, but unfortunately sanctions are necessary.

Sanctions on yard:
• Teachers will record inappropriate behaviour of pupils in the “Yard Book”. Pupils will be asked to stand in the time out area.
(1 minute for Junior and Senior Infants. 3 minutes for 1st to 6th class).
• Yard incidents will be dealt with by the teacher who is on yard.
• Pupils who appear in the yard book 3 times within a 2 week period, will be sent to the Principal.

Three Categories of Misbehaviour
In St. Patrick’s NS (Scoil Phádraig), behaviours are divided into three categories:
• Minor Misbehaviour
• More Serious Misbehaviour
• Gross Misbehaviour

Examples of minor misdemeanours include:
 Disrupting the work or play or others
 Running in school building
 Talking in class
 Leaving seat without permission
 Littering
 Not obeying lunch-time and classroom rules
 Not completing homework
 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 misdemeanours include;
 Persistently breaking school/classroom rules
 Stealing
 Bullying in all forms
 Leaving school without permission
 Disrespectful language or behaviour towards an adult
 Substance use
 Damaging school or others property
 Aggressive behaviour
 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.

The degree of misdemeanours i.e. minor/more serious/gross will be judged by the teachers and/or Principal based on a common sense approach with regard to the gravity/frequency of such misdemeanours.
Teachers shall keep a written record of all instances of serious misbehaviour as well as a record of improvements in the behaviour of disruptive pupils. Before resorting to serious sanctions e.g. 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.

Strategies & Interventions:

The following strategies and interventions will be used by the school to encourage positive/acceptable behaviour and also to show disapproval of unacceptable behaviour:

1. Rule reminders with the child and discussion of behaviour
2. Teacher will use corrective language
3. Loss of privileges – e.g. Golden time, computer time etc
4. Teacher communication with parents by a note in the homework journal.
5. If continuous misbehaviours occur, the teacher will request a meeting with parents. If the need arises the teacher will put a classroom support plan in place from there on in.
6. With no improvement in continuing minor misdeamours the child will be referred to the Principal.
7. If behaviours issues still continue to occur, further school based assessment and intervention will take place. A pupil may then be offered School Support and a support plan will be put in place. Following a review and if adequate progress is not made consultation/advice with the NEPS psychologist may be needed. Consideration may also be given to referrals to outside agencies with parental involvement and consent.
8. The Principal will communicate with parents.
9. The Chairperson of the Board of Management will be informed and parents requested to meet with the Chairperson.
10. Suspension
11. Expulsion

Suspension and Expulsion will be in accordance with the NEWB Guidelines

SUSPENSION
Suspension is defined as ‘requiring the student to absent himself/herself from the school for a specified, limited period of school days’ (NEWB guidelines). Exclusion for part of a school day, as a sanction, or asking parents to keep a student from school, as a sanction, counts as suspension.
Suspension will be considered as part of a range of sanctions where a student has engaged in a serious or gross misbehaviour. While suspension should be a proportionate response to the behaviour that is causing concern, a single instance of serious misbehaviour may be grounds for suspension.
The decision to suspend will be based on the following grounds:
• The seriously detrimental effect on the education of the other students of the student’s behaviour to date;
• Whether the student’s continued presence in the school constitutes a threat to safety;
• The student is responsible for serious damage to property.
The purpose of suspension:
The purpose of suspension includes: providing a respite for staff and students, giving the student time to reflect on their actions and the staff time to plan ways of helping the student to change their behaviour. Suspension shall be used as part of an agreed plan to address the student’s behaviour.
The procedures in respect of suspension are those outlined in section 11.5 of the NEWB ‘Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools’. While the BoM has the authority to suspend, they may delegate this authority to the principal for periods of up to three days. If a suspension for a longer period is being proposed, the Principal should refer to the Board of Management for consideration and approval. Reports to the Board and to the relevant authorities should be made in line with NEWB guidelines.
A record of suspension incidents will be kept in the school.
School will endeavour to ensure fair procedure to include the right to be heard and to impartiality.

The process will include the following stages;
• Investigation of the facts to confirm serious/gross misbehaviour.
• Parents will be informed by phone or in writing about the incident
• Parents will be given the opportunity to respond

If suspension is still decided upon:
Principal notifies parent in writing of the decision to suspend. The letter should confirm:

• The period of the suspension and the dates on which the suspension will begin and end
• The reasons for the suspension
• The arrangements for returning to school, including any commitments to be entered into by the student and the parents
• The provision for appeal to the Board of Management
• The right to appeal to the Secretary General of the DES, if the suspension period brings the cumulative period of suspension to 20 days or longer in the school year (section 29, Education Act 1998, amended 2007)

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

Removal of Suspension (Reinstatement)
Following or during a period of suspension, the parent/s may apply to have the pupil reinstated to the school. The parent/s must give a satisfactory undertaking that a suspended pupil will behave in accordance with the school code of behaviour 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.

EXPLUSION (permanent exclusion)
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 teaching process
• 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.

Procedures for expulsion
Where a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious/gross misbehaviour that could warrant expulsion, the procedural steps will include:
1. A detailed investigation carried out under the direction of the Principal.
2. A recommendation to the Board of Management by the Principal.
3. Consideration by the Board of Management of the Principal’s recommendation; and the holding of a hearing.
4. Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing.
5. Consultations arranged by the Educational Welfare Officer.
6. Confirmation of the decision to expel.

Appeals
A parent may appeal a decision to expel to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science (Education Act 1998 section 29). An appeal may also be brought by the National Educational Welfare Board on behalf of the student.
The Appeals process
The appeals process under section 29 of the Education Act 1998 begins with the provision of mediation by a mediator nominated by the Appeals Committee (current DES guidance).
Review of use of Expulsion
The Board of Management will review the use of expulsion in the school at regular intervals to ensure that its use is consistent with school policies, that patterns of use are examined to identify factors that may be influencing behaviour in the school, and to ensure that expulsion is used appropriately.
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 incidents – kept by each classroom teacher manually/ electronically by means of Aladdin administration software.
 Record of yard behaviour – Yard book kept in secretary’s office.
 Record of suspensions – a record of suspension of each child will be kept on file.

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
• Child Protection Policy
• Substance abuse policy
• SPHE, Alive O/Grow in Love, 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 17th November 2016

Timetable for review – The policy will be reviewed on an annual basis.