D: St Brigid's Primary School Code of Behaviour Policy

 

St. Brigid’s Primary School, The Coombe, Dublin 8

Roll No: 16786H

                   Code of Behaviour

Good behaviour is based on good relations between parents/guardians, child and school.

In St. Brigid’s Primary School, The Coombe, we hope to foster this ideal in co-operation with our parents/guardians.  We have adopted a positive code of behaviour with emphasis on encouragement and reward so that good behaviour can prevail in our school.

The Board of Management of the school has ultimate responsibility for behaviour in the school.  Within the school, the overall day to day responsibility for behaviour rests with the principal.  Each teacher has the responsibility for the maintenance of good behaviour and good order within his/her classroom while sharing a common responsibility for good behaviour within the school premises.

Parents/guardians can support the school by encouraging their children to understand the need for school rules, and by communicating any relevant concerns to the school.

 

Aims of the Code

  • To create a positive learning environment that encourages and reinforces good behaviour.
  • To promote self-esteem and positive relationships.
  • To encourage consistency of response to both positive and negative behaviour.
  • To foster a sense of responsibility and self- discipline in pupils and to support good behaviour patterns based on consideration and respect for the rights of others .
  • To facilitate the education and development of every child.
  • To foster caring attitudes to one another and to the environment.
  • To enable teachers to teach without disruption.
  • To ensure that the schools expectations and strategies are widely known and understood through the availability of this policy and an ethos of open communication.
  • To encourage the involvement of both home and school in the implementation of this policy.

 

Responsibility of Adults

 

The adults encountered by the children at school have an important responsibility to model high standards of behaviour, both in their dealings with the children and with each other, as their example has an important influence on the children.

As adults we should aim to :

  • Create a positive climate with realistic expectations.
  • Promote positive behaviour, through example, honesty and courtesy.
  • Provide a caring and effective learning environment.
  • Encourage relationships based on kindness, respect and understanding of the needs of others.
  • Ensure fair treatment for all regardless of age, gender, race, ability and disability.
  • Show appreciation of the efforts and contribution of all.
  • To discourage physical aggression and encourage “Kind hands, kind feet, kind words”.

A Code of Conduct for the staff, pupils, parents, and visitors ensures that the rights of all are upheld.

School Rules

  1. We show respect for self and others.
  2. We show respect for our own property and the property of others.
  3. We follow our teachers instructions.
  4. We walk quietly in the school building.
  5. We show courtesy and good manners.
  6. We try to use respectful ways of resolving difficulties and conflict.
  7. We ask permission to leave the classroom.
  8. In adherence with the stay safe programme children in St. Brigid’s must not hit or fight back or retaliate in any way but if provoked should walk away and then should tell an adult they can trust.

These are our 7 “Golden Rules”.  Rules apply during school-time and during all school related activities.

 

Class Rules

At the beginning of each academic year, the class teacher will draft a list of class rules with the children, based closely on the “Golden Rules”.  Class rules will be 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 difference.  Where difficulties arise, parents will be contacted at an early stage.

Yard rules

  1. We walk quietly to the yard.
  2. We keep our jackets on in the yard.
  3. We have kind hands, kind feet, and kind words in the yard.
  4. No jockey backs, gymnastics or lifting is allowed during play time in the yard.
  5. No physical violence of any sort is acceptable.
  6. No hurtful or bad language will be tolerated.
  7. Respectful language towards all pupils and staff is expected.

If a child breaks one these rules the teacher on duty will ask him/her to stand in the time-out zone for a period of time to be decided by the teacher. Serious breach of the above rules will result in lunchtime detention or a yellow card. Where possible any alleged incidents of misbehaviour need to be reported to the teacher on duty.

Incentives/Reward System

Part of the vision of St. Brigid’s is to help children achieve their personal best and thus prepare them for further education, life and work.  We recognise that there are many different forms of intelligence and similarly that children use a variety of approaches to solve problems.  Our reward system seeks to provide encouragement to all children of all abilities and talents.  Children will be encouraged, praised and listened to by adults in the school.  Praise is earned by the maintenance of good standards as well as by particular noteworthy personal achievements.  Rates of praise for behaviour should be as high as for work.

The following are some samples of how praise might be given:

  • A quiet word or gesture to show approval.
  • A comment in pupil’s copy or homework journal.
  • A visit to another member of staff or to the principal for commendation.
  • A word of praise in front of a group or class.
  • Delegating some special responsibility or privilege.
  • A mention to parent, written or verbal communication.
  • ‘Bualadh Bos’ in class or special mention at assembly.

 

Unacceptable Behaviour

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 a single instance of serious misbehaviour parents will be involved at an early stage through the yellow/red card system where they will be required to sign a card undertaking to speak to and sanction their child at home. They may also be invited to meet the teacher and/or the principal to discuss their child’s behaviour. After three yellow cards, a red card will be issued and parents are invited to meet with the principal.

         

Examples of misbehaviour include;

  • Use of mobile phones in school. (Mobiles phones are allowed to be brought to school by 4th 5th and 6th class girls but must be handed into the office every morning. If they are found in class by a teacher the phone will be confiscated in the office until Friday of that week and must be collected by an adult family member on behalf of the child on the Friday.  Mobile phones are not permitted in younger classes).
  • Bringing in  in chewing –gum. (Chewing gum is not allowed in the school premises. If a child is found with chewing gum in the school a fine of €1 will be issued and the money will go to charity).
  • Not following instructions.
  • 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
  • Theft
  • Bringing dangerous equipment to school.
  • Leaving school/ school activities without permission.
  • Assault on a teacher or a pupil.
  • Serious theft
  • Serious damage to property.
  • Serious bullying.
  • Carrying drugs, alcohol, cigarettes.

Bullying is repeated aggression – physical, verbal or emotional – conduct by an individual or group against another or others.

  • PHYSICAL: includes pushing, shoving, punching, kicking, poking, tripping, etc.
  • VERBAL: name calling which hurts, insults or humiliates.
  • EMOTIONAL: threats or persistent hurtful remarks regarding sensitive areas e.g. appearance, dress, progress, colour, culture and disability. Isolating or shunning a child.  Threats to extort money or possessions.  “Cyber/text” bullying.

The school take particular care to intervene early in responding to the needs, fears or anxieties of individual members in a sensitive manner.

Issues in relation to bullying are explored continually during SPHE lessons and using Circle Time, Drama etc. 

Should a parent / guardians have any concerns which need to be discussed with a teacher, all staff members are more than willing to facilitate a meeting, made through the proper channels i.e. a phone call to the office, or a note to the class teacher to arrange a convenient time for both parties.  The first person to be informed should be the class teacher.

 

This arrangement ensures that all concerns are dealt with in a dignified, meaningful manner, without infringing on valuable teaching time.

Isolated incidents of aggressive behaviour, while not to be condoned, cannot be described as bullying.

Incidents of bullying will be dealt with in the same manner as breaches of discipline – already outlined in our Code of Behaviour.

In the case where a parent reports a bullying incident, the school reserves the right to inform the relevant parties of the identity of the person making the complaint, when this is deemed necessary.

Refer to Anti Bullying Policy.

Sanctions

The purpose of a sanction is to bring about a change in behaviour by;

  • 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.

A sanction may also :

  • Reinforce the boundaries set out in the code of behaviour.
  • Signal to other students and to staff that their wellbeing is being protected.

In instance of more serious breaches of school standards, sanctions may be needed to:

  • Prevent serious disruption of teaching and learning.
  • Keep the student, or students or adults safe.

The following steps will be taken when a child behaves inappropriately.  The list is by no means exhaustive.  Teachers may put in place alternative measures bearing in mind the circumstances involved.  The aim of any sanction is to prevent the behaviour occurring again and if necessary to help the pupil devise strategies for this.

  1. Reasoning with pupil.
  2. Verbal reprimand including advice on how to improve.
  3. Temporary separation from peers within class and /or temporary removal to another class.
  4. Prescribing extra work/writing out the story of what happened.
  5. Loss of Privileges.
  6. Detention during lunch break.
  7. Communications with parents.
  8. Referral to principal.
  9. Principal communicating with parents.
  10. Exclusion (Suspension or Expulsion) from school (in accordance with Rule 130 of the Rules for National; School as amended by circular and Education Welfare Act 2000)

Usually sanctions will relate as closely as possible to the behaviour.

Suspension and Expulsion

Before serious sanctions such as detention, suspension or expulsion are used, the normal channels of communication with parents may be verbal or by letter depending on the circumstances.

For serious misbehaviour or repeated instances of serious misbehaviour suspension may be considered.  Parents concerned will be invited to come to the school to discuss their child’s case.  Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards a teacher or pupil will be viewed as serious misbehaviour.

Where there are repeated incidents of serious misbehaviour, the Chairperson of the Board of Management will be informed and the parents will be requested in writing to attend a meeting with the principal and possibly the chairperson.  If the parents do not give an undertaking that the pupil will behave in an acceptable manner in the future the pupil may be suspended for a period.  Prior to suspension, where possible, the principal may review the case in consultation with teachers and other members of the school community involved, with due regard to records of previous misbehaviours, their pattern and context, sanctions and other interventions used and their outcomes and any relevant medical information.  Suspension will be accordance with the Rules for National Schools and Education Welfare Act 2000.

In case of very serious misbehaviour, where it is necessary to ensure that order and discipline are maintained and to secure the safety of the pupils, the Board may authorise the Chairperson or Principal to sanction an immediate suspension for a period not exceeding three school days, pending a discussion of the matter with the parents.

Expulsion may be considered in an extreme case, in accordance with the Rules for National Schools and the Education Welfare Act 2000.  Before suspending or expelling a pupil, the Board shall notify the Education Welfare Officer in writing in accordance with Section 24 of the Education Welfare Act.

Removal of Suspension (Reinstatement)

Following a period of suspension the parents / must give a satisfactory written undertaking that a suspended pupil will behave in accordance with the school code and the principal must be satisfied that the pupils reinstatement will not constitute a risk to the pupil’s own safety or that of the other pupils or staff.  The principal will facilitate the preparation of a behaviour plan for the pupil if required and will re-admit the pupil to the class.

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 principal. The school 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

Communicating with parents is central to maintain a positive approach to dealing with children.  Parents and teachers should develop a joint strategy to address specific difficulties, in addition to sharing a broader philosophy which can be implemented at home and in school.

A high level of co-operation and open communication is seen as an important factor encouraging positive behaviour in the school.  Structures and channels designed to maintain a high level of communication among staff and between staff, pupils and parents have been established and are being reviewed regularly.

Parents are encouraged to talk in confidence to teachers about any significant developments in a child’s life (in the past or present), which may affect the child’s behaviour.

 

The Following methods of communication are to be used within the school:

  • Informal/ formal parent/teacher.
  • Through children’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.
  • Newsletters/ school web-site.
  • Textaparent service.

The School advises parents of St. Brigid’s that use of the following social media sites are illegal under the age of 13; Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook.

Any alleged incidents of cyber bullying on sites be they legal or illegal will be  reported directly to the parents of the children involved and the parents will be asked to deal with it appropriately.

This policy has been ratified at the Board of Management meeting of 02/06/2016 and will be reviewed every two years.