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Behavioral Policy

Code of Behaviour
The code of behaviour of Scoil Mhaoilíosa, Knockavilla is informed and guided by the document Developing a Code of Behaviour-Guidelines for Schools issued by the NEWB (National Education Welfare Board) May 2008. This document complies with all relevant legislation and is underpinned by the Education Welfare Act 2000.
Aims of Code of Behaviour
The code of behaviour aims to achieve three things:

  1. The efficient operation of the school and the structuring of in-class discipline so that there exists an efficient and stimulating learning environment.
  2. The maintenance of good order throughout the school and respect for the school environment.
  3. The development of self-discipline in pupils based on consideration, respect and tolerance for others.

Principles of Behaviour Policy
If the school is to achieve a happy, secure environment in which children can develop to their full potential, it is necessary to provide a framework which promotes constructive behaviour and discourages unacceptable behaviour. The aim is to ensure that the individuality of each child is accommodated while acknowledging the right of each child to an education in a relatively disruption free environment. The school code places a greater emphasis on rewards than on sanctions, and the ideal is that pupils will acquire self-discipline. There are times however when it may be necessary to impose sanctions in order to maintain good order and to discourage offenders. We recognise the importance of a strong sense of community within the school and the existence of a high level of co-operation among teachers, ancillary staff, pupils, parents, the Board of Management and the Parents’ Association.
Respect and Courtesy
Pupils need to accept the general order, which is necessary for the class to work well. All pupils are expected to treat staff and their fellow pupils with respect and courtesy at all times.
If your child is upset or worried, please contact the teacher. The teacher is “in loco parentis” for all the children, so both children and parents need to understand that the teacher will be impartial.
Pupils must respect all school property and keep the school environment clean and litter free.
Pupils must have all books and required materials.
Pupils are expected to work to the best of their ability and to present written exercises neatly.
The use of foul language and any form of bullying is unacceptable. It is unrealistic to expect all children to like each other all the time. However, they MUST treat each other with courtesy and respect.
Parents will notice that even in one family, children will have different personalities. Similarly in the classroom situation, there will be many different personalities. There will be the confident, the shy, the sensitive, the outspoken and the quiet child in the class. Even the best of friends may have arguments and parents need to be aware that their child may give a subjective account of events. There are two sides to every story. Learning to work with and mix with all the children in the class regardless of personality traits is a very important life skill.
Any form of behaviour that interferes with the rights of others to learn and to feel safe is unacceptable.
General School Rules
School discipline is a shared responsibility, which demands the active co-operation of students, parents, teachers and management.

Parents/Guardians are recognised as partners in the educational process. They are expected to encourage their children to have a positive attitude to self-discipline. By enrolling their child(ren) in the school, Parents(s)/Guardian(s) agree to accept the Code of Behaviour and discipline and undertake to ensure that their child(ren) understand the code and abide by it. In this way parents support the teachers in maintaining order and discipline.

Summary of School Rules:

School starts at 9.20 a.m. and ends at 3.00 p.m. The school day ends at 2 p.m. for Infant Classes. Parents/ Guardians are asked to note that the school does not undertake responsibility for the children outside the official school hours.

In case of absence, a note signed by a Parent or Guardian must be presented to the Class Teacher on returning to school. A template for this purpose is sent to each family at the beginning of the school year and additional copies are available on the school website. Parents/guardians are asked not to write absence notes in the child’s school journal. Cead Imeachta must be signed by parent/guardian for children who leave at any time during the school day.

The complete official school uniform should be worn at all times. School tracksuit on P.E. days. Please put child’s name on each item.

Jewellery: Excessive additional jewellery is not allowed for reasons of health and safety. Earrings must be limited to one stud type in each ear. Facial jewellery is strictly forbidden and parents will be asked to remove any such items should pupils wear them. These rules are in place in the interest of Health and Safety

Pupils are expected, at all times to show respect for themselves, their fellow classmates and for all the staff.

Homework assigned is expected to be completed.
Parents are urged to carefully check assignments in the Homework Journal and any comments or problems should be set down in the appropriate place.

Only pupils with a covering note will be permitted to stay in the classroom at break times.

Pupils will stay in play areas designated to their classes

Bullying, pushing, boisterous play, backchat, spitting, the use of offensive language or any unbecoming behaviour is strictly forbidden.

All pupils must respect school property. All litter must be deposited in litterbins. Damage to shrubs, running through the school, climbing its walls, pillars or gates, writing on walls and furniture is forbidden.
Chewing gum is not allowed in the school.
In general, pupils are not allowed have mobiles phones in school. In exceptional circumstances, pupils will be allowed to bring mobile phones to school. However the class teacher must be informed and the phone must be handed into the school office until it is needed for approved and supervised use by pupil.
Pupils are not allowed make or receive personal phone calls at school. Children are allowed to make urgent calls to home/parents/guardians under teacher supervision.

These School Rules are set down in order to:

  • Ensure a safe and secure school environment for all.
  • Ensure proper behaviour.
  • Maintain order, and the well being of all children under our care.

When General School Rules are broken Sanctions as set out by Department of Education will be used. * SANCTIONS (Circular 20/90)*

  1. Reasoning with the pupil
  2. Reprimand (including advice on how to improve)
  3. Temporary separation from peers, friends or others
  4. Loss of privileges
  5. Detention during a break or after school hours
  6. Prescribing additional work
  7. Referral to Principal
  8. Communication with parents
  9. Suspension

Before resorting to serious sanctions, eg. suspension, the normal channels of communication between school and parents will be utilised. Parents will be involved at an early stage, rather than as a last resort.

Communication with parents will be verbal or by letter, depending on circumstances. The parents concerned will be invited to come to the school to discuss their child’s case. For gross misbehaviour, or repeated instances of serious misbehaviour, suspension will be considered. Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards a teacher, any member of ancillary staff or towards another pupil will be regarded as serious or gross misbehaviour.

Where there are repeated instances of serious misbehaviour, the Chairperson of the Board of Management will be informed and the parents will be requested in writing to attend at the school to meet the Chairperson and the principal. If the parents do not give an undertaking that the pupil will behave in an acceptable manner in the future, the pupil may have to be suspended for a temporary period. Suspension will be in accordance with the terms of Rule 130(5) of the Rules for National Schools.

When parents/guardians wish to discuss any item of discipline/sanction with a teacher, the parent must make an appointment, either by letter or email, stating the nature of the query. An appointment will be arranged as soon as possible following receipt of this written communication.
Sometimes a child may go out to the car or go home after school a little upset because of a perceived injustice, reprimand or incident. Whereas we recognise every parent’s right to query decisions, it is not reasonable to expect a teacher to deal with a query without prior notification. The teacher may have dealt with twenty incidents of behaviour in that day and may not recall the exact details or have time to reflect on the particular incident in an extremely busy day. Furthermore, another child may have been involved and it is unfair not to give an opportunity to that child to defend him/herself. Remember there are at least two sides to every story and it is our duty as adults to listen to all sides and then make a decision or take action. Children are by nature, reactive; we as adults should be reflective.

Rewards for Good Behaviour

  1. Pupils are very well behaved most of the time and rewarding good behaviour is an important part of our Code of Discipline. The following strategies may be utilised to reward good behaviour.
  2. Note in pupil’s homework notebook to convey messages of approval from teachers.
  3. Some homework off if particular targets are achieved.
  4. Extra privileges such as doing jobs or being shown a DVD.
  5. Merit Points.

By enrolling your child(ren) in the school, Parents(s)/Guardian(s) agree to accept the Code of Behaviour and discipline and undertake to ensure that their child(ren) understand the code and abide by it. In this way parents support the teachers in maintaining order and discipline.

This policy has been reviewed/approved by the Board of Management of Scoil Mhaoilíosa, Knockavilla.

November 2012