National   School

Code of Behaviour

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The following Code of Behaviour has been devised for Ballintemple N.S. Crab Lane following a review of the existing Code during the spring term of the 2012/13 school year. Representatives of the school staff, the Board of Management and Parents’ Association took part in the review.

A. Introductory Statements.

Ballintemple National School aims to provide a happy, secure, friendly, learning environment, where children, parents, teachers, Special Needs Assistants, ancillary staff and Board of Management work in partnership. Each individual is valued, encouraged and respected for their uniqueness and facilitated to reach their full potential in a positive atmosphere.

The school community of parents, school staff and Board of Management have a central role to play in the children’s social and moral development just as it does in their academic development. As a community we recognise that in seeking to define ‘acceptable standards of behaviour’ we acknowledge that these are goals to be worked towards rather than expectations that are either fulfilled or not. The children bring to school a wide variety of behaviour and it is our goal to guide and encourage each child towards standards of behaviour which are acceptable and in keeping with a school setting. As a school community, we aim to work towards standards of behaviour based on the basic principles of respect, honesty, consideration and responsibility for ourselves and for one another.

B. Rationale.

The review of the Code of Behaviour was conducted to ensure that it is in compliance with legal requirements and good practice as set out in ‘Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools.’ (National Education Welfare Board-2008.)

It is also a requirement under the Education Welfare Act, 2000, Section 23 (1) which refers to the obligation on schools to prepare a Code of Behaviour in respect of the students registered at the school. It details in Section 23(2), that the code of behaviour shall specify:

  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 grounds for removing a suspension imposed in relation to a student.
  5. The procedures to be followed in relation to a child’s absence from school.

The policy is also required to put in place procedures which will ensure that the individuality of each child is accommodated while at the same time acknowledging the right of each child to education in an ordered, secure and disruption-free environment.

Involving and encouraging all members of the school community in developing, formulating and reviewing this policy on behaviour will promote partnership, ownership and implementation of a ‘living policy,’ one which is actively implemented/promoted in the whole school community.

C. Links to School’s Mission Statement.

‘Ballintemple N.S. 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 addressed. The care of each child is of paramount importance to the staff. As partners, we aim to help the children to develop their holistic potential by providing opportunities for creative and academic development.

The whole school community of staff, pupils, parents and Board of Management endeavours to make this school a welcoming place which celebrates difference, tolerance and respect for others.

Ballintemple N.S. will 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 take responsibility for their behaviour.’

D. Where does the Policy Apply?

The standards and expectations contained in the Code of Behaviour policy apply in the school and in any situation where the student, although outside the school, is still the responsibility of the school. Examples include school tours, games and extracurricular activities and attendance at events organised by the school. Where a student is alleged to have engaged in serious misbehaviour outside school, when not under the care or responsibility of the school, a judgement will be made that there is a clear connection with the school and a demonstrable impact on its work, before the code of behaviour applies.

(The school Board may need to get legal advice where the situation is complex.)

E. Our Vision

It is our vision to provide a happy and secure environment which is conducive to the learning and personal development of each child. To help us achieve this vision, the support and co-operation of pupils, parents and staff is essential. Our guiding vision is to inculcate in each pupil a sense of belonging to and pride in Ballintemple N.S. Pupils, parents, teachers and other staff are expected to uphold the ethos of the school in a spirit of co-operation and partnership.

The school places great emphasis on encouraging positive behaviour in pupils and programmes will be implemented in the classrooms which will encourage this (SPHE programme /Alive O religion programme etc.) Good behaviour is based on good relations among parents, children and the school staff. We agree that a high standard of behaviour requires a strong sense of community within the school and a high level of co-operation among staff, parents and pupils.

Every effort will be made to ensure that the Code of Behaviour is implemented in a reasonable, fair and consistent manner where the limits of behaviour are clearly defined and children become familiar with the consequences of behaviour beyond these limits.

The over-riding principle governing this code is respect - respect for ourselves and others, our own and others’ property and for the environment.

While the Board of Management of the school has ultimate responsibility for behaviour in the school, within the school, the overall day-to-day responsibility for behaviour rests with the Principal, staff and students. Each teacher has the responsibility for the maintenance of good behaviour and good order within his/her classroom while sharing a common responsibility for good behaviour within the school premises.
Parents/guardians can support the school by encouraging their children to understand the need for school rules and by communicating any relevant concerns to the school.

F. Aims of the Code of Behaviour.

  • To create a positive learning environment that encourages and reinforces good behaviour.
  • To create a positive and safe environment for teaching and learning.
  • To facilitate the education and development of every child.
  • To encourage students to take personal responsibility for their learning and for their behaviour.
  • To foster a sense of responsibility and self-discipline in pupils and to support good behaviour patterns based on consideration and respect for the rights and needs of others.
  • To help young people to mature into responsible participating citizens.
  • To promote self-esteem and positive relationships of mutual support among students, staff and parents.
  • To ensure consistency of response to both positive and negative behaviour.
  • To ensure that the school's high expectations for the behaviour of all the members of the school community are widely known and understood.
  • To encourage the involvement of both home and school in the implementation of this policy.

G. Restorative Practice.

Restorative Practice is at the core of our school’s policy. This is a process whereby children are given the opportunity to reflect on their behaviour and how they and others have been affected by it so as to help heal broken relationships and prevent reoccurrence. It gives the children an opportunity to take responsibility for their own behaviour.

H. Code of Behaviour

The Code of Behaviour covers the following areas:

  • Pupil behaviour in class
  • Pupil behaviour in the playground
  • Pupil behaviour in the school environment and behaviour on school outings
  • School Attendance.
  • Promoting positive behaviour in the school.
  • Dealing with unacceptable behaviour.
  • Suspension / Expulsion.

I. Pupil Behaviour in Class

Children will be supported in being courteous and respectful in class. In saying that, we acknowledge that some children will need additional support in this regard. Children will also be encouraged to make their needs known to the teacher as this can help the teacher to support them.
Pupils however should respect the right of other pupils to learn. Disrespectful behaviour towards another pupil or towards a teacher or another member of staff is not acceptable.

J. Classroom Rules / Expectations.

Guiding Principles:

  1. Use good manners at all times -respect, honesty, consideration and responsibility for ourselves and for one another.
  2. Always do your best and allow others to do the same.
  3. Raise your hand and wait for attention and listen to the person who is speaking.
  4. Take good care of personal and classroom property.
  5. Ensure you are safe in class and make it safe for others.

At the beginning of each year, the class teacher and the children will discuss the need for and devise a list of class expectations / rules. These will be few in number, positively phrased, and displayed in a prominent position in the classroom where all the children can see them. Where possible a visual cue should accompany the text of the rules/expectations. These should be referred to regularly throughout the year by the teacher particularly at establishment times (after holidays, mid-term breaks, weekends.)

K. Playground Rules / Expectations – General Comment.

Pupils should treat others as they would like to be treated themselves. Any behaviour which endangers or offends others is not permitted. Rough behaviour e.g. fighting, kicking, spitting is forbidden. Games or activities considered to be dangerous are not allowed. Any behaviour which interferes with other pupils play is not permitted. Pupils may not leave the playground for any reason during breaks without permission of the supervising teacher, this includes re-entering the school building without permission.

L. Out of Class / Playground Rules / Expectations.

  • Walk on the corridors and in the yard. Avoid running as this can lead to accidents.
  • Stay within the boundaries in the yard.
  • Play safely and fairly. Treat others fairly, the way you would like yourself to be treated.
  • Include and invite others to play.
  • Keep the yard and school environment litter-free and tidy.
  • Respect every child’s property and all school property.
  • Line up quickly and quietly and leave and return to your classroom in an orderly fashion.

M. Behaviour in the School Environment & Behaviour on School Outings

Respect and courtesy towards others is expected. When on school outings, pupils are expected to behave in an orderly manner and show respect for public property. Pupils should always co-operate with their teachers and support staff.

N. School Attendance.

Under the Education Welfare Act 2000, absences must be explained by a brief note written in school journal and signed by a parent/guardian. Absences of 20 days or more must be referred by the school to the Education Welfare Board. Ref: School Attendance Policy.

O. Promoting Positive/Acceptable Behaviour.

Promoting positive behaviour is the main goal of the Code of Behaviour. Students are more likely to benefit from their education and to be happy in a structured, caring environment, where high standards of behaviour are expected and adhered to. In Ballintemple N.S. we recognise that the quality of relationship between students and teachers is one of the most powerful influences on student behaviour. Children will be encouraged, praised and listened to by adults in the school. Praise will be given generously. Praise will be directed towards the appropriate behaviour as opposed to the child e.g. ‘Well done, you waited quietly while I was organising the science equipment.’ instead of ‘You are a great girl.’ When behaviour is praised, there is a greater chance of that behaviour being repeated in the future. When behaviour is praised, children will also be clear about the reason for the praise and other children will strive to copy that behaviour.

The following are some examples of how positive behaviour may be acknowledged.

  • A verbal acknowledgement of the effort and of good behaviour.
  • A positive comment in a pupil’s copy or homework journal.
  • A mention to parent (written or verbal.)
  • A word of praise in front of a group or class.
  • A visit to another member of Staff or to the Principal office to acknowledge the positive behaviour/effort.
  • Giving a star or other merit sticker.
  • Delegating some special responsibility or privilege to the pupil.
  • Additional ‘Golden Time’ given to preferred activity chosen by the child or class.

P. Dealing with Misbehaviour.

All everyday instances of a minor nature are dealt with by the class teacher or the supervising teacher. For repeated incidents of minor misbehaviour or for incidents of a more serious nature, parents will be contacted at an early stage so that they can support their child in bringing about a change of behaviour. All staff are aware of the importance of using a ‘Restorative Practice’ approach when attempting to resolve incidents of misbehaviour. When using this approach, the child will be reasoned with and given an opportunity to reflect on how his/her behaviour is affecting others or affecting his/her own learning. The use of the Reflective Logs (Appendix 3) will allow the child to reflect on his/her behaviour and will help in the dialogue between the teacher and the child.

The child will be praised for his/her effort in changing behaviour. If the teacher perceives that the child is having difficulty in changing behaviour, the teacher should access support from other members of staff e.g. the Behavioural Support Teacher/Principal, with the view to creating an ‘action plan’ to bring about the desired change. Every effort will be made by the teacher and other staff members to ‘catch the child being good.’ Visual reinforcement (stickers, stars) may also be useful with some children. This will allow them see their progress in their notebook/chart.

The class teacher or Principal will record cases of repeated minor misbehaviour and incidents of a more serious nature in the school’s ‘Behaviour Report Form.’ (Ref Appendix 2 – Behaviour Report Form.) This will allow the school to track an individual student’s behaviour and to check whether efforts to change behaviour are working. All interventions aimed at helping the student to deal with unacceptable behaviour will be recorded, including contact with parents. The form will be kept securely in the Principal’s office in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1988 and the Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003. (Ref p62- Developing a Code of Behaviour Guidelines for Schools 2008).

Where a child doesn’t succeed in changing his/her behaviour, having had supportive interventions from the class teacher and staff and parents, an assessment may be required from an outside agency e.g. School Psychological Service, School Psychiatric Service, and Occupational Therapy service, as there may be a reason for the child’s inability to behave appropriately.

Sanctions will be used sparingly and only in a way that helps students to understand the consequences of their behaviour and to take responsibility for changing that behaviour. Sanctions are part of a plan to change inappropriate/unacceptable behaviour. (Ref: Chapter 8, Developing a Code of Behaviour/ Guidelines for Schools.)

The purpose of a sanction is to bring about a change in behaviour by:

  • helping pupils to learn that their behaviour is unacceptable.
  • helping them to recognise the effect of their actions and behaviour on others.
  • helping children (in ways appropriate to their age and development) to understand that they have choices about their own behaviour and that all choices have consequences.
  • helping them to learn to take responsibility for their behaviour.

A sanction may also

  • reinforce the boundaries set out in the Code of Behaviour.
  • signal to other students and to staff that their wellbeing is being protected.

In instances of more serious breaches of school standards, sanctions may be needed to:

  • prevent serious disruption of teaching and learning.
  • keep the student, or other students or adults, safe.

Sanctions should be used at all times in a respectful way that helps students to understand the consequences of their behaviour and to take responsibility for changing that behaviour. The aim of any sanction is to prevent the behaviour occurring again and if necessary to help the pupil devise strategies for this. The following steps may be taken when a child behaves inappropriately:

  • Reasoning with pupil, stating inappropriate behaviour and advice on how to change his/her behaviour. Use of a reflective log may be of benefit at this stage. (Appendix 3)
  • Contact parents-agreed plan of action put in place. (Change of specific behaviour rewarded)
  • Verbal reprimand including advice on how to improve.
  • Prescribing of additional suitable work.
  • Temporary separation from peers within class (‘Time Out’ table)
  • Temporarily removing of student from the classroom to another classroom or supervised location for a short period. Parents/guardians will be informed and support sought.
  • Loss of privileges. (e.g. Golden Time)

Q. Suspension / Expulsion from school.

(Reference Chapter 11 and 12 of Developing a Code of Behaviour for Schools, National Educational Welfare Board, 2008)

Exclusion (Suspension or Expulsion) from school in accordance with Rule 130 of the Rules for National Schools/Education Welfare Act 2000.

Suspension will be in accordance with the terms of Rule 130(5) of the Department of Education’s Rules for National Schools.

Rule 130(5): Where the Board of Management deems it necessary to make provision in the Code of Discipline to deal with continuously disruptive pupils or with a serious breach of discipline, by authorising the Chairperson or Principal to exclude a pupil or pupils from school, the maximum initial period of such exclusion shall be three school-days. A special decision of the Board of Management is necessary to authorise a further period of exclusion up to a maximum of 10 school-days to allow for consultation with the pupil or pupil’s parents or guardians. In exceptional circumstances, the Board of Management may authorise a further period of exclusion in order to enable the matter to be reviewed.

Expulsion may be considered in an extreme case, in accordance with Rule 130 (6) of the Rules for National Schools.

Rule 130 (6): No pupil shall be struck off the rolls for breach of discipline without the prior consent of the Patron and unless alternative arrangements are made for the enrolment of the pupil at another suitable school.

R. 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 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.

S. Children with Special Needs.

All children are required to comply with the Code of Behaviour. However the school recognises that children with special needs may require assistance in understanding certain rules. Specialised behaviour plans will be put in place in consultation with parents and the class teacher, learning support/ resource teacher, and/or Principal as appropriate. Cognitive development will be taken into account at all times. Professional advice from psychological assessments will be invaluable. The children in the class or school may be taught strategies to assist a pupil with special needs 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.

T. Roles and Responsibilities.

The Board of Management is responsible for ensuring that the policy is in place and is being implemented in the school. The whole school community of staff, pupils, parents and others is responsible for supporting and implementing the policy on an ongoing basis in the school.

U. Adult Behaviour: Responsibility of Adults/Expectations of Adults

The adults encountered by the children at school have an important responsibility to model high standards of behaviour, both in their dealings with the children and with each other, as their example has an important influence on the children.

Board of Management.
The Board of Management is expected to:

  • Provide a comfortable, safe environment.
  • Uphold the characteristic spirit of the school and be accountable to the patron in this respect.
  • To consult and keep the patron informed of decisions and proposals.
  • Support the Principal and staff in implementing the code.
  • Ratify the Code.
  • Ensure the Code is communicated to the whole school community. (Ref: Section V)

The Principal
The Principal is expected to:

  • Promote a positive climate in the school
  • Ensure that the Code of Behaviour is implemented in a fair and consistent manner.
  • Arrange for a review of the code every four years. (Board of Management term).

School Staff
Teachers/SNAs are expected to:

  • support and implement the school’s Code of Behaviour.
  • be cognisant of their duty of care.
  • create a safe, welcoming atmosphere for their pupils.
  • praise desirable behaviour.
  • facilitate pupils to reach their full academic potential.
  • be courteous, consistent and fair with pupils and parents.
  • keep opportunities for disruption to a minimum.
  • keep record of serious/gross misbehaviour or repeated instances of minor misbehaviour.
  • provide support for colleagues.

Parents are expected to:

  • ensure their children attend school regularly and on time and that they are collected from school on time.
  • encourage their children to follow the school’s Code of Behaviour.
  • make an appointment beforehand if they need to see a teacher.
  • treat all members of the school community with respect.
  • provide a note for all absenteeism.