Divine Word National School Code of Behaviour
This policy was formulated by the staff, pupils, parents and BOM of the Divine Word NS, Marley Grange.
It is necessary to revise the Code of Behaviour of the Divine Word School because:
- It is an area of concern identified by the school community
- The existing policy is due for review/amendment
- To ensure an orderly climate for learning in the school
- It is a requirement under DES Circular 20/90 on School Discipline
- It is 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:
- The standards of behaviour that shall be observed by each student attending the school;
- The measures that shall be taken when a student fails or refuses to observe those standards;
- The procedures to be followed before a student may be suspended or expelled from the school concerned;
- The grounds for removing a suspension imposed in relation to a student; and
- The procedures to be followed in relation to a child’s absence from school.
Relationship to characteristic spirit of the school
In the Divine Word NS we attempt to address co-operation between staff and pupils on a daily basis. Through our mission statement and school values we provide a harmonious environment and aim to nurture the potential of everyone in the whole school community. We hope that this Code of Behaviour will attempt to continue to develop positive relationships and values which exist in the school and to act as a framework for good behaviour.
By introducing this policy the school aims:
- To ensure an educational environment that is guided by our vision statement
- To allow the school to function in an orderly way 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 throughout the school
Content of policy
The policy is addressed under the following headings.
- Guidelines for behaviour in the school
- Whole school approach to promoting positive behaviour
- Board of Management
- Other areas in the school
- Rewards and acknowledgement of good behaviour
- Strategies for dealing with unacceptable behaviour
- Involving parents in management of problem behaviour
- Managing aggressive or violent behaviour
- School records
- Guidelines for behaviour in the school
The Education Welfare Act, Section 23, states that the code of behaviour shall specify “the standards of behaviour that shall be observed by each student attending the school”.
- The standards of behaviour this school wishes to expect from the pupils are as follows:
- We believe that respect in our school is defined by the following examples:
Manners and courtesy, listening, politeness, showing respect for difference, conversational skills and knowing when not to interrupt.
- Each pupil is expected to be well behaved and to show consideration for other children and adults
- Each pupil is expected to show respect for the property of the school, other children’s and their own belongings
- Each pupil is expected to attend school on a regular basis and to be punctual
- Each pupil is expected to do his/her best both in school and for homework and all curricular areas
- Each pupil shows respect for teachers, each other and anybody they come into contact with in the school
- We expect pupils to obey staff instructions
- Expect the pupil to have a positive attitude to school
- Each pupil is expected to have good manners in all areas of the school
- Whole school approach in promoting positive behaviour.
We in the Divine Word NS believe that a positive school ethos is based on the quality of relationships between teachers and the ways in which pupils and teachers treat each other. This positive ethos permeates all the activities of the school and helps in forming a strong sense of social cohesion within then school.
In our school we treat all children with respect and dignity. There is a strong sense of community and co-operation among staff, pupils, and parents and all are agreed that their focus is primarily on the promotion and recognition of positive behaviour.
- We have a Merit System in place which rewards pupils for positive behaviour around the school and in the yard.
- We operate a Pupil Of The Week award in each classroom which rewards pupils for good work, behaviour etc.
- Teachers in our school strongly believe in the benefits of praise and encouragement.
- Each teacher also operates his/her own in-class reward schemes.
Throughout the year we strive to improve and maintain our Code of Behaviour in the following ways:
- Discussions at Staff meetings
- We have a mentoring programme for new staff where the Code of Behaviour is explained.
- Our Code of Behaviour is explained to new parents of Junior Infants before they start school.
- Information on our Code of Behaviour is included in our school booklet which parents receive on enrolment and is also on our school website on www.divinewordns.ie
We believe that all staff should be aware of this Code of Behaviour, including Principal, teachers, secretarial staff, caretaker and special needs assistants. Details of our Code of Behaviour are included in the information pack that new members and temporary members of staff receive.
The school’s SPHE curriculum is used to support the code of behaviour. It aims to help our children develop communication skills, appropriate ways of interacting and behaving, and conflict resolution skills. It also aims to foster self-esteem and to help children accommodate differences and develop citizenship. A number of different teaching methodologies are addressed including Circle Time, Bubble Time, Co-operative Games and project work
Board of Management
‘The Board of Management has a role to play in the maintenance of desirable standards of behaviour in a school. It should be supportive of the Principal Teacher in the application of a fair code of behaviour and discipline within the school’ (Circular 20/90).
The Board of management of the Divine Word National School has overall responsibility for ensuring that the Code of Behaviour is prepared and revised in line with current legislation.
The Board will be informed of any changes and revisions which may need to be addressed by the principal and/or the teacher rep.
The Board of management has particular responsibility for the ethos of the school and overall responsibility for policies .The Board will play an active role in exploring the kinds of relationships and behaviours that will reflect the schools responsibilities and ethos.
The Board will ensure that all members of the school community have the opportunity to be involved in work and revisions of this code. It will formally record the adoption of the code of behaviour, the commencement date and decisions about when the code will be reviewed.
The Board of Management will also deal with serious breaches of the code by meeting with all parties concerned. A number of strategies may be developed arising from such meetings and these may include suspension and/or expulsion. The Board gives permission to the Principal to suspend a pupil for no more that 3 days, after which formal procedures will be adopted.
Parents and their role in discipline
‘Evidence seems to indicate that schools which succeed in achieving and maintaining high standards of behaviour and discipline tend to be those with the best relationships with parents’
The following are strategies that will be used in reporting to parents:
- Note home for a minor misbehaviour to be signed by the parent.
- Informal meeting at the door, particularly in the infant classes.
- For repeated misbehaviours we invite the parents in for a meeting.
- On a regular basis parents and teachers would meet to monitor the situation. Occasionally children would be invited to attend one of these meetings to encourage ownership of their own behaviour
For serious misbehaviours the principal would attend the meeting.
On enrolment every parent will receive a copy of the discipline policy.
There is an infant meeting in June for new parents and the discipline policy is discussed.
Parents support the school in the promotion of positive behaviour and the maintenance of high standards of behaviour in the following ways
- They are aware and cooperate with the schools system of rewards and sanctions
- Ensure children are at school on time
- Attend meetings at the school if requested
- Help children with homework and ensure its completed
- Ensure children have the necessary books and materials for school
- Arrange educational talks for other parents on related topics dealing with discipline
- Pupils in Senior Classes and the Student Council were consulted in the drafting of this Code of Behaviour.
- Pupils in the school play an ongoing part in the implementation of this code in the following ways:
- The drafting of Classrooom Rules
- Taking part in School Assemblies
- Working on the Student Council.
- Buddy Systems.
- Assisting in the Junior Yard.
Pupils are constantly given opportunities to monitor and review the Code of Behaviour through classroom discussions and debates, formulation of new rules and through the Student Council.
‘The most effective methodology that teachers develop in attempting to manage challenging behaviour is to prevent it occurring in the first place’. (Managing Challenging Behaviour, Guidelines for teachers INTO 2004: 5).
The following positive strategies are used by staff to effectively manage behaviour in the classroom. e.g.
- “Ground rules” / behavioural expectations in each class that are consistent with the ethos as expressed in the code of behaviour and which set a positive atmosphere for learning
- Pupil input in devising the class rules
- Teachers model positive behaviour and ensure that pupils understand and are frequently reminded of how they are expected to behave
- A clear system of acknowledging and rewarding good behaviour and sanctions for misbehaviour
- Classroom management techniques that ensure a variety of activities and methodologies to sustain pupil interest and motivation, for example in SPHE, Golden Time, Pupil of the Week and ‘Catch Them being Good’.
The positive strategies which we as a staff in the Divine Word NS implement to promote good behaviour, to prevent behavioural difficulties and to deal with incidences of unacceptable behaviour are as follows:
A concise set of playground rules which emphasise positive behaviour and make it clear what activities are permitted are developed.
- Freeze at the first bell
- Walk to the line up at the second bell
- Line up until the teacher comes.
- Respect the boundaries
- Ask the teacher to go to the toilet
- No toys in the yard except skipping ropes in the designated area.
- Fifth class children to assist in the Junior yard
(an infant teacher to co-ordinate the activities of the fifth class helpers. They will be aware of the rules and act accordingly in conjunction with the 5th class teachers).
- There are organised activities in ways that will minimise misbehaviour e.g. skipping and painted play zones in the yard.
- The yard includes 2nd to 6th
- Basketball yard is alternated between 5th and 6th classes on a weekly basis.
- Weather permitting, the football pitch is alternated between 2nd to 6th.Each class supply their own ball( brought to school in a bag)
- No toys are allowed in the yard except skipping ropes.
- Children should remain in their designated boundaries at all times
- All pupils line up when they hear the bell
- The arrangements for supervision in the playground are noted on the staff noticeboard and each teacher would have a copy.
- There are always two teachers on the yard .
- When a teacher changes duty it must be immediately noted on the staff noticeboard.
Misbehaviour in the yard
- When incidents of misbehaviour occur, the teacher on duty will fill the incident book and report to classroom teacher.
- Whilst still out on the yard the pupil may be asked to stand at the wall for a time out.
- A separate incident report sheet is completed for more serious misbehaviours ( See Report Keeping..Section 6 for more details)
- The arrangements for wet days are that all pupils stay in their seatsand have suitable activities to do. Sixth class pupils remain in the room from Junior Infants to First to assist with activities.
- The teachers on duty go from class to class whilst supervising ensuring all children are safe and seated.
- The teacher on duty will use appropriate sanctions for misbehaviour by a pupil, e.g. removal from the classroom to stand on the corridor.
Use of the Toilet
- In each yard there is a designated classroom which remains open.
- Children ask permission from the teacher on duty.
- In the Junior Yard, a fifth class pupil will remain at the outside classroom door until the child comes out.
Other areas in the school
The following are examples of positive strategies:
When in the corridor, pupils will always walk on the left hand side in single file quietly.
Each child will be allocated a computer number before leaving the classroom.
Teachers can alternate children between old and new computers
Pupils going to Learning Support should have a checklist on their folder of what is needed
Children are expected to behave in the school hall, act in a safe responsible manner and respect school property
Library Rules include:
- Handle books with care
- Return books to correct shelf
- Be quiet
- Classes might be allocated extra DEAR time if the room is left in a correct fashion
Rewards and acknowledgement of good behaviour (see grids)
Strategies for dealing with unacceptable behaviour
The Education (Welfare) Act 2000, Section 23, states that a school must outline ‘the measures that may be taken if a student fails to observe the standards of behaviour that the school has outlined’.
Behaviours are categorised into 3 main categories in the Divine Word NS. They are:
- Minor Misbehaviours.
- major misbehaviours
- More Serious Misbehaviours.
The following strategies are used in responding to incidents of unacceptable behaviour.
- Reasoning with the pupil
- Reprimand (including advice on how to improve)
- Temporary separation from peers, friends or others
- Loss of privileges
- Detention during a break .
- Prescribing additional work
- Referral to Principal Teacher
- Communication with parents
- Suspension (See Section 5 on Suspension)
For Sanctions see attached grids.
Involving parents in management of problem behaviour
‘Parents should be kept fully informed from the outset of instances of serious misbehaviour on the part of their children. It is better to involve parents at an early stage than as a last resort.’ (Circular 20/90).
When a pupil’s behaviour is a source of concern:
- The class teacher will inform the parents through a journal note
- If the problem persists the class teacher will make contact with the parent and a meeting may be organised. This meeting is for the childs benefit and parents and teacher should co-operate and work together to try and resolve the issue/behaviour.
- If the above fails or if the behaviour persists an appointment should be made with the principal and teacher to further resolve the issue/behaviour…always keeping in mind the central needs of the child.
- Depending on the behaviour/issue, the child may or may not be present at the meeting.
- Parents are encouraged to contact the school if they have concerns by firstly making an appointment with the class teacher Depending on the seriousness of the situation, the appointment may be made with the Principal, however every effort should be made to resolve the misbehaviour/issue at class level.
- If the behaviour/issue cannot be resolved by this stage then it may be referred to the Board of Management.
- Complaints procedures are per DES guidelines and are communicated to parents through the school booklet.
Managing aggressive or violent misbehaviour
- Children who are emotionally disturbed are immediately referred for psychological assessment.
- Through the Special Educational Needs Organiser, appropriate support is sought from services available e.g. Health Service Executive, NEPS, …
- S.E.N. personnel may facilitate teachers in sharing practice and support in the management of challenging behaviour.
- Some teachers may act as mentors for particular children or in assisting teachers in the creation of individual behaviour plans for specific children
- There is a mentoring system for newly qualified teachers to support them in this area.
- Professional development will be available to staff on an ongoing basis e.g. SESS, Colleges of Education, ProfExcel courses, Education Centres, …
- If physical restraint is used as a strategy for dealing with violent or threatening behaviour, school personnel will be advised to read Managing Challenging Behaviour – Guidelines for Teachers, INTO 2004: 11 and the BOM will consult competent legal advice. This should be communicate to all staff at the commencement of each school year.
In the event of seriously violent or threatening behaviour causing a risk to the safety of the pupil himself/herself or the safety of other pupils or staff, a temporary exclusion will be enforced while consultation with the SENO and/or EWO takes place about appropriate resourcing and/or alternative placement.
The Education Welfare Act, 2000, stipulates that a code of behaviour shall specify… ‘the procedures to be followed before a student may be suspended or expelled from the school concerned‘ and ‘the grounds for removing a suspension imposed in relation to a student.‘(Sections 23(2) c, d)
The principal shall inform the education welfare officer, by notice in writing, when a student is suspended from a recognised school for a period of not less than 6 days. (Sections 21(4) a )
Circular 20/90 states that ‘Parents should be informed of their right to come to the school and be invited to do so in order to discuss the misbehaviour with the Principal Teacher and/or the class teacher. This should always be done when the suspension of a pupil is being contemplated‘.
The school’s procedure in relation to suspension and expulsion is as follows:
- Major Misbehaviours may warrant suspension( see grid)
- The Board of Management has authorised either the Principal to exclude a pupil from the school for a maximum initial period of three school days (Rule 130, Section 5, Rules for National Schools)
Before a suspension is considered all other means of dealing with the behaviour should have been tried and parents should have been aware of the situation from previous meetings. However certain misbehaviours such as assaulting a teacher, SNA, or more violent misbehaviour may warrant an immediate suspension.
- Parents are invited to the school to discuss the intention to exclude
- After a period of suspension, the parents must bring the child back to the school for re-admission.
The school will use a fair procedure when suspending any pupil. Once the assessment of the facts confirm that the misbehaviour warrants suspension the school will observe the following procedures:
- The school informs the parents of the complaint, how it will be investigated and that it could result in suspension. Parents may be informed by phone or in writing.
- Written/typed records will be kept at all times.
- Parents and students will be given an opportunity to respond before a decision is made.
- In the case of an immediate suspension, an investigation occurs to establish the case
- The formal investigation should then immediately follow the imposition of the suspension.
- All of the conditions for the suspension apply to the immediate suspension. No suspension including an immediate suspension should be open ended.
- Parents will be notified and arrangements made for the pupil to be collected in the case of an immediate suspension.
- After the period of suspension the child must express an intention to improve whilst parents and teacher monitor the situation and keep in touch with each other.
- If the period of suspension is in excess of three days a special decision of the Board of Management is required (Rule 130, Section 5, Rules for National Schools) Parents may be given the opportunity to be heard by the Board before a decision is reached
- The EWO is notified for any periods of suspension.
Expulsion (permanent exclusion)
Under the Education Welfare Act, 2000, ‘A student shall not be expelled from a school before the passing of twenty school days following the receipt of a notification under this section by an educational welfare officer’ (Section 24(4)) It is the right of a Board of Management to take ‘…such other reasonable measures as it considers appropriate to ensure that good order and discipline are maintained in the school concerned and that the safety of students is secured.’ (Section 24(5))
Under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998, parents (or pupils who have reached the age of 18) 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. Accordingly, schools should advise parents of this right of appeal and associated timeframe if it has been decided to suspend or permanently exclude a pupil. 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)
- Parents/guardians are informed of their entitlement to appeal a decision of the Board of Management in relation to suspension or expulsion by the Chairperson of the Board. Parents be given a copy of Circular 22/02 and any related forms.
- The Chairperson of the BOM will prepare a response if and when an appeal is being investigated by the Dept of Education and Science.(Section 12, Circular 22/02 – Processing of an Appeal)
- Each teacher is expected to maintain a record of positive and negative behaviours.
- If there is a child with recognised repeated major misbehaviours, separate record record sheets will be kept by teacher and the principal and passed on to the next teacher. (all records will be kept in a safe place to maintain confidentiality.)
- In infant classes the children are assessed in the areas of attentiveness and behaviour ( Belfield Assessments)
- Teachers keep records of pupil of the week.
- In the yard kit there is an incident book for minor and major misbehaviours which must be filled out by the supervising teacher. The Deputy Principal monitors this book on a weekly basis and sanctions accordingly.When a child appears in the book 3 times, he/she receives a lunchtime detention. Parents are informed of this detention.
- Incident report sheets need to be filled out by the supervising teacher if there is an accident or serious misbehaviour. A copy is then given to the class teacher and the principal and a copy also retained by the supervising teacher. (See Section 3 playground.)
Parents/Guardians must send in a note informing teachers in writing of their child’s absence from school and the reason for this absence. These notes must be signed and dated by the parent/guardian. These notes will be maintained and kept by the class teacher in the classroom for the academic year and then in the schools office for another 12 months.
The teacher fills in the standard application form for 20 Day Absences and gives it to the principal promptly who ensures this is processed correctly and forwarded to the Educational Welfare Officer.
The Education Welfare Act, 2000, Section 23 (2)(e) states that the code of behaviour must specify, “the procedures to be followed in relation to a child’s absence from school.” Section 18 stipulates that parents must notify the school of a student’s absence and the reason for this absence.
- The following are used to encourage school attendance:
- Creating a stimulating and attractive school environment
- System for acknowledging/rewarding good or improved attendance
- Adapting curriculum content and methodologies to maximise relevance to pupils
- Adapting the class and school timetables to make it more attractive to attend and to be on time
- Making parents aware of the terms of the Education Welfare Act and its implications.
- Prizes/certificates at end of year for children on no absences.
The following school policies have a bearing on the code of behaviour e.g.
- SPHE plan
- Record keeping
- Home / School links
- Health & Safety
- Special Educational Needs.
The following are some practical indicators of the success of the policy
- Observation of positive behaviour in class rooms, playground and school environment
- Practices and procedures listed in this policy being consistently implemented by teachers and parents.
- Positive feedback from teachers, parents and pupils
Roles and Responsibility
The following have particular responsibilities for aspects of the policy.
- The BOM monitors success, feedback and implementation of the policy.
- Teachers, parents, staff, and pupils of the Divine Word NS have responsibility for the implementation of this policy
- The BOM, Principal and teachers of the Divine Word NS will coordinate and monitor the implementation of this policy.
This policy will be implemented from April 1st 2009.
Timetable for Review
After a period of 5yr this policy will be reviewed and amended.
Ratification & Communication
The Board of Management officially ratified this policy on March 9th 2009.
- Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 Section 23(1 -5), 24 (1-5) (DES website)
- Education Act, 1998 Section 15 (2(d)) (DES website)
- Circular 20/90 on Discipline (DES web site www.irlgov.ie/educ). Also as Appendix 54 CPSMA Handbook
- Circular 22/02 Appeals Procedures under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998.
(DES website). Deals with appeals under the following headings:
(1) Permanent exclusion from a school
(3)Refusal to enrol
- Department of Education and Science Guidelines on Countering Bullying Behaviour in Primary and Post Primary Schools (1993) available on DES website
- Report to the Minister of Education Niamh Breathnach, T.D. on Discipline in Schools. Maeve Martin Spring 1997. Ch. 4 p.56-61 Recommendations for Schools
- Stay Safe and Walk Tall Programmes
- Management Board Members’ Handbook. Revised 2004. CPSMA.
*Appendix 42 p.171 Rule 130 of the Rules for National Schools
*Appendix 54 p.192 Guidelines for School Behaviour and Discipline.
*Appendix 55 p.194 A suggested Code of Behaviour & Discipline for National Schools
*These references apply until new guidelines are issued by the Education Welfare Board
- Managing Challenging Behaviour: Guidelines for Teachers- INTO- 2004.
- Towards Positive Behaviour in Primary Schools. INTO. 2006
- Enhancing Self Esteem INTO 1995
- The Education Act 1998. The Education Welfare Act 2000. Questions and Answers INTO
- The Principal’s Legal Handbook Oliver Mahon B.L. IVEA 2002 Ch. 2 School Discipline
- Responding to Bullying. First Steps for Teachers. The Cool School Programme. NE Health Board
- Investigating and Resolving Bullying in Schools. The Cool School Programme. NE Health Board
- Stop it! Steps to Address Bullying. Wexford Education Network. Wexford Area Partnership. Phone: 053 23994
- Quality Circle Time in the primary school. Jenny Mosley. LDA 2000
- Working towards a Whole School Policy on Self-Esteem and Positive Behaviour. Jenny Mosley. Positive Press 2001
- Working Together – to promote positive behaviour in classrooms, CEDR, Mary Immaculate College of Education (due for publication Autumn 2006)
- Achieving Positive Behaviour. A Practical Guide. Patricia Dwyer. Marino
- Websites: NPC: www.npc.ie ; IPPN: www.ippn.ie; INTO: www.into.ie; SDPS: www.sdps.ie; SESS: www.sess.ie; PCSP: www.pcsp.ie
- Chaplain, R. Teaching without Disruption. Routledge 2003
- Good, T.L. and J. Brophy, 1987. Looking in classrooms. 4th ed. New York: Harper and Row.
- Good, T.L. and J. Brophy, 1995. Contemporary Educational Psychology. New York: Longman Publishers USA.
- Gray, P., Miller, A. and J. Noakes, (eds). Challenging Behaviour in Schools. Macmillan
- Humphreys, H., 1993 a. A Different Kind of Teacher. Cork: Carrig Print.
- Humphreys, H., 1993 b. Self-esteem the Key to your Child’s Education. Cork: Carrig Print.
- Westwood, P., 2004. Commonsense Methods for Children with Special Educational Needs. London and New York: Routledge Falmer.
Discussion Regarding Class Rewards
1st and 2nd Class
Points for groups
3rd and 4th Class
5th and 6th Class
As before +
Focus on 3 behaviours for the week and whole class reward
Whole School Reward Scheme
Pupil of the week
Principal and class teacher
Weekly class assembly
Good yard behaviour
Extra play time
Merit award System
When card is completed(either 10 or 20 signatures) badge/prize awarded in assembly.
Individual class teacher
Based on class teachers choice.
More Serious Misbehaviours
Class teacher to parent
Repeated more serious
No external outings