Behaviour & Discipline Policy

Stonepark Behaviour Policy

The aims of primary education may be stated as:

  • To enable the child to live a full life as a child.
  • To equip him/her to avail of him/herself of further education so that he/she may go on to live a full and useful life as an adult in society.

The teachers of this school are committed to the realisation of these aims. The Board of Management of the school is committed similarly. The parents of the children in this school have been strongly supportive of these aims for many years. The ethos of our school is a major factor in establishing and maintaining high standards of behaviour and discipline. This means a strong sense of community within our school and a high level of co-operation among teaching staff and between staff, pupils, parents, the Board of Management and ancillary staff.

In formulating this code, comprehensive consultation and discussions were held with:

  • Parents of children attending the school
  • Board of Management
  • Children in the Senior Classes
  • Teaching staff

In devising the code, consideration has been given to the particular needs and circumstances of this school. The aim is to ensure that the individuality of each child is accommodated while acknowledging the right of each child to education in a relatively disruptive free environment.

Aims of our Code of Discipline

The Code of Discipline aims to achieve:

  • The efficient operation of the school.
  • The structuring of in-class discipline which prompts an efficient and stimulating environment.
  • The maintenance of good order and safety throughout the school day, including break times, sports activities and all movements between classes.
  • The development of self-discipline in all pupils and care and courtesy towards others.
  • The development of respect for school buildings, all school property and the general school environment.

Principles of our Discipline Policy

Our policy is based on the principles of caring, fairness, respect, tolerance, compassion and courtesy. The attitude of the teaching staff will have a critical bearing on how successful the policy is likely to be. Staff shall consider themselves responsible at all times for the behaviour of children within sight or sound of them and shall respond promptly and firmly to any incident of unacceptable behaviour.

If our school is to be a happy, secure environment where the children can develop and learn to their full potential, a positive, friendly, caring and encouraging atmosphere will provide a framework which promotes constructive behaviour and discourages unacceptable behaviour that is dangerous to oneself, others or which may be disruptive or anti-social. Therefore every effort will be made by all members of teaching staff to adopt a positive approach to the question of behaviour in the school.

The school places greater emphasis on rewards than on sanctions. The agreed code offers a framework within which positive techniques of motivation and encouragement are utilised by teachers. The school recognises the variety of differences that exists between children and the need to accommodate these differences.

General

While a child is in school he/she will be known by the names (First name and Surname) that is on his/her Birth Certificate. Any other arrangements are by agreement of the child’s parents and the Principal.

Respect and Courtesy

Pupils are expected to behave in a responsible manner both to themselves and all others. They are expected to treat all other pupils, all members of staff, and visitors to the school with respect and courtesy at all times. The use of any form of vulgarity or offensive language is unacceptable.

Punctuality

Pupils must be on time for school each day, and return to class punctually after breaks. The official opening time of the school is 9.20am. Class for infants ends at 2.00pm. All other classes end at 3.00pm. A teacher will be on duty in the yard from 9.10am, and until 3.10pm. No responsibility is accepted for pupils outside of these times. Those collecting children from school should always be punctual. Lateness causes great anxiety especially for younger children.

Safety when Entering or Leaving the School

Pupils and parents must enter and exit from the school only via the gates at the Ballagh Road entrance to the school. Children must walk when entering or leaving the school. After small break and lunch time children must line up in the school yard and wait for permission from the teacher to enter the school. Parents must not park at the entrance gates to the school, especially at the Athlone Road entrance. For more information on these procedures please consult the Safety, Health & Welfare Statement (Section 5.5.9).

Attendances/Absences

Every absence of a child from school must be accounted for either by parents/guardians calling the school or forwarding a written note. If a child has to leave school early or be absent from school for part of a day, the school principal should be informed. This is to ensure as far as possible the safety of children throughout school hours.

Illness

Any infectious illness should be notified to the school immediately. Children should return to school only when fully recovered.

Personal Property

Children must have their names on their coats, jumpers, and on all personal property such as school books, copies, etc.

School Property

Pupils must respect all school property and treat all school books and equipment with care. Parents will be held responsible for the cleaning, repair or replacement of any school property or equipment wilfully damaged or vandalised by their children. Copies and books are to be covered and kept neatly for the duration of the year.

School Environment

Pupils must keep the school environment clean and litter free. Pupils are expected to co-operate fully in any organised clean up activities. Litter wardens operate voluntarily within the school.

Healthy Eating

As the school operates a Healthy Lunch Policy, sweets, crisps, fizzy drinks and chewing gum are not permitted in the school.

Behaviour in Class

  • Pupils must have all books and materials or equipment required.
  • All pupils are expected to work to the best of their ability. Written work must be presented neatly.
  • Respect and courtesy are basic to classroom behaviour. Disrespectful behaviour towards other pupils, towards a teacher, ancillary members of staff or towards any visitor to the school is unacceptable.
  • Pupils must respect the right of other pupils to learn. Any behaviour that interferes with this right, e.g. regular disruption of the class or persistent disturbance of others is unacceptable behaviour. Pupils are expected to co-operate fully with their teacher’s instructions as given so that an effective education programme can be undertaken.
  • Uniform: Pupils are expected to wear their full uniform each day.

Corridors, Cloakrooms, Toilets, Yard Areas

The general rule should be to treat others as they would wish to be treated themselves. Pupils should behave in an orderly manner at all times and especially when going from one area to another within the school buildings or in the school yard. Pupils must not run around school corners so as to minimise the risk to themselves and all others.

Pupils must not behave in any way which endangers others i.e. roughness, fighting, kicking, striking, spitting, punching, tripping or verbal abuse. Teachers will seek to ensure that standards of safety are observed and shall prohibit games or activities considered dangerous. Any directions given by teachers on these matters are to be followed implicitly. There are two main morning breaks. The short morning break for all pupils is at 11am. There are two lunchtime breaks – at 12.30pm and at 1pm. Pupils are required to play only on their designated areas:

  • Infants: Play area to the rear of Infant Classrooms.
  • First and Second Classes: Play areas designated specifically for these classes in the main yard.
  • Third to Sixth Classes: Play areas designated specifically for these classes in the main yard.

Pupils may not leave their designated yard areas during breaks without the permission of the supervising teacher. This includes re-entering the school buildings. Aggressive behaviour or foul language will not be tolerated in the school.

Inclement Weather

On such days pupils are required to stay in the shelters for their respective yards. They must observe implicitly any directions given by teachers and safety procedures must be followed at all times. If it is very wet or cold the children are to remain in rooms and will be supervised by teacher on duty.

Playing Areas

Again respect and consideration for others are the basics. Any form of verbal abuse or physical abuse of others is unacceptable and is considered serious misbehaviour. Pupils are required to use the playing areas assigned to them.

Accidents

If a child is involved in any accident it must be reported to the teacher on yard supervision or to any other available teacher. The teacher may decide to attend to the injuries in the Medical Room or call the First Aid Officer. When suitable, parents will be informed or asked to bring the child to a doctor or hospital. When suitable, parents will be informed or asked to bring the child home or the teacher may arrange for the child to be brought home. For further information see Safety Statement.

Bullying or Intimidation of Others

This is always regarded as a serious offence. All forms of threatening behaviour are unacceptable. Children must be able to attend school and to go home safely without fears. If children are being bullied or threatened either verbally or physically, teachers must be told, so that the matter can be dealt with effectively. Dangerous articles i.e. knives, sharp objects, aerosols, matches, lighters or any other objects considered dangerous are prohibited from the school grounds.

Recycling

Pupils and parents are requested to co-operate with the school’s policy on recycling.

Homework

It is the policy of this school to assign homework on a nightly basis. Teachers shall make every effort to make the curriculum correspond to the aptitude of the pupils. Thus homework assignments may vary in the interests of the pupil. Homework is an important part of a child’s learning. It links the home and the school and can be a means of self discipline and good study habits for the pupil.

Parents are strongly encouraged to take an active interest in their child’s homework. If homework causes undue stress or worry to the child, parents are asked to talk to the teacher. Homework should not take an undue amount of time. As a general guide the following is recommended:

  • Infant Classes—Up to 20 minutes
  • Middle Classes—Up to 30 minutes
  • Senior Classes—Up to 40 minutes

All homework is to taken down in a homework notebook. Notebooks are to be checked regularly by teachers and parents. Parents are required to sign the child’s completed homework (notebook) each night thus completing a very important communication link between pupil-teacher-parent.

If for any acceptable reason homework cannot be completed on a particular night, parents are asked to either explain the reason directly to the teacher or forward a written note to the teacher. If a child persists in neglecting his/her homework he/she should be sent to the Principal for investigation into the causes of the neglect..

Cleanliness

Cleanliness of pupils is to be encouraged at all times; clothes, hands, face, nails and hair. Children should keep their desks and the area surrounding their desks tidy at all times. The cloakroom areas, halls and toilets are to be litter-free at all times. The toilets are to be used properly at all times. Any football gear etc. is to be put in bags and hung up in the cloakroom. Classrooms are to be tidied every evening before dismissal. Children are encouraged to clean their feet before entering the school.

Mobile Phone

It is prohibited for a student to take a mobile phone to school under any circumstances.

Chewing Gum

Chewing gum is not permitted in any area of the school.

Rewards for Acceptable Behaviour

The following are some of the ways of showing appreciation for acceptable good behaviour which are in operation in the school:

  • Oral praise
  • Written praise
  • Teacher communication with parents
  • Merit lists
  • Merit star
  • Reduction of homework

A detailed account of each pupil’s attitudes and behaviour is given on each school report presented annually to parents. Parents are required to examine these carefully and to discuss them with their children.

Unacceptable Behaviour

Unacceptable Behaviour in our school has been classified in three categories:

  • Minor
  • Serious
  • Very Serious

Minor Unacceptable Behaviour

Examples considered as unacceptable are:

  • Talking out of turn in class, leaving the seat without permission
  • Disrupting lessons by causing a distraction, shouting and not working to the best of one’s ability.
  • Lazy in starting work or deliberately wasting time.
  • Being generally rowdy, aggressive, spitting, unhygienic in toilets, disturbing other children at work, being disobedient or defiant.

If there is a repeated pattern of these offences this is considered serious.

Serious Unacceptable Behaviour

Examples considered as serious are:

  • Making rude signs or annoying gestures
  • Using vulgar or bad language
  • Frequent lack of punctuality
  • Copying work from others
  • Not completing school tasks
  • Being inattentive during class-work
  • Not completing homework without a valid reason
  • Entering building or classrooms without permission
  • Littering in buildings or school grounds
  • Leaving designated play area without permission

Very Serious Unacceptable Behaviour

Examples considered as very serious are:

  • Stealing
  • Bullying or threatening others
  • Making abusive, insulting, offensive or insolent remarks
  • Laughing or jeering at other’s mistakes or disabilities
  • Willful damage to buildings, furniture, books, equipment or the property of others
  • Fighting
  • Showing repeated disrespect for teachers or other school employees.

Sanctions and Strategies to Show Disapproval for Unacceptable Behaviour

Positive encouragements and reinforcements are regarded as primary in helping pupils to develop responsibility, a positive attitude and self discipline. However where a pupil willfully disregards school rules and infringes on the rights of others to participate in an ordered and structured learning environment, sanctions may be needed. The overall responsibility for discipline within the school rests with the principal. Each teacher has responsibility for the maintenance of discipline within her classroom while sharing a common responsibility for good order within the school. A pupil may be referred to the principal for serious breaches of discipline and for repeated incidents of minor misbehaviour.

Very Serious Unacceptable Behaviour

The following strategies may be used to show disapproval of unacceptable behaviour:

  • Reasoning with the pupil
  • Reprimand (including advice on how to improve)
  • Temporary separation from peers, friends or others
  • Loss of privileges
  • Detention during a break or after school hours
  • Prescribing additional work
  • Communication with parents
  • Suspension (temporary)

Teachers shall keep a written record of all instances of serious misbehaviour as well as a record of improvements in the behaviour of disruptive pupils. Before resorting to serious sanctions e.g. suspension, the normal channels of communication between school and parents will be utilised. Parents will be involved at an early stage, rather than as a last resort.

Communication with parents will be verbal or by letter, depending on circumstances. The parents concerned are to be invited to come to the school to discuss their child’s case. For gross misbehaviour, or repeated instances of serious misbehaviour, suspension may be considered.

Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards a teacher will be regarded as serious or gross misbehaviour, depending on circumstances. Where there are repeated instances of serious misbehaviour, the Chairperson of the Board of Management will be informed and the parents will be requested in writing to attend at the school to meet the Chairperson and the Principal. If the parents do not give an undertaking that the pupil will behave in an acceptable manner in the future, the pupil may have to be suspended for a temporary period. Suspension will be in accordance with the terms of Rule 130(5) of the Rules for National Schools.

In the case of gross misbehaviour, the Board shall authorise the Chairperson or Principal to sanction an immediate suspension, pending a discussion of the matter with the parents.

Expulsion maybe considered in an extreme case, in accordance with Rule 130(6).

Every effort will be made to have an emotionally disturbed child referred for psychological assessment without delay. Help will be sought, also, from support services within the wider community e.g. Community Care services provided by HSE.

Communication

Home

Parents are always welcome at school. An introductory meeting is held each autumn for parents, in conjunction with the Parents’ Association. More formal Parent – Teacher meetings take place each January. In the month of June, the parents of children about to be enrolled in the school are met and invited to visit the school.

Board of Management

Parents elect two members to represent them on the Board of Management. Parents should feel free to contact any Board of Management member on any matter.

Parent/Teacher Meetings

Informal meetings occur on an ongoing basis. Formal meetings: January…

  • As arranged on specific days each year when parents are assigned a specific time to discuss their child’s progress with the teacher.
  • By appointment at any other time.

School Reports

The importance of these has already been stated. For further information see the Pupil Records Policy.

Homework Notebook

As already mentioned this is an important home/school link and must be regularly checked by parents. For further information see the Homework Policy.

Children

Children will be anxious to show and discuss their work at home. Parents should check regularly through the child’s copies and comment on the grades awarded or any teacher’s remarks written therein.

Lunches

Education is hard work. Pupils need nourishing food to account for, or be part of daily nourishment. Parents are asked to supply an adequate balanced healthy lunch for their child. It has been conclusively proved that colourants, additives, preservatives and sugar have adverse effects on children’s behaviour. Sweets, chocolate, crisps and fizzy drinks are therefore not allowed for lunch or indeed in the school at any time. Chewing gum is also prohibited. Breads, sandwiches with meat, cheese, salad etc. plus fruit are strongly recommended. Do not give your children breakable bottles or containers. Food is to be consumed in the classroom and must not be brought out to the toilet or to the yard.

Community Use of School premises and Grounds

There is a well established tradition of use of the school grounds and facilities by various groups and organisations in the community: community games, G.A.A. Club. Apart from fostering child development, this has promoted good relations and attitudes between school and community. Clubs are required to take out their own insurance and to maintain good order and safety standards among their members. Children using the school grounds must be supervised by a responsible adult at all times. Written permission from the Board of Management is also desirable on an annual basis.

Conclusion

This Behaviour and Discipline policy has been prepared based on the conditions existing in the school at the time of writing. It may be altered, revised or updated to comply with any changes in conditions, statutory requirements or any suggestions from the Partners of Education. It has been complied following the guidelines issued by the Department of Education Circular 20/90.

Ratified by Board of Management

Rule 130 of the Rules for National Schools

(As amended by Circular 7/88)

School Discipline

The Board of Management has ultimate responsibility for discipline in the school under its management and a duty to ensure that a fair code of discipline applies therein. This code should be formulated by the Principal and the teaching staff, in consultation with parents and be approved by the Board.

Teachers should have a lively regard for the improvement and general welfare of their pupils, treat them with kindness combined with firmness and should aim at governing them through their affections and reason, and not by harshness and severity. Ridicule, sarcasm or remarks likely to undermine a pupil’s self-confidence should not be used in any circumstances.

The use of corporal punishment is forbidden.

Any teacher who contravenes Sections 2 or 3 of this Rule will be regarded as guilty of conduct unbefitting a teacher and will be subject to severe disciplinary action.

Where the Board of Management deems it necessary to make provision in the code of discipline to deal with continuously disruptive pupils, or with a serious breach of discipline, by authorising the Chairperson or Principal to exclude a pupil or pupils from school, the maximum initial period of such exclusion shall be three school-days. A special decision of the Board of Management is necessary to authorise a further period of exclusion up to a maximum of 10 school-days to allow for consultation with the pupil’s or pupils’ parents or guardians. In exceptional circumstances, the Board of Management may authorise a further period of exclusion in order to enable the matter to be reviewed.

No, pupil shall be struck off the rolls for breaches of discipline without the prior consent of the Patron and unless alternative arrangements are made for the enrolment of the pupil at another suitable school.