Code of Behaviour

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Mission Statement

Our school exists to serve the educational needs of the community which we serve. We aspire to provide an environment which acknowledges educational achievement, enhances student self-confidence promotes life skills and attitudes which will enable students to live fulfilling lives and so contribute to the betterment of society. We actively aspire to develop partnership between teachers, parents and the wider community.

The school, through information sessions, information booklets and meetings with parents seeks to promote a partnership between home and school to facilitate the transition of students from primary to secondary school. The academic needs of students are assessed and where learning support is needed it is provided. Pupils are advised and helped to get themselves organised for school and to make good progress at school.

Pastoral Structures and Procedures which promote positive discipline:

Each teacher takes a pastoral interest in their students, advising them of their expectations in class and how to complete assignments. Each teacher will advise students with regard to appropriate classroom behaviour.

Each year group will have a Year Head. The Year Head will monitor student behaviour, attendance and academic progress. S/he will be sensitive to information with regard to the personal background and circumstances of individual students and will bring such information to the attention of the school authorities as appropriate.

Students will be encouraged to set goals for themselves regarding their relations with each other, their relations with people in authority and progress in their work. Each student will be encouraged to seek excellence in striving to do their own personal best in these three areas.

Formal Code of Behaviour:

The Code of Behaviour has been drawn up with the aim of helping students to mature into socially conscious caring adults who are motivated to achieving their full potential. The Code is set out in a user-friendly, positive way for students as the Golden Rule. (See Appendix 1)

The Code of Behaviour has the following aims:

  • To train students in self-understanding and self-discipline.

 

  • To train students to have respect and consideration for one another.

 

  • To create an appropriate learning environment for students.

 

  • To prepare our students for the responsibilities of the adult world.

 

School Rules                

  1. Students must attend school regularly and punctually. Satisfactory written explanations must be given for all absences, beforehand if possible.
  2. Students must be neatly groomed and must wear the full correct uniform at all times.
  3. Students must treat one another courteously and must show proper respect for one another’s property.
  4. All school property must be treated with respect. Students may be required to pay for any damage to such property.
  5. Due respect must be shown to all members of the Staff at all times.
  6. Students must come to class on time, bring with them all the required texts etc., and during class behave in a manner that allows both themselves and others to gain full benefit from the lesson being given.
  7. While in Specialist Rooms e.g. Laboratories, Practical Rooms, Computer Rooms etc. and on playing fields, playing courts etc. students must adhere to regulations laid down in the interest of safety.
  8. All pupils must have a Homework Journal. All homework, written and/or learned should be noted at the end of each class period. All homework assigned must be properly learned and presented.
  9. While in the school building students must not run and must adhere to regulations about movement from one classroom to another.
  10. Students must not absent themselves from class without permission.
  11. Only 6th year students have permission to leave the school premises at morning break time. Students must not place themselves out of bounds.
  12. Students are reminded that while wearing school uniform they are representing our school and must ensure that they do not behave in a manner that will bring discredit on themselves, their parents or their school.
  13. The use of certain substances e.g. tobacco, chewing gum, etc., is forbidden. Alcoholic drink and drugs are banned and any breach will be viewed as extremely serious, will result in automatic suspension for a period and may have much more serious consequences.
  14. The use of Mobile Phones is prohibited in the school.

Sanctions

Sanctions range from a word of warning to expulsion. It is expected that students will accept and respond positively to correction from members of Staff be it inside or outside of the classroom. Students who fail to do so or who repeatedly disregard any regulation may be given a period of detention. This may be after school or during lunchtime. A system of Complaint and Report Cards may also be used. Further sanctions may include temporary confiscation of property, suspension from school and expulsion.

In most cases these level of sanction follow one another. However, in certain cases, the degree of disrespect or disregard for school rules shown by a single act may warrant that a student be immediately suspended or expelled without going through the process of the minor sanctions.

 

 Corrective Structures and Procedures

The initial sanctions outlined above are effective for the majority of students. However a small number of students may require further attention. The following structures and procedures indicate how the situation will normally be dealt with when the need arises.

  • The teacher deals with the issue
  • The matter is referred to the Principal/Deputy Principal.
  • The matter may be referred to the Board of Management. The Board may be asked to consider expulsion.
  • The matter may be referred by way of appeal to the VEC under Section 29 of the Education Act.
  • The matter may be referred by way of further appeal to Department of Education and Science under Section 29 of the Education Act.

General Procedures          

  1. Any breach of classroom discipline will, in the first instance, be dealt with by the classroom teacher. The classroom teacher may counsel, reprimand or impose a sanction on the student as appropriate. Sanctions include; a written punishment exercise, contact with parents, detention for a short period after class (15 minutes maximum) or at breaktime.
  2. Where the behaviour is repeated or is of a more serious nature, the class teacher will complete a written complaint card.
  3. Where the above procedures have been followed and there is persistent low-level disruption or misconduct; where there is a once-off incident of a very serious nature – intimidation, bullying, bad language, damage to property, harassment, refusal to obey reasonable instructions or disruption to the educational process; where students have failed to comply with the sanctions outlined above or where there are other considerations which merit it, the matter may be referred to the Deputy Principal or Principal. The Deputy Principal or Principal will investigate the matter. Following investigation sanctions may be applied ~ these may include counselling the student, reprimand, detention, issuing a Report Card, contacting parents, inviting parents to visit the school, formal written warning to parents, a recommendation for suspension or other sanction. Where a student is placed on detention 24 hours notice is given to the student.
  4. Where an investigation is carried out a brief note will be maintained by the person carrying it out. Where any student is interviewed about alleged or suspected wrongdoing by others or by themselves a brief note of the interview will be taken; students may be asked to make a written statement about their knowledge of an incident.
  5. Where there is persistent low-level disruption or misconduct and the student has failed to respond to the strategies followed so far; where there is a once-off incident of a very serious nature; where students have failed to comply with the sanctions outlined above or where there are other considerations which merit it, the matter may be referred to the Principal. The Principal will review the matter and will, if necessary, engage in further investigation. Following review and/or investigation one or more of the sanctions outlined in paragraph 3 above may be applied. The principal may suspend a student from the school for a period of up to six days. The principal will report on discipline matters to the Board of Management where appropriate.
  6. Decisions to suspend a student for a period of more than six days will be considered by the Board of Management. A decision to expel a student rests with the Board of Management in conjunction with the VEC. Where it is decided to expel a student, or where the cumulative number of days on suspension for a particular student exceeds twenty in one school year, parents will be informed of their right to appeal the decision to the VEC and subsequently (if necessary) to the Department of Education and Science under Section 29 of the Education Act.
  7. The National Education Welfare Board will be informed of any suspension of six days or more and of any expulsion. The NEWB shall also be informed if any suspension gives rise to a situation where a student’s total absences for the school year exceed 20 days. Appeals may be made to the Department of Education and Science in the case of an expulsion or where the cumulative total number of days on suspension for a student exceeds twenty in any one year.

 

Procedures to be followed in the event of a Suspension

  1. The matter will be very serious: either a pattern of persistent misconduct or a serious once-off incident.
  2. The issue will be fully investigated by the principal or deputy or a person with delegated responsibility, other than the offended party. Witnesses to the event(s) may be interviewed. A written record of the investigation will be kept.
  3. The student against whom the complaint is made will be given an opportunity to present their side of the story. The student will be asked to give an account in writing.
  4. The parents (or guardians) will be given an opportunity to present their case. Where a suspension is being considered a student may be required to stay at home until their parents/guardians visit the school.
  5. Parents will normally be advised in writing of a decision to suspend. The letter will include the following
  • Notification of the decision & reason(s) for same
  • The effective date and duration of the suspension
  • A clear statement that the student is under the care of the parents/guardians for the duration of the suspension
  • Expectations of a student while on suspension
  • Requirements and Procedures for the formal re-introduction of the student into the school
  • If the NEWB has been informed, this should be stated
  • Rights of appeal e.g. Section 29 Appeal if applicable. If consideration is being given to expulsion as a sanction in this instance, the letter must state this unambiguously.
  1. The Principal may suspend a student for up to six days. All suspensions will be reported to the Board of Management at their next ordinary meeting.
  2. Suspensions for a period longer than six days will normally be considered by the Board of Management, except in the case of very a disruptive pupil who has already been suspended. In this case the Board may delegate authority to suspend such a pupil for up to two weeks to the principal. Prior to a decision being made to suspend a pupil parents will be given an opportunity to make their case to the Board or Principal.
  3. Where the Board of Management suspends a student, and the cumulative number of days suspension for that student exceeds twenty in any one school year, parents will be informed of their right to appeal the decision to the VEC and subsequently (if necessary) to the Department of Education and Science.
  4. Where a proposal to suspend is before the Board of Management and a student is involved in a further serious disciplinary incident that student may be required to stay at home or suspended for a period up to three days, until the matter is decided upon by the Board of Management, whichever is the earlier. In that event the Board will take the further incident into account in reaching its decision.

 

  1. Grounds for removing a suspension: Following a suspension the parents/guardians (or student over 18 years) may seek a meeting with the Principal to discuss the matter further. Where the school is satisfied that new circumstances have come to light that have a bearing on the matter, the decision to suspend may be reviewed (by those who made the decision) and an alternative sanction imposed if deemed appropriate.

 

Procedures to be followed in the event that expulsion is being considered

 

  1. The matter will be very serious: either a pattern of persistent misconduct or a serious once-off incident.
  2. The issue will be fully investigated by the principal or deputy or a person with delegated responsibility, other than the offended party. Witnesses to the event(s) may be interviewed. A written record of the investigation will be kept.
  3. The student against whom the complaint is made will be given an opportunity to present their side of the story. The student will be asked to give an account in writing.
  4. The parents/guardians will be given an opportunity to present their case. Where an expulsion is being considered a student may be required to stay at home until the matter is referred to the Board of Management and VEC.
  5. An emergency meeting of the Board of Management and VEC, with a single item agenda will be called, as soon as practicable and normally within 6 school days to determine the issue, A minimum of three days notice will be given to parents in such a case.
  6. At the start of the meeting the Chairperson shall enquire whether any member has a conflict of interest in respect of the matter being considered by the Board. Where the Board is satisfied that a conflict of interest exists, the member(s) involved shall withdraw from the meeting at the same time as the parents (or guardians), student (if over 18 and representing himself or herself) and the principal.
  7. Written documentation will be supplied to parents and Board Members with the notice of the Board meeting. Such documentation will include
  • The details of the allegation against the student
  • A copy of the case to be presented against the student at the Board hearing
  • A copy of any supporting documentation that may be used by the school in support of its case. A clear statement that expulsion is being considered as a sanction in this instance.
  • An invitation to make a written submission and/or to be present and heard at the hearing.
  • Expectations of the student (while on suspension pending a hearing).
  • A statement that the NEWB has been informed, this should be stated.
  • Rights of appeal e.g. Section 29 Appeal.
  1. Parents may be accompanied at the Board hearing but, as this is a lay forum, legal representation is not the normal practice.
  2. The principal will present the case against the student and will be available to answer questions from parents and Board Members,
  3. The parents/guardians (or student over 18) will present their case and will be and will be available to answer questions from parents and Board Members.
  4. Once the principal and the parents have made their cases they will withdraw from the meeting.
  5. Should the Board require the professional advice of the principal, the principal may be invited to return to the meeting briefly for that purpose. While the principal is present, there will be no discussion on the merits of the particular case being considered.
  6. When considering an expulsion or a long-term suspension the Board will ensure that the following factors are given due consideration:
    • the seriousness of the misbehaviour
    • the likelihood of a recurrence
    • the impact the misbehaviour is having on the learning of others
    • the safety of students and teachers in the school
    • the degree to which the behaviour was in violation of written school rule(s) and the relative importance of the rule(s)
    • whether the incident was perpetrated by the individual on his/her own or whether as part of a group; if as part of a group, the extent to which the individual is responsible for the misbehaviour
    • the extent to which parental, peer or other pressure may have contributed to the misbehaviour
    • the frequency of misbehaviour from the student
    • the cumulative discipline record of the student
    • what other sanctions have been tried and the level of success of such sanctions
    • the responses of the student and his/her parents or guardians to any previous misbehaviour
    • the academic, attendance and extra-curricular record of the student
    • the age of the student
    • whether the student is of school-leaving age
    • whether the student is due to sit for any State Examinations in the near future
  1. The Board will reach its decision and will record the reasons for deciding as it does.
  2. Where the Board of Management and VEC decides to expel a student a student, the parents/guardians (and/or a student over 18) the student and will be informed by letter delivered by registered post. The letter will include the following;
  • Notice of the decision to expel and the effective date of the expulsion (this shall not be before the passing of 20 school days following the receipt by an educational welfare officer of the notification to expel).
  • The reasons for the expulsion.
  • Their right to appeal the decision under Section 29 of the Education Act and information about the Appeal process including the titles, phone number(s) and addresses of the relevant authorities and that the student will remain out of the school until the outcome of an Appeal (if any) is known.
  • A statement the National Education Welfare Board (NEWB) has been informed.
  • A clear statement that the student is under the care of the parents/guardians for the period of 20 days required by the Education Welfare Officer of the NEWB to examine alternative provision for the student.
  • Expectations of the student while under the care of his/her parents/guardians.

 

Appendix 1                                            

THE GOLDEN RULE

The golden rule sets out in a positive manner our expectations of all students in the school. A copy of The Golden Rule is placed in every classroom in the school. The rule, which applies to all in the school community, adults and young people alike, states that “Respect will be shown to all persons at all times!”

In other words, we will all act with courtesy and consideration to one another at all times.

This means that:

  1. You always try to understand other people’s point of view.
  2. In class you make it as easy as possible for everyone to learn and for the teacher to teach. (This means arriving on time with everything you need for that lesson, beginning and ending the lesson in a courteous and orderly way, listening carefully, following instructions, helping each other when appropriate and being quiet and sensible at all times).
  3. You move gently and quietly about the school. (This means never running, barging or shouting, but being ready to help by opening doors, standing back to let people pass and helping to carry thing). On the corridors please keep to the left.
  4. You always speak politely to everyone (even if you feel bad tempered’) and use a low voice. (Shouting is always discourteous).
  5. You are silent whenever you are required to be.
  6. You keep the school clean and tidy so that it is a welcoming place we can all be proud of. (This means putting all litter in bins, keeping walls and furniture clean and unmarked and taking great care of displays, particularly of other people’s work).
  7. Out of school, walking locally or with a school group, you always know that the school’s reputation depends on the way you behave.

As part of our Code of Behaviour we have a very strong policy against Bullying, The Anti-Bullying Policy is available on request- It is part of our Anti-Bullying Code that

  • Every pupil is entitled to an education free from harassment or abuse and bullying is not tolerated in the school.
  • There should be no unwelcome name-calling, skitting, teasing, verbal abuse, physical abuse or fighting; no unwelcome comments about a pupil or their family.
  • Any incident brought to the attention of teachers or the school authorities will be taken seriously and investigated. If the problem persists the perpetrator(s) may face serious disciplinary sanctions.

If you are being bullied or are the subject of unwelcome attention or if you are aware that anyone else is suffering in this way, please tell someone you trust immediately. It is very important that we are informed about any unwelcome incidents as soon as possible.