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Behaviour Policy

(Please click here to see a pdf version of the Behaviour Policy)

Behaviour Policy – Lusk Senior National School,

St. MacCullins

 

Introduction:

 

The aims of primary education can be briefly stated as follows:

  • To enable the child to live a full life in a caring and safe environment.
  • To prepare a child for further education and life-long learning.

 

As a school committed to the realisation of these goals, our aim is to provide a happy, secure environment for our pupils in which there is a sense of order and discipline. This is achieved by having guidelines to direct behaviour for the good of all our pupils. In drafting this policy, the school has drawn on the NEWB Guidelines for schools [NEWB, 2008, Developing a Code of Behaviour; NEPS, Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties (BESD) Continuum of Support, 2007]. Every effort is made to ensure that our code is implemented in a reasonable, fair and consistent manner.

 

Our “Code of Behaviour helps the school community to promote the school ethos, relationships, policies, procedures and practices that encourage good behaviour and prevent unacceptable behaviour. It helps to foster an orderly, harmonious school where high standards of behaviour are expected and supported” (NEWB, 2008). A high standard of behaviour requires a strong sense of community within our school and to achieve this, we maintain a high level of co-operation among all the staff and between staff, pupils and parents.

 

In drafting this policy, a working group of teachers has emphasised a whole school approach, receiving input from the parent’s association, Board of Management and staff in meetings and the input of a selection of pupils through the use of questionnaires.

 

Aims and Goals

 

This policy aims to set standards of behaviour and promote good behaviour (NEWB, 2008) in school. It aims to ensure the use of a Continuum of Support when supporting children with behavioural, social and emotional difficulties (NEPS, BESD, 2011). The specific aims of this Code of Behaviour are:

 

  1. To allow the school to function in an orderly and harmonious way.
  2. To enhance the learning environment where children can make progress in all aspects of their development.
  3. To create an atmosphere of respect, tolerance and consideration for others.
  4. To promote positive behaviour and self discipline while recognising the differences between children and the need to accommodate these differences.
  5. To provide a systematic and graduated approach to responding to behaviour (NEPS, 2011; Incredible Years)
  6. To ensure that our systems of rules, rewards and sanctions are implemented in a fair, impartial and consistent manner.
  7. To assist parents and pupils in understanding the systems and procedures in our code and to seek their co-operation in their application.

 

School Rules

 

  1. Classes commence at 8.50 a.m. until 2.30 p.m. Children are expected to be punctual. Children are not permitted to leave school grounds during school hours, and should not be on school premises when school is not in operation.
  2. All absences must be accounted for, a note in a pupil’s homework notebook/letter to class teacher will suffice. Absences of 20 days or more must be reported to the Educational Welfare Officer within TUSLA under Rule 21 (4b) of the Educational Welfare Act 2000.
  3. Pupils must enter/leave the school grounds in an orderly fashion. Bicycles, skateboards etc., may not be used on school grounds.
  4. Pupils may not re-enter the school building during breaks without the permission of a teacher.
  5. Any instructions/directions given by the teacher/supervising adult shall be complied with.
  6. Pupils should respect themselves and their peers, and show due consideration for parents, teachers, supervising adults, authorised visitors, school property and the property of others. They are encouraged to keep the school environment clean and litter free.
  7. Assigned homework must be completed and homework notebook signed by parent/guardian.
  8. In the classroom, pupils behave in a manner conducive to a pleasant and safe learning environment where respect for the group as a whole, and the individual is paramount.
  9. All classes in our school utilise the “Incredible Years/ Show me Five” programme, which demonstrate expected behaviour in the school environment.
  10. The schoolyard should be a place for fun and social interaction. Play, which threatens the physical safety or emotional stability of others, will not be acceptable. Pupils may not eat in the schoolyard.
  11. Pupils line up quietly and quickly when the bell rings.
  12. Pupils wear the following dress code as agreed by all members of the school community.
    • Grey Trousers/skirt worn with light blue polo shirt and grey jumper/cardigan.
    • Navy school tracksuit, (displaying school crest) & light blue polo shirt.
  13. Inappropriate jewellery, which may be dangerous or offensive, may not be worn during school hours.
  14. Make-up will not be worn by students in school
  15. The use of mobile phones during school hours is forbidden. All phones must be powered off while children are on the school premises.

 

Expected Standards of Behaviour

 

Our school standards of behaviour “provide clarity for students about the school’s high expectations for their behaviour (NEWB, 2008). In addition to school rules children are expected to:

 

  • Be honest and co-operative
  • Show respect for self and others in school and while wearing the school uniform and have respect for school property, furniture, and equipment
  • Acknowledge the equality of other races and creeds
  • Reply in a mannerly fashion, correctly addressing teachers i.e. Yes, Mr./Mrs./Ms.; Excuse me teacher; Gabh mo leithscéal, go raibh maith agat
  • Walk in to class from the yard quietly and safely in single file
  • Remain seated, at his/her own place in the classroom, unless otherwise instructed by the teacher.
  • Be tidy in appearance.
  • Do their best in school and when doing their homework
  • Uphold the code of behaviour

 

Promoting Positive Behaviour

  • Teachers teach the “Show me 5” rules explicitly (eyes are watching, ears are listening, lips are closed, hands are still, feet are quiet) and practise regularly in the classroom through SPHE. The rules will be on display throughout the year in every classroom.
  • Catch positive behaviour immediately and label what the behaviour is. Give attention, encouragement and praise delivered in a genuine manner.
  • Have a clear and specific whole class and/or individual reward systems in place. Individual targets may be put in place to support a child who has difficulty maintaining a specific standard of behaviour. NB: Caution; whole class rewards systems are often more suitable than group reward systems.
  • Students are encouraged to name and label and praise their peers when they show kind behaviour. Example: sharing, asking others to join in, appreciating others’ talents and needs.
  • Positive behaviour on the yard is acknowledged by teachers. When a child is caught engaging in appropriate behaviour or keeping school rules, the behaviour is named and labelled and the child is praised by the teacher.
  • Children are encouraged to share “Happy News” from the yard.
  • A student of the month will be selected in each class based on adherence to school rules, their behaviour towards other children and their behaviour towards teachers. They are publicly congratulated for their achievement in assembly.
  • Children will be afforded the opportunity to work independently, in pairs and in groups in order to develop collaborative working skills.  
  • Recognise that each pupil deserves a share of the teacher’s time
  • Teachers are encouraged to share “Happy News” stories with parents. Example: Happy Grams can be sent home
  • Teacher approval i.e. a quiet word/gesture to show approval, a comment in copy a visit to another member of staff or principal for commendation.
  • Public approval i.e. a word of praise in front of a group or class, including at assembly.
  • Visual Display of Excellence i.e. progress chart, stars, merit stickers, stamps
  • Delegation of some special privilege or responsibility
  • A mention to parent – either written or verbal

(NB: The BESD document provides many strategies for promoting positive behaviour. Look at p.19-34 and Appendix 3, p.111)

 

Inappropriate Behaviour

Some examples of minor misbehaviour

  1. Disruption in class
  2. Talking out of turn
  3. Avoidance of homework
  4. Name-calling
  5. Lying
  6. Inappropriate language
  7. Unruliness in corridors/school yard
  8. Lack of punctuality
  9. Negative response to correction
  10. Entering the school premises without permission during break times

 

Examples of serious misbehaviour

  1. Constant repetition of the above (1-10)
  2. Physical assault of another
  3. Biting
  4. Flight (running away from class/school grounds or leaving class without permission)
  5. Verbal abuse of a staff member/pupil
  6. Ongoing refusal to participate in school activities
  7. Vandalism
  8. Theft
  9. Constant disobedience
  10. Cheek/defiance of teacher
  11. Behaviour constituting a danger to any member of the school community
  12. Indecent behaviour towards another
  13. Substance use
  14. Possession of dangerous or sharp implements. Example: knife, scissors (from outside school), fireworks, lighters
  15. All forms of bullying including verbal, physical, relational or exclusionary or race related bullying and cyber bullying.

 

Incidences of Misbehaviour on Yard

The majority of incidences that occur during break times are dealt with by the teacher who is on yard duty. If a teacher is on yard duty and witnesses an incident of serious misbehaviour or an incident of serious misbehaviour is reported to them, the teacher will discuss the episode with the class teacher(s) of the child/children involved. The class teacher will then explore the incident with the child, using the ‘four w questions’ i.e. what happened? when did it happen? where did it happen? who was there/involved? If a child from another class was involved in the incident, the class teacher will then discuss the episode with the other relevant teacher/teachers. The class teacher(s) of the child/children involved will then decide whether or not a sanction is appropriate (see below).

 

Sanctions

The objective of a sanction is to help the student to learn. The purpose of a sanction is to bring about a change in behaviour by helping students to learn that their behaviour is unacceptable and helping them to understand the effect of their behaviour and actions on others (NEWB, 2008).

 

To ensure the orderly operation of school activities and the safety of all members of the school community, sanctions will be imposed where inappropriate behaviour occurs. Misbehaviour is judged having regard for age, sensibility, and/or other relevant factors. A log will be kept of those who persistently misbehave by their teacher. Sanctions within the classroom are implemented by teachers using a hierarchy of consequences. An example of this is shown below.

 

Hierarchies/Steps for Nondisruptive and Disruptive Behaviour (3rd to 6th Class

 

Steps 2, 3, 4 and 5 are displayed on the wall so that all children are aware of the hierarchy of consequences during the school year.

Teachers will follow this hierarchy, but at stage 4 and 5 may use a similar visual display e.g. ‘baseball diamond’.

Foundation: “Massive” Attention/Praise/Encouragement for Pro-social Behaviour

NB: Always choose the lowest, least intrusive sanction first

 

In Class strategies used are as follows:

  1. A graduated response to incidences of misbehaviour is adapted by teachers (see Hierarchy above and p.28 BESD document)
  2. A poster detailing the hierarchy of consequences is displayed in each classroom and is explicitly taught, discussed and agreed upon at the beginning of the school year with the children.

 

 

 

Persistent incidences of misbehaviour or serious misbehaviour will involve, in addition to the above:

 

  • (a) Persistent incidences of minor misbehaviour or any serious misbehaviour will requirean individual behaviour plan to be put in place, in liaison with parents, in order to support a change in behaviour. Parents are expected to support any plan that in place for their child. Referral to the post holder for behaviour support may be necessary at this stage. This may involve a consultation between the teacher and post holder or a discussion involving the teacher, postholder, child and parent if necessary.

 

 

1: If an individual behaviour plan is needed, concerns will be documented specifically (e.g. record specific statements such as: ‘the child is repeatedly leaving his/her seat during maths’, rather than: ‘child is inattentive’)

2: Look at when the behaviour is predominantly occuring (e.g. on yard, during maths, during written activities) and ask why it might be occurring (Appendix 2 of BESD, p. 81-108)

3: Based on information gathered and observations, and using the Classroom Support Checklist (BESD p.68-69), a behaviour support plan will be created that is agreed upon by the teacher, child and parent (Template, p.70 BESD). A behaviour support plan may include an incentivised reward system (sample reward charts included in appendix).

4: The plan will be put in place and a review date set (BESD, Pg. 68/70)

 

Any individual support plan may include withdrawal of a child from a situation for an agreed period of time for their own safety or the safety of others.

 

1(b) Instances of gross misbehaviour are recorded and parents informed.

1(c) Parents called to a meeting in the school with teacher/post holder/principal. The child may be requested to attend this meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to seek a solution to the behavioural problem, with all involved parties working together.

2:   If misbehaviour continues the Board of Management may become involved, with a view to suspension/expulsion.

3: In situations involving more than one person, in a serious breach of discipline/bullying, the following procedures will apply.

    • The teacher (and post holder if necessary) will speak to each party separately. If a group is involved, each member will be interviewed individually and then, if appropriate, as a group. Interviews will be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all concerned.
    • The teacher will keep a written account of these interviews.
    • If it is determined that a serious breach of discipline has occurred or the students continued presence in the school is deemed to constitute a threat to safety
  • The parents will be informed and requested to attend a meeting with the teacher /post holder/principal.
  • The pupil /pupils involved may be requested to attend. Appropriate sanctions will be imposed. This may involve:
    1. Removal of a child from a situation for an agreed period for the child’s own safety or the safety of others.
    2. Exclusion from school tour.
    3. Class reallocation.
    4. In grave situations this may involve suspension from 1-10 days.
  • The Board of Management will be involved in any decision involving suspension.
  • A reoccurrence of serious breaches of discipline/bullying may lead to expulsion.

4: The Principal, in consultation with the Chairperson of the Board, has the authority to suspend for one to three days with immediate effect. Where such an immediate decision of suspension is necessary, the principal will then refer the issue back to the Board.

5: Expulsion may be challenged under section 29 of the Education Welfare Act, 2000 by parents/guardians.

6: The grounds for removing a suspension imposed in relation to a pupil are as follows:

    • The pupil and his/her parents meet with Principal.
    • Adequate recompense be decided and agreed.
    • The code of discipline should be signed by the pupil and parents.
    • Assurance given by pupil that the Code of Discipline will be observed and of parent co-operation in its observance.

 

Roles of the Education Partners

 

Role of Parent

The school recognises the parents as the primary educators in their children’s lives. In this regard parents are expected to support the implementation of the school behaviour policy. Schools need the support of parents in order to meet legitimate expectations with regard to good behaviour and discipline. Schools can more easily implement a policy on behaviour and discipline if they receive the active support of the parents.

 

Parents are expected to:

  • Familiarise themselves with the behaviour policy
  • Familiarise themselves with the school rules and actively reinforce and support them. (see pg.III of homework journal)
  • Support teachers in the implementation of the behaviour support plan that is in place.
  • Communicate with the school regarding any factors likely to affect the behaviour of their child in school.
  • Ensure regular attendance in school

 

Role of Teacher

The Teaching Staff seeks to promote a strong sense of community within the school, which involves a high level of co-operation among staff and between staff, pupils and parents. Staff will respond promptly and firmly to any instance of unacceptable behaviour during school hours or whilst in a supervisory capacity.

 

Through the SPHE programme, teachers will:

  • Teach and support the implementation of the ‘Show me 5” Programme and display the rules on the wall in their class.
  • Promote positive behaviour (as detailed above) in their students
  • Discuss the hierarchy of consequences with their class and display a chart detailing the sanctions that will be put in place as a result of misbehaviour (see hierarchy of consequences above)
  • Gather details of ongoing/persistent incidences of misbehaviour or serious incidences of misbehaviour
  • If necessary, design a behaviour support plan, in liaison with parents/post holder for behaviour support, that is reviewed at fixed intervals
  • Teach conflict resolution strategies where needed and skills to promote positive socialisation and interaction among children

 

Following a period of classroom support, teachers will communicate any ongoing or persistent behavioural issues/concerns with the postholder with responsibility for behaviour support.

 

Role of Postholder for Behavioural Support (as above)

If ongoing and persistent social, emotional and/or behavioural difficulties persist following a period of Classroom Support and intervention by the class teacher, or in the event of a once off very serious incident, the teacher may liaise with the postholder with responsibility for behavioural support regarding behavioural interventions and the possible construction of a Behavioural Support Plan (BSP). Construction of this BSP may be done in liaison with the child’s parents and possibly the child if deemed necessary and conducive to positive results and outcomes. This plan will then be reviewed at fixed intervals with all relevant parties involved (i.e. class teacher, parents, relevant postholder, child).

 

Role of Principal

The overall responsibility for the implementation of the Code of Behaviour within the school rests with the Principal. The Principal will be assisted in this regard by the teaching staff, particularly those teachers with posts of responsibility regarding school behaviour. Under the leadership and the direction of the principal:

  • The school’s Behaviour Plan will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and amended when necessary.
  • The principal will coordinate the communication of the Behaviour policy’s content with school staff, as well as any changes that have been made
  • The Principal will ensure that the school’s Code of Behaviour be administered in a manner, which is consistent and fair to all pupils.
  • The principal will endeavour to promote a positive approach to behaviour and to embed it into the school climate by keeping it on the school agenda, principally at weekly assembly.

 

Role of Board of Management

The Board of Management is supportive of the Principal in the application of a fair code of behaviour within the school.

 

 

Review

 

This policy will be reviewed during or before the school year Sept 2020-June 2021.

 

 

 

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________________                          Date: _______________

Chairperson, Board of Management

 

 

———————————————————————————–

 

 

 

 

 

I agree to the school rules outlined above and support the implementation of the

 

     Behaviour policy in Lusk National School.

 

 

Child’s Name:      _____________________

 

Signed:                  _____________________ (Parent/Guardian)

 

                              _____________________ (Parent/Guardian

 

 

 

 

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