Code of behaviour

Polasaí d’Iompar Dearfach

Positive Behaviour Policy

Scoil an Droichid

Ours aims are that;

 

  • we implement a policy, based on the values we cherish in Scoil an Droichid, that will receive the support of, and be followed by, everyone connected to the school, including parents, teachers, children and governors.
  • we nurture a friendly and caring atmosphere in the school, where teaching and learning of the highest degree can occur in a safe and happy environment.
  • we teach core values and opinions through the common curriculum as well as skills and knowledge in order to nurture a responsible behaviour and self discipline among pupils and encourage them to respect themselves, others and school equipment.
  • we encourage good behaviour rather than criticising bad through the use of a series of rewards for children of every age and ability.
  • we ensure that children from an early age understand that misbehaviour or antisocial behaviour will not be tolerated and to make clear the difference between a minor infringement of rules and something that is more serious.
  • we deal with problems when they arise in an understanding and careful manner to ensure a gradual improvement in behaviour.

 

The above aims are achievable in a secure happy environment where children feel valued, where they have had some input into the rules, where rewards and sanctions have been agreed, where they see consistency. Adults can provide good role models for children by treating everyone with respect and by being seen to be fair.

Children are more likely to give of their best in a relaxed atmosphere where they are praised and encouraged to do their best and where their efforts and improvements are recognised. Promoting positive behaviour and attitudes, and developing self-esteem are essential to the establishment of good discipline, and to the overall aim of developing fully the potential of all the children.

At the core of discipline there should be a concern for the safety and wellbeing of all the children. Discipline in school should not be seen as a punishment, but as a training of children to behave in a socially acceptable way while in the care of members of staff. The aim of discipline should be positive but some forms of sanctions should be agreed as part of the training of the child in this way.

Managing behaviour in a positive manner

One of the principle aims of this policy is to encourage the children to practice good behaviour and we believe that the most effective discipline is based on the positive approach. Children respond much more positively to praise than to threats or condemnation and are more likely to improve when they are being praised. In order to facilitate this aim the school conducts an awards scheme whereby staff may present children with certificates or stickers in reward for high standards of work in an academic or non-academic subject area, excellent attempts in aspects of school work, of behaviour or for full attendance or excellent punctuality every day in a given month, high standard or effort to achieve high standard of spoken Irish.

Praise will be given in appropriate ways and may include

 

  • a quiet word or smile of acknowledgement
  • a written comment detailing a specific point
  • a visit to another adult for commendation
  • a public word in front of peers
  • a public reference to adults
  • a specific mention at assembly
  • a star, sticker, prize
  • a special certificate
  • a specific mention to parents
  • a reference on school written report

 

Moreover the children are verbally praised as often as possible. Outstanding work by the pupils is displayed regularly in the school in order to highlight the value given to such achievements among the children. It is hoped that this positive affirmation will encourage other children to emulate such work or behaviour.

Some children will earn credit easily while others will have greater difficulty. It is important that every child has the opportunity to gain praise, and this may mean `catching’ a child doing something commendable and giving praise on the spot. Such action may create the opportunity for a more difficult child to see his /her actual potential for good behaviour, and savouring this kind of success could inspire them.

Managing unacceptable behaviour

All children need to know where the boundaries lie between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. Some children find it easier than others to recognise boundaries. In Scoil an Droichid we use agreed sanctions to establish clear boundaries so that all children will understand what behaviour is acceptable. This will protect the authority of staff members and the safety of the whole school community. The discipline of all children in Scoil an Droichid is a shared responsibility of the staff.

Sanctions should always be

 

  • Constructive
  • Related to the misdemeanour not the child
  • Applied sensitively with flexibility and discrimination
  • Be specific to the culprit, not to a whole group

 

Where possible children should be consulted about the fairness and suitability of the sanction, and why it is being applied. In all matters relating to the maintenance of discipline and the application of sanctions we must remember that our aim is to help the children in Scoil an Droichid to develop self discipline, and to begin to take responsibility for their actions. We provide them, where possible, with opportunities to put right the wrong they have done, in order to build and maintain their self esteem, and we praise behaviour that indicates that they have learned a lesson from a previous misdemeanour. We strive to help children establish the boundaries in a non-aggressive way.

Sanctions will include

 

  • Immediate verbal check of misbehaviour
  • A reprimand, incorporating advice on apologising
  • A minor relevant penalty
  • Extra or repeated work
  • Loss of freedom
  • Loss of privileges
  • Referral to principal
  • Consultation with parents
  • Suspension or expulsion

 

The method employed by the teacher will depend on each individual situation, for example if the incident is a one off incident or if it is an ongoing problem.

Procedures relating to cases of extreme or consistent bad behaviour can be found in Appendix 1

Final sanctions would be effected by the principal in consultation with the Board of Governors. Partnerships with Home are extremely important in Scoil an Droichid. For children who are struggling to meet behavioural expectations or who need extra encouragement or support, we operate a system where a co-operation form is agreed & positive behaviour targeted.

The role of parents and guardians

Standards of behaviour are already well established in children before they come to school. Standards will vary from home to home and from one family to another, but conflict arises when the expectations in school differ from those in the home.

In a small community such as a family home, individual needs can be facilitated without too much disturbance, but in a larger community such as school the needs of the whole community should take priority over the needs of any individual.

A child’s reaction to anything new is usually influenced by the reaction of others around him/her. A child’s acceptance of a set of rules for behaviour is also influenced by the attitudes of those at home and in their home environment. Therefore, parental acceptance of the school’s expectations, and support in promoting socially acceptable behaviour, is fundamental to the success of the school’s behaviour policy.

Although parents/guardians are not in school with their child their influence on the child is still greater than that of any teacher.

Parents/guardians have a duty to ensure that their child does not cause injury or damage to any person or property. We would ask that parents discuss the school rules with their child and point out their importance. In accepting a place in the school for their child they are accepting the general policy and rules of discipline of the school and they therefore have an obligation to promote these.

The co-operation of parents/guardians is sought in relation to maintaining high standards of;

 

  • pupil attendance,
  • punctuality,
  • personal appearance,
  • the wearing of school uniform,
  • caring for learning materials
  • the supervision of homework.
  • behaviour and attitude to adults and to other children

 

Co-operation between school and parents is central to the development of each child. Parents are always welcome in Scoil an Droichid and we encourage parents to come to meetings organized in school and to keep us informed about any matter that might be significant to their child’s happiness and development at school. Likewise if we are concerned about a child’s development, behaviour, or attitude we will contact the parents and discuss the matter. Maintaining this partnership is crucial to the success of the School Positive Behaviour Policy.

Appendix 1

In the case of an ongoing problem parents will be informed and the situation will be monitored to see if input from home has a beneficial effect.

If something serious takes place such as:

 

  • School equipment or that of the teacher damaged purposely;
  • Leaving school without permission or staying away from school;
  • Child using bad language with another child, a teacher or anyone else in the school;
  • Threatening to fight or hurt another child in any way or a physical assault on anyone;
  • Putting another child in danger;
  • Bullying;
  • Stealing;
  • Disturbing class work;
  • Refusing to do work for the teacher.

 

The above happen less frequently but when they do occur, the teacher should deal with them decisively especially if they are reoccurring. There are appropriate steps to follow when such problems arise and if not resolved the next step will be taken. Each step will be recorded.

Ways to resolve problems:

 

  • To inform parents of the behaviour;
  • To conduct a formal interview with the parents;
  • To carry out a daily report on the child;
  • To seek compensation when a child is found guilty;
  • To remove the child temporarily from the school;
  • To maintain regular contact between the parent and the school and to issue a warning about the child’s behaviour;
  • To suspend the child from the school.

 

If a child is to be suspended the following steps should be taken:

 

  • Only the Principal may suspend a child, in conjunction with the Board of Governors.
  • A child may be suspended for no more than five days.
  • When a child is suspended, the Principal must do the following:
  • Forward a letter to the Parents, the Board of Governors and the Education and Library Board indicating the reason for suspension and how long it will continue.
  • Invite the parents to come and discuss the case.
  • Point out to the parents that the school authorities recognise that the child is entirely under the jurisdiction of the parents when not at school.
  • If the suspension is to be extended this cannot be done without due permission from the Board of Governors and without first of all writing to the Education and Library Board and the parents informing them of the decision.

 

Parents have the right to appeal a decision to suspend a child and to bring this to a hearing of the Board of Governors.

Appendix 2

Anti-bullying Ethos

Bullying involves violence on other children. It can be physical, verbal or in the mind of the child who is being made the victim of bullying. It involves a child or a group of children imposing their rule on other children. It can be short or long-term. It does not happen by mistake.

There are many different kinds of bullying.

Physical – Tripping up another child, kicking, writing a demeaning note about another child.

Threatening – Threatening anything on another child such as “I’ll get you after school”.

Verbal – name-calling, making fun of or belittling in any way another child.

Stealing money off another child or forcing them to hand over sweets etc.

The school grounds must be made safe for every child. Bullying can take place in any part of the school. Likewise children should not be subject to such bullying or feel threatened or pressurised when travelling to and from school.

Issues regarding children’s emotions in relation to school, friends and worries are regularly discussed during Circle Time and all children discuss what constitutes bullying, how to protect themselves and the possible results ensuing from bullying incidents.

Any of the following can inform the school of bullying as and when they witness it occurring – the child itself, the child’s friends, a parent, a teacher or any other person who is associated with the school or the child.

Strategies to deal with bullying

 

  • Below are a series of approaches that are used in Gaelscoil na Móna depending on the seriousness of the bullying incident.
  • Staff must always be prepared to listen, even to the child guilty of bullying as they themselves are often the victim of bullying in another setting.
  • Have a long discussion with the victim. This will require patience and understanding. Always remember the following: listen, believe and do something.
  • Determine who is behind the bullying. Acquire the names of other children who have seen the incident, if possible.
  • Collect evidence.
  • Discuss the case with those responsible for the bullying. Give them the details and ask them to tell you the truth about what happened. Make it clear that such behaviour is totally unacceptable in Scoil an Droichid.
  • Speak with the parents of the victim and those of the bullies separately.
  • If it can be proved that there was bullying taking place, there should be some form of appropriate punishment given depending on the seriousness of the incident. The person responsible for the bullying could be denied that which they enjoyed most at school, playtime, or play at lunchtime, for example. If the incident was more serious the child may be suspended from school according to the rules for suspension above.
  • Monitor the case, watching at lunchtime and playtime. Discuss the affair with the perpetrators to make sure it does not reoccur.
  • >If the situation improves those who were involved in the bullying should be allowed to return to the normal school timetable and good follow-up behaviour should be praised and rewarded if possible.
  • All staff members should be alert to the possibility that bullying is taking place. A teacher should be concerned if there is a sudden change in a child’s behaviour or if their work is continuously deteriorating without any reason. If a child tells a teacher that there is bullying taking place in the classroom that teacher should let the child know that something will be done to rectify the situation.

 

As part of the curriculum, bullying and the implications of it should be discussed with the school children and the material covered at a level that is in keeping with the age level of the children

Appendix 3

Equal Opportunities Policy

Our aim in Scoil an Droichid is to ensure that each child who comes to the school has the same opportunities, irrespective of their age, ability, sex, religion or background. We wish every child to reach their own potential during their time with us. It is on this basis that we organise all our teaching and we are confident that the opinions and the practice prevalent throughout the school will support the child’s development.

Girls and boys will undertake the same curriculum and will have the same opportunities to partake in extra curricular activities both in and out of school hours.

School equipment/resources are carefully chosen to ensure that undue emphasis is not given to any particular sex. The same time and attention is given to every child whether boy or girl.

Children are encouraged to work and play with every other child, both boys and girls. Children will be given opportunity to work with adults of both sexes, within staff constraints.

Queues, groups, seat layouts in classrooms etc. will be organised according to appropriate criteria such as age, friendship and subject ability, but not according to the sex of the child.

The school rules and disciplinary procedures throughout the school will be applied equally to both boys and girls.

A school uniform is worn to further nurture the sense of equality among children.

Appendix 4

Complaints Procedure – Policy Statement

At Scoil an Droichid we are committed to listening about our service. We will use this information, wherever possible, to help maintain and improve our service. We encourage and welcome all comments and views, both positive and negative.

This policy is designed to establish a clear mechanism for the resolution of complaints that can be verbal, written, taped or E-mailed. Our comments / complaints policy is outlined below.

Aims

Our Complaints Procedure aims to:

 

  • provide an efficient and thorough system through which issues are effectively addressed
  • facilitate the school in providing the best possible service for its pupils and the local community
  • provide a simple, speedy and accessible service that respects confidentiality
  • be courteous and respectful
  • address issues arising from complaints in a fair and honest manner within the timescales set out
  • treat individuals and groups with openness, equality and inclusiveness
  • keep people informed of progress and the final outcome of the issues raised
  • be simple, easily accessible and easy to use.

 

These procedures do not replace or supplement other established procedures and/or appeals mechanisms in such areas as Child Protection, Special Education, Admissions, Suspensions and Expulsions etc.

In addition, where it becomes evident at an early stage that the nature of your complaint may give rise to future disciplinary action, these procedures will be set aside in favour of other established

Disciplinary Procedures.

We are not able to deal with anonymous complaints and therefore these procedures do not provide for a resolution of anonymous complaints except for the referral of child protection concerns to the appropriate Child Protection Procedures and Guidelines.

What to Expect under these Procedures

Your rights as a person making a complaint

In dealing with your complaint we will ensure that you receive:

 

  • fair treatment;
  • courtesy;
  • a timely response;
  • accurate advice;
  • respect for your privacy – concerns will be treated as confidentially as possible allowing for the possibility that we may have to consult with other appropriate Agencies about your complaint;
  • reasons for our decisions.

 

Where there are grounds to your complaint we will acknowledge this and address the issues you have raised. Similarly, we will ensure that you are clearly advised where we believe that there are no grounds to your complaint.

Your responsibilities as a person making a complaint

In raising an issue we would expect that you:

 

  • raise issues in a timely manner;
  • treat our staff as professionals, in a non-threatening manner and with respect and courtesy;
  • provide accurate and concise information in relation to the issue you raise;
  • use these procedures fully and to engage in them at the appropriate levels.

 

In addition, we would expect that you have reasonable grounds for making a complaint and are not seeking to invoke these or other procedures as a means of dealing with issues that would be more appropriately dealt with in other ways.

Making a Complaint

Stage 1 – Informal – Speaking with the Teacher concerned

In the first instance a complaint or concern should normally be referred verbally to the class teacher concerned, so that they may be allowed an opportunity to address the issue, as in many instances, these can arise through a simple misunderstanding. You should observe the school’s existing protocols for arranging and conducting such approaches or meetings (contacting the teacher and arranging a convenient time to meet)

This approach would not prevent you from choosing to enter the process at a later stage, if you believe that to be an appropriate course of action.

Stage 2 – Informal – Speaking with the Principal

If your complaint remains unresolved you should arrange a meeting with the Principal to discuss the issue with him/her. You should let the Principal know in advance the nature of your concerns so that he/she can prepare for the meeting.

If you have concerns relating to the Principal, you should arrange a meeting with him/her to discuss the issues as at Stage 1.

In some circumstances the Principal will not be able to deal effectively with your concerns immediately and he/she will require some time over which to investigate and prepare a proper response. If further time is required you will be told of this.

Stage 3 – Formal – Writing to the Principal

Sometimes it will not be possible for you to have your complaint resolved at source through the informal routes proposed at Stages 1 and 2 or indeed it might be more appropriate to initiate the procedures at this stage. Your written complaint should be as concise as possible and address specifically the issue or issues that are of immediate concern to you. You will receive a written acknowledgement of your letter within 10 working days. This will confirm that your letter has been received, and either;

 

  • Provide a response to the issues you raised;
  • or,Indicate that your concerns are being fully investigated and the timeframe – a maximum of 20 working days from the date on which your letter was received – against which you can expect a response to be issued.

 

Stage 4 – Formal – In writing to Governor Sub-Committee

If you still believe that your complaint has not been dealt with in a satisfactory manner, or in a case where you decide to raise an issue at this level, you may write to the Chairperson of Board of Governors. The Chairperson will be responsible for bringing your complaint to a Governors’ Sub-Committee, which will investigate and respond to your complaint. Your written complaint should be as concise as possible and address specifically the issue or issues that are of immediate concern to you. However, where it is evident that the nature of your complaint may give rise to future disciplinary action, these procedures will be set aside in favour of other established Disciplinary Procedures which may subsequently involve Governors at another level.

You will receive a written acknowledgement of your letter within 10 working days. This will confirm that your letter has been received, and;

 

  • Provide a response to the issues you raised;
  • or,Indicate that your concerns are being fully investigated and the timeframe – a maximum of 25 working days from the date on which your written complaint was received – against which you can expect a response to be issued;
  • or,Indicate a date, time and place for you to attend a meeting with this Sub-Committee at which your concerns will be discussed in full. If this meeting is required, it will take place within 20 working days from the date on which your written complaint was received and you should expect a written response within a further 10 working days of the meeting having been held.

 

Appeals Process – Full Board of Governors

Finally, if you still believe that your complaint has not been addressed you may write to the Chairperson of Board of Governors requesting that you be allowed to meet with the full Board of Governors to appeal the outcomes. The Chairperson will be responsible for ensuring that you are invited to the next suitable scheduled meeting of Governors where your appeal will be heard. Your written request should be as concise as possible and set out specifically the grounds for your Appeal.

Again, where it is evident that the nature of your complaint may give rise to future disciplinary action, these procedures will be set aside in favour of other established Disciplinary Procedures which may subsequently involve Governors at another level.

You will receive a written acknowledgement of your letter within 10 working days. This will confirm that your letter has been received and provide you with the date and time of the meeting at which you will have an opportunity to discuss your concerns. Since this process is consultative in nature and not adversarial, a complainant will not have the right to be accompanied or represented by any other person, unless it is deemed appropriate by the Board of Governors. This meeting will normally take place within 30 working days of your Appeal request having been received.

Following this meeting, and within 10 working days of that meeting, you should expect a final written response. This will indicate the Governors’ findings, their recommendations and the reasons supporting their decisions.

Record Keeping

The School Principal shall maintain a record of all correspondence, conversations and meetings concerning your complaint. These records shall be held confidentially in the school and shall be kept apart from pupil records. All such records will be destroyed five years after the date of the last correspondence on the issue.

Our responses will be in plain Irish and English and we will attempt to address all the points and issues raised.

If you do not respond within a reasonable time to the outcome of an investigation into your comment / complaint we will assume that you are satisfied and do not require us to take further action.

This procedure does not provide a role for any other statutory or non-statutory body.

COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE FLOW CHART
complaintsflowchart

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