Code of Behaviour Policy

Rutland National School Mission Statement

Rutland National School   is a Catholic Primary School which welcomes children of all religions and nationalities. It seeks to promote behaviour based on mutual respect between all members of the school community.

The ethos of the school and the planning of the broad curriculum, promote the attitudes and values necessary for individual children to contribute positively to their own personal development and to that of the school.  These attitudes and values are further encouraged through a system of   rewards and sanctions. We, the school community, believe in the education of the whole child.  Following a child – centred and holistic approach, we endeavour:

  1. To recognised and acknowledge the talents and abilities of each child.
  2. To nurture each child’s talents and self – esteem in a caring and supportive environment.
  3. To provide the learning opportunities which   will foster and develop the life – skills and resources necessary for his / her role in society.
  4. To uphold the Catholic ethos of the school.

Rationale

In today’s fast changing society we appreciate the importance of regular review and revision of   the Code of Behaviour.  This review, February 2015, is undertaken to continue to provide the orderly environment for quality teaching and learning to take place.  This policy is formulated   in accordance with the NEWB Guidelines for Schools (2008) as required under section 23 of the Education Welfare Act 2000.

We are incorporating elements of a number of different programmes for example Discipline for Life, Restorative Practice, Mindfulness, SESS Behaviour Resource Bank and the NEPS Continuum of Support.

In deciding on our Behaviour and Discipline Policy it was felt that we keep in mind that the behaviour expected in school may differ significantly from that accepted at home.  Training in socially acceptable behaviour is an integral part of our curriculum.

 

The expectations for staff, pupils and parents and how they will treat each other:

We all expect to be treated fairly and with respect.  This we can do by listening calmly to each other’s points of view, giving everyone the right to reply and working together to resolve issues.

a)      Contact between parents and staff:

  • Teachers will remain in regular contact with parents throughout the school year, both formally and informally.  The journal can be used to write a note home commenting on good and poor behaviour.  This can be followed up with a meeting if necessary to resolve a problem.
  • There is a yearly formal parent – teacher meeting which is held in November.  This is another forum for parents to discuss issues with class teachers.
  • A written report is sent at the end of the year.
  • Home visitation and drop in service of HSCL.
  • Urgent issues will be dealt with by relevant staff member.
  • Appointments can be made with relevant teacher, home school co-ordinator, deputy or principal.
  • Parents are asked to ensure that contact numbers and addresses are kept up to date.

 

b)     Pupils  and Staff:

  • Students and staff should treat each other with respect at all times.
  • If there is an issue that needs to be discussed the teacher should try to do so privately, i.e.: out of ear shot of the rest of the class.  All issues should be followed through as soon as possible.
  • If there is an issue that a student needs to raise with the teacher, each teacher should have a system in place so the pupil knows that there is a suitable time in the day that the teacher has time to listen and give feedback.  One such system is a thought box.  The student can write a note for teacher, place it in the box and the teacher can set aside a few minutes to discuss the issue that is worrying the student.

 

2. How students, teachers and parents can help promote a happy school:

a)      What expectations do we have of teachers, pupils and parents in terms of promoting positive behaviour and a happy school?

 

Teachers & staff have a range of strategies for promoting good behaviour at class & school level

 

There is consistency across the team as how best to promote good behaviour

 

Pupils are given responsibility in the school and are involved in the development of the code of behaviour

 

Pupils understand why the code is important and their part in making it work

 

Pupils see that the code works in a fair way

 

There are standards that set high expectations for student behaviour

 

The standards are clear, consistent & widely understood

 

Parents support the school by encouraging good learning behaviour

 

There are good relationships between teachers, parents and pupils and a happy school atmosphere

 

Adults model the behaviour that is expected from pupils

 

Everyday interactions between teachers & pupils are positive

 

There are good school and class routines

 

There are clear boundaries and rules for pupils

 

Students are encouraged to recognise and affirm good learning behaviour for themselves

 

Good behaviour is recognised and positive feedback is given

 

Teachers explore with students how people should treat each other

 

Pupils are involved in the preparation of the school & classroom rules

 

Reward systems are used to promote good behaviour and encourage pupils to manage their own behaviour

 

Roles and responsibilities of staff members in relation to behaviour:

  • Model good behaviour.
  • Inform staff, pupils and parents of code and of preferred practices.
  • Engagement with review and update code.
  • Classroom management to promote positive behaviour.
  • Discuss expectations, rules, rewards and sanctions.
  • Rewards system in place.
  • Consistent and fair application of sanctions.
  • Open communication with parents.
  • Whole school approach towards behaviour.
  • Record keeping.

Role of the Principal/Deputy Principal

  • Ensure everyone is aware of the code of behaviour.
  • Ongoing consultation with staff and parents.
  • Support staff in implementing rules.
  • Ensure consistent link between all parties.
  • Arrange meetings with  staff, parents and  pupils regarding issues

 

Role of Principal

  • Ensure procedures are adhered to
  • Keep BOM informed and updated

 

Role of the S.N.A:

Work under the direction of the class teacher to:

  • Implement individual behaviour programmes.
  • Collect data to inform behavioural programmes.
  • Report concerns to teachers

 

 

Purpose and content of the school rules;

  • The school rules are part of the schools plan for helping students in the school behave well and learn well.
  • They promote the school ethos, relationships, policies procedures and practices that encourage good behaviour and prevent unacceptable behaviour.
  • These practical arrangements help teachers, other staff members, pupils and parents to work a happy, effective and safe school.

 

Junior /Senior First and Second Classes

 

  1. Listen.

 

  1. Stay in your seat.

 

  1. Work hard and always try your best.

 

  1. Do as you are asked.

 

  1. Be kind.

 

Third/Fourth/Fifth and Sixth Classes

 

  1. Do as you are asked and follow instructions.

 

  1. Do your best work quietly and allow others to do theirs.

 

  1. Sit properly and stay in your place unless you have permission to leave it.

 

  1. Listen to the teacher or whoever is speaking.

 

  1. Respect each other and the property of others.

 

  1. Keep unhelpful hands, comments and objects to yourself.

 

 

Rules for outside the classrooms for all classes

 

  1. Line up and walk through the school quietly.

 

  1. Do as you are told by all staff.

 

  1. Stay inside school/yard boundaries.

 

  1. Respect all school property.

 

  1. Keep unhelpful hands, comments and objects to yourself.

 

Yard Rules

 

  1. Play gently.

 

  1. Listen for the whistle and do as you are told by all adults.

 

  1. Ask an adult if you want to use the bathroom and go alone.

 

  1. Keep unhelpful hands, comments and objects to yourself.

 

  1. Respect all school property.

 

  1. Stand still when you hear first whistle at end of break. Walk to line when whistle blows a second time.

 

Rewards

 

The general practice of classroom management involves a focus on rewards/positive reinforcement being given to children on a daily basis.  These   may include:

  • Verbal praise, written remarks about good work, stickers, badges, wrist-bands, praise-stamps, golden-time, Honour Board, lucky dip
  • A maximum of 4 stamps are given daily in infants for homework and behaviour.
  • A maximum of 6 stamps are given to children every day for children from 1st to 6th class – for punctuality, uniform, homework and 3 for good behaviour (morning, lunch and home-time).
  • Display of student’s work.
  • Improved or good behaviour notes home.
  •  Good report to another teacher, deputy or principal.
  • Compliments on the Compliment Board.

Each teacher has a reward box which carries stamps, letters, stickers etc.

Each teacher nominates a ‘Child of the Week’ (based on stamps) who is named at assembly. Teachers will also nominate child for a Most Improved Award for those whose behavior has improved during the week.  These children will be rewarded through a treat such as attendance at breakfast party. The principal will also give a Principal’s award. The Most Improved Award and Principal’s Award will try and focus on those children who are presenting with severe emotional and behavioural problems in an effort to affirm good behaviour even if it is very small improvement.

 

Assembly is a forum for recognising good behaviour and good work ethic among pupils.  All teachers have the opportunity to focus on the ‘positive’ – in terms of work and behaviour.  Each week all classes will work on one particular ‘Outside the Classroom’ rule.  Classes are awarded a ‘marble in the jar’ for adhering to this particular rule.  Classes can be awarded a maximum of 3 marbles per day – a maximum of 15 marbles per week.  The junior and senior classes awarded the most marbles will have a ‘class treat’ to be decided by the class teacher.

 

How pupils, staff and parents can help each other meet the standards of behaviour expected in the school

The single most important way in which students, staff and parents can help each other meets the standards expected by the school is through communication.  Good communication means:

  • Having a positive mental attitude.
  • Being polite to each other.
  • Acknowledging the contribution that each has to make to the education of the students.

Where parents and pupils can get help when a problem arises

If parents and students have a problem that they need help with they can contact the school to arrange time to talk to or make an appointment to meet with any of the following:

  • Class teacher.
  • Home – School Teacher: Enda O’ Flaherty.
  • Deputy Principal: Brendan Naughton.
  • Principal: Maria Barron.

 

Responses and actions when children break the rules;

Sanctions;

The object of a sanction is to help the student to understand the consequences of their behaviour and take responsibility for changing their behaviour. Even minor breaches of the code of behaviour can be disruptive particularly if they are persistent.  Serious misbehaviour can have damaging and long- lasting effects including the disruption of the students own learning and the learning of others.  It can cause distress and anxiety or even pose a threat to the safety of students and teachers.

 

Junior Sanctions

  1. Written warning.

 

  1. Lose first star.

 

  1. Lose second star.

 

  1. Lose Third star.

 

  1. Isolation (time-out in the class).

 

  1. Remove from class for time-out to another class.

 

  1. Time back from yard.

 

  1.  Deputy principal and or/

 

  1. Principal

Senior Sanctions

 

  1. Verbal reminder (with cue).

 

  1. Written warning (Teacher records name).

 

  1. Isolation (time-out in class or in yard).

 

  1. Remove from class for time-out to another class.

 

  1. Time back in another class from yard, play-time etc.

 

  1.  Deputy Principal and/or

 

  1. Principal who may, having investigated the incident put on report/In school suspension/.  Suspension – with report to BOM.

 

There is a ladder of intervention as outlined above. Some examples of minor incidences of misbehavior include:

 

  • Speaking out of turn.
  • Passing notes.
  • Flicking objects.
  • Distracting others.
  • Swinging on chair.
  • Mocking, jeering.
  • Leaving place without permission.
  • Marking, scratching furniture / writing on walls.
  • Littering.
  • Playing outside the approved area.
  • Leaving play area without permission.
  • Interfering with other children’s play.
  • Excluding others from games.
  • Pushing, jostling.
  • Not following instruction.
  • Use inappropriate language.

Teachers, Deputy or Principal will make a judgment on the severity of the misbehavior and interventions can  be skipped. A clear distinction is made between minor and serious offences. The staff uses sanctions which are appropriate to the particular offences in a flexible manner i.e. by considering individual circumstances.  Over reference to the principal/deputy principal for punitive measures to be taken against pupils (rather than support for the teacher) can lead to these key people being forced to occupy a purely punitive role.

 

 

 

Procedure in relation to time-out in another class;

All teachers should have two buddy-teachers, to whom they send pupils– one class teacher and one resource teacher.  Teachers should be aware of time-tables when choosing buddy teachers.  If children are being kept up from yard and being sent to a buddy teacher the child must be collected by their own class teacher or SNA at the end of yard.

These incidences are dealt with by the class teacher and   a ladder of intervention is used as outlined. Pupils can be given a restorative practice sheet to complete and classwork to do.

Some examples of major incidences of misbehaviour may include;

  • Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards a pupil or member of staff,  which may  include kicking, fighting, punching, deliberate tripping or spitting at someone.
  • Possession of a dangerous weapon.
  • Leaving the classroom/ school building without permission.
  • Repeated incidences of bullying.
  • Stealing.
  • Immodesty.
  • Serious damage to property / vandalism.
  • Verbal abuse, insulting another child, name – calling, jeering another’s background or parents, sexual orientation, slurs etc.
  • Racial/cultural/sexual remarks.
  • Giving cheek, answering back to a staff member.
  • Refusing to co – operate / disobeying.
  • Inciting others to fight or
  • Repeated incidences of minor misbehaviour.

 

Would require that the Deputy and /or Principal be informed and the incident investigated fully to determine the appropriate course of action.

 

 

 

Use of Yard Book

 

The yard books are a means of recording misbehaviour in the yard.  There is one for Junior yard and one for Senior yard.  They are distributed to teachers at yard time and collected afterwards by two SNA’s.  Teachers record any relevant incidents and the names of the pupils involved.  In the case of major incidents contact is immediately made with the /deputy and or principal.  Teachers can send children to the time-out area in the yard for misbehaving and have their name recorded in yard book. If the pupil continues to misbehave he/she may be sent for time-out into another teacher’s class where they complete a restorative practice sheet until the end of yard. A   staff member and 2 children can accompany the child to the class.  He/she must be collected by the class teacher or SNA after yard.

 

 

The   Deputy and /or Principal

 

Step 1              Child is spoken to by Deputy or/and Principal, having received a report from relevant staff member and child’s name is logged in the Principal’s book.  Pupil may be  put ‘on  time-out  in another class and be asked to reflect on their behaviour using a restorative practice sheet, then continue with class work and apologise to relevant staff members/pupils following time-out. The pupil may then be put on report. This is a system whereby the child’s progress is monitored for 1 week.  They have 3 coloured cards – red, orange and green each with a grading system of 1 – 5(5 being excellent behaviour, for morning, lunch, evening).  Children start with the red card for a period of 2 days.  If they make progress with this they move to the orange card for 2 days and finally to the yellow card for 1 day.  For junior classes a system of one red, one orange and one green is used. Teacher gives appropriate grade and comment, if needed.  If they are making no headway after required period then they will move on to step 2.  (Child can continue to get his/her stamps if they are earned during this time).Report cards are kept by class teacher as a record.

 

Step 2              Child told that he/she has chosen to have his/her parents called.  Parents are phoned and told about child’s behaviour.  Child is still ‘on report’ and parents are called and told of child’s progress.

 

Step 3              If no improvements are made parents are invited into school and report cards are shown to parents to discuss escalating episodes of misbehavior. Interventions and possible consequences such as in school or full suspension will be discussed.

 

In-School Suspension

 

On occasion, if it is felt beneficial, a child, at the discretion of the Deputy or Principal a child may be put on an ‘in-school suspension’ for up to 3 days. This involves the pupil being sent to another class for the duration of his suspension with work. This system may be used if the pupil needs to be removed from class.  In this instance the in-school suspension   may begin after a serious misdemeanor/offence or repeated minor misdemeanors. It may also be used if it is felt that the pupil would not benefit from a full suspension the pupil has been recently suspended or the pupil wants to be suspended. Parents may be contacted and asked to come in to discuss the seriousness of the offence.

  • All teachers should work out in advance which classes they will send children to.  It is recommended that all teachers have 2 buddy teachers (one class teacher and one resource teacher). Care should be taken that there is not an over-reliance on a few classes.  Resource Teachers should avoid taking child out of the class and should ask another teacher/SNA to keep an eye on the child if they have to leave the room.  If a pupil is put on an in-school suspension they should know, if possible, at the end of the day what class they are going to the next morning.
  • Pupil goes straight to appropriate class when they arrive in school the next day.  A folder of work that they can do with little/no help, along with pencils etc should be sent to the class by the class teacher who will be ready for their arrival.
  • The pupil should be sitting on a table on his/her own.  He/she will be treated by the class teacher in the same manner as child on a sanction i.e. given very little attention.  Other children should also be discouraged from giving them attention.  The pupil is not given jobs or allowed engage in fun activities with the class.
  • The pupil can attend their resource class unless there is a specific reason why they should not i.e. if the problem behaviour took place in resource class.
  • The child should go for dinner with the class they are in for the day but if possible, sit at a table by themselves.
  • The pupil will not go to the yard.  At yard time, the child should go to another class that is not on yard.  Again this needs to be pre-arranged by the class teacher so there is no confusion.
  • It is very important that at the end of the length of his/her in school suspension   the pupil should apologise to relevant staff and pupils. He/she will start report cards when they rejoin their own class.

 

Full Suspension

In the event of seriously violent or threatening behaviour causing a risk to the safety of the pupil himself/herself or the safety of other pupils or staff or, the pupil’s behaviour has had a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other students or the student has been responsible for serious damage to property full immediate suspension can be enforced by the principal.

Suspension may vary from a minor fixed period (one or two days) or a major fixed period (three to five days), depending on the severity of the misdemeanour.

The BOM may decide that the following named behaviours can incur an automatic suspension as a sanction; Examples of suspendable offences;

 

  • Leaving the school building or the group when out on school trips.
  • Violent, aggressive or threatening behaviour.
  • Throwing furniture.
  • Physically attacking other children/adults.
  • Serious damage to children’s/staff/school property.
  • Cheek and or use of abusive language to staff.
  • Continuous refusal to follow staff instruction.
  • Persistent bullying.
  • Bringing penknives/other dangerous objects into school.
  • Causing injury in yard to pupils/staff through rough play.
  • Using canteen cutlery as a weapon.
  • Theft.
  • Bringing illegal substances into school.
  • Any behaviour which endangers the child himself/herself, other children or adults.
  • A single incident of serious misconduct may be grounds for suspension.

 

 

 

Schools are required by law to follow fair procedures when proposing a suspension.
   

The right to be heard means the pupil/parent or guardian has the right to:

 
1  

Know that the alleged misbehaviour is being investigated.

 
2  

Know the details of the allegations being made and any other information that will be taken into account.

 
3  

Know how the issue will be decided.

 
4  

Respond to the allegations.

 
5  

Be heard by the decision making body if the sanction is of a serious nature.

 
6  

Ask questions of the other party or witnesses where there is a dispute about facts if the sanction is of a serious nature.

 
   

The right to impartiality means the pupil has the right to:

 
1  

An absence of bias in the decision-maker

 
2  

Impartiality in the investigation and the decision-making

 

 

 

 

Fair procedures apply to the investigation of alleged misbehaviour & the process of decision making as to whether the student did engage in the misbehaviour

 

1

 

Fair procedures take into account the seriousness of the alleged misbehaviour & have regard to what is reasonable in the context of the school.

 
 

2

 

The degree of formality required depends on the gravity of the misbehaviour & the seriousness of the possible sanction.

 
 

3

 

Pupils & their parents must be fully informed about an allegation & the processes used to investigate & decide the matter

 
 

4

 

Students & their parents must be given an opportunity to respond to an allegation before a decision is made and before a serious sanction is imposed.

 
 

5

 

Suspension should be a proportionate response to the behaviour that is causing the concern.

 

 

 

Factors considered before suspending a pupil;

  • What is the precise description of the behaviour?
  • How persistent has the unacceptable behaviour been?
  • Has the problem escalated, in spite of interventions tried?
  • What are the circumstances of the incidents of serious misbehaviour?
  • What factors may have triggered the incidents of serious misbehaviour?
  • What is the age, stage of development and cognitive ability of the student?
  • Are there any factors that may be associated with the behaviour? (i.e: provocation or special educational needs).
  • How are other students and staff affected by the behaviour?
  • What impact has this behaviour on the teaching and learning of the class?
  • Does the behaviour have a particular or greater impact on some students or teachers?
  • Does the student understand the impact of their behaviour on others?
  • What interventions have been tried?  Over what period?
  • How have the interventions been recorded and monitored?
  • What have been the results of these interventions?
  • Have the parents been involved in finding a solution to the problematic behaviour?
  • Have the interventions of NEPS or other psychological assessment or counselling been sought, where appropriate?
  • Any other interventions?
  • Any other agencies asked for assistance?
  • Does the student’s behaviour warrant suspension?
  • Is the standard being applied to judging the behaviour the same as the standard applied to the behaviour of any other student?
  • Will suspension allow additional or alternative interventions to be made?
  • Will the suspension help the student to change the inappropriate behaviour?
  • How will suspension help teachers or other students affected by the behaviour?
  • Will suspension exacerbate any educational vulnerability of the student?

 

Suspension should:

  • Enable the school to set behavioural goals with the student and their parents.
  • Give the school staff an opportunity to plan other interventions.
  • Impress on the student and their parents the seriousness of the behaviour.

When proposing to suspend a student after a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour that would warrant suspension the school will

 

  • Inform the students and their parents about the complaint.  This can be done by phone or in writing.
  • Give the parents and student an opportunity to respond.  A meeting is arranged with the student and parents to provide them with the opportunity to give their side of the story and ask questions about the evidence of serious behaviour.

In the case of immediate suspension, parents will be notified and arrangements made for the student to be collected. If parents /guardians cannot be contacted  and the welfare of the pupil or other pupils is a concern  TUSLA may  be contacted for advice.

Except in exceptional circumstances a student will not be suspended for more than three days.  If it is considered necessary to suspend for longer than three days to achieve a particular objective, the matter will be referred to the Board.  A suspension of up to five days can be imposed by the principal, with the approval of the Chairperson, where a meeting of the Board cannot be convened in a timely fashion. Where parents do not agree to meet with the principal, written notification will serve as notice to impose a suspension.

 

Written notification of implementing a suspension;

The Principal will notify the parent(s)/guardian(s) 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 (teacher will assign work to avoid falling behind class work).
  • 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 of the Department of Education and Science (Education Act, 1998, section 29).
  • It will maximise the impact and value of the suspension if the Principal or another delegated staff member meets with the parents to emphasis their role and responsibility in helping the student to behave well when the student returns to school and to offer help, support and guidance in this.

The Board would normally place a ceiling of ten days on any one period of suspension.  The Board will formally review any proposal to suspend a student where the suspension would bring the number of days for which the student has been suspended in the current school year to twenty days or more.  These procedures enable the school to give the student a reasonable time to reflect on his/her behaviour while avoiding undue loss of teaching time and loss of contact with the positive influences of school.  They recognise the serious nature of the sanction of suspension and ensure that this seriousness is reflected in school procedures.  The provisions mean that the Board of Management takes ultimate responsibility for sanctions of significant length, especially where such suspensions might reach twenty days in one school year.

 

Appeals:

Where a total number of days for which the pupil has been suspended in the current school year reaches twenty days, the parents, or a student aged over eighteen years, may appeal the suspension under section 29 of the Education Act 1998, as amended by the Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007.

At the time when the parents are formally notified of such a suspension, they and the student will be told of their right to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science under section 29 of the Education Act 1998, and will be given information on how to appeal.

 

Grounds for removing a suspension:

A suspension will be removed if the Board of Management decides to remove the suspension for any reason or if the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science directs that it be removed following an appeal under section 29 of the Education Act 1998.

After the suspension ends:

The school has a plan to help the student to take responsibly for catching up on the work missed, thus avoiding a possibility of academic failure.  However successful reintegration goes beyond academic work.  A member of the care team will provide support for the student during the reintegration process to discuss and help deal with any feelings of anger or resentment about their suspension.

As with any sanction, when completed a student has a fresh start.  Although a record is kept of the behaviour and any sanction imposed, once the sanction has been completed, the school will expect the same behaviour of this student as of all other students.

 

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 making process.
  • The decision and rationale for the decision.
  • The duration of the suspension and any conditions attached to the suspension

 

  • Report to the Board of Management.
  • The principal will report all suspensions to the Board of Management, with the reasons for and the duration of each suspension.
  • The Principal will report suspensions in accordance with the new NEWB reporting guidelines (Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, section 21(4)(a))- if a pupil is suspended for 6 days or more in a school year or if a student is absent for an aggregate of 20 days in a school year.

Review of use of suspension:

The Board of Management will review the use of suspension in the school at regular intervals to ensure that it is consistent with school policies, that patterns of use are examined to identify factors that may be influencing behaviour in the school and to ensure that the use of suspension is appropriate and effective.

 

Expulsion:

A student is expelled from school when a Board of Management makes a decision to permanently exclude him/her from the school, having complied with the provisions of section 24 of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000.

The Board of Management has the authority to expel a student.  This authority is reserved to the Board of Management and should not be delegated.

Expulsion is a very serious step and is only taken by a Board of Management in extreme cases of unacceptable behaviour.

A child can be recommended for long-term suspension or permanent exclusion by the Board of Management   if serious behaviours persist (Procedure will be followed as per Developing a Code of Behaviour:  Guidelines for Schools, NEWB 2008).

 

Expulsion:

A student is expelled from school when a Board of Management makes a decision to permanently exclude him / her from the school, having complied with the provisions of section 24 of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000.

The Board of Management has the authority to expel a student.  This authority is reserved to the Board of Management and should not be delegated.

Expulsion is a very serious step and is only taken by a Board of Management in extreme cases of unacceptable behaviour.

The school will take significant steps to address the misbehaviour and to avoid expulsion of a student including, as appropriate:

  • Meeting with the parents and the student to try to find ways of helping the student change their behaviour.
  • Making sure the student understands the possible consequences of their behaviour, if it should persist.
  • Ensure that all other possible options have been tried.
  • Seeking the assistance of support services (e.g. National Educational Psychological Service, Health Service Executive Community Services, the National Behavioural Support Service, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, National Council for Special Education.)

 

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 the teaching process.
  • The student’s continued presence in the school constitutes a real and significant threat to safety.
  • The student is responsible for serious damage to property.

The grounds for expulsion may be similar to the grounds for suspension.  In addition to factors such as the degree of seriousness and the persistence of the behaviour, a key difference i.e. that, where expulsion is considered, the school authorities have tried a series of interventions, and believe they have exhausted all possibilities for changing the student’s behaviour.

 

Automatic Expulsion:

The Board of Management may decide that particular named behaviours incur expulsion as a sanction.  Due process and fair procedures still apply.

 

Expulsion for a first offence:

There are 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 on the basis of a single breach of the code include:

  • A serious threat of violence against another student or member of staff.
  • Actual violence or physical assault.
  • Supplying illegal drugs to other students in the school.
  • Sexual assault.

Factors considered before proposing to expel a student:

  • What is the precise nature of the behaviour?
  • How persistent has the unacceptable behaviour been and over what period of time?
  • Has the problem escalated, in spite of the interventions tried?
  • What are the circumstances of the incidents of serious behaviour (i.e. in class, in the yard or in a group?)
  • What factors may have triggered or provoked incidents of serious misbehaviour (i.e. bullying, cultural or family factors?)
  • Are there any factors which may be associated with the behaviour (i.e. particular home circumstances, special educational needs?)
  • How are other students and staff affected by the student’s behaviour?)
  • What is the impact of the behaviour on the teaching and learning in the class?)
  • What interventions have been tried? Over what period?
  • How have the interventions been recorded and monitored?
  • What have been the results of these interventions?
  • Have the parents been involved in finding a solution to the problem behaviour?
  • Have the intervention of NEPS or other psychological assessment or counselling been sought, where appropriate?
  • Is the student of parent involved with any support service and has this agency or support service been asked for help in solving this problem?
  • Has any other agency been asked for assistance (i.e. Child Guidance Clinic, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services?)
  • Is the Board satisfied that no other intervention can be tried or is likely to help the student to change their behaviour?
  • Is the student’s behaviour sufficiently serious to warrant expulsion?
  • Is the standard being applied to judging the behaviour the same as the standard applied to the behaviour of any other student?
  • To what extent may expulsion exacerbate any social of educational vulnerability of the student?
  • Will the student be able to take part in, and benefit from, education with their peers?
  • In the case of a student who is in care, what might be the implications of expulsion for the care arrangements?

 

Procedures in respect of expulsion:

Fair procedures are followed as well as procedures prescribed under the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, when proposing to expel a student.

When a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant expulsion, the procedural steps will include:

  1. A detailed investigation carried out under the direction of the principal.
  2. A recommendation to the Board of Management by the Principal.
  3. Consideration by the Board of Management of the Principal’s recommendation; and the holding of a hearing.
  4. Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing.
  5. Consultations arranged by the Educational Welfare Officer.
  6. Confirmation of the decision to expel.

It is a matter for each Board of Management to decide which of the tasks involved in these procedural steps requires separate meetings and which of the tasks can be accomplished together in a single meeting, consistent with giving parents due notice of meetings and a fair and reasonable time to prepare for a Board hearing.

 

  1. 1.      A detailed investigation carried out under the direction of the Principal.  In investigating an allegation, in line with fair procedures, the Principal will:

 

  • Inform the parents and the student about the details of the alleged misbehaviour, how it will be investigated and that it could result in expulsion.
  • Give parents and the student every opportunity to respond to the complaint of serious misbehaviour before a decision is made and before a sanction is imposed.

The parents will be informed in writing of the alleged misbehaviour and the proposed investigation in order to have a permanent record of having let them know.  This also ensures that parents are very clear about what their son/ daughter is alleged to have done.  It serves the important function of underlining to parents the seriousness with which the school views the alleged misbehaviour.

 

The parents will be given every opportunity to respond to a complaint of serious misbehaviour before a decision is made about the veracity of the allegation, and before a sanction is imposed.  A meeting with the students and parents is essential.  It provides the opportunity for them to give their side of the story and to ask questions about the evidence of serious misbehaviour, especially where there is a dispute about the facts.  It may also be an opportunity for parents to give their case for lessening the sanction, and for the school to explore with parents how best to address the student’s behaviour.

 

If a student and their parents fail to attend a meeting, the Principal will write advising of the gravity of the matter, the importance of attending a re – scheduled meeting and failing that the duty of the school authorities to make a decision to respond to the inappropriate behaviour.  The school will record the invitation issued to parents and their response.

 

  1. 2.      A recommendation by the Board of Management by the Principal.  Where the Principal forms the view, based on the alleged behaviour, that expulsion may be warranted, the Principal will make a recommendation to the Board of Management to consider expulsion.  The Principal will:

 

  • Inform the parents and the students that the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion.
  • Ensure that the parents have records of:  The allegations against the student, the investigation and written notice of the grounds on which the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion.
  • Provide the Board of Management with the same comprehensive records as are given to the parents.
  • Notify the parents of the date of the hearing by the Board of Management and invite them to that hearing.
  • Advise the parents that they can make a written and oral submission to the Board of Management.
  • Ensure that the parents have enough notice to allow them for the hearing.

 

  1. 3.      Consideration by the board of Management of the Principal’s recommendation and the holding of a hearing:

It is the responsibility of the Board of Management to review the initial investigation and satisfy itself that the investigation was properly conducted in line with fair procedures.  The Board will undertake its own review of all documentation and the circumstances of the case.  It will ensure that no party who has had any involvement with the circumstances of the case is part of the Board’s deliberation (for example, a member of the Board who may have made an allegation about the student.)

Where a Board of Management decides to consider expelling a student, it will hold a hearing.  The Board meeting for the purpose of the hearing will be properly conducted in accordance with Board procedures.  At the hearing, the Principal and the parents, or a student aged 18 years or over, put their case to the Board in each other’s presence.  Each party should be allowed to question the evidence of the other party directly.  The meeting may also be an opportunity for parents to make their case for lessening the sanction.  In the conduct of the hearing, the Board must take care to ensure that they are, and are seen to be, impartial as between the Principal and the student.  Parents may wish to be accompanied at hearings and the Board should facilitate this, in line with good practice and Board procedures.

 

After both sides have been heard, the Board will ensure that the principal and parents are not present for the Board’s deliberations.

 

  1. 4.      Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing:

Having heard from all the parties, it is the responsibility of the Board to decide whether or not the allegation is substantiated and, if so, whether or not expulsion is the appropriate sanction.

Where the Board of Management, having considered all the facts of the case, is of the opinion that the student should be expelled, the Board will notify the Educational Welfare Officer in writing of its opinion, and the reasons for this opinion.  (Education (Welfare) Act 2000, s24(1)).  The Board of Management will refer to National Educational Welfare Board reporting procedures for purposed expulsions.  The student cannot be expelled before the passage of twenty school days from the date on which the EWO receives this written notification (Education (Welfare) Act 2000,s24(1)).

The Board will inform the parents in writing about its consultations and the next steps in the process.  Where expulsion is proposed the parents will be told that the Board of Management will now inform the Educational Welfare Officer.

  1. 1.      Consultations arranged by the Educational Welfare Officer:

Within twenty days of the receipt of a notification from the Board of Management of its opinion that a student should be expelled, the Educational Welfare Officer must:

  • Make all reasonable effort to hold individual consultations with the Principal, the parents and the student, and anyone else who may be of assistance.
  • Convene a meeting of those parties who agree to attend (Education (Welfare) Act 2000, section 24).

The purpose of the consultations and meetings is to ensure that arrangements are made for the student to continue in education.  These consultations may result in agreement about an alternative intervention that would avoid expulsion.  However, where the possibility of continuing in the school is not an option, at least in the short term, the consultation should focus on alternative educational possibilities.

In the interest of the educational welfare of the student, those concerned should come together with the Educational Welfare Officer to plan for the student’s future education.

Pending these consultations about the students continued education, a Board of Management may take steps to ensure that good order is maintained and that the safety of students is secured (Education (Welfare) Act 2000, s24(5)).  The Board may consider it appropriate to suspend a student during this time.  Suspension will only be considered where there is likelihood that the continued presence of the student during this time will seriously disrupt the learning of others, or represent a threat to the safety of other students or staff.

 

  1. 1.      Confirmation of the decision to expel:

Where the twenty day period following notification to the educational Welfare Officer has elapsed and the Board of Management remains of the view that the student should be expelled, the Board of Management will formally confirm the decision to expel (this task might be delegated to the Chairperson and the Principal).  Parents will be notified immediately that the expulsion will now proceed.  Parents and students will be told of the right to appeal and supplied with the standard form on which to lodge an appeal.  A formal record is made of the decision to expel the student.

 

  1. 2.      Appeals:

A parent may appeal a decision to expel to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science (Education Act 1998 section29).  An appeal may also be brought by the National Welfare Board on behalf of the student.  The appeals process under section 29 of the Education Act 1998 begins with the provision of mediation by a mediator nominated by the Appeals Committee (Department of Education and Science).  For further details about the Appeals process, including requirements for documentation, and the steps in the process, refer to current DES guidance.

 

  1. 3.      Review of use of expulsion:

The Board of Management will review the use of expulsion in the school at regular intervals to ensure that its use is consistent with school policies, that patterns of use are examined to identify factors that may be influencing behaviour in the school, and to ensure that expulsion is used appropriately.

When and where pupil behaviour will be subject to the Code of Behaviour

The code of behaviour applies at all times during the school day on school premises.

The standards and rules contained in the code of behaviour apply when the student though outside school is still the responsibility of the school.

Some examples include:

  • School tours.
  • Library trips.
  • Matches.
  • Quizzes.
  • Events organised by the school.
  • Swimming.

Where a student is alleged to have engaged in serious misbehaviour outside of school, when not under the care or responsibility of the school, a judgement would have to be made that there is a clear connection with the school and a demonstrable impact on its work, before the code of behaviour applies.  The school authorities may need to get legal advice where the situation is complex.

 

The Code of Behaviour is directly linked with the Anti-Bullying, and admissions and participation policy.

  

DFL Modifications for Children presenting with severe Challenging Behaviour Levels of intervention:

  1. Support for all.  Most students behave appropriately with the help of consistent and clear rules and routines in class and in school.  Occasional minor misbehaviour will be dealt with by the class teacher.
  2. Additional support for some students.  Some students need more active intervention to help them manage their behaviour.  Without this help they would be at risk of failing, behaviourally, socially and educationally.  Some  examples of additional inputs and interventions may  include:

Involving the pastoral care and advice from NEPS team.

Setting targets for behaviour by means of a school support plan and or behavioural contract and monitoring them with the student in a supportive way.

Referral to other agencies such as CAMHS, Neighbourhood Youth Project

Reduce the length of the school day for a specified period

These students may show particularly challenging behaviour.  They may have great difficulty in learning new behaviour and may not respond to low level intervention.  These students will need a sustained and systematic response involving the important adults in their lives, in school and at home.

An additional stamp and or reward system may be operated for these children. An example of the additional reward system could be that they will be allowed to earn a maximum of 3 extra stamps per day for meeting their specific behavioural targets.  This will afford them an opportunity to be awarded a prize for Pupil of the Week.  This appendage to the stamp system will be included in the stamp booklet for these particular children. Teachers are also encouraged to engage in whole class rewards to allow these children contribute to earning a reward.  An example of this might include a class reward once every child in the class has reached 20 stamps in a week.

 

 Procedures for notifying the school about reasons for absence from school:

  • It is very important to let the school know of a student’s absence for any reason.
  • The school may be informed by phone – call on the day of absence or by a note on return to school.
  • The class teacher should be informed.
  • Give detailed information about reasons for absence.
  • Doctor’s certificate required after significant absence due to illness.
  • School will contact by phone a parent when a student is absent under suspicious circumstances i.e. student was seen at school gate in school uniform but failed to turn up for class.
  • There is a legal requirement on the school to inform EWB after 20 days absence

Procedure raising a concern or bringing a complaint about a behaviour matter

 

Students:  Bring to attention of class teacher who will investigate it

Parents:  Phone school or make an appointment to speak to:

Class Teacher

Home School Liason co-ordinator; Enda O’ Flaherty

Principal: Maria Barron

Deputy Principal: Brendan Naughton

 

Date of Code Approved by BOM: