Code of Behaviour
This code of behaviour was formulated in October 2002 by the staff of Bunscoil Bhríde and the Parents’ Representative on the Board of Management.
It was implemented in April 2003, reviewed in June 2004, May 2009, May 2011, March 2013 and June 2016.This current plan was reviewed and redeveloped by the staff in the third term of 2019, in consultation with all staff members, the members of the Board of Management, the Student Council, the Parents Association and the entire parent body.
This code should be read in conjunction with other relevant policies (Health and Safety, Anti-Bullying, Homework, Healthy Eating and Enrolment policies).
Relationship to Characteristic Ethos of our school
Bunscoil Bhríde seeks to enable each child to develop her potential in a caring environment where the talents of each child are nurtured and valued. Our code of behavior reflects the vision of the child at the centre of the learning process and we hope to ensure that each child is provided with experiences that are relevant and age appropriate to her needs in a non-disruptive environment. The school climate and atmosphere are created by the actions and behaviour of everyone in the school. The behaviour of adults in a child’s life, including parents and teachers, is a significant influence on how a child acts. The code will be most effective where there is a high level of openness and co-operation between staff, parents and pupils. A clear understanding among all the partners of the standards of behaviour required and the procedures to be adopted where there are breaches of the code also helps ensure a harmonious environment where all can work effectively.
In devising this code, consideration has been given to the particular needs and circumstances of our school. The aim is to create an ordered and orderly environment in which pupils can, through developing self-discipline, feel secure and make progress in all aspects of their development. This code of behaviour describes the school’s expectations about how each member of the school community will help to make the school a good place for teaching and learning. Every effort will be made by all members of staff to adopt a positive approach to the question of behaviour in the school and the over-riding aims will be;
Guidelines for Behaviour in the School
The school recognises the variety of differences that exist between children and the need to tolerate these differences. 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, parents and pupils. Every effort will be made to ensure that the code of behaviour is implemented in a reasonable, fair and consistent manner. 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 and the property of others.
The school expects the highest standard of behaviour from its pupils including the following:
While the school has expanded on these principles to outline the “school rules” (see Appendix 1), each class is required to draft their own class rules or charter, through consultation and discussion within the class and they will reflect the age and maturity levels of the students in the class. These rules will be kept to a minimum, they will be recorded in simple language and they will be stated positively, telling students what to do as well as what not to do. The rules will be referred to regularly and will form part of SPHE lessons.
We strongly believe that no pupil has the right to deny any other pupil the opportunity to reap the full benefit from her education.
Whole School Approach to Promoting Positive Behaviour
The Board of Management and the Principal have overall responsibility for the implementation and on-going monitoring of this policy. However, all staff members have responsibility for their own classes and for the general school population when on yard duty or on any organised out-of-school activity. Senior students, parents and other members of the school community have a role to play in modelling good behaviour. The school values the support and co-operation of parents in the promotion of this strategy. The policy shall apply to all students during all school related activities.
It is the policy of this school to actively promote good behaviour. Children learn best by being rewarded. It is more positive to praise a child doing the proper thing than to constantly scold the child who misbehaves. As part of our on-going efforts to promote positive behaviour, time will be allocated at some staff meetings for discussion regarding the implementation of the code and development of positive behaviour strategies. Staff will be given opportunities to share their experience of both positive and negative behaviour and to learn from collective wisdom.
Our vision statement is ‘Mol an Óige agus Tiocfaidh Sí.’
We use the following strategies to promote Positive Behaviour;
The above list is not exhaustive and consists of examples only.
To facilitate new members of staff in becoming familiar with practices within the school, discussion regarding the implementation of the code will always form part of the first staff meeting held each September. A copy of the code will be included in all teachers’ documents. The code will also be given to parents whenever they enrol a child in the school.
REWARDS AND SANCTIONS
The following strategies will be used by all teachers:
Praise may be given by means of any one of the following:
The nature of the behaviour and the age of the child will determine the nature of the strategies employed. The following stages will be used to show disapproval of inappropriate behaviour:
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. Teachers can use a problem solving approach in generating solutions and strategies with the pupil. 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.
However, where these strategies have failed and where misbehaviour is more serious or persistent it will be necessary to involve others including the Principal, parents/guardians and the Board of Management. The Principal and staff may also seek assistance from NEPS, SESS, HSE or other agencies.
Classification of Misbehaviours
Misbehaviour falls into one of three categories – minor, serious or gross. Teachers and/or the Principal will make judgements based on a common sense approach having regard to the age or vulnerability of the child and the gravity and frequency of any misbehaviour as follows:
The following are examples of minor misbehaviour:
Interrupting class work / Running in the school building / Littering around the school / Being discourteous or unmannerly / Not completing homework without good reason (to include a note from a parent/guardian) / Inappropriate behaviour or gestures / Name calling / Minor infringement of the school rules / Talking out of turn / Not wearing appropriate uniform
(this list is not exhaustive)
Teachers will take the following steps when dealing with Minor Misbehaviour
Regular occurrences of Minor Misbehaviour will be dealt with as follows, using one or more strategy:
The following are examples of serious misbehaviour:
Constantly disruptive in class / Telling lies / Blackmail / Stealing / Persistently not working to full potential / Damaging others’ property / Bullying / Answering back a teacher / Continuously not completing homework / Endangering self or fellow pupils in the class or the yard / Using unacceptable language / Inappropriate use of the internet/ Making any unauthorised recordings of any individual(s) within the school community using e-devices (please see Mobile Phone and Electronic Devices Policy, which states that phones/devices are not permitted at school)/ Deliberate, continual disobedience/ Spitting
(this list is not exhaustive)
All incidents of bullying will be dealt with as outlined in the school’s Anti-bullying policy. (See separate policy)
Teachers will take steps as outlined for Phase 1 above, but depending on misbehaviour may proceed to the following steps when dealing with Serious Misbehaviour;
Regular occurrences of Serious Misbehaviour will be dealt with as follows:
The following are examples of gross misbehaviour:
Bringing weapons or dangerous substances to school / Smoking / Persistently engaging in activities which have been identified by members of staff as dangerous or inappropriate / Leaving school premises without permission / Deliberately injuring any member of the school community / Setting fire to school property / Purposely activating school fire alarm/ Deliberately leaving taps (fire hose) etc. turned on / Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards a member of staff or a pupil; (e.g. physical violence, striking, nipping, biting, spitting) / Vandalism / serious inappropriate behaviour / assault / Sharing of images or voice recordings etc. taken while at school on social media platforms
Persistent incidents of serious misbehaviour will be classified as gross misbehaviour.
Teachers will take the following steps when dealing with Gross Misbehaviour
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 in consultation with the parents, the class teacher and the student (if appropriate) will facilitate the preparation of a behaviour plan for the pupil, if required, and will re-admit the pupil formally to the class.
Where a satisfactory resolution of a problem is achieved, a pupil may be re-admitted to school within a suspension period at the discretion of the chairperson of the board and the Principal.
The Board of Management has the authority to expel a student in an extreme case (see p.81, Developing a Code of Behaviour; Guidelines for Schools) or where repeated incidents of gross misbehaviour interfere with the educational opportunities of fellow students or where there is a threat to the health and safety of either students or staff. This sanction would be imposed under the terms of the Education Welfare Act (2000). Suspension/expulsion procedures are in accordance with the Education Act (1998).
To pre-empt incidents of misbehaviour on yard, our whole school approach focuses on RESPECT – respect for yourself, respect for others, respect for the environment. We encourage pupils to take responsibility should they accidentally hurt another child, thus showing respect for that individual.
Incidents of yard misbehaviour or verbal abuse of staff will be dealt with as follows:
The teacher on duty who notices misbehaviour will do the following;
Involving Parents/Guardians in Managing Problem Behaviour
Parents/guardians are valued as partners in the school community and as such will be invited to participate in promoting positive behaviour both in school and in the wider community. Class teachers will refer to repeated episodes of minor misbehaviour in the pupil’s Homework journal which parents/guardians are requested to sign each evening. In cases where pupils are required to complete some extra work as a sanction, parents/guardians will again be requested to sign the relevant work. Class teachers may occasionally request parents/guardians to visit them in school to discuss some aspect of a pupil’s behaviour. The Principal will be informed of these meetings and may be invited to attend. Parents/guardians are encouraged to make appointments to meet with class teachers and/or the Principal at the earliest opportunity in an effort to prevent any escalation of inappropriate behaviour. The school will remind parents/guardians of the procedures for contacting the school at every opportunity. In specific cases a shorter school day may be implemented where a pupil is having severe difficulties coping with a full day. This would be agreed between the Principal and Parents and Board of Management.
Where pupils are found to be involved in more serious misbehaviour the Principal may telephone or write to parents/guardians to request them to attend an informal/formal meeting at the school. Others who may also attend these meetings include; class teachers, teachers who witness misbehaviour while supervising on yard duty and the Chairperson of the Board of Management. The pupil may also attend all or part of these meetings if deemed appropriate.
Managing aggressive or violent behaviour
The school recognises that occasionally students may not respond positively to the usual interventions and that they may require extra support in an effort to manage aggressive or violent behaviour. A small minority of students may show particular challenging behaviour, because of educational need. These students will need a sustained and systematic response involving the important adults in their lives, in school and at home.
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 or student. (See Circular 22/02)
In line with the school’s policy on record keeping, and data protection legislation, records in relation to pupils’ behaviour are kept in a secure filing cabinet. Copies of all communications with parents/guardians will be retained in the school. Records of more serious incidents are recorded on our pupil administration system. Class teachers shred personal records at the end of each year.
Procedures for notification of pupil absences from school
Parents must notify the school in writing of a student’s absence and the reason for this absence. Parents will be informed by text when their child has been absent for 10 days and 15 days of school respectively. Under current legislation, the Educational Welfare Officer will be informed when a child has been absent for 20 days in a school year.
Reference to other Policies
This policy will be deemed to be successful when the following are observed: