Under section 23 of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, the Board of Management of each school must prepare and make available a code of behaviour for its students. The Act requires that the school code of behaviour is prepared in accordance with the National Education Welfare Publication: Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools (2008) Grange National School’s Code of Behaviour was revised in response to the NEWB guidelines.
This revised code updates the school’s former code of behaviour and specifically outlines the expectations of the school with regard to pupils’ behaviour.
The reviewed code of behaviour outlines
- the standards of behaviour that shall be observed by each pupil attending the school;
- the measures that shall be taken when a student fails or refuses to observe those standards;
- the procedures to be followed before a student may be suspended or expelled from the school;
- the grounds for removing a suspension in relation to a student;
- the procedures to be followed in relation to a child’s absence from school
According to the Guidelines ‘ At this point in our modern society, the work of schools in encouraging and developing in their students a strong sense of personal responsibility and responsibility towards others is a truly critical task, and one for which society as a whole owes its support for, and acknowledgement of, the work of Boards of Management, Principals, teachers and parents.’
As a staff our aim is to create a happy, effective and safe school for all our pupils. To maintain the best possible educational environment possible, there has to be rules. The school’s code of behaviour is based on a commitment to the welfare of every student, including the right to participate in, and benefit from, education. The Board of Management and staff have a responsibility to respond to behaviour that interrupts, diminishes or prevents teaching and learning in the school. They must give priority to the promotion of good behaviour and on setting high expectations.
The School’s Mission Statement
Grange National School, with the cooperation of parents, aims to encourage each child to reach their full potential in a safe, supportive environment. It aims to inspire and challenge every child to learn and grow into realising their full potential, valuing themselves and being respectful of others.
Teachers, parents and students may have different understandings about behaviour. Home values, parental attitudes and different cultural norms can help or hinder a student’s behaviour and learning in school. The standards of behaviour expected in this school reflect values such as:
- respect for self and others
- kindness and willingness to help others
- courtesy and good manners
- readiness to use respectful ways of resolving difficulties and conflict
- attending school regularly and punctually
- doing one’s best in class
- taking responsibility for one’s work
- keeping the rules
- helping to create a safe, positive environment
- respecting staff
- respecting other students and their learning
- participating in school activities
Unacceptable behaviour includes:
- behaviour that is hurtful (including bullying, harassment, discrimination and victimisation)
- behaviour that interferes with teaching and learning
- threats or physical hurt to another person
- damage to property
The school also abides by the principle that ‘With rights come responsibilities’. Parents and pupils have a right to chose and attend a particular school but also have a responsibility to abide by the norms of behaviour for that school. A child has a right to be educated but has a responsibility not to hinder any other child’s education. A child has the right to be safe in school but has a responsibility not to endanger or make another child feel unsafe etc.
Discipline is EVERYONE’S responsibility. Each classroom teacher will have classroom rules and will use a system of rewards and sanctions. At the beginning of the new school year, and as necessary throughout the school year, pupils will be taught the expectations for each type of classroom activity as well as general school rules relating to safety, playground behaviour etc. Though classroom rules may differ depending on the children’s ages and classroom activities, the general school rules will apply to everyone.
Every member of staff has a duty of care with regard to the pupils of the school. Therefore a pupil’s behaviour may be ‘checked’ by any staff member and not just the class teacher. In the case of more serious misdemeanours, a pupil may be sent to the Deputy Principal or the Principal.
Without the cooperation and support of the parents, it is more difficult for the school to effectively help a student reach his or her fullest potential. The major role of parents in discipline is to continually show the child that they are interested and supportive of how their child is doing in school. When the child sees that his parents/guardians are actively interested in whether or not he is doing his/her best, the student is given a real incentive for excellence. If there is a severe or recurring behaviour problem, parents may be asked to participate in the development of a behaviour plan for their child. By working together, parents and staff can help the pupil learn behaviours that will increase his/her chances of success and instil the importance of education into children of all ages.
Appendix 2 outlines the expectations for students, staff and parents
School and classroom rules
The school and classroom rules describe in simple terms how pupils should behave in order to learn well and to develop into mature and responsible individuals. The general ‘School Rules’ and ‘Great Expectations’ are published in the Homework Diary and are displayed outside each classroom. (See Appendix 1)
Opportunities for teaching the school and class rules include:
- referring to the rules in class on a regular basis
- clarifying pupils’ understanding of expected behaviours
- discussing appropriate and inappropriate behaviour with pupils
- learning and teaching the rules and developing lesson plans for each rule
- using the Social, Personal and Health Education programme and extra-curricular opportunities (music, sport, drama, after-school or homework clubs) as vehicles for teaching skills for responsible behaviour and relationships
- involving pupils in reviewing and developing class rules
The school rules and students with special educational needs
Class teachers and specialist personnel (such as the Learning Support Teacher, Resource Teacher, Special Needs Assistants) will check that standards and rules are communicated in a way that pupils with special educational needs can understand. Teachers may need support in understanding how best to help a student with special educational needs to conform to the behavioural standards and expectations of the school.
Systems for acknowledging good behaviour, progress and effort
Reward systems may be part of an overall school or class strategy, or may form part of a planned intervention to help an individual student to manage their own behaviour. Good behaviour/improved behaviour is reinforced by rewards. Examples of rewards: Praise – informal and formal, public and private, to individuals and groups. Merit Stickers Certificates Note in pupil’s notebook to convey messages of approval from teachers. Other treat at teacher’s discretion. Extra privileges e.g. DVD, extra P.E.. /art/drama. etc.
Though the emphasis is on rewarding good behaviour, there is a need for sanctions to register the disapproval of unacceptable behaviour. It is made clear to the pupil why the sanction is being applied and what changes in behaviour are required to avoid future sanctions.
Sanctions range from expressions of disapproval, through withdrawal of privileges, to referral to the Deputy Principal/Principal, letters to parents and, ultimately and in the last resort, expulsion.
Teachers in Grange N.S. have recourse to the following sanctions should the need arise:
- Reasoning with pupil
- Reprimand by the class teacher – including advice on how to improve
- Temporary separation from peers, friends or others
- Entry in class record copy or yard supervision book
- Extra work
- Loss of privileges
- The class teacher may request parent/guardian to come in and discuss the pupil’s progress and behaviour
- The pupil is referred to the Principal and has name entered in the Principal’s record book. The pupil is cautioned by the Principal at this meeting.
- If misbehaviour continues the Principal may write to the parent(s) requesting they call to the school to discuss a problem with class teacher and the Principal.
Other school policies linked to the Code of Behaviour are as follows:
When and where behaviour will be subject to the code of behaviour
The standards and rules contained in the code of behaviour applies in any situation where the pupil, although outside the school, is still the responsibility of the school. Examples include school tours, games and extracurricular activities and attendance at events organised by the school. Pupils who misbehave frequently may not be allowed to participate in school outings for their own safety and that of other pupils. When parents accompany pupils to school activities as helpers, the teacher remains in charge at all times.
Policies and procedures for suspension and expulsion (See Appendix 3)
Procedures for notifying the school about reasons for absence from school
The school must notify the National Education Board of absences in excess of 20 days or when absences are unexplained and a cause for concern. Parents must notify the school in writing of any absence of their child and the reason for that absence. This should be done by filling an ‘Absence Slip’ at the back of the school homework journal. The ‘slip’ should be given to the class teacher on the child’s return to school.
Phonecalls to the school should not be used as an alternative to written explanations.
Parents are advised to make sure their child is at school each day. However if the child is sick, parents should keep him/her at home to avoid infecting other children and disrupting class. If a child has a contagious illness, the school must be informed so that other parents may be allowed to take precautions.
Parents must ensure that the school has an up to date contact number.
Who to contact about behaviour matters
If parents have a concern about a behaviour matter, they may contact the school and arrange an appointment with the class teacher, Deputy Principal or Principal.
The code of behaviour will be reviewed as the need arises.
Circulation of the Code of Behaviour
All parents will be provided with a copy of any new or reviewed policies relating to discipline. Before the registration of any new child to the school, parents will be provided with a copy of the code of behaviour and asked, as a condition of registration, to confirm in writing that the code is acceptable to them and that they will make all reasonable efforts to ensure compliance with the code by their child.
This code of behaviour was ratified by the Board of Management on Oct. 16th 2010