Code of Behaviour
The Code of Behaviour was developed following consultation with staff, parents and the Parents’ Association and was formally ratified by the Board of Management at its meeting on December 3rd, 2012. The Code of Behaviour and its practices are in accordance with the guidelines listed in “Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties – a Continuum of Support,” issued by NEPS.
An audit and review of the existing code took place at a staff meeting and the views of the pupils were sought. A draft code was presented to the Parents’ Association and their views and suggestions were also sought.
The Code of Behaviour helps the school community to promote the school ethos, relationships, policies and practices that encourage good behaviour and prevent unacceptable behaviour. It helps staff, students and parents to work together in a safe, happy and effective school.
St. Mary’s & St. Gerard’s N.S, Enniskerry, under the patronage of the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, is committed to promoting the intellectual, physical, social, personal, spiritual, moral and aesthetic development of all the pupils in its care.
We hope to achieve this in a climate of mutual respect and positive co-operation supported by the entire community – pupils, parents, staff, Board of Management, Department of Education and Skills and the Parents’ Association.
Expectations for the School Community
- Positive Values
- Respect for staff and others
- Kindness and willingness to help others
- Courtesy and good manners
- Fairness & forgiveness
- Readiness to use respectful ways to resolve difficulties and conflict with positive affirmation
The school expects its pupils to:
- Attend regularly and punctually
- Do their best in class
- Take responsibility for their work and activities
- Adhere to the rules
- Help create a safe positive environment
- Respect all staff
- Respect other students and their learning
- Participate in school activities
How students, teachers and parents can help promote an inclusive school
- Students, staff and parents are expected to be familiar with and uphold the school rules
- Parents are expected to model the standards students are asked to respect
- The ways in which staff and parents interact should provide students with a model of good working relationships
Respect and Courtesy
All pupils are expected to treat staff, their fellow pupils and visitors with respect and courtesy at all times. The use of inappropriate language and any form of bullying is unacceptable.
The official opening time is 9.20am. Classes for Infants end at 2.00pm. Classes for other pupils end at 3.00pm. No responsibility is accepted for pupils outside these times. Parents, whose children are repeatedly late, will be informed of the disruption they are causing to the rest of the class and themselves.
Every absence of a child must be accounted for either by filling in the form at the back of the homework journal or by written note. If a child wishes to leave the school early, the child must be signed out at the school office.
Notification of a child’s absence from school:
- Parents/guardians are required by law to let the school know the reasons for a child’s absence – illness, urgent family reasons, holidays etc.
- Parents/guardians should inform the class teacher in writing or by completing the slip at the back of the homework journal of reasons for absence upon the child’s return to school
- For longer absences (2 days or more), the school should be informed by phone of the reason for absences. The Roll is called each day at 10.00 am and only children present at that time can be marked present
- Children leaving school early must be signed out by their parents in the office and likewise children arriving late to school (after 9.25am) must sign in at the office. In the interest of safety, all adults including parents must report to the office
- Failure to provide adequate or valid reasons for absences could lead to a report being sent to the NEWB, as is required by law
- Children arriving late to school must report to the school office before going to the classroom.
- Infectious illness should be notified to the school immediately. We appeal to parents not to send children to school if they have a persistent cough, a rash or throat infection or are generally unwell in the morning. Children are not allowed to remain inside during lunch unless they have a written request from their parents/guardian on the grounds of ill health.
- Mobile phones are not allowed in the school and if found will be confiscated. (Mobile Phone Policy is being drafted)
- Children should have their names on their clothing and other personal property such as school books, copies etc.
- We recommend that children don’t bring toys to the classroom unless requested by the teacher for educational purposes.
- We show respect for self and others
- We show respect for our own property and the property of others
- We show respect for other students and their learning
- We are kind and willing to help others
- We follow instructions from staff immediately
- We walk quietly in the school building
- We show courtesy and good manners
- We try to use respectful ways of resolving difficulties and conflict
- We ask permission to leave the classroom/school
- We do our best in class
- We take responsibility for our own work
- We wear the appropriate uniform
- We follow our Healthy Eating Policy
At the beginning of each academic year, the class teacher will draft a list of class rules with the children, based closely on the ‘School Rules.’ Class rules are kept to a minimum and are devised with regard for the health, safety and welfare of all members of the school community.
Where possible they emphasise positive behaviour (e.g. ‘Walk’ and not, ‘Don’t run’). Rules will be applied in a fair and consistent manner, with due regard to the age of the pupils and to individual differences.
Where difficulties arise, parents will be contacted at an early stage. School tours and end of year special events will be reserved for those who have consistently strived to behave.
Behaviour Out of Class
- Children will obey the traffic warden on their way to and from school
- Children will not walk or climb on the walls around the school yard
- Children will play in the school playground area allocated to their class and not interfere with younger children’s games
- On hearing the bell, children will walk quietly to their line and line up in an orderly manner – both feet on the yellow line and looking straight ahead
- All ball games finish when the bell rings
- Children will not engage in rough play, rugby, trains, rolling on the grass or kick boxing during break time
- For reasons of safety, children will not play games in the front yard before or after school
Behaviour outside of School
The standards and rules contained in the Code of Behaviour apply in any situation where the student, although outside the school, is still the responsibility of the school and under the supervision of a teacher e.g. concerts. It is generally expected that while students are wearing the school uniform they should adhere to the Code of Behaviour. Where a student is alleged to have engaged in serious misbehaviour outside of school, while not under the care or responsibility of the school, the school will bring the matter to the attention of the parents / guardians and the incident will be recorded.
If a child misbehaves, certain factors are taken into consideration as follows:
- Age of child and stage of development
- Seriousness of misbehaviour i.e. bullying, fighting, inappropriate language (Ref: Anti Bullying Policy), damage to school property, leaving school without permission, being abusive etc.
- Whether it is an isolated incident or one of many incidents
- Co-operation from home in the past acknowledging misbehaviour
- Personality and temperament of the child
- Physical, sensory or medical characteristics
- Social networks, including friends and peer groups
Three levels of misbehaviour are recognised: Minor, Serious and Gross
All everyday instances of a minor nature are dealt with by the class teacher or the supervising teacher at break-times. In cases of repeated serious misbehaviour or single instances of gross misbehaviour, parents will be involved at an early stage and invited to meet the teacher and / or the Principal to discuss their child’s behaviour.
Examples of Minor Misbehaviour include:
- Bringing mobile phones to school
- Not wearing appropriate uniform
- Bringing in chewing gum
- Not following instructions
Examples of Serious Misbehaviour include:
- 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
- Bringing dangerous equipment to school
- Leaving school/school activities without permission
Examples of Gross Misbehaviour include:
- Assault on a teacher or pupil
- Serious theft
- Serious damage to property
- Serious bullying
- Carrying drugs, alcohol or cigarettes
- Oral and written praise
- Allowing the child perform duties that the child finds rewarding
- Small prizes and merit stars
- Extra privileges
- Public praise in front of the whole school at assembly
- Exemption from homework
- Positive feedback to parents
- Responsibility in class
- Reading favourite book
How students, staff and parents can help promote the expected standard
- All staff members are involved in the development of the code
- They see that it is necessary and is fair to all
- They see that the standards are clear, consistent and widely understood
- Parents support the school by encouraging good learning behaviour
- There are good relationships between staff, parents and students and there is a happy school atmosphere
- Adults model the behaviour expected from students
How parents can help and be helped with the Code of Behaviour
Parental understanding and support for implementation of the Code of Behaviour will be strengthened through activities such as:
- An introductory meeting for parents of new students, dealing with the code, school standards, expectations for students and the role of parents in helping students to meet standards
- Encouraging parents to share information about anything that may affect a student’s behaviour so that ways of helping the student can be discussed and agreed
- Clear channels through which parents can communicate any concerns which they may have about a student and explore ways of helping a student
- Information offered through the Parents’ Association, such as talks or workshops on behavioural matters and aspects of child and adolescent development
- Parental involvement in reviewing and planning school policies as part of school development planning
- Reporting of concerns to the class teacher or Principal
- Not forming judgments until all aspects of the incidents have been explored
- Seeking advice from the school by making an appointment with the Principal
Sanctions and the purpose of sanctions:
- Helping students to learn that their behaviour is unacceptable
- Helping them to recognise the effect of their actions and behaviour on others
- Helping students (in ways appropriate to their age and development) to understand that they have choices about their own behaviour and that all choices have consequences
- Helping them to learn to take responsibility for their behaviour
- Reinforcing the boundaries set out in the Code of Behaviour
- Signalling to other students and to staff that their wellbeing is being protected
Detention, as a sanction for repeatedly not completing homework or for misbehaviour, takes place out of school hours at an agreed time or during lunchtime. If a child has detention, the parents are advised in advance and they sign the detention note. Children are supervised during detention and they are not allowed do their homework during that time.
- First Offence: 30 minutes
- Second Offence: 1 hour
- Third Offence: 1 hour 30 minutes
If pupils fail to present themselves for detention, without a written explanation from parents, suspension will be considered.
Definition of Suspension
Suspension is defined as, “Requiring the student to absent himself/herself from school for a specified, limited period of school days.” The Board of Management has the authority to suspend and this authority is delegated to the Principal formally and in writing.
It is a proportionate response to the behaviour that is causing concern. Normally other interventions will have been tried before a child is suspended and the staff will have reviewed the reasons why they have not worked.
Reasons for Suspension
- The student’s behaviour has had a serious detrimental effect on the education of other students
- The student’s continued presence in the school at the time constitutes a threat to their own safety and / or the safety of others
- The student is responsible for serious damage to property
In exceptional circumstances, the Principal may consider immediate suspension to be necessary where the continued presence of the student in the school at the time will represent a serious threat to the safety of students or staff of the school, or any other person. Fair procedures will still be applied.
A student will not be suspended for
- Poor academic performance
- Poor attendance or lateness
- Minor breaches of the Code of Behaviour
On return to the school a student will not be suspended shortly thereafter unless he/she engages in serious misbehaviour that warrants suspension.
Procedures in respect of Suspension
- Students and parents have a right to be heard
- Students and parents have a right to impartiality
- Students and parents are informed about the complaint
- Parents and students are given an opportunity to respond
- Generally a student will not be suspended for more than 3 days except in exceptional circumstances. The Board of Management may authorise the Principal, with the approval of the Chairperson, to impose a suspension of up to 5 days.
Implementing the Suspension
The Principal will notify the parents and the student in writing of the decision to suspend. The letter will confirm:
- The period of the suspension and the dates on which the suspension will begin and end
- The reasons for the suspension
- Any study programme to be followed
- The arrangements for returning to school, including any commitments to be entered into by the student and the parents (for example, parents might be asked to reaffirm their commitment to the Code of Behaviour)
- The provision for an appeal to the Board of Management
- The right to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills (Education Act 1998, Section 29)
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 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 reports all suspensions to the Board of Management, with the reasons for and the duration of each suspension
Report to the NEWB
The Principal is required to report suspensions in accordance with the NEWB Reporting Guidelines (Education Welfare Act 2000, section 2194 (a)
Reasons for Expulsion
A proposal to expel a student requires serious grounds such as that:
- The student’s behaviour is a persistent cause of significant 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 of staff and students
- The student is responsible for serious damage to property
Expulsion for a First Offence:
There may be exceptional circumstances where the Board of Management forms the opinion that a student should be expelled for a first offence. The kinds of behaviour that might result in a proposal to expel on the basis of a single breach of the code could include:
- A serious threat of violence against another student or member of staff
- Actual violence or physical assault
- Possession or supplying of illegal drugs to other students in the school
- Sexual assault
The ensuing procedures for expulsion are similar to those for suspension.
Procedures for raising a concern or bringing a complaint
- The class teacher should be advised in writing of any concern that parents may have and if necessary to seek a meeting. All general suggestions that people would like to make should be addressed to the Principal.
Bringing a complaint against children with Special Needs
- All children are required to comply with the Code of Behaviour. However, the school recognises that children with special needs may require assistance in understanding certain rules.
- Specialised behaviour plans will be put in place in consultation with parents and the class teacher, learning support / resource teacher, and / or the Principal who will work closely with home to ensure that optimal support is given. Cognitive development will be taken into account at all times. Professional advice from psychological assessments will be invaluable.
- The children in the class or school may be taught strategies to assist a pupil with special needs to adhere to the rules and thus provide peer support. This will be done in a supportive and safe way, acknowledging and respecting the difference in all individuals.
Communicating with Parents
The following methods of communication are to be used within the school:
- Informal/formal parent/teacher meetings
- Use of child’s homework journal (infants do not have a homework journal – please check bags for notes)
- Letters/notes from school to home and from home to school
- School notice board
- Newsletters / school website / e-mails
- Text-a-Parent service
The Code of Discipline will be reviewed after two years or amended if necessary.