CODE OF BEHAVIOUR
St Laurence’s N.S. Code of Behaviour is the result of the ongoing consultation and collaboration between the Principal, staff, parents, and Board of Management of the St Laurence’s N.S. It was reviewed and reformulated in November/December 2009 in the light of “Developing a Code of Behaviour – Guidelines for Schools”, issued by the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB). The Board of Management, the Parents, the Pupils and the School Staff were all actively involved in re-drafting the Code. This will ensure a whole school community approach to behaviour in our school. In drawing up the code, consideration has been given to the particular needs and the circumstances of the school and our pupils. The aim of the Code is to ensure that the individuality of each pupil is respected, while acknowledging the right of each pupil to education in a relatively disruption free and safe environment.
In the code, “the principal” refers to the Principal of St Laurence’s NS Crookstown and the “Board of Management” refers to the Board of said school. When the term “parents” is used it denotes the parents or legal guardians of the child.
RELATIONSHIP TO CHARACTERISTIC ETHOS OF THE SCHOOL
The purpose of this policy is to promote positive student behaviour and to allow the school to function in an orderly and harmonious way. It is also to enhance the learning environment where children can make progress in all aspects of their development. Our Code of Behaviour relates to the mission statement of St Laurence’s NS in that it will nurture a caring environment in which each child can develop his full potential and grow in the knowledge that his/her individual talents are valued.
To promote good behaviour in our school.
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
Strategies to Affirm and Promote Positive Behaviour
Promoting good behaviour is the main goal of our code. All staff actively support our school ethos which emphasises care, respect and responsibility.
There are good relationships between teachers, parents and pupils and a happy school atmosphere.
Adults model the behaviour that is expected from students.
Good school and class routines are in operation. Core routines necessary for the smooth running of classroom learning are clearly established – e.g. entry to the classroom, settling for whole class teaching, appropriate seat planning, transition time routines, how to fairly get teachers attention, noise level for pair/group work. etc,
Teachers use a classroom management plan to promote positive behaviour.
We regularly have school assemblies where success (in relation to behaviour, attendance, class and homework) is acknowledged, rewarded and celebrated.
Parents are welcome in our school and staff consult with them where necessary/beneficial.
We acknowledge positive behaviour through the use of a note in the homework journal, by praising children on their behaviour and by rewarding them.
Teachers ensure that the class timetable is as varied as possible and present a balanced and interesting educational programme for the pupils.
Each teacher may engage in a ‘Quiet time’ (e.g. D.E.A.R. Time/ Pupils working silently for a given time on a particular activity).
Teachers develop clear and simple classroom rules in discussion with the children. Each class will agree on a set of rules stated in terms of observable behaviours.
Children are aware that misbehaviour and failure to adhere to school and class rules will incur clear, consistent consequences.
SPHE is used as a structure within which to address the teaching of social skills, self-esteem and respect and care for others
Approaches to Rewards and Praise
Our school places greater emphasis on rewards than on sanctions in the belief that this will, in the long run, give best results. Our approach to rewards and praise include the following:
A quiet word or gesture to show approval;
A comment in a pupil’s exercise book;
Stickers, smiley faces, ink-stamps and/or stars on pupils work
A visit to another member of Staff or to the Principal for commendation;
A word of praise in front of a group or class;
Awarding some special responsibility or privilege;
Informing parent – written/verbal communication. This could include a note in the pupil’s homework journal or a letter/postcard home.
It is necessary also to ensure that the giving of praise is sensitive to the age and personality of the child because certain pupils may prefer private praise such as notes of approval in their copy to being singled out and embarrassed by public praise. Teachers will also implement a variety of rewards that suit the various age levels and interests of the pupils. The following strategies may be used as incentives to affirm positive behaviour:
Tokens, points, stars, treats or stickers awarded to individuals/teams/class for good behaviour and effort put into school and homework;
Extra privileges like extended computer time; extra story time; extended PE
Special Class treats – golden-time; raffle; extra break/PE; watch a DVD; class outing/field trip.
Certificates of Merit presented by Class teachers
Good News bulletin board/good news tree
Affirming desirable behaviour during Circle Time
Photos of award winners taken and displayed
Reduced homework on agreed nights
Positive comments to the principal
It is also important to reward class groups as well as individuals because this encourages the development of teamwork where the pupils share a positive group identity which fosters and encourages co-operative behaviour.
Procedures for Notification of a Pupil’s Absence from School.
A written note must be presented explaining absence from school for any number of days or part thereof.
Parents are asked to note mid-term breaks and end of term closures when planning family holidays. It is inadvisable for students to miss time out of school term due to holidays. The school requests advance notification in writing should this occur.
If a child is absent for 20 days the school is obliged to inform the NEWB. In the event of a child missing 20 days from school, parents will be informed of this in writing.
SCHOOL EXPECTATIONS FOR PUPILS
The following outline of procedures for the classroom, yard and school environment set a positive atmosphere in relation to pupil learning, behaviour and achievement:
Pupils should be in school by 9.10am. pupils should not enter the school building before 9am.
Pupils enter their classrooms, immediately when the bell rings at 9.10 am.
Pupils should wear the school uniform/school tracksuit each day. The school crest is a vital part of the uniform. On P.E. days the school navy tracksuit should be worn. All parts of the uniform should be clearly marked with child’s name.
If a pupil cycles to school, the bicycle should be locked in the cycle racks at the front of the school. Pupils may not cycle within the school grounds.
At Break Times
Pupils are encouraged to play football on the pitch, play with soft balls on the court and basketball on designated days.
Rough play and climbing walls / fences is not allowed.
Each class should play in their own area of the school yard.
If a ball from one class comes into the play area of another class, the ball should be handed back.
Our school is a bully free zone. Pupils are encouraged to tell the teacher in the yard if they feel they are being bullied (see Anti Bullying Policy).
Healthy lunches are promoted within the school. Lunches are eaten in the classrooms and children are asked not to bring food or drink into the yard. Bars, chewing gum, crisps’ and fizzy drinks and not allowed at any time.
Pupils may not leave the school grounds for any reason without permission.
Pupils are expected to line up quietly when the bell goes at the end of each break.
St. Laurence’s is a green school. Pupils are expected to keep their classrooms clean and tidy and put all waste in correct bins.
Name calling or bad language is not allowed in the school.
Pupils must not damage school property.
When children are playing on the yard, physical contact (e.g. pushing, pulling, slide tackling, kicking) is not allowed. Pupils are encouraged to go to the teacher on yard if there is a problem.
Pupils treat all toilet facilities and drinking fountains in the school with respect and must not damage them in any way.
Pupils must not waste toilet paper or toilet soap.
Pupils are encouraged to wash their hands after going to the toilet and dry them with the hand drier provided.
Pupils are expected to have all textbooks and equipment necessary for his/her class.
Tippex is not allowed.
Pupils must do their homework in a neat and tidy manner and must bring in a note from parents to their teacher if homework is not done.
Pupils must treat staff members and visitors with respect.
All classes will participate in the development of their class rules and agree to keep them.
Substance Use (see Substance Use Policy)
Children must not bring illegal drugs, cigarettes or alcohol to school.
Outside of the school
The standards expected in the Code of Behaviour apply in any situation where pupils are still the responsibility of the school. These include school trips, swimming, going to and from the church, fieldtrips and games after school.
Pupils must leave the school in an orderly fashion at all times.
If a pupil has to leave early, a note must be given to the class teacher. Children leaving school early should be collected from the office/classroom by a parent or guardian.
We are kind, helpful and mannerly.
We are gentle and we don`t hurt others.
We are honest and tell the truth.
We listen and work hard.
We care for all our belongings and school property.
We always play nicely with others.
We promise to follow these rules in school and on school trips.
We line up when the bell rings.
We walk on paths.
We play in our own class area.
We only play with our class ball.
We will not go outside school walls or gates.
On wet days we sit in our classroom and play games or chat.
We promise to follow these rules.
Interrupting class work (e.g. out of place without permission talking at the wrong time, throwing objects, making noise)
Not responding to school bell in a timely manner (children line up a break times at designated area).
Wearing incorrect uniform (a problem in senior classes).
Not keeping to designated play areas (older children not to run at front of building).
Eating lunches / snacks outside.
Leaving litter around the school.
Not asking permission to come back into classroom during break time.
Being discourteous, unmammerly or answering back any member of the school community.
Not completing homework without an explanatory note.
Rough play including mock fighting, rugby playing, swinging on goalposts, slide tackles.
Strategies used to show disapproval of minor incidents of unacceptable behaviour
Reasoning with the pupil.
Advice on how to behave (referral to rules).
Child moved to somewhere else in the classroom.
Withdrawal of privileges within class.
Child sent to another class for a brief period of time.
Parents/guardians informed generally by letter or by note in the homework diary, parents will be informed as soon as it is perceived that difficulties are developing with regard to their child’s behaviour.
Principal is called to classroom to address misbehaviour, (Principal will also visit classroom to praise good behaviour).
Child sent to principal’s office.
We will not deprive a child of access to a curricular area (e.g. P.E.) as a sanction – unless there is a query with regard to safety.
Teachers will keep a record of continuous inappropriate behaviour and all incidents of unacceptable behaviour (child and parents will be made aware of this record).
Behaviour of child will be noted at parent / teacher meeting and in pupil’s annual report.
Parents requested to meet class teacher/ principal.
Constantly disruptive in class.
Persistent less serious behaviour despite all interventions – both rewards and sanctions.
Persistent telling of lies.
Stealing – intentional taking of items.
Reckless behaviour in the yard/fighting.
Back answering a teacher.
Using unacceptable language.
Verbal abuse or racist remarks.
Deliberately intending or threatening to injure a member of the school community.
Leaving school premises without permission during school day.
Bringing weapons to school.
Deliberate damage to school / other pupils’ property.
Strategies for dealing with continuously disruptive pupils/serious incidents of misbehaviour
Letter from teacher to be signed by parents.
Phone call to parents informing them of the problem.
Meeting between parents and class teacher/principal.
Where necessary meeting may include the Chairperson of the Board of Management.
In the event of a serious incident of misbehaviour or where a pupil is constantly disruptive he/she may be suspended by the Principal/Board of Management for a fixed period (one to three school days)
Staff at St. Laurence’s N.S. are also aware of the factors that affect behaviour. These factors include external and interpersonal factors (such as parent and family patterns and relationships, peer groups/friends and neighbourhood and community factors) and within-person factors (including age and stage of development, personality and temperament, physical and medical characteristics and ability to learn). Staff also believe that students’ behaviour can change and will endeavour to assist pupils to modify their behaviour. Examples of support and intervention for pupils are outlined below.
INTERVENTIONS AND SUPPORT – List of Options
Classroom management plan as agreed with all students at the start of the school year
Social skills programme as part of S.P.H.E.
Yard games/activities organised if the behaviour is taking place on the yard
Students are referred to resource teacher if child in question attends resource, and/or principal
As mentioned above, a reward system will operate in each class.
Use of Behaviour Monitoring Card/Plan/Chart for particularly disruptive students. The student must get behaviour comments/stickers/smiley faces (age appropriate) from relevant teachers throughout the day.
Use a behavioural check-list (e.g. Behavioural Environment Checklist – Bermingham City Council or use the learning environment checklist from the NEPS booklet “Special Educational Needs – A Continuum of Support”
Build self esteem using for example multiple intelligence checklists for child and parents to fill in re. what type of a learner the child is e.g. the “Eight Kinds of Smart” student checklist in Teachers, Change Your Bait by Martha Kaufeldt
A Behaviour Plan may be considered when a child consistently exhibits challenging and disruptive behaviour. A Behaviour Plan will focus on a limited number of behavioural targets. It is envisaged that the child will be involved in the setting of targets. If a child is entitled to a support teacher on the basis of his behavioural needs, the support teacher may set targets in consultation with the child, the class teacher and the parents.
For pupils who exhibit particularly challenging behaviour, support services may be requested to assist in responding to the needs of the pupils. Sources of support may include, the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS), HSE Community Psychology Services and the National Council for Special Education.
A summary of the schools approach to supporting pupils in relation to behaviour is presented in the table below.
Responding to inappropriate behaviour – Whole-school strategies
As part of the whole-school approach, St. Laurence’s N.S. have an agreed ladder of intervention in response to inappropriate behaviour, as outlined in the table below. This allows for consistency among staff as well as ensuring that there is a planned approach to helping students to change their own behaviour. Three levels at which intervention may take place are outlined below. Depending on the needs of the individual child and the professional judgement of the teacher, the programme of intervention/support may include a number of these suggestions. At each level, parental and family support should be sought.
Behaviour Description Sample interventions include: Minor misbehaviour Support for all Most students behave appropriately, with the help of consistent and clear rules and routines in class and in school. Occasional, minor misbehaviour is attended to routinely and effectively through the skill of the classroom teacher. Parents will be contacted as appropriate.
Classroom management plan(e.g. the reward chart)
Social skills program
A chat with the class teacher
Modeling appropriate behaviour
Build self esteem
The yard – organising games Serious misbehaviour Additional support
for some students
Some students need more active intervention to help them to manage their behaviour. Without additional help, they may be at risk of failing, behaviourally, socially and educationally. Serious misbehaviour would include showing aggression towards other students or staff members, refusing to comply with school rules, refusing to comply with instruction and bullying.
referral to another teacher or adult who can work with the student
Using the buddy teacher setting targets for behaviour and monitoring them with the student in a supportive way e.g. personal reward from class and recourse/learning support teacher
A behaviour contract
A behavioural plan
Time-outs – within classroom
Time-out to another classroom – on occasion
Lunchtime detention – ten minutes; specific assignments during detention.
Loss of privileges (E.g. Extra-curricular activities School tours).
Discipline note. Gross misbehaviour Specialised support
for a small minority
A small minority of students may show particularly challenging behaviour. They may have great difficulty in learning new behaviour and may not respond to low-level interventions. These students will need a sustained and systematic response involving the important adults in their lives, in school and at home.
The Principal and staff have established links with local support services that are able to assist in responding to the needs of a student with behavioural difficulties. Sources of support include the National Educational Psychological Service, HSE Community Psychology Services, the National Council for Special Education, Child Guidance Services or Adolescent Mental Health Services, Schools must be cognisant of their obligations under the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2004 with regard to making reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities. Physical intervention for safety reasons may be necessary in extreme circumstances.
Suspension, when considered a proportionate response.
Continued communication between the pastoral team, the parents and the child.
the student’s behaviour has had a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other students
the student’s continued presence in the school at this time constitutes a threat to safety
The student is responsible for serious damage to property.
A single incident of serious misconduct may be grounds for suspension/expulsion.
Normally, other interventions will have been tried before suspension and the school staff will have reviewed the reasons why these have not worked. Suspension can provide a respite for staff and the pupil, give the pupil time to reflect on the link between their action and its consequences and give staff time to plan ways of helping the pupil to change unacceptable behaviour. The decision to suspend a pupil will follow from serious/gross misbehaviour:
The pupil’s behaviour has had a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other students
The pupil’s continued presence in the school at this time constitutes a threat to safety
The pupil is responsible for serious damage to property
Procedures for Suspension
The Board of Management and Staff of St Laurence’s N.S. will follow the procedures for suspension and expulsion outlined in the Guidelines for Schools on 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, pupils and their parents will be fully informed about the alleged misbehaviour 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. In exceptional circumstances, the Principal/Board may consider an immediate suspension to be necessary when 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 (p73). Automatic suspension will apply in the event of a student engaging in extremely serious misbehaviour as outlined below:
Setting fire to school property.
Wilful damage to school and / or personal property.
Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards any member of the school community/visitor.
Any act of assault against any member of the school community/visitor.
In the event of gross misbehaviour by a pupil the Principal/Chairperson of the Board of Management will be notified.
The Board will meet to examine the issues. They may consider sanctions including immediate suspension pending discussions with the parents / guardians.
The Board of Management will also follow the factors to consider before suspending a student (p.72) and the factors to consider before proposing to expel a student (p82).
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. In some circumstances it may be necessary to contact parents by phone.
The parents/guardians and the pupil will be invited to meet with the 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.
Where parents do not agree to meet with the Principal, written notification will serve as notice to impose a suspension.
A written statement of the 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;
period of the suspension and the dates on which the suspension will begin and end
the reasons 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 student 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 and Science (Education Act 1998 Section 29).
The suspension will be recorded on the NEWB ‘Student Absence Report Form’ (when applicable).
When a period of suspension ends, the pupil will be re-admitted formally to the class by the principal. The school will help the pupil catch up on work missed and the pupil will be given the opportunity and support for a fresh start.
Where a satisfactory resolution of a problem is achieved, a pupil may be re-admitted to school within a suspension period at the discretion of the Principal and/or the chairperson of the Board of Management.
If a pupil continues to misbehave s/he may be suspended for a major fixed period (up to ten days) to allow for consultation with both the pupil and the pupil’s parents/guardians to address the issues.
As outlined above, parents/guardians and pupil will be given the opportunity to discuss the issues with the Principal/Board of Management.
The Education Welfare Officer will be informed when a student has been suspended for six days or more cumulatively.
Section 29 Appeal – when the total number of days for which the student has been suspended in the current school year reaches 20 days the parents may appeal the suspension under section 29 of the Education Act and will be given information about how to appeal.
PROCEDURES FOR EXPULSION – The procedures 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 expulsion by the Board of Management. In exceptional circumstances, pupils may be expelled for a first offence – see p. 81. Automatic expulsion will apply in the event that (particular named offences)
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 Educational Welfare Officer
Step 6 – Confirmation of the decision to expel
A record will be kept in the school of all instances of serious misbehaviour by pupils.
Breaches of behaviour will be recorded in writing by the class teacher and if necessary by the Principal
Other relevant school policies (e.g. Health & Safety) will be referred to as appropriate.
The school’s Anti Bullying Policy is attached to this policy.
Each teacher will keep records of pupil progress, behaviour and achievement as appropriate. A detailed record will be kept in the school of all serious/ongoing instances of serious misbehaviour by pupils. This will be recorded on the school incident sheet. Parents will be informed and the records kept on file.
Records in relation to Suspension/Expulsion:
Records of investigation Formal written record should be kept of:
and decision-making the investigation (including notes of all interviews held)
the decision-making process
the decision and the rational for the decision
the duration of the suspension and any conditions attached to the suspension.
PUPILS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
Pupils with special needs will be required to follow the school’s ‘Code of Behaviour’ but teachers will use their professional judgment in relation to regularity and level of sanctions. While teachers must be seen to be fair in the eyes of other children who may have exhibited the same type of misdemeanors, they will also show leniency and understanding in relation to children with specific learning/behavioural difficulties. Parents of these children will be kept informed of their child’s behaviour on a regular basis and may be requested to work with the school in devising effective strategies to help the child to improve his behaviour. This may involve working and co-operating with a Special Needs Assistant (SNA), if an SNA is deployed to assist a pupil/class. The devising of such strategies may also entail contacting and meeting with relevant out of school agencies.
Procedure for the Resolution of Complaints:
Complaints are taken under guidelines laid down in agreement between CPSMA and INTO. Guidelines available in school or on the Catholic Primary Schools Management Association (CPSMA) Web Site.
Positive feedback from the whole school community
Observations of behaviour in the class, yard, toilets and corridors.
Happy and caring school atmosphere
The number of recordings in the yard book
Roles and Responsibility:
Board of Management Responsibilities
Provide a comfortable, safe environment
Support the Principal and staff in implementing the code.
Ratify the code.
Promote a positive climate in the school.
Ensure that the Code of Behaviour is implemented in a fair and consistent manner.
Arrange for review of the Code, as required.
Support and implement the schools code of behaviour.
Create a safe working environment for each pupil.
Recognise and affirm good work.
Prepare school work and correct work done by pupils.
Recognise and provide for individual talents and differences among pupils.
Be courteous, consistent and fair
Keep opportunities for disruptive behaviour to a minimum.
Deal appropriately with misbehaviour.
Keep a record of instances of serious misbehaviour or repeated instances of misbehaviour.
Provide support for colleagues.
Communicate with parents when necessary and provide reports on matters of mutual concern.
Attend school regularly and punctually.
Listen to their teachers and act on instructions/advice.
Show respect for all members of the school community.
Respect all school property and the property of other pupils.
Avoid behaving in any way which would endanger others.
Avoid all nasty remarks, swearing and name calling.
Include other pupils in games and activities.
Bring correct materials/books to school.
Follow school and class rules.
Encourage children to have a sense of respect for themselves and for property.
Ensure that children attend regularly and punctually.
Be interested in, support and encourage their children`s school work.
Be familiar with the code of behaviour and support its implementation.
Co-operate with teachers in instances where their child’s behaviour is causing difficulties for others.
Communicate with the school in relation to any problems which may affect child`s progress/behaviour.
Implementation Date: 1st September, 2010.
Ratification and Communication:
Ratified by the Board of Management.
Circulated to all Staff.
Circulated through our Policy Booklet and Homework Journal.
Published on school website.
Meetings with parents in June each year.