Code of Behaviour

INTRODUCTION

 

1.1 Parents/Guardians and a supportive home environment play an important role in shaping student attitudes, which produce good behaviour in schools. This in turn helps to mature students for adult life by fostering in them the essential senses of self-discipline, self-esteem, respect for others and their property, and allegiance to their local communities.

 

1.2 It is in the best interests of Management, Teachers, Parents/ Guardians and Students to have an effective and fair Code of Behaviour which will facilitate all the interested Education Partners to work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect which is reflected by respect for self and others, kindness, willingness to help others, courtesy, good manners, fairness, forgiveness and readiness to use respectful ways of resolving difficulties and conflict that arise.

 

1.3 The Code of Behaviour in St. Columba’s Comprehensive School should be considered in the context of the school being a community in which mutual respect, co-operation and natural justice are integral features.

 

2. PRINCIPLES UNDERPINNING THE CODE OF BEHAVIOUR

 

2.1 Provides clarity on expectations in order to help make the school a good, orderly and harmonious place for teaching and learning.

 

2.2 It affirms that everyone’s behaviour matters in creating a positive school based on mutual respect, where all students can realize their full potential. In particular it recognizes that the quality of relationship between teacher and student is a powerful influence on behaviour in the school.

 

2.3 The focus is on promoting good behaviour.

 

2.4 The code balances the educational needs of those whose behaviour is unacceptable against the educational needs of the other students attending the school.

 

2.5 The Code helps each student experience the value of being a responsible, participating member of the school community.

 

2.6 The code is informed by fairness and respects natural justice and promotes the use of the Restorative Practice System.

 

2.7 The code promotes equality for all members of the school community while preventing discrimination and accommodates difference in accordance with Equal Status legislation.

 

2.8 The code reflects the school’s commitment to recognising educational vulnerability.

 

2.9 The code is based on a commitment to the welfare of every student and to promote a positive and safe working environment for all at the school.

 

2.10 The code also promotes the conditions for learning and teaching, dignity and freedom from threat of violence in any form.

 

3. AIM

 

3.1 It shall be the function of the discipline structure in St. Columba’s Comprehensive School to help students grow with an awareness of their responsibility to themselves and to others.

 

3.2 The Code of Behaviour will aid the development of the students into mature adults who think, reason and act under the guidance of the accepted Christian norms of our community.

 

4. GUIDELINES FOR PARENTS/GUARDIANS

1.1 Parents/Guardians are required to understand that “Authority within the classroom rests with the teacher in charge of the classroom”. Authority outside, within the school environs, rests with all staff. In the exercise of that authority school management will:

(i) ensure that the Code of Behaviour is interpreted and administered in a fair and just manner

(ii) ensure that written procedures for the administration of the behaviour/disciplinary process are available and monitored

1.2 To facilitate the implementation of this code, Parents/Guardians are expected to take a full and positive

interest in all aspects of school life as it impacts on the students

(a) by fully accepting the school rules in writing, having read them, as set out in the code.

(b) by taking an active interest in their child’s progress through school, attending parent/teacher meetings, checking study and homework, and keeping in regular and close contact with the school authorities.

4.3 Parents/Guardians must send in written explanations of all student absences from school in order to comply with the School Attendance Legislation.

 

4.4 Parents/Guardians are advised that the school corridors, a number of classrooms and school grounds are all monitored by CCTV, and incidents of student indiscipline may be recorded and used in evidence when and where necessary.

 

5. CLASSROOM PROCEDURE AND ORGANISATION

 

5.1 Teachers will in supporting the implementation of this Code of Behaviour….

1. Ensure that students, who have to wait outside their classroom, queue properly.

2. Check their class attendance.

3. Insist that the classroom is kept neat and tidy.

4. Not allow students to leave classrooms during lessons, except in exceptional circumstances

5. Will maintain order of student movement on school environs

6. Facilitate students entering and leaving classrooms/school buildings in an orderly manner.

7. Monitor student progress

 

5.2 Safety is important and thus teachers will be conscious of the professional responsibilities relating to their duty of care to the students as it relates to maintenance of standards of behaviour, supervision of students, progress of students, and the requirements of the school policy as it relates to Safety, Health and Welfare at Work.

 

6. STUDENT DISCIPLINE

 

6.1 Internal Classroom Discipline is the responsibility of the subject teacher. The subject teacher will work and endeavour to ensure that the student understands the importance and necessity for student discipline and punctuality.

 

6.2 Incidents of indiscipline can be dealt with by a word of caution, reasonable and non-repetitive additions to homework, detention and Report Cards.

 

6.3 A student will not be excluded from class unless the disruption caused by him/ her is such as to make it impossible for the teacher to continue teaching. If a student must be excluded from class the following procedure is followed:

(a) The student should be sent to the Deputy Principal with a standard note giving details of the breach of discipline, followed by a detailed report at a later stage.

 

(b) The student will then be referred to the Year Teacher at a convenient agreed time.

 

(c) Under no circumstances will a student be sent directly to study or any other room or left standing unsupervised outside the classroom door.

 

6.4 In the event of a very serious breach of discipline, the subject /class teacher will refer the incident to the Principal. All referrals will be accompanied by a written report, giving precise details of what occurred. The teacher will also report the incident to the student’s Year Teacher.

 

6.5 Members of the teaching staff will explain the school Code of Behaviour to the student body at appropriate intervals and will ensure that ‘The School Rules’ are complied with by all students.

 

7. BEHAVIOUR OF STUDENTS

 

7.1 Students are expected to behave in a responsible manner both to themselves and to others, showing consideration, courtesy and respect for other students, respect for self, management, teachers and staff at all times.

 

7.2 To respect the person of the individual and others at all times.

 

7.3 To respect the property of the individual and/or the school at all times.

 

7.4 Students are expected to behave in an orderly manner. Disruptive behaviour in class, school corridors, school grounds or while away from school on a school approved tour or game/activity, will not be tolerated.

 

7.5 The school day begins at 9.00 a.m. Students are expected to be in their classrooms at 8.55 a.m. Students who arrive on early buses will be admitted to the school on condition that they abide by the School Rules. They will be under the supervision of a designated nominee of the school management. Students who are awaiting buses, in the evening, are allowed to remain on school grounds on condition they observe the School Rules. Special individual arrangements may be made by school authorities for some students who suffer from a physical or intellectual disability.

 

7.6 Any student arriving after 9.20 a.m. must report to the school secretaries’ office and enter his/her name in the “Late Comers Book” and must present an original note of explanation from their parent or guardian.

 

7.7 Any student who wishes to leave school during the school day must have permission from the Deputy Principal or Principal or a designated nominee and must enter his/her name in the Register at the school office and present a note of explanation.

 

7.8 Parents/Guardians must send in written explanations of all student absences from school to comply with the School Attendance Legislation.

 

7.9 The National Educational Welfare Board will be notified in writing of the records of individual student absenteeism at periodic intervals during the school year (compliance with official regulations).

 

7.10 Students found absent from school without permission (mitching) will have sanctions imposed including

actual suspension from school.

 

7.11 Chewing of gum and the use of correction fluid is forbidden in the school.

 

7.12 Smoking is forbidden in the school and the school grounds at all times in accordance with legislation.

 

7.13 The school reserves the right to ban any materials, mobile telephones, personal electronic devices or MP3’s that the Principal may deem dangerous, intrusive or unduly distracting in the school. Breaches of this regulation will entail the confiscation of the device for a period of time. Items confiscated from students will only be returned after a period of seven (7) days from the date of confiscation and the payment of a fixed sum to a suitable charity.

 

7.14 Students must wear the School Uniform during the school day and when representing the school at all activities.

 

7.15 Students will be advised of School Health, Welfare and Safety Regulations and they must abide by these regulations.

 

7.16 If students choose to wear earrings or facial jewellery then studs are the only form acceptable in the school.

 

7.17 Medication may only be dispensed by a member of staff to a student in an emergency situation or a life threatening situation, having received permission from the parent/guardian. In these exceptional circumstances, staff would be expected to act in the appropriate manner.

 

7.18 The school cannot accept responsibility for any personal property that is damaged or stolen.

 

7.19 Only those students whose parents/guardians have signed the “Indemnity Form” may go down town at lunch time.

 

7.20 Students are required to come to and from school with due care for other students, for property, for traffic

and pedestrians and to observe the rules of the road at all times.

 

7.21 Failure of students, who arrive on early buses or who are awaiting buses, to abide by the School Rules

may lead to their future exclusion from the school premises and environs until 9.00 a.m.

 

7.22 Students are required to make every effort to keep the school clean and tidy and to use the bins provided for litter. Littering the school grounds is forbidden and any form of graffiti is also forbidden.

 

7.23 Bullying, smoking, the use of alcohol, solvent abuse, substance abuse, the illegal use of controlled drugs,

sexual harassment, vandalism, or any form of disruptive behaviour, which undermines school stability and credibility is forbidden, and likewise the possession of alcohol, tobacco, lighters or matches by students is forbidden.

 

7.24 Parents/Guardians and Students are expected to be familiar with the terms of:

(i) School Anti-bullying Policy,

(ii) Code of Practice for Processing Complaints made by Parents/Guardians or Students (who have reached the age of 18 years) against a Teacher in Community or Comprehensive Schools,

(iii) Code of Practice for Dealing with Complaints of Sexual harassment of a Teacher by a Student in Community and Comprehensive Schools and

(iv) Mobile Telephone policy.

(v) Student use of I.C.T. – Acceptable Use Policy

Copies of these school policies may be found in the Student Diary or copies may be obtained from the school office.

 

 

 

8. RESPONDING TO INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOUR

 

8.1 As part of a whole school approach to addressing inappropriate behaviour by students an agreed ladder of intervention will be adopted. This will allow for consistency among staff as well as ensuring that there is a planned approach to assisting students change their own behaviour. School authorities will use the school Pastoral Care resources available to it including the individual Class Subject Teacher, Year Head, Guidance Counsellor, School Chaplain, Home School Community Liaison Teacher, as appropriate, to assist the student overcome their indiscipline. At all times throughout the interventions communications are critical between the school and home.

 

8.2 Students who cause discipline problems in classes are dealt with initially under the procedures outlined in the Code of Behaviour and detailed in the ‘Student Diary’. However, students who are persistently disruptive may be suspended from the school and the parent/guardian will be expected to attend school to discuss the problem. Parents/Guardians will be expected, by their actions, to support the school in creating an effective learning environment.

 

8.3 Students, whose general conduct is of concern to the School Authorities, will not be allowed to represent the school on teams or allowed on class, group or year outings.

 

9. SANCTIONS

 

9.1 The objectives of sanctions are to help a student to learn. They must be used as part of a plan to change behaviour, be used consistently, be proportionate to the nature and seriousness of behaviour, and be appropriate and known by all staff, students and parents/guardians.

 

9.2 The purpose of sanctions imposed is to bring about a change in behaviour by:

* helping students to learn that their behaviour is unacceptable

* helping students to recognise the effect of their actions and behaviour on others.

* helping students (in ways appropriate to their age and development) to understand that they have choices about their own behaviour and that all choices have consequences

 

9.3 A sanction may also:

* reinforce the boundaries set out in the Code of behaviour

* signal to other students and staff that their well-being is being protected.

 

9.4 In instances of more serious breaches of school standards, sanctions may be needed to:

* prevent serious disruption of teaching and learning

* keep the student, or other students or adults, safe.

 

9.5 Interventions which may require specific sanctions being imposed, depending on the seriousness of the behaviour, are as follows:

* Student warned by Teacher

* Referral of student for pastoral guidance/support

* The use of the Restorative Practices System

* Student is reported to Year Head and given formal warning

* The use of a Report Card

* Communication with parents/guardians by Year Head.

* Student put on detention.

* Letter to Parents/Guardians by Deputy Principal/Principal. Communication with parents/guardians by Deputy Principal/Principal.

* Referral to external specialist for professional support (NEPS, HSE etc)

* Suspension

* Expulsion

 

10. PROCEDURE

 

10.1 Parents/Guardians are notified in writing, or by telephone, informing them of the situation and inviting them to come to the school to meet those responsible for student discipline.

 

10.2 Following such a meeting Parents/Guardians are informed in writing of the school’s decision as to the

duration of the suspension.

 

10.3 Where a suspension is proposed, the Board of Management will be informed for consideration, amendment, and/or ratification as they think proper.

 

10.4 Where an expulsion is recommended by the Principal to the Board of Management then Parents/Guardians must be informed of their right to appeal this recommendation and make /present their case, to the Board of Management.

 

 

 

 

11. MISDEMEANOURS

 

11.1 Student sanctions, which are in general use, may be applied by teachers, class teachers and year heads when misdemeanours occur. These misdemeanours included isolated breaches of school regulations or petty classroom infringements relating to class-work, homework, general order and discipline, littering etc. The sanctions may include

* Changing seating arrangements in class

* Isolation within the classroom

* Removal from class for brief periods under supervision

* Relevant written work such as essays, transcription etc.

* Detention under school procedures

* Use of Report Card

* Chores within the school building and grounds, picking up litter, cleaning windows, desks, etc.

 

11.2 Students found chewing gum will be fined a monetary sum. All monies paid by students are recorded and

are sent to charities. Students may opt for a suitable alternative sanction by arrangement with the School Principal.

 

11.3 Students who are found to be absent from school without leave (mitching) will be suspended from the school for two days. Students who leave the school during the day, for any reason, are expected to sign

the “Egress book” detailing their reason for leaving the school and present a note of explanation. Students who fail to comply with this instruction will be deemed to be absent from school without permission.

 

12. ISOLATED BREACHES OF GOOD ORDER

 

12.1 Sanctions and procedure to be followed in cases of isolated breaches of good order in school, such as:-

* A fight between students in school

* a temper tantrum in class

* Use of abusive language or misbehaviour in class or similar isolated incidents

* Any instance of insolence to a member of staff.

12.2 It shall fall within the discretion of the relevant Year Head/Deputy Principal to suspend internally or recommend to the Principal the external suspension of those involved.

§ In the case of external suspension the student must be sent to the custody of the Parents/Guardian either after contact by phone or direct call to the home.

§ In the case of internal suspension Parents will be notified.

§ The Parents will be notified in writing or by phone of the duration of the external suspension which should not be more than five days and may be invited to bring the student to school on the morning of the return for a discussion and assurances that the incident will not be repeated.

 

12.3 Students who deliberately and wrongfully vandalise the glass in the Fire Alarm System or set off the fire alarm may be subject to a two day suspension from school and will be liable for the cost of repair.

 

13. CONTINUOUS MISBEHAVIOUR

 

13.1 Sanctions and procedures to be followed in the case of continuous misbehaviour constituting a disruption of the fundamental work and purpose of the school such as:-

§ Disruption of classes

§ Bullying or harassment of other students

§ Offensive language

§ Theft within the school

- any behaviour disruptive to the smooth running of the school.

 

13.2 Inevitably, control of this type of behaviour will become the responsibility of the Year Head. Teachers are obliged to inform the Year Head of continuous misbehaviour of this type:

* The student should be warned formally that repeated misbehaviour will bring further sanction which may include suspension. At the discretion of the Year Head/Deputy Principal the student may be given some punishment such as detention, school chores or brief internal suspension.

* The student is placed on report by the Year Head.

* Parents/Guardians should be notified by phone or in writing that the behaviour of the student is giving cause for concern and invited to the school to discuss the matter.

* Should the misbehaviour continue the Year Head may recommend to the Principal that the student be suspended for up to five days.

* The Parents will be informed in writing by the Principal or Deputy Principal that the student is being suspended for whatever duration, and invited to discuss the matter further with a view to facilitating a change in attitude by the student.

 

13.3 Before re-admission the Parents and student may be asked to meet with the Year Head/Principal/Deputy Principal or any grouping of those and assurances of good behaviour will be required for the future.

 

13.4 Failure to respond to one or more suspensions under this procedure may render the student liable to suspension of more than five days. In such a case the procedures for sanction under serious misbehaviour will apply.

 

13.5 Students who have accumulated three late entries in the Register, without adequate reasons, will be put on

Detention for one day and the parents notified.

 

13.6 Students who are in constant breach of School Uniform Regulations, without satisfactory explanation, may be suspended from the school.

 

14. SERIOUS MISBEHAVIOUR

 

14.1 Sanctions and procedures in the case of serious misbehaviour warranting instant suspension and possible expulsion – these sanctions and procedures would apply in the instance of serious misbehaviour such as:

* Serious assault on the person of, or serious damage to the property of, one student by another.

* Malicious damage to property. Students who wilfully damage school property will be responsible for full reinstatement of the damaged property.

* Possession, distribution or use of drugs prohibited by law.

* Assault on, threat to, or damage to property of, or abuse of a teacher by a student.

* Possession of weapons.

* Gross misbehaviour on school related activities or any misbehaviour of a similar serious nature to the list above.

* By misbehaviour of this type the student renders herself/himself liable to instant suspension and probable further action by the school.

* Instant suspension obliges the school to ensure that the pupil passes into the care and supervision of Parent/Guardian.

 

 

15. SMOKING

 

15.1 Smoking is prohibited in the school and its environs. Students found smoking may be suspended for one day. Parents will be informed of any student who is caught smoking while at school or on school outings. A recurrence will result in an automatic three day suspension.

 

15.2 The above list of sanctions does not preclude the school authorities from imposing other sanctions which may become necessary and/or appropriate from time to time.

 

16. CORPORAL PUNISHMENT:

 

16.1 It is illegal to use corporal punishment. Under no circumstances will teachers resort to any form of corporal punishment.

 

17. SUSPENSION OF STUDENTS

 

17.1 Schools are required by law to follow fair procedures when proposing to suspend or expel a student. The requirement for fair procedures derives from the Constitution of Ireland, international Conventions and Case law.

 

17.2 Fair procedures have two essential parts:

* the right to be heard

* the right to know that the alleged misbehaviour is being investigated

* the right to know the details of the allegations being made and any other information that will be taken into account

* the right to know how the issue will be decided

* the right to respond to the allegations

* where the possible sanction is of a serious nature, the right to be heard by the decision making body and

* where the possible sanction is of a serious nature, the right to ask questions of the other party or witnesses where there is a dispute about the facts

 

* the right to impartiality

* the right to an absence of bias in the decision maker

* the right to impartiality in the investigation and the decision making

 

17.3 When the normal disciplinary procedures of the school have been exhausted, the sanction of suspension may become necessary. Suspension may be deemed necessary for a single serious instance of misbehaviour or for repeated instances of less serious misbehaviour.

 

17.4 Suspension should be part of an agreed plan to address the student’s behaviour. The suspension should:

* enable the school to set behavioural goals with the student and their parents/guardians

* give school staff an opportunity to plan other interventions and

* impress on a student and his/her parents/guardians the seriousness of the behaviour.

 

17.5 The forms of suspension may include immediate suspension, suspension during a state examination or automatic suspension. Students and their parents/guardians will be kept fully informed and given an opportunity to respond throughout the suspension process. All will be advised of the duration of the suspension keeping in mind the appeal mechanism available to parents/guardians under Section 29, Education Act 1998 and as amended by the Education (Miscellaneous provisions) Act 2007. The school will keep on file all records of investigation and decision making processes. The Board of Management will be notified of all student suspensions with the reasons for and duration of each suspension. The school Principal will report suspensions in accordance with NEWB reporting guidelines and in compliance with the requirements of Section 21 (4) (a), Education (Welfare) Act 2000.

 

17.6 The following guidelines apply to suspension:

* All instances of misbehaviour by students which are reported to a Year Teacher must be documented by the teacher making the complaint. The student must be informed that a complaint is registered in his behavioural record by the Year Teacher

* If there are repeated instances of serious misbehaviour by a student his or her parents or guardians will be informed by registered letter. This letter will request them to meet the Principal and Teacher/Year – head at the school at an acceptable time. Every effort will be made at this meeting to get them to give an undertaking that the student will behave in an acceptable manner in future. Where it is appropriate the student will be required to give a similar undertaking. The parents or guardians will be informed that in the event of further instances of misbehaviour the student will be considered for suspension for a specified time.

* If Parents/Guardians fail to attend for this meeting and do not provide a reasonable explanation for not doing so, the student will be suspended. The Parents/Guardians will be informed immediately, by telephone or registered letter, of the impending suspension and of their right to appeal.

* In the case of all suspensions the Board of Management will be informed. School practices are in line with The Education (Welfare) Act 2000.

* Where a student is guilty of a gross misbehaviour, the Principal will sanction an immediate suspension pending a discussion with the Parents/Guardians who will then be informed by registered letter and invited to the school, at a mutually convenient time, to discuss the matter.

* If they fail to attend the school or provide a reasonable explanation for not doing so, the pupil can remain suspended pending consideration of the case by the Board of Management. The Parents/Guardians will be informed of this by registered post.

* When a satisfactory resolution to the case is achieved, the pupil will be re-admitted to the school; where it is deemed necessary this may be done on a phased basis.

* Parents/Guardians will be informed of their right to appeal a suspension decision by the Board of Management.

* Students who have been suspended during the year may, at the discretion of the school, be refused permission to attend school organised activities, e.g. school tours, trips, debs etc.

 

18. PROCEDURES FOR EXPULSION OF STUDENTS

18.1 The Board of Management alone has the authority to expel a student from St. Columba’s Comprehensive School. It is a function of the Board of Management to ensure that expulsion is an appropriate response to the student’s behaviour.

 

18.2 The Board of Management will deliberate on the following factors before deciding to expel or not a student from the school:

* the nature and seriousness of the behaviour,

* the context of the behaviour,

* the impact of the behaviour,

* the interventions (if any) tried to date,

* whether expulsion is a proportionate response,

* the possible impact of expulsion.

 

18.3 The Board of Management of St. Columba’s Comprehensive School is required to follow fair procedures (see those outline above for student suspension).

 

18.4 The following procedural steps will be adopted by the Board of Management:

* a detailed investigation has been undertaken under direction of Principal

* a recommendation by the Principal to the Board of Management

* consideration by the Board of Management of the Principal’s recommendation and the holding of a hearing

* Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing

* Consultations arranged by the Education Welfare Officer

* Confirmation of the decision to expel or other decision reached.

 

18.5 At all times throughout the process Parents/Guardians will be kept fully appraised of all developments and be given full details of all records gathered that are relevant to the expulsion proposal..

 

18.6 The Principal of St. Columba’s Comprehensive School will provide to the Parent/Guardian of the student who is recommended for expulsion, a copy of the planned procedures that will be followed, In respect of the expulsion process in order to assist the Parent/Guardian fully understand the overall expulsion process and its application to the student.