Code of Behaviour / Cód Iompraíochta

Establishing positive behaviour and reward systems

Introductory Statement

Our Code of Behaviour Policy is a positive ever evolving document which helps provide the school community here in Kilmacanogue National School with a framework within which all the stakeholders may work together to provide the best possible environment conducive to the teaching and learning of all the children. With the teachers, ancillary staff, parents and children all working together and following our Code of Behaviour we can achieve an environment encompassing a holistic level of learning and care and nurture and happiness, leading to the overall development of each child so that he/she can reach his/her full potential.

This Code of Behaviour Policy should also be read in conjunction with Kilmacanogue National School’s Code of Behaviour Addendum COVID-19 (Behaviour Principles) as well as the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) and Anti-Bullying Policy.

Copies of this policy are available on the school’s website as well as in hard copy form from the school office.


The Board of Management acknowledges that under the Education Welfare Act 2000, Section 23 (1) Kilmacanogue National School is obliged to prepare a Code of Behaviour in respect of the students registered in the school. Section 23 (2) outlines that the Code of Behaviour shall specify:

The rationale behind the Board of Management’s current review of this Code of Behaviour was to ensure that it complied with the legal requirements and good practice as set out in the guidelines Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools (NEWB 2008).

The Board of Management wanted to acknowledge that, in line with the recent Admission Policy which was approved on September 5th 2020 by the school Patron Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, children may only be enrolled in Kilmacanogue National School once their parents/guardians have read/signed and agreed to follow the school’s Code of Behaviour.

In addition, the Board of Management wanted to ensure that no inappropriate behaviour which ran contrary to HSE and guidelines in relation to COVID-19 was permitted in the school.

In line with this, a Code of Behaviour Addendum COVID-19 outlining the appropriate behaviour expected from everyone in these unprecedented times following HSE and guidelines has been drawn up to be read in conjunction with the school’s overall Code of Behaviour.

Ethos of Kilmacanogue National School

Kilmacanogue National School is a Catholic co-educational primary school with a Catholic ethos under the patronage of the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin.

As outlined in our Admission Policy, “Catholic Ethos” in the context of a Catholic primary school means the ethos and characteristic spirit of the Roman Catholic Church, which aims at promoting:

Relationship to the characteristic spirit of the school

The Code of Behaviour endeavours to reflect the values held by the school community. In Kilmacanogue National School, we seek to create a harmonious environment where each child is valued and encouraged to reach his/her full potential. An atmosphere of respect and co-operation between staff, pupils and parents is the objective we wish to achieve.

In accordance with S.15 (2) )b) of the Education Act, 1998, the Board of Management of Kilmacanogue National School shall uphold, and be accountable to the Patron for so upholding, the characteristic spirit of the school as determined by the cultural, educational, moral, religious, social, linguistic and spiritual values and traditions which inform and are characteristic of the objectives and conduct of the school (Admission Policy Section 2)

Mission Statement

In Kilmacanogue National School, we seek to foster a welcoming environment where every child is valued, cherished and NURTURED. We encourage and guide every child to develop his/her talents and gifts. We also encourage each child to have empathy for those around them. As a school community, we value the contribution of all our members, respect their uniqueness and respond to their individual needs in a caring and supportive manner.

Our motto is: ‘If it’s not nice, we don’t do it and if it’s not nice, we don’t say it.’

Vision Statement

Our vision, in Kilmacanogue National School, is to provide the best possible education for the holistic development of each child so that he/she may be prepared to live a happy and fulfilled life contributing from and contributing to those around them and to the world at large.

Our vision guides us in our desire to create a harmonious atmosphere conducive to positive learning in an environment of trust in and support and respect for each of the stakeholders who are the parents, teachers, children, Board of Management and the community at large.

‘Ní neart go cur le chéile.’

Aims of Kilmacanogue National School’s Code of Behaviour

In general, the overall aims of Kilmacanogue National School’s Code of Behaviour are:

  • To ensure an educational environment that is guided by our mission and vision statements
  • To enable teachers to teach without disruption resulting from inappropriate behaviour
  • To allow the school to function in an orderly fashion where children can make progress in all aspects of their development
  • To create an atmosphere of tolerance, respect and consideration for others
  • To promote positive behaviour and self-discipline, recognising the differences that exist between each one of us and the need to accommodate these differences
  • To ensure the safety and well-being of the members of the school community
  • To assist the parents and pupils in understanding the systems and the 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
  • To uphold the guidelines relating to COVID-19 as outlined by the HSE and and as implemented throughout the school in accordance with the Kilmacanogue National School Code of Behaviour Addendum COVID-19 Behaviour Principles

Elements of a Whole School Approach Promoting Positive Behaviour

The elements of Kilmacanogue National School’s whole-school approach promoting positive behaviour include:

  • Policies, practices and an ethos that are all in harmony (as already outlined earlier in this policy document)
  • A teamwork approach to behaviour (which includes the stakeholders especially the staff, parents and children)
  • A whole-school approach to curriculum and classroom management
  • An inclusive and involved school community
  • A systematic process for planning and reviewing behaviour policy


Kilmacanogue National School acknowledges the variety of differences that exist between children and the importance of respecting these differences as well as the high standard of positive behaviour required to maintain a strong sense of community and co-operation between the staff, children and parents. The following is a list, not exhaustive, of the kind of behaviour to be encouraged and expected from each of the children:

  • Each pupil is encouraged and expected to be well-behaved and to treat all adults and fellow pupils with respect and courtesy at all times. Behaviour that interferes with the rights of others to learn in a safe environment is totally unacceptable
  • Each pupil is encouraged and expected to follow instructions given to them by their class teacher and/or a member of staff
  • Each pupil is encouraged and expected to show respect for the property of the school, other children’s property and their own belongings and to keep the school environment clean and litter free.
  • Each pupil is encouraged and expected to attend school on a regular basis and to be punctual.
  • Each pupil is encouraged and expected to do his/her best with their school and with homework and to have all the correct books and materials required for their lessons.
  • Each pupil is encouraged and expected to take pride in their appearance and wear the correct school uniform (please see the Introductory Booklet given to Parents of all Incoming Junior Infants and older children)
  • Each pupil is encouraged and expected to follow the school’s procedures in relation to COVID-19 (please see Kilmacanogue National School Code of Behaviour Addendum COVID-19 Behaviour Principles)

Teachers and Staff Members

The Principal is responsible for ensuring that the school’s Code of Behaviour is administered in a fair and an equitable manner. Each teacher also has the responsibility of following the Code of Behaviour and of maintaining discipline within the classroom as well as in the internal common areas of the school and in the external areas.

Teachers and staff play a vital role in creating a positive school environment that will support good behaviour and thus help create an atmosphere that is conducive to the health and safety and overall well-being of all the children.

Teachers will endeavour to:

  • Discuss the Code of Behaviour and the Code of Behaviour Addendum COVID-19 in a manner which is age appropriate for their class at the start of each year and will gently remind the children of these throughout the year
  • Endeavour to draw up and display class rules/class contracts which are clear, consistent, widely understood and help remind children of appropriate behaviour. These rules/contracts will provide the basis for the general school rules including:

1. Respect for self and others

2. Kindness and willingness to help others

3. Courtesy and good manners

4. Fairness

5. Readiness to use respectful ways of resolving difficulties and conflict

6. Forgiveness

  • Deal with any misbehaviour themselves before involving others by engaging and discussing with the child/children in such a manner as to hopefully affect a change from the child/children themselves leading towards a more positive behaviour attitude.
  • Actively encourage and reward self-discipline and positive behaviour both inside and outside of the classroom
  • Ensure that there is appropriate supervision of their class at all times.
  • Ensure that the classroom environment is fit for purpose and devoid of any hazards which could cause injury to the children
  • Implement a reward/sanction system which is fair and consistent and achievable.
  • Let the children know that any incidences of misbehaviour are being recorded by the class teacher or whoever the appropriate staff member is on duty at the time of the incident
  • Keep written records of any incidents of concerns especially those involving continued, serious or gross misconduct
  • Keep the Principal informed of all serious misbehaviour
  • Contact parents/guardians when necessary to discuss any inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour on the part of their child/children. Communication between parents/guardians and the school will take place via phone calls, emails or face-to-face meeting (although face-to-face meetings may not be possible during these days of COVID-19 where the school is endeavouring to follow all HSE and guidelines) The Principal will be informed of all such communication
  • Utilise management techniques that ensure a variety of activities and methodologies to sustain pupil interest and motivation
  • Implement the school’s SPHE curriculum which is used to support the Code of Behaviour. (This aims to help pupils develop communication skills, appropriate ways of interacting and behaving, and conflict resolution skills. It also aims to foster self-esteem and to help children to accommodate differences and develop citizenship. Within the SPHE curriculum, the strands Myself, Myself and Others and Myself and the Wider World help the children to grow in self-awareness and self-confidence and prepare him/her for the wider world. Walk Tall, Stay Safe and Weaving Well-Being are among the SPHE Programmes being promoted and taught in the school).
  • Remind the children regularly: ‘If it’s not nice, we don’t do it and if it’s not nice, we don’t say it’.


The level and quality of communication and support between Kilmacanogue National School and the children and their parents/guardians is vital in creating a positive relationship between home and school. Parents/guardians can help their children enormously by encouraging them to develop a positive attitude towards school as well as promoting positive behaviour. Parents/guardians can assist the school by encouraging their children to abide by the school rules, by signing the Code of Behaviour and by helping to implement its contents.

Parents are made aware of the Code of Behaviour Policy at the beginning of their child’s time in our school and will receive updates over the years. Parents are encouraged to promote positive behaviour in the following ways:

  • Ensure that their children attend school regularly and punctually
  • Encourage their children to do their best and to take responsibility for their work
  • Ensure that the correct uniform is worn
  • Be aware of and co-operate with the school’s rules and system of rewards and sanctions
  • Attend meetings at the school if requested
  • Help their child with homework and ensure that it is completed in a timely fashion and done to the best ability of their child
  • Ensure that their child has the necessary books and materials for school
  • Support and work alongside the school in looking after the holistic welfare of their child.
  • Update the school on any changes which have occurred in their child’s life which may impact on their child’s behaviour and well-being

It is the policy of the school that the class teacher will let parents know of any concerns they may have relating to their child as soon as that concern arises. These concerns may result from minor academic or behaviour issues. With the school and the parents working together to resolve any worries, these issues normally fade away quickly. A phone call from the class teacher is usually sufficient to sort out any minor concerns.

However, where there is serious concern about a child’s behaviour, all avenues within the school will be explored to encourage the child to act positively and to behave appropriately. Where these fail, the teacher will arrange a meeting with the parents to discuss the concerns regarding the child’s behaviour. Any help or advice that parents can give the teacher to help and encourage their child act in an appropriate manner is always very much appreciated. A plan of action will be drawn up by the teacher and parents and given an appropriate amount of time within which to be implemented. This applies to all pupils in the school including children with Special Needs.

Most children settle into school quite well but for a small number, the transition to Primary School can prove challenging. Parents may find that the longer day and focus on schoolwork may be a little overwhelming for their children at first. This may result in the child or children being upset or lead to behaviour that is unacceptable. Sometimes a shortened day, for a short period of time, can work wonders and is to be encouraged for the overall well-being of children who might not be quite ready for Primary School. Many parents have welcomed this strategy when it was needed.

Board of Management

The Board of Management has overall responsibility with regard to the preparation and implementation of the Code of Behaviour and supports Miss Murray as she carries out her duties as Principal of Kilmacanogue National school.

School Playground / Classrooms / Corridors / Activities


We have three distinct playground areas consisting of an Astro pitch, tarmac areas and soft turf play areas featuring colourful child friendly illustrated activities drawn onto the playing area. Junior Infants to Second Class play together as the junior classes of the school, while Third to Sixth classes play together as the senior classes of the school. We are also very fortunate in having a large football pitch with goal posts and a playing field both of which are available throughout the year, weather permitting.

All the classes are supervised as they leave the room by the class teacher. The teachers on duty during play time are out in the play areas before any of the children leave the building for playtime. Teachers supervise their classes in this regard at all times.

Supervision is worked out on a rota system with teachers monitoring the play areas from 10:45-11:00am and 12:30pm-12:55pm for the Junior Classes and 11:05-11:20am and 1:00pm -1:30pm for the Senior Classes. At present we also have four SNAs in the junior and senior play areas.

The adults on duty wear high viz yellow coloured jackets for ease of identification for the children.

The children learn from their teachers that if they are worried about anything or if anything has happened to them, they should go to one of the adults on yard.

The adults on duty have a responsibility to ensure that the play areas are as safe as possible for the children in their care. However, should they notice any misbehaviour at yard time they will bring it to the attention of the class teacher

Children who misbehave get a warning from the teacher on duty, a possible time-out and if the misbehaviour continues the child is sent to the office (during COVID-19, the child/children will not enter the school but sit on a chair for time-out when appropriate) Dangerous play on the yard is always discouraged and investigated and, depending on the misbehaviour, sanctions are put in place.

Any incidents of concern are recorded in one of the 3 yard books by the teacher who witnessed it or to whom the concern or issue was reported.

Activities are organised in the summer term enabling most of the children to be happily engaged during the break times.

In the winter and early spring terms, games such as rounders for the 2nd up to 6th classes take place ensuring that as many children as possible are fully occupied. This results in less misbehaving during play time. As the children look forward to these activities, they do not like to do anything to jeopardise their chance of taking part.

On wet days the children remain in the classroom and usually have an activity to occupy them during this time (jigsaws, books, building activities, board games) or watch a DVD.

Children must remain in their seats if staying indoors, to prevent any injury given the potential hazards naturally found in a classroom with tables and chairs.

Children are encouraged to use the toilets prior to going to the play areas. However, should a child need to go to the toilet during break time, he/she will go to their own class toilets escorted to the class door by an adult. Only one child is allowed to go in at a time with permission from the teacher on duty.

Children who are taken sick or have a written note from their parents, sit on a chair near the playing area where the teachers on duty can supervise them as no child is allowed into the school apart from going to their class at class time during COVID-19. They will have an activity to keep them occupied during break time. If deemed necessary, the child’s parents/guardians will be called to come and collect their child.

Ideally a child who is too ill to play outside, should be kept at home for their own well-being.


Children are expected to follow the class rules/contract and to be well behaved. They are expected to be respectful of the children and the adults in their classroom as well as to those in other classrooms. They are expected to remain in their seats at all times for their own health and safety and to raise their hands if they want to ask their teacher a question. The children are expected to listen to their teachers and to follow their teacher’s instructions. They are expected to keep their desk area and classroom clean

School Corridors

The children are regularly reminded by the class teacher to maintain quiet, respectful behaviour on the corridors as they walk to and from their class within the school building .Running in the corridors or loud talking is discouraged at all times for health and safety reasons as well as out of respect for all the other children who are working within their classes.

School-related activities

Children are reminded prior to going on a school outing, such as a school tour, as to the type of behaviour that is expected of them. Should a class teacher have a worry about a pupil who is inclined to misbehave or indeed may have a health issue, the worry will be discussed with the principal and the parents before the tour to see what can be done. It may be that the child may not be permitted to go on the tour or school outing if there is any danger to his/her well-being and safety. Also, the well-being and safety of the other children will be taken into consideration if the behaviour of a child gives reason for concern.

All children who take part in games and after-school activities whether outside or inside the school grounds are expected to represent the school to the best of their ability at all times.

Rewards and Sanctions


Rewards are used as part of the overall school and class strategy and can form part of a planned intervention to help an individual student manage their own behaviour. Kilmacanogue National School specialises in ‘catching children being good’ thus promoting positive behaviour. Rewards for children with special needs take into account their particular learning style.

Examples of rewards given include:

  • Verbal comments-in public/private
  • Homework free vouchers
  • Stickers
  • Stamps
  • Pens, pencils, rubbers, etc
  • Extra computer/laptop/iPad/Chrome book time
  • Extra sport time
  • DVD/video time
  • Note home-commendation
  • Special fun days such as non-uniform days or dressing up days
  • Exciting events such as the visit of a magician or the ice-cream van, or the visit of an elite athlete to the school
  • Tick/tally charts-keep track of pupils’ positive behaviour
  • Class Dojo and SeeSaw class management system
  • Mention in the Wednesday Newsletter/School website/School Twitter of any achievements
  • Miss Murray’s Green Cards’ awards where 5 green cards received in a week from Monday to Friday, by a class, will result in a reward/prize/fun activity
  • Funday Fridays’ activities for the whole school

These rewards vary from class to class as it all depends on the age of the child. The option is also there to ask pupils what their preferred reward would be and to have a list for use in that specific class.


The children should follow the rules of the classroom as devised by the class teacher and the children. They know that inappropriate behaviour which interferes with teaching and learning will be noted by the class teacher and a record will be kept. It is important for children to take responsibility for any inappropriate behaviour and to understand that there are consequences for any misbehaviour in the class and that they will be subject to such sanctions as are deemed necessary and appropriate by the class teacher. These sanctions could include the following:

  • Moving child to a different seat
  • Isolation within the classroom
  • Use of de-merit slip
  • Allocation of written lines
  • Loss of privileges (sports, computers etc)
  • Lunchtime detention
  • Additional work/homework
  • Loss of class Green Card

Should the child’s name be taken by the class teacher three times in any one day, the child will be sent to the office where his/her name will go into the principal’s book. (During COVID-19, children will not be sent to the office but Miss Murray, the Principal, will be informed by the class teacher). Should the child’s name appear three times in the principal’s book, the child’s parents will be contacted and an appointment will be made for them to call into the office to discuss the child’s behaviour with the class teacher and the Principal, Miss Murray.

We have found that this acts as a deterrent for the minor infringements and it also allows the child the opportunity to try to improve his/her behaviour. The school is proud to be able to say that rarely has the Principal, Miss Murray, had to speak to parents about their child’s misbehaviour. Miss Murray, encourages the teachers to inform her of any concerns they may have regarding a child’s behaviour. She visits each class regularly and the children know that she is there to help and encourage them and listen to any concerns they may have.

Levels of Inappropriate Behaviour

Level 1: Minor Misbehaviour

Level 1 behaviours are those that interfere with the orderly learning environment of the school, classroom, and common areas. Listed below are some examples of the types of behaviour that are included in Level 1. Please note the list is not exhaustive.

  • Running/shouting in the corridors
  • Disturbing the work or play of others
  • Disrespectful language, tone, or manner
  • Ignoring staff requests/instructions
  • Interrupting class work
  • Misbehaving in class line such as when going out to or coming in from yard time.
  • Leaving seat without permission at anytime
  • Leaving litter on the ground despite repeated requests not to do so
  • Not completing homework without good reason/note from parent guardian
  • Presenting careless work regularly
  • Bringing mobile phone to school unless given special permission by the Principal
  • Not wearing the appropriate school uniform
  • Bringing electronic equipment and mobile phones to school (unless permission has been given under exceptional circumstances by the Principal, Miss Murray)

Levels of Inappropriate Behaviour

Level 1: Minor Misbehaviour

Level 1 behaviours are those that interfere with the orderly learning environment of the school, classroom, and common areas. Listed below are some examples of the types of behaviour that are included in Level 1. Please note the list is not exhaustive.

  • Running/shouting in the corridors
  • Disturbing the work or play of others
  • Disrespectful language, tone, or manner
  • Ignoring staff requests/instructions
  • Interrupting class work
  • Misbehaving in class line such as when going out to or coming in from yard time.
  • Leaving seat without permission at anytime
  • Leaving litter on the ground despite repeated requests not to do so
  • Not completing homework without good reason/note from parent guardian
  • Presenting careless work regularly
  • Bringing mobile phone to school unless given special permission by the Principal
  • Not wearing the appropriate school uniform
  • Bringing electronic equipment and mobile phones to school (unless permission has been given under exceptional circumstances by the Principal, Miss Murray)

Level 1: Disciplinary Actions / Responses

Some examples of Level 1 disciplinary actions include:

  • Verbal reprimand/reminder(s)
  • Reinforcement of alternative positive behaviour
  • Temporary separation from peers, friends or others within class and/or temporary removal to another class (not during COVID-19 timespan)
  • Time out during break or lunch time
  • Loss of privileges
  • Parent contact where and when appropriate

Level 1: Supportive Interventions

  • Discussion of behaviour with the child
  • Informal notes regarding incident/intervention/date.
  • Rewards (see page 8/9)
  • Behaviour Contract
  • Classroom-based interventions, such as Circle Time, or class meetings, with the option of informal consultation, (e.g. with parents/guardians or staff members)
  • Behaviour Tracking Chart

Level 2: Serious Misbehaviour

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 students and staff. Listed below are some examples of the types of behaviour that are included in Level 2.

  • Repeated instances of Level 1 Minor Misbehaviour which have not been modified by any of the interventions outlined in Level 1
  • Constantly disruptive in class, or when lining up
  • Behaviour which is dangerous to self or others (e.g. pushing, throwing objects, shoving, hitting, spitting, kicking, coughing and sneezing deliberately at other children or adults especially mindful of COVID-19)
  • Telling lies
  • Stealing
  • Damaging property
  • Swinging off the goalposts/basketball posts despite being asked repeatedly not to.
  • Bullying, e.g. persistent name calling, continuous bumping into one another, etc. [Bullying is a form of behaviour that is unacceptable in our school. Each child has the right to attend school and the right to learn and work in an environment free from harassment and bullying. It is the responsibility of each one of us to ensure that this happens. The procedure for dealing with bullying is laid out in the Anti-Bullying Policy (]
  • Threatening or physically hurting another person
  • Engaging inappropriately on social media platforms
  • Cyberbullying
  • Being discourteous and back-answering a teacher
  • Leaving school premises without permission
  • Using unacceptable language/swearing/cursing
  • Possession of or use of dangerous toys, school equipment etc
  • Bringing weapons to school, e.g. catapults, pen knives, pellet guns, etc.
  • Behaviour that is hurtful (including bullying, harassment, discrimination and victimisation)
  • Rough or dangerous play such as bulldog etc
  • Splashing/squirting water bombs or wetting other students

Level 2: Disciplinary Actions / Responses

The disciplinary actions at Level 2 are administered by the Principal and may also include formally notifying parents. Some examples of Level 2 responses are:

  • Referral to the Principal, Miss Murray
  • Communication with parent(s)/guardian(s)
  • Yard suspension
  • Parent may need to remove their child from school premises
  • Exclusion from school excursions within a specified timeframe eg tours, sports’ activities
  • Suspension from school of one to three days, depending on the severity of the behaviour: see Developing A Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools (NEWB 2008)
  • Report submitted to the Board of Management/Tusla as deemed appropriate

Level 2: Supportive Interventions

  • Re-engage/Continue with Behaviour Tracking Chart, followed by class teacher meeting with parents if behaviour persists.
  • Option of creating a Behaviour Contract
  • Team conference which may include the classroom teacher, other involved staff, Principal, Assistant Principal and parents.
  • Request for assistance from external agencies such as the National Educational Psychological Service, Health Service Executive Community Services, the National Behavioural Support Service, SESS, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, National Council for Special Education.
  • Referral of a Child displaying behavioural problems for psychological assessment (with the parent(s)/guardian(s) consent).
  • Rewards system as outlined on pages 8/9 of this document.

Level 3: Gross Misbehaviour

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 an Garda Síochána and parents. Listed below are some examples of the types of behaviour that are included in Level 3.

  • Repeated or serious instances of Level 2 Serious Behaviour which have not been modified by intervention
  • Spitting/biting/kicking/punching on a very serious level
  • Obscene language or swearing
  • Throwing dangerous objects in a very dangerous manner
  • Any behaviour contrary to the school’s policy regarding COVID-19 (please read the Code of Behaviour Addendum COVID-19 Behaviour Principles)
  • A very serious/extreme one-off offence
  • Cyberbullying beyond level 2 of Serious Behaviour
  • Engaging inappropriately on social media platforms beyond level 2 of Serious Behaviour
  • Setting fires
  • Carrying drugs, alcohol, cigarettes etc
  • Intentional possession or use of weapons
  • Violent fighting or intentionally causing physical harm to others
  • Deliberately damaging school property, or anyone else’s property
  • Discriminatory or prejudicial activities or actions toward another person or group involving race, gender, religion, physical condition, disability, or ethnic origin

Level 3: Disciplinary Actions / Responses

Behaviour at Level 3 may involve suspension from school. The length of the suspension will depend upon the severity and frequency of the specific behaviour. Repeated incidents of Level 3 behaviour can result in a pupil being expelled. Specific information about due process and procedures in respect of the issuing of a suspension or expulsion is contained further on in this document.

Managing Aggressive or Violent Behaviour

Strategies for dealing with serious emotional/behavioural problems:

  • Children who are emotionally disturbed are immediately referred for a psychological assessment
  • Through the SENO appropriate support is sought from services available: NEPS, HSE etc.

As this is often a slow process the school would have to put in place what we would call a Care Team to monitor the situation and to be available to remove the child from the situation before things become unmanageable for the child and the class teacher. The Care Team would consist of; the class teacher, the resource teacher, the principal, an SNA and the parents and the NEPS psychologist where appropriate.

A care plan, similar to a Behaviour Modification Plan, would be drawn up by the team to help the child to avoid situations which would lead to violent /unmanageable behaviour with the help and advice of the SENO and any other professional advice which would be of help to us.

Members of the Care Team may have to seek advice on how best to deal with a situation where the child becomes aggressive or violent and a danger to him/herself and others.

The school will at the same time try to ensure that all the appropriate assistance is in place to help the child to take an active and meaningful part in school life and that he/she is allowed to fulfil his/her potential.

If the school has taken all the possible steps it can to assist the child in becoming a part of the school life and if, despite all of this, the child’s behaviour continues to be a risk to his/her safety and/or the safety of others, the following steps will be taken in line with current guidelines from the Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools (NEWB 2008)

Suspension / Procedures / Removal of Suspension / Expulsion & Appeals

This section of the Code of Behaviour refers directly to chapters 10, 11 & 12 Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools (NEWB 2008)

The entitlement to education is protected in a range of constitutional and legal provisions and in human rights Conventions. These legal protections for the individual student’s right to education mean that decisions to suspend or expel a student are open to appeal and may be subject to judicial review by the High Court. Schools are required, under section 23(2) of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, to include their procedures for suspension and expulsion in their code of behaviour. (p. 66)


Serious misbehaviour is defined in Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools (NEWB 2008) as:

  • The student’s behaviour has had a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other students
  • The student’s continued presence in the school at this time constitutes a threat to safety
  • The student is responsible for serious damage to property
  • A single incident of serious misconduct may be grounds for suspension. (p. 71)

Suspension will be considered after other interventions have been tried and a review will take place as to why these interventions have not worked, except in cases where an immediate suspension is warranted. (p. 71) For serious and continuous misbehaviour, a pupil may be suspended for 3 days by the Principal, Miss Murray. However, having convened an emergency meeting, the Board of Management may authorise the Principal to impose a suspension of more than 5 days with a ceiling of 10 days on any one period of suspension (pg75/76).

Factors to consider before suspending pupil

The decision to suspend requires serious grounds and the following factors need to be considered before arriving at a decision to suspend: Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools (NEWB 2008 pg 72)

  • The nature and seriousness of the behaviour
  • The context of the behaviour
  • The impact of the behaviour
  • The interventions tried to date
  • Whether suspension is the proportionate response
  • The possible impact of suspension

For gross misbehaviour or repeated instances of serious misbehaviour, suspensions may well need to be seriously considered. Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards a pupil, member of staff or visitor to the school will be regarded as serious or gross misbehaviour.

Where there are repeated instances of serious or gross misbehaviour, the Chairperson of the Board of Management will be informed and the parents/guardians may be asked in writing to attend a meeting with the Chairperson and the Principal.

If the parents/guardians do not give an undertaking that their child will behave in an appropriate manner in the future, the pupil may have to be suspended for a certain amount of time.

In the case of serous/gross misbehaviour, the Board of Management may authorise the Principal to sanction an immediate one-day suspension, pending review of the incident or matter with the parents/guardians. Expulsion may also be considered in an extreme case.

Suspension is always seen as part of an overall agreed plan to address the student’s behaviour. The suspension of a student should allow the school:

  • To set behavioural goals with the student and the parents
  • Give school staff an opportunity to plan other interventions
  • Impress on the student and the parents the seriousness of the situation

Where preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour, the following procedures will be put in place.


Inform the parents and students

Parents and students are informed in writing about the complaint, how it will be investigated and that it could result in a suspension.

Given an opportunity to respond

Parents and student are given an opportunity to respond to a decision before a decision is made and any sanction is imposed. This provides the opportunity for them to:

  • Give their side of the story where there is a dispute about facts
  • Address the student’s behaviour

In the event of a non-attendance at a meeting a letter is sent to the parents concerning the gravity of the situation and the rescheduling of the meeting. Failing that, the duty of the school authorities is to make a decision to respond to the negative behaviour. The school should record all invitations to parents and their response.

Procedures in relation to immediate suspension

  • Immediate suspension will be considered for reasons of safety of the student, other students, staff or others.
  • A preliminary investigation is carried out to establish the case for suspension
  • The formal investigation follows the suspension
  • All conditions of suspension apply to immediate suspension
  • Parents are notified and arrangements made for the student to be collected
  • School must have regard to its duty of care. No student should be sent home without informing the parent

Removal of Suspension (Reinstatement)

Following, or during a period of suspension, the parents/guardians may apply to have their child reinstated back to the school. The parents/guardians must give a satisfactory undertaking that a s suspended pupil will behave in accordance with the school’s code of Behaviour 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, in consultation with the child’s parents/guardians, class teachers and the pupil (where appropriate) will facilitate the preparation of a behaviour plan and a behaviour contract (if appropriate) for the pupil and will re-admit the pupil formally back to the school and to his/her class. This re-admittance to school within a suspension period, at the discretion of the Chairperson of the Board of Management and the Principal, may take place when a satisfactory resolution of a problem/concern has been achieved.


The Board of Management of Kilmacanogue National School has the authority to expel a pupil in an extreme case as outlined on pg 81 of Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools (NEWB 2008) or where repeated incidents of gross misbehaviour interfere with the educational opportunities of other students or where there is a threat to the health and safety of students or staff. Expulsion should a proportionate response to the student’s behaviour. The imposition of this sanction would be under the terms of the Education Welfare Act (2000). Both suspension and expulsion procedures are in accordance with the Education Act (1998)

Prior to the decision to expel

Before the decision to expel, the appropriate school authorities such as the Principal, Chairperson, class teacher, SEN teacher should:

  • Meet with the parents and the student to find ways of helping the child to improve his/her behaviour
  • Make sure that the pupil understands the possible consequences of their behaviour if it should persist
  • Ensure that all other possible options have been tried
  • Seek assistance of the support services

Expulsion – Grounds for Expulsion:

The grounds for expulsion are similar to the grounds for suspension. However, in addition to factors such as the degree of seriousness and the persistence of the behaviour, a key difference is that, where expulsion is considered, the authorities of Kilmacanogue National School will have tried a series of interventions, and believe they have exhausted all possibilities for changing the student’s behaviour: pg 81 Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools (NEWB 2008)

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

In some cases, expulsion for a first offence may be warranted where there is:

  • A 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.
  • Serious/extreme Cyber Bullying incident

Procedures in respect of expulsion

The school is required by law to follow fair procedures when proposing to expel a pupil

pg 84-86 Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools (NEWB 2008)

Step 1: A detailed investigation is carried out under the direction of the Principal.

  • The principal should inform the student and the parents about the details of the alleged misbehaviour, how it will be investigated and that it could result in expulsion
  • The Principal should give parents and the student every opportunity to respond to the complaint before a decision is made and a sanction is imposed
  • The parents and student are informed in writing of the alleged misbehaviour

Step 2: A recommendation is made to the Board of Management by the Principal including these steps:

  • Inform the parents and student that the Board is being asked to consider expulsion
  • Ensure that the parents have records of the allegations being made, the investigation, the written notice of the grounds on which the Board is being asked to consider expulsion
  • Provide the Board with the same comprehensive records as are given to the parents
  • Notify the parents of the date of the hearing by the Board of Management and invite them to the hearing
  • Advise the parents that they can make a written and oral submission to the Board
  • Ensure that the parents have enough time to allow them to prepare for the hearing

Step 3: Consideration of the recommendation by the Board of Management and the holding of a hearing

  • The Board must review the initial investigation and ensure that it was properly conducted in line with fair procedures
  • The Board must undertake its own review and ensure that no one that has any involvement with the case takes part in the deliberations
  • The Board must hold a hearing. At this hearing, the principal and parents put their case to the Board in each other’s presence. Each party is allowed to question the other party directly.
  • The Board must be seen to be impartial between the principal and the student. Parents may wish to be accompanied at the hearing and this should be facilitated.
  • After the hearing, the principal and the parents are not present for the Board’s deliberations

Step 4: Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing

Having heard from all parties the Board must decide whether or not the allegation has been substantiated and if so, whether or not expulsion is the appropriate sanction. If the Board decides that the sanction is appropriate then they must inform the Educational Welfare Officer in writing of their decision and the reasons for this opinion. The student cannot be expelled before the passage of 20 days from the date on which the EWO receives written notification.

The Board must inform the parents in writing of the decision, the next steps in the process and that the EWO will be informed.

Step 5: Consultations arranged by the Educational Welfare Officer

Within 20 days the EWO must:

  • Make all necessary arrangements to hold individual consultations with the principal, parents, student and other parties who may be of assistance.
  • Convene a meeting of those parties who agree to attend.

The purpose of these meetings is to ensure that arrangements are made for the pupil to continue in education. These meetings may result in an alternative intervention that would avoid expulsion. However, where the possibility of continuing in the school is not an option the consultation should focus on alternative educational possibilities.

Step 6: Confirmation to expel

Where the 21 day period following notification to the EWO has elapsed and where the Board of Management remain of the view that the student should be expelled, the Board should formally confirm the decision to expel. Parents are notified immediately that the expulsion will now proceed. They are also told of their rights to appeal. A formal record should be made of the decision to expel.


Under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998, parents are entitled to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills against some of the decisions of the Board of Management including:

permanent expulsion from a school

suspension for a period which would bring the cumulative period of suspension to 20 days or longer in any one school year.

Parents are informed of their right to appeal at the meeting by the Chairperson and the Principal.

Appeals must generally be made within 42 calendar days from the date the parents were notified of the decision (see Circular 22/02). The appeals process under section 29 of the Education Act 1998, begins with the provision of mediation by a mediator nominated by the Appeal Committee (Department of Education and Skills).

If and when an appeal is investigated by the Department of Education and Skills, a response will be prepared by the Principal and the Chairperson with advice from CPSMA, EWO, SENO, NEPS, and other relevant parties.

Children with Special Needs

All children are expected to comply with the Code of Behaviour. However, Kilmacanogue National School recognises that children with special needs may not always understand certain rules and as a result their behaviour may reflect this in an inappropriate manner. Where and when required, Behaviour Modification Plans will be put in place in consultation with parents/guardians, class teacher, SEN, and/or Principal or Deputy Principal all working very closely together to ensure that the best possible support is given to the child with Special Needs. The cognitive development of the child will be taken into account and professional advice from psychological assessments will be invaluable in helping guide the content of this Behaviour Modification Plan.

Keeping Records

In line with data protection legislation, records will be kept of incidents relating to pupils’ behaviour that occur within the classroom, on the playground and within the school. These records will be stored within the school in a secure filing cabinet and in a padlocked strong room. Records of more serious incidents are retained until the pupil is 21 years old. Class teachers shred any personal records at the end of each year.

In relation to any suspensions/expulsions: Records and Reports

Records of investigation and decision making: Formal written records will be kept of:

  • the investigation (including notes of all interviews held)
  • the decision-making process
  • the decision and the rationale for the decision
  • the duration of the suspension and any conditions attached to the suspension

Report to the Board of Management

  • The Principal will report all suspensions to the Board of Management with the reasons for and the duration of each suspension

Report to NEWB (National Educational Welfare Board)

  • The Principal will report suspensions in accordance with the NEWB reporting guidelines (Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, section 21 (4) (a)).

Policy with regard to absences

Section 18 of the Education Welfare Act 2000 stipulates that parents must notify the school of their child’s absence from school and the reason for this absence. The child’s parents/guardians are required to send in a written note explaining why the child is absent or to email the same to Absent notes are kept and dated by the class teacher as well as being recorded on the school management system, ‘Aladdin’. At the end of the school year, the notes are sent to the office where they are stored in the strong room

The school must tell the statutory Educational Welfare Services of the Child and Family Agency if a child has missed 20 days or more in the school year, or if it is concerned that a child is missing too much school. Children who have moved to other schools have their names sent to the NEWB/TUSLA on receipt of confirmation from the receiving school.

Reference to other policies

The following policies, amongst others, have a bearing on the Code of Behaviour:

  • SPHE
  • Child Protection
  • Anti-bullying
  • Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)
  • Admission/Enrolment
  • GDPR/Record Keeping/Data
  • Health and Safety
  • Special Educational Needs

Success Criteria

The success of this policy should be witnessed in the overall improvement of behaviour observed in those children who had been experiencing behavioural difficulties. The physical and mental and emotional well-being of all the children attending Kilmacanogue National School is of paramount importance and so our school community should reflect a happy, positive atmosphere and environment. A successful, functioning Code of Behaviour should contribute to this positive atmosphere.

The following, though not exhaustive, will help indicate the success of the Code of Behaviour:

  • Observation of positive behaviours in classrooms, play ground and school environment
  • Practices and procedures listed in this policy being consistently implemented by the staff
  • Positive feedback from teachers, parents and pupils

Roles and Responsibilities

The well-being of the children in the school is very much dependent on all its stakeholders which involve: the Board of Management, Parents, Teachers, SNAs, Outside Agencies (such as TUSLA, NEPS, SENO, DES), Ancillary staff and most of all the Children. All of these groups must work together in such a manner as to facilitate a positive wholesome environment in which children can thrive and blossom and reach their potential as well as learn from positive experiences which should eradicate negative behaviour.


The people responsible for the implementation of this Code of Behaviour Policy are: the Board of Management, the Principal, the teachers and the pupils with the support of their parents.

The Board of Management must ensure that this policy is in place and that all interested parties are aware of its contents. The Board of Management is also responsible for ensuring that the policy is updated and reviewed when required and is in line with current legal requirements and life changing situations such as COVID-19 as they impact on school life and the health and safety of all the children, staff, parents and the whole school community.

The co-ordination of the policy and monitoring of the policy is down to the principal, vice- principal and the teachers. The policy will be discussed at the staff meetings to ensure that it is being implemented and to check on areas that need improving.

The teachers will discuss with their pupils at the beginning of each year the class rules for that year and the sanctions /rewards that will be applied with regard to misbehaviour/good behaviour

Parents will be made aware of the policy and asked for their support in this area.

Addendum: Covid-19 Behaviour principles

In these unprecedented times, there is a need and responsibility for each stakeholder in Kilmacanogue National School to behave in a different manner. This addendum to the Code of Behaviour outlines what is expected from everyone following the specific rules and guidelines from the HSE and guidelines.
Our overarching desire in Kilmacanogue National School in drawing up these changes or adjustments to the Code of Behaviour is the health and safety and well-being of all our children, staff and families.
Children are expected to:

  • Arrive and leave school at the agreed time (with adults where applicable especially in the junior classes) maintaining 2 m distance from one another and from other families.
  • Arrive and leave the school premises using the routes designated to them and to their class.
  • Wash their hands and to use the hand sanitiser when asked to by their teacher or a member of staff when appropriate (some children have their own personal hand sanitisers which is totally acceptable especially if they have any allergies)
  • Remain in their seats as directed to by their class teacher, maintaining the Pod and Bubble configuration as well as following any directions from their teachers regarding class Pods and Bubbles outside of the classroom.
  • Maintain a safe distance from other children and members of staff and minimise physical contact with other children as far as is practically possible given that children will run and play together naturally
  • Make sure to cover their mouth and nose if they cough or sneeze using a tissue which they will then throw into the bin or their elbow (which they will not throw into the bin!)
  • Wash their hands with soap from the dispenser and warm water and dry their hands with the paper towels provided which they will then throw into the bin.
  • Adhere to the rules relating to the various play times, toilet visits and lunchtime breaks
  • Maintain responsibility for their own property and equipment such as their uniform, stationery (including pencils, books, crayons etc), as well as their lunch boxes and water bottles.
  • Make sure not to share their property or equipment with other children
  • Inform a member of staff if they are feeling unwell and, depending on the child’s age and level of understanding, exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19
  • Under no circumstances whatsoever will a child spit at or deliberately cough or sneeze on another child or member of staff. This will be considered as being a very serious misdemeanour and will be dealt with in accordance with our Code of Behaviour

Please read the child friendly version of these code of behaviour guidelines relating to COVID-19 which will be displayed in every classroom. Every teacher will explain these guidelines fully to all the children in their class.

There are 3 levels indicating unsafe behaviour for which sanctions will be considered. These levels are:

  • Level 1: Anyone ignoring guidance and reminders regarding the COVID-19 guidelines
  • Level 2: Anyone showing lack of resect for the COVID-19 guidelines as well as anyone displaying any behaviours in breach of the school’s Code of Behaviour
  • Level 3: Anyone showing continuous lack of respect and disregard for COVID -19 guidelines despite repeated reminders and interventions. It may be that a person will be placed on Level 3 sooner rather than later for the sake of the health and safety of the whole school community

Responsibilities of Parents/Guardians

  • Please support the school in the guidelines including the arrival and departure procedures
  • Please encourage your children to exercise the hand hygiene, personal distancing and respiratory etiquette around coughing and sneezing
  • Please do not enter the school building unless you have made a prior appointment which has been ratified by the Principal, Miss Niamh Murray
  • Please keep any child at home who is clearly unwell.
    Follow the HSE and guidelines.
  • Let the school know via phone or email that your child is being kept home and keep the school updated regarding your child’s recovery before sending your child back to school again following HSE and guidelines

Responsibilities of the School Staff

  • Please practise all HSE and guidelines in accordance with the school’s directions.
  • Please practise social distancing and wear a face mask if 2m is not possible
    Ensure that the children follow all your directions and remain in their pods and bubbles
  • Practise regular hand hygiene and social distancing with the children and especially at all the appropriate times such as: arrival at school, entering the classroom, after using the toilet, before eating, after using shared equipment
  • Encourage the children to keep their own work areas clean and keep your own work areas clean and tidy
    Where possible and class level appropriate, get the children to clean their own tables, chairs and boxes

Children’s version of the Code of Behaviour in relation to COVID-19

  • Children, school has changed since you were last here. There has been lots and lots of exciting work done throughout the school and the play areas. Also, new rules and guidelines have been introduced to our special school in Kilmacanogue so that you will all be safe and happy. It is very important that each of us follows all of the rules and regulations. These are our special rules and guidelines:

    1. Please start to walk up the school path at 9:10am and no earlier
    2. Please follow the route your teacher has shown you and walk straight into your classroom. There is no more lining up outside before school starts
    3. Please sanitise your hands as soon as you enter your classroom
    4. Please sit at your desk in your Pod group. Remember to keep all your books and personal equipment and lunch boxes in your own named box.
    5. You are all so generous but from now on, it is better not to share anything with the other children
    6. It will be very important that you wash your hands and sanitise them much more regularly and especially every-time you enter the classroom, go to the toilet and before you eat your lunch
    7. Remember to use a tissue to ‘catch, bin and kill’ the cough virus if you cough or sneeze. Then throw the tissue in the bin and of course wash/hand sanitise your hands straight afterwards. You can also use your elbow to cough into, if you haven’t a tissue handy.
    8. Remember never, ever cough or sneeze at another person deliberately. Apart from being incredibly rude, it is also very dangerous and not healthy and such behaviour will not be accepted or tolerated at all.
    9. Please stay in your seats and follow all the directions from your teacher. If you have a question, put your hand up and of course your teacher will answer you.
    10. Your teacher will need to stay a little distance away from you, 2m, and will need to wear a mask if he/she gets any closer to talk to you
    11. When you are entering or exiting the school building throughout the day for play and ventilation breaks, make sure to use those routes designated to your class and of course at all times, follow your teacher’s directions.
    12. If you are feeling unwell, please let your teacher know and we will all take care of you so do not worry. We have a lovely room set aside within which you can relax and be looked after.

This policy will be reviewed annually or as often as is required.
Any concerns regarding the policy will be brought to the attention of the Board of Management.

Signed: Judy O’Toole (Chairperson)

Niamh Murray (Principal)

Review: 16th September 2020

Under review for November website update – Ann Marie Bourke & Judy O’Toole November 1st 2022