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Code of Behaviour & Discipline


Code of Behaviour and Discipline of
Four Masters National School.

Introductory Statement:
In devising the code, consideration has been given to the particular needs and circumstances of this school. The views of all members of our school community i.e. parents, staff and Board of Management are represented in the code.  The aim is to ensure that the individuality of each child is accommodated while acknowledging the right of each child to education in a relatively disruption free environment.

The aims of the Code of Behaviour of Four Masters National School are:
• To provide guidance for pupils, teachers and parents on behavioural expectations.
• To provide for the effective and safe operation of the school.
• To develop pupils’ self-esteem and to promote positive behaviour.
• To foster the development of a sense of responsibility and self-discipline in pupils based on respect, consideration and tolerance 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.

General Principles:
Every effort will be made by all members of staff to adopt a positive approach to the question of behaviour in the school. The code offers a framework within which positive technique of motivation and encouragement are utilised by teachers.

The school places greater emphasis on rewards than on sanctions in the belief that this will, in the long run, give the best results.

The school recognises the variety of differences that exist between children and the need to accommodate these differences.

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, pupils and parents.

The rules are being kept to a minimum and are being positively stated in terms of what pupils should do.

All efforts will be made to match the curriculum to the abilities, aptitudes and interests of each pupil. This should help to reduce boredom, lack of interest or lack of progress.

School Rules

The following rules state, in a positive manner, the modes of behaviour expected of pupils attending this school.  All pupils are expected to:

Come to school at opening time i.e. 9.20 am or as soon as possible thereafter.

Wear proper school uniform.  No brand name tracksuits on P.E. day.

Work at the assigned tasks during school hours to the best of your ability.

Complete any homework assignments given by the teacher to the best of your ability.

Behave towards all members of staff in a respectful and co-operative manner.

Respect the rights and property of others, both in the classroom and in the schoolyard.

Take care of the school building, its contents and the grounds.

Obey the lawful instructions of any member of the teaching staff.

Remain within the school grounds unless given permission to leave.

Behave towards all visitors to the school in a respectful and co-operative manner.

No chewing gum in the school or its grounds.

No earrings allowed.  Studs only.

The use of mobile phones is forbidden both in the school and on the schoolyard.

The use of Tipp-ex by pupils is banned.

Roles and Responsibilities regarding implementation of Policy.

Board of Management’s Responsibilities
• Provide a comfortable, safe environment.
• Support the Principal and staff in implementing the code.
• Ratify the code.

Principal’s Responsibilities
• Promote a positive climate in the school.
• Ensure that the Code of Behaviour is implemented in a fair and consistent manner.
• Arrange for review of the Code, as required.

Teachers’ Responsibilities
• Support and implement the school’s code of behaviour.
• Create a safe working environment for each pupil.
• Recognize and affirm good work.
• Prepare schoolwork and correct work done by pupils.
• Recognise and provide for individual talents and differences among pupils.
• Be courteous, consistent and fair.

Parents/Guardians’ Responsibilities
• Encourage children to have a sense of respect for themselves and for property.
• Ensure that children attend regularly and punctually.
• Be interested in, support and encourage their children’s schoolwork.
• Be familiar with the code of behaviour and support its implementation.
• Co-operate with teachers in instances where their child’s behaviour is causing difficulties for others.
• Communicate with the school in relation to any problems which may affect child’s progress/behaviour.

Pupils’ Responsibilities
• Attend school regularly and punctually.
• Listen to their teachers and act on instructions/advice.
• Show respect for all members of the school community.
• Respect all school property and the property of other pupils.
• Avoid behaving in any way which would endanger others.
• Avoid all nasty remarks, swearing and name-calling.
• Include other pupils in games and activities.
• Bring correct materials / books to school.
• Follow school and class rules.

General Guidelines for Positive Behaviour
1. Pupils are expected to treat all adults and fellow pupils with respect and courtesy at all times.  Behaviour that interferes with the rights of others to learn and to feel safe is unacceptable.
2. Pupils are expected to show respect for all school property and to keep the school environment clean and litter free.
3. Pupils are expected to take pride in their appearance, to have all books and required materials and to be in the right place at the right time.
4. Pupils are expected to obey a teacher’s instructions, to work to the best of their ability and to present assignments neatly.
5. Pupils are expected to attend every day unless there is a genuine reason for absence, in which case the school must be informed in writing, stating the reason for absence.

Affirming Positive Behaviour

Positive reinforcement of good behaviour leads to better self-discipline and we place a greater emphasis on rewards and incentives than on sanctions.

Strategies/Incentives used in Four Masters to affirm Positive Behaviour.

• A quiet word or gesture to show approval.
• A comment on a child’s exercise book.
• A visit to another class or Principal for commendation.
• Praise in front of class group.
• Student of the week – whole school approach.
• Individual class merit awards, points awards or award stamps; homework passes.
• Delegating some special responsibility or privilege.
• Written or verbal communication with parent.
• Commendation at assemblies by principal.

Discouraging Misbehaviour
The purpose of sanctions and other strategies is to promote positive and discourage misbehaviour.  Sanctions will be applied according to the gravity of the misbehaviour, with due regard to age and emotional development.  These may include
• Reasoning with pupil.
• Verbal reprimand including advice on how to improve.
• Temporary separation from peers within class and /or temporary removal to another class.
• Prescribing extra schoolwork and or homework.
• Loss of privileges.
• Detention during break.
• Teacher communication with parents.
• Referral to Principal.
• Principal communicating with parents.
• Exclusion (Suspension or Expulsion) from school (in accordance with Rule 130 of the Rules for National Schools as amended by circular and Education Welfare Act 2000).

Pupils will not be deprived of engagement in a Curricular Area, except on the grounds of health/safety.


Bullying is repeated verbal, psychological or physical aggression by an individual or group against others.  The most common forms of bullying are aggressive physical contact, cyber-bullying, name-calling, intimidation, extortion, isolation and taunting.  Bullying and cyber-bullying will not be tolerated and parents will be expected to cooperate with the school at all times in dealing with instances of bullying in accordance with the school’s Anti-Bullying Policy.


Before serious sanctions such as suspension or expulsion are used, the normal channels of communication between school and parents will be utilized.  Parents will be involved at an early stage rather than as a last resort.  Communication with parents may be verbal or by letter depending on the circumstances.  Teachers shall keep a written record of all instances of misbehaviour as well as a record of improvement in the behaviour of a disruptive pupil.  Before suspending / expelling a pupil the Board shall notify the local Education Welfare Officer in writing in accordance with section 24 of Education Welfare Act.

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.  Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards a teacher or pupil will be regarded as serious or gross misbehaviour, depending on circumstances.

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 and the principal.  If the parents 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.  A written statement of the terms and date of termination of a suspension will be given to parents.  In the case of gross misbehaviour the Board shall authorize the chairperson/principal to sanction an immediate suspension pending a discussion of the matter with the parents.  Expulsion may be considered in extreme cases, in accordance with rule 30 and Education Welfare Act 2000.  The authority to expel is reserved for Board of Management and will not be delegated.  Every effort will be made to have an emotionally disturbed child referred for psychological assessment without delay.  Help will be sought, also, from support services within the wider community e.g. Community Care services provided by Health Services Executive.

Reinstatement after Suspension

The principal will facilitate the preparation of a behaviour plan for the pupil to be implemented on his/her return and the principal will re-admit the pupil formally to the class.

When and Where Behaviour will be subject to the code:

The code will apply between the hours of 9.20 am and 3 pm i.e. during the school day.  Parents are reminded that the staff of the school does not accept responsibility for pupils before official opening time or after official closing time, except where pupils are engaged in extra curricular activities organized 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.

Formulation of Code

In formulating this code, the Board of Management considered the views of the parent representatives on the Board and all members of the teaching staff have been involved in planning the code.  A copy of this code will be made available to all parents.

Dealing with concerns or complaints

Concerns / complaints regarding behavioural issues should in the first instance be brought to the attention of the class teacher by appointment.  If not resolved there then the concerns can be brought to the principal.  If matters still remain unresolved the concerns can be formally made (in writing) to the Board of Management.   There is also an appeals procedure available under section 29 of the Education Act 1998 in relation to suspension / expulsion.

The school’s revised Code of Behaviour and Discipline policy adheres to the guidelines issued by the National Education Welfare Board (May’08) in a book entitled “Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools”.

Ratification and review
This policy will be reviewed once every year or more often if deemed necessary.

This policy was ratified by the Board of Management at a meeting in September 2016.

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