ST. PETER’S NS CODE OF BEHAVIOUR
St. Peter’s N.S. is dedicated to providing a safe and nurturing educational environment that will enhance the development of the whole child. This will foster a life long process of learning and development resulting in a happy responsible citizen.
The staff of this school want to create a climate of physical, emotional, social and intellectual safety for the pupils, teachers and parents so that teaching and learning can occur within relationships of mutual valuing and respect.
High standards of behaviour are encouraged by a clear Code of Behaviour, backed by a balanced combination of rewards and sanctions, which are enforced fairly within a positive school atmosphere.
The long-term aim is to help pupils, as they grow older, to move away from an externally imposed discipline to becoming self-disciplined and mature.
The aims of the Code of Behaviour are:
- To facilitate the development and education of all the children.
- To promote good behaviour and self-discipline among the children.
- To promote the safety and happiness of all children and staff in the school.
- To promote equality and fairness among all.
- To promote diversity, equity and inclusion.
- To enhance the learning environment of the school by promoting a sense of mutual respect among all members of the school community.
- To increase the cooperation between home and school.
- To allow for the smooth and harmonious running of the school.
- To ensure consistency in the application of rules and sanctions.
- To outline the structure of fair and agreed sanctions that will be available to teachers in response to negative behaviour.
Every school is required under the Education Welfare Act (2000) to prepare a Code of Behaviour in respect of the students registered in the school. The Act provides that the Code shall specify;
- the standards of behaviour that shall be observed by each student attending the school
- the measures that shall be taken when a student fails or refuses to observe those standards
- the procedures to be followed before a student may be suspended or expelled from the school concerned
- the grounds for removing a suspension imposed in relation to the student and
- the procedures to be followed in relation to a child’s absence from school.
General Behaviour Guidelines
Behaviour at School:
The management of classroom behaviour is primarily a matter for the Class Teacher who will draw up rules in collaboration with the children for her/his class appropriate to the age levels of the children. However, the following apply across the school:
- Pupils will be on time for school in the morning. Pupils will also be collected on time after school and after school activities.
- Pupils will walk into line quickly and quietly when directed to.
- Pupils will be of good behaviour in the corridor and in classrooms at all times.
- Pupils will show respect, courtesy, consideration and tolerance to teachers, ancillary staff, visitors and fellow pupils at all times. Furthermore, a similar standard of behaviour is expected when on school tours and other outings.
- Children will express their emotions in an appropriate manner
- Pupils will not interfere with or damage school property, teachers’ property or other pupils’ property. Damage to same will be paid for by the parent(s)/guardian(s).
- Persistent disruptive behaviour, talking and answering out of turn, noises or sniggering at other children is not acceptable behaviour.
- Pupils will not leave the school or playground without permission from the teacher in charge.
- Pupils who need to leave school during school hours will be collected by a parent/guardian or the person designated by a parent/guardian.
- All pupils have to be in the playground during break times where supervision is provided.
- Parents will record all absences on Aladdin Connect.
- Pupils are expected to take their litter/waste home.
- Pupils will do all homework, oral and written, every night. Homework will be neatly presented.
- Pupils will refrain from bullying, fighting and using bad language.
- Aggressive or violent behaviour is regarded as a very serious matter.
- Items considered dangerous/distracting should not be brought to school.
- All instructions from teachers are to be followed.
- Pupils are expected to complete to the best of their ability the assigned work.
- Classrooms should be kept tidy and everything should be put in its proper place.
Children with Special Educational Needs
All children are required to comply with the Code of Behaviour. However, the school recognises that children with special educational needs may require assistance in understanding certain rules. Specialised behaviour plans will be put in place in consultation with parents and the class teacher, special education teacher and/or principal as appropriate. Cognitive development will be taken into account at all times. Professional advice from psychological assessments will be taken into account. The children in the class or school may be taught strategies to assist a pupil with special educational needs to adhere to the rules and thus provide peer support. This will be done in a supportive and safe way, acknowledging and respecting the difference in all individuals.
Positive Reinforcement of Good Behaviour
Encouragement is vital to success and achievement in pupils’ lives. The school aims to promote and encourage good behaviour, effort and the development of a healthy lifestyle, and to marginalise bad behaviour.
Good behaviour is learned through positive reinforcement and therefore it is essential that good behaviour is affirmed. This may be done in the following ways;
- Rewards, within class, will be at the discretion of individual teachers.
- Teachers may cooperate in organising “Golden Time”, raffle tickets etc.
- Children may be involved in deciding what the reward system should be
Strategies promoting positive behaviour
Strategies are chosen from among the following:
- A quiet word or gesture to show approval
- Regular reminders of behaviour expectations
- A comment to parent/guardian (e.g. in a pupil’s copy/Aladdin/email)
- A visit to another member of staff or the principal for commendation
- A word of praise in front of a group or class
- Delegation of some special privilege or responsibility
- A mention to parent either written or verbal
- Reward systems
Dealing with Challenging Behaviour
Where a pupil is displaying challenging behaviour, it is expected that parents will positively support the school to assist the pupil in understanding the standard of behaviour required and to support the strategies selected by the school for bringing about a better uNS nderstanding of these expectations as well as a willingness to adhere to them.
Sanctions, within class, will be at the discretion of the individual teacher who may consult with pupils and will be consistent with the ethos, policies and practices of the school.
Distinctions will be made between minor and serious misbehaviour. It is important that children know in advance what the sanctions are and that it is behaviour (actions), not children, that are criticised. As far as possible, sanctions will be related to the misbehaviour and they will be swift and reasonable. Where disciplinary problems arise, parents will be involved at an early stage rather than a last resort.
The following sanctions may be used:
- The pupil is made aware that his or her behaviour is unacceptable and advised on how to improve.
- Children may receive a verbal warning from the teacher.
- Loss of minor privileges may occur (e.g. removal of responsibility for undertaking a job).
- Time out time
- Work may have to be completed.
- Poorly presented work may have to be redone.
- Prescribing extra work
- A pupil may be referred to the Principal.
- Communication may be made with a parent/guardian (e.g. phonecall home).
- If a pupil’s behaviour is a source of danger /disruption to himself/herself or others, he /she may be removed from activities e.g. P.E.
- Recompense may be sought from parents / guardians for damage, loss or theft of property.
- Parent/Guardian may be asked to meet with the class teacher and/or principal.
- Parent/Guardian and/or pupil may be asked to sign a Contract of Behaviour.
Where appropriate, the school will seek the assistance of support agencies (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).
Suspensions or expulsions may occur in accordance with the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) Guidelines for schools 2008.
Strategies for dealing with ongoing or single serious incidents
When the strategies for dealing with unacceptable behaviour have been exhausted, after a single serious incident or at any time at the Principal’s sole discretion, the following process will be adhered to:
- Formal/Informal report to Board of Management
- Suspension (temporary)
The Board of Management has the authority to suspend a student. This authority may be formally delegated to the Principal, in writing.
- The decision to suspend a student requires serious grounds such as:
- The student’s behaviour has had a serious detrimental effect on the education of other students.
- The student’s continued presence in the school at this time constitutes a threat to the safety of the student or any third party.
- The student displayed a consistent lack of willingness to adhere to this Code of Behaviour
- The student is responsible for serious damage to property.
A single incident of serious misconduct may be grounds for suspension. In such cases, the Chairperson or Principal has the authority of the Board to sanction an immediate suspension, pending discussion of the matter with the parent(s)/guardian(s). A suspension may be revoked following the agreed appeals procedure.
Under the Welfare Act Education (2000) “a student shall not be expelled from a school before the passing of 20 school days following the receipt of a notification under this Section by an education welfare authority”. It is the right of the Board of Management to take “such other reasonable measures as it considers appropriate to ensure that good order and discipline are maintained in the school concerned and that the safety of the students is secured”.
The Board of Management has the authority to expel a student
The decision to expel is only taken in extreme cases of unacceptable behaviour and where the Board, following a series of interventions including adhering to fair procedures for investigation and decision making, believe they have exhausted all possibilities of changing the student’s behaviour.
In accordance with circular 22/02, parents are entitled to appeal some decisions of the Board of Management. Parents will be informed about the appeals procedure when a suspension or expulsion is to be invoked.
Records of Behaviour
- In the end of the school year report card, reference will be made to behaviour of children. A list of children on differentiated behaviour plans is compiled and regularly reviewed.
- Each teacher maintains records on pupils. These records may be viewed by parents, upon request.
- Specific strategies for children presenting with behavioural difficulties may be included in pupil support plans.
- Report cards and relevant information is handed on to subsequent teachers.
Incidents of misbehaviour in the yard are communicated to the relevant teachers.
Formal records will be kept of incidents that result in suspension and/or expulsion.
These records will detail:
- How and by whom the incidents were investigated including notes of all interviews held.
- The decision making process
- The decision and the rationale for the decision
- The duration of the suspension and any conditions attached to the suspension
The Principal will report all suspensions to the Board of Management and the NEWB.
The Code of Behaviour requires the support and cooperation of parents/guardians and its success depends on teachers and parents/guardians working together. The school will keep parents/guardians informed of problems before they escalate. Also, it is important that parents notify the class teacher/principal if they become aware of a problem. The staff of our school always welcomes the opportunity to discuss, with parents/guardians, behavioural concerns that may arise from time to time. With mutual respect, trust and goodwill these occasional issues are readily solved.
Email, Aladdin and the Homework Journal are important means of two-way communication between parents/guardians and teachers. It is essential that parents/guardians regularly discuss the Code of Behaviour and school rules with children.
This policy, together with our school’s Anti-bullying Policy are available for the entire school community on the school website. It shall be a condition of registration of a pupil in St. Peter’s N.S. that parents/guardians seeking to have their child enrolled in the school can confirm in writing that the Code of Behaviour is acceptable to them and that they shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure compliance with such code by the child.
Parents/Guardians can help children develop positive behaviour by:
- teaching the children about our values (i.e. respect, kindness and belonging)
- teaching and modelling good manners.
- encouraging children to develop an awareness of the importance of shared responsibility and self-responsibility
- teaching children right from wrong
- encouraging children to be polite
- encouraging a sense of cooperation
- encouraging children to speak respectfully
- helping children to feel positive about themselves
Developing positive behaviour is a shared responsibility. Parents and teachers should support each other in this regard.
Our school is obliged to report to NEWB when one or more of the following criteria apply:
- a student has reached 20 days absence cumulatively
- the Principal is concerned about a student’s attendance
- a student has been suspended for six days or more cumulatively
- the Board of Management decides to expel a student
- a student’s name is to be removed from the school register for whatever reason
This Policy should be read in conjunction with the following policies of the school
- SPHE Plan
- Acceptable Use Policy
- Admissions Policy
- Child Safeguarding Statement
- Special Education Policy
We are grateful to the Parents’ Association, children, staff and Board of Management in our school community for their help in drafting this Code of Behaviour.
It is the policy of our school to review our Code of Behaviour on a regular basis to ensure that it is relevant and in compliance with legislative requirements.
Reviewed and ratified by the Board of Management on the 22nd March 2022.