St. Conleth’s Code of Behaviour Policy

St. Conleth’s Code of Behaviour Policy

May 2016

Preamble

The St. Conleth’s Code of Behaviour and Discipline reflects the Catholic ethos of the school as outlined in the School Prospectus and the School Plan. Clear rules and procedures consistently and fairly applied are necessary in order to ensure that the school is a place where teaching and learning can take place and where all students will feel secure.

St. Conleth’s code of behaviour is a set of programmes, practices and procedures that together form the school’s plan for helping students in the school to behave and learn well. This code of behaviour is intended to help the school community promote the school ethos, as well as policies, procedures and practices that encourage good behaviour and prevent unacceptable behaviour. It also assists teachers, students and parents to work together for a happy, effective and safe school.

At the start of the year, pupils are made aware of the rules and the standards of behaviour expected of them. They are informed of the procedures which will be followed and the sanctions which will be applied when misbehaviour arises.

Although the responsibility for upholding the Code of Behaviour rests principally with the teachers, the support of parents and guardians is also crucial. In drawing up this Code, the requirements as set out in the Education Act 1998 and the Education Welfare Act 2000 have been taken into account. As the Code is a living document, it will be subject to regular review.  

In August 2008, the NEWB(National Education Welfare Board)now known as TUSLA published Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools, which St Conleth’s has taken into account in auditing and updating our Code of Behaviour. St. Conleth’s acknowledges that the aforementioned guidelines have their basis in law and that the guidelines supersede DES Circular M 33//91: Guidelines towards a positive policy for school behaviour and discipline: A suggested school code of behaviour and discipline for post primary schools

The Education (Welfare) Act 2000 Section 23 (2) sets down what must be included in a school’s code of behaviour. They are:

  • The standards of behaviour that shall be observed by each student attending St. Conleth’s
  • The measures that will 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 imposed in relation to a student
  • The procedures to be followed relating to notification of a child’s absence from school

Aims of the Code

  • to promote good behaviour and to encourage self-discipline in all
  • to create a disciplined environment in which teaching and learning can take place
  • to ensure the health, safety and welfare of everyone within the school
  • to promote the moral and social development of each pupil giving him/her the necessary skills to enable him/her to play his/her part as responsible members of society
  • to respect school property and the school environment
  • to respect the rights and opinions of others

Good Behaviour

The Code seeks to adopt a positive approach to the kind of behaviour the school wishes to promote. Good manners, courtesy, co-operation and respect for others and for their property are paramount. Every student has the right to enjoy both learning and leisure time in school and to regard it as a place where they can relate in a positive manner towards their teachers and to each other based on tolerance and respect. The school places particular emphasis on good behaviour acknowledging it when it is apparent as well as recognising the individual and collective achievements of the students. Rewards may include:

  • Personal praise of a pupil by a teacher
  • Special mention in assembly, in the newsletter and on school notice boards
  • The awarding of prizes for high achievement or effort in many different disciplines

 School Rules

A list of School Rules is printed each year in the School Journal (See Appendix 1) and discussed with parents before the start of the school year. These Rules form the basis of the Code of Behaviour, and have been drawn up to facilitate the smooth running of the school. It is expected that pupils and parents will co-operate and work positively at all times with the School Rules which must be taken in tandem with the overall Code of Behaviour and relevant school policies.

Classroom behaviour

The classroom is a place where pupils have a right to learn and teachers have a right to teach. Each pupil has a responsibility for maintaining a high level of personal behaviour and co-operation. For example, arriving in school and to class on time; keeping the classroom tidy; organising books and materials; completing homework (Cf. Homework & Study Policy) and accepting instruction from your teacher, all contribute to a positive learning environment.

Out-of-Class Behaviour

The school environment should also be kept clean and pupils should feel safe at all times while on the school premises. Any form of behaviour which may result in damage to property or which places others at risk must be avoided. When travelling to or from school and in the vicinity of the school, students should always behave in a manner which reflects well on both themselves and the school. (This includes adjoining roads, Herbert Park, local shops, local bus stops) Note: The school also has a specific Policy on School Tours.

 Sport & Extra Curricular Activities

Sport is an essential part of the school curriculum and all pupils are expected to take part unless otherwise excused. The school also encourages pupils to participate in the many extra-curricular activities on offer. It is important that students give a high level of commitment to whatever activity they take on. Those selected to represent the school in games, matches or competitions should respond readily with commitment and should regard this as an honour. They should be conscious of the fact that they are role models for others and should act accordingly.

Attendance & Timekeeping

Regular and punctual attendance is essential to the continuity of learning. Sanctions will be imposed for persistent lateness. (See school policy on Lates) A written explanation by a parent or guardian must be given for any absences or lateness. Whenever possible, medical or dental appointments should be arranged outside class hours. It is emphasised that the onus is on students to catch up on work missed whenever they are absent from school. It is important to note that each year reports of student attendance are made to the TUSLA. Any student who is absent for 20 days or more, must be reported to the TUSLA in accordance with the Education Welfare Act 2000.

Bullying

Bullying in any form is totally unacceptable. If detected, it will be acted upon immediately. Anyone who becomes aware of, or suspects such activity on the part of any pupil or pupils should inform an appropriate person in authority. In dealing with such matters, the greatest care is shown in recognizing the needs to protect and support all victims and also to address problems encountered by those who engage in bullying.
(Cf. School Policy on Bullying)

Health & Safety

It is in everyone’s interest that the school should be a safe and healthy place. Every member of the school community has a responsibility to take the greatest care in avoiding accidents or putting others at risk by thoughtless behaviour. Pupils must acquaint themselves with safety procedures, recognising that there are particular dangers present in areas such as the laboratory, the sports hall, the canteen etc. Any pupil who becomes aware of any unusual dangers should immediately bring them to the attention of the teachers.
(Cf. Health & Safety Statement)

School Uniform

The full school uniform should be worn in school and on the way to and from school and at all official school functions. Official sports gear must also be worn when required. Students who are not in full uniform may be sent home or may have other sanctions imposed. Untidy dress and appearance is not acceptable. Hair must be of a conventional length. Boys must be clean–shaven. Excessive jewellery or make up will not be permitted. Body piercing and dyed hair will result in sanctions.
(Cf. Rules on School Uniform & Personal Appearance in School Journal)

Alcohol, Smoking and Illegal Substances

Smoking or the consumption of alcohol is strictly forbidden and offences in this regard are likely to lead to suspension. The possession, use or supply of illegal drugs or substances is an extremely serious offence.
(Cf. Substance Abuse Policy)

Action may also be taken against other students, who indirectly facilitated or supported those engaging in such practices. Smoking of e-cigarettes is also a breach of school rules.

Mobile Phones

It is accepted that mobile phones are widely used by students and may be brought into the school at the owner’s risk. They should be switched off during class time and should not be seen or heard during the day. Mobile phones may not be used between classes or during breaks without the specific permission of a teacher. Otherwise they will be confiscated for a minimum of a week. Parents are requested to contact their sons/daughters through the school landline. Further offences will merit a longer period of confiscation. Phones must never be used to photograph or record any student, teacher or member of staff in the school itself or in the vicinity of the school or at school outings without permission and/or to use such photographs to harass, undermine, intimidate or bully others.

Procedures

  • All incidents of misbehaviour should be documented and recorded.
  • The classroom teacher will manage behaviour within his/her class and seek to resolve any day to day issues which may arise within the class.
    (Cf. Guidelines for Teachers on Classroom Behaviour)
  • Only when the class teacher has exhausted all courses of action does the teacher refer the matter to the Form Teacher and/or to the Deputy Principal.
  • The Deputy Principal will inform the Principal of serious breaches of discipline when further action may be required. Continuous behavioural problems may also be referred to the school’s pastoral care team, guidance counsellor or outside agency with parental approval.

Sanctions

When problems of discipline arise, parents will be informed that sanctions will be invoked. A student may be removed from class while an incident or situation is being investigated prior to any formal sanctions being imposed. Sanctions may include:

  • Being given a verbal reprimand or warning
  • Writing a note in the Journal
  • Contacting the parents and seeking parental support where necessary
  • Being reported to the Form Teacher/Deputy Principal
  • Detention
  • Being detained at lunchtime, after school and/or on Saturday mornings.
  • Withdrawal of privileges ( eg. permission to leave school at lunchtime)
  • Doing School Community Service
  • Being reported to the Principal
  • Being suspended from class or school by the Principal
  • Referral to the pastoral care convenor or outside counsellor
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion

Suspension

Suspension will be imposed when the Principal is satisfied that it is warranted for serious offences or where a student has failed to respond to other forms of sanction for repeated misbehaviour. Appropriate advance notice is given and suspension will be imposed for a fixed number of days, at the expiry of which the student may return to school. Contact is also made with the parents/guardians to discuss the matter and to outline the conditions under which such a return may be permitted. The student may also be asked to give both an apology and a written commitment to good behaviour before being permitted to return to school.

Expulsion

In St. Conleth’s the Manager* reserves the right to expel any student who puts the health and welfare of other students or staff at risk, or any student who engages in persistent or very serious misbehaviour which undermines the ethos of the school or the education of other students or the work or the school staff. Parents/guardians will be informed in writing of the allegations and the sanctions which may result subject to consideration by the Manager. Parents (and students over the age of 18) will also be informed of their right to appeal such a decision under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998. *The manager may act on the advice of the Principal. But the final decision rests with him/her.

It is important to note that on the admission of their son/daughter to St. Conleth’s parents agree in writing to abide by the rules of the school. In issues of serious misbehaviour, the school applies the principle of natural justice and students will be given a right of reply.

Follow Up

The Code of Behaviour is under constant review. Staff meetings afford the opportunity to discuss the Code of Behaviour on a regular basis and to look at specific incidents which may arise from time to time and their repercussions on individual students, teachers and the school body. In such cases, questions should be asked as to whether the current policy has provided a satisfactory mechanism to deal with a particular issue. If not, how should things be changed?

The goal of the follow up in the immediate aftermath of an incident is to help the school to decide whether a review of the Code of Behaviour is warranted. In the case of persistent bad behaviour, the rules referred to above are applied. The key consideration is a positive approach to school behaviour. If necessary, referral procedures (including onward referral) may be considered. Consideration may also be given to the formation of a group of facilitators (or one facilitator) to help St. Conleth’s embark on the development of an ongoing positive approach to discipline and the resolution of existing difficulties. New initiatives, within the boundaries of existing rules and legislation will always be considered.  

APPENDIX 1 ·

School Rules (as in current School Journal)

  1. Respect and courtesy must be shown at all times to fellow students, teachers and the wider community.
    Bad language is not acceptable.
  2. Proper behaviour is expected at all times.
    Any complaints arising from misbehaviour outside school will result in disciplinary action.
  3. Herbert Park is out of bounds for First, Second and Third Years, unless accompanied by a teacher.
    No student may leave the school during the day without permission.
  4. School dress code must be adhered to. A neat and tidy appearance is essential.
  5. Absences and lates must be explained in writing in School Journal by parent or guardian.
  6. Tippex and chewing gum are not allowed. School property must be respected.
  7. School Property must be respected and free of litter and graffiti. Pupils will be liable for any damage caused to property.
  8. Smoking in the school or in the vicinity of the school is regarded as a serious breach of discipline.
  9. Mobile phones, and/or other electronic equipment which detract from teaching and learning will be confiscated.
  10. Students must comply with the schools Acceptable Use Policy for the Internet and Computers.
  11. Suspension is enforced in cases of serous misdemeanours or repeated instances of misbehaviour.
  12. Sound study habits should be developed and proper maintenance of belongings, i.e. books, copies, Journal, lockers is expected.
  13. The Manager reserves the right to expel any pupil who, in his opinion, is guilty of persistent neglect of studies, misbehaviour or insubordination.

These rules to be signed by the student and Parent/Guardian at the beginning of the school year.

Legislation and References

  • Bunreacht na-hEireann 1937
  • The European Convention on Human Rights (1950)
  • The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)
  • Education Act 1998
  • Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007 (Amends provisions of Section 29 of
  • The Education Act 1998
  • Education Welfare Act 2000
  • Ombudsman for Children Act 2002
  • Education of Persons with Special Needs Act 2004 (EPSEN Act)
  • Disability Act 2005
  • Non-Fatal Offences against the Persons Act
  • Data Protection Act 1988
  • Data Protection Amendement Act 2003
  • Age of Majority Act 1995
  • All Health and Safety Legislation Acts
  • The Report of the Task Force on Student Behaviour in Second Level Schools