Code of Behaviour for Emo National School
This Code of Behaviour has been reviewed by the school principal in consultation with all staff members, the members of the Board of Management, the student council, the Parents Association and the entire parent body.
This reviewed plan has been amended in September 2020 and includes an addendum regarding expected behaviour due to the pandemic Covid 19 and was ratified by the Board of Management at a meeting in March 2021.
- The Board of Management Emo decided to review the Behaviour Policy to ensure that it is in compliance with legal requirements and good practice as set out in Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools, NEWB, 2008.
- It is a requirement under the Education Welfare Act, 2000, Section 23 (1) which refers to the obligation on schools to prepare a code of behaviour in respect of the students registered at the school. It details in Section 23(2), that the code of behaviour shall specify:
- The standards of behaviour that shall be observed by each student 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 concerned;
- The grounds for removing a suspension imposed in relation to a student; and
- The procedures to be followed in relation to a child’s absence from school.
- Relationship to Characteristic Ethos of our school
Emo National School is guided in all its work by the Catholic ethos. We share with our community the responsibility for providing a rich, welcoming, encouraging and secure learning environment for all the children in our care. Our core root beliefs and values provide us with a focus for our Catholic identity. Through reinforcement from teachers and other staff, core values and root beliefs are clearly, consistently, and effectively communicated to each child in our care. Our school’s core beliefs and values are:
- Working as a community strengthens learning. LEARN
- A safe and caring environment fosters kindness, love and respect. RESPECT
- Faith will guide us through life’s good times and challenges. BELIEVE
- Everyone’s gifts, talents and uniqueness should be celebrated and nurtured. NURTURE
- Sowing the seeds of happiness and friendship helps us to grow. CONNECT
The behaviour of adults in a child’s life, including parents and teachers, is a significant influence on how a child acts. The code will be most effective where there is a high level of openness and co-operation between staff, parents and pupils. A clear understanding among all the partners of the standards of behaviour required and the procedures to be adopted where there are breaches of the code also helps ensure a harmonious environment where all can work effectively.
In devising this code, consideration has been given to the particular needs and circumstances of our school. The aim is to create an ordered and orderly environment in which pupils can, through developing self-discipline, feel secure and make progress in all aspects of their development. This code of behaviour describes the school’s expectations about how each member of the school community will help to make the school a good place for teaching and learning. Every effort will be made by all members of staff to adopt a positive approach to the question of behaviour in the school and the over-riding aims will be;
- To promote positive behaviour.
- To promote self-discipline recognising the differences between children and the need to accommodate these differences;
- To create an atmosphere of respect, tolerance and consideration of others;
- To enhance the learning environment and allow the school to function in an orderly way where children can make progress in all aspects of their development;
- To ensure the safety and wellbeing of all members of the school community;
- To assist the parents and children in understanding the systems and procedures that form part of the Code and to seek their co-operation in the application of these procedures;
- To ensure that the system of rules, rewards and sanctions are implemented in a fair and consistent manner throughout the school.
- Guidelines for Behaviour in the School
The school recognises the variety of differences that exist between children and the need to tolerate these differences. It is agreed that a high standard of behaviour requires a strong sense of community within the school and a high level of co-operation among staff and between staff, parents and pupils. Every effort will be made to ensure that the code of behaviour is implemented in a reasonable, fair and consistent manner. The limits of behaviour are clearly defined and children become familiar with the consequences of behaviour beyond these limits. The over-riding principle governing this code is respect – respect for ourselves and others and their property.
The school expects the highest standard of behaviour from its pupils including the following:
- Each pupil is expected to be well behaved and show consideration for other children and adults;
- Each pupil is expected to show respect for the property of the school, other children’s and their own belongings;
- Each pupil is expected to attend school on a regular basis;
- Each pupil is expected to do his/her best both in school and for homework.
While the school has expanded on these principles to outline the “school rules” (see Appendix 1), each class is required to draft their own class rules or charter, through consultation and discussion within the class and they will reflect the age and maturity levels of the students in the class. These rules will be kept to a minimum, they will be recorded in simple language and they will be stated positively, telling students what to do as well as what not to do. The rules will be referred to regularly and will form part of SPHE lessons.
We strongly believe that no pupil has the right to deny any other pupil to reap the full benefit from his/her education.
- Whole School Approach to Promoting Positive Behaviour
The Board of Management and the Principal have overall responsibility for the implementation and on-going monitoring of this policy. However, all staff members have responsibility for their own classes and for the general school population when on yard duty or on any organised out-of-school activity. Senior students have a role to play in modelling good behaviour and parents or other members of the school community may make comments or suggestions through their representatives on the Board of Management or directly to the Principal. The school values the support and co-operation of parents in the promotion of this strategy. The policy shall apply to all students during all school related activities.
It is the policy of this school to actively promote good behaviour. As part of our on-going efforts to promote positive behaviour, each class has a system of promoting and reinforcing positive behaviour. Children will be familiar with these systems and you will hear them talking about them. These are some of the strategies used:
Fun Time Friday
Class dojo points
Make a flower
Beat the teacher
Pupil of the week
Stamp and sticker
Whole school acknowledgement through assembly.
Visit to the Principal for commendation.
To facilitate new members of staff in becoming familiar with practices within the school, discussion regarding the implementation of the code will always form part of the first staff meeting held at the beginning of each term. A copy of the code will be included in all teachers’ documents. The code will also be given to parents whenever they enrol a child in the school.
- Behaviour Management System
The school will follow new two card system for managing behaviour. This system will be piloted from 1st -6th class. The approach taken to junior and senior infants will be one of behaviour modification.
The cards used will be:
- Yellow card (3 recorded offences)
- Red card (3 more recorded offences)
It is hoped that the card system will help children take responsibility and improve their behaviour. The system operates both within the class and outside the class. The purpose of the system is to minimise disruption within the class and ensure that children can play safely outside the class.
The nature of the behaviour and the age of the child will determine the nature of the strategies employed. The following stages will be used to show disapproval of inappropriate behaviour:
- Verbal reprimand and reasoning with pupils including advising them about the consequences of their actions. This will be deemed a warning as to future behaviour and it will be explained clearly to the child what behaviour was inappropriate and how they should modify their behaviour. (advice on how to improve);
- Time out (Age appropriate including advising child about reflecting on their behaviour) during Yard Time. Teacher will record this behaviour and it will count towards a card.
- If a child’s behaviour is disrespectful or disruptive on three occasions they will receive a yellow card.
- The yellow card is a yellow A4 sheet which the child will complete and get signed by their parents. They will complete the card in school. The card will incorporate a reflection sheet which will encourage the child to identify and reflect on their behaviour.
If a child’s behaviour is disrespectful or disruptive on three more occasions they will receive a red card.
The red card is a red A4 sheet which will incorporate a reflection sheet that must be completed at home. In addition, they will receive some written work on the weekend and have some timeout from their yard break.
Examples of the written work that the children may be asked to do and get signed by their parents will be:
- Extra homework
- Respond in writing to a poem or a story
- Write an account of how they are going to improve their behaviour
Each term will start with a clean slate. If, however a child gets a yellow and a red card in a term, parents and child will be asked to meet with the principal to discuss how behaviour must improve.
This system will be introduced as above for 1st to 6th class and implemented in full in the 2021/2022 school year.
- Classification of Misbehaviours
Examples of minor misbehaviour include
- Continuous talking
- Being discourteous/ unmannerly.
- Pushing or rough play in the line or yard.
- Writing and passing notes
- Interrupting class work unnecessarily.
- Littering around the school
- Spitting on ground
- Interfering in others games
- Running in school building
- Out of seat during break on wet days without permission.
- Failure to complete homework.
- Inappropriate behaviour or gestures.
Measure to be taken:
Teachers and/or the Principal will make judgements based on a common sense approach having regard to the age or vulnerability of the child and the gravity and frequency of any misbehaviour as follows:
- Verbal warning and reprimand. The behaviour is treated as a mistake and everyone can make a mistake. Remind the pupil of appropriate behaviour. Time out if necessary. Record the incident.
- Yellow card if there are three such incidences. Parents will receive a call from teacher to inform them about the yellow card.
Examples of more serious misbehaviours include:
- Gave another child a NO feeling. (Stay safe programmes)
- Cyber bullying
- Refusal to do work
- Being disrespectful to a staff member
- Telling lies
- Very rough play. Deliberately injuring another person in a game.
- Defiance, refusal to do as asked by any member of staff.
- Bad/abusive language or gestures directed at another person.
- Racist remarks.
- Throwing an object
- Writing/graffiti on school property
- Involvement in a fight.
- Threatening someone/ blackmail
- Fighting/deliberately hurting someone.
- Deliberate, continual disobedience.
- Leaving the school without permission
Measures to be taken:
- Immediate yellow card (no chances). Parents will receive a call from teacher to inform them about the yellow card. A repeat of serious misbehaviour will warrant a red card. See red card measures above.
- Parents may also be invited to meet class teacher, the principal and/or the chairperson to discuss repeated serious incidents of misbehaviour;
- Suspension will be used as a sanction where all attempts at reasoning with the pupil have failed and where all other efforts of the school in consultation with the parents or guardians of the pupil have failed to achieve a satisfactory conclusion. Communications to parents regarding the suspension of a pupil, or the possibility of considering suspension as a sanction, will be in writing. (Copies of all correspondence will be retained)
Examples of gross misbehaviours include:
- Deliberately spitting at another person: Pupils must not spit or deliberately cough on another student or staff member. This will be considered a gross misbehaviour and will be dealt with according with our behaviour Policy.
- Deliberately injuring any member of the school community
- Persistently engaging in activities which have been identified by members of staff as dangerous.
- Purposely activating school fire alarm.
- Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards a member of staff or a pupil; (e.g. physical violence, striking, nipping, biting, spitting)
- Vandalism / serious inappropriate behaviour / assault
Measures to be taken:
- Principal and Chairperson are informed immediately and suspension sanctioned. The Board of Management has deferred responsibility to the Principal to impose an initial sanction of up to three days. Further suspensions will require Board of Management approval. This approval may be obtained at a regular meeting of the Board or at an emergency meeting at which the Chairperson and Principal have outlined for the Board the reasons why they feel it is necessary to impose a further suspension. In line with the requirements of the Education Welfare Act (2000), the Board of Management will inform the Education Welfare Board when any pupil’s period of suspension equals or exceeds six school days.
- When a student is suspended, the parents/guardians will be requested to remove the student from the school. The Principal will meet with the parents/guardian to outline the decision to implement the suspension and will present the parents/guardian with a written statement of the terms, duration and date of the termination of the suspension.
- Parents are contacted and a meeting is held with the Principal and Deputy Principal
- A behaviour contract may be drawn up.
- The principal may report the matter to the Chairperson of the Board of Management and/or to a meeting of the Board of Management, as appropriate
However, where these strategies have failed and where misbehaviour is serious and gross misbehaviour as outlined above it will be necessary to involve others including the Board of Management. The Principal and staff may also seek assistance from NEPS, SESS, HSE or other agencies.
During the current COVID-19 crisis, we all have a responsibility to keep each other safe and well. In order to do so, we have high expectations of our students to follow the rules and guidelines of the school related to;
- Following any altered routines for arrival or departure
- Following school instructions on hygiene, such as handwashing and sanitising
- Following instructions on who pupils can socialise with at school
- Moving around the school following specific instructions (for example, one-way systems, out of bounds areas, queuing, lunch routines)
- Expectations about sneezing, coughing, tissues and disposal (‘catch it, bin it, kill it’)
- Telling an adult if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
- Rules about sharing any equipment or other items including drinking bottles
- Amended expectations about break and play time, including where children may or may not play
- Use of toilet facilities
- Pupils must not spit or deliberately cough on another student or staff member. This will be considered a gross misbehaviour and will be dealt with according with our behaviour Policy.
Removal of Suspension (Reinstatement)
Following, or during a period of suspension, the parent/s may apply to have the pupil reinstated to the school. The parent/s must give a satisfactory undertaking that a suspended pupil will behave in accordance with the school code and the Principal must be satisfied that the pupil’s reinstatement will not constitute a risk to the pupil’s own safety or that of the other pupils or staff. The Principal in consultation with the parents, the class teacher and the student (if appropriate) will facilitate the preparation of a behaviour plan for the pupil, if required, and will re-admit the pupil formally to the class.
Where a satisfactory resolution of a problem is achieved, a pupil may be readmitted to school within a suspension period at the discretion of the Chairperson of the board and the principal.
The Board of Management has the authority to expel a student in an extreme case (see p.81, Developing a Code of Behaviour; Guidelines for Schools) or where repeated incidents of gross misbehaviour interfere with the educational opportunities of fellow students or where there is a threat to the health and safety of either students or staff. This sanction would be imposed under the terms of the Education Welfare Act (2000). Suspension/expulsion procedures are in accordance with the Education Act (1998).
- Misbehaviour in the Yard
To pre-empt incidents of misbehaviour on yard, our whole school approach focuses on RESPECT – respect for yourself, respect for others, respect for the environment. We encourage pupils to take responsibility should they accidentally hurt another child, thus showing respect for that individual. This ties in with the Golden Rules of ‘Gentle Hands, Gentle Feet and Kind Words which we teach and constantly reiterate.
Involving Parents/Guardians in Managing Problem Behaviour
Parents/guardians are valued as partners in the school community and as such will be invited to participate in promoting positive behaviour both in school and in the wider community. Class teachers will inform parents of repeated episodes of minor misbehaviour (three in keeping with the card system). Parents will receive a call in advance of a yellow card going home.
In cases where pupils are required to complete some extra work as a sanction, parents/guardians will again be requested to sign the relevant work. Class teachers may occasionally request parents/guardians to attend the school to discuss some aspect of a pupil’s behaviour. The Principal will be informed of these meetings and may be invited to attend.
Parents/guardians are encouraged to make appointments to meet with class teachers and/or the Principal at the earliest opportunity in an effort to prevent any escalation of inappropriate behaviour. The school will remind parents/guardians of the procedures for contacting the school at every opportunity. In specific cases a shorter school day may be implemented where a pupil is having severe difficulties coping with a full day. This would be agreed between the principal teacher and Parents and BOM.
Where pupils are found to be involved in more serious misbehaviour the Principal may telephone or write to parents/guardians to request them to attend an informal/formal meeting at the school. Others who may also attend these meetings include; class teachers, teachers who witness misbehaviour while supervising on yard duty and Chairperson of the Board of Management. The pupil may also attend all or part of these meetings if deemed appropriate
Managing aggressive or violent behaviour
The school recognises that occasionally students may not respond positively to the usual interventions and that they may require extra support in an effort to manage aggressive or violent behaviour. A small minority of students may show particular challenging behaviour, because of educational need. These students will need a sustained and systematic response involving the important adults in their lives, in school and at home.
Under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998, parents (or pupils who have reached the age of 18) are entitled to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science against some decisions of the Board of Management, including (1) permanent exclusion from a school and (2) suspension for a period which would bring the cumulative period of suspension to 20 school days or longer in any one school year. Appeals must generally be made within 42 calendar days from the date the decision of the school was notified to the parent or student. (See Circular 22/02)
In line with the school’s policy on record keeping, and data protection legislation, records in relation to pupils’ behaviour will be maintained on the school management system. (Aladdin)
Copies of all yellow and red cards will be retained in the Principal’s office. Records of more serious incidents are recorded by the principal and retained until students reach 21 years. Class teachers shred personal records at the end of each year.
Procedures for notification of pupil absences from school
Parents must notify the school in writing of a student’s absence and the reason for this absence. Parents will be informed in writing when their child has been absent for 12+ days of school. Under current legislation, the Educational Welfare Officer will be informed when a child has been absent for 20 days in a school year.
Reference to other Policies
List and check other school policies that have a bearing on the code of behaviour e.g.
- SPHE plan
- Record keeping
- Health & Safety
- Special Educational Needs
- Child Protection
This policy will be deemed to be successful when the following are observed:
- Positive behaviour in class rooms, playground and school environment
- Practices and procedures listed in this policy being consistently implemented by teachers
- Positive feedback from teachers, parents and pupils.
Ratified by the Board of Management of Emo N.S. at its meeting in March 2021
Chairperson Mary Dunne
Review Date: September 2021 or as necessary to the school needs