Code Of Behaviour


Introduction

This policy was formulated by the staff and management of Sacred Heart Primary School in 2010 in order to ensure compliance with the National Education Welfare Board (NEWB) Guidelines, Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools (2008). We are also conscious of our obligations under the provisions of the Education Act 1998, Education Welfare Act 2000, Equal Status Act 2000 and Department of Education & Skills Guidelines. This policy was reviewed in 2015.

 

In formulating this policy the Board of Management completed the following steps:

 

A staff sub-committee was established in order to review our existing policy in light of the guidelines published by the National Education Welfare Board.  

Parents and Staff were informed that an initial draft of the Code of Behaviour was available and they were invited to make submissions on the content of the code.

Class teachers were requested to discuss the topic of ‘rules’ with their classes and submit a list of pupils suggestions to the Principal.

The initial draft of the Code of Behaviour was reviewed and where appropriate amended in line with the feedback received.

The final draft of the policy was submitted for the Patron’s Approval.

The Code of Behaviour was reviewed in 2015

This Code of Behaviour will be published on the school’s website  HYPERLINK "http://www.presprimarytralee.com" www.presprimarytralee.com Copies of the Code of Behaviour are also available in school and parents of all new entrants to the school are given a copy of the document.

 

The Board of Management recognises the importance of creating consistent values, policies, practices and relationships that support the Code of Behaviour.  Such an environment may only be formed by involving the entire school community and in this respect the Board acknowledges the importance of the roles played by, the principal, teachers, ancillary staff, parents and pupils in the review and operation of the Code of Behaviour. 

 

Relationship to characteristic spirit of the school

The Code of Behaviour is rooted in the vision, mission and values of the school.  Sacred Heart Primary School is committed to helping its pupils grow maturely towards self-discipline and good behaviour and the pursuit of excellence in education within a supportive Christian environment.  School policy calls for a positive approach to discipline.  This should appeal to the child’s better nature and should encourage an acceptable standard of behaviour.  It is agreed that a high standard of behaviour requires a strong sense of community within the school and a high level of cooperation among staff and between staff, parents and pupils. School policy therefore emphasises good behaviour.  It is based on respect for one’s self, for other pupils, for the family, for school staff, for property and for the environment.

 

The basic principles underpinning our Code of Behaviour are outlined in Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools, NEWB, 2008. (pp22-23) and are as follows:

 

Providing Clarity. Affirming that everyone’s behaviour matters. Focussing on promoting good behaviour. Balancing needs. Recognising that relationships are crucial. Focussing on personal responsibility. Ensuring fairness and equity. Promoting equality. Recognising educational vulnerability. Attending to the welfare of students. Attending to the welfare of staff. Promoting safety and freedom from threat.

 

Aims

The aims of the Code of Behaviour of Sacred Heart Primary School are as follows:

 

To provide guidance for pupils, teachers and parents on behavioural expectations.

To provide for the effective and safe operation of the school.

To develop pupils’ self-esteem and to promote and acknowledge positive behaviour.

To foster the development of a sense of responsibility and self-discipline in pupils based on respect, consideration and tolerance of others.

To facilitate the education and development of every child.

To foster caring attitudes to one another and to the environment.

To enable teachers to teach without disruption.

To ensure that the system of rules, rewards and sanctions is implemented in a fair and consistent manner.

To ensure the safety and well-being of all members of the school community.

Recognise that every member of the school community has a role to play in the implementation of the Code of Behaviour.

 

 

ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Responsibilities of the Board of Management

Provide a comfortable, safe environment for learning

Ensure that a Code of Behaviour is drawn up and is known to parents. 

Support the Principal and staff in implementing the code.

Ratify the code.

 

Responsibilities of the Staff

It is the Principal’s responsibility to ensure that the school’s Code of Behaviour is administered in a fair and consistent manner.  However, each staff member has responsibility for the maintenance of discipline within common areas of the school.

Teaching staff are specifically responsible for the management of behaviour within their own class except during breaks, when the supervising teacher takes charge.  Teachers will:

 

Discuss the Code of Behaviour with their class in an age appropriate manner at the beginning of the school year. 

Support and implement the school’s code of behaviour.

Create a safe, welcoming 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.

Inform pupils when instances of misbehaviour on their part are being recorded.

Report  instances of serious misbehaviour to the Principal.

Communicate with parents when necessary and provide reports on matters of mutual concern.

Provide support for colleagues.

 

Responsibilities of Pupils

Attend school regularly and punctually.

Listen to their teachers and act on instructions/advice.

Bring correct materials/books to school.

Complete assigned homework in accordance with School Homework Policy.

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, inappropriate language and name-calling.

Include other pupils in games and activities.

Follow school and class rules.

Stay on school premises and within designated areas during school times.

Pupils are expected to wear the school uniform.

 

Responsibilities of Parents/Guardians

Ensure that children attend regularly and punctually and supply notes explaining absences.

Be interested in, support and encourage their children’s school work. Check and sign class homework journal/copy.

Be familiar with the code of behaviour and support its implementation.

Encourage children to have a sense of respect for themselves, for others, for their own property and the property of others.

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.

 

 

SCHOOL RULES

 

General Guidelines for Positive Behaviour

 

Pupils are expected to treat all adults and fellow pupils with respect and courtesy at all times. Behaviour that interferes with the rights of others to learn and to feel safe is unacceptable.

Pupils are expected to show respect for all school property and to keep the school environment clean and litter free.

Pupils are expected to take pride in their appearance. They should wear their school uniform on ordinary school days and school tracksuit on PE days.  The only jewellery allowed in school is one stud on each ear and a wristwatch. For hygiene purposes hair should be tied back. Make-up is not worn in school.

Pupils are expected to obey a teacher’s/staff instructions, to work to the best of their ability and to present assignments neatly.

Pupils are expected to attend every day unless there is a genuine reason for absence, in which case the school must be informed in writing, stating the reason for absence.

Pupils are expected to obey their classroom rules.

Pupils are expected to comply with the Healthy Lunch Policy in the school.

We discourage the bringing of mobile phones to school except in exceptional circumstances.  As mobile phones are not allowed in classrooms, all phones must be handed in to the secretary’s office before school and collected after school.

 

 

Classroom Rules

Classroom rules will be discussed in each class at the beginning of the school year. These reflect and support the school rules and are presented in a way that is accessible to the children. In promoting positive behaviour in the classroom, the aim is to establish a climate where praise and encouragement far outweigh the frequency of criticism and sanctions 

 

Behaviour in School Building

Pupils are expected to treat all staff members, themselves and each other with due respect and courtesy. Pupils are taught to stand back for an adult, to welcome visitors and to show respect for their elders.

Pupils enter and leave the school building at all times in an orderly fashion.  There are designated entry and exit doors for different class levels and pupils are expected to comply with these arrangements.

In the interest of safety pupils must walk on the right hand side within the school building and silence is expected while children are getting ready to enter/exit class.

Chewing gum, glass bottles, correction fluids, other solvents, matches, cigarettes, alcohol or drugs are not allowed.

Cycling in the school grounds is forbidden.

 

Playground Rules

All pupils have a right to enjoy their time out in the playground in a safe environment at break periods.  Playground rules are displayed in a prominent place.

 

Lunch is eaten in the classroom.  No food or drink is allowed in the yard.

All pupils must go outside during breaks, unless they are otherwise instructed due to inclement weather.  If a parent/guardian wishes his/her child to remain indoors during  break times, because of illness or some such acceptable reason, a note should be sent to the teacher.  It is advised that if a pupil is sick the appropriate place for the child is at home.

Pupils should play in the areas designated for their class.  

Pupils must play safely at all times. Anti-social, dangerous or hurtful behaviour is forbidden, as is the use of bad language and exclusion.

When the first bell/whistle sounds at the end of breaks, pupils should stop playing and remain silent.  On the second bell/whistle pupils should walk to their lines and wait quietly for their teacher.  Class teachers accompany their class to their classroom.  

Pupils must walk quietly going to and from classroom, yard, hall, church etc.

Pupils may only enter the school during breaks when they have received permission from a member of staff.  During break times pupils may only use the toilets designated for each playground.

Older children are expected to be aware and mindful of younger children in the playground.

 

Wet days

Children are expected to remain in their classrooms during break times.  

Children may do activities/games in class based on the class teacher’s instructions or supervising teacher’s instructions.

Sharp implements are used only when a teacher/adult is in the classroom

Children are not allowed to use tin-whistles/recorders on wet days except during music/band practice.  

Children do not have permission to use the computers during break time unless supervised by the class teacher.

Children must have the permission of the supervising teacher to go to the bathroom 

 

School Environment

Pupils are expected to value our school environment and to care for it.  The school campus is a litter-free zone.  To promote environmental awareness, the school is involved in various projects: composting, recycling, energy efficiency, water conservation.

 

School Outings

Parental/Guardian permission slips are required if the pupil is to go on tour.  A note is also required from parent/guardian detailing any ailments, food allergies a pupil may have. These slips are to be given to the teacher prior to the tour.

Pupils enter/leave the bus in an orderly manner.

Pupils are expected to arrive 15 minutes before departure time. Parents are expected to contact the school 15 minutes before departure time if a child is unable to attend.

School Rules apply to school tours.

Pupils may only use mobile phones on a school trip at the discretion of the teacher

On the bus pupils must sit in their seats and wear their seat belts. 

Pupils are encouraged to take drinks but are asked to refrain from eating on the bus except at the appointed lunch breaks. 

Pupils stay in their appointed groups at all times.

 

Swimming days

Swimming is part of the Physical Education curriculum as laid down by the Department of Education and Skills.  It is school policy that children from Third Class to Sixth Class take swimming classes. In exceptional circumstances, due to a medical condition, children may be excused from swimming class.  On other occasions children may be excused from a swimming class but they are still required to attend the class as observers.  

 

See Policy on Swimming Lessons

 

Bullying 

Bullying is unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical conducted, by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time.  (Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools)

Bullying, in any form, will not be tolerated and parents will be expected to cooperate with the school at all times in dealing with instances of bullying in accordance with the school’s Anti-Bullying Policy.

 

See Anti-Bullying Policy.

 

IMPLEMENTATION

 

Every member of the school community has a role to play in the implementation of the Code of Behaviour. Rules are kept to a minimum, with emphasis on positive behaviour. They will be applied in a fair and consistent manner. We have a team work approach to behaviour and we review the Code of Behaviour on an ongoing basis. All staff are sensitive to various factors that may affect individual children’s behaviour, such as particular family circumstances, cultural differences, special educational needs, medical problems or behavioural difficulties. 

The school’s SPHE curriculum is used to support the Code of Behaviour. It aims to help our children develop communication skills, appropriate ways of interacting and behaving, and conflict resolution skills. It also aims to foster self-esteem and to help children accommodate differences and develop citizenship. 

 

Strategies that may be used to promote Positive Behaviour

 

A quiet word or gesture to show approval.

A word of praise in front of a group or class.

A comment in a pupil’s exercise book.

A visit to another member of staff or the Principal for commendation.

Written or verbal communication with parents.

Teacher records improvement in the behaviour of a disruptive pupil.

Individual class merit awards, points awards or award stamps.

Delegating some special responsibility or privilege.

Written or verbal communication with parent.

Gold Star Award for best class line-up (Junior Infants to First Class).

Presentation of a Pupil of the Month Award (Second Class to Sixth Class).

Teacher’s own strategies.

 

Strategies that may be used for managing Inappropriate Behaviour 

 

Reasoning with pupil

Verbal reprimand including advice on how to improve

Temporary separation from peers within class and/or temporary removal to another class

Prescribing extra work

Loss of privileges

Thinking Box-area assigned in school playground where pupil can reflect on misbehaviour.  Pupils stay in this area for short periods-during this time those in charge on the yard dialogue with the child and ask them to reflect on the inappropriate behaviour

Supervised detention during break.  Detention as a sanction is at the discretion of each teacher. Each teacher will supervise the children who are in detention in their own classroom.  These are to be supervised by the teacher who has put them on detention.  Detention should not be used lightly as a deterrent.

Referral to Deputy Principal.

Referral to Principal

Entry in Behaviour Book

Communication with parents

Meeting with parents to discuss the issue

Pupils and parents to sign undertaking to abide by the school rules

Exclusion (Suspension or Expulsion) from school (in accordance with Rule 130 of the Rules for National Schools as amended by circular and Education Welfare Act 2000)

 

All of the above sanctions or a combination of them may be imposed depending on the seriousness of the offence.  Factors which will have a bearing on the implementation of sanctions will include:

The age of the pupil.

The gravity of the offence.

The pupil’s past record in abiding by the school rules.

The level of cooperation extended by the pupil.

 

Pupils will not be deprived of engagement in a Curricular Area, except on the grounds of Health & Safety.

Occasionally, other prudent, unlisted steps may be taken.

 

 

Managing aggressive or violent misbehaviour  

In the event of a seriously violent or threatening behaviour causing a risk to the safety of the pupil himself/herself or the safety of other pupils and the staff, the school will take appropriate steps e.g. temporary exclusion while consultation takes place with Parents, Special Educational Needs Organiser (SENO), Education Welfare Officer (EWO) and NEPS psychologist to consider appropriate resourcing or supports.

 

The strategies used for dealing with serious emotional and behavioural problems are as follows: 

 

Children who exhibit serious behavioural problems may be referred for psychological assessment with the consent of parents.

Through the Special Educational Needs Organiser, appropriate support may be  sought from services available e.g.  Health Service Executive (HSE), National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS).  The Class Teacher, the Learning Support Teacher and the Principal will meet to discuss the management of challenging behaviour if any of these teachers request such a meeting. This may be followed by a meeting with the parents, the child’s Special Needs Assistant (SNA) or advice may be sought from our NEPS psychologist.  

The learning support teacher will help the class teacher in the creation of individual behaviour plans for specific children. 

All teachers will be supported in every way possible when dealing with behavioural problems.

Teachers are encouraged to avail of relevant professional development courses that are organised by various teacher support services.

 

 

BEHAVIOUR & DISCIPLINE GRID.  LEVEL ONE

Level One behaviours are those that interfere with the orderly learning environment of the school, classroom and common areas.  Pupils learn through their mistakes.  To this extent, responses to daily behaviours which occur in school will be developmentally appropriate, instructive and positive.  Pupils will be taught what is expected and how they should behave.   Listed below are some of the types of behaviour that are included in level one.  Please note that this list is not exhaustive.

BEHAVIOUR

Failure to prepare for class, as defined by individual teachers, without an acceptable written excuse from parents 

Being late for class

Wandering about in class

Disturbing the work or play of others

Running in the corridors

Disrespectful language, tone, or manner 

Ignoring staff instructions

Not wearing school uniform or tracksuit

Not lining up quietly in school yard after breaks

Littering

Name calling

Incidental provocation of others

Absence notes not used

Being out of bounds e.g. in a different yard from the prescribed yard or out of classroom without permission during indoor ‘wet’ break times 

Entering the school building or classroom without permission during outdoor play times

 

DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS

Consequences for Level 1 behaviours are dependent upon the severity and frequency of the specific behaviour.  Teachers will discipline students at level 1.  

Verbal reprimand/reminder

Reinforcement of alternative positive behaviour 

Temporary separation from peers within the class

Prescribing additional work

Reminder of rules

Tactical ignoring

Model appropriate behaviour

Loss of privileges 

Parent contact via Homework Diary 

Behaviour contract 

 

Sanctions at this level should be used in a respectful way that helps students understand the consequences of their behaviour and to take responsibility for changing that behaviour.  They should:

Defuse and not escalate a situation

Preserve the dignity of all parties

Be applied in a fair and consistent way

Be timely

Group punishment should be avoided as it can cause resentment

It should be the behaviour rather than the person that is the focus

 

SUPPORTIVE INTERVENTIONS

Listed below are some examples of Level 1 supportive actions:

Reminder of rules

Discuss behaviour with pupil

Record of incidents/intervention

Behaviour Checklist

Seek parents support

Survey of Learning Environment

Pupil Reward System

Classroom Support Plan

 

 

 

BEHAVIOUR & DISCIPLINE GRID.  LEVEL TWO

 

Level 2 behaviours are those that seriously interfere with the orderly environment of the school and are potentially dangerous to the safety and well-being of the pupils and staff.  Listed below are some examples of the types of behaviour that are included in Level 2.  Please note that this list is not exhaustive.

 

 

BEHAVIOUR

 

Repeated Instances of Level 1 behaviours

Behaviours that are dangerous to self and others

Deliberately throwing objects

Intentional swearing

Disrespectful  language, tone, manner or behaviour towards an adult

Intentionally damaging school/personal property

Stealing

Cheating

Fighting

Use of profanity or offensive, inappropriate language

Bullying behaviour

Physical aggression

Derogatory reference to another person’s race, gender, religion, physical condition, disability or ethnic origin

Leaving class without permission

Mitching from school

 

 

DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS

 

Consequences for Level 2 behaviours are dependent upon the severity and frequency of the specific behaviour. The disciplinary actions at Level 2 are administered by the Deputy Principal and Principal, and include the notification of parents.  Some examples of Level 2 responses are:

 

Record in Office Discipline Book and/or Data Management System.

Supervised detention

Contact with parent(s)/guardian(s) by letter / telephone

Meeting with parent(s)/guardian(s) 

Suspension from school for one to five days

Report to Chairperson of Board of Management

 

 

 

 

 

SUPPORTIVE INTERVENTIONS

 

Listed below are some examples of Level 2 supportive actions:

 

Discussion with pupil, parent(s)/guardian(s)

Implementation of Behaviour Management Plan 

Team conference to include classroom teacher, other involved staff, Deputy Principal or Principal.  

Request for assistance from external agencies such as the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS), Health Service Executive Community Services (HSE), Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), National Council for Special Education (NCSE).

Referral of a Child displaying behavioural problems for psychological assessment (with the parent(s)/guardian(s) consent). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEHAVIOUR & DISCIPLINE GRID.  LEVEL THREE

 

Level 3 behaviours are considered the most serious violations.  These behaviours endanger the immediate health, safety and personal well-being of the pupils and staff of the school.  They represent a direct threat to the orderly operation of the school environment.  Situations, which include illegal activity, may result in contact with the Garda Síochána after parental involvement.  Listed below are some examples of the types of behaviour that are included in Level 3.  Please note that this list is not exhaustive.

 

 

 

BEHAVIOUR

 

Repeated or serious instances of Level 2 behaviours 

Extreme danger or violence 

Physical abuse or intimidation of pupils or staff

Intentional possession or use of weapons 

Violent fighting or intentionally causing physical harm to others 

Gross deliberate disrespect e.g. Discriminatory or prejudicial activities or actions toward another person or group involving race, gender, religion, physical condition, disability, inability or ethnic origin 

 

 

 

 

DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS

 

Behaviour at Level 3 involves suspension from school. The length of the suspension will depend upon the severity and frequency of the specific behaviour.  Level 3 responses:

 

Suspension from school for one to five days

Suspension from school for five to ten days

Expulsion from school

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUPPORTIVE INTERVENTIONS

 

N/A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PROCEDURES FOR SUSPENSION & EXPULSION

Suspension

Suspension is defined as “requiring the student to absent himself/herself from school for a specified, limited period of school days.” 

Developing a  Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools. NEWB.

 

Authority to Suspend

 

The Board of Management of Sacred Heart Primary School has formally and in writing delegated the authority to impose an ‘Immediate Suspension’ to the Principal Teacher. An ‘Immediate Suspension’ may be for a period of one to three school days depending on the severity of the specific Behaviour, in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the Chairperson of the Board the suspension may be for a longer period but in any event will not exceed 5 school days.

 

Furthermore, the Board of Management has formally and in writing delegated to the Principal Teacher the authority to impose an ‘Automatic Suspension’ for named behaviours detailed in this policy. An Automatic Suspension may be for a period of one to three school days depending on the severity of the specific behaviour, in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the Chairperson of the Board the suspension may be for a longer period but in any event will not exceed 5 school days.

 

The Board retains its authority to suspend a student in all other cases/circumstances.

 

Suspension will always be a proportionate response to the behaviour that is causing concern.  Normally other interventions will have been tried before suspension is considered and staff will have reviewed the reasons why these have not worked.  The decision to suspend a student requires serious grounds such as that:

The student’s behaviour has had a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other students.

The student’s behaviour militates against a teacher’s ability to teach.

The student’s continued presence at school constitutes a threat to safety

The student is responsible for serious damage to school property

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

 

Forms of Suspension

An Immediate Suspension will be deemed necessary where, after a preliminary investigation, the Principal reaches the determination that the continued presence of the pupil in the school at the time would represent a serious threat to the safety and wellbeing of the students or staff of the school.  Fair procedures must still apply.

 

An Automatic Suspension is a suspension imposed for named behaviours.  The BOM has determined that the following named behaviours will incur automatic suspension as a sanction:

1. Physical assault/violence resulting in bodily harm to a pupil or member of staff

2.Physical violence resulting in serious damage to school property

However, a general decision to impose suspension for named behaviours does not remove the duty to follow due process and fair procedures in each case.

 

 

 

Rolling Suspension:  A student may be suspended again shortly after returning to school 

(from a previous suspension) if serious misconduct warrants it (see grounds for suspension above) and fair procedures have been observed in full.  The behaviour will be judged on the same basis as that applied to any other student.

 

 

Open-ended Suspension: A student will not be suspended for indefinite periods as such a suspension is regarded as de-facto expulsion.

 

Procedures in relation to suspension

Where a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant suspension, the school will observe the following procedures:

Inform students and parents.

Give parents and student an opportunity to respond

Parent(s)/Guardian(s) will be informed of an Immediate or Automatic Suspension by telephone, and arrangements will be made with them for the pupil to be collected. In no circumstance will a student be sent home from school prior to his/her parent(s)/guardian(s) being notified. Formal written notification of the suspension will issue in due course, but no later than 2 school days after the imposition of the suspension. Such a notification will detail:

 

the duration of the suspension and the dates on which the suspension will begin and end

the reasons for the suspension

any study programme to be followed

the arrangements for returning to school, including any commitments to be entered into by the pupil and the parent(s)/guardian(s).

 

The Board of Management acknowledges that the decision to impose either an Immediate or Automatic Suspension does not remove the duty to follow due process and fair procedures. In this regard, and following a formal investigation, to be completed no later than 2 school days after the incident the Board will invite the pupil and his/her parent(s)/guardian(s) to a meeting to discuss;

the circumstances surrounding the suspension,

interventions to prevent a reoccurrence of such misconduct.

 

Procedures in Respect of Other Suspensions

In cases other than those of Immediate or Automatic Suspension the following procedures will apply;

 

Where a preliminary assessment of the fact confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant suspension, the Board of Management of Sacred Heart Primary School will initiate a formal investigation of the matter.  

 

The following procedures will be observed;

 

A written letter containing the following information will issue to Parent(s)/guardian(s); 

details of the alleged misbehaviour, details of the impending investigation process, and notification that the allegation could result in suspension.

An invitation to a meeting, to be scheduled no later than 5 school days from the date of the letter, where parent(s)/guardian(s) are provided with an opportunity to respond before a decision is made or a sanction imposed.

 

The Board of Management of Sacred Heart Primary School acknowledges the fundamental importance of impartiality in the investigation and decision-making process. In this regard the following undertakings are given;

No person with a vested interest or personal involvement in the matter will be involved in the organisation or implementation of the investigation procedure, nor will such a person be involved in the decision-making process.

The person(s) involved in the investigation process will on presentation of a full report of the facts absent himself/herself/themselves from the decision-making process.

 

Where a decision to suspend has been made the Chairperson of the Board of Management will provide written notification to the parent(s)/guardian(s) and the pupil of the decision. The letter will confirm:

the duration of the suspension and the dates on which the suspension will begin and end

the reasons for the suspension

any study programme to be followed

the arrangements for returning to school, including any commitments to be entered into by the pupil and the parent(s)/guardian(s)

the provision for an appeal to the Board of Management.

 

 

The period of Suspension

A student will not be suspended for more than three days except in exceptional circumstances where the Principal considers that a period of suspension longer than three days is needed in order to achieve a particular objective.  In such circumstances the matter is referred to the Board of Management for their consideration and approval.

The Board may choose to authorise a principal (with the Chairperson’s approval) to impose a suspension of up to five days in circumstances where a meeting of the board cannot be convened in a timely manner subject to the guidance concerning such suspensions.

The board will normally place a ceiling of ten days on any one period of suspension.  A suspension that would bring the number of days for which a student has been suspended in the current school year to twenty days or more will be formally reviewed by the Board of Management.  Any such suspension is subject to appeal under Section 29 of the Education Act.

 

Section 29 Appeals.

A suspension that would bring the number of days for which a student has been suspended in the current school year to 20 days or more is subject to appeal under section 29 of the Education Act.  Parents are given the right under section 29 to appeal.  When parents are being formally notified of such a suspension, they and the student will be informed of this right of appeal, and given information on how to proceed with an appeal if they so choose.

 

Grounds for removing a suspension

A suspension may be removed if the Board of Management decides to remove the suspension for any reason or the Secretary General of the Department of Education & Skills directs that it be removed following an appeal under section 29 of the Education Act 1998.

 

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.

 

Record and Reports

Formal dated, written records must be kept of the following:

Investigation and decision making

Report to the BOM

Report to the NEWB

The Principal and/or the Deputy Principal will keep the written records in relation to suspension(s). These records are stored in a secure location in the Principal’s office. 

 

Expulsion may be considered in an extreme case, in accordance with the Rules for National Schools and the Education Welfare Act 2000.  Before suspending or expelling a pupil, the Board shall notify the Education Welfare Officer in writing in accordance with Section 24 of the Education Welfare Act.

 

All records will be kept in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1988 and the Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003.

 

 

Expulsion

 

Definition of Expulsion

“A student is expelled from a school when a Board of Management makes a decision to permanently exclude him or her from the school, having complied with the provisions of section 24 of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000.”

Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools.  National Education Welfare Board.

 

Authority to Expel

The authority to expel a pupil is reserved by the BOM.  Steps should be taken to avoid expulsion:

Meet with parents/guardians

Ensure the student and parents understand the possible consequences of misbehaviour

Exhaust all other options

Seek the help of support agencies i.e. NEPS, HSE, NCSE, NBSS (National Behaviour Support Service).

 

Differences between Suspension and Expulsion

While the grounds for both may be similar there would be additional factors to warrant expulsion.

the degree, seriousness, and persistence of the behaviour

a series of interventions have been tried by the school

all possibilities of changing the student’s behaviour have been exhausted

 

 

 

 

 

Procedures in Respect of Expulsion:

Where a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant expulsion the following procedures will apply:

 

A) A detailed investigation will be carried out under the direction of the Principal (or a Nominee of the Board if required).  As part of the investigation a written letter containing the following information will issue to parent(s)/guardian(s); 

Details of the alleged misbehaviour, details of the impending investigation process, and notification that the allegation could result in expulsion.

An invitation to a meeting, to be scheduled no later than 5 school days from the date of the letter, where parent(s)/guardian(s) are provided with an opportunity to respond.

 

B) The Principal (or BOM Nominee) will make a recommendation to the Board of Management. Where the Principal (or nominee) forms a view, based on the investigation of the alleged misbehaviour, that expulsion may be warranted, the Principal (or nominee) makes a recommendation to the Board of Management to consider expulsion. In this event the Principal (or nominee) will:

inform the parent(s)/guardian(s) that the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion

ensure that parent(s)/guardians have records of: the allegations against the student, the investigation and written notice of the grounds on which the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion

provide the Board of Management with the same comprehensive records as are given to parent(s)/guardian(s)

 

C) Consideration by the Board of Management of the Principal’s (or BOM’s Nominee) Recommendations & the Holding of a Hearing.  If, having considered the Principal’s report, the Board of Management decides to consider expelling a student a hearing will be scheduled.  The parent(s)/guardian(s) will be notified in writing: 

as to the date, location and time of the hearing  

of their right to make a written and oral submission to the Board of Management

that they may if they so choose be accompanied at the hearing

The Board of Management undertakes that the timing of such written notification will ensure that parent(s)/guardian(s) have enough notice to allow them to prepare for the hearing.

 

In respect of the expulsion hearing the Board gives an undertaking that;

the meeting will be properly conducted in accordance with Board procedures

the principal (or BOM nominee) and parent(s)/guardian(s) will present their case to the Board in each other’s presence

each party will be given the opportunity to directly question the evidence of the other party 

the parent(s)/guardian(s) may make a case for a lesser sanction if they so choose

 

D) Board of Management Deliberations & Actions following the Hearing. Where the Board of Management, having considered all the facts of the case, is of the opinion that the pupil should be expelled the Board:

Will notify the Educational Welfare Officer in writing by registered post of its opinion, and the reasons for this opinion.

Will not expel the student before the passage of 20 school days from the date on which the Educational Welfare Officer receives this written notification

Will in writing notify the parent(s)/guardian(s) of their decision and inform them that the Educational Welfare Officer is being contacted

Will be represented at the consultation to be organized by the Educational Welfare Officer

Will suspend the student, if it is deemed likely that the continued presence of the student during this time will seriously disrupt the learning of others, or represent a threat to the safety of other pupils or staff.

 

E) Confirmation of the Decision to Expel

Where the twenty-day period following notification to the Educational Welfare Officer has elapsed, and where the Board of Management remains of the view that the student should be expelled, the Board of Management will formally confirm the decision to expel. 

 

Parent(s)/guardian(s) will be notified in writing that the expulsion will now proceed. They will also be informed of their right to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science under Section 29 or the Education Act 1998 and will be provide with information on the submission of such an appeal.

 

The Board of Management of Sacred Heart Primary School acknowledges the fundamental importance of impartiality in the investigation and decision-making process. In this regard the following undertakings are given;

No person with a vested interest or personal involvement in the matter will be involved in the organisation or implementation of the investigation procedure, nor will such a person be involved in the decision-making process.

The person(s) involved in the investigation process will on presentation of a full report of the facts absent himself/herself/themselves from the decision-making process.

 

 

Notification of a Child’s Absence from School

Parent(s)/guardian(s) should adhere to the following procedures when notifying the school of a pupil’s absence;

 

The school should be notified of the absence on the first day the pupil returns to school

The reason for the absence should be notified to the class teacher

The absence should be notified in writing by letter / using the school journal

Details pertaining to the absence, such as duration and reason, should be provided

Significant absences caused by ill health (i.e. absences longer than 10 school days) should be certified.

 

The school will inform the Education Welfare Officer in writing where a child is suspended or expelled for 6 days or more, where the child has missed 20 or more days in a school year, where attendance is irregular and when the pupil is removed from the school register.

See Attendance Policy

 

 

Records

A standardised record system will be used to track an individual pupil’s behaviour.  Such records will contain:

 

Incidents of misbehaviour.

Interventions used to improve behaviour, including contact with parent(s)/guardian(s) or referral to other agencies.

Evidence of improved behaviour.

Any sanctions imposed, and the reasons they were imposed.

 

Pupils will be told when a record is being made about their behaviour, and the reasons for keeping a record will be explained.

 

All records will be kept in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1988 and the Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003

 

Policy Ratification

 

The Policy was ratified by the Board of Management of Sacred Heart Primary School at its meeting held on 8th June 2011.

 

 

Signed:  Fionnuala Murphy ,   Chairperson, Board of Management

 

 

 

Patron’s Approval

 

This policy has been approved by St. Senan’s Education Office, acting on behalf of the Patron, Bishop Bill Murphy.  

 

 

 

Reviewed: 

This policy was reviewed at a meeting of the Board of Management on 14th March 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

 

Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools, NEWB, 2008.

Education Act, 1998.

Education (Welfare Act) 2000.

Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2007 – Provides for certain changes in the hearing of appeals under section 29 of the Education Act 1998.

Circular 22/02.  Appeal Procedures under section 29 of the Education Act, 1998.  Deals with appeals under the following headings: Permanent Exclusion from School, Suspension, Refusal to Enrol.

Guidelines on Countering Bullying Behaviour in Primary and Post Primary Schools. Department of Education and Science 1993.

Stay Safe Programme

Walk Tall Programme

Management Board Members Handbook. Revised 2007. CPSMA. A Suggested Code of Behaviour and Discipline for National Schools.

Managing Challenging Behaviour: Guidelines for Teachers. INTO 2004

Towards Positive Behaviour in Primary Schools.  INTO 2006

Enhancing Self Esteem.  INTO 1995

Discipline in Primary School.  INTO 2002

Mental Health in Children and Adolescents – A Guide for Teachers. Sarah Buckley, Blanaid Gavin, Fiona McNichols. 2009

How to Promote Children’s Social and Emotional Competence.  Carolyn Webster-Stratton. PCP. 1999.

Special Educational Needs: A Continuum of support.  Resource Pack for Teachers.  Department of Education and Science 2007.

Stop it! Steps to Address Bullying.  Wexford Education Network. Wexford Education Partnership.

Bullying in Our Schools- Understanding and Tackling the Problem. A Guide for Schools.  David Fitzgerald 1999.

A Different Kind of Discipline. Tony Humphreys.1998.

Challenging Behaviour: Information and Guidelines for Boards of Management. Paul J. O Mahony. National Association of Board