Code of Behaviour

Code of Behaviour & Discipline Policy 

Introductory Statement 

In devising the Code, consideration has been given to the particular needs and circumstances of this school.  The aim is to ensure that the individuality of each child is accommodated while acknowledging the right of each child to education in a relatively disruption-free environment. 

This policy was formulated by the Principal and teachers of Scoil Lorcáin, in conjunction with the Board of Management. 

The staff decided to review its Code of Behaviour because the existing policy was due for review and has been identified as a priority area by the staff. 

In order to fulfil the aspirations of our Vision Statement it was felt necessary to draw up this Code of behaviour. 

 

Aims of Code of Discipline 

The Code of Discipline aims to achieve the following: 

  • To allow the school to function in an orderly and harmonious way. 
  • To enhance the learning environment where children can make progress in all aspects of their development. 
  • To create an atmosphere of respect, tolerance and consideration for others. 
  • To promote positive behaviour and self-discipline recognising the differences between children and the need to accommodate these differences. 
  • To ensure the safety and well being of all members of the school community. 
  • To assist parents and pupils in understanding the systems and procedures that form part of the Code of Behaviour and to seek their co-operation in the application of these procedures. 
  • To ensure that the system of rules, rewards, and sanctions are implemented in a fair and consistent manner. 

 

Guidelines 

  • Every effort will be made by all members of staff to adopt a positive approach to the question of behaviour in the school.  The code offers a framework within which positive techniques of motivation and encouragement are utilised by teachers. 
  • The school recognises the variety of differences that exist between the children and the need to accommodate 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 between staff, pupils and parents. 

 

School Rules / Expectation 

  • All pupils are expected to treat staff, their fellow pupils, visitors and themselves with respect and courtesy at all times. 
  • All pupils are expected to have respect for their own property, school property and the property of others.   
  • The use of bad language is unacceptable. 
  • Any form of bullying is unacceptable. 
  • Truthfulness and honesty are expected at all times. 
  • All pupils are expected to be in school on time, 8.50am. 
  • Full school uniform to be worn everyday, except on P.E. days, when the school tracksuit / polo shirt may be worn. 
  • All pupils are expected to work to the best of their ability and participate fully in all school activities. 
  • Mobile phones are not allowed. 

 

 

Classroom Rules 

Classroom rules are devised in each classroom in September in consultation with the pupils.  These will be displayed in each classroom and may be recorded by the pupils for discussion with their parents at home.  Rules are referred to regularly and discussed and explained to children.  If incidents happen within the classroom, children are again reminded of the rules and how to abide by them. 

 

 

Rules for Yard and pitch 

  • Footballs and basketballs may be used on the yard but may not be kicked.  No ball playing by infants in infant yard. 
  • No chain running. 
  • Play safely, no wrestling or rough play. 
  • Stay in designated yard at all times. 
  • Permission has to be sought from staff member to re-enter school. 

Yard rules are displayed in the classroom and children are reminded of them regularly as well as following an incident. 

 

Pupils are expected to obey these rules at all times 

Communication of the Code of Behaviour to parents 

 

Section 23 (4) of the Education Act states that, prior to registering a pupil, the principal teacher shall provide the parents of the child with a copy of the school’s code of behaviour and that the principal ‘may, as a condition of so registering such child, require his or her parents to confirm in writing that the code of behaviour so provided is acceptable to them and that they shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure compliance with such code by the child’. 

Therefore on enrolment parents must sign the Code of Behaviour.  After this, parents will be reminded of the Code of Behaviour in the following ways: 

  • HSCL teacher 
  • Homework journal 
  • Infant induction meeting 
  • Yearly class meetings with parents 
  • School website 

 

 

Whole school approach to promoting positive behaviour and supporting the Code of Behaviour 

Parents can support the school in the promotion of positive behaviour and maintenance of high standards by: 

  • Ensuring that boys are in on time for school every day and that they are not taken early from class.  The school begins at 8.50am when children assemble in the yard.  School finishes at 1.30pm for infants and 2.30pm for all other classes. 

No responsibility is accepted for pupils before 8.50am and after 2.30pm 

  • Ensure that boys attend school regularly. 
  • Familiarising themselves with and cooperate with the school code of behaviour and regularly remind children of same. 
  • Supervise and sign homework. 
  • Attend meetings at the school if requested. 
  • Ensure your child has all the necessary books and materials for school. 
  • Comply with school healthy eating and uniform policy. 
  • Communicate any influencing factors which may affect their childs behaviour. 
  • For safety reasons, the only item of jewellery allowed is a watch.  The school will not take responsibility for lost property. 

 

 

The role of the staff in implementing and supporting the Code of Behaviour: 

  • Refer to the Code of behaviour in class on a regular basis. 
  • Clarifying students understanding of expected behaviours. 
  • Discuss appropriate and inappropriate behaviour with the pupils.  
  • Learn and teach the rules. 
  • Use the SPHE programmes and extracurricular opportunities as a method of teaching skills for responsible behaviour and relationships. 
  • Support one another through advice and back-up. 
  • Staff through meetings are made aware of children’s circumstances and difficulties which affect their behaviour. 
  • Keep parents informed of their child’s behaviour, both positive and negative. 
  • Model good behaviour and create an atmosphere of mutual respect within the school. 
  • Be consistent in the implementation of the Code of Behaviour while being mindful that a teacher’s discretion is necessary in some circumstances. 
  • Use of Drama in the classroom. 
  • Use of the SPHE programme to deal with topics/situations that arise. 

 

 

The role of the B.O.M. in implementing and supporting the Code of Behaviour: 

  • B.O.M. has overall responsibility for the Code of Behaviour. 
  • Review, discuss, draft, amend and ratify the final document. 
  • Delegate responsibility for implementing the code to the Principal and staff, except in the case of when suspension and expulsion are being considered. 
  • Support the staff by providing funding for training, where necessary for staff who are dealing with exceptional problem behaviour. 

 

 

The role of the pupils in implementing the Code of Behaviour: 

  • Become involved in drafting the rules for the classroom, suggesting sanctions and rewards. 
  • Be involved in reviewing the class rules. 
  • Take responsibility for behaviour. 
  • Model good behaviour. 
  • Adhere to the school rules. 
  • Evaluate own behaviour, that of others and examine consequences of behaviour. 

 

 

Rewards: 

The school places greater emphasis on rewards than on sanctions in the belief that this will, in the long run, give the best results.  Rewards are used for good or improved behaviour and awarded at classroom level. 

The following are examples of rewards in use: 

  • Pupil of the week 
  • Homework passes 
  • Star system 
  • Lucky dip 
  • Class treats e.g. DVDs etc. 
  • Stickers 
  • Work displayed 
  • Positive note home 
  • Comment on homework journal 
  • Individual rewards systems 
  • Positive comment to principal 

 

 

Strategies for dealing with unacceptable behaviour: 

The following sanctions will be used in the event of unacceptable behaviour (not necessarily in this order): 

  • Reasoning with the pupil 
  • Reprimand (including advice on how to improve) 
  • Temporary separation from peers (in classroom or to another classroom) 
  • Informal communication with parents 
  • Loss of privileges 
  • Supervised detention during a break 
  • Prescribing additional work – including work at weekend 
  • Referral to Principal Teacher 
  • Formal communication with parents 

 

 

How sanctions change behaviour: 

Children are aware there are consequences for their behaviour, which in turn deters misbehaviour and promotes good behaviour. 

Behaviour is discussed with the child and the impact of their behaviour on others.  This encourages children to take responsibility for their behaviour and reflect on what they have done. 

 

 

Suspension 

Suspension is defined as requiring the pupil to absent himself from the school for a specified, limited period of school days.  The Board of Management of Scoil Lorcain has delegated the authority to suspend a pupil, to the principal for suspensions of up to three days. 

Suspension will only be used where all other sanctions have failed, or in instances of very Serious Misbehaviour. 

The decision to suspend a pupil requires serious grounds such as that: 

  • The pupils behaviour has had as seriously detrimental effect on the education of other pupils. 
  • The pupils 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. 

 

Teachers shall keep a written record of all instances of Serious Misbehaviour.  Before resorting to Suspension, the normal channels of communication between school and parents will be utilised.  Parents will be involved at an early stage, rather than a last resort. 

 

The factors to be considered before suspending a pupil as per the NEWB guidelines for schools pg. 72 will be used when considering a suspension.  See appendix 1 attached. 

 

 

Forms of suspension 

Immediate Suspension 

In exceptional circumstances, the Principal may consider an immediate suspension to be necessary where the continued presence of the pupil in the school at the time would represent a serious threat to the safety of pupils or staff of the school, or any other person.  Fair procedures must still be applied.  Where an immediate suspension is considered by the Principal to be warranted for reasons of the safety of the pupil, other pupils, staff or others, a preliminary investigation will be conducted to establish the case for the imposition of the suspension.  The formal investigation will immediately follow the imposition of the suspension.  All of the conditions for suspension apply to immediate suspension.  Parents will be notified, and arrangements made with them for the pupil to be collected. 

 

 

Procedures in respect of suspension 

Where a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant suspension, the school should observe the following procedures: 

  • Inform the pupil and their parents about the complaint 

The school will let the pupil and their parents know about the complaint, how it will be investigated, and that it could result in suspension.  Parents may be informed by phone or in writing, depending on the seriousness of the matter. 

 

  • Give parents and pupil an opportunity to respond 

Parents and pupil will be given an opportunity to respond before a decision is made and before any sanction is imposed.  A meeting with the pupil and their parents provides an opportunity for them to give their side of the story and to ask questions about the evidence of serious misbehaviour, especially where there is a dispute about the facts.  If the pupil and their parents fail to attend a meeting, the Principal will write advising of the gravity of the matter, the importance of attending a re-scheduled meeting and, failing that, the duty of the school authorities to make a decision to respond to the negative behaviour.  The school will record the invitations made to parents and their response. 

 

 

The period of Suspension 

A pupil will not be suspended for more than three days, except in exceptional circumstances where the Principal considers that a period of suspension longer than three days is needed in order to achieve a particular objective.  If a suspension longer than three days is being proposed by the Principal, the matter will be referred to the Board of Management for consideration and approval.  The Board of Management will normally place a ceiling of ten days on any one period of suspension imposed by it.  The Board will formally review any proposal to suspend a pupil, where the suspension would bring the number of days for which the pupil has been suspended in the current school year to twenty days or more.  Any such suspension is subject to appeal under section 29 of the Education Act 1998. 

 

 

Appeals 

The Board of Management will offer an opportunity to appeal a Principal’s decision to suspend a pupil.  In the case of decisions to suspend made by the Board of Management, an appeals process may be provided by the Patron. 

 

Section 29 Appeal 

Where the total number of days for which the pupil has been suspended in the current school year reaches twenty days, the parents, may appeal the suspension under section 29 of the Education Act 1998, as amended by the Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007. 

 

 

Implementing the Suspension 

Written Notification 

The Principal will notify the parents and the pupils in writing of the decision to suspend.  The letter will confirm: 

  • The period of the suspension and the dates on which the suspension will begin and end 
  • The reasons for the suspension 
  • Any study programme to be followed 
  • The arrangements for returning to school, including any commitments to be entered into by the pupil and the parents (for example, parents might be asked to reaffirm their commitment to the Code of Behaviour and to commit to an individual behaviour plan) 
  • The provision for an appeal to the Board of Management 
  • The right to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science (Education Act 1998, section 29) 

 

 

Grounds for removing a 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 1998. 

 

Re-integrating the pupil 

The school will plan to help the pupil to take responsibility for catching up on work missed. 

 

 

 

Clean Slate 

When suspension, is completed, a pupil will be given the opportunity and support for a fresh start.  Although a record is kept of the behaviour and any sanction imposed, once the sanction has been completed the school should expect the same behaviour of this pupil as of all other pupils. 

 

 

Records and Reports 

Records of investigation and decision making 

Formal written records will be kept of: 

  • The investigation (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 

 

Report to the Board of Management 

The Principal will report all suspensions to the Board of Management, with the reasons for and the duration of each suspension. 

 

Report to NEWB 

The Principal is required to report suspensions in accordance with the NEWB reporting guidelines (Education Welfare Act 2000, section 21(4)(a)). 

 

Review of use of suspension 

The Board of Management will review the use of suspension following the imposition of a suspension. 

 

 

Expulsion 

A pupil is expelled from the school when the Board of management makes a decision to permanently exclude him from the school.  Expulsion may be considered in an extreme case, in accordance with the Education Welfare Act.  The Board of Management of Scoil Lorcain has the authority to expel a pupil.  The school will have taken significant steps to address the misbehaviour and to avoid expulsion of a pupil including, as appropriate: 

  • Meeting with parents and the pupil to try to find ways of helping the pupil to change their behaviour 
  • Making sure that the pupil understands the possible consequences of their behaviour, if it should persist 
  • Ensuring that all other possible options have been tried 
  • Seeking 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) 

 

A proposal to expel a pupil requires serious grounds such as that: 

  • The 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 

The grounds for expulsion are similar to the grounds for suspension.  In addition to factors such as the degree of seriousness and the persistence of the behaviour, a key difference is that, where expulsion is considered, school authorities have tried a series of other interventions, and believe they have exhausted all possibilities for changing the pupil’s behaviour. 

 

Expulsion for a first offence 

There may be exceptional circumstances where the Board of Management forms the opinion that a pupil should be expelled for a first offence.  The kinds of behaviour that might result in a proposal to expel on the basis of a single breach of the code could include: 

  • A serious threat of violence against another pupil or member of staff 
  • Actual violence or physical assault 
  • Supplying illegal drugs to other pupils in the school 

 

The factors to be considered before expelling a pupil as per the NEWB guidelines for schools pg. 82 will be used when considering an expulsion.  See appendix 2 attached. 

 

 

Procedures in respect of expulsion 

Where a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant expulsion, the procedural steps will include: 

  1. A detailed investigation carried out under the direction of the Principal. 
  1. A recommendation to the Board of Management by the Principal. 
  1. Consideration by the Board of Management of the Principal’s recommendation; and the holding of a hearing. 
  1. Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing. 
  1. Consultations arranged by the Educational Welfare Officer. 
  1. Confirmation of the decision to expel. 

 

The school will refer to the guidelines pg 83-86 in the event of an expulsion.  Where expulsion is being considered the parents of the pupil involved will be given a copy of the procedures in relation to expulsion. 

 

 

Appeals 

A parent may appeal a decision to expel to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science (Education Act 1998 section 29).  An appeal may also be brought by the National Educational Welfare Board on behalf of a pupil. 

 

Review of use of expulsion 

The Board of Management will review the use of expulsion in the school following an expulsion. 

 

Keeping Records 

Class Level 

A misbehaviour record is kept by each class teacher using standard school report form.  The record notes the following: 

  • Incidents of misbehaviour  
  • Interventions used 
  • Record of improvement 
  • Record of discussion with parents 

School / Playground Level 

  • Date and time 
  • Incident of misbehaviour 
  • Pupils involved 
  • Signature of supervising teacher 

 

These report forms will be available from the office.  Records are stored in the school office and kept on file until a pupil has reached 21 years of age. 

 

 

Procedures for notification of pupil absences from school 

The Education Welfare Act, 2000, Section 18 stipulates that parents must notify the school of a pupil’s absence and the reason for this absence. 

 

Boys returning to school after an absence must bring a written explanation signed by a parent, or a doctor’s note.  Alternatively, parents may phone the school or call in personally when their child is absent.  These notes are kept for the current school year.  The school use the standard forms to report on pupil absences to the National Education Welfare Board. 

Parents are asked to notify the school immediately in the case of any infectious illness. 

 

Success Criteria: 

Identify some practical indicators of the success of the policy 

  • Positive feedback from teachers, parents, pupils 
  • Observation of behaviour in class rooms, corridors, yard 
  • Improvement of children’s behaviour as a result of merit sanctions 

 

 

Roles and responsibilities: 

  • Each class teacher has responsibility for implementation of policy in their own class. 
  • Whole staff responsibility in all other areas around the school. 
  • Principal has responsibility for informing new staff members, parents and Board of Management of the policy and ensuring consistent implementation of same. 
  • Support and co-operation of pupils and parents. 

Page BreakAppendix 1 

 

Suspension 

 

Factors to consider before suspending a student  

 

The nature and seriousness of the behaviour  

  • What is the precise description of the behaviour?  
  • How persistent has the unacceptable behaviour been? 
  • Has the problem behaviour escalated, in spite of the interventions tried? 

 

The context of the behaviour 

  • What are the circumstances of the incidents of serious misbehaviour (e.g. in class, in a particular teacher’s class, in the yard, in a group)? 
  • What factors may have triggered incidents of serious misbehaviour (e.g. bullying, cultural or family factors)? 
  • What is the age, stage of development and cognitive ability of the student? 
  • Are there any factors that may be associated with the behaviour (e.g. particular home circumstances, special educational needs)? 

 

The impact of the behaviour 

  • How are other students and staff affected by the student’s behaviour? 
  • What is the impact of the behaviour on the teaching and learning of the class? 
  • Does the behaviour have a particular or greater impact on some students or teachers? 
  • Does the student understand the impact of their behaviour on others? 

 

The interventions tried to date 

  • What interventions have been tried? Over what period? 
  • How have the interventions been recorded and monitored? 
  • What has been the result of those interventions? 
  • Have the parents been involved in finding a solution to the problem behaviour? 
  • Has the intervention of NEPS or other psychological assessment or counselling been sought, where appropriate? 
  • Are any other interventions such as peer mediation, restorative justice approaches or family conferencing available? 
  • Is the student or parent involved with any support service and has this agency or support service been asked for help in solving this problem? 
  • Has any other agency been asked for assistance (e.g. Child Guidance Clinic, Child and Adolescent services)? 

 

Whether suspension is a proportionate response 

  • Does the student’s behaviour warrant suspension? 
  • Is the standard being applied to judging the behaviour the same as the standard applied to the behaviour of any other student? 

 

The possible impact of suspension 

  • Will suspension allow additional or alternative interventions to be made? 
  • Will suspension help the student to change the inappropriate behaviour? 
  • How will suspension help teachers or other students affected by the behaviour? 
  • Will suspension exacerbate any educational vulnerability of the student? 

Page BreakAppendix 2 

 

Expulsion 

 

Factors to consider before proposing to expel a student 

 

The nature and seriousness of the behaviour 

  • What is the precise description of the behaviour? 
  • How persistent has the unacceptable behaviour been and over what period of time? 
  • Has the problem behaviour escalated, in spite of the interventions tried? 

 

The context of the behaviour 

  • What are the circumstances of the incidents of serious misbehaviour (e.g. in class, in a particular teacher’s class, in the yard, in a group)? 
  • What factors may have triggered or provoked incidents of serious misbehaviour (e.g. bullying, cultural or family factors)? 
  • Are there any factors that may be associated with the behaviour (e.g. particular home circumstances, special educational needs)? 

 

The impact of the behaviour 

  • How are other students and staff affected by the student’s behaviour? 
  • What is the impact of the behaviour on the teaching and learning of the class? 

 

The interventions tried to date 

  • What interventions have been tried? Over what period? 
  • How have the interventions been recorded and monitored? 
  • What has been the result of these interventions? 
  • Have the parents been involved in finding a solution to the problem behaviour? 
  • Has the intervention of NEPS or other psychological assessment or counselling been sought, where appropriate? 
  • Is the student or parent involved with any support service and has this agency or support service been asked for help in solving this problem? 
  • Has any other agency been asked for assistance (e.g. Child Guidance Clinic, Child and Adolescent Mental Health services)? 
  • Is the Board satisfied that no other intervention can be tried or is likely to help the student to change their behaviour? 

Page Break 

Whether expulsion is a proportionate response 

  • Is the student’s behaviour sufficiently serious to warrant expulsion? 
  • Is the standard being applied to judging the behaviour the same as the standard applied to the behaviour of any other student? 

 

The possible impact of expulsion 

  • To what extent may expulsion exacerbate any social or educational vulnerability of the student? 
  • Will the student be able to take part in, and benefit from, education with their peers? 
  • In the case of a student who is in care, what might be the implications of expulsion for the care arrangements?