This policy is collaboration between principal, teachers, staff, pupils, parents and Board of Management of Holy Trinity National School, Leopardstown, Dublin 18. The Code of Behaviour was initially formulated in October 2005. Reviews were conducted in 2007 and 2010. The policy and practices were reviewed again in November 2012 in light of the vastly increasing size of the school. This review also took cognisance of the DES guideline document “Developing a Code of Behaviour – Guidelines for Schools 2008”. This policy has been formulated in order to provide a happy, effective and safe learning environment, where all the children can develop socially through living and co-operating with others therefore contributing to the good of society.
Holy Trinity NS decided to review its Code of Behaviour at this time because
- It is a priority area identified in our school plan for regular review ( 2012)
- It is a requirement of the National Educational Welfare Board Education (Welfare) Act, 2000
A code of behaviour shall be prepared in accordance with such guidelines as may, following
consultation by the Board with national associations of parents, recognised school management
organisations and trade unions and staff associations representing teachers, be issued by the Board.
Education (Welfare) Act 2000, section 23(3)
- It must comply with legal requirements and good practice as set out in “Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools, NEWB, 2008”.
Accordingly our school code of behaviour shall specify:
- The standards of behaviour that shall be observed by each pupil attending the school;
- The measures in place within the organisation and structure of school to create a positive school climate
- The measures that shall be taken when a pupil fails or refuses to observe those standards;
- The procedures to be followed before a pupil may be suspended or expelled from the school;
- The grounds for removing a suspension imposed in relation to a pupil; and
- The procedures to be followed in relation to a child’s absence from school.
Relationship to Characteristic Ethos of the school
Holy Trinity is a catholic primary school under the patronage of the Archdiocese of Dublin. Our school ethos nurtures each child to develop his/her potential in a caring environment. This is achieved by a high level of respect and co-operation between staff, parents and pupil.
“Our ethos is characterised by the spirit of warmth and friendliness through which we conduct our daily business and by the respect and dignity shown for all persons. We respect and accommodate diversity and we seek to provide an inclusive environment responsive to the needs of all.” Holy Trinity NS Mission Statement
Aims of Code of Behaviour
- To ensure an educational environment that is guided by our vision statement.
- To allow the school to function in an orderly and harmonious way by establishing the school’s expectations regarding behaviour and procedures that are followed
- To ensure the safety and well being of all members of the school community
- 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 ensure fairness and promote equality.
- To promote positive behaviour.
- To recognise the differences between children and the need to accommodate these differences.
- To ensure that the system of contracts, rewards, and consequences are implemented in a fair and consistent manner
- To assist parents and pupil 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
Guidelines for Behaviour in the School
The school recognises the variety of differences that exist between 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 among staff and between staff, parents and pupil. 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 their property.
- Each child is expected to be well behaved.
- Each child is expected to be sensitive to the needs of others and show consideration for others.
- Each child is expected to treat others, as they would like to be treated themselves.
- Each child is expected to show respect for the school property and environment, their own and other people’s belongings.
- Each situation is seen as unique. All antecedents, events and causalities are considered with the individual and their circumstances in mind. We subscribe to the notion that ‘Fair is not giving each child the same; fair is giving each child what he/she needs.’
- Each child is expected to attend school every day. Punctuality is of utmost importance.
- Each child is expected to do his/her best both in school and for homework.
School Code of Behaviour:
The following outline of procedures for the classroom, yard and school environment set a positive atmosphere in relation to pupil learning, behaviour and achievement. There is a greater emphasis on rewards than on sanctions.
- Pupils show respect for themselves and all others in the school.
- Pupils respect their own property the property of others and the property of the school.
- Pupils are encouraged to be sensitive to the needs of others.
- Pupils treat others as they would like to be treated themselves.
- Pupils are in school, ready to commence class by 8.50am.
- Pupils wear the school uniform each day. On PE days the school tracksuit is worn.
- Pupils who cycle, scoot or skate to school must dismount outside the school premises and walk to the parking area. No pupil may touch a bicycle or scooter belonging to another pupil.
At Break Times
- Pupils walk in orderly fashion to the school yard on the instruction of class teacher/ teacher on duty.
- Pupils are encouraged to play games during play times.
- Rough play is not allowed.
- Each class group play in their own area of the school yard.
- Pupils are encouraged to be gentle.
- Our School is a bully free zone. Pupils are encouraged to tell if they feel they are being bullied. (See Anti Bullying Policy)
- Pupils are expected to line up orderly at the end of break.
- Holy Trinity NS is a Green School. Pupils help to keep their classrooms clean and tidy and put all waste in the correct bins. Uneaten food is taken home.
- Name calling or bad language is not allowed in the school.
- Pupils do not damage school property.
- When children are playing on the yard physical contact (e.g. pushing, pulling, and kicking) is not allowed.
- Sharp objects that could cause injury to others are not brought to the yard.
Pupils are advised to go to the teacher on yard if there is a problem.
- Pupils treat all toilet facilities in the school with respect and must not damage them in any way,
- Each pupil is expected to have all of the text books and equipment necessary for class.
- Each pupil completes homework to the best of his/her ability and must bring in a note in journal from parents if homework is not done.
- Pupils treat all staff members and visitors with respect.
- All pupils will participate in the development of their class contract and agree to abide by it.
- Pupils will not upset the smooth running of the class.
Friday Assembly is used to promote positive behaviour / reinforce class contracts / encourage good pupil interaction etc.
- Pupils leave the school in a safe and orderly fashion.
- If a pupil has to leave early, a note must be given to the class teacher, Children leaving school early must be collected from the classroom by a parent or guardian.
The staff at Holy Trinity NS being aware of factors within school and from outside of school that may affect behaviour and accepting that pupil behaviour can change will look to influence positive behaviour changes. To this end, teachers will implement a programme of intervention for any pupil with ongoing difficulties.
Such intervention will include routine strategies in the course of the classroom situation and more active intervention for some pupil to help them manage their behaviour. For pupils who show particularly challenging behaviour, a sustained and systematic response involving the adults in their lives and local/ other support services will be provided as appropriate (Guidelines pg 50 and Continuum of Support Documents)
Strategies for Promoting Positive Behaviour- A Whole School Approach
As a school we want to promote and support a warm, safe, positive and respectful school climate. This is achieved through reviewing the existing policy on a bi-annual basis with opportunities at every monthly staff meeting to review the policy in relation to any incidents that may have arisen. We endeavour to ensure the policy is in harmony with the school ethos and the other school policies and practices. A teamwork approach is necessary to maintain our positive school environment. This involves the Board of Management, staff, parents and pupil. Each group encourages the implementation of a curriculum and classroom management that supports the Code of Behaviour.
Board of Management
The school Board of Management assumes ultimate responsibility for school practices regarding behaviour and will ensure the school is complying with our Behaviour Code. To ensure good practice and implementation the Principal reports on a regular basis to the BOM.
The Code of Behaviour is devised, reformulated and reviewed by the staff having consulted with the parent and pupil body. School staff contributes to and support the agreed school policy. New staff are given a copy of the policy and encouraged to respond and contribute to the document by the deputy principal. There is an acknowledgement that all staff are responsible for the well being of all pupils. They recognise and are aware of each pupil’s individual needs, and where necessary take IEPs into consideration. Each situation is seen as unique. All antecedents, events and consequences are considered with the individual in mind and their circumstances.
At the start of every academic year we have a “Good Friend Week”. This week brings the children’s attention to what behaviours are expected of them, in relation to positive peer interaction. They explore this primarily through SPHE, English, Drama, Music and Art. Weekly assembly encourages and acknowledges this good practice throughout the year. In the classroom, the implementation of the SPHE curriculum also reinforces this good practice
The parents of Holy Trinity N.S. are included in devising the Code of Behaviour through the involvement of the Board of Management, Parent’s Association and by individually completing questionnaires regarding the satisfaction of the policy and its implementation. The Code of Behaviour is included with the enrolment form to bring parents attention to the expected behaviour of all individuals while attending school. This must be signed and returned to the office. Parents are reminded at parent/teacher meetings and when necessary that their commitment, co-operation and relationship with the school and its Code of Behaviour can impact on the learning and behaviour of their child and the class as a whole.
Parents support the policy by ensuring their child attends school regularly and punctually with the correct books and materials. They encourage their child to do their best work both at home and at school. They support the children where necessary and ensure any given work in completed. They attend curriculum meetings and parent / teacher meetings when requested. Parents are also asked to sign their child’s class contract at the beginning of the year. Parents are reminded on a regular basis to bring any concern to the attention of their child’s teacher, so that issues can be dealt with at the earliest opportunity.
The pupils were asked to reflect on behaviour expectations and complete a questionnaire / reflection sheet. These questionnaires help staff in the devising and implementation of the behavioural policy. Pupil are reminded of and encouraged to adhere to the behavioural policy from the start of the year with “Good Friend Week” and devising the class contract. Children’s participation in the weekly assembly encourages and acknowledges good practice throughout the year. In the classroom, the implementation of the SPHE curriculum also reinforces this good practice. In the yard, the presence of “Buddies” also encourages good behaviour.
Holy Trinity N.S. has a school council. Two pupils from 2nd class up represent their peers on this council. The student council helped prepare the selection of rewards and sanctions at their meeting with Mr. Tobin, the Principal, in November 2012. The student council play an active role in planning for Good Friend Week. They also bring reminders back to their own classroom following meetings. The student council had a special meeting with Mr. Tobin to consider the new policy and during this meeting they set made recommendations to Mr Tobin which were included in the final draft.
The class contract is devised in each class, following teacher consultation with pupil. The aim of this contract is to highlight the importance of a harmonious and effective learning environment. The practice is consistent and continuous throughout the school, with each class prominently displaying their agreed Class Contract
The reward system and class contract are interlinked. The type of reward system is at the discretion of the teacher. There is consistent practice of the reward system in a timely fashion. Children are aware of sanctions or loss of privileges for misbehaviour.
Clear learning objectives are deemed necessary to stimulate the learner. Ref SALF
Positive reinforcement is favoured as a motivation tool for the children. Teachers reward and celebrate pupil’s success when and where appropriate.
Classroom Management Techniques: Children are taught how to:
Make transitions between subjects
Distribute and gather classroom items
Enter and leave the classroom
Take responsibilities for roles (i.e. group leader)
The class contract is consistently implemented during playtime.
There is open communication between SNAs and teachers regarding individual pupil behaviour or SEN children.
Allocation of SNAs and ancillary staff is proportional to the needs and numbers of children on the yard.
There is an age appropriate division of the yard.
A Junior Buddy System is in place to support SNAs and teaching staff.
Junior Buddies are given clear instructions from their class teachers to ensure that they are effective in a supporting role (i.e. accompanying child to the toilet / incidents / accidents).
Two Junior Buddies are assigned to each class and tutored in their duties for wet day duty.
There is an established rota for teachers and SNAs regarding the supervision of all children on days when pupils are not allowed go to the play-yard. Wet day activities/Board games are organized on these occasions.
School tours / outside school environment activities
The class contract applies at all times in all places. Pupil and parents are made aware that behaviour expectations while outside of the school are always in line with our Code of Behaviour. Appendix 3 Guidelines for School Tours
Whole School Approach to Rewards and Sanctions
Holy Trinity strives to provide a warm, safe, and stimulating learning environment, where all the children can develop socially through living and co-operating with others. Our system of rewards and sanctions is designed to maintain the present positive culture and mutual respect amongst and between staff, pupil and parents.
Rewards (whole –school)
- Announcement and recognition at school assembly e.g. certificate
- In- class rewards – stickers, prizes, homework passes, certificates, golden-time, praise and commendations (in-class and in diary)
Minor misdemeanours are constituted as interrupting class work, being discourteous, disrespectful behaviour, unmannerly or answering back, not completing homework without good reason, uncooperative behaviour, name-calling, bad language
Minor Misdemeanour Action
- Discussion with pupil. Verbal reprimand (Choice of two options list the positive first).
- If child co-operatives –praise given for making the right choice.
- If child doesn’t co-operate suitable sanction implemented.
- Restorative discussion to be held after incident where appropriate.
- Loss of privileges
- Extra work
- Note in diary or word with parent/guardian
- Behaviour chart
- Referral to principal
Restorative practices are implemented where appropriate.
Serious misdemeanours are constituted as constantly disruptive, lying, leaving school premises without permission, uncooperative behaviour, violence, aggressive behaviour, threatening or abusive language, stealing, endangering self, other pupils or staff, damaging school property, bringing weapons to the school or using a weapon in school
Serious misdemeanours: Action
At all times with a serious misdemeanour safety of the child, other children and staff are of priority
- Referral to principal
- Meeting with parents/guardians – incident to be discussed and a suitable programme to be devised (continuum of support to be applied if appropriate
- An appropriate sanction to be implemented from the list below.
- Board of Management will be informed of serious misdemeanour at the discretion of the principal.
- Incident to be recorded in incident book.
Serious misdemeanours Sanctions
- Reduced timetable
- Behaviour chart
- Loss of privileges
- Additional work at break-times
- Report to Gardai
- Restorative discussion to be held after incident
Contact with Parents.
Parents are given a report on pupil behaviour at parent teacher meeting in November. The end-of year report card also gives an account of pupil behaviour.
If a teacher considers that a pupil’s behaviour is inhibiting the child’s learning or learning of class, the teacher will consider the following:
- have an informal word with child’s parent
- Write a short note in the child’s journal requesting that parents have a talk with their child about their behaviour in class
- Invite a parent to a short meeting to give parent a description of the behaviour in class
Teacher will seek to establish if any other factors may be affecting child’s behaviour. A behaviour plan may be put in place with covering home and school. A subsequent review of behaviour within an agreed time-frame should be agreed.
We endorse a co-operative approach to pupil behaviour. At all times parents and teachers should adopt a calm dignified approach to any difficulty that has emerged.
If a parent is concerned about their child’s behaviour, an appointment can be made through the school office to see their child’s teacher.
In situations where it is appropriate, pupils will participate in a portion of the meeting between parent and teacher.
All meetings are recorded and notes retained by class teacher.
If bad behaviour continues teachers will discuss with principal and ask principal to arrange a further meeting with parents. This meeting will be attended by principal along with parents, teacher and child.
For serious negative behaviour, the principal may choose to contact parents immediately and arrange an urgent meeting. It is the decision of the principal to prevent a child from rejoining class before such a meeting takes place and behavioural contract agreed. This decision will only be made if the child’s behaviour is considered a danger to himself or others in class.
Restorative Approach in Dealing with Misbehaviour.
We believe that it is vitally important to address all behaviour issues in terms of the effect they have on individuals, and the need to reshape future behaviour
There is more concern about the individual who has been harmed than about the punishment of the offender.
Three very important questions are posed when an incident occurs:
Traditional discipline leaves the individuals and the school community affected by the misbehaviour largely out of the picture; restorative discipline focuses on the needs of those harmed and the school community of which they are apart.
The restorative approach places an emphasis on future behaviour. It seeks to restore damaged relationships between people by inappropriate or offending behaviour. This approach is followed by all staff in Holy Trinity.
See Appendix 2
Recording Incidents of Misbehaviour
Each teacher will record all incidents of serious misbehaviour by pupil and report this to the principal. This information will be stored in the pupil’s file. Incidents of serious misbehaviour on the yard will be recorded in the yard book.
Strategies for dealing with continuously disruptive pupil /serious incidents of misbehaviour
The staff at Holy Trinity NS will intervene early and positively when pupil’s behaviour does not meet the standards of behaviour expected in the school. Early involvement of parents is considered important. A problem solving approach will be engaged to enable staff respond to unwanted behaviour (Guidelines p.46 – 47). This will involve the following steps:
- Gather information – understand the context and the factors that may be affecting behaviour.
- Generate ideas about possible solutions that take account of the reasons why it may be happening.
- Decide and agree on specific strategies.
- Implement the agreed strategy consistently.
- Review progress – evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the intervention.
- Throughout, keep the relationship with pupil as positive as possible – involve the pupil and parents.
Strategies to deal with continuously disruptive pupil and or serious incidents of Misbehaviour are as follows –
- The pupil will be warned officially to stop offending.
- The parents/guardians will be informed.
- Prescribing additional work at break- times under supervision of the teacher on yard duty
- Loss of Privileges
- The parents will be invited to meet either the class teacher and or the Principal.
- The Board of Management may arrange for the pupil to be escorted to and from the school premises at assembly and dismissal times.
- In the event of a serious incident of misbehaviour or where a pupil is continuously disruptive the Board of Management may suspend him for a minor fixed period (one to three school days).
- A programme of intervention will be also formulated to enable the child manage and change his/her behaviour.
PROCEDURES FOR SUSPENSION
The Board of Management and Staff of Holy Trinity NS will follow the procedures for suspension and expulsion outlined in the Guidelines for School and Developing a Code of Behaviour (Chapters 10—12).
Fair procedures (i.e. the right to be heard and the right to impartiality) will be applied at all times. Accordingly, pupil and their parents will be fully informed about an allegation and the processes that will be used to investigate and decide the matter and they will be given an opportunity to respond to an allegation before a decision is made and before a serious sanction is imposed.
The Board of Management will also follow the factors to consider before suspending a pupil (p.72) and the factors to consider before proposing to expel a pupil (p.82).
In Relation to Suspension
- Communication to parents regarding the suspension of a pupil or the possibility of suspension will be in writing and copies of all correspondence will be retained.
- The parents/guardians and the pupil will be invited to meet with principal and or Board of Management to discuss the proposed suspension.
- The Board of Management has delegated responsibility for suspension to the principal in the event that immediate suspension of a pupil is warranted (Guidelines p73). The parents /guardians and child will be invited to discuss the matter with the Principal and the procedures governing suspension will be applied.
- A written statement of terms and date of the termination of a suspension will be given to parents/guardians. A suspension will not be for more than three days, except in exceptional circumstances where the principal considers that a period of suspension longer than three days is necessary in order to achieve a particular objective. The letter will confirm;
- The period of the suspension and the dates on which the suspension will begin and end.
- the reason for the suspension
- any programme of study to be followed
- the arrangements for returning to school, including any commitments to be entered into by the pupil and the parents (for example: the pupil and parents might be asked to reaffirm their commitment to the Code of Behaviour)
- The provision for an appeal to The Board of management
- The right to appeal to the Secretary general of the Department of Education & Science (Education Act 1998 Section 29)
- The suspension will be recorded on the NEWB ‘pupil absence report form’
- When a period of suspension ends, the pupil will be re-admitted formally to the class by the principal.
- Where a satisfactory resolution of a problem is achieved, a pupil may be readmitted to school within a suspension period at the discretion of the Principal and or the Chairperson of the Board of Management.
- If a pupil continues to misbehave he may be suspended for a major fixed period (up to 10 days) to allow for consultation with both the pupil and the pupil’s parents to address the issues.
- As outlined above, parents/guardians and pupil will be given the opportunity to discuss the issues with the Principal and or Board of Management.
- The Education Welfare Officer will be informed when a pupil has been suspended for 6 days or more cumulatively.
- Section 29 Appeal – when the total number of days for which the pupil has been suspended in the correct year reaches 20 days the parents may appeal the suspension under section 29 of the Educations Act and will be given information about how to appeal.
PROCEDURES FOR EXPULSION – THE PROCEDURE OUTLINED ON PAGES 83 – 86 OF THE GUIDELINES WILL BE FOLLOWED (SEE STEPS 1 –6 BELOW):
- Subsequent to the above suspension procedures and meetings with parents/guardians, if serious/gross incidents of misbehaviour continue, the pupil will be recommended for permanent exclusion (expulsion) by the Board of Management.
- Step 1—A detailed investigation carried out under the direction of the Principal.
- Step 2 – A recommendation to the Board of Management
- Step 3 -- Consideration by the Board of Management of the Principal’s recommendation; and the holding of a hearing.
- Step 4 – Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing.
- Step 5 – Consultations arranged by the Education Welfare Officer.
- Step 6 – Confirmation of the decision to expel
- The parents/guardians will be informed of the Board’s decision and the reasons why in writing.
- The parents/guardians and the pupil will be given the opportunity to meet the Board of Management to discuss the proposed expulsion.
- The parents/guardians will be informed of their right of appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science (Section 29 of the Education Act 1998).
- In the event that the Board of Management decides to expel a pupil, the NEWB will be notified immediately of both this decision and the reasons for the expulsion using a Notice of decision to Expel Form (Reporting of Pupil Absences and Expulsions for School Year 2005/2006: Section C – published by the NEWB).
- This form will only be completed and returned after all appeals processes both external and internal have been exhausted.
- The commencement date for the expulsion will be 20 days after the ‘notice of Decision to Expel’ form.
- When all appeals processes have been exhausted and the school has expelled a pupil, the pupil’s expulsion will be reported on the Pupil absence Report Form.
Pupil with Special Needs
Pupil with special needs will be required to follow the school’s ‘Code of Behaviour’ but teachers will use their professional judgement in relation to regularity and level of sanctions. Teachers will endeavour to help the pupil with special needs to understand clearly the purpose of the sanction and the reason why their behaviour is unacceptable. As always the emphasis is on rewarding incidents of good behaviour.
Class- Each teacher logs incidents of bad behaviour in teacher’s diary. Records should be kept of any meetings or correspondence with parents.
Records of meetings with parents and principal will be stored in the school office in ‘Parent Correspondence File’
A general report on pupil behaviour will be presented to the BoM at each board meeting. Incidents of a serious nature will be brought to the attention of the school board and minuted in board minutes.
All incidents of bad behaviour on yard are noted on the junior and senior yard book.
School Records. Record of pupil behaviour as reported in end-of-year report is retained in pupil’s file. Incidents of a serious nature are also kept on file in the pupil’s file. Any correspondence with outside agencies is also kept in pupil file.
Procedure for notification of a pupil’s absence from school
If a child is absent from school, parents are obliged to inform the school. Parents should do so by contacting the school office on the morning of the absence.
Following 15 recorded absences, parents will be advised on the number of days missed and that a report will be prepared for NEWB to inform this agency of school absences. Parents are invited to meet principal to discuss absences and agree a plan to help improve school attendance.
Reference to other policies
- School Mission Statement
- School Anti-Bullying Policy
- SPHE Policy
- Child Protection Policy
- School Attendance Policy
- Health & Safety Policy
- Record Keeping & Data Protection Policy
Practical indicators of the success of the policy include:
- A happy and caring school environment
- Positive feedback from teachers, parents and pupil.
- Observation of behaviour in class rooms, corridors, outside-school activities and the yard.
Roles and Responsibility
The people who have particular responsibility for aspects of the policy are
- Board of Management
- Class Teacher
The overall responsibility for discipline within the school rests with the Principal. However the Board of Management has ultimate responsibility for discipline under its management and a duty to ensure that a fair code of discipline applies therein.
This policy applies from February 2013
Teachers will discuss the code with the pupil in the school and formally teach/revise the expectations for the behaviour each term so that pupils are aware of what is expected of them. Each teacher will ensure that their class develops classroom rules and that children agree to follow these.
Parents will also be informed of the code by newsletter and by having a copy sent home for their perusal.
Timetable for Review
The policy will be reviewed and, if necessary, amended in September 2014.
Ratification & Communication
The Board of management officially ratified this policy on June 11th 2013.
The policy will be circulated to parents/guardians of applicants on enrolment for signature and acceptance.
Signed: Patricia MacConville Chairperson BoM.
School/Class rewards to recognise good behaviour.
- Positive Comment
- Positive note to parents
- Individual or Class treat
- Outdoor Activity
- Homework Pass
- Additional free time for a chosen activity
- Golden Time
- Class Outing