Code of Behaviour
The school has a central role in the children's social and moral development just as it does in their academic development. In seeking to define acceptable standards of behaviour it is acknowledged 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. As a community environment, in school we must work towards standards of behaviour based on the basic principles of honesty, respect, consideration and responsibility. It follows that acceptable standards of behaviour are those that reflect these principles.
Children need limits set for them in order to feel secure and develop the skills for co-operation. Therefore any rules will be age appropriate, with clearly agreed consequences.
Parents can co-operate with the school by encouraging their children to understand the need for school rules, by visiting the school and by talking to the members of staff.
A code of behaviour is established to ensure that the individuality of each child is accommodated while at the same time acknowledging the right of each child to education in a disruption-free environment.
St. Columba’s school is a Catholic primary school which seeks to ensure that all children are educated and nurtured in an environment that is caring, considerate and tolerant. St. Columba’s school helps children to develop skills, attitudes and values that will bring the greatest happiness and fulfilment to their lives. We seek to develop children morally, socially, physically and cognitively to the best of their ability. We prioritise the safety, security and well being of all pupils as a prerequisite to their growth and development.
Our Code of Behaviour has been reviewed in line with the N.E.W.B. Guidelines ‘Developing a Code of Behaviour – Guidelines for Schools’ (2008). The following legislation is relevant to the creation of our Code of Behaviour Policy:
Article 42 of the Irish Constitution
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
Children First Act 2015
Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017
Education Act 1988 - Sections 28 & 29
Education (Welfare) Act 2000 - Section 23
Equal Status Act 2000
Ombudsman for Children Act 2002
Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act, 1997
Health and Safety Legislation
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018
Aims of the Code
To create a positive learning environment that encourages and reinforces good behaviour
To promote self-esteem and positive relationships
To encourage consistency of response to both positive and negative 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 of others
To facilitate the education and development of every child
To foster caring attitudes to one another and to the environment
To enable teachers to teach without disruption
To ensure that the school's expectations and strategies are widely known and understood through the parents’ handbook, availability of policies (on the school website and at the school office) and an ethos of open communication
To encourage the involvement of both home and school in the implementation of this policy
Responsibility 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.
As adults we should aim to:
Create a positive climate with realistic expectations
Promote, through example, honesty and courtesy
Provide a caring and effective learning environment
Encourage relationships based on kindness, respect and understanding of the needs of others
Ensure fair treatment for all regardless of age, gender, race, and ability
Show appreciation of the efforts and contribution of all
To discourage physical aggression. A Code of Conduct for staff and volunteers (Code of Conduct for outside agencies, including substitute teachers, trainee teachers, visiting teachers and coaches) ensures that the rights of the children are upheld.
Pupils are expected to
Show respect for self and others
Show respect for the property of others
Respect other students and their learning
Be kind and demonstrate a willingness to help others
Follow instructions from staff immediately
Walk quietly in the school building
Be courteous and exhibit good manners
Show readiness to use respectful ways of resolving difficulties and conflict
Ask permission to leave the classroom
Do their best in class
Take responsibility for their own work.
Bully not, share a lot and always give back what you got.
Treat others with kind hands, kind feet and kind words.
Wear your uniform correctly.
These can be summed up as 6 main rules:
Respect/ Be nice
Do your best
At the beginning of each academic year, the class teacher will draft a list of class rules with the children. These reflect and support the school rules, but are presented in a way that is accessible to the children. Class rules should be kept to a minimum and are devised with regard for the health, safety and welfare of all members of the school community. They should where possible emphasise positive behaviour (e.g. ‘Walk’ and not ‘Don’t run’). Rules will be applied in a fair and consistent manner, with due regard to the age of the pupils and to individual difference. Where difficulties arise, parents will be contacted at an early stage.
Part of the vision of St. Columba’s N.S. is to help children achieve their personal best - academically, intellectually and socially. We recognise that there are many different forms of intelligence and that similarly children use a variety of approaches to solve problems. Reward systems which are based on academic merit or particular extrinsic goals continuously apply to only a limited number of children and undermine the individuality of children. All children deserve encouragement to attain their own personal best. Children will be encouraged, praised and listened to at all times by adults in the school. Praise is earned by the maintenance of good standards as well as by particularly noteworthy personal achievements. Rates of praise for behaviour should be as high as for work.
The following are some samples of how praise might be given;
A quiet word or gesture to show approval
A comment in a pupil’s exercise book
A visit to another member of Staff or to the Principal for commendation
A word of praise in front of a group or class
A system of merit marks or stickers
Delegating some special responsibility or privilege
A mention to parent, written or verbal communication.
Three levels of misbehaviour are recognised: Minor, Serious and Gross. All everyday instances of a minor nature are dealt with by the class teacher. In cases of repeated serious misbehaviour or single instances of gross misbehaviour, parents will be involved at an early stage and invited to meet the teacher and/or the Principal to discuss their child’s behaviour.
Examples of serious misbehaviour:
Behaviour that is hurtful (including bullying, harassment, discrimination and victimisation)
Behaviour that interferes with teaching and learning
Threats or physical hurt to another person
Damage to property
Examples of gross misbehaviour:
Assault on a pupil or staff member
Serious damage to property
The use of sanctions or consequences should be characterised by certain features;
It must be clear why the sanction is being applied
The consequence must relate as closely as possible to the behaviour
It must be made clear what changes in behaviour are required to avoid future sanctions
There should be a clear distinction between minor and major offences
It should be the behaviour rather than the person that is the focus
The following steps will be taken when the children behave inappropriately. They are listed in order of severity with one being for a minor misbehaviour and nine being for serious or gross misbehaviour. The list is by no means exhaustive. Teachers may put in place alternative measures bearing in mind the features by which sanctions should be characterised. The aim of any sanction is to prevent the behaviour occurring again and if necessary to help the pupils devise strategies for this;
Reasoning with pupil
Verbal reprimand including advice on how to improve
Temporary separation from peers within class and/or temporary removal to another class of same level only.
Prescribing extra work/ writing out the story of what happened
Loss of privileges
Communication with parents
Referral to Principal
Principal communicating with parents
Exclusion (Suspension or Expulsion) from school (in accordance with Rule 130 of the Rules for National Schools as amended by circular and Education Welfare Act 2000).
Step 1.Teachers may ignore certain misbehaviours or low-level disruptions. (Where appropriate)
Step 2.Teachers may redirect, distract or use a re-engagement strategy (link in positive reward systems and strategies e.g. proximity praise)
Step 3.Should misbehaviour persist, a verbal warning outlining a logical consequence to their actions will
be stated e.g. loss of a scissors when cutting out
Step 4.Follow through on consequence.
Step 5.Should misbehaviour persist the consequence may increase- time out/loss of privilege e.g. loss of tablet time/completing work during a favoured activity/ work alone
Step 6.Involvement of principal in advisory capacity.
Step 7.Informing of parents.
If the above interventions have not been successful the following actions and sanctions may be required.
a. Case Conference with teacher, principal and parents.
b. In school suspension (Pupil may spend a portion of the day in another classroom)
c. Shorter day in school until behaviour improves.
d. Recommendation to the B.O.M. for suspension
e. Recommendation to the B.O.M. for expulsion
However sanctions should relate as closely as possible to the behaviour.
Suspension and Expulsion
Before serious sanctions such as, suspension or expulsion are used, the normal channels of communication between school and parents will be utilised. Communication with parents may be verbal or by letter depending on the circumstances.
For gross misbehaviour or repeated instances of serious misbehaviour suspension may be considered. Parents concerned will be invited to come to the school to discuss their child’s case. Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards a teacher or pupil will be regarded as serious or gross misbehaviour.
Where there are repeated instances of serious misbehaviour, the Chairperson of the Board of Management will be informed and the parents will be requested in writing to attend at the school to meet the Chairperson and the principal. If the parents do not give an undertaking that the pupil will behave in an acceptable manner in the future the pupil may be suspended for a period. Prior to suspension, where possible, the Principal may review the case in consultation with teachers and other members of the school community involved, with due regard to records of previous misbehaviours, their pattern and context, sanctions and other interventions used and their outcomes and any relevant medical information. Suspension will be in accordance with the Rules for National Schools and the Education Welfare Act 2000.
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 and staff, the Board may authorise the Chairperson or Principal to sanction an immediate suspension for a period not exceeding three school days, pending a discussion of the matter with the parents.
Expulsion may be considered in an extreme case, in accordance with the Rule for National Schools and the Education Welfare Act 2000. Before suspending or expelling a pupil, the Board shall notify the local Educational Welfare Officer (EWO) in writing in accordance with Section 24 of the Education Welfare Act.
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.
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 will work closely with home to ensure that optimal support is given. Cognitive development will be taken into account at all times. Professional advice from psychological assessments will be invaluable.
Methods of Communicating with Parents
Communicating with parents is central to maintaining a positive approach to dealing with children. Parents and teachers should develop a joint strategy to address specific difficulties, in addition to sharing a broader philosophy which can be implemented at home and in school.
A high level of co-operation and open communication is seen as an important factor encouraging positive behaviour in the school. Structures and channels designed to maintain a high level of communication among staff and between staff, pupils and parents have been established and are being reviewed regularly.
Parents are encouraged to talk in confidence to teachers about any significant developments in a child’s life, in the past or present, which may affect the child’s behaviour.
The following methods are to be used at all levels within the school:
Informal parent/teacher meetings and formal parent/teacher meetings by appointment.
Through children’s homework journal (Infants do not have a homework journal – bags should be checked for notes regularly)
Letters/notes from school to home and from home to school
School notice board
Text a Parent messaging service
This policy will be monitored on an ongoing basis and amendments added as needed.
This amended policy will be in place from June 2019.
Next review May 2021
Reviewed and agreed by Board of Management
INTO/CPMSA COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE GUIDELINES FOR PRIMARY SCHOOLS. INTO / CPSMA COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE
The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation and the Catholic Primary School Managers’ Association reached agreement in 1993 on a procedure for dealing with complaints by parents against teachers. The purpose of the procedure is to facilitate the resolution of difficulties where they may arise in an agreed and fair manner.
The agreement lays out in five stages the process to be followed in progressing a complaint and the specific timescale to be followed at each stage. Introduction Only those complaints about teachers which are written and signed by parents/guardians of pupils may be investigated formally by the Board of Management, except where those complaints are deemed by the Board to be: (i) on matters of professional competence and which are to be referred to the Department of Education; (ii) frivolous or vexations complaints and complaints which do not impinge on the work of a teacher in a school; or (iii) complaints in which either party has recourse to law or to another existing procedure. Unwritten complaints not in the above categories may be processed informally as set out in Stage 1 of this procedure.
Stage 1 1.1 A parent/guardian who wishes to make a complaint should, unless there are local arrangements to the contrary, approach the class teacher with a view to resolving the complaint.
1.2 Where the parent/guardian is unable to resolve the complaint with the class teacher she/he should approach the Principal with a view to resolving it.
1.3 If the complaint is still unresolved the parent/guardian should raise the matter with the Chairperson of the Board of Management with a view to resolving it.
Stage 2 2.1 If the complaint is still unresolved and the parent/guardian wishes to pursue the matter further she/he should lodge the complaint in writing with the Chairperson of the Board of Management.
2.2 The Chairperson should bring the precise nature of the written complaint to the notice of the teacher and seek to resolve the matter between the parties within 5 days of receipt of the written complaint.
Stage 3 3.1 If the complaint is not resolved informally, the Chairperson should, subject to the general authorisation of the Board and except in those cases where the Chairperson deems the particular authorisation of the Board to be required: (a) supply the teacher with a copy of the written complaint; and (b) arrange a meeting with the teacher and, where applicable, the Principal Teacher with a view to resolving the complaint. Such a meeting should take place within 10 days of receipt of the written complaint.
Stage 4 4.1 If the complaint is still not resolved the Chairperson should make a formal report to the Board within 10 days of the meeting referred to in 3.1(b).
4.2 If the Board considers that the complaint is not substantiated the teacher and the complaint should be so informed within three days of the Board meeting.
4.3 If the Board considers that the complaint is substantiated or that it warrants further investigation it proceeds as follows: (a) the teacher should be informed that the investigation is proceeding to the next stage; (b) the teacher should be supplied with a copy of any written evidence in support of the complaint; (c) the teacher should be requested to supply a written statement to the Board in response to the complaint; (d) the teacher should be afforded an opportunity to make a presentation of case to the Board. The teacher would be entitled to be accompanied and assisted by a friend at any such meeting; (e) the board may arrange a meeting with the complainant if it considers such to be required. The complainant would be entitled to be accompanied and assisted by a friend at any such meeting; and (f) the meeting of the Board of Management referred to in (d) and (e) will take place within 10 days of the meeting referred to in 3.1(b).
Stage 5 5.1 When the Board has completed its investigation, the Chairperson should convey the decision of the Board in writing to the teacher and the complainant within five days of the meeting of the Board.
5.2 The decision of the Board shall be final.
5.3 This Complaints Procedure shall be reviewed after three years.
5.4 CPSMA or INTO may withdraw from this agreement having given the other party three months’ notice of intention to do so.
In this agreement ‘days’ means schools days.