Hedgestown National School

Code of Behaviour

Code of Behaviour

The school has a central role in the children's social and moral development just as it does in their academic development. In seeking to define acceptable standards of behaviour it is acknowledged that these are goals to be worked towards rather than expectations that are either fulfilled or not.

The children bring to school a wide variety of behaviour. As a community environment, in school we must work towards standards of behaviour based on the basic principles of honesty, respect, consideration and responsibility. It follows that acceptable standards of behaviour are those that reflect these principles.

Children need limits set for them in order to feel secure and develop the skills for co-operation. Therefore any rules will be age appropriate, with clear agreed consequences.

Parents can co-operate with the school by encouraging their children to understand the need for school rules, by visiting the school and by talking to the members of staff.

A code of behaviour is established to ensure that the individuality of each child is accommodated while at the same time acknowledging the right of each child to education in a relatively disruption free environment.


Aims of the Code

·         To create a positive learning environment that encourages and reinforces good behaviour

·         To promote self-esteem and positive relationships

·         To encourage consistency of response to both positive and negative behaviour

·         To foster a sense of responsibility and self-discipline in pupils and to support good behaviour patterns based on consideration and respect for the rights of others

·         To facilitate the education and development of every child

·         To foster caring attitudes to one another and to the environment

·         To enable teachers to teach without disruption

·         To ensure that the school's expectations and strategies are widely known and understood through the parent’s handbook, availability of policies and an ethos of open communication

·         To promote a healthy and safe environment where the child’s physical and emotional needs are catered for.


Code Of Behaviour

1.      In devising the code consideration has been given to the particular needs and circumstances of this school. The aim is to ensure that the uniqueness of each child is accomodated while acknowledging the right of each child to education in a disruption free enviornment.

2.      Our main school rule is that we treat each other as we like to be treated ourselves.

3.      In our school we have a positive approach to teaching and learning. Positive rules for behaviour in class and out of class are learned by the pupils at the beginning of their school year. Pupils are disciplined (whenever possible) by being motivated to keep these rules.

4.      Rewards rather than sanctions will be priority, the latter will be given if after consultation with those concerned if it is deemed necessary.

5.      A high standard of behaviour is expected at all times especially by co-operating and respect among staff, pupils and parents/guardians.

6.      The overall responsibility for discipline within the school lies with the Principal. Each teacher has responsibility  for maintaining discipline within his/her own class, while sharing a common responsibility for good behaviour within the school as a whole. Rules in each classroom will be taught to the pupils.

7.      For serious or repeated breaches of discipline a pupil may be referred to the Principal. Parents may be invited to attend the school to discuss the problem. The principal, class teacher and parents/guardians will be present at such meetings.

8.      Teachers shall at all times keep a written record of any such incidents.

9.      Where very serious instances of misbehaviour occur, the matter will be brought to the attention of the Board of Management. Parents will be asked to attend such meetings and to follow the decision of the Board in that particular matter. Failure to do so will result in the implementation of Rule130 (5) of Rules of National Schools.

10.  Children with SEN will be helped to understand the school rules within their IEP.

11.  Emotionally disturbed children will be referred for Psychological Assessment without delay. Help will be sought also from Support Services within the wider community eg Health Boards etc.

12.  The school will at all times keep parents well informed both of times when they behave well and also when they misbehave.

General Guidelines for Behaviour

All pupils are expected to behave in a reasonable manner both to themselves and to others, showing consideration, courtesy and respect for other pupils and adults at all times.  Respect must be shown at all times.  Respect must be shown for the property of the individual and of the school at all times.


Code of Behaviour

The code of Behaviour covers the following areas:

·         Behaviour in class

·         Behaviour in the playground

·         Behaviour in the school environment and behaviour on school outings

·         Attendance at school/Education Welfare Act

·         Homework after school and extra-curricular activities.


Behaviour in class

Courtesy and respect are essential.  Disrespectful behaviour towards other pupils or towards other pupils or towards a teacher (e.g. defiance, cheek, insolence) are unacceptable.  Pupils must respect the right of other pupils to learn.  Any behaviour which interferes with the right (e.g. constant disruption of the class persistent distracting of others) is considered unacceptable behaviour. In order that pupils benefit from their work in class full co-operation is required at all times.  Pupils must co-operate with instructions given by the teacher.


The Essential Classroom Rules

1.      Be ready for class

2.      Good manners are expected at all times

3.      Always do your best and allow others to do the same

4.      Raise hand wait for attention and listen to the person who is speaking

5.      Take good care of personal and classroom property

6.      Ensure you are safe in class and make it safe for others


Behaviour in the Playground

Children will follow a simple set or rules to ensure they remain safe on yard. These are:

1.      We stay safe by remaining inside the yellow lines.

2.      We play nicely with all our friends so no one gets hurt.

3.      We only score goals from inside the other teams half (Show your skills no blasting the ball).

4.      We take care and remember others especially when going around corners.

5.      We avoid accidents by staying off the walls, bars and on our two feet.


If the children disobey the rules they:

1.      Receive a warning and their name is noted in yard notebook.

2.      If they repeat they are given time out for 10 minutes.

3.      If on return they break another rule they miss the rest of break.


The children will be made aware of the rules for staying safe on yard at the beginning of each year. Positive behaviour on yard will also be recorded with an active reward given to the class of the month.

Any behaviour which interferes with other pupils play is not permitted.  Pupils may not leave the playground for any reason during breaks without permission of the supervising teacher, this includes re-entering the school building.


Behaviour in the School Environment & Behaviour on School outings (Tour Policy)

Respect and courtesy to others is essential.  Any kind of verbal or physical abuse of other pupils is unacceptable.  Use of foul language among pupils is unacceptable.  Bullying or intimidation of other pupils is prohibited and is always regarded as a serious offence.  Pupils must show respect for school property at all times.  For reasons of safety and to minimise accidents, pupils should move about the school in an orderly manner. When on school outings pupils are expected to behave in an orderly manner and show respect for public property.  They should always co-operate fully with their teachers and special needs staff.


Attendance/Education Welfare Act

Under the Education Welfare Act 2000, absences must be explained on a school absence note returned to the class teacher on the child’s return to school.  Absences of 20 days or more must be referred by the school to Education Welfare Board.  Any child who is late or is wishing to leave school early must have a note signed by their parent in their school journal.


Homework (Homework Policy)

It is the policy of the school to assign homework on a regular basis. Parents are expected to take an active interest in their child’s homework and should ensure it is attempted and signed afterwards. If for some reason homework (or part of it) cannot be completed, parents are asked to note this in the homework journal. 


Extra-Curricular Activities

The children are expected to behaviour as they would during school hours for extra-curricular activities. If any child repeatedly misbehaves their parent is informed and they may not be allowed to attend.


Mobile phones/IPods/Electronic Games

Use of mobile phones, IPods and electronic games during school hours is strictly forbidden.  All phones must be switched off and kept in school bags at all times.  Any infringement of this rule will involve the confiscation of the phone and any other electronic equipment and will only be returned to the parent or guardian of the pupil.


School Uniform

All pupils must wear the school uniform.


Healthy Eating (Healthy Eating Policy)

Children are taught to have a healthy lifestyle. Chewing gum, hard sweets and fizzy drinks are not allowed in school.

Praise for good behaviour may be given by means of any one of the following;

·         A quiet word or gesture to show approval

·         A comment in a pupil’s copy

·         A visit to another member of staff or to the Principal for commendation.

·         A word of praise in front of a group or class

·         A system of merit marks, homework passes, rewards etc.

·         Delegating some special responsibility or privilege

·         A mention to parent, written or verbal communication

(See Incredible Teachers Handbook)


Examples of Misbehaviour

  • Disruptive behaviour eg, talking out of turn.
  • Interrupting or interfering with others during class
  • Physical aggression-kicking, spitting, bullying, showing lack of respect to others.
  • Emotional aggression-name calling, exclusion.
  • Failing to accept correction.
  • Disrespect to teachers and staff-cheek, back answering
  • Deliberately disobeying a teacher.


Dealing with such behaviour.

·         Reason with child

·         Verbal reprimand.

·         Temporary separation from peers.

·         Loss of privileges

·         Note in child homework diary to be signed by parent/guardian.

·         Extra homework to be signed by Parent.

·         Refer to principal for more serious incidents or constant misbehaviour.

·         Consultation with Board of Management may lead to suspension and further action.



This procedure is used in the case of gross misbehaviour and or health & safety grounds:

·         If previous attempt to deal with serious misbehaviour are exhausted or there is a single incident of gross misbehaviour the Principal requests a meeting with the parents.  If considered warranted the Principal reserves the right to suspend the pupil for 3 days initially.  This power of suspension is delegated to the principal by the school Board of Management.

·         In certain circumstances the Principal with the approval of their Chairperson of the BoM may suspend a pupil for 5 school days

·         A meeting of the BoM may authorise further suspension up to a maximum of 10 days.  Suspension will be in accordance with Section 23 of the Education Welfare Act 2000. Assistance from external agencies may be sought, HSE/ NEPS etc.



Parents of a pupil who has been suspended for 20 school days or more are entitled under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 to appeal such a suspension.



This procedure may be considered in an extreme case, in accordance with Section 23 of the Education Welfare Act 2000.


Grounds for Expulsion

·         Behaviour is persistent cause of significant disruption to the learning of others or to the teaching process

·         Continued presence of pupil constitutes a real and significant threat to safety

·         Pupil responsible for serious damage to property.


Automatic Expulsion

BoM may sanction automatic expulsion for certain prescribed behaviours:

1.      Sexual Assault

2.      Possession of illegal drugs

3.      Supplying illegal drugs to other pupils in the school

4.      Actual violence or physical assault

5.      Serious threat of violence against another pupil or member of staff.


Procedures in Respect of Expulsion

1.      Detail investigation by school principal

2.      Recommendation by principal to BoM

3.      BoM considers Principals recommendation and holds hearing

4.      BoM decision, is expulsion appropriate?  If BoM recommends expulsion, the BoM will propose a date which will allow a 20-day cooling off period

5.      Education Welfare Officer is informed of proposal to expel pupil and effective date of that proposal

6.      Parents of the pupil are informed of rights to invoke a Section 29 appeal under the Education Act 1998

7.      Education Welfare Officer arranges consultations

8.      Confirmation of decision.


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.


Code of Conduct for Parents

Parents are expected to:

·         Ensure their children attend school and are punctual.

·         Equip pupils with appropriate school materials, a sufficient healthy lunch and full uniform

·         Be courteous towards pupils and staff

·         Make an appointment to meet with a teacher or the Principal

·         Respect school property and encourage their children to do the same

·         Label pupils coats and other personal property

·         Inform the school of any issues which may affect their child in school.

·         Support the school in upholding the school Ethos and Code of Beahviour.


As the Board of Management is responsible for the Health & Safety of all staff and students, parents are requested not to approach or reprimand another person’s child on the school premises.



The essence of our code of behaviour is valuing people and encouraging them to accept responsibility for their own behaviour and to develop self-discipline



This policy will be reviewed in school year 2018/2019



This policy was ratified by a member of the school Board of Management on 8/3/2017