Context of Code of Behaviour:
In accordance with the Department of Education circular 2/90, regarding codes of behaviour for schools, the Board of Management, having consulted with the teaching staff and the Parents’ Association has adopted the following as a Code of Behaviour.
The intended benefit of this Code of Behaviour is to cultivate the development of self-discipline – which must be a desirable objective for all concerned. Therefore it is imperative that every parent/guardian accepts the Code of Behaviour and plays his/her part in its implementation.
The aim of the Code of Behaviour is also to provide guidelines and procedures for the maintenance of standards of behaviour and school atmosphere which will facilitate each child achieving his/ her full potential as a student attending Gaelscoil an Ghoirt Álainn, a school which is founded on the following principles:
- Gaelscoil/Irish-medium school: The fundamental aim of Gaelscoil an Ghoirt Álainn is the education of the children in its care. The fact that the Irish language is the primary means of communication reflects the importance placed on our unique cultural identity within the broader European context.
- Multi-denominational: The school is open to children of all religions and none and the social, cultural and religious background of each child is equally respected. The school draws a distinction between moral/religious education and denominational instruction. The former is provided through a religious education core curriculum taught daily in the classroom. The latter is facilitated by the school but organised and paid for by parents.
- Co–educational: The school is open to girls and boys on an equal basis. Every effort is made to ensure that boys and girls are actively integrated and sexual stereotyping is avoided.
- Child-centred: The school is child-centred in its approach to education.
- Democratically run: The school is democratically run with active participation by parents in the daily life of the school, with due regard however, for the professional role of the teachers.
- Gaelscoil an Ghoirt Álainn aims to achieve a high standard of general behaviour amongst its members. This code of behaviour is based upon the principle of respect for the individual, both in its content and implementation. It exists for the benefits of pupils, teachers and parents. Each group, together with the Board Management is expected to encourage and promote good behaviour and respect for all.
- It is an aim of the Code of Behaviour that each child will be given the opportunity to develop according to his/her own ability and ensure that (s)he benefits from the education available at Gaelscoil an Ghoirt Álainn.
- Every person, and every child, has rights. With these rights come certain obligations and it is important that every member of the school understands this.
- Every teacher will make the best efforts to be positive regarding his/her disciplinary procedures. Praise and encouragement will be used in order to engender good behaviour in the pupils. The teachers understand that every child must be dealt with at his/her own level, and in a way which is most suitable for that child bearing in mind the needs of other children in the class.
- Parents/guardians have an important part to play in disciplinary procedures. It is necessary that parents/guardians explain the rules to their children, and that they stand by these rules. Parents should support teachers in promoting good behaviour in their children. If your child feels that (s)he has been unfairly judged by the teacher, it is recommended that parents should take a neutral stand, and discuss the matter with the teacher first.
- This Code of Behaviour shall be reviewed from time to time as deemed necessary, but in any event it shall be reviewed at intervals of not more than three years.
This document outlines:
- Standards of behaviour
- General school behaviour
- General classroom behaviour
- Playground behaviour
- Procedures for implementing these standards
Standards of Behaviour
General School Behaviour
- Children must speak Irish at all times except during the period time-tabled for English class.
- Every child is obliged to be at school at 8.50 a.m. Parents/guardians should collect children at 1.30 p.m. (junior and senior infants) and 2.30 p.m. (all other classes).
- Children are obliged to wear full school uniform including black shoes- high heels are not allowed for safety reasons. On weekly sports days/Physical Education (PE) days, pupils should wear their school tracksuits. On special occasions the children will be given permission to wear ordinary clothes.
- Children are expected to arrive at school punctually. Children who are late for class should excuse themselves to the teacher. If it is a regular occurrence parents/guardians should inform the teacher in writing of the reason. Various school initiatives may be used to encourage punctuality amongst the general school population.
- Every child is expected to be at school on time at 8.50 a.m. and to stay for the duration of the school day. If (s)he is obliged to leave early with a parent or guardian, permission must be sought from the class teacher. On such occasions the parent/guardian must collect the child from his / her classroom and sign the child out at the office after receiving a card from the class teacher.
- Where a child is absent, a written explanation is required on his/her return, signed by his/her parent or guardian. If a child is absent 20 days or more the school is obliged by law to inform the Educational Welfare Board. If a child is suffering from an infectious illness, this is to be made known to the class teacher immediately.
- Because of insurance requirements, children are not allowed to remain in the classroom during break-time. If a parent or guardian wishes that their child should remain indoors due to illness, written permission from the parent or guardian must be provided. You are requested not to send a sick child to school. Please ensure that all phone numbers and email addresses are up to date in the school office in case of emergency.
- The homework journal must be inspected and signed by the parents/guardians every day
- Children are expected to display courtesy to each other, to be respectful of each other and also to all adults with whom they come in contact in the school.
- Bullying of other children is unacceptable behaviour – please refer to the school’s Bullying Policy.
- Children are expected to be truthful and honest at all times.
- It is expected that the instructions of each member of the teaching staff will be obeyed at all times.
- In the interest of safety when moving around the school, the children are expected to walk and show concern for others, especially younger children.
- When the school bell rings, pupils are expected to make a line in an orderly fashion and to wait for the class teacher when going inside or outside.
- The staffroom and the office are completely out of bounds. No child may enter either except under specific instructions from a member of staff.
- School property and furniture must be respected and any damage to same must be compensated for by the child’s parent or guardian.
- Children should have a lively regard for their environs and at all times try to keep the school clean and litter free.
- Children are expected to leave the school promptly at 2.30 p.m.
- Children are not allowed to climb gates, railings, walls or trees at any time in the interest of safety.
- Chewing gum is prohibited.
- Children are not allowed to wear make-up
- In the interest of the health and safety of all children, children are not permitted to wear jewellery deemed inappropriate by the school authorities.
- Children are not allowed to have mobile phones activated on the school premises in the interest of health and safety of all children.
General Classroom Behaviour
In the classroom we must be aware of the rights of every child to be allowed to work to their full potential in school. With this in mind it is important that disruptive behaviour be discouraged and that parents/guardians help the class teacher in identifying and resolving same. Behaviour which is disruptive could be defined as follows:
- Repeated talking either to another child or the teacher
- Use of foul or unacceptable language
- Movement around the class, which is likely to disrupt or distract others
- Refusal to follow simple instructions, etc.
Every child is expected to do the work set out for both class and homework. Repeated lack of effort on the part of the child is something which disrupts the smooth running of the class. Please ensure homework journal is checked and signed every day.
Yard supervision is carried out by the teachers. Every effort must be made to make it as stress free as is possible for everyone. It must be remembered that where a large group of children is gathered together in a playground safety is always of prime importance. This factor is paramount in the drawing up of the following guidelines:
- The instructions of the teacher in charge must be followed at all times.
- At all times children are expected to remain within the designated play area.
- Games involving mock fighting, pulling, dragging or other activity liable to cause injury to others are not allowed under any circumstances
- The teacher-in-charge will call for attention from time to time by blowing a whistle or ringing a bell. This must be obeyed by stopping whatever is going on and awaiting instruction.
- At the beginning of break time, each class group walks to the yard. At the end of this period each class group lines up in its place and waits for the teacher to bring them back to class.
- On wet days the children remain in their own rooms and remain seated.
Procedures for implementing these standards
While the board respects the individual rights of each and every child in the school, it is also aware of the rights of the children as a whole and at no time can it allow the rights of any individual to supercede those of the majority of the children. In order to create an effective school environment the following sanctions are recommended:
- For minor offences the class teacher will deal with the matter. The class teacher being responsible for the individual classes will decide whether a matter is of minor consequence or not.
- If a serious incident of disruption occurs, the class teacher will report it and any repeated instances to the Principal while at the same time keeping a written record of all such instances. Senior pupils are informed when instances of serious misbehaviour on their part are being recorded. Parents will be kept fully informed from the outset of the instances of serious misbehaviour on the part of their children. They will be informed of their right to come to the school and will be invited to do so in order to discuss the misbehaviour with the class teacher and/or the Principal. They will be asked to give an undertaking that the unacceptable behaviour will cease.
The following strategies maybe used to show disapproval of unacceptable behaviour and to help the child to change inappropriate behaviour:
- Reasoning with the pupil
- Reprimand (including advice on how to improve)
- Temporary separation from peers, friends or others
- Prescribing additional work/write a written report what they did or said (behaviour reflection form to be filled out to help the child change inappropriate behaviour)
- Loss of privileges/detention during a break
- Communication with parents/guardians
- Referral to Principal
- Communication with the Board of Management
Where there are repeated instances of serious misbehaviour, the Chairperson of the Board of Management will he informed and the parents will be requested in writing to attend at the school to meet the Chairperson and Principal. If the parents do not give an undertaking that the pupil will behave in an acceptable manner in the future the pupil may have to be suspended for a temporary period. Suspension will be in accordance with the terms of Rule 1 30 (5) of the Rules for National Schools. In all cases of suspension and expulsion the parents / guardians will have the right to appeal to the Board of Management.
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 serious detrimental effect on the education of other students;
- the students continued presence in the school at this time constitutes a threat to safety of him/herself and of others;
- the student is responsible for serious damage to property.
A single incident of serious misconduct may be grounds for suspension.
In the case of gross misbehaviour the Board will authorise the Chairperson or Principal to sanction an immediate suspension, pending a discussion of the matter with the parents. Expulsion may be considered in an extreme case, in accordance with rule 130.
Every effort will be made to help an emotionally disturbed child within the school and with the cooperation of the parents. Help will be sought also, from support services within the wider community e.g. psychologists, community care services provided by the HSE.
Attendance of children at Gaelscoil an Ghoirt Álainn is an acknowledgement by the parents/guardians of their acceptance of the Code of Behaviour and related procedures.
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