GOOD BEHAVIOUR AND THE DEVELOPING CHILD
The aims of primary education as laid down by the Department of Education are as follows:
- To enable the child to live a full life as a child.
- To equip them to avail themselves of further education so that they may go on to live a full and useful life as an adult in society.
These are broad aims, encompassing not only the acquisition of academic skills and knowledge, but also the complex range of social skills, attitudes and beliefs. A pupil’s self confidence and his attitude of social responsibility to others are essential parts of this personality. These traits can be developed best when the child is raised and taught in environments where good behaviour is expected of him/her.
Schools encourage the development of good behaviour for a second set of reasons. A happy and well-disciplined school is desirable as it enables all learning activities to run smoothly without tension and strain on pupils and teachers alike. Children learn by copying the behaviour of individuals in their environment so good behaviour sets an example to younger children, while older children take a more mature and well-behaved manner if they know they are setting this example.
SCHOOL ETHOS/VISION STATEMENT (SEE WEBSITE)
The Ethos Statement of the school focuses on the Christian values of respect and care for others and this informs the school’s approval to standards of behaviour and breaches of those standards.
BOARD OF MANAGEMENT
The Board of Management has a role to play in promoting good standards of behaviour in the school as it has ultimate responsibility for discipline in the school. The Board of Management must run the school according to the regulations laid down by the Department of Education in its “Rules for National Schools” and circulars.
DEVELOPING GOOD BEHAVIOUR: A PARTNERSHIP
Promoting good behaviour is the main aim of this code. School management and staff actively foster a school ethos, policies and practices that help to promote positive behaviour and prevent inappropriate behaviour.
Good behaviour develops best in a community of self-respect and mutual concern. The school itself should be such a community and it must do all it can to foster good behaviour. However, schools are simply a part of a wider community and they cannot develop good behaviour in isolation. The primary responsibility for the development of good behaviour rests with parents in the home, where children spend most of their time.
PARENTS THE PRIMARY EDUCATORS
Parents are the first primary educators of their children. They play a crucial part in shaping their children’s personalities and attitudes, and they continue to have a powerful influence over them throughout their school years. Teachers have an important role as partners in this process, but partnership can only become real if parents accept that they have a duty not only to send children to school but also to encourage them to behave well when they get there.
ABSENCE FROM SCHOOL
Parents are required to notify the school following a child’s absence using the form provided, and clearly stating the reason for the absence. The school will inform the NEWB when absences total 20 days overall. However the school has the right to notify the NEWB where a pupil is not attending regularly.
Teachers exert a powerful influence on the development of the children in their care both by providing a role model for pupils and by the effective implementation of the school’s behaviour policy within their own classrooms and in communal areas during breaks, lunch times, school tours and outings.
Pupils learn at school from the formal lessons taught to them and from the way in which the school is run and the relationships between people in it. Pupils will live up, or down, to teacher and parent’s expectations so if we are to encourage good behaviour children must identify with standards expected and accept these as valuable norms. Clearly pupils differ as individuals and standards of behaviour expected may vary somewhat depending on age, temperament, ability and background.
STRATEGIES TO AFFIRM AND PROMOTE GOOD BEHAVIOUR
The day-to-day excellence of school management and classroom teaching will enable most pupils to behave in ways that support their own learning and development. Teachers and other school staff also need a range of strategies for promoting good behaviour at class and school level.
The school management and teachers acknowledge that pupils are more likely to behave well when:
– they are given responsibility in the school and are involved in the development
of the code of behaviour.
– they understand why the code is important and their part in making it work
– they can see that the code works in a fair way
– there are standards that set high expectations for student behaviour
– the standards are clear, consistent and widely understood
– parents support the school by encouraging good learning behaviour
– there are good relationships between teachers, parents and students and a happy school atmosphere
– adults model the behaviour that is expected from students
– there is a buddy system for Junior Infants and Sixth Class
– senior pupils on a rota basis help to play games with younger pupils
– there is a ‘Buddy Bench’ in the playground
Other strategies to encourage and promote good behaviour include:
– positive everyday interactions between teachers and students
– good school and class routines
– clear boundaries and rules for the students
– helping students themselves to recognise and affirm good learning behaviour
– recognising and giving positive feedback about behaviour
– exploring with students how people should treat each other
– involving students in the preparation of the school and classroom rules.
-Friendship Week is held annually
-Friendship Tree initiative
In promoting, good behaviour among the pupils there is an emphasis on rewards, praise and encouragement.
The staff endeavours to praise and encourage good work and behaviour both in the classroom and in the playground. Each individual teacher will devise his/her own system of rewards within the classroom. These may include stickers, golden time, motivation charts, wall of excellence, pupil of the day, notes home, homework passes. Other whole school awards include the Merit Award (given out at by the Principal) and the line-up award.
- Pupils must be kind and considerate to others at all times.
- No aggressive physical contact is allowed.
- Football should be played only in the designated areas.
- Pupils are not allowed to leave the school premises without permission.
- There should be no bullying or name-calling.
- Bad or inappropriate language is not permitted.
- The pupils must show respect to staff and to visitors in the school.
- Pupils are not allowed behind the school or the bins.
- There is no running allowed in the schoolbuilding.
- Pupils must respect school property and the property of others.
- Appropriate use of ICT only.(see policy on Cyber Bullying).
If, at any time, you ever have any concern or query regarding your child’s behaviour at our school, then please contact the Class Teacher in the first instance. The Principal will also be happy to meet with you should the need arise following an appointment made through the secretary.
RESPONDING TO INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOUR
If unacceptable behaviour occurs then teachers and parents must cooperate to encourage the pupil to understand the consequences of their behaviour and to take responsibility for changing that behaviour. Sanctions are used in order to try to achieve this. The purpose of a sanction is to bring about a change in behaviour by;
- helping pupils to learn that their behaviour in unacceptable
- helping them to recognise the effect of their actions and their behaviour on others
- helping students (in ways appropriate to their age and development) to understand that they have choices about their 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 instances of more serious breaches of school standards, sanctions may be needed to:
- prevent serious disruption of teaching and learning
- keep the student, or other students or adults, safe
PUPILS WITH SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
Sanctions may be needed to help a pupil with special needs to learn about appropriate behaviour and skills, as in the case of any pupil. However teachers will take particular care that they help the pupil with special needs to understand clearly the purpose of the sanction and the reason why their behaviour is unacceptable. The school and classroom practices that support good learning behaviour are valid for all pupils, including those with identified special needs. All pupils are expected to follow the school’s code of behaviour.
Class teachers and specialist personnel (such as the Learning Support Teacher, Resource Teacher & Special Needs Assistant) will check that standards and rules are communicated in a way that pupils with special educational needs can understand. This understanding will be checked from time to time, especially where a pupil with special needs is acting in a way that would usually be seen as being in breach of the rules. If a pupil with special needs requires withdrawal from the classroom and supervision by a resource teacher, the time given by the resource teacher will be taken from his or her allocated resource hours. Teachers may need support in understanding how best to help a pupil with special educational needs to conform to the behavioural standards and expectations of the school. For some pupils, visual prompts or pictures may be needed. Some pupils may need opportunities to practise observing the rules with feedback on their progress.
Initially the teacher will use simple sanctions within the classroom such as:
- verbal reprimand
- removal from the group (in class)
- withdrawal of privileges
- withdrawal from the particular lesson or peer group
- carrying out a useful task in the school
This will be given for serious or repeated misbehaviour. This will take place during the longer break and will be for a maximum of 20 minutes. While in detention pupils fill out a form outlining the reason for their detention and how they will try behave appropriately in the future. This form is signed by the pupil and the teacher and it is sent home for the parents to sign and return to the school the next day. All pupils will continue to have a break at 10.30 a.m. and at least 5 minutes break at lunchtime.)
If repeated i.e. 4 per term or more serious misbehaviour occurs, a note will be sent home to parents asking them to make an appointment to discuss the behaviour with the teacher.
If detention slips or notes are not signed and returned to the school the pupils and parents will be reminded to return these. If they are still not signed and returned the parents will be requested to meet with the class teacher to resolve the issue. If the matter is not resolved at this stage the parents will be requested to meet with the principal and the class teacher. If the matter is still unresolved then the Board of Management will be notified.
SUSPENSION AND EXPULSION
Suspension is defined as ‘requiring the student to absent himself/herself from the school for a specified, limited period of school days’ (NEWB guidelines, p.70). Exclusion for part of a school day, as a sanction, or asking parents to keep a student from school, as a sanction, counts as suspension. Suspension will be considered as part of a range of sanctions where a student has engaged in a serious or gross misbehaviour. While suspension should be a proportionate response to the behaviour that is causing concern, a single instance of serious misbehaviour may be grounds for suspension. The decision to suspend will be based on the following grounds:
* The seriously detrimental effect on the education of the other students of the student’s behaviour to date;
* Whether the student’s continued presence in the school constitutes a threat to safety;
* The student is responsible for serious damage to property.
The purpose of suspension includes: providing a respite for staff and students, giving the student time to reflect on their actions and the staff time to plan ways of helping the student to change their behaviour. Suspension shall be used as part of an agreed plan to address the student’s behaviour.
The procedures in respect of suspension are those outlined in section 11.5 of the NEWB ‘Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools’. The Principal can suspend pupils for periods of up to three days. If a suspension for a longer period is being proposed, the Principal should refer to the Board of Management for consideration and approval. Reports to the Board and to the relevant authorities should be made in line with NEWB guidelines.
(Refer to pages 70-78, Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools, NEWB, 2008 http://www.newb.ie/downloads/pdf/guidelines_school_codes_eng.pdf
EXPULSION (PERMANENT EXCLUSION)
Under the Education Welfare Act, 2000, ‘A student shall not be expelled from a school before the passing of twenty school days following the receipt of a notification under this section by an educational welfare officer’ (Section 24(4)). It is the right of a Board of Management to take ‘…such other reasonable measures as it considers appropriate to ensure that good order and discipline are maintained in the school concerned and that the safety of students is secured.’ (Section 24(5)).
The Board of Management has the authority to expel a student. This authority will be exercised in line with the procedures outlined on pages 80-87, Developing a Code of behaviour: Guidelines for School, NEWB, 2008. http://www.newb.ie/downloads/pdf/guidelines_school_codes_eng.pdf.
COMMUNICATING WITH PARENTS
Parents of incoming students are provided with a copy of the Code of Behaviour.
Communicating with parents is central to maintaining a positive approach to dealing with children.
Code of Behaviour is available on the school website
Link to be provided to anti bullying websites from school website
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 the class teacher about any significant developments in a child’s life, in the past or present, which may affect the child’s behaviour or any other concerns that may arise.
The following methods of communication are to be used within the school:
* Informal/formal parent/teacher communication.
* Through children’s homework journal.
* Letters/notes from school to home and from home to school.
* Newsletters/school web-sites, 2013.
Approved by the Board of Management 2004
Reviewed by the Board of Management 2007, 2011, 2013.
Reviewed and Adopted by the Board of Management 2016.
Date of next review, June 2019.
These policies were developed in line with the following sources
Education Act, 1998.
Education Welfare Act, 2000.
Rules for National Schools, 1965.
Code of Behaviour Guidelines NEWB, 2008.
Anti-Bullying procedures for Primary and Post-Primary School.
Relevant Department of Education and Skills Circulars.