Code of Behaviour - Scoil Náisiúnta Béal an Mhuirthead Sinsear

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Code of behaviour.

If the school is to achieve a happy, secure environment in which children can develop to their full potential it is necessary to provide a framework, which promotes constructive behaviour and discourages unacceptable behaviour. The aim is to ensure that the individuality of each child is accommodated while acknowledging the right of each child to an education in a relatively disruption free environment.  Any form of behaviour that interferes with the right of others to learn and feel safe is unacceptable.

1.   Aims:

(a)   In devising the code, consideration has to be given to the particular needs and circumstances of the school.  The aim is create an ordered and orderly environment in which pupils can, through developing self-discipline, feel secure and make progress in all aspects of their development.

(b)   Every effort will be made by all members of staff to adopt a positive approach to the question of behaviour in the school/

2.   Principles:

(a)   The school recognises the variety of differences that exist
between children and the need to tolerate these differences.

(b)   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 pupils.
(c)   Every effort will be made to ensure that the code of discipline is
implemented in a reasonable, fair and consistent manner.

School rules:

Safety:  For my own safety and that of others-

(a)   I should be careful coming and going from school.
(b)   I should always walk while in the school building.
(c)   I should remain seated at all times in class while eating lunch.
(d)   I should be careful in the school yard and always show respect for my fellow pupils.
(e)   Bring a note of explanation following absences.
(f)   I should never leave the school grounds without the permission of the Principal.
(g)   Mock fighting is discouraged due to the risk of accidental injury.

Caring for myself:

(a)   I should respect myself and my property, always keeping my school bag, books and copies in good order.  I must not bring Tipp-ex to school.
(b)   I should always be in time for school.
(c)   I should show respect for my school and be proud to wear the complete school uniform every day.
(d)   I should always be aware of my personal cleanliness.
(e)   I should always eat a sensible, nutritional lunch.  Crisps, fizzy drinks, glass bottles, sweets or chewing gum are not permitted.
(f)    I should always do my best in school by listening carefully, working as hard as I can and by completing my homework.
(g)   I am not allowed to play on the schools grounds before or after school hours.

Caring for others:

(a)   I should be kind and respectful to teachers and fellow pupils by being mannerly and polite, by taking turns and by remaining silent and orderly in my class line
(b)   I should behave well in class so that my fellow pupils and I can learn.
(c)   I should always keep my school clean by bringing unfinished food and drinks, cartons, wrapper etc. home.  I should show respect for the property of my fellow pupils, the school building and grounds.
(d)   Be truthful and honest at all times.
(e)   Polite language is expected from pupils and swearing is considered to be misbehaviour.
(f)   I should never bully others.


I should never bully others.  I should never allow others to bully me and if it happens I should tell my parents and my teacher.  Bullying is always unacceptable.


It is the policy of the school to assign homework on a regular basis.  Parents are strongly advised to take an active interest in their child's homework and to check their Homework Journal each night (ensuring that it is done).


The school places greater emphasis on rewards than sanctions in the belief that this will, in the long run, give the best results.
(a)   Praise may be given by means of any one of the following:

(The nature of the behaviour will determine the strategy)

A quiet word or gesture to show approval.
A comment in a pupil's exercise book.
A visit to another member of Staff or to the Principal for commendation.
A word of praise in front of a group or class.
A system of merit marks.
Delegating some specials responsibility or privilege.
A mention to parent, written or verbal communication.

(b)    Disapproval of unacceptable behaviour will be dealt with as follows:

 (The nature of the behaviour will determine the strategy)

Reasoning with pupils.
Reprimand (including advice on how to improve).
Prescribing extra work.
Communication with Parents.
Temporary separation from peers and/or loss of privileges.
Referral to Principal/Deputy-Principal.
Note to parents.
Take note of.
Write out.
Suspension/expulsion (in accordance with Rule 130 of the Rules for National Schools as amended by circular 7/88).

Every effort will be made to have an emotionally disturbed child referred for psychological assessment without delay.  Help will also be sought from the support services within the wider community.


The degree of undesirable behaviour i.e. minor, serious or gross, will be judged by the teachers and/or Principal based on a common sense approach with regard to the gravity/frequency of such misdemeanours, as follows:

Examples of undesirable behaviour:

Interrupting class work / Arriving late for school / Running in the school building / Talking in class line / Leaving seat without permission at lunch time / Place unfinished food/drink cartons in class bins / Leaving litter around the school / Not wearing correct uniform / Being discourteous/unmannerly / Not completing homework without good reason / Not having homework signed by a parent / Endangering self/fellow pupils in the school yard at break time/name calling/exclusion of others from games/activities.

Steps to be taken by teachers when dealing with undesirable behaviour:

1.   Verbal reprimand / reasoning with pupil.
2.   Class teacher informed of undesirable behaviour.
3.   Noting instance of yard misbehaviour in yard book.
4.   Child to be sent to another yard if needed.
5.   Children may be assigned extra homework or lines.

Examples of steps taken when dealing with regular occurrences of minor misdemeanours.

Phase 1 (within the classroom)

Write story of what happened

Note in homework journal to be signed by parent.

Sending to another teacher / another yard.  Denial of participation in some class activity.

Note to parents concerning further undesirable behaviour in yard.

(Undesirable behaviour in yard consists of any action that outs the safety of self/ other pupil at risk).

Phase 2:

1)   Send to Deputy- Principal.
2)   Send to Principal.
3)   Class teacher/teachers meets parent(s) by appointment.
4)   Principal/Deputy Principal meet parents concerning yard behaviour.

Examples of serious undesirable behaviour:

Constantly disruptive in class / Telling lies / Stealing / Damaging other pupil's property.

Bullying / Back answering a teacher / Frequenting school premises after school hours without appropriate permission / Leaving school premises during school day without appropriate permission.

Not working to full potential / Using acceptable language / Bringing weapons to school / refusal to accept an instruction from a staff member / endangering self /fellow pupils in the school yard.

Deliberately injuring a fellow pupil/member of staff.

Examples of steps to be taken when dealing with serious undesirable behaviour:

Phase 3 Suspension / Expulsion

Before serious sanctions such as detention, suspension or expulsions are used the normal channels of communication between school and parent will be utilised.  Communication with parents may be verbal or by letter depending on the circumstances.

For gross misbehaviour or repeated instances of serious misbehaviour suspension may be considered.  Parents concerned may be invited to come to the school to discuss their child's case.  Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards a teacher or pupil will be regarded as serious or gross misbehaviour.

Where there are repeated instances of serious misbehaviour, the Chairperson of the Board of Management will be informed and the parents will be requested in writing to attend the school to meet the Chairperson and the Principal.  If the parents do not give an undertaking that the pupil will be have in an acceptable manner in the future the pupil will be suspended for a period.  Prior to suspension, where possible, the Principal may review the case in consultation with teachers and other members of the school community involved, with due regard to records of previous misbehaviours, their pattern and context, sanctions and other interventions used and their outcomes and any other relevant medical information.  Suspension will be in accordance with the Rules of National Schools and the Education Welfare Act 2000.

Immediate Suspension

In the case of an immediate suspension, parents must be notified, and arrangements made with them for the student to be collected.  The school must have regard to its duty of care to the student.  In no circumstances should a student be sent home from school without first notifying the parents.
In the case of gross misbehaviour, where it is necessary to ensure that order and discipline are maintained and to ensure the safety of the pupils, the Board may authorise the Chairperson or Principal to sanction immediate suspension for a period not exceeding three school days, pending a discussion of the matter with the parents.

The period of suspension (See Appendix 1).

A student should not be suspended for more than three days, except in exceptional; circumstances where the Principal considers that a period of suspension longer that three days is needed in order to achieve a particular objective.  Each Board of Management should provide guidance to the Principal concerning the kinds of circumstances under which suspensions of longer than three days might be approved.

If a suspension longer than three days is being a approved by the Principal, the matter should be referred to the Board of Management for consideration and approval, giving the circumstances and expected outcomes.

However, a Board of Management may wish to authorise the Principal with the approval of the Chairperson of the Board, to impose a suspension of up to five days in circumstances where a meeting of the Board cannot be convened in a timely fashion subject to guidance concerning such suspensions.

The Board of Management should normally place a ceiling of then days on any one period of suspension imposed by it.

The Board should formally review any proposal to suspend a student, where the suspension would bring the number of days for which the student has been suspended in the current school year to twenty days or more.  Any such suspension is subject to appeal under section 29 of the Education Act 1998.


Expulsion may be considered in an extreme case, in accordance with the Rules for National Schools and Education Welfare Act 2000.  Before suspending (where suspension has exceeded 20 days) or expelling a pupil, The Board shall notify the Local Welfare Education Officer in writing in accordance with Section 24 of the Education Welfare Act - (See Appendix 2)

Removal of Suspension (Reinstatement)

Following or during a period of suspension, the parent/s may apply to have the pupil reinstated to the school.  The parent/s must give a satisfactory undertaking that a suspended pupil will behave in accordance with the school code and the Principal must be satisfied that the pupil's reinstatement will not constitute a risk to the pupil's own safety or that of the other pupils or staff.  The Principal will facilitate the preparation of a behaviour plan for the pupil if required and will re-admit the pupil formally to the class.

I have read and accept the school code of behaviour and school rules.

Appendix 1 Suspension

Suspension is defined as
"Requiring the student to absent himself/herself from the school for a specified limited period of school days"

Suspension should be a proportionate response to the behaviour which is causing concern.  The decision to suspend requires serious grounds such as:
Student's behaviour has had a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other student.
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.

The B.O.M has authority to suspend a student.  This authority can be delegated to the Principal but where this is done it should be done formally and in writing.

P.72    Factors to consider before suspension.
P.73   Forms of suspension - Immediate (used in exceptional circumstances)
           Automatic Suspension (as part of school policy)

Inappropriate use - poor academic performance , poor attendance / lateness, minor breaches of the code.
Rolling suspension-
Informal/unacknowledged suspension.
Open - ended suspension (for info on all see page 74)

Schools are required by law to follow fair procedures when proposing to suspend a student.

Inform the parents.
Give the parents and student a chance to respond
Generally no more than 3 days (Except in exceptional circumstance)
B.O.M should formally review any proposal to suspend a student for 20 days or more in a school year (in total).  Such a suspension can be appealed under section 29 of the Education Act.

Implementing the suspension Pg. 76
Principal notifies parents and student in writing of the decision to suspend.  (Period of suspension, reasons, study programme, arrangements for returning to school provision of appeal to B.O.M Section 29).

Records and reports
The investigation
Decision making process
Decision and rationale
Duration of suspension / conditions
Principal required to report suspensions to NEWB.

Pg. No.'s from NEWB Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools

Appendix 2 - Expulsion

The B.O.M. of a recognised school has the authority to expel a student.  As a matter of practice that authority should be reserved to the B.O.M and not delegated.

Expulsion should be a proportionate response to student's behaviour - should only be taken in extreme cases of unacceptable behaviour.

Grounds include:
Student's behaviour is a persistent cause of significant disruption to the learning of others or to the teaching process.
The student's continued presence in the school constitutes real and significant threat to safety.
The student is responsible for serious damage to property.

Expulsion for a first time offence
Serious threat of violence against another student or member of staff.
Actual violence or physical assault.
Supplying illegal drugs to other students in the school.
Sexual assault.

Factors to consider Pg.82
Procedures: (Fair procedures/ right to be heard)
Detailed investigation carried out under the direction of the Principal (including contacting parents re: behaviour as with suspension)
Recommendation to the B.O.M of the Principal's recommendation / and the holding of the hearing.
B.O.M. deliberation and actions following the hearing (incl. Informing NEWB).
The students cannot be expelled before the passage of 20 school days from the date the EWO receives the written notification)
Consultations arranged by the WEO (B.O.M. may consider suspending the student during the period if good order / H + S is threatening  by the presence of the student)
Confirmation of decision to expel - letters to parents, info on the right to appeal Section 29.

Pg. No.'s from NEWB Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools

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