St. Brigid’s Primary School. Code of behaviour

Introductory Statement:

The Code of Behaviour has been reviewed and amended by the staff of St. Brigid’s Primary School, Moate in consultation with the members of the Board of Management, and the parents committee. Review commenced prior to Christmas and was finalized in January 2015.
The Board of Management of St. Brigid’s Primary School decided to review the Code of Behaviour to ensure that it is in compliance with legal requirements and good practice as set out in Developing a Code of Behaviour : Guidelines for Schools, NEWB , 2008
It is a requirement under the Education Welfare Act, 2000, Section 23 (1) which refers to the obligation on schools to prepare a code of behaviour in respect of the students registered at the school. It details in Section 23(2), that the code of behaviour shall specify:
1. The standards of behaviour that shall be observed by each student attending the school;
2. The measures that shall be taken when a student fails or refuses to observe those standards;
3. The procedures to be followed before a student may be suspended or expelled from the school concerned;
4. The grounds for removing a suspension imposed in relation to a student;
5. The procedures to be followed in relation to a child’s absence from school.

Relationship to Characteristic Ethos:

St. Brigid’s Primary School seeks to enable each child to develop his/her potential in a caring environment where the talents of each child are nurtured and valued. The school climate and atmosphere are created by the actions and behaviour of everyone in the school. The behaviour of adults in a child’s life, including parents and teachers, is a significant influence on how a child acts. The code will be most effective where there is a high level of openness and co-operation between staff, parents and pupils. A clear understanding among all the partners of the standards of behaviour required and the procedures to be adopted where there are breaches of the code also helps ensure a harmonious environment where all can work effectively.

Aims :

In devising this code, consideration has been given to the particular needs and circumstances of this school. The aim is to create an ordered and orderly environment in which pupils can, through developing self-discipline, feel secure and make progress in all aspects of their development. This code of behaviour describes the school’s expectations about how each member of the school community will help to make the school a good place for teaching and learning. Every effort will be made by all members of staff to adopt a positive approach to the question of behaviour in the school and the over-riding aims will be –
• To ensure an educational environment that is guided by our vision statement;
• To promote positive behaviour and self-discipline;
• To foster the development of a sense of responsibility and self-discipline in pupils based on respect, consideration and tolerance of others;
• To enhance the learning environment and to allow the school to function in an orderly way where children can make progress in all aspects of their development;
• To ensure the safety and well being of all members of the school community;
• To assist the parents and children in understanding the systems and procedures that form part of the Code and to seek their co-operation in the application of these procedures;
• To ensure that the system of rules, rewards and sanctions are implemented in a fair and consistent manner throughout the school;
• To enable teachers to teach without disruption.

Guidelines for Behaviour in the School:

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 among staff and between staff, parents and pupils. Every effort will be made to ensure that the code of behaviour is implemented in a reasonable, fair and consistent manner. The limits of behaviour are clearly defined and children become familiar with the consequences of behaviour beyond these limits. The over-riding principle governing this code is respect – respect for ourselves and others; our own and others’ property and the environment.

Whole School Approach to Promoting Positive Behaviour: 

The Board of Management and the Principal have overall responsibility for the implementation and on-going monitoring of this policy. However, all staff members have responsibility for their own classes and for the general school population when on yard duty or on any organised out-of-school activity. Parents or other members of the school community may make comments or suggestions through their representatives on the Board of Management or directly to the Principal. The school values the support and co-operation of parents in the promotion of this strategy. It is the policy of this school to actively promote good behaviour.

Teachers will use various strategies to promote good behaviour including merit/ charts, stickers, homework passes, extra responsibilities in class and in the school, singling out for exceptional worthwhile achievements and efforts, and other incidental means of praise or reward.

To facilitate new members of staff become familiar with practices within the school, discussion regarding the implementation of the code will always form part of the first staff meeting held each September. A copy of the code will be available to both parent and teachers on the school website.

The code will be included in the Information Booklet for Parents which is given to parents whenever they enrol a child in the school.

• Roles and Responsibilities :

Board of Management’s:

The Board of Management is expected to:
• Provide a comfortable, safe environment;
• Support the Principal and staff in implementing the code;
• Ratify the code;
• Ensure the code is communicated to the whole school community.
The Principal :

The Principal is expected to:
• Promote a positive climate in the school
• Ensure that the code of behaviour is implemented in a fair and consistent manner.
• Arrange for a review of the code as required.

Teachers can expect to:
• be treated with respect
• teach in a well maintained physical environment relatively free from disruption;
• get support and co-operation from colleagues and parents in order to achieve the school’s aims and objectives;
• 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;
• get support and professional advice from the Board of Management, Department of Education and Skills, the national Education Welfare Board, the National Council for Special Education and the National Educational Psychological Services to help to cater for the psychological, emotional and physical needs of their pupils;
• have grievances dealt with according to agreed procedures as set out in the CPSMA (Catholic Primary School Manager’s Association) handbook.
Teachers are expected to:
• support and implement the school’s Code of Behaviour;
• be aware of their duty of care;
• create a safe, welcoming atmosphere for their pupils;
• praise desirable behaviour;
• facilitate pupils to reach their full academic potential;
• be courteous, consistent and fair;
• keep opportunities for disruption to a minimum;
• keep record of serious misbehaviour or repeated instances of misbehaviour;
• provide support for colleagues.

Pupils can expect to:
• Be treated fairly, consistently and with respect;
• To feel safe, respected and secure;
• Have positive behaviour reaffirmed;
• Have misbehaviour dealt with appropriately.
 Pupils are expected to:
• attend school regularly and punctually;
• wear a neat school uniform;
• work quietly and safely to the best of their ability at all times;
• respect the right of other pupils to learn;
• show respect for all members of the school community;
• respect school property, the property of others and their own belongings;
• keep the school environment clean and tidy;
• have the correct books and materials in school;
• follow class rules;
• move quietly and carefully around the school;
• line up in an orderly manner before and after break;
• stay on the premises and within designated areas during school times and playtime
• do their homework to the best of their ability.

Parents :
Parents can expect to:
• be treated with respect;
• have a safe and welcoming environment for their child;
• obtain recognition for 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;
• receive progress reports in accordance with agreed school policy (Parent / Teacher meetings and end of year reports)
• receive information on school’s policies and procedures.
Parents are expected to:
• ensure their children attend school regularly and on time and that they are collected from school on time;
• encourage  their children to follow the school’s Code of Behaviour;
• ensure their children wear the school uniform;
• ensure their children have the correct books and materials;
• read written communication received from the school and respond appropriately;
• report to the office if calling to the school during the day for any reason;
• make an appointment beforehand if they need to see a teacher;
• treat all members of the school community with respect;
• provide a letter for all absenteeism ;
• inform class teacher of any change to collection procedure for their children;
• co-operate with teachers in instances where their child’s behaviour  is causing difficulty to others;
• communicate to the school problems which may affect their child’s behaviour;
• attend meetings at the school if requested;
• help their children with their homework and ensure it is completed.

School Rules :
In order to achieve a happy, healthy and safe working environment, where a sense of mutual respect is fostered, every pupil is expected to keep the rules of the school.
The general school rules are based on the Golden Rules of the Circle Time Programme. Golden Rules are displayed throughout the school and in the playground. Teachers may introduce other rules for their own classrooms.


a. Respect and Courtesy 
All pupils are expected to treat staff and fellow pupils with respect and courtesy. Inappropriate behaviour i.e. rough play, bad language, fighting, personal remarks, pushing, kicking, and spitting will not be tolerated.
School property and the property of others should be respected.
b. Dress Code 
Pupils are required to wear the complete uniform every day except on the designated P.E. day.
Girls:   Grey pinafore /skirt/ tailored trousers, blue shirt (not polo shirt) royal blue cardigan/jumper and tie
Dark coloured shoes (Heels no higher than 2 inches)
Boys:  Grey trousers, blue shirt, royal blue jumper and tie.
Dark coloured shoes
The school track suit is worn on P.E. days.
P.E. Requirements: School tracksuit, (with crest) blue polo shirt and runners.
Students are expected to be neat and tidy in dress and appearance. Children are not allowed to wear make-up to school or to school related activities. Girls may wear one pair of studs or small ear-rings. For safety reasons boys are not allowed wear ear-rings. Any other rings or clips on any part of the face are not allowed. Hairstyles should be neat and not impede schoolwork.
Children from 3rd class upwards must have a change of shoes for indoors – black plimsolls. These indoor shoes are to be kept in School at all times. 
c. Healthy Lunches 
See Healthy Eating Policy which is available from the school office, on the school website and in the Information Booklet for Parents
d. Homework 
See Homework Policy which is available from the school office, on the school website and in the Information Booklet for Parents. 
e. Attendance
Each child is expected to be in school at 9.20a.m., when the bell rings. Children need to be collected promptly at home time.
Pupils are expected to be present every day.
A written note is expected to explain all absences.
Pupils leaving school early must be signed out by an adult. 
f. Movement throughout the school/ school grounds 
• Entering and leaving the school must be done in an orderly manner.
• Pupils are asked to stand back and allow adults to pass.
• Running is strictly forbidden in classrooms and on corridors.
g. Break-times
• Classroom/corridor/yard supervisors are to be obeyed at all times.
• No re-entering the school building during the breaks without permission of teacher or sna.
• During inclement weather pupils remain indoors in their classrooms and may use their activity books or may watch a programme as selected by the teacher. Minders from Senior Class supervise children in Junior Classes along with Adult Supervision.
h. Mobile Phones 
• Mobile phones may be brought to school provided that parents request that child brings phone to school for whatever reason and that they are turned off and handed to the teacher on arrival and collected at end of the school day.

System for acknowledging good behaviour, progress and effort: 

Good behaviour is praised in a number of ways.

a. For Individuals, good behaviour may be acknowledged as follows: 
• A quiet word or gesture to show approval;
• A word of praise in front of group/class
• A mention to the principal;
• A comment/smiley/merit in the exercise book;
• A mention to parents(verbal or written);
• A treat e.g. if terms of a behaviour contract are fulfilled.
• Certificate of Achievement (Star of the Week, Writer of the Week, Reader of the Week)

b. Group/Class:
1. A Group/Class treat such as:
• Reduction in homework
• Time given to preferred activity
• Golden Time
• Merit for all children in group/class
• A mention to the principal
• A mention to parents

Consequences of unacceptable behaviour :
Disapproval of unacceptable behaviour will be dealt with as follows:
1. Reprimand and Reasoning (making clear what behaviour was unacceptable);
2. Loss of privilege / golden time activites
3. Referral to Principal/Deputy Principal
4. Communication with parent
5. Withdrawal from class temporarily to ‘time out’ area of classroom;
6. Withdrawal from class temporarily to another classroom
7 . Losses and damage caused must be made good in all cases;
8. Suspension/expulsion.
Procedures for notifying the school about absences:
Parents/ Guardians are expected to communicate the reasons for the non-attendance of their child in St. Brigid’s Primary School by
1. Notifying the school (e.g. phone call to Secretary/ Principal) of the cause of the absence as soon as possible but not later than the end of the third day of absence;
2. Sending in a signed dated explanation of absence when the pupil returns to school. Such notes are an important part of the record keeping done to fulfill the requirements of reporting to the NEWB.

When and where will behaviour be subjected to the Code of Behaviour?
Standards and rules in the Code of Behaviour will apply to all situations where the pupils are the responsibility of the school. This includes activities not within the school grounds.

Before serious sanctions such as suspension or expulsion are used, the normal channels of communication between school and parents will be utilised. Communication with parents may be verbal or by letter depending on the circumstances.
For gross misbehaviour or repeated instances of serious misbehaviour, suspension may be considered. Parents concerned will be invited to come to the school to discuss their child’s case.

Where there are repeated instances of serious misbehaviour, the Chairperson of the Board of
Management will be informed and the parents will be requested in writing to attend at the school to meet the Chairperson, teacher and the Principal. If the parents (and the pupil) do not give an undertaking that the pupil will behave in an acceptable manner in the future the pupil may be suspended for a period. Prior to suspension, where possible, the Principal may review the case in consultation with teachers and other members of the school community involved, with due regard to records of previous misbehaviours, their pattern and context, sanctions and other interventions used and their outcomes and any relevant medical information. Suspension will be in accordance with the Rules for National Schools and the Education Welfare Act 2000.

In the case of gross misbehaviour, where it is necessary to ensure that order and discipline are maintained and to secure the health and safety of pupils and teachers, the Board has deferred responsibility to the Principal to sanction an immediate suspension for a period not exceeding three school days, pending a discussion of the matter with the parents.

Further suspensions will require Board of Management approval. This approval may be obtained at a regular meeting of the Board or at an emergency meeting at which the Chairperson and Principal have outlined for the Board the reasons why they feel it is necessary to impose a further suspension. In line with the requirements of the Education Welfare Act (2000), the Board of Management will inform the Education Welfare Board when any pupil’s period of suspension equals or exceeds six school days.

Removal of Suspension (Reinstatement) 

Following, or during a period of suspension, the parent/s may apply to have the pupil reinstated to the school. The parent/s (and pupil) must give a satisfactory undertaking that a suspended pupil will behave in accordance with the school code and the Principal must be satisfied that the pupil’s reinstatement will not constitute a risk to the pupil’s own safety or that of the other pupils or staff and will not have a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other pupils. The Principal will facilitate the preparation of a behaviour plan for the pupil, if required, and will re-admit the pupil formally to the class.


The Board of Management has the authority to expel a pupil in an extreme case e.g. where repeated incidents of serious misbehaviour interfere with the educational opportunities of fellow students or where there is a threat to the health and safety of either students or staff. Where expulsion is considered the school authorities will have tried a range of other interventions and will have formed the opinion that they have exhausted all possibilities for changing the pupil’s behaviour. This sanction would be imposed under the terms of the Education Welfare Act (2000). Suspension/expulsion procedures are in accordance with the Education Act (1998).

Before/After School 

School starts at 9.20.a.m. School gate opens for pupils at 9.00a.m. Children wait in the play-shed/ground until 9.10. a.m. School doors open at 9.10a.m. Parents are reminded that the staff of the school does not accept responsibility for pupils before official opening time of gate or after the official closing time of 2.00p.m. (infants) 3.00p.m. (other classes) except where pupils are engaged in an extra-curricular activity organised by the school and approved by the Board of Management. Pupils involved in such activities are expected to behave in accordance with school behaviour policy during these times.


Under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998, parents (or pupils who have reached the age of 18) are entitled to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science against some decisions of the Board of Management, including (1) permanent exclusion from a school and (2) suspension for a period which would bring the cumulative period of suspension to 20 school days or longer in any one school year. Appeals must generally be made within 42 calendar days from the date the decision of the school was notified to the parent or student. (See Circular 22/02)

Reference to other Policies 

Other school policies that have a bearing on the code of behaviour include
• SPHE plan
• Anti-bullying
• Enrolment
• Tours
• Healthy Eating
• Homework
• Special Educational Needs

• In enrolling children in St. Brigid’s Primary School, Moate parents must support teachers in following the policies and procedures of the school. This Code of Behaviour is posted on the school web site, is included in the Information Booklet for parents and is also available in hard copy from the Principal. Parents will be notified by letter of the availability of this Policy.

Success Criteria:

This policy will be deemed to be successful when the following are observed:
• Positive behaviour in class rooms, playground and school environment
• Practices and procedures listed in this policy being consistently implemented by teachers
• Positive feedback from teachers, parents and pupils.

Implementation Date 23rd February 2015
Review 2018

The code will be discussed at staff meetings and reviewed periodically.

Ratification and Communication:
Ratified by the Board of Management:
Date: 10th February 2015

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