Sacred Heart NS Code of Behaviour

Sacred Heart N.S., Newbawn, Co.Wexford

051-428416 16072O

Sacred Heart NS Code of Behaviour was developed according to the Guidelines for Schools published by NEWB 2008 and following consultation with staff, pupils and parents / guardians.

The staff have availed of opportunities to discuss and share their understandings about behaviour at scheduled staff meetings with some staff meetings and / or planning meetings exclusively dedicated to devising the code.

This document was drawn up on 25/6/09 following consultation between staff, BOM and parents / guardians.

The school helps parents / guardians to understand how they can assist their children to behave well at school by:

1. An openness to meet parents / guardians to discuss any behavioural issues.
2. Making a copy of the code available-in hard copy form and online.
3. Outlining the rationale behind the code at the induction meeting for new pupils.

The school helps pupils to take responsibility for their behaviour and relationships in school by:

1. Ensuring that the pupils have a clear understanding of behavioural expectations.
2. The consistent application of rules, rewards and sanctions.
3. Fostering a supportive relationship with the home.
4. Seeking professional assistance from outside agencies where deemed necessary.

Key policies and practices are monitored and modified according to need and parents / guardians have the opportunity to contribute to the school’s Code of Behaviour through the Parents’ Association and at Parent Teacher meetings.


SHNS recognises that children are more likely to benefit from their education and to be happy in a structured,caring environment where high standards of behaviour are expected and adhered to.

This code of behaviour expresses the kinds of behaviour and relationships that will create a positive environmentfor teaching and learning.

Clarity is provided for students about the school’s high expectations for their behaviour.

Goals are set that will guide them in moving towards mature and appropriate behaviour.


The standards of behaviour set out by SHNS reflect and embody the values as stated in our “Ethos” statement andthese values inform and find practical application within our school rules. These rules are displayed in eachclassroom and throughout the school.


These rules were compiled following whole school consultation with the staff and pupils through the school year 2016-2017. Rules will be discussed throughout the school year..

• I will respect people and their property.
• I will wear the school uniform
• I will be honest at all times.
• I will show “good listening” at all times.
• I will work well and try my best at all times.
• I will line up properly when leaving the school and after breaks, and I will walk quietly within the school.
• I will be respectful when corrected
• I will always seek adult help when I am not sure.
• I will include my peers in games on yard.
• I will show good manners at all times.

Promoting Good Behaviour

Promoting good behaviour is the aim of the code. School management and staff actively foster a school ethos thathelps promote positive behaviour and to prevent inappropriate behaviour.


• Positive Discipline System
• Positive everyday interaction between pupils and teacher.
• Good school and classroom routines.
• Clear boundaries and rules for pupils.
• Helping pupils themselves to recognise and affirm good behaviour.
• Recognising and giving positive feedback about behaviour.
• Exploring with pupils how people should treat each other.
• Involving pupils in the preparation of the school and classroom rules
• Strong emphasis on effort.
• Clear communication with parents / guardians
• Consistency in the application of the rule
• Communicating the rules in a way that all pupils understand.
• Holding a “Focus on Positive Behaviour Week” each academic year.

Reward System

• Individual Classroom Awards.
• Clearance to go on school trips.
• Whole school awards – assembly

Responding to Inappropriate Behaviour

The school has an agreed set of strategies to respond to inappropriate behaviour. This consists of three levels ofintervention.

1. Support for all
With consistent and clear rules most pupils behave appropriately. Minor misbehaviour is attended to routinely andeffectively. (Usually defined by a yellow card).

Examples ofminor misdemeanours * Yellow Card

Interrupting class work Running in school building
Arriving late for school Leaving litter around school
Talking in class Not having homework signed
Not wearing correct uniform Leaving seat without permission
Being discourteous / unmannerly Not completing homework without good reason
Endangering self/fellow pupils in school, yard or field

Examples of steps to be taken by teachers when dealing with misdemeanours:-

• Verbal reprimand / reasoning with pupil.
• Noting instance of yard misbehaviour in yard book.
• Write….story of what happened /one copy of school rules / relevant rule to upper limit of 20 times—all to be signed by parent / guardian.
• Note in homework journal to be signed by parent / guardian.
• Temporary separation from peers.
• Sending to another teacher.
• Note to parents / guardians concerning further misbehaviour in yard, which in Sacred Heart NS consists of any action that puts the safety of self/other pupil at risk.
• Send to Principal
• Class teacher meets one / both parents / guardians
• Principal meets one / both parents / guardians concerning behaviour.

2. Additional support for some pupils. (Usually defined by a red card)
The school intervenes actively to help pupils manage their behaviour where necessary.

Examples ofserious misdemeanours * Red Card

Constantly disruptive in class Bullying
Damaging other pupil’s property Stealing
Telling lies Bringing weapons to school
Back answering a teacher Deliberately injuring a fellow pupil
Not working to full potential Bringing inappropriate music to school
Using unacceptable language Bringing inappropriate literature to school
Leaving school premises during school day without appropriate permission.

Examples of steps to be taken when dealing with serious misdemeanours:-

• Send to Principal.
• Principal sends note in Journal to be signed by parent.
• Principal meets with one / both parents / guardians.
• Chairperson of Board Of Management informed and parents / guardians requested to meet with Chairperson and Principal.
• Chairperson / Principal to sanction immediate suspension pending discussion with parents / guardians.
• Expulsion will be considered in an extreme case in accordance with Section 24 of the Education Welfare Act (2000) as outlined further on.

3. Specialised support for a minority of pupils
For pupils who do not respond to low level interventions outside agencies may be involved if SHNS can gainaccess to them.

That we are outside the NEPS area make such interventions almost impossible by agencies such as NEPS, HSECommunity Psychological Services, National Behavioural Support Services, NCSE and Child Guidance Services.

There is a shared responsibility within the staff for the monitoring of behaviour and the overall responsibility lieswith the Principal.

The school team work in supporting and helping each other to devise possible ways to respond to and changeinappropriate behaviour.

Bullying and Harassment

The Board of Management is aware of its obligations around bullying and harassment legislation.

Record Keeping

Red and Yellow cards written by teachers regarding pupils behaviour that is cause for concern. These stored in pupil’s files in school office.

The Use of Sanctions

The school ensures that sanctions are used as part of a plan to change behaviour. They are used consistently.Students and parents / guardians are aware of what sanctions are used within the school. They are proportional tothe nature and seriousness of the behaviour and are appropriate to the age and developmental stage of the child.

The school, and every teacher, ensures that in applying any sanctions, the duty of care to the pupil is maintained.The standards and rules in SHNS Code of Behaviour apply in any situation where the pupil, although outside theschool, is still the responsibility of the school for e.g. school sports competitions, extra curricular activities andattendance at events organised by the school.

Students with Special Educational Needs

Teachers take particular care to help the pupil with special needs to understand clearly the purpose of the sanctionand the reason why their behaviour is unacceptable.

Communicating the Code of Behaviour

SHNS Code of Behaviour and Anti-Bullying Policy are communicated in an accessible way to all the school
community. Copies of both documents are given to the parents / guardians / guardians of all children applying toenrol in the school and they are asked to indicate their willingness to accept these policies as part of the applicationprocess. These policies are available on a daily basis through the school’s website

SHNS endeavours to provide pupils with the skills necessary to reach acceptable standards of school behaviour by:
• referring to the school’s Code of Behaviour and Anti-Bullying Policy on a regular basis in class work.
• discussing appropriate and inappropriate behaviour.
• teaching the rules.
• drawing pupils’ attention to the displayed rules
• using SPHE to teach skills for responsible behaviour.
• involving pupils when reviewing behavioural policies.

Building Relationships with parents / guardians

Parental understanding and support for the implementation of the code are strengthened by:

• a whole staff willingness to meet parents / guardians both formally and informally
• informing parents / guardians early about a pupil’s behaviour.
• involving the Parents / guardians’ Council when reviewing behavioural policies.

Monitoring and recording behaviour in school.

SHNS monitors and records behaviour and reviews policies and procedures accordingly. With “yellow” and “red”cards students are told why they are been given and the behaviour is recorded on the dated card. All behaviourrecords are in line with the Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003.records


Suspension is defined as requiring a pupil to absent himself from the school for a specified, limited number ofschool days.

During the period of a suspension, the pupil retains his place in the school.

Fair procedures, comprising of the right to be heard and the right to impartiality, are followed when proposing tosuspend a pupil.

The right to be heard means that a pupil and his parents / guardians are fully informed about an allegation and theprocesses that will be used to investigate and decide the matter; and that they must be given an opportunity torespond to an allegation before a decision is made and before a serious sanction is imposed.

The right to impartiality means that there is a right to an absence of bias on the part of the decision maker. Theperson alleging the misbehaviour, the alleged victim or the alleged witness does not usually conduct theinvestigation.

Care is taken to ensure that the fair procedures are accessible to people with disabilities or those from differentlanguage or cultural backgrounds.

The Board of Management and the Principal have a duty to ensure that there are no undue delays in an investigationand in making decisions about the imposition of a suspension.

Care is taken to ensure that all matters to do with an investigation of alleged misbehaviour are dealt with inconfidence.

Authority to Suspend

The Board of Management has delegated to the Principal the authority to suspend a pupil, for the first time, for upto three days, following consultation with the Deputy Principal. (i.e. an immediate suspension.)
In the event of an “immediate suspension” it is reported at the next Board of Management meeting and best practicedictates that the Principal’s decision to suspend, following consultation with the Deputy Principal, is conveyed tothe Chairperson BOM, at the earliest opportunity following the decision.

The decision to suspend a student requires serious grounds such as those outlined on SHNS Code of Behaviour andcopied for convenience at the end of this document.

They are best summarized as behaviour that
• has had a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other students.
• due to the pupils continued presence in the school, at this time, constitutes a threat to the pupil’s own safetyand the safety of other
• has resulted in serious damage to school property, another pupil’s property or school workers’ property.

Usually all other interventions will have been tried before suspension, however, a single incident of seriousmisconduct may be grounds for suspension.*

• Where an immediate suspension is considered by the Principal, following consultation with the DeputyPrincipal, to be warranted for reasons of the safety of the student, other students, staff or others, apreliminary 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 of Suspension” apply to immediate suspension.
• No suspension, including an immediate suspension, will be open-ended.
• In the case of an immediate suspension, parents / guardians must be notified and arrangements made withthem for the student to be collected.

Procedures in respect of suspension

• Parents / guardians are informed in writing (and possibly by phone) on the evening of their child’s allegedmisconduct and investigation that may result in suspension.
• They are invited to attend the school at their earliest convenience to discuss the incident(s).suspension.
• Following that meeting, should a suspension ensue, a letter outlining their child’s suspension will containthe day(s) and date(s) for which the suspension will apply.
• A record of this suspension will be added to the minutes of the next BOM meeting.

Conditions of Suspension

• Usually a pupil will not be suspended for more than 3 days; however it is possible for the B.O.M. tosanction a suspension for up to 10 days.
• For a suspension of more than three days or a second or subsequent suspension the BOM will be convened to discuss the events / incidents and the proposed suspension. An invitation in writing willbe given to the parents / guardians / guardians of the pupil(s) involved to discuss the matter beforethe BOM is convened.
• If a suspension is the outcome of the BOM meeting, the Principal will notify the parents / guardians of the pupils in writing of the decision to suspend. The letter will confirm the details of thesuspension and arrangements for returning to school following the suspension.

The B.O.M. offer an opportunity to appeal a Principal’s decision to suspend a student where the total number ofdays for which the pupil has been suspended reaches 20 days. The parents / guardians may appeal the suspensionunder section 29 of the Education Act 1998. Information on the appeals process will be provided by the school.

Suspension may be removed by the B.O.M. or the Secretary General of the Department of Education.

When any suspension is completed a pupil will be given the opportunity and support for a fresh start. On returnfollowing a suspension SHNS expects the same behaviour of this pupil as all of the other pupils. All formal writtenrecords will kept including the investigation, the decision making process, decision and rationale, duration of thesuspension and any conditions attached to the suspension.


The B.O.M. has the authority to expel a student.

Grounds for expulsion may be similar to those for suspension, but the key difference is that school authoritiesbelieve that they have exhausted all possibilities for changing the child’s behaviour.

Expulsion should be considered only in extreme cases of unacceptable behaviour and where significant steps havebeen taken to address the misbehaviour and to avoid the expulsion.

These steps include

• Meeting parents / guardians and pupil to try to find ways to help the pupil to change the behaviour.
• Ensuring all other possibilities have been tried.
• Seeking assistance of outside agencies.

There may be exceptional circumstances where the BOM consider that given the seriousness of a first offence apupil may be expelled.

Appropriateness of Expulsion

B.O.M. is required to review in detail the following factors in deciding whether to expel a pupil

• The nature and seriousness of the behaviour.
• The context of the behaviour.
• The impact of the behaviour.
• The interventions tried to date.
• Whether expulsion is an appropriate response.
• The possible impact of expulsion.

Procedures of Expulsion

The school is required by law to follow fair procedures. The school is required by law to follow procedures
prescribed under the Education (Welfare) Act 2000.

The procedural steps will include:

• A detailed investigation carried out under the direction of the Principal.
• A recommendation to the B.O.M. by the Principal.
• Consideration by the B.O.M. of the Principal’s recommendations and the holding of a hearing.
• B.O.M. deliberations and actions following the hearing.
• Consultations arranged by the EWO.(Education Welfare Officer)
• Confirmation of the decision to expel.

Decision to Expel

Once the decision to expel has been made and communicated to the EWO and parents / guardians in writing, a veryspecific timeframe must be adhered to in all dealings with the EWO and DES.

The EWO will make all reasonable efforts to consult with the Principal, parents / guardians, child and all partieswho may be of assistance to ensure that arrangements are made for the child to continue in education. The decisionto expel may be appealed under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 at which point a mediator will be appointedby the Appeals Committee of the DES.

The B.O.M. may decide to suspend a pupil during this time only where there is a likelihood that the continuedpresence of the pupil will seriously disrupt learning or constitute a threat to the safety of other pupils or staff.

Examples of serious misdemeanours *

Constantly disruptive in class
Telling lies Stealing
Damaging other pupil’s property
Damaging school property Bullying
Deliberately injuring a teacher Back answering a teacher Deliberately injuring a fellow pupil
Bringing weapons to school Bringing inappropriate literature toschool
Bringing inappropriate music to school
Bringing inappropriate pictures toschool
Using unacceptable language Leaving school premises during schoolday without appropriate permission

*It should be noted that these lists consist of examples only and is not meant to be a totally comprehensive list ofmisdemeanours and procedural steps.

[1] Under the terms of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, which became law in July 2002.

A. The Principal is required to keep “a record of attendance or non-attendance on each school day of each student registered atthat school.”

B. Parents \ Guardians are required to submit in writing “where a student fails to so attend, the fact of his or her failure and thereason for such failure.”

C. “Where the aggregate number of school days on which a student is absent…during a school year is not less than 20” thePrincipal is required by law to inform in writing an Educational Welfare Officer, who will in turn investigate the reasons for suchabsences.

This policy has been in operation since January 2013.

The policy was ratified by the Board of Management on 21 April 2016.

[September 2017]