Code of Behaviour
The aim of our school is to help each student to learn well, live a full life as a child and to develop their full potential as both a learner and as a responsible citizen. In St. Patrick’s Loreto Primary School we recognise that behaviour has a significant influence on the quality of learning and teaching. The purpose of this school Code of Behaviour is to help develop the kind of ethos, relationships, policies, protocols and practices that promote positive behaviour .
[ Loreto Education Guidelines Kolkata 2002 ]
This Code of Behaviour is for the information of all members of our school community – pupils, parents, staff, Board of Management and Trustees. Working in partnership with parents is essential for the effective implementation of the code.
Principles underpinning the Code of Behaviour
Learning, behaviour and relationships are inextricably linked. Our School Code of Behaviour supports teaching and learning and thus encourages :
- children to take personal responsibility for their learning and their behaviour
- children to mature into responsible, participating citizens
- members of the school community to build positive relationships of mutual respect and mutual support
- the creation of a positive learning environment where the rights of others are respected.
Our code is informed by the principles of fairness and natural justice and encourages a consistent approach to behaviour on the part of all school personnel. We aim to promote equality for all members of the school community, to prevent discrimination and allow for appropriate accommodation of difference. Our aim is to provide a well ordered, caring and happy school. Routine is important for Primary School children. This gives them confidence and the security of knowing what to do and what is expected of them. Thus, opportunities for disruptive behaviour are minimised.
Our School Code of Behaviour will also apply to all school related activities outside of school
- School tours
- Games and extracurricular activities
- Attendance at events organised by the school.
The Code of Behaviour will apply to incidents of serious misbehaviour outside school, when a child is not under the care and supervision of the school, only when there is a clear connection with the school and a demonstrable impact on its work.
e.g. intimidation or bullying by means of the internet or mobile phones.
An understanding of the facts that influence behaviour is essential in order to provide a sound foundation for a whole school approach to promoting good behaviour and responding to unacceptable behaviour. When teachers, parents and studentsunderstand and subscribe totheschool expectations and practices, they support the school in promoting an atmosphere which is conducive to good teaching and learning.
Whole School Approach
School climate, values, policies, practices and relationships must support the Code of Behaviour. The elements of our whole school approach include:
- Ethos, policies and practices that will impact positively on learning and teaching.
- Team-work – a whole-school approach to curriculum and classroom management will have a key influence on student behaviour. The skill of the teacher in managing the routine engagement with children is a critical factor in preventing problems.
- An inclusive and involved school community- teachers, school staff, parents and students have responsibilities at different levels for behaviour in the school.
- A systematic planning and review process to ensure a harmonious, positive environment for learning and teaching.
Setting standards of behaviour
Standards signal positive values and reflect the kinds of behaviour and relationships that will create a positive environment for teaching and learning. Standards also signal the types of behaviour that are unacceptable. Classes will be encouraged to draw up their own Classroom Charters /Rules/Expectations as an integral part of our Code of Behaviour. This will provide clear boundaries and practical guidelines about the behaviour expected of students. Rules/Expectations shall reflect the age and stage of development of the students. Our School Code of Behaviour expects all members of the school community to behave in ways that show respect for others.
Promoting Good Behaviour
Promoting good behaviour is the primary focus of our school Code of Behaviour. School management and staff will actively aim to foster a school ethos, school policies, protocols and practices geared towards promoting positive behaviour.
- The following is a sample of the type of behaviour that we expect from our students:
- Treat others with dignity and respect at all times
- Be on time and be prepared
- Behave well in class so that everyone can learn e.g. take turns, listen to teacher, follow instructions
- Give of your best at all times
- Play safely in the playground and allow others to play too
- Keep the school clean and safe for everyone
- Have respect for the property of others.
Relationships between students and teachers
The quality of relationships between teachers and students is one of the most powerful influences on student behaviour. For many students their teachers may be a major source of support, adult empathy and pastoral care, and are hugely significant figures in their lives. This relationship should be one that is characterised by respect, trust and unconditional positive regard, thus enabling students to venture, explore and grow.
Strategies to affirm and promote good behaviour
A range of strategies for promoting good behaviour at class and school level are needed. We aim for consistency across the teaching team in the promotion of good behaviour.
Strategies to promote and affirm good behaviour include:
- Actively teach/model good behaviour
- Specify clearly what constitutes good behaviour and praise accordingly—“Catch them being good.”
- Reinforce expectations that constitute good behaviour at the beginning of each term e.g behave in a respectful manner towards all, uniform code, need for punctuality in class and assembly, play safely in the yard etc.
- Verbal affirmation
- Note home re positive/improved behaviour
- “Token Economy”- the use of merit system, stickers, stars, smiley faces, points etc. to earn privileges based on positive behaviour for an individual, a group or a class.
- Star pupil/group of the week
Affirming and motivating students: use of reward systems
- Reward systems may be part of our overall school or class system, or may form part of a planned intervention by a teacher or school staff to help individual students manage their own behaviour.
- Rewards for students with special needs must take account of their particular learning style. The reward should be communicated in ways that reflect this understanding e.g. a child with A.D.H.D. would be allowed a period of activity having completed a given task.
- Awards must be closely linked in time to the behaviour that is being rewarded.
- Rewards will focus on effort and not solely on achievement
- Rewards must avoid unhelpful competition.
- Rewards must not become the goal of learning.
- Rewards must be seen to be attainable by all.
- The rewarding of achievement is also a valid means of affirmation
Responding to unacceptable behaviour
Despite the promotion of good behaviour, the school recognises that on occasion unacceptable behaviour happens. It is important to distinguish between unacceptable behaviour and behavioural problems that are associated with behavioural or learning difficulties. Examples of unacceptable behaviour include:
- Any minor misbehaviour that persists
- Giving cheek to the teacher
- Refusing to do class work or homework
- Passing notes around in class
- Constant and deliberate interruptions of class
- Name calling and objectionable comments
- Deliberate lying
- Use of mobile phone while at school.
- Throwing objects
- Temper tantrums
- Threatened assault and /or actual physical assault on teacher or other
- Vandalism to property—school property, class property or pupils’ property
- Persistent infringement of school rules
The school will address unacceptable behaviour using the following strategies:
Problem solving approach:
Gather information. It is imperative that the context and factors that may be affecting behaviour are understood. Consultation with parents may be necessary.
Generate ideas about possible solutions. Parents may also have input to this process. Consultation with senior members of staff may also be appropriate.
Decide on agreed and specific strategies to address the problem
Implement agreed strategies consistently.
Whole School Strategies
Elements of our whole school approach to unacceptable behaviour will include:
Agreed descriptions of behaviour – accuracy in describing the nature, frequency, intensity and persistence of behaviour will help to observe changes over time, or in different contexts and so help to formulate responses which are based on objective data
Arrangements for recording behaviour – the use of the yard note book will allow the staff to track, systematically, any behaviour that is a cause for concern.
There should be varying layers of intervention to deal with unacceptable behaviour —staff will have an agreed ladder of intervention
Parental involvement will be sought when/where appropriate. In cases of extreme misbehaviour it may be necessary for the Deputy Principal, Principal or the B.O.M. to become involved immediately.
A small minority of students may show particularly challenging behaviour. These students will need a sustained and systematic response involving the important adults in their lives, in school and at home.
Specific unacceptable behaviour
Specific unacceptable behaviour such as bullying or harassment is prohibited in our school
WHAT IS BULLYING?
Bullying is repeated aggressive behaviour, verbal, physical, or psychological conducted by an individual or group against another. Isolated incidents of aggressive behaviour, while to be condemned, should not be described as bullying. Only aggressive behaviour which is systematic and ongoing should be regarded as bullying. Bullying can take many forms:
Slagging—making fun of another
Abusive telephone calls / text messages
Systematic damage to another’s property
Posting unsavoury material on website
WHAT IS HARASSMENT?
Harassment is any form of unwanted conduct in relation to any person on discriminatory grounds. It is conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading or offensive environment for the person.
Schools and the Equal Status Acts, The Equality Authority
The procedures for dealing with bullying behaviour are detailed in the school’s Anti-Bullying policy. Copies of this policy are available from the office.
The Use of Sanctions
A sanction is a form of positive intervention.
Our school Code of Behaviour promotes a whole school approach to the use of sanctions. This approach will provide for:
Clarity about the object and purpose of sanctions
the objective of a sanction is to help the student to learn.
the purpose of a sanction is to bring about a change in behaviour
Good practice in the use of sanctions
- used as part of a plan to change behaviour,
- all members of staff use agreed sanctions,
- sanctions are proportionate to the seriousness of the misbehaviour,
- are appropriate to the age and developmental stage of the student
- take account of the cultural background of the student
The decision to apply agreed sanctions and the manner of using sanctions will always be guided by professional judgement and discretion.
Examples of suitable sanctions and interventions:
- Verbal reprimand–teacher will remind child of rule he/she is breaking
- Simple choice–teacher will present child with a choice e g. if you continue to misbehave you will be sent to “time out”
- Removal from the group
- Withdrawal of privileges e.g. removal from their “post” whenever their turn next occurs[for one day or one week]
- Extra homework on that day and/or weekend homework
- Meeting between teacher and parent to devise action plan to help improve behaviour
- Withdrawal from the particular lesson or class
- Carrying out a useful task in the school
- Referral to Deputy Principal
- Referral to Principal
- Meeting between teacher, parent and Deputy Principal or Principal.
- Formal report to B.O.M.
- If serious misconduct persists a child may be suspended
There is an increasing level of seriousness built into the above list of suitable sanctions. However, it would be inappropriate to stipulate a rigid ladder of intervention, to be applied in all cases, as such an approach would not take account of both context and individual children’s circumstances
Our Code of Behaviour prohibits inappropriate sanctions or responses which include:
- ridicule, sarcasm or remarks likely to undermine a students self confidence
- public or private humiliation
- applying sanctions to whole groups or classes in cases of individual or small groups wrong doing
- leaving a student in an unsupervised situation (e.g. a corridor)
- persistent isolation of or ignoring a student in class
- depriving a student of access to any part of the curriculum, as a sanction, unless such action is warranted due to safety reasons
- sanctions that are used in a discriminatory way; the Equal Status Acts require that schools do not discriminate in the use of sanctions and also forbid victimisation because of assertion of rights or involvement in proceedings under the Acts
- physical punishment or threat of physical punishment. Physical punishment, chastisement of a student is illegal under section 24 of the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act 1997
Implementing the School Code of Behaviour
The essential elements of our implementation plan will be:
- Communicating the code
Each family and member of staff will receive a copy of the code
Our school will define and teach the behaviours they expect from students and the skills they need to manage their own behaviour and to respond appropriately to the behaviour of others
- Providing supports for teachers, students and parents
- Monitoring behaviour in the school to gather reliable, factual information about good behaviour as well as poor behaviour. Regular monitoring will inform the school of any emerging trends or patterns, for example, the time of day, the location, or circumstances associated with either poor behaviour or particularly good behaviour.
We aim to offer students a range of opportunities to have a say in decisions that affect them and to practice active citizenship e. g. use of class charters.
Suspension should be a proportionate response to the behaviour that is causing concern. The decision to suspend a student must require serious grounds such as:
The student’s behaviour is a persistent cause of significant disruption to the learning of others in class.
There is a real and immediate threat to the safety of others or that of the student by continuing in the school or classroom at that time
Serious damage to property
The process of determining whether suspension is an appropriate response to a student’s behaviour should include a review of:
- the nature and seriousness of the behaviour
- the context of the behaviour
- the impact of the behaviour on the learning of other students and on the teaching process
- the interventions tried to date
- whether suspension is a proportionate response to the student’s behaviour
- the possible impact, positive or negative, of suspension
- Achieving a balance between the needs of an individual student and other students will require the application of professional skill and judgement, on a case by case basis, drawing on factual and objective information.
The decision to suspend a pupil rests with the Principal who must then inform the Board of Management.
A parent has the right to appeal this decision to the Board of Management. If a parent is dissatisfied with the outcome of that appeal, they may make a Section 29 Appeal against the decision to suspend their child to the Dept. of Education and Science, if the suspension would bring the cumulative period of suspension to 20 school days or longer in any one school year.
Inappropriate use of suspension
Students should not usually be suspended for:
- poor academic application
- poor attendance or lateness
- minor breaches of the school Code of Behaviour
- breaches of the uniform code
It is not appropriate to use suspension on the grounds that resources have not been provided to address the needs of a student with behavioural difficulties.
Period of suspension must not be longer than three days, save in exceptional circumstances where the Principal considers that a longer period is necessary in order to achieve a particular objective.
A suspension will usually be removed when:
- the given period of time has elapsed
- the B.O.M. decides to remove the suspension
- the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science directs that it be removed on foot of a Section 29 Appeal .
Sanctions that exclude a student from school
In cases where the exclusion of a student may be considered, the B.O.M. will ensure that fair procedures are followed and the principles of natural justice are upheld.
Formal arrangements for investigation and decision making
- Students and parents will be informed of an allegation of serious misbehaviour and that an investigation will follow.
- Students and parents will be given details in writing about the allegation
- Students and parents will be provided with copies of records of serious alleged misbehaviour
- Students and parents will be informed that a serious sanction may be imposed
- The right to reply is central to fair decision making. Both the parents and the student must be facilitated in presenting their views on the allegations made. The B.O.M. will take steps to make sure that the parents understand the purpose and process of this hearing.
The investigation itself should be free of bias. A principal, class teacher or other staff member involved in the behavioural matter in the first instance, should not be involved in conducting the investigation of the alleged misbehaviour, or making the decision to impose a sanction.
A student is excluded from school when a B.O.M. makes a decision to permanently exclude him or her, having complied with the provisions of Section 24 of the Education Welfare Act 2000 . The B.O.M.is required to inform the NEWB in writing of its opinion .This information is required under the Act and allows the NEWB to intervene before the decision takes effect. The intention to exclude a student does not take effect until 20 days have elapsed after the NEWB has received written notification.
As in the case of suspension, a parent has the right to appeal this decision to the Board of Management. If a parent is dissatisfied with the outcome of that appeal, they may make a Section 29 Appeal, against the decision to exclude their child, to the Dept. of Education and Science.
Notification of a child’s absence from school
Our Code of Behaviour stresses the importance of notifying the school of a child’s absence for any reason. This will normally be done through:
- parent/guardian speaking directly to class teacher
- letter from parent/guardian to class teacher
- note in homework journal
- provision of a doctor’s certificate for significant absences due to illness
Parents/Guardians are obliged, by the Education Welfare Act 2000, to explain their child’s absence from school. Notification of such absences can be given in advance (e.g. going on holidays, on the first day of absence), or when the child returns to school. If a parent/guardian fails to notify the school about a child’s absence, then the matter will be pursued by the school. The school must inform the NEWB if a child is absent for 20 days or more throughout the school year.
Reviewing the Code of Behaviour
The Code will be reviewed after an initial period of two years to establish if the goals and targets, set out as part of the plan for promoting good behaviour in the school, are effective and, if not, to identify the barriers to making progress towards these goals.