Code of Behaviour

Rationale
The Code of Behaviour was reviewed at this particular time to reflect the good practice and procedures outlined in the National Educational Welfare Board document “Developing a Code of Behaviour – Guidelines for Schools” (May 2008)

 

Purpose of the code
Our overall aim is to promote positive behaviour and to allow our school, Loreto to function in an orderly and harmonious way.The policy will enhance the learning environment so that the girls can make progress in all aspects of their development being a member of a people fully alive.Our school vision statement reminds us that as a Catholic school we wish to deepen the core values of honesty, respect, welcome, tolerance and co-operation. This is also outlined in the Loreto Philosophy of Education.

Other aims include:

  • To promote positive behaviour and self-discipline, while recognising the differences between children and the need to accommodate these differences.
  • To ensure the safety and well being of all members of the school community
  • To assist parents and pupils in understanding the systems and procedures that form part of the code of behaviour and to seek their co-operation in the application of these procedures
  • To ensure that the system of rules, rewards, and sanctions are implemented in a fair and consistent manner throughout the school

 

1. Standards of behaviour in our school

  • All in school must show respect to staff, to pupils and to visitors.
  • All areexpected to show kindness and a willingness to help others.
  • Everyone takes responsibility for their own behaviour, actions and for their own work
  • Pupils are expected to be honest and truthful.
  • A high standard of good manners is expected.
  • Correction shall be taken openly with a willingness to improve behaviour. Each child’s side of the story shall be listened to.
  • We are all called on to show forgiveness of and understanding to others.
  • We must all help to create a positive, safe, healthy, happy and productive school.
  • Pupils are to adhere to our school rules.
  • Pupils are expected to be presented neatly and punctually.
  • Disrespectful behaviours are not acceptable and include:

o  Behaviour that is hurtful
o  Behaviour that interferes with teaching and learning
o  Behaviour that is threatening
o  Behaviour that causes physical hurt to another person
o  Behaviour that may be unsafe
o  Behaviour that causes damage to property
o  Theft


2. Promotion of Positive Behaviour
Promoting good behaviour is one of the main goals of Loreto National School. School Management, staff and pupils actively foster practices and rewards that help to promote positive behaviour and prevent or minimise inappropriate behaviour.

  • Individual class acknowledgments of good behaviour and effort
    Teachers will use their own methods of reward system within their class. These will include stickers, stamps, stars, certificates.

Senior classes will receive acknowledgement at the end of a positive and productive day.

As a means of helping students to recognise their own good behaviour, their good behaviour will be acknowledged regularly.


3. Code of Conduct: the rules and expectations of Loreto

General rules and expectations

  • Pupils must show respect to staff, to pupils and to visitors
  • Pupils shall respect the property of the school and others people’s belongings.
  • The Health and Safety Policy is to be adhered to by all students
  • Students are expected to adhere to the School Computer Usage Policy
  • The School Uniform Policy, including the non –wearing of jewellery, is to be adhered to by all students.
  • School attendance should be regular and punctual.
  • School absences must be explained by written parental note.
  • Excellent and safe behaviour is adhered to in toilet areas.


Breaktime rules and expectations

The set yard rules of playing safely, following the directions of yard supervisors and allowing others to play happily are to be adhered to.

On wet days the activities to play inside, as instructed by teachers, should be adhered to.

Classroom rules and expectations

Homework should be satisfactorily completed; oral and written work fully completed at home; written work should be presented neatly - the effort should be obvious

Work is to be checked on and signed by a parent or guardian only on completion.

Students must make a genuine effort in class and allow all other students to get the best from their right to an education.

Listen attentively to the teacher and follow his/her instructions.

Listen to other students answering the teacher.

Participate in set classroom work without disturbing or distracting other pupils

Students are not permitted to run around the classroom or play roughly where a student or staff may be harmed.

Students are not permitted to throw objects within the classroom.

Students must adhere to the classroom rules devised by the teacher (and students) for their classroom at the beginning of each year.

The teachers and supervisory personnel, will strive to ensure that all rules and expectations are communicated in a way that students with special educational needs can understand. Teachers will monitor this understanding, from time to time, where a student with special needs is acting in a way that would usually be seen as being in breach of the rules.

Bullying by mobile phone or via email/internet will not be tolerated in any form


4. Sanctions
The degree of misdemeanours (i.e. minor, serious or gross,) will be judged by the teachers and the Principal based on a common sense approach with regard to the gravity and/or frequency of such misdemeanours. Gross misbehaviours will be brought to the attention of the Chairperson of BOM.

The purpose of a sanction is to bring about a change in behaviour by:

  • Helping students to learn their behaviour is unacceptable
  • Help them recognise the effect of their actions
  • Help them recognise they have choices about their behaviour
  • Help them to take responsibility for their behaviour
  • To keep all members of school safe

All sanctions are to be fair and age appropriate and help to promote a safe, happy and productive school.

Our sanctions include

  • Verbal warnings / reprimand
  • Withdrawal in class from the peer group
  • Loss of privileges
  • Prescribing additional work
  • Contacting the principal
  • Contacting the parents/guardians with a view to bringing about change of behaviour
  • Formal meeting with parents/guardians
  • Reporting gross misbehaviour to chairperson of B.O.M.
  • Formal report to B.O.M.
  • The B.O.M. reserves the right to suspend or expel a pupil in accordance with the procedures to be found in this code.

 

5. Roles and Responsibilities

Board of Management

  • Ensured a code of behaviour was drawn up in consultation with all relevant partners.
  • Board formally adopted the code, the commencement date and review date was recorded.
  • The Board of Management ensured that the specific code of behaviour developed was based on the following: care, safety, welfare, respect, co-operation, responsibility, equality and fair treatment.
  • The Board of Management is responsible for ensuring that fair procedures are followed in relation to suspension and expulsion.
  • The Board will be responsible for initiating periodic reviews of the code.


Principal

  • The responsibility for the overall day to day implementation of the code of behaviour within the school rests with the principal subject to the authority of the Board of Management.
  • The principal, through guidance and leadership, shall encourage a sense of collective responsibility/commitment among staff, students and parents in the application of the code.
  • The principal is responsible for ensuring the audit and review of the code at the request of the BOM.
  • Teachers and other Staff
  • All staff plays a pivotal role in the implementation of the code of behaviour, by leading by example and applying fair procedures.
  • All staff members shall use their professional expertise at review and update time.
  • Teachers will use S.P.H.E. lessons to reinforce the code of behaviour.
  • All staff is responsible for dealing with behaviour of students and responding appropriately to behaviour on a daily basis.


Parents

  • The school affirms the statutory right of parents, through their representatives to be consulted during evaluation of the code of behaviour.
  • Upon enrolment parents shall be furnished with a copy of the code of behaviour.
  • The school acknowledges that parents have a responsibility to actively support the school in the fair application of the code of behaviour. Parents are required to sign acceptance of the code prior to the completion of the enrolment process.
  • Parents are asked to reinforce at home the messages about behaviour that are conducive to a happy school.


Students

  • Students had a positive role to play in the development of the school’s code of behaviour.
  • Through their involvement with the code they learn about personal responsibility for their behaviour and for each others well being and for the well being of all.
  • Children need to be conscious of what is needed for teaching and learning and behave appropriately to ensure a safe, positive, harmonious school environment for all.

 

6. Notification of absences

Student absences must be explained in writing with a dated note on their return to school following an absence. A reason for the absence will need to be detailed on the note. (Blank notes are available at the back of homework journal. If ticking the other box an explanation must be given.)

If a child forgets a note the parent will receive a reminder home in the child’s journal of the dates of the child’s absence and the need for a note to be given to the school.

If a child is absent 3 or more days, the parent should contact the school, as soon as possible, to explain the reason for their child’s absence.

 

7. Records

The school maintains a weekly yard log of behaviour incidents and of senior injuries.

A separate note or log of persistent minor misbehaviours and of any serious misbehaviour will be kept by the class teacher. Reference to a child’s behaviour record is included on the end of year report.

The principal will log any serious or gross misbehaviours where direct contact with parents was necessary and of nature of the contact. This principal’s log will be kept in line with the published policy of the school on record keeping.

All records will factual and impartial.

 

8.Bullying

Bullying can be physical, verbal or emotional. Name calling, teasing and taunting, rude gestures, intimidation and extortion are some of its forms. Bullying is aggressive behaviour and can cause both physical and psychological hurt. Two criteria particularly distinguish bullying:

  • Firstly, the hurt done is unprovoked.
  • Secondly, bullying is repeated intimidation or victimisation of a child by another child (or by a group.)


Bullying is not a normal phase of childhood development and always involves two victims—the bully and the bullied. It is behaviour that has no place in our school. Therefore, a policy on countermanding bullying behaviour is central to our school ethos.

The first part of our approach is to reduce the opportunity of bullying by:

a) Teaching anti-bullying lessons in every class. This gives the opportunity to discuss how bullying is not acceptable, how wrong it is, how it makes others feel and the need for the victim to inform their parents or teacher. This is an element of our published S.P.H.E. Programme.

b) Classroom discussion of yard incidents

c) Supervision of children in yard, classrooms and corridors.

d) Openness of parents and pupils to disclose bullying

Procedures for noting and reporting bullying incidences:

  1. Child reports to parents, teacher or principal.
  2. Parents reports to teacher or principal.
  3. School staff detects such behaviours through supervision

Procedures for investigating:

(a) Class teacher talks to children if this is a first offence.

(b) For a second offence, (or more serious first i.e. involving physical harm), Principal or teacher talk to children and Parents.

(c) Where gangs are involved the children will be interviewed individually.

At all times attempts will be made to find out the truth of the matter, but central to most forms of bullying is secrecy. This is caused by a fear of the bully by the victim or an attitude of not telling on each other. Where the truth has been established a sanction shall be given where necessary according to this code.

For a more serious and/or formal allegation of bullying, the allegation will be sought in writing from the parent alleging the bullying with the right of reply given to the second side. This written paperwork along with a Principal’s report of the investigation will go before the BOM for them to make a determination on the issue. If bullying is established the BOM will impose, what it deems, an appropriate sanction. Serious bullying on the way to or from school should be brought to the attention of the Gardaí and the school alerted in case it overflows into the school arena.

 

9. When Code Applies

The standards and rules contained in this code of behaviour applies to our students when at school, on school tours, at school organised games and at other extracurricular activities or at events organised by the school or when representing the school.

 

10.Success Criteria

This code will be successful if it helps create and maintain a safe, happy, caring, fair and educational environment. The ongoing monitoring will indicate the success or otherwise of this code. Success will be judged if high standards of good behaviour are in evidence and the school receives affirmation from external source such as: positive comments from parents, from places where pupils visit on tours or educational fieldtrips, and from visitors to the school.

Other criteria include:

(a) observation of positive behaviour in classrooms, playground and in the school environment

(b) the practices and procedures in this policy are being implemented.

 

11.Review

This code will be reviewed and if necessary updated in 2013 unless it is apparent that a review is needed before 2013 as a matter of urgency.

 

12.Communication of the code

This code will be distributed to all current parents and will be given to enrolling parents. Enrolling parents must sign acceptance of the code before the enrolment process is complete.

Appendix: Suspension and Expulsion Procedure

Suspension
The decision to suspend a student requires serious/ gross misbehaviour grounds such as that:

  • The behaviour has a seriously detrimental effect on the education of others
  • Her continued presence is a risk to safety
  • She is responsible for serious damage to property

A single incident of serious misconduct may be grounds for misconduct.

In exceptional circumstances of a serious threat to safety the Principal following fair procedure has the power from our BOM to sanction immediate suspension for a maximum of 3 days.The Chairperson will be informed of the suspension. The formal investigation should immediately follow the imposition of the suspension.

In other cases when a preliminary assessment confirms serious misbehaviour that warrants suspension the school will:

  • Inform the parent(s) about the complaint
  • Give the parents and students an opportunity to respond

A report shall be prepared for the BOM to help them come to a decision on imposing a suspension. The report shall detail the seriousness of the behaviour, the context and impact of the behaviour, the interventions tried to date, whether suspension is an appropriate response and the possible impact of the suspension.

While 3 day suspension is more the norm; the Board places a ceiling of 10 days on any one period of suspension imposed by it.

If the total number of suspension days reaches 20 in a school year the parents may appeal the suspension under Section 29 of the Education Act 2000 to the Secretary General of the Dept. of Education and Science.

The principal should notify in writing to the parents any decision to suspend stating:

  • The period of suspension
  • The reasons for the suspension
  • Any study programme to be followed

The arrangements for returning including any commitments required the provision for an appeal to the BOM

Any right to a section 29 appeal; and how to make such an appeal.

The principal shall also:

  • Notify promptly the Chairperson of any immediate suspension.
  • Notify the BOM of any immediate suspension at next BOM meeting.
  • Notify N.E.W.B. of any suspension of 6 of more days under the reporting guidelines. (Section 21(4) a. Education Welfare Act.)

 

Expulsion
Our B.O.M has the authority, and reserves the right to itself solely, to expel a student.

Expulsion will be a proportionate response to extreme cases of unacceptable behaviour.

The school will already have taken significant steps to address the misbehaviour. The grounds are similar to that of suspension but the degree of seriousness and its persistence is the key difference and the school believes it has exhausted all other possibilities of changing the student’s behaviour. As the behaviour is extremely serious the pupil would likely be suspended while the procedure is being followed.

A single breach of the code could warrant expulsion: e.g.

  • A serious threat of violence to other student or staff
  • Actual serious assault
  • Supply or possession of illegal drugs
  • Sexual Assault

Procedure:

  1. A detailed investigation carried out by the Principal
  2. A recommendation from the Principal to the Board
  3. Consideration of the recommendation and a holding of a hearing by the BOM. Parents and the principal are listened to at the hearing. The parents and principal then leave and are not involved in the Board’s deliberations.
  4. Consultation with the Education Welfare Officer
  5. Confirmation of the decision to expel
  6. The passage of 20 days from the date of written notification to the Education Welfare Officer.
  7. The parents notified in writing of the decisions at point3 and of the BOM next steps including that it will inform the Education Welfare Officer if it intends to expel.
  8. After 20 days and the BOM still confirms it decision to expel, parents will be informed immediately.
  9. Parents and student informed of their right to appeal and supplied with the standard form for such an appeal.
  10. An appeal may also be brought by the N.E.W.B. on behalf of the student.

 

The above procedures are more fully outlined in the Guidelines for Schools: Developing a code of Behaviour and also published on www.newb.ie

Date of Ratification: February 2010