Code of Behaviour

CODE OF BEHAVIOUR (REVISED 2013-2014) INTRODUCTION . 1. How our code was developed This policy has been drawn up through a consultative process by the Board of Management, the teaching staff and the parents of St. Teresa’s Primary School, Balbriggan. In addressing this policy principally towards the pupils, it should be clearly understood that the spirit of this policy applies to all who work within St. Teresa’s Primary School or who visit the School in their various roles. The code has been reviewed and revised during 2013-2014 to update the code in line with the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) Guidelines on Developing a Code of Behaviour (May 2008). This policy will be revised from time to time. . 2. Rationale Under section 23 of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, the Board of Management of each School must prepare and make available a code of behaviour for its students. The Act requires that the School code of behaviour is prepared in accordance with Guidelines issued by the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB). The Education (Welfare) Act 2000 sets out certain matters that must be included in a code of Behaviour. Section 23(2) of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 says: A code of behaviour shall specify: (a) the standards of behaviour that shall be observed by each student attending the School; (b) the measures that may be taken when a student fails or refuses to observe those standards; (c) the procedures to be followed before a student may be suspended or expelled from the School concerned; (d) the grounds for removing a suspension imposed in relation to a student; and (e) the procedures to be followed relating to notification of a child’s absence from School  


It should be clearly understood that the spirit of this policy applies to all who work in St. Teresa’s P.S. and also extends to those who come into contact with the School such as parents and visitors. The School recognises that children are more likely to behave well when esteem is high, motivation is positive, the School culture is supported and learning is valued. With the support of parents and the community at large, misbehaviour and disruption can be minimised and the educational, moral, physical, emotional and social benefits to the children can be maximised. This is the guiding principle of the School’s Code of Behaviour. We must all work together for the benefit of the children in our care.

3. The School Ethos St. Teresa’s P.S., in keeping with the ethos of a Roman Catholic School (which is established in connection with the Minister) aims at promoting the full and harmonious development of all aspects of the person of the pupil: intellectual, physical, cultural, moral and spiritual, including a living relationship with God and with other people. The School models and promotes a philosophy of life inspired by belief in God and in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Catholic School provides religious education for the pupils in accordance with the doctrines, practices and tradition of the Roman Catholic Church and promotes the formation of the pupils in the Catholic Faith. The school promotes inclusiveness, particularly with reference to children with a disability or other special educational needs. It endeavours to ensure equality of access and participation in the school and fosters respect for diversity of values, beliefs, traditions, languages and ways of life in society.

4. Expectations for pupils, staff and parents In St. Teresa’s Primary School, we aim to: (a) provide a stable, secure and stimulating learning environment in our School which will facilitate the educational, moral, physical, emotional and social development of our pupils; (b) ensure that the individuality of each child is accommodated while acknowledging the right of each child to a quality education within an ordered environment; (c) foster in the children the virtues of self-discipline, consideration, respect, justice and tolerance which are the foundations of Behaviour. In order for the School to function efficiently and effectively, it is necessary that the School routines and requirements referred to above are enforced consistently and wisely within the School and its environment, and that parents and guardians support the Board of Management and the teaching staff as they carry out their professional duties.

5. The Role of the Board of Management The Board of Management has a particular role in promoting positive relationships with all partners in education, i.e. Board of Management, parents, staff, and pupils. The Board of Management supports the Code of Behaviour in the School on an ongoing basis. The Board of Management supports the principal and staff in implementing the code of behaviour. Serious breaches of behaviour in the School will involve the Board of Management in decisions regarding appropriate sanctions to be implemented and thus it is important for members of the Board of Management to be familiar with the code.

6. The Role of the Principal

The principal is expected to promote a positive climate in the School.He is also expected to ensure that the Code of Behaviour is implemented in a fair and consistent manner. The principal will ensure that new members of staff are provided with a copy of the Code on commencing employment in the School. The principal will arrange for review of the Code as required.

7. The Role of Parents The support and cooperation of parents are essential to the effective operation of the Code of Behaviour in St. Teresa’s Primary School. The Code cannot succeed without that support and cooperation of all the parents. In deciding to send their child(ren) to St. Teresa’s Primary School, it is understood that all parents accept this Code of Behaviour and agree to support it. While the School reserves the right to promote this code for the sake of the common good, the right of parents to approach the Principal and/or Board of Management of St. Teresa’s Primary School with regard to any matter concerning this code is also recognised.

8. The Role of Teachers Teachers are expected to model good behaviour at all times and to correct misbehaviour when they are aware of it. Teachers have responsibility for their own class and for the general School population when they are in charge of groups in other areas such as yard duty, School events, tours, after School activities and games etc. Teacher should create a safe working environment for each pupil. They should recognise good work and efforts from children and affirm them where possible. Teachers should recognise and provide for individual talents and abilities among children. They are required to keep a record of instances of serious misbehaviour or repeated instances of misbehaviour.

9. The Role of Pupils With regard to their academic work, pupils are expected to: · behave in class in a way that is conducive to learning and good order as requested or directed by their own teacher · have their own books and required materials · demonstrate effort towards excellence in their work · present written exercises neatly · complete homework tasks to the required standard and offer them at home for signing by a parent or a guardian as requested by their own teacher · respond positively to requests and directions from supervising teachers and visiting staff · co-operate with staff in all additional matters that relate to their educational development With regard to their general behaviour and good order within the School and its environment, pupils are expected to: · co-operate with instructions from staff in all matters that relate to their safety during play, sporting activities and outings · show respect for their fellow pupils in their general interaction · engage in play-activities that do not endanger either themselves or their fellow pupils · refrain from threatening behaviour towards other pupils · line-up in an orderly manner before leaving their classroom at break time, at the end of their breaks and at School closure time. · move in a quiet and orderly manner around the School and its environment under the supervision of the teachers or whilst engaged on a routine errands


10. The Purpose and Content of School Rules All children have the responsibility to show respect to everyone and make appropriate choices and to follow the School rules.

11. General School Rules Show respect for yourself and others. Show respect for property, especially property belonging to others. Use a gentle tone when speaking. Try your best at all times. Show good manners throughout the School. Move calmly and quietly through the School. Take part fully with all classroom activities. Carry out the instructions of staff members when requested to do so.

12. Yard Rules Walk to and from the yard in an orderly manner. Treat others with respect and kindness. If you have a problem talk to a teacher or SNA. Include others in games. Follow the instructions of teachers or other staff at all times. Keep hands and feet to yourself. Use kind words or gestures to everyone else. Walk in the tarmac yard areas. Stay within the boundaries of the yard. Do not bring food to the yard. When the bell rings, walk to the line and stay lined-up.

13. Rewards / Sanctions (a) As a School we recognise that praise is one of the most effective means of positive recognition. Effective use of praise, when merited, highlights good behaviour and teaches pupils that they receive attention through good behaviour choices. Good behaviour must be seen to be rewarded by the Class Teachers and by the Principal. These rewards can take many forms, including: · words of praise · badges · stickers · certificates Other privileges or treats, depending on the age group of the children, may be awarded and/ or withdrawn. They are an integral means of promoting good behaviour.

14. Co-operation in meeting expected standards It is extremely important that all concerned communicate the standards that are expected in the School. This commences when parents are invited to the induction meeting for the parents of incoming Junior Infants before pupils actually enter the School. This continues through discussion at School Assembly, class discussions, through the Social Personal Health Education Programme, the formulation of classroom rules and talks with individuals or groups of children.

15. Where parents or students can get help when problems arise Help is available to parents and pupils through contact and communication with the class teacher in the first instance. The principal and deputy principal are available to help should the need arise. The School has a Home School Community Liaison Coordinator and contact can be made with the coordinator by parents who wish to seek assistance. The School can access the services of the National Psychological Service (N.E.P.S) in cases where behaviour problems are severe and where advice from a psychologist and/or a psychological assessment for a pupil may be warranted. Any assessments carried out are with parental permission.

16. Unacceptable Behaviour When children exhibit behaviour that is unacceptable, the following strategies and sanctions may be employed by teachers as a means of showing disapproval and inviting improvement, although not necessarily in the order indicated: · Reasoning · Reprimand (including exhortation to/advice on how to improve) · Temporary separation from others (e.g., peers, friends) · Loss of privileges · Prescribing extra work · Detention during break for serious on consistent yard misbehaviour · Communication with parent · Referral to the Deputy Principal · Referral to Principal · Invitation to parents to meet Principal· · Suspension - for gross misbehaviour or for repeated instances of serious misbehaviour · Expulsion


17. Procedures Initially instances of misbehaviour will be dealt with by the class teacher. This will include children being advised about their behaviour and about how to improve. Discussion about behaviour and its consequences will form part of SPHE lessons at all class levels. Teachers will actively promote good behaviour and aim to “catch” repeated offenders at activities where they can give positive feedback, thus promoting better behaviour. The aim will be to find the “Good” and not the “Bad”. The degree of i.e. minor, serious or gross misdemeanour, will be judged by the teachers and/or Principal based on a common sense approach with regard to the age and vulnerability of the child and the gravity/frequency of such misdemeanours, as follows:

18. Examples of minor misdemeanours Interrupting class work / Arriving late for School / Running in School building / Leaving seat without permission at lunch time / Placing unfinished food/drink cartons in class bin / Leaving litter around School / Not wearing correct uniform / Being discourteous/unmannerly / Not completing homework without good reason / Not having homework / note signed by a parent when requested / Endangering self/fellow pupils in the School yard at break time/ Going into an out of bounds area/ Inappropriate language or gestures/ Name calling/ Examples of steps to be taken by teachers when dealing with minor misdemeanours: · Reasoning · Reprimand (including exhortation to/advice on how to improve) · Temporary separation from others (e.g., peers, friends) · Loss of privileges · Prescribing extra work · Communication with home · Referral to the Deputy Principal (Minor misdemeanours should be handled by the class teacher) · Referral to Principal In the case of repeat offences steps may vary and referral to Deputy Principal may occur.

19. Examples of serious misdemeanours · Constantly disruptive in class / Telling lies / Stealing / Damaging other pupil’s property/ Failing to attempt or complete Homework regularly · Bullying* / Back answering a teacher / Frequenting School premises after School hours without appropriate permission / Deliberate, continual disobedience · Persistently not working to full potential / Using unacceptable language or gestures / Fighting/Bringing weapons or dangerous substances to School · Deliberately injuring a fellow pupil/ Using racist language or remarks/Mobile Phone misuse (i.e. in contravention of the School’s Mobile Phone/Electronic Device policy) · Continually refusing to engage with learning process (‘on strike’) *All incidents of bullying will be dealt with as outlined in the School’s Anti-bullying policy. (See separate policy) Examples of steps to be taken when dealing with serious misdemeanours: · Referral to Deputy Principal · Referral to Principal · Principal sends a letter home to be signed by parent · Principal meets with one/ both parents · Chairperson of Board Of Management informed and parents requested to meet with Chairperson and Principal.

20. Examples of Gross Misdemeanours Setting fire to School property / Deliberately leaving taps/fire hose turned on / Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards a member of staff or pupil/ Deliberate exposure of self or other children (‘jocking’)/Deliberately activating the Fire Alarm system / Leaving School premises during the day without appropriate permission Persistent incidences of serious misbehaviour will be treated as gross misbehaviour. In the case of gross misbehaviour, where it is necessary to ensure that order and discipline are maintained and to secure the safety of the pupils, the Board authorises the Chairperson or Principal to sanction an immediate suspension (in accordance with Rule 130 of the Rules for National Schools as amended by circular and Education Welfare Act 2000.) for a period not exceeding three school days, pending a discussion of the matter with the parent/s or guardians. Examples of steps to be taken when dealing with gross misdemeanours · Chairperson/Principal to sanction immediate suspension pending discussion with parents · Expulsion will be considered in an extreme case in accordance with Rule 130 (6) i.e.: “No pupil can be struck off the rolls for breaches of discipline without prior consent of patron and until alternative arrangements are made for enrolment of pupil at another suitable School in the locality”. · It should be noted that these lists consist of examples only – they are not meant to be totally comprehensive lists of misdemeanours and procedural steps.

21. Bullying Refer to the School’s Anti-bullying Policy


22. Suspension When the School considers that a serious sanction is deemed necessary, such action will only be undertaken when all other strategies have failed and the School believes that it has no other recourse. Where a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour and that suspension may be a consequence, parents will be given an opportunity to respond before a decision is made. The decision to suspend a pupil requires serious grounds such as that: · the pupil’s behaviour has had a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other pupils · the pupil’s continued presence in the School at this time constitutes a threat to safety · the pupil is responsible for serious damage to property · a single incident of serious misconduct may be grounds for suspension The Board of Management has deferred responsibility to the Principal to impose an initial sanction of suspension for a period of up to three days. Communications to parents regarding the suspension of a pupil will be in writing. Where a suspension is to be activated the principal shall notify the parents/guardians of the decision in writing and shall confirm: · the period of suspension, the dates when it will begin and end · the reasons for the suspension · any study programme to be followed · the arrangements for returning to School including commitments to be entered into by the pupil · whether the decision to suspend may be appealed to the Board of Management · the right to appeal under section 29 of the Education Act 1998 if the total number of days for which the student has been suspended reaches 20 days in any single School year.

23. Grounds for Removing Suspension A suspension may be removed if the Board of Management decides to remove the suspension for any reason or if the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science directs that it be removed following an appeal under Section 29 of the Education Act.

24. Expulsion The Board of Management has the authority to expel a pupil in extreme cases of unacceptable behaviour. (National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) Guidelines on Developing a Code of Behaviour, chapter 12 (May 2008). Expulsion will be considered where · a pupil’s behaviour is a persistent cause of significant disruption to the learning of others or to the teaching process · the pupil’s continued presence in the School constitutes a real and significant threat to safety · the pupil is responsible for serious damage to property Where a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant expulsion, the procedural steps will include the following: 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 by the Board of Management 4. Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing 5. Consultations arranged with the Educational Welfare Officer 6. Confirmation of the decision to expel

25. Appeals Under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998, parents are entitled to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science against some decisions of the Board of Management, including, (1) permanent exclusion from a School and (2) suspension for a period which would bring the cumulative period of suspension to 20 School days or longer in any one School year. Appeals must generally be made within 42 calendar days from the date the decision of the School was notified to the parent. 26. Absence from School Please refer to the School’s Attendance Policy


27. Everyone within the community of St. Teresa’s P.S. has the right to feel safe, respected and happy within the School. This includes pupils, parents, staff and visitors. While the focus of this policy is aimed at the pupils of St. Teresa’s P.S., it is expected that all adults will model correct and acceptable behaviour at all times in order to encourage similar behaviour among the pupils in the School. For example: · All interactions between adults within the School should be undertaken in a calm and respectful manner · Displays of aggression whether verbal or physical are not acceptable · Communications between parents/guardians and teachers should endeavour to find resolutions to disputes · Teachers will only discuss a child’s behaviour with their parents or guardians · An appointment can be made through the School office should a parent or guardian need to speak to a teacher, about a serious behaviour matter concerning their child · The School operates a complaints procedure which has been agreed by the Catholic Primary Schools Managers’ Association and the Irish National Teachers Organisation to facilitate the resolution of difficulties where they may arise in an agreed and fair manner

Date for review of this policy September 2016

This policy was ratified by the Board of Management of St. Teresa’s P.S. on 21 October 2014 _______________________ Brendan Lynch Chairperson Board of Management