Code of Behaviour
A Code of Behaviour is a positive document which provides our school community here in Kilmacanogue National School with a framework within which all the stakeholders may work in wholesome, unified fashion in order to provide the best possible environment for 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 all leading to the overall development of each child so that he/she can reach his/her full potential.
At the very outset, the Principal, Miss Murray, at all times encourages the teachers to inform her of any concerns they may have regarding a child’s behaviour, even minor issues. On a daily basis, she touches base with each teacher in the school and makes a point of calling in to see the children in each class thus letting them know that she is there to help them as well as to encourage their good behaviour and discourage inappropriate behaviour.
Relationship to the characteristic spirit of the school
The code of behaviour will reflect the values held by the school community. We will 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 will exist between staff, pupils and parents.
Contents of the Policy
The elements of a whole school approach include:
Aspects of school life that may impact on behaviour
The code of behaviour is reviewed on an ongoing basis with a full review at the end of each school year. This review will also include those pupils who may present with behavioural difficulties as a result of their special needs education.
Options to help improve the behaviour are discussed and are then brought to the attention of the parents /pupils/SNA’s /special needs’ team at the IEP meeting at the start of the school year.
The schools SPHE curriculum is used to support the code of behaviour. It 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 pupil to grow in self-awareness and self-confidence and prepare him/her for the wider world.
Board of Management
The Board of Management has overall responsibility with regard to the preparation of the Code of Discipline. The members of the Board of Management were all given copies of the booklet ‘Developing a Code of Behaviour’ at the board meeting as far back as Feb 11th, 2009. The Board were asked to look at the booklet and in particular, the areas dealing with suspension and expulsion prior to the next board meeting.
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 happy with the way behaviour is dealt with in the school at present and we generally have their full co-operation. Parents are encouraged to promote positive behaviour in the following ways:
Parents also need to feel the sense of belonging to the school community and feel able to approach the school to discuss any concerns or worries they may have with regard to school policies in this area. This is particularly important for parents of children with special needs where misbehaviour may be a problem.
Students are more likely to support a code of behaviour when they have developed it. It helps to build a stronger relationship of trust between the class teacher and the pupils. The pupils play an ongoing role in the implementation of the code of discipline by:
The rules drawn up in the classroom are usually clear, consistent and widely understood. These rules provide the basis for the general school rules. These rules form the standard for positive values and include:
Pupils are also made aware of the standards which are unacceptable through class discussion and through the SPHE programme and Religious Education programme and include such behaviour as:
This is an ongoing process which begins in Junior Infants and continues on throughout the school.
We have two playgrounds which are divided into the Junior yard and the Senior yard. Junior Infants to Second Class are in the Junior yard with the Third to Sixth classes in the Senior yard, which is effectively the Astro Pitch. We are also very fortunate to have a large football pitch with goal posts and a large green playing field around this which are available throughout the year and especially for all the summer term and half of the autumn term. All children know that this area is available on a weather permitting basis
The children are regularly reminded by the class teacher with regard to appropriate, quiet, respectful behaviour on the corridors as they walk to and from the class within the school building. This will also occur as they walk to and from the church. Running on 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.
As the children go to get their coats, whether going out to play or going for a walk or going home, they are supervised by the class teacher. The infant classes all have their own numbered or named hooks, and are only allowed out in small groups to get coats and go to the yard for playtime. All the classes are supervised as they leave the room by the class teacher. The teachers on duty during yard time must be out in the yard before any of the children leave the building for playtime. Teachers must supervise their classes in this regard at all times.
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, 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 if there is any danger to his/her well-being and safety or the well-being and safety of other children based on his/her behaviour.
The older classes who take part in games and after-school activities outside of school grounds are expected to represent the school to the best of their ability at all times.
Rewards are used as part of the overall class strategy and can form part of a planned intervention to help an individual student manage their own behaviour. Rewards for children with special needs should take into account their particular learning style.
Examples of rewards given:
These 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 have a list for use in that specific class.
Strategies for responding to inappropriate behaviour
At present, the following sanctions are used in the classroom. The children follow the rules of the classroom as devised by the class. They know that inappropriate behaviour which interferes with teaching and learning will be noted by the class teacher and a record will be kept. The child has to learn that there are consequences to his/her misbehaviour in the class and will be subject to such sanctions as are deemed necessary by the class teacher. These sanctions could include the following:
Should the child’s name be taken three times the child will be sent to the office where the name will go into the principal’s book. Three times in the principal’s book will result in the parent’s being called into the office to discuss the child’s continuous misbehaviour.
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
As already mentioned, the Principal, Miss Murray, at all times encourages the teachers to inform her of any concerns they may have regarding a child’s behaviour, even minor issues. On a daily basis, Miss Murray touches base with each teacher in the school and makes a point of calling in to see and talk to the children in every class, thus letting the children know that she is there to help them as well as to encourage their good behaviour and discourage inappropriate behaviour.
However, there are behaviours that are deemed unacceptable and are dealt with by the principal at the time they occur. These types of behaviour include the following:
If the behaviour interferes with or causes harm to another student, the child/children in question are sent to the office where the matter is investigated and the parents are called in to discuss the child’s behaviour.
The sanction imposed is usually withdrawal from the schoolyard at break times for a number of days depending on the severity of the behaviour
Children bringing offensive weapons to school have the weapon confiscated, the parents are informed immediately. The weapon is not returned.
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. (www.kilmacschool.ie)
Involving Parents in the Management of Problem Behaviours
Parents are made aware of the school Code of Behaviour at the beginning of each school year and then as appropriate during the school year.
The school website has been updated recently and so parents will be encouraged to read the Code of Behaviour and download it from the school website with hardcopies available from the school office. At the start of each school year Miss Murray, the Principal, will encourage the parents to sign a statement acknowledging that they have read and agree to the contents within the school’s Code of Behaviour. All of this is so that everyone will be singing off the same hymn sheet so to speak in an effort to have a unified system in place leading to the overall well-being of each child in Kilmacanogue National School.
Where there is a concern about a child’s behaviour, all avenues within the school will be tried to encourage the child to use positive behaviours. Where this fails 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 get the child acting in an appropriate manner is appreciated. A plan of action is drawn up by the teacher and parents and given an appropriate amount of time to put it into action. This applies to all pupils in the school.
The plan is monitored by the teacher with regard to the pupil’s behaviour. Should there be no improvement then the teacher will bring his/her concerns to the attention of the principal. A meeting is then arranged by the principal for the class teacher, resource teacher, SNA (if applicable) and parents to discuss the concerns about the child’s behaviour.
At the meeting, the parents are made aware of the school’s concerns regarding the child’s behaviour. Examples of the offending behaviour are given and the steps that the class teacher has already taken to encourage the child to behave, as is expected of all pupils in the school. The parents are asked if they have suggestions as to what sanctions /rewards would work with the child. They are also asked if they have any concerns regarding the child and his/her behaviour. Another action plan is drawn up and the parents, child, teacher, resource teacher and the SNA are all involved in the drawing up and the implementation of this plan. Parents are encouraged to contact the school should they have any concerns with regard to its implementation and /or with feedback.
Managing Aggressive or Violent Behaviour
Strategies for dealing with serious emotional/behavioural problems:
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 following people; the class teacher, the resource teacher, the principal, an SNA and the parents.
A care 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 despite all of this the child’s behaviour is 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
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 (page 72 NEWB)
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:
Where preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious behaviour the following procedures will be put in place.
Inform the parents and student
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:
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
The Board of Management has the authority to expel a pupil. The expulsion should be a proportionate response to the student’s behaviour
Prior to the decision to expel
Grounds for expulsion
In exceptional circumstances expulsion for a first offence may occur when there is:
Procedures in respect of expulsion
The school is required by law to follow fair procedures when proposing to expel a pupil.
A detailed investigation is carried out under the direction of the Principal. The principal should:
A recommendation to the Board by the principal
Consideration of the recommendation by the Board of Management and the holding of a hearing
Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing
Consultations arranged by the Educational Welfare Officer
Within 20 days the EWO must:
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.
Confirmation to expel
Records will be made of incidents that occur within the classroom, on the playground and within the school. These records will be stored within the school.
The Education Welfare Act 2000 Section 23 2(e) states that the Code of Behaviour must specify ‘the procedures to be followed in relation to a child’s absence from school ‘. Section 18 stipulates that parents must notify the school of a student’s absence and the reason for this absence.
Strategies used to encourage school attendance:
Policy with regard to absences
The following policies have a bearing on the code of behaviour:
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 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.
This policy will be reviewed annually at the final staff meeting and any concerns regarding the policy will be brought to the attention of the Board of Management at the end of year board meeting
Signed : Judy 0’Toole (Chairperson)
Niamh Murray (Principal)