Code of Behaviour - St Patricks BNS

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Code of Behaviour

School Policies

St. Patrick’s B.N.S. Code of Behaviour

This Code of Behaviour has been developed by the principal and staff in conjunction with the pupils and parents of St. Patrick’s B.N.S. The review of the previous School Code of Behaviour and Discipline and the use of the publication Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools (NEWB, 2008) were integral to this process.

Mission Statement

‘Ó gach duine a dhícheall’ – ‘From every person their best’
St. Patrick’s B.N.S. aims to assist in the full development of each child at his own rate and to his full potential, providing for the moral, spiritual, intellectual, physical and social education of the child in a secure environment.
The school recognises the key role of parents – as part of the wider school community – to participate fully in this task. We value the good home/school links that exist, as a positive instrument for the reinforcement of pupils’ continuous good behaviour.
The school ethos supports the creation of an environment that fosters a Christian atmosphere, which assists the religious formation of each child in co-operation with home and parish. We welcome children of other faiths and none.
The school promotes qualities of social responsibility, tolerance and understanding among all its members, both in and out of school. We promote habits of respect, courtesy and co-operation.
Good behaviour is promoted and rewarded (see section entitled "Promoting Good Behaviour"). All staff members share responsibility to act in countering aggressive/bullying behaviour.   

Expectations for pupils, staff and parents

Pupils, staff and parents are expected to interact with one another in a spirit of mutual respect and co-operation to the benefit of all members of the school community. Such respect and co-operation will assist in promoting a happy school environment.

Roles and Responsibilities

The overall responsibility for discipline within the school rests with the principal. Each teacher has the responsibility for the maintenance of discipline in his/her own classroom. All staff members share a common responsibility for good order within the school premises. Parents should encourage their children to be well behaved in school at all times. It is expected that all staff, parents and visitors will interact in a polite, respectful and friendly manner as a positive example to the pupils.

Purpose of the School Rules

The purpose of the rules is to ensure the smooth running of the school while cultivating a positive and secure learning environment.

School Rules

Each member of the school community will show respect and good manners to others at all times.
Best behaviour is expected of boys in the classroom, in the yard and on the way to and from school. Repeatedly disrupting lessons in class or preventing other pupils from learning is unacceptable and will be treated as serious misbehaviour. Bullying will not be tolerated; see School Policy for Dealing with Bullying.
Pupils must remain in school during school hours unless collected and signed out by a parent/guardian.
Full uniform should be worn. School tracksuit with a white polo shirt should be worn on P.E. days. Watches are the only jewellery allowed.
Boys will be in their classroom by 8.50 each morning and leave at 2.30p.m. each evening unless involved in after-school activities. If a boy is absent or late, he should bring a note from his parent/guardian.
Boys will bring a healthy lunch to school.
All homework will be completed to a high standard. Homework will be checked and signed by a parent/guardian.
Mobile phones are not allowed in school.
Items of a dangerous nature such as pen knives or pellet guns and any other items which could cause harm are banned from the school.
These rules are expanded further in the Quick Guide to the Daily Procedures in St. Patrick’s B.N.S. section to be found at the end of the booklet.

Procedures for notifying the school about reasons for absence from school

A parent/guardian should notify the school in writing through the homework journal of any pupil absence. If a parent omits to do this a phone call should be made to the school secretary to inform the class teacher of the reason for the absence. When a pupil has missed 10 days a note will be sent home to parents/guardians. When a pupil has missed 20 days a 2 nd note will be sent home signed by the principal. By law the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) has to be notified by the school when a pupil has missed 20 days.

What is good behaviour?

Good behaviour is defined as the full co-operation of pupils with school procedures and instructions given by staff. It also includes pupils treating each other with respect, dignity and kindness, as well as giving their maximum effort to school work and homework.

Promoting Good Behaviour

The emphasis in our school is on promoting good behaviour. Our staff members have high expectations for all pupils; we believe that each child is a valued member of the school and that all effort should be positively reinforced. To support this, we foster a respectful, warm and empathetic relationship between staff and children. Teachers acknowledge a pupil’s good behaviour through words and gesture, a note or sticker in the homework journal, or a treat for the pupil.
Pupils will be affirmed for their good behaviour in a variety of ways, e.g. Pupil of the Week, Focus of the Week, Secret Pupil, etc.
Pupil of the week: Teacher picks a pupil who has made a particularly good effort for the week in question.
Focus of the week: A whole school reward scheme is in place which focuses on one area of behaviour each week. The focus can be on punctuality, manners, attendance, homework, handwriting, kindness etc. In 1 st, 2 nd and 3 rd classes pupils are awarded toy prizes from the "Magic Box" when they get 3 stars. In 4 th, 5 th and 6 th classes pupils are rewarded with incentives such as excursions or additional P.E./play time. Rewards and incentives are regularly reviewed and updated.
Secret Pupil: Pupils are rewarded with extra "play" or "golden" time based on the behaviour of a randomly selected pupil whose identity remains unknown. Pupils encourage each other to behave well and work as a team.
Good behaviour in class and in the playground are affirmed at the weekly school assembly. The best behaved class in the Junior yard receive Buddy the Teddy for the week and the best behaved class in the Senior yard receive a trophy for the week. Good behaviour as a class may be rewarded through a treat, a reduction in homework given, time given to a preferred activity and/or a mention by the Principal at assembly.

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

Parents and teachers should communicate with one another regularly to ensure that a pupil’s conduct remains satisfactory. Where a problem arises the homework journal will be used as a joint means of communication between teacher and parent.

Where parents can seek help if problems arise

Parents may wish to make an appointment to meet the class teacher, special education teacher or home-school-liaison teacher if a problem arises with regard to behaviour issues. The matter may be referred to the principal if deemed necessary.

Examples of minor misbehaviour

This list is a guide only and not meant to be exhaustive.
Talking or laughing inappropriately in class
Being inattentive
Attempting to disrupt the work of others
Leaving one’s place without permission
Playing with items at inappropriate times
Running in the yard. The teacher on the yard decides if a pupil’s running is a danger to others. A pupil may then be sent to the wall for a period. This rule has dramatically reduced the number of serious accidents in the yard. Teachers encourage pupils to play safe games in the yard.
Pushing or pulling others
Displaying bad manners or being disrespectful

Serious Misbehaviour

This list is a guide only and not meant to be exhaustive.
Repeated minor misbehaviours as outlined above will be defined as serious misbehaviour
Use of abusive language
Violent behaviour
Blatant refusal to co-operate
Damage to or theft of property
Bullying behaviour
Threatening others

Consequences of unacceptable behaviour

Staff may use sanctions from the following list. The appropriate sanction to be used will be decided by the staff member(s) involved.
Minor misbehaviours:
Non-verbal warning (eye-contact, gestures)
Quick correction
Discuss behaviour with pupil
Isolation within classroom
Extra written work at the discretion of the teacher
Note home
Temporary removal to another class
Loss of privileges e.g. "golden time" or a class activity
Stand at wall during yard
Extra written work during break-time
Detention with parent’s consent to do extra written work after school

Serious misbehaviours/ repeated minor misbehaviours:

Visit to Principal’s office
Record incident
Contact parents by phone and/or note
If repeated, meeting of child, parents, teacher and principal
Transfer to another class
Voluntary removal from school
Suspension warning
Expulsion, removal to another school


Detention may be used as a sanction during yard times and/or after school. Parents will be notified of after-school detention.

Dealing with Bullying Behaviour

For more details please refer to the school’s Anti-Bullying Policy.  The school ethos aims to maintain a code of respect for the individual dignity of each member of the school community; promoting qualities of social responsibility, tolerance, respect and courtesy. Bullying behaviour undermines the achievement of this aim. Bullying behaviour is unwanted negative behaviour: verbal, psychological or physical, conducted by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time. Acts of bullying include physical aggression, damage to property, intimidation, extortion, unfair isolation, name-calling, mocking and targeting a pupil via phone or computer media.
It is school policy to raise awareness of bullying among the immediate and wider school community. All members are encouraged to be vigilant for instances of bullying behaviour. The policy encourages disclosure of instances of bullying behaviour. It is stressed that when pupils disclose, they are not "telling tales" but behaving responsibly and breaking the "circle of fear" in which bullying thrives.

Procedure for Investigating Bullying

Reports of bullying behaviour, no matter how trivial, will be noted, investigated and dealt with by teachers.
Serious cases will be referred immediately to the Principal.
The teacher investigating will speak separately to the pupils involved in an attempt to get both sides of the story.
A written record of the investigation will be kept on the Template for Recording Bullying Behaviour.
If it is concluded that a pupil has engaged in bullying behaviour, it will be made clear that he is in breach of the Code of Behaviour and Discipline. Meetings with parents/guardians of both parties will be arranged, where the actions taken by the school and the reasons for them will be explained. Furthermore it will be expected that the parents/guardians will reinforce and support these actions.

Follow Up

The situation will continue to be monitored with a view to reconciliation and prevention of a recurrence.
To further counter bullying behaviour the school aims to promote a school/home/community approach, as incidents of this behaviour may occur beyond the school precincts. Such incidents are subject to the school’s code of behaviour if there is a link between them and the ongoing work of the school. Members of the local community are encouraged to play a positive role in assisting to counter bullying behaviour, by reporting any such behaviour to parents and/or to the school as appropriate. Through such an approach a network is formed, and, a positive community attitude and involvement can assist in countering bullying behaviour in the school.
In accordance with the guidelines on correcting bullying behaviour (National Education Welfare Board, 2008) this policy is subject to ongoing evaluation and review.

The Code of behaviour applies in the following circumstances

In the school buildings and environs,
 All school trips; for example, to swimming pools, libraries and sporting events.
School tours and all other school-linked activities.
Outside school time, a pupil may be subject to the Code of Behaviour if there is a clear link between the pupil’s behaviour and the school.

Policies and Procedures for Suspensions and Expulsions
Authority to Suspend

The Board of Management has delegated the authority to the principal to suspend a pupil for up to five days.

Grounds for Suspension

The pupil’s behaviour has had a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other pupils.
 The pupil’s continued presence in the school at this time constitutes a threat to safety. Furthermore, The Board of Management gives permission for any adult member of staff to restrain a child where it is deemed necessary for the child’s own safety and/or the safety of others.
The pupil is responsible for serious damage to or theft of property.

A single incident of serious misbehaviour has occurred or there have been repeated examples of minor misbehaviour.

Forms of suspension

Immediate suspension:
In exceptional circumstances, the Principal may consider an immediate suspension to be necessary where the continued presence of the pupil in the school at the time would represent a serious threat to the safety of pupils or staff of the school, or any other person.

Informal suspension

A child may be suspended for part of a school day or activity as a sanction. In these cases the sanction will be negotiated with the parents.

Procedures in respect of suspension

Where a suspension is deemed appropriate, the school will adhere to fair procedures including the right to be heard and the right to impartiality.
If suspension is warranted the school will inform the pupil and parents.

Informing pupil and parents

Parents will be informed by phone or in writing, depending on the seriousness of the matter.

Opportunity to respond

Before a suspension decision is made, parents and pupil will be given an opportunity to respond at a meeting with the principal. Where parents do not agree to meet with the Principal, written notification will serve as notice to impose a suspension.

Procedures in relation to immediate suspension

A preliminary investigation will be conducted to establish the case for the imposition of an immediate suspension.  Where an immediate suspension is considered by the Principal to be warranted for reasons of safety of the pupil, other pupils, staff or others, the parents will be notified, and arrangements made with them for the pupil to be collected.

Period of suspension

A first suspension will normally not exceed three days. In exceptional circumstances a pupil may be suspended for up to five days if the misbehaviour is of a very serious nature as determined by the principal.  During a period of suspension a pupil is required to complete extra written school work as set by the class and/or learning support/resource teacher.


A parent/ guardian may appeal a suspension by contacting the chairperson of the Board of Management. The chairperson’s contact details are available from the school secretary (tel: 021-4502024). The chairperson will discuss the matter with the principal and parents/ guardians will be advised of the outcome.

Implementing the suspension

Written notification

The Principal will notify the parents/guardians 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
• The provision for an appeal to the Board of Management

Fresh Start

When any sanction, including suspension, is completed, a pupil will be given the opportunity and support for a fresh start. Once the sanction has been completed the school will expect the same behaviour of the pupil as of all other pupils. However, if a pupil reoffends, the length of a suspension may be increased on any subsequent occasion.

Records and reports

All suspensions will be recorded and reported to the Board of Management. Such records will be shared with outside agencies such as secondary schools or the H.S.E. etc. when requests are made by such agencies.


A pupil is expelled from a school when a Board of Management makes a decision to permanently exclude him from the school.

Authority to expel

The Board of Management has the authority to expel a pupil.

The grounds for expulsion

A proposal to expel a pupil requires serious grounds such as:
• The pupil’s behaviour is a persistent cause of significant disruption to the learning of others or to the teaching process
• The pupil’s continued presence in the school constitutes a real and significant threat to safety.
• The pupil 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 is that, where expulsion is considered, school authorities have tried a series of other interventions, and believe they have exhausted all possibilities for changing the pupil’s behaviour.

Expulsion of a pupil will only be undertaken by the Board of Management in extreme cases of unacceptable behaviour. The school will have taken significant steps to address the misbehaviour and to avoid expulsion of a pupil including, as appropriate:
• Meeting with parents and the pupil to try to find ways of helping the pupil to change their behaviour.
• Making sure that the pupil understands the possible consequences of their behaviour, if it should persist.
• Ensuring that all other possible options have been tried. Such options will include the use of a behaviour plan emphasising the positive reinforcement of good behaviour.
• Seeking the assistance of support agencies (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).

Expulsion for a first offence

There may be exceptional circumstances where the Board of Management forms the opinion that a pupil should be expelled for a first offence. The kinds of behaviour that might result in a proposal to expel on the basis of a single breach of the code could include:
A serious threat of violence against another pupil or member of staff
Actual violence or physical assault
Supplying illegal substances to other pupils in the school
Sexual assault
Serious damage to or serious theft of school property
An offence warranting an appearance in the Juvenile Court

Procedures in respect of expulsion

Step 1: A detailed investigation will be carried out under the direction of the Principal.
A meeting will be called between the Principal, the pupil and the parents/guardians. If the pupil and the parents/guardians fail to attend such a meeting the Principal will write by registered letter to the parents/guardians advising them of the gravity of the matter, the date of a rescheduled meeting and, failing that, the duty of the school authorities to make a decision to respond to the inappropriate behaviour.
Step 2: A recommendation to the Board of Management by the Principal.
If the Principal makes a recommendation to the Board of Management that expulsion may be warranted parents/guardians will be advised that they can make a written and oral submission to the Board of Management.
Step 3: Consideration by the Board of Management of the Principal’s recommendation and the holding of a hearing.
At this hearing the parents/guardians and the Principal put their case to the Board in each other’s presence. Parents/guardians may be accompanied by an advisor if they so wish.
Step 4: Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing
If the Board of Management is of the opinion that the pupil should be expelled the Board will notify the Educational Welfare Officer (formerly Attendance Officer) in writing of its opinion, and the reasons for this opinion.
Step 5: Consultations arranged by the Educational Welfare Officer
Within twenty days of a notification from a Board of Management of its opinion that a pupil should be expelled the Educational Welfare Officer will convene a meeting(s) among the Principal, the parents/guardians and the pupil and anyone else who may be of assistance. The purpose of the meeting(s) is to ensure that arrangements are made for the pupil to continue in education in an alternative setting if the pupil is to be expelled. A Board of Management may consider it appropriate to suspend a pupil during the twenty-day interval in the interests of good order and the safety of other pupils.
Step 6: Confirmation of the decision to expel
Where the twenty-day period has elapsed and the Board of Management remains of the view that the pupil should be expelled the Chairperson will write to the parents/guardians by registered post informing them that the expulsion will proceed. Parents/guardians will also be informed in this letter of their right to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills and supplied with the standard form.

Procedures for raising a concern or bringing a complaint about a behaviour matter and who to contact

A concerned parent/guardian should make an appointment via the homework journal or by telephone to meet the class teacher if they have any worries regarding behaviour. If the matter remains unresolved the parent/guardian should make an appointment via the school secretary to meet the Principal.

Reviewing the Code of Discipline

The Code of Behaviour is subject to ongoing review depending on the school’s needs and the need to keep up to date with current legislation.

Approval of the Code

This latest version of the Code of Behaviour was approved by the Board of Management at its meeting on 02.08.2016.

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