Code Of Behaviour
Code of Behaviour
This document has been produced by the Board of Management of the Fairgreen N.S., Belturbet, Co. Cavan. In formulating this code, the Board has considered suggestions from representatives of the parents of pupils attending the school. All members of staff have been involved in planning the code. Pupils have also been included in discussions regarding the Code of Behaviour. A copy will be available to all parents of pupils at the school.
In devising this code, consideration has been given to the particular needs and circumstances of this school. The vision of the school is to ensure that the individuality of each child is accommodated, while acknowledging that every child has the right to education in a disruption-free environment. The pupils are encouraged to treat others as they themselves would wish to be treated.
Every effort will be made by all members of staff to adopt a positive approach to the question of behaviour in school. The code offers a framework within which positive techniques of motivation and encouragement are utilised by the teachers.
This document has been drawn up with reference to the following legislation:
- The Education (Welfare) Act, 2000
- Guidelines produced by the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) 2008 as recommended by the Department of Education and Skills
- Circular 33/91
GOOD BEHAVIOUR AND THE DEVELOPING CHILD
The aims of primary education as laid down by the Department of Education are as follows:
- To enable the child to live a full life as a child.
- To 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.
These are broad aims, encompassing not only the acquisition of academic skills and knowledge, but also the complex range of social skills, attitudes and beliefs. A pupil’s self confidence and his attitude of social responsibility to others are essential parts of this personality. These traits can be developed best when the child is raised and taught in environments where good behaviour is expected of him/her.
Schools encourage the development of good behaviour for a second set of reasons. A happy and well-disciplined school is desirable as it enables all learning activities to run smoothly without tension and strain on pupils and teachers alike. Children learn by copying the behaviour of individuals in their environment, so good behaviour sets an example to younger children, while older children perform in a more mature and well-behaved manner if they know they are setting this example.
Aims of the Code of Behaviour
- To create a positive learning environment in which all children feel safe and can develop to their full potential
- To promote self-esteem and positive relationships
- To foster a sense of responsibility and self-discipline in pupils
- To support good behaviour patterns based on consideration and respect for the rights of others
- To foster caring attitudes to one another and to the environment
- To enable teachers to teach without disruption
- To encourage consistency of response to both positive and negative behaviour
- To encourage the involvement of both home and school in the implementation of this policy
- To provide guidance for pupils, teachers and parents on behavioral expectations
Principles of the Code of Behaviour
- The school recognises the variety of differences between children and the need to accommodate these differences; this includes physical, social, emotional, intellectual and artistic differences, as well as variety in ability, maturity and environmental circumstances.
- The school places greater emphasis on rewards than on sanctions in the belief that this will give the best results; positive reinforcement of good behaviour will encourage acceptable conduct better than criticism of unacceptable behaviour.
- It is agreed that a high standard of behaviour requires a strong sense of community within the school, and a high level of co-operation between staff, pupils and parents. A type of caring ‘family’ atmosphere is encouraged, with older pupils looking after younger pupils.
- Every effort will be made to ensure that the Code of Behaviour is enforced in a fair, reasonable and consistent manner.
- The rules are kept to a minimum, and are positively stated, where possible.
- The rules are devised with regard for the health, safety and welfare of the entire school community.
- Children are expected to comply with the school rules while attending or involved with school activities off the school premises e.g. Sports day, sporting events, school tours, library visits etc.
The Fairgreen National School is a Parish School reflecting and promoting the ethos and characteristic spirit of the Church of Ireland. The school seeks to uphold and express the doctrines, moral teachings, traditions, practices and customs of the Church of Ireland as defined by the General Synod. This distinctive spiritual and moral dimension undergirds and permeates the core values and daily life of the school.
The Patron of the school is the Bishop of Kilmore, Right Rev. Ferran Glenfield.
Within the context and parameters of Department of Education regulations and programmes, the fairgreen NS supports the principles of
- Respect for diversity of values, beliefs, traditions, languages and cultures of our modern society
- Equality of access and participation
- Parental choice
Mission Statement of the Fairgreen N.S.
- To provide education within a Protestant Christian ethos
- To promote learning within a happy caring atmosphere
- To encourage each child to fulfil his/her potential regardless of gender, race or creed
- To acknowledge, appreciate and nurture the uniqueness of each individual child
- To assist all children in acquiring the skills necessary to gather knowledge and to understand their environment e.g. listening, talking, reading, discussing, evaluating, researching, recording etc.
- To stimulate and develop an enquiring mind by providing learning experiences suited to each child’s individual aptitude and ability
- To provide spiritual, moral and aesthetic education suited to each child’s age, aptitude and ability
- To encourage all children to play their part in the life of the school, and in so doing, to develop caring attitudes in their relationships with others
- To foster positive attitudes towards leisure activities with an appreciation of personal safety and the safety of others while engaging in such pursuits
- To foster an appreciation of and respect for nature and the environment
- To develop good home-school liaison which is an essential and integral part of the provision of appropriate education
RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Rights of Pupils
Pupils have the right to expect to:
be treated fairly, consistently and with respect:
learn and to be educated in a relatively disruption-free environment;
be safe from bullying and abuse;
have their individual differences recognised and catered for;
be listened to, and to question, at appropriate times;
make mistakes and to learn from them;
have positive behaviour affirmed;
have misbehaviour dealt with appropriately
The Rights of Teachers and Ancillary Staff
Teachers and ancillary staff have the right to expect to:
be treated with respect;
teach in a safe, well-maintained physical environment, relatively free from disruption;
receive support and co-operation from colleagues, ancillary staff and parents and the Board in order to achieve the school’s aims and objectives;
access appropriate support services to cater for the psychological, emotional and physical needs of the pupils;
be listened to, and participate in decision-making which affects their own work and that of the school in general;
work in an atmosphere that encourages professional development;
receive support and professional advice from the Board of Management, Department of Education and Skills, Tusla The Child and Family Agency, National Council for Special Education and National Educational Psychological Service.
Parents and Guardians have the right to expect to:
be treated with respect;
have a safe and welcoming environment for their child;
obtain recognition of individual differences among pupils, having due regard for the resources that are available;
have fair and consistent procedures applied to the school’s dealings with pupils;
communicate with teachers on matters of mutual interest or concern;
have contact at an early stage to discuss difficulties / problems;
receive progress reports in accordance with agreed school policy;
be consulted in relation to the school’s code of behaviour.
The Responsibilities of the Board of Management
- The Board of Management of the school is responsible for ensuring that a fair and efficient Code of Behaviour, encompassing rules, sanctions and procedures, is drawn up and applied in the school. Any such code has as its aim the maintenance of desirable standards of behaviour, particularly in fostering understanding and co-operation between teachers, pupils and parents and in helping schools to adapt to the needs of its pupils while establishing the basis for responsible actions by the pupils.
- The Board of Management should be supportive of the principal and staff in the application of the Code of Behaviour in a fair and reasonable manner.
- In the selection of teachers, particularly of principals, the Board of Management should take account of the qualities necessary to deal effectively with behaviour and discipline in the school.
- The Board should ratify the Code and review it on a regular basis.
The Responsibilities of the Principal
The Principal is responsible for
- overall discipline in the school, in his/her own classroom and outside it, while sharing a common responsibility for good order within the school premises
- encouraging a sense of collective responsibility among staff
- encouraging a sense of commitment to the school among pupils and their parents
- creating the right climate within which individuals in the school community can fulfil their responsibilities
- providing guidance and support in the implementation of the school policy on behaviour
- ensuring that the school’s Code of Behaviour is administered in a manner which is consistent and fair to all pupils
The Responsibilities of the Teachers
The teachers should
- implement the agreed code in a fair, consistent and effective manner
- create a positive climate with realistic expectations
- provide a caring and effective learning environment.
- promote positive behaviour, through example, honesty and courtesy
- encourage relationships based on kindness, respect and understanding of the needs of others
- ensure fair treatment for all regardless of age, gender, race, ability and disability
- show appreciation of the efforts and contribution of all
- recognise and affirm effort and achievement
- recognise individual talents and differences
- prepare for and correct pupils’ work
- consider themselves responsible at all times for the behaviour of children within sight or sound of them
- respond promptly and firmly to any instances of unacceptable behaviour
- keep a written record of incidents of serious misbehavior or repeated instances of minor misbehaviour
- liaise with and support colleagues
- communicate with parents when necessary, regarding issues about behaviour
The Responsibilities of Parents / Guardians
Parents are expected to
- treat staff, pupils and parents of other children with courtesy and respect
- encourage pupils to have a sense of respect for themselves, for others, and for property
- ensure that pupils attend school regularly and punctually (See Appendix 4)
- ensure that pupils wear the correct school Uniform (see Appendix 1)
- ensure that their child has the correct books and materials required for class
- encourage and support their child’s school work and related activities
- ensure that their child’s homework is completed to the best of their ability
- be aware of the aims, values and behavioural requirements of the school, in particular the Code of Behaviour
- co-operate with the schools by encouraging their children to abide by the school code
- support the staff in the application of the code, particularly in instances where their child’s behaviour is giving cause for concern
- provide a supportive home environment
- communicate to the school any external factors which may influence their child’s behaviour, and talk in confidence to the class teacher about any significant developments in a child’s life, in the past or present, which may affect the child’s behaviour
- communicate regularly with teachers regarding their child’s progress make personal contact with a staff member, or provide a note, text or phone call, if they wish to collect their child during school hours (e.g. for a dental appointment)
- inform the school when their child has contracted an infectious or contagious illness e.g. chicken-pox
- be aware of and become involved with the Parents’ Association
- Attend Parent-Teacher meetings when invited to do so
The Responsibilities of Pupils
Pupils are expected to
- attend school regularly and punctually
- have their books, materials and equipment ready for use
- respect the right of every child to learn
- work quietly and to the best of their ability at all times
- listen to their teacher’s advice on how to improve, and learn from their mistakes, correcting work if required
- listen to the teachers and act on their instructions the first time they are told
- show respect for all members of the school community
- be aware of, and show respect for, the needs, preferences, likes, dislikes and abilities of others
- listen to others and wait their turn to speak
- take care of their own belongings and respect the property of others
- remain seated and continue working, if the teacher has to leave the room
- ensure that their behaviour never causes a risk or danger to others
- avoid all inappropriate or foul language, nasty remarks, cursing swearing or name-calling
- include and involve others in their games and activities
- remember that bullying is not acceptable and will not be tolerated in any form (See Anti-Bullying Policy)
- keep the school neat and tidy
- stay in the permitted areas, and only leave the school premises with permission
STRATEGIES TO AFFIRM AND PROMOTE
The day-to-day excellence of school management and classroom teaching will enable most pupils to behave in ways that support their own learning and development.
Teachers and other school staff also need a range of strategies for promoting good behaviour at class and school level. The lists below are not exhaustive.
The school management and teachers acknowledge that pupils are more likely to behave well when:
- they are given responsibility in the school and are involved in the development of the code of behaviour
- they understand why the code is important and their part in making it work
- they can see that the code works in a fair way
- there are standards that set high expectations for student behaviour
- the standards are clear, consistent and widely understood
- parents support the school by encouraging good learning behaviour
- there are good relationships between teachers, parents and students and a happy school atmosphere
- adults model the behaviour that is expected from students
Other strategies to encourage and promote good behaviour include:
- positive everyday interactions between teachers and students
- good school and class routines
- clear boundaries and rules for the students
- helping students themselves to recognise and affirm good learning behaviour
- recognising and giving positive feedback about behaviour
- exploring with pupils how people should treat each other
- involving students in the preparation of the school and classroom rules
The staff will endeavour to praise and encourage good work and behaviour both in the classroom and in the playground. Each individual teacher will devise his/her own system of rewards within the classroom. In promoting good behaviour among the pupils, there is an emphasis on rewards, praise and encouragement.
Praise may be given by means of any of the following:
- a quiet word or gesture to show approval
- a comment in a pupil’s exercise book
- stars or stickers
- a visit to another member of staff or to the Principal for commendation
- a word of praise in front of a group or class
- display or demonstration of child’s work
- homework reward
- golden time
- a system of merit marks
- delegating some special responsibility or privilege
- informing parent by written or verbal communication
- certificates and awards
- treat time
SCHOOL RULES AND PROCEDURES
The Purpose and Content of School Rules
In order to facilitate the smooth running and the day-to-day operation of the school, it is necessary to have a list outlining the procedures and methods used in the school.
When a pupil enters the school grounds, a level of behaviour is expected which conforms to the aims of the Fairgreen National School. A child dressed in the school uniform should be aware that they are portraying not only themselves, but also their parents, their school and their community, and consequently should acquit themselves appropriately.
These rules and procedures are designed with the best interests of the children in mind, with their health and safety taken into consideration, and in the hope that all pupils may enjoy a safe and happy learning environment.
The following rules and procedures apply to all pupils of the Fairgreen NS.
(1) In the Yard / Playground
- School doors open at 9:15a.m. and pupils should immediately proceed into their classrooms (See Arrivals and Departures Policy – APPENDIX 2)
- Once a pupils enters the school grounds, they may not leave again without the express permission of a staff member
- In the interests of Health and Safety, pupils are not permitted to climb on school walls, gates or railings
- Pupils are expected to behave with due regard to those smaller or younger than themselves, during the course of their playtime and games
- Pupils are asked to take care to not knock over or bump into other pupils as a result of running too fast
- When a pupil has been spoken to about behaviour in the yard, it is expected that instructions will be obeyed
- The school gates will be kept shut at all times, but in particular during break-time and lunch-time when children are in the yard
- Pupils are expected to go to the toilet before they leave the school building, so that they will not need to go back inside during playtime
- Pupils are not permitted to return to the classrooms during playtime without the express permission of the teacher on yard duty
- Food is not permitted in the yard, with the exception of a piece of fruit, which a child may eat while watching the others playing
- Any problems or issues in the yard are reported first to the member of staff on yard duty
- Pupils are not permitted around the back of the school without the teacher’s permission; this area is not included in the designated play area for the pupils
- Pupils who bring out the play equipment such as skipping ropes, balls, bats etc, are expected to put it back in the play boxes in the corridor at the end of playtime
- The bell rings to signify the end of playtime, and all pupils line up at their respective doors
- Pupils stand quietly in line while waiting to be brought inside by their teacher, the most junior class stands at the front of the line and the most senior at the back
- Pupils should go straight home at the conclusion of school
(2) In School
- Full school uniform should be worn every day (See School Uniform Policy – APPENDIX 1) and any child not wearing proper uniform should have a note from their parents explaining why
- Non-uniform days may be permitted at the discretion of the staff
- Pupils are expected to come to school clean and tidy
- Any pupils with long hair should have it tied back during class-time, using a bobble, plait, hairband or other method
- No body piercing is allowed, with the exception of stud earrings
- Long or dangling earrings or hoops are not allowed, for safety reasons
- Make-up is not allowed
- Extreme haircuts or hair colouring is not allowed
- Healthy lunches and snacks should be brought to school (See APPENDIX 3 – healthy Eating Policy)
- Pupils should walk in the school rooms and in the corridor
- Pupils are expected to use polite language, and any foul language, cursing or swearing will be seen as a serious breach of the school rules
- School property must always be treated with respect
- Older pupils set a good example and protect and care for the younger pupils
- Interference with the fire safety equipment is strictly forbidden
- Mobile phones, i-pods and other items of technology belonging to the pupils are not permitted in school
- The school will not accept responsibility for items of technology if they are brought to school
- When pupils are using the school laptops, i-pads or computers, they are expected to use them only for the tasks set by the teachers, and must abide by the schools policy for acceptable use of the internet
(3) In class
- All pupils are expected to do their best at all times
- Pupils are expected to have the correct equipment and books for their classes, and to have it ready when requested to do so
- Pupils must respect the right of all students to a safe learning environment
- Pupils must not in any way disrupt or distract others from the task or learning taking place
- Pupils are expected to compete assigned work and hand it up for marking if requested to do so
- Homework is a valuable link between school and home, and as such, should be completed carefully, neatly and in full
- Homework may be written or oral, and may take the form of researching or learning about a topic
- The Homework Diary is an integral part of record-keeping regarding homework
- The school policy on Homework should be read and consulted if necessary
Be respectful to other people.
Always be kind to others.
- Be obedient to the teacher.
Obey the teacher’s instructions the first time.
- Put your hand up to answer a question or get teacher’s attention.
Wait your turn if teacher is busy.
- Be polite.
Say please, thank you, excuse me etc.
- Listen attentively.
Listen to the teacher, or another pupil.
- Work quietly.
This means that everyone can concentrate and get on with his or her work without interruptions.
- Try your best at all times.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again!
- Keep yourself, your desk and belongings tidy.
This will make our room a nicer place to work in.
SANCTIONS AND PROCEDURES REGARDING MISBEHAVIOUR
Three levels of misbehaviour are recognized: 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 child’s behaviour.
It is accepted that there is a need for sanction to register disapproval of unacceptable behaviour. The degree of misdemeanours i.e. minor, serious or gross, will be judged by the teachers and/or Principal based on a common sense approach with regard to the gravity/frequency of such misdemeanours. Sanctions should, however, contain a degree of flexibility to take account of individual circumstances.
Misbehaviour should be checked immediately after it occurs, or as soon as possible afterwards.
Sanctions should make the distinction between minor and more serious misbehaviour clear to pupils.
It should be noted that these lists consist of examples only; it is not meant to be a totally comprehensive list of misdemeanours and procedural steps.
Examples of minor misbehaviour include:
- interrupting class work
- arriving late for school
- distracting other pupils
- running in the school building
- talking in the class
- leaving assigned seat without permission
- leaving litter around the school
- not wearing the correct school uniform
- being discourteous/unmannerly
- not completing homework without good reason
- not having homework signed by a parent if required
- placing unfinished food/drink cartons in class bin
- bringing electronic equipment or mobile-phones to school
- bringing in chewing-gum
- not following instructions
- inappropriate / rough behaviour in the yard
- not standing quietly in line when the bell rings
- Any continuous minor misbehavior or repeated instances of minor misbehavior will automatically become a more serious form of misbehavior.
Examples of serious misbehaviour include
- deliberately endangering self/fellow pupils in the school yard
- behaviour that is hurtful (including bullying, harassment, discrimination and victimisation)
- threats or physical hurt to another person
- behaviour that interferes with teaching and learning
- not working to full potential
- back answering a teacher
- refusal to co-operate in the learning environment
- using unacceptable language
- minor damage to school property
- wilfully damaging other pupil’s property
- being constantly disruptive in class
- telling lies
- leaving school yard without permission
- leaving school premises during school day without appropriate permission/
Examples of steps to be taken when dealing with serious misdemeanours:
- verbal reprimand (including advice on how to improve)
- reasoning with pupil
- prescribing extra work
- temporary separation from peers / friends
- detention during lunchtime
- loss of privileges
- sending to another teacher
- denial of participation in some class activity
- noting instance of yard misbehaviour in yard book
- write story of what happened Or one copy of school rules Or relevant rule to upper limit of 20 times—all to be signed by parent
- Referral to the Principal
- Where there are repeated instances of serious misbehaviour, the parents will be requested in writing to attend at the school to meet the class teacher / principal.
- Class teacher/ principal meets one/both parents
- If the parents do not give an undertaking that the pupil will behave in an acceptable manner in the future, the procedures for gross misdemeanors will be pursued in the event of another incident of a serious nature.
- Chairperson of Board Of Management is informed and parents requested to meet with the Chairperson and Principal
Examples of gross misbehaviour include
- aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards a teacher or pupil
- assault on a teacher
- assault on a pupil
- deliberately injuring a fellow pupil
- serious theft
- serious damage to property.
- serious bullying
- carrying drugs, alcohol, cigarettes.
- setting fire to school property
- interfering with fire safety equipment
- bringing dangerous items to school
- bringing weapons to school
Examples of steps to be taken when dealing with gross misdemeanours:
- In the case of gross misbehaviour, the Board of Management shall empower the Principal to sanction an immediate suspension, pending a discussion of the matter between the chairperson, principal and parents.
- Expulsion will be considered only after every effort at rehabilitation has failed and every other sanction exhausted.
- Suspension/expulsion will be in accordance with Rule 130 of the Rules for National Schools as amended by circular 7/88
- Expulsion will be considered in an extreme case in accordance with Rule 130 (6)
- Permanent suspension in accordance with the Education (Welfare) Act 2000
- 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 the Health Boards.
The use of corporal punishment is forbidden.
The Board of Management of Fairgreen N.S. has the authority to suspend a student. Where this authority is delegated to the Principal, the delegation should be done formally and in writing.
Suspension should be a proportionate response to the behaviour that is causing concern. Normally, other interventions will have been tried before suspension, and school staff will have reviewed the reasons why these have not worked.
The decision to suspend a student requires serious grounds such as that:
- the student’s behaviour has had a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other students
- the student’s continued presence in the school at this time constitutes a threat to safety
- the student is responsible for serious damage to property.
A single incident of serious misconduct may be grounds for suspension.
Suspensions can provide a respite for staff and the student, give the student time to reflect on the link between their action and its consequences and give staff time to plan ways of helping the student to change unacceptable behaviour.
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
- give school staff an opportunity to plan other interventions
- impress on a student and their parents the seriousness of the behaviour.
In exceptional circumstances, the Principal may consider an immediate suspension to be necessary where the continued presence of the student in the school at the time would represent a serious threat to the safety of students or staff of the school, or any other person. Fair procedures must still be applied.
Students should not usually be suspended for:
- poor academic performance
- poor attendance or lateness
- minor breaches of the code of behaviour.
However, any behaviour that is persistently disruptive to learning or potentially dangerous can be a serious matter.
Behaviour must be examined in context to understand both the behaviour itself and the response or sanction that is most appropriate.
A student should not be suspended again shortly after they return to school unless:
- they engage in serious misbehaviour that warrants suspension and
- fair procedures are observed in full and
- the standard applied to judging the behaviour is the same as the standard applied to the behaviour of any other student.
Students should not be suspended for an indefinite period. Any such suspension would be regarded as a de-facto expulsion and would be treated as such under section 29 of the Education Act 1998.
Schools are required by law to follow fair procedures when proposing to suspend a student (see 10.3 and 10.4 for more detail). Where a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant suspension, the school should observe the following procedures:
- The principal will let the student and their parents know about the complaint, how it will be investigated, and that it could result in suspension.
- Parents may be informed by phone or in writing, depending on the seriousness of the matter. Informing parents in writing has the benefit of ensuring that there is a formal and permanent record of having parents know. It also ensures that parents are clear about what their son or daughter is alleged to have done. It serves the important function of underlining to parents the seriousness with which the school views the alleged misbehaviour.
- Parents and student should be given an opportunity to respond before a decision is made and before any sanction is imposed. A meeting with the student and their parents provides an opportunity for them to give their side of the story and to ask questions about the evidence of serious misbehaviour, especially where there is a dispute about the facts. The school should record the invitations made to parents and their response.
- Where an immediate suspension is considered by the Principal to be warranted for reasons of the safety of the student, other students, staff or others, a preliminary investigation should be conducted to establish the case for the imposition of the suspension. The formal investigation should immediately follow the imposition of the suspension. All of the conditions for suspension apply to immediate suspension. No suspension, including an immediate suspension, should be open-ended.
- In the case of an immediate suspension, parents must be notified, and arrangements made with them for the student to be collected. The school must have regard to its duty of care for the student. In no circumstances should a student be sent home from school without first notifying parents.
- A student should not be suspended for more than three days, except in exceptional circumstances where the Principal considers that a period of suspension longer than three days is needed in order to achieve a particular objective. Each Board of Management should provide guidance to the Principal concerning the kinds of circumstances under which suspensions of longer than three days might be approved.
- If a suspension longer than three days is being proposed by the Principal, the matter should be referred to the Board of Management for consideration and approval, giving the circumstances and the expected outcomes.
- However, a Board of Management may wish to authorise the Principal, with the approval of the Chairperson of the Board, to impose a suspension of up to five days in circumstances where a meeting of the Board cannot be convened in a timely fashion, subject to the guidance concerning such suspensions.
- The Board of Management should normally place a ceiling of ten days on any one period of suspension imposed by it.
- The Board of Management should offer an opportunity to appeal a Principal’s decision to suspend a student. In the case of decisions to suspend made by the Board of Management, an appeals process may be provided by the Patron.
- Where the total number of days for which the student has been suspended in the current school year reaches twenty days, the parents may appeal the suspension under section 29 of the Education Act 1998, as amended by the Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007.
Expulsion should be a proportionate response to the student’s behaviour. Expulsion of a student is a very serious step, and one that should only be taken by the Board of Management in extreme cases of unacceptable behaviour.
The school should have taken significant steps to address the misbehaviour and to avoid expulsion of a student including, as appropriate:
- meeting with parents and the student to try to find ways of helping the student to change their behaviour
- making sure that the student understands the possible consequences of their behaviour, if it should persist
- ensuring that all other possible options have been tried
- seeking the assistance of support agencies (e.g. National Educational Psychological Service, Health Service Executive Community Services, the National Behavioural Support Service, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, National Council for Special Education).
A proposal to expel a student requires serious grounds such as that:
- the student’s behaviour is a persistent cause of significant disruption to the learning of others or to the teaching process
- the student’s continued presence in the school constitutes a real and significant threat to safety
- the student is responsible for serious damage to property.
The grounds for expulsion may be similar to the grounds for suspension. In addition to factors such as the degree of seriousness and the persistence of the behaviour, a key difference is that, where expulsion is considered, school authorities have tried a series of other interventions, and believe they have exhausted all possibilities for changing the student’s behaviour.
A Board of Management may decide, as part of the school’s policy on sanctions, and following the consultation process with the Principal, parents, teachers and students, that particular named behaviours incur expulsion as a sanction.
However, a general decision to impose expulsion for named behaviours does not remove the duty to follow due process and fair procedures.
There may be exceptional circumstances where the Board of Management forms the opinion that a student should be expelled for a first offence.
The kinds of behaviour that might result in a proposal to expel on the basis of a single breach of the code could include:
- a serious threat of violence against another student or member of staff
- actual violence or physical assault
- supplying illegal drugs to other students in the school
- sexual assault.
Inappropriate use of expulsion Expulsion should not be proposed for:
- poor academic performance
- poor attendance or lateness
- minor breaches of the code of behaviour.
However, any behaviour that is persistently disruptive to learning or dangerous can be a serious matter. Behaviour must be examined in context to understand both the behaviour itself and the response or sanction that is most appropriate.
Schools are required by law to follow fair procedures as well as procedures prescribed under the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, when proposing to expel a student.
Where a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant expulsion, the procedural steps will include:
- A detailed investigation carried out under the direction of the Principal.
- A recommendation to the Board of Management by the Principal.
- 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 Educational Welfare Officer.
- Confirmation of the decision to expel.
These procedures assume that the Board of Management is the decision-making body in relation to expulsions. It is a matter for each Board of Management to decide which of the tasks involved in these procedural steps requires separate meetings and which tasks can be accomplished together in a single meeting, consistent with giving parents due notice of meetings and a fair and reasonable time to prepare for a Board hearing.
Step 1: A detailed investigation carried out under the direction of the Principal
In investigating an allegation, in line with fair procedures, the Principal should:
- inform the student and their parents about the details of the alleged misbehaviour, how it will be investigated and that it could result in expulsion
- give parents and the student every opportunity to respond to the complaint of serious misbehaviour before a decision is made and before a sanction is imposed. Parents should be informed in writing of the alleged misbehaviour and the proposed investigation in order to have a permanent record of having let them know. This also ensures that parents are very clear about what their son or daughter is alleged to have done. It serves the important function of underlining to parents the seriousness with which the school views the alleged misbehaviour.
Parents and the student must have every opportunity to respond to the complaint of serious misbehaviour before a decision is made about the veracity of the allegation, and before a sanction is imposed. Where expulsion may result from an investigation, a meeting with the student and their parents is essential. It provides the opportunity for them to give their side of the story and to ask questions about the evidence of serious misbehaviour, especially where there is a dispute about the facts. It may also be an opportunity for parents to make their case for lessening the sanction, and for the school to explore with parents how best to address the student’s behaviour.
If a student and their parents fail to attend a meeting, the Principal should write advising of the gravity of the matter, the importance of attending a re-scheduled meeting and, failing that, the duty of the school authorities to make a decision to respond to the inappropriate behaviour. The school should record the invitation issued to parents and their response.
Step 2: A recommendation to the Board of Management by the Principal
Where the Principal forms a view, based on the investigation of the alleged misbehaviour, that expulsion may be warranted, the Principal makes a recommendation to the Board of Management to consider expulsion.
The Principal should:
- inform the parents and the student that the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion
- ensure that parents have records of: the allegations against the student; the investigation; and written notice of the grounds on which the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion
- provide the Board of Management with the same comprehensive records as are given to parents
- notify the parents of the date of the hearing by the Board of Management and invite them to that hearing
- advise the parents that they can make a written and oral submission to the Board of Management
- ensure that parents have enough notice to allow them to prepare for the hearing.
Step 3: Consideration by the Board of Management of the Principal’s recommendation; and the holding of a hearing
It is the responsibility of the Board to review the initial investigation and satisfy itself that the investigation was properly conducted in line with fair procedures. The Board should undertake its own review of all documentation and the circumstances of the case.
It should ensure that no party who has had any involvement with the circumstances of the case is part of the Board’s deliberations (for example, a member of the Board who may have made an allegation about the student).
Where a Board of Management decides to consider expelling a student, it must hold a hearing. The Board meeting for the purpose of the hearing should be properly conducted in accordance with Board procedures. At the hearing, the Principal and the parents, or a student aged eighteen years or over, put their case to the Board in each other’s presence. Each party should be allowed to question the evidence of the other party directly. The meeting may also be an opportunity for parents to make their case for lessening the sanction. In the conduct of the hearing, the Board must take care to ensure that they are, and are seen to be, impartial as between the Principal and the student. Parents may wish to be accompanied at hearings and the Board should facilitate this, in line with good practice and Board procedures. After both sides have been heard, the Board should ensure that the Principal and parents are not present for the Board’s deliberations.
Step 4: Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing
Having heard from all the parties, it is the responsibility of the Board to decide whether or not the allegation is substantiated and, if so, whether or not expulsion is the appropriate sanction. Where the Board of Management, having considered all the facts of the case, is of the opinion that the student should be expelled, the Board must notify the Educational Welfare Officer in writing of its opinion, and the reasons for this opinion. (Education (Welfare) Act 2000, s24(1)).
The Board of Management should refer to National Educational Welfare Board reporting procedures for proposed expulsions. The student cannot be expelled before the passage of twenty school days from the date on which the EWO receives this written notification (Education (Welfare) Act 2000, s24(1)).
An appeal against an expulsion under section 29 of the Education Act 1998 will automatically succeed if it is shown that the Educational Welfare Officer was not notified in accordance with section 24(1) or that twenty days did not elapse from the time of notification to the Educational Welfare Officer to the implementation of the expulsion (Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007, s4A).
The Board should inform the parents in writing about its conclusions and the next steps in the process. Where expulsion is proposed, the parents should be told that the Board of Management will now inform the Educational Welfare Officer.
Step 5: Consultations arranged by the Educational Welfare Officer
Within twenty days of receipt of a notification from a Board of Management of its opinion that a student should be expelled, the Educational Welfare Officer must:
- make all reasonable efforts to hold individual consultations with the Principal, the parents and the student, and anyone else who may be of assistance
- convene a meeting of those parties who agree to attend (Education (Welfare) Act 2000, section 24).
The purpose of the consultations and the meeting is to ensure that arrangements are made for the student to continue in education. These consultations may result in an agreement about an alternative intervention that would avoid expulsion. However, where the possibility of continuing in the school is not an option, at least in the short term, the consultation should focus on alternative educational possibilities. In the interests of the educational welfare of the student, those concerned should come together with the Educational Welfare Officer to plan for the student’s future education. Pending these consultations about the student’s continued education, a Board of Management may take steps to ensure that good order is maintained and that the safety of students is secured (Education (Welfare) Act 2000, s24(5)).
A Board may consider it appropriate to suspend a student during this time. Suspension should only be considered where there is a likelihood that the continued presence of the student during this time will seriously disrupt the learning of others, or represent a threat to the safety of other students or staff.
Step 6: Confirmation of the decision to expel
Where the twenty-day period following notification to the Educational Welfare Officer has elapsed, and where the Board of Management remains of the view that the student should be expelled, the Board of Management should formally confirm the decision to expel (this task might be delegated to the Chairperson and the Principal). Parents should be notified immediately that the expulsion will now proceed. Parents and the student should be told about the right to appeal and supplied with the standard form on which to lodge an appeal. A formal record should be made of the decision to expel the student.
A parent, or a student aged over eighteen years, may appeal a decision to expel to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science (Education Act 1998 section 29). An appeal may also be brought by the National Educational Welfare Board on behalf of a student.
The Board of Management should review the use of expulsion in the school at regular intervals to ensure that its use is consistent with school policies, that patterns of use are examined to identify factors that may be influencing behaviour in the school, and to ensure that expulsion is used appropriately.
AVAILABILITY OF POLICY
This policy is available to school personnel, and a copy will be provided to the Parents’ Association. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department of Education and Skills, and to the patron, if requested.
In the belief that the most effective schools tend to be these with the best relationships with parents, every effort will be made by the Principal and staff to ensure that parents are kept well-informed, that the school provides a welcoming atmosphere towards parents, and that parents are not only told when their children are in trouble but when they have behaved particularly well.
This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year. Date of next review: September 2017
Signed: Tanya Woods
(Chairperson of Board of Management)
Signed: Beryl Trenier
Date: 8th December 2016
School Uniform Policy
Parents are required to ensure that their children wear the correct uniform to school.
The uniform of the Fairgreen N.S. consists of:
- Grey T-shirt (polo-type shirt with collar and buttons at neck)
- Navy V-neck jumper
- Navy Teflon trousers (flannel type)
- Grey T-shirt (polo-type shirt with collar and buttons at neck)
- Navy V-neck jumper
- Navy Teflon trousers (flannel type)
- Navy skirt or pinafore, with grey/navy tights or socks
These items may be purchased at any store which stocks school uniform, locally or elsewhere.
If they wish, students may wear plain navy tracksuit bottoms on PE day and for sports events. Students should have runners or flat shoes for PE class.
If pupils are representing the school at sports events, they will be instructed how to dress (usually school T-shirt and navy tracksuit bottoms / shorts).
While we do not insist on any particular style of shoes for the students, common sense would suggest sensible footwear – either runners or shoes are acceptable.
During periods of hot weather, navy shorts may be worn instead of trousers or skirt.
Arrivals and Departures Policy
The school day officially begins at 9:20 a.m.
Children should arrive between 9:15 and 9:30 a.m. (assembly time).
If parents leave their children at school before 9:15 a.m., it is on the understanding that
- supervision will not be provided
- pupils must remain outside
- teaching will not be provided.
The school buses arrive at approximately 9:15 a.m. (Milltown bus) and 9:20 (Parisee – Cloverhill bus).
The school doors open for pupils at 9:15 a.m. and upon entry, pupils hang up their coats in the cloakrooms and come into their classrooms immediately.
Junior and Senior Infants go home at 2:00 p.m. School continues till 3:00 p.m. for all other classes. Teachers accompany students outside at departure time.
Pupils travelling by bus line up at the gate, before walking up to the bus at the crossroads. Pupils walk to the bus in an orderly manner.
Parents are requested to collect their children punctually, if travelling by car. If there is any change of personnel, or any change to the usual routine for a child going home, parents must inform one of the teachers. Occasionally it may happen that a parent is going to be late collecting a child, and it is appreciated if they inform the school before or at 3:00 p.m. (by phone or text).
If a child has not been collected after the bus pupils have gone, that child or children must accompany the teacher back into the school building. He/she waits there until the parent or other adult comes to collect them. This ensures that no child leaves the premises without the teachers’ knowledge at home-time.
Happy Days After-school Care
Parents of pupils attending Happy Days must provide written permission for the After-schools supervisor to collect the child / children and bring them to Happy Days.
In the event of a child not being collected at home-time, the following procedure is adopted.
- Child will wait in the school building, watching out for arrival of parent. Child will
inform teacher when parent arrives.
- If parent has not arrived by 3:15 p.m., teacher will try to contact parent by phone. A list of contact numbers (including mobile numbers) for all parents is beside the phone in the office. These are updated annually, and parents are advised that if numbers change during the year, they should inform the school. Hopefully parent will answer and will be able to explain why child has not been collected, and will arrange immediate collection either by self or by
an identified other person.
- If teacher is unable to make contact with parents by phone, then teacher will try to ring alternative contact person as detailed by parents on contact form. Again hopefully they will answer and will be able to explain why child has not been collected; perhaps explain why parent is not answering phone, and will arrange immediate collection either by self or by an identified other person.
- In the event of the teacher not being able to contact either parent or alternative contact person, the pupil must remain in the school under supervision of the teacher. Continued efforts will be made to contact relevant persons.
- If the situation has still not been resolved by 4:00 p.m. and no contact has been possible with parents or alternative contact person, the teacher will then contact the chairperson of the Board of Management to outline the current situation.
- The local Garda Station will be then be informed.
- Parents will be informed of the policy that, in the event of an emergency, the school (either on the land line or principal’s mobile) must be informed of the situation. Parents will be advised to carry the principal’s mobile number with them at all times. All reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate any child / family in the event of a genuine emergency.
This procedure will ONLY be implemented in the event of no contact being made with parents by 4:00p.m. If parents inform the school that they are going to be late, it will not be regarded as an emergency, and the principal or other teacher will remain on the premises with the child until they are collected.
Policy on Healthy Lunches
It is recommended that children have a selection of these foods as their main lunch for the day.
- Rolls, sandwiches, crackers.
- Fruit (e.g. apple, orange, kiwi, pear, banana etc.)
- Vegetable (e.g. carrot, celery, cucumber sticks)
- Cheese (strings, triangles, slices)
- Carrot cake, tea brack, muesli bars, cereal bars.
- Milk, fruit juice.
- Yoghurts, yoghurt drinks
- Soup or tea in cold weather (in a flask)
A small amount of these items may be included as a snack.
- Cake / Muffin / Bun
These items are not permitted in school
- Bars (e.g. Mars, Twix, Kit Kat, Wagon Wheels)
- Fizzy Drinks
- Chewing Gum
The benefits of milk in the diet are outlined to the pupils, in particular, their effect in growing healthy teeth and bones. School milk is ordered for half-term blocks. Students may order either a large or small carton if they wish. Milk is kept refrigerated in the office till break-time, when it is delivered to the pupils.
Pupils are encouraged to drink water (preferably unflavoured) as the best source of hydration during the course of the day.
In the interests of the health of any pupils who may have an allergy to foodstuffs, parents are requested to sign a form indicating any knowledge of such allergies.
Policy on Attendance
- The school believes that a good attendance is essential to the pupil making satisfactory in his/her class and at his/her standard of ability.
- While it is recognised that a spell of absence may be inevitable (particularly in the case of illness), it is recommended that every effort be made, on the child’s return, to bring the child up to date with work that has been missed.
- Equally damaging to the child’s education are intermittent frequent absences. These interruptions mean that the continuity of the child’s work is broken, and he/she misses out on the essential steps of learning, and is continually trying to catch up on missed work.
- The Education Welfare Act (Section 18) states:
“Where a child is absent the parent must notify the school of the reason for the child’s absence…”
- A signed note from the parent should be provided for either the principal or the class teacher (as approved by the Board of Management). This may be in addition to a word-of-mouth message from the parent. Detachable absence notes are provided in the back of each pupil’s diary.
- The principal is obliged by law to keep a record of these absences.
- The Education Welfare Act (Section 21) states:
“The Principal shall maintain a record of the attendance or non-attendance of each student (and reason of absence). The Educational Welfare Officer must be informed where a student is absent for an aggregate of 20 days or more in a school year.”
- If a child has accumulated a total aggregate of 20 days or more, due to illness or some other legitimate cause, then naturally this can be explained to the Educational Welfare Officer. However, if a child is absent for 20 days or more in the school year without due cause or explanation, the Educational Welfare Officer will be obliged to investigate.
- At the end of the school year, the student(s) with the highest attendance during that school year is awarded the Evelyn Morton Perpetual Shield for Attendance.