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-Code of Behaviour


(Reviewed and revised January 2020 in conjunction with the staff, parent reps,students council, Board of Management of Bunscoil Buachailí Réalt na Mara)
(Reviewed and revised August 2020 with addendum on page 10 to include rules for safe return of school)

Related Policies available on request:

1.     Anti-Bullying
2.     Health & Safety Statement
3.     Admission and Participation (Enrolment) Policy
4.     Child Protection Policy.
5.     Positive Behaviour Plan


Our School aims to provide a happy, secure, friendly, learning environment, where children, parents, teachers, special needs assistants, ancillary staff and Board of Management work in partnership.  Each individual is valued, encouraged and respected for their uniqueness and facilitated to reach their full potential in a positive atmosphere.

This will enable the child to live a full life and will equip him to avail himself of further education so that he may go on to live a full and useful life as an adult in society.
The staff are committed to the realisation of these Objectives.  Our aim is to create a happy, secure environment for our pupils in which there is a sense of good order and a reasonable approach to discipline.  In this way, a large group can be organised so that the school can operate smoothly for the benefit of all.

This revised Code of Behaviour comes into effect on 15th November 2019.  The code has been considered by the Staff, Parents Association, student representatives and Board of Management of our school. The code is mindful of the Curriculum, the school’s Health & Safety Statement, Anti-Bullying Policy, Admission and Participation Policy and Child Protection Policy.

Discipline for Learning (DFL)

In our school, we have a positive approach to teaching and learning.  Positive rules for behaviour in class and out of class are learned by pupils at the beginning of their school year.  Pupils are disciplined by being motivated to keep these rules.
Positive everyday interactions between teachers and students are encouraged. All pupils have a need for positive affirmation.  Our staff are committed to giving positive oral feedback for good behaviours with a view to building self esteem, reducing inappropriate behaviours and encouraging positive social behaviours, actions and attitudes.  
We have many ways of recognizing good behaviour and effect including awards, stamps, positive cards, Coder dojo points,  smilies, positive comments and homework passes.  An important aspect of our school culture is to both teach and model good behaviour e.g staff treat others with respect. Good behaviour and achievements are regularly celebrated in our school    e.g. a shout out or certificate presented at assembly, an encouraging word, smile, ‘high five’ to individual pupils or a whole class from a teacher (not just class teacher) or principal.
Teachers must discuss and uphold clear expectations of pupil behaviour are discussed. The agreed expectations are clearly explained and displayed in the classroom. A visual such as a traffic light system, ball in basket system are used as an extra incentive to improve behaviour.

Restorative Practice

Restorative Practice in our school provides a focus on developing positive relationships between all members of the school community.  It gives opportunities for pupils to take responsibility for their behaviour and learning.  Restorative Practice is a process whereby children are given the opportunity to reflect on their behaviour and how they and others have been affected by it so as to help heal broken relationships and prevent reoccurrence.  

Circle Time is encouraged in every class. This provides an opportunity to explore and articulate feelings, to understand the impact of actions on others and, where necessary, to provide an opportunity to make amends and restore relationships.
Kindness is a key principle in the restorative practice approach, it is emphasised as an admirable and necessary quality.  It is explicitly modelled, taught and rewarded.

Restorative Questions to respond to Challenging Behaviour

1.     What happened?
2.     What were you thinking about at the time?
3.     What have your thoughts been since?
4.     Who has been affected by what you did?
5.     In what way have they been affected?
6.     What do you think needs to happen to make things right?

To help those harmed by other actions

1.     What did you think when you realised what had happened?
2.     What have your thoughts been since?
3.     How has this affected others?
4.     What has been the hardest thing for you?
5.     What do you think needs to happen to make things right?

General Guidelines for Behaviour

All pupils are expected to behave in a reasonable manner both to themselves and to others, showing consideration, courtesy and respect for other pupils and adults at all times.  Respect must be shown at all times.  Respect must be shown for the property of the individual and of the school at all times.

Code of Behaviour
The code of Behaviour covers the following areas:
·       Behaviour in class
·       Behaviour in the playground
·       Behaviour in the school environment and behaviour on school outings
·       Attendance at school/Education Welfare Act
·       Homework after school and extra-curricular activities.

Behaviour in class

Courtesy and respect are essential.  Disrespectful behaviour towards other pupils or towards other pupils or towards a teacher (e.g. defiance, cheek, insolence) are unacceptable.  Pupils must respect the right of other pupils to learn.  Any behaviour which interferes with the right (e.g. constant disruption of the class persistent distracting of others) is considered unacceptable behaviour.

In order that pupils benefit from their work in class full co-operation is required at all times.  Pupils must co-operate with instructions given by the teacher.

The Essential Classroom Rules

1.     Be ready for class
2.     Good manners are expected at all times
3.     Always do your best and allow others to do the same
4.     Raise hand, wait for attention and listen to the person who is speaking
5.     Take good care of personal and classroom property
6.     Ensure you are safe in class and make it safe for others

Behaviour in the Playground

Pupils should treat others as they would like to be treated themselves.  Any behaviour which endangers or offends others is not permitted.  Rough behaviour e.g. fighting, kicking, spitting, pushing is forbidden.  Games or activities considered to be dangerous are prohibited.

Any behaviour which interferes with other pupils play is not permitted.  Pupils may not leave the playground for any reason during breaks without permission of the supervising teacher, this includes re-entering the school building without permission. Yard rules are on display on windows and doors facing the yard  and in classrooms alongside the yard play rota.

The Essential out of Class Rules

1.     Stay within the boundaries in yard-children from 3rd class upwards are discouraged from
     going back into the school for any reason. However, if they need to go they must check back
     in with a staff member to let them know of their return.
2.   Stay in your Class Zone in the morning and at lunchtime.
3.     Play safely and fairly.  Treat others fairly, the way you would like yourself to be treated
4.   Listen and respect all teachers and SNAs on duty.
5..     Keep yard and school environment litter free and tidy.
6..     Respect all school property.
7.   Only Class balls allowed on yard.
8..  Walk or skip. No running allowed between zones.
9.   All pupils must freeze after the first whistle at the end of breaks.
10.  Line up quickly and quietly and leave and return to your classroom in an orderly fashion.

Behaviour in the School Environment & Behaviour on School Outings

Respect and courtesy to others is essential.  Any kind of verbal or physical abuse of other pupils is unacceptable.  Use of foul language among pupils is unacceptable.  Bullying or intimidation of other pupils is prohibited and is always regarded as a serious offence.  Pupils must show respect for school property at all times.  For reasons of safety and to minimise accidents, pupils should move about the school in an orderly manner.

Pupils are encouraged to be respectful of each other on their way to and from school.  When on school outings pupils are expected to behave in an orderly manner and show respect for public property.  They should always co-operate fully with their teachers and special needs staff.

Children with SEN and/or Behavioural Needs

Many children with special needs come to school with behavioural supports already in place. However, the requirements of many other children with special needs may only become evident as they get older. Part of the successful implementation of our Code of Behaviour is ensuring a better understanding, among our school community, of special educational needs, including challenging behaviour and its root causes. Challenging behaviour can be displayed by any child, even those with special educational needs. Often, while the challenging behaviour can be very obvious, the educational or personal needs that are hidden behind the behaviour may not.
Every effort will be made to deal with children with special educational/behavioural needs fairly through the school’s Code of Behaviour. Some children may require an individualised approach to dealing with challenging behavior and this approach will be monitored, in consultation with parents, by means of a Behaviour Continuum. Availing of clinical and therapeutic services outside school may need to be considered in some cases. In every instance of repeated misbehaviour, serious and gross misbehaviour the health and safety and educational needs of other students and the health and safety of school staff is also a key consideration for the school management team and the Board of Management.

Attendance/Education Welfare Act

Under the Education Welfare Act 2000, the school must be notified by parents about reasons for absence. This can be done on the Aladdin system.  Absences of 20 days or more must be referred by the school to Education Welfare Board.  Any child wishing to leave school early must have a note signed by their parent or guardian.  The Education Welfare Officer is available to support parents with attendance issues.  Parents/Guardians write a note in the school journal if they require their children to leave early or to attend an appointment.
Daily attendance and punctuality are required from pupils.  School opens to receive pupils at 8:50 each morning. Pupils`reason for absence must be give in writing to the school preferably via Aladdin. When a pupil has to leave school early (i.e. before 2.40pm) a note from parents must be brought to the class teacher stating the time at which the pupil is to leave. Please refer to School Attendance Policy.


It is the policy of the school to assign homework on a regular basis.  The time taken for this will vary from child to child, but should in most cases take between 30 minutes and one hour.  Homework is recorded in the pupil’s journal.  Parents should sign the homework journal to confirm that the work has been fully attempted.

If for some reason homework (or part of it) cannot be completed, parents are asked to note this in the homework journal.

Generally, homework is not given at weekends.  Written work must be done neatly and carefully.  Graffiti on textbooks and copy books is not permitted.  Please refer to the school Homework Policy for further information.


Students are not permitted to have piercings, pendants or smart watches.

Mobile phones/IPods/Electronic Games

Use of mobile phones, IPods and electronic games during school hours is strictly forbidden.  However, if for any reason a pupil takes a phone to school, it must be left switched off and given to the Principal for the day.Any infringement of this rule will involve the confiscation of the phone and any other electronic equipment and will only be returned to the parent or guardian of the pupil after 24 hours, or after the weekend.

School Uniform

All pupils must wear the correct school uniform. The school tracksuit is worn for PE days or days on which matches, athletics, swimming or tennis is scheduled. The formal uniform is worn for days in which there is no scheduled sports or PE activities.

School journal

The school journal is an important communication tool between parents and the school.  Please read and sign the journal each night.
Examples of Unacceptable Behaviour
Three levels of misbehaviour are recognised: Minor, Serious and Gross. All everyday instances of a minor nature are dealt with by the class teacher, or the supervising teacher at break-times.  In cases of repeated serious misbehaviour or single instances of gross misbehaviour parents will be involved at an early stage and invited to meet the teacher and/or the principal to discuss their sons behaviour.
Examples of minor misbehaviour include:
·      Bringing electronic equipment or mobile-phones to school
·      Not wearing appropriate uniform; bringing in chewing-gum
·      Not following instructions.

Examples of serious misbehaviour include:
·      Behaviour that is hurtful (including bullying, harassment, discrimination and victimisation)
·      Behaviour that interferes with teaching and learning
·      Threats or physical hurt to another person
·      Damage to property
·      Theft
·      Bringing dangerous equipment to school
·      Leaving school/school activities without permission.

Examples of gross misbehaviour include:
·      Assault on a teacher or pupil
·      Serious theft
·      Serious damage to property
·      Serious bullying
·      Carrying drugs, alcohol, cigarettes

The above is intended as examples rather than serving as a comprehensive list of discouraged behaviours.

*Addendum to Serious and Gross Misbehaviours:
In the light of the school’s reopening during the Covid 19 pandemic the following rules will need to be adhered to by all pupils to best ensure the safety of all.
Arrive and depart from the school premises at the agreed time.
Wash hands thoroughly before entering school premises and while at school, washing hands for at least 20 seconds more often than usual with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
Remain in designated seating within the classroom during lesson time
Keep a safe distance from other pupils.
Maintain healthy practice when coughing or sneezing,
Refrain from spitting or coughing at or towards other pupils and members of staff.
Maintain responsibility for their own equipment, eg stationery and water bottles. These cannot be shared with others.
Tell a member of staff if they are feeling unwell.
A child who is consistently and deliberately breaking the above rules will have to work in isolation from his peers. His parents will be contacted to encourage him to improve his behaviour. If the behaviour persists his parents will be called to collect him from school. This sanction will follow the rules in relation to suspension as outlined below.
Bullying is repeated aggression – physical, verbal or emotional - conducted by an individual or group against another or others.

·  PHYSICAL: includes pushing, shoving, punching, kicking, poking, tripping,`spitting, biting, etc.
·  VERBAL: name calling which hurts, insults or humiliates.
·  EMOTIONAL: threats or persistent hurtful remarks regarding sensitive areas e.g. appearance, dress, progress, colour, culture and disability. Isolating or shunning a child. Threats to extort money or possessions. “Cyber/text” bullying.

The school takes particular care to intervene early in responding to the needs, fears or anxieties of individual members in a sensitive manner.

Issues in relation to Bullying are explored continually during SPHE lessons and using Circle Time, Drama etc.

Should a parent/guardian have any concerns which need to be discussed with a teacher, all staff members are more than willing to facilitate a meeting, made through the proper channels i.e. a phone call to the office, or a note to the class teacher to arrange a convenient time for both parties. The first person to be informed should be the class teacher.

This arrangement ensures that all concerns are dealt with in a dignified, meaningful manner, without infringing on valuable teaching time.
Isolated incidents of aggressive behaviour, while not to be condoned, cannot be described as bullying.

Incidents of bullying will be dealt with in the same manner as breaches of discipline – already outlined in our Code of Behaviour.

In the case where a parent reports a bullying incident, the school reserves the right to inform the relevant parties of the identity of the person making the complaint, when this is deemed necessary.
Sanctions for Minor Misbehaviour
All efforts are made for the pupil to understand the impact of his behaviour on others.
He is given an opportunity to make amends.
Consequences, in accordance with those drawn up in the class contract(eg loss of dojo points, ball moved to orange basket) are given but with an opportunity to receive those points and awards again if behaviour improves.
Continuous and repeated incidents of minor misbehaviour by a pupil may be deemed to constitute serious misbehaviour in so far as these behaviours interfere with the teaching and learning in school.

Sanctions Serious Misbehaviour

Stage 1 – Warning/Reflection
Reflection: Pupil fills out reflection form appropriate to his class level which must be signed by his parents and the principal

Stage 2 – Reflection & Detention
Pupil has to complete a reflection form appropriate to his class level(eg picture drawn in Infants, Template 1 1st-3rd   Template 2 4th-6th   Class/yard teacher or principal sends the pupil to another class with work (note to parents in journal)

Stage 3 – Booking Detention and Contract
If a pupil receives two reflection forms in any four school weeks the class teacher and pupil go to the office and draw up a written behaviour agreement.  This contract will be signed in the presence of the Principal.  A copy of the written behaviour agreement will be posted to parents and returned and signed.

Stage 4 – Case Conference
If the child’s misbehaviour persists  the child’s parents will be asked to meet the class teacher and principal.  The child will be asked to give a written undertaking that he/she will behave in school.  This will be witnessed and signed by Parent/Parents or guardian.

Stage 5 – Internal Suspension/Shortened Day
An Internal Suspension is when a pupil is removed from their own base class and is placed in another class for up to five school days.  The pupil is sent with work to the other class. This will be activated when stages 1-4 and  are exhausted or when a series of misbehaviours(ie three or more reflection forms given) occurs. A shortened day may be more productive for developing the desired behaviours in some cases. This may be deemed a more appropriate action, dependant on the pupil.

Stage 6 – Suspension
This procedure is used in the case of gross misbehaviour, a series of serious misbehaviours and or health & safety grounds:

a)    If stage 4 is exhausted or there is a single incident of gross misbehaviour the Principal requests a meeting with the parents.  If considered warranted the Principal reserves the right to suspend the pupil for 3 days initially.  This power of suspension is delegated to the principal by the school Board of Management.
b)    In certain circumstances the Principal with the approval of their Chairperson of the BoM may suspend a pupil for up to 5 school days
c)     A meeting of the BoM may authorise further suspension up to a maximum of 10 days.  The BoM should normally place a ceciling of ten days on any one period of suspension imposed by it. Suspension will be in accordance with Section 23 of the Education Welfare Act 2000.

A single incident of gross misbehaviour may be grounds for suspension

Minor Incidents in the yard are communicated to the class teacher of the pupils concerned.
Major incidents(resulting in injury, or the threat of injury) are recorded in the Office Incident Folder

Parents of a pupil who has been suspended for 20 school days or more are entitled under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 to appeal such a suspension.

Stage 7 – Expulsion
This procedure may be considered in an extreme case, in accordance with Section 23 of the Education Welfare Act 2000.

Grounds for Expulsion
·       Behaviour is a persistent cause of significant disruption to the learning of others or to the teaching process
·       Continued presence of pupil constitutes a real and significant threat to safety
·       Pupil responsible for serious damage to property.
        Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour toward a pupil or staff member.

The above is a list of examples only: it is not intended to be a total list of misdemeanours

Automatic Expulsion
BoM may sanction automatic expulsion for certain prescribed behaviours, even if they are a first offence:
1.     Sexual Assault
2.     Possession of illegal drugs
3.     Supplying illegal drugs to other pupils in the school
4.     Actual violence or physical assault
5.     Serious threat of violence against another pupil or member of staff.

Procedures in Respect to Expulsion
1.     Detail investigation by school principal
2.     Recommendation by principal to BoM
3.     BoM considers Principal’s recommendation and holds hearing
4.     BoM decision, is expulsion appropriate?  If BoM recommends expulsion, the BoM will propose a date which will allow          a 20-day cooling off period
5.     Education Welfare Officer is informed of proposal to expel pupil and effective date of that proposal
6.     Parents of the pupil are informed of rights to invoke a Section 29 appeal under the Education Act 1998
7.     Education Welfare Officer arranges consultations
8.     Confirmation of decision.

The essence of our code of behaviour is valuing people and encouraging them to accept responsibility for their own behaviour and to develop self discipline.

This Policy will be reviewed in_____________.

This Policy was ratified by a member of the school Board of Management on __________2020.

Signed: ________________________
           Chairperson of the Board of

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