School Policies

Code of Good Behaviour and Discipline
School Discipline Policy For  Athea National School

Introductory Statement:

This policy was formulated by the principal and teaching staff in consultation with the parent and approved by the Board of Management.


In order to create a happy, secure environment in which children can develop to their full potential, it is necessary to provide a framework which promotes constructive behaviour and discourages unacceptable behaviour.

Relationship to School Ethos:

The ethos of the school is a major factor in establishing and maintaining high standards of behaviour. This points to the importance of a strong sense of community within the school and the existence of a high level of co-operation among teachers, ancillary staff, pupils, parents, parent’s association and the Board of Management. This school places a great emphasis on the need to give the children every possible opportunity to develop patterns of good behaviour.

Aims of the Code:

  • To provide a framework to assist the school in maintaining a positive, safe learning environment.
  • To clarify and formalise existing rules and procedures
  • To inform parents and pupils of the behaviour which the school encourages and expects together with the procedures used to deal with  in-appropriate behaviour
  • To provide the teachers with a framework for dealing with pupil behaviour.
  • To ensure that he individuality of each pupil is accommodated while at the same time acknowledging the right of each child to education in a relatively disruption free environment.

Content of the Policy:

1) The Board of Management has ultimate responsibility for discipline in

the school under its management and a duty to ensure that a fair code  of  discipline applies therein.

2) Teachers should have a lively regard for the improvement and general welfare of their pupils, treat them with kindness combined firmness and should aim at governing them through their affections  and reason and not by harshness and severity.  Ridicule, sarcasm or remarks likely to undermine a pupils self-confidence should not be used in any circumstances.

3) Where the Board of Management deems it necessary to make provision in the code of discipline to deal with continuously disruptive pupils or with a serious breach of discipline, by authorising the Chairperson or Principal to exclude a pupil or pupils from school.  The maximum initial period of such exclusion shall be three school days. A special decision of the Board of Management is necessary to authorise a further period of exclusion up to a maximum of 10 school days to allow for consultation with the pupil’s or pupils’ parents or guardians.  In exceptional circumstances, the Board of Management may authorise a further period of exclusion in order to enable the matter to be reviewed.

4) No pupil shall be struck off the rolls for breaches of discipline without the prior consent of the Patron and unless the alternative arrangements are    made for the enrolment of the pupil at another suitable school.

5) Pupils Behaviour in Class:

a) Pupils must have all books and required materials

b) Pupils to attend class

c) punctually

d) Pupils are expected to work to the best of their ability and to present written exercises neatly.

d) They are to show respect to their classmates and to follow their teachers instructions.

e) Any behaviour that interferes with the rights of others is unacceptable.

6) Pupils Behaviour out of Class:

a) Pupils must not behave in any way which endangers themselves or others

b) Any instructions or directions given by the supervising teacher are to be complied with

c) Children must line up in an orderly manner at the end of breaks.

d) Any form of threatening behaviour is unacceptable

Implementation of this code will lead to:

  • A safe environment for the children
  • Sound character training
  • The development of good work habits
  • Reduced teacher stress
  • Improved home / school liaison
  • Pupils taking responsibility for their own behaviour

Information for parents:

  • We focus on positive behaviour
  • We encourage and reward the behaviour we want repeated
  • It is school policy to inform you the parent/guardian early if there is a problem.
  • We need your co-operation and support to maintain a good standard of behaviour.
  • We emphasise good teacher/pupil relationships.

School Uniform

  • School uniform to be worn everyday
  • School uniform to be worn for events associated with school.
  • Please label all garments and property.

Health and Safety:

  • Encourage healthy lunches.
  • Glass bottles, chewing gum and crisps are not allowed.
  • Head lice – class notes are given when necessary.
  • Parents are requested not to park on the bus lane
  • Parents or guardians have to drop and collect children at school gate – children are not allowed cross the road unaccompanied.

Medication in school:

  • As a general rule pupils are not permitted to take medicines in school.
  • If it is necessary parents are asked to come to the school to administer it.
  • Accurate medical history should be given to the school.
  • In personal circumstances where medicine must be given during the school hours parents must contact the Board of Management in writing and set out clearly the procedure for administering the medicine.

Notes are required:

  • Pupils are absent or late.
  • Pupils must leave school early
  • Attendance at clinics
  • Pupils fail to complete homework
  • Only pupils with signed consent forms are allowed home or up street for lunch.

Contact your child’s teacher:

  • Child has been diagnosed with / suffers from a medical condition
  • Child has suffered trauma, stress, bereavement
  • Have taken your child for an educational assessment

Home work policy

  • Homework is given on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
  • Homework is not normally given on Friday except – If homework has been neglected during the week.
  • – In senior classes some project work is undertaken at weekends.
  • ‘Homework Off’ is occasionally earned as a reward or treat.
  • Extra homework is sometimes given if a child has not done homework or has not made a suitable effort or has presented untidy work.

Time guidelines:

Junior infants                  up to 10 minutes

Senior infants                  up to 20 minutes

First Class                       up to 30 minutes

Second Class                   up to 40 minutes

Third Class                      up to 45 minutes

Fourth Class                    up to 50 minutes

Fifth and sixth class                about one hour


  • Ideally a balance between reading tasks, learning tasks and written tasks
  • Regularly contains reading, spelling, tables, written work and pieces to be ‘learned by heart’.
  • Reading and learning work are very important – don’t skimp on these.
  • Drawing/colouring, collecting information / items, finishing work started in class.

Remember individual needs may determine the homework chosen for a child – children in the same class can have different homework.

Ensuring homework is done is seen as a shared responsibility between parent, child and teacher.

Let the teacher know if your child cannot do homework

  • Because of family circumstances
  • Because he/she does not understand some aspect of it.
  • If your child regularly spends longer than the recommended time.

Class room rules:

1 Work well. Keep on task.

  • Neat completion of work/tasks in the given time.
  • Finding follow-up work where necessary e.g. piece of reading
    • Taking pride in your work – always doing your best.

2 Listen to each other – talk in turn

  • Focus on listening to teacher and others in class.
  • Listening ears, no interruptions, while teacher speaks.
  • Ask questions, make comments, and raise concerns at the right time in the right place.
  • Use a quiet voice for group work.

3 There is time to move – know when, know where, know how.

  • Sitting properly i.e. 6 on the floor ….2 feet + 4 chair legs.
  • Walking when moving around classroom.
  • Line up properly
  • Always walk     – in the school building – entering and leaving school grounds.

4 Be prepared. Be on time.

  • Be presentable. Be proud of your appearance.
  • Be ready for school – uniform, attendance, punctuality, hygiene, school bag, homework, stationary, healthy lunch, signed note/diary for absence.
  • Keep chewing gum ad crisps for after school.

5 Be respectful.

  • Tidy up properly
  • Allow others to work
  • Communicate in the correct way
  • Respect property
  • Play your part in keeping the classroom clean.

Keep unhelpful hands, feet, comments to yourself.

Yard Rules:

1 Be in the right place in the right time:

  • Go straight to your line when you hear the bell in the yard.
  • Leave the toilets immediately after use.
  • Never leave the yard without  permission

2 Be prepared for yard:

  • Put on your coats before you go out
  • Eat, drink only at the proper place and time.
  • Keep chewing gum and crisps for after school.

3 Play preferred games:

  • If a child does not like the game it must stop immediately.
  • Teacher on yard deals with problems on yard.
  • Rough and fast games are not to be played.

4 Know what to do when sick or injured.

  • Tell the teacher on the yard.

5 Follow the entering and leaving rules:

  • Walk when entering and leaving the school.
  • Use the proper doors.

Be proud of your school – don’t do anything on the way to

or from school that would let yourself or the school down

Punishment work given by class teacher or teacher on yard duty must be presented to Miss Mulvihill who has a post of responsibility to ensure punishment work is recorded and submitted.  When a child is reported to Miss Mulvihill on 3 occasions, parents will be notified.  For serious misbehaviour parents will be sent for immediately.

Incentives and Rewards

To encourage acceptable behaviour children should be applauded for good behaviour, e.g.

Lessons off or reduced

Perks, such as jobs or whatever incentives the teacher may devise.

Juniors:  sweets

Stickers / stamps

Bualadh bos

Variety of Certificates

Seniors:   Computer time

Homework pass


Field at lunchtime

Breaches of Discipline

The following strategies may be used to show disapproval of unacceptable behaviour:

a)   Reasoning with the pupil

b)   Reprimand (including advice o how to improve)

c)    Temporary separation from peers, friends or others

d)   Loss of privileges

e)    Detention during a break

f)     Prescribing additional work

g)    Referral to Principal Teacher

h)   Communication with parents

i)     Suspension (temporary)

Teachers shall keep a written record of all instances of serious misbehaviour as well as a record of improvements in the behaviour of disruptive pupils.  Before resorting to serious sanctions e.g. suspension, the normal channels of communication between school and parents will be utilised.  Parents will be involved at an early stage rather than as a last resort.

Communication with parents will be verbal or by letter, depending on circumstances.  The parents concerned will be invited to come to the school to discuss their child’s case.  For gross misbehaviour or repeated instances of serious misbehaviour suspension will be considered.  Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards a teacher will be regarded as serious or gross behaviour, 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 Teacher.  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 130 (5) of the Rules for National Schools.

In the case of gross misbehaviour the Board will authorise the Chairperson or Principal Teacher 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 (6).

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 Boards.

Anti – Bullying Policy

Every child and adult has a                               Every child and adult has a

right to education without                                responsibility not to engage

being bullied.                                                            in bullying behaviour towards                                                                                               others.

Definition of Bullying:

Bullying is deliberate, repeated acts of aggression, verbal, psychological or physical conducted by an individual or group against others.   (Department of Education 1993) It is oppress, physical or mentally, by means of superior force or threats of using force.  (Edwards 1996)

Indications of Bullying Behaviour:

A child may indicate by changes in behaviour that are out of character that he/she is being bullied:-

At School:

  • Deterioration in educational performance
  • Visible signs of anxiety/distress
  • Possessions missing
  • Unexplained bruises, injuries or torn clothing
  • Are picked on, pushed around, shoved, punched, kicked
  • Are (often) alone and excluded from peer group
  • Do not seem to have a single friend

At Home:-

  • Anxiety about travelling to/ from school
  • Unwillingness to go to school
  • Pattern of physical illness
  • Unexplained changes in either mood/behaviour
  • Increased requests for money
  • Unexplained bruising, injuries, cuts and scratches
  • Reluctance or refusal to say what is troubling him/her
  • Give improbable excuses to explain any of the above

Types of Bullying

  1. Physical – pushing, shoving, punching, kicking, poking and tripping people
  2. Damage to property – clothing, school books, school bags, pencil cases etc
  3. Extortion – demands for money, lunches etc., often accompanied by threats
  4. Intimidation – using voice or facial expression as a weapon
  5. Isolation – a child is deliberately isolated, excluded or ignored by others
  6. Name calling – persistent name calling either verbal or written which causes hurt, insult of humiliation to another child.
  7. Bullying of School Personnel – bullying of school personnel by means of physical assault, damage to property, verbal abuse, threats to peoples’ families etc

Procedure for Investigating/ Dealing with Bullying

  1. Calm, unemotional problem-solving approach
  2. Incidents best investigated outside of classroom situation
  3. Teacher should speak separately to the pupils involved, the victim and the bully
  4. On the first offence the parent/guardian will work to resolve the bullying problem
  5. Answers should be sought to questions of What, Where, When, Who and Why
  6. Members of a gang should be met individually and as a group
  7. A  written record should be kept
  8. Where the case remains unresolved the matter will be referred to the school Board of Management
  9. If not solved at Board level, the case will be referred to local inspector
  10. Pupils are expected to behave ( as they would during school hours  on their way to and from school while wearing school uniform

Procedures for Noting and Reporting an Incident of Bullying:


The basic Safety Rules which are taught to all classes are those

which are an integral part of the Stay Safe Programme.

1) Say ‘No’

2) Get Away

3) Tell an adult that you trust

4) Keep telling until someone helps

Central to this programme is that the teachers and parents instil in their

children ‘telling to keep safe’ is different from ‘telling tales’.

Parents should remind their children that they are free to approach any

teacher regarding bullying.

Parents who suspect that their child is being bullied should inform the

class teacher and/or the School Principal.

Teachers on receipt of information from pupil or parent re alleged

bullying will keep notes to include date, time, nature of incident.

All the above rules are designed in the best interest and safety of all the pupils of the school so that they may play and learn in a happy, healthy environment.

Review of the Code:

  • A copy of this code will be distributed to each family.
  • Study, discuss, sign and return
  • Pupils in the school must obey the Code.
  • The Code will be reviewed regularly
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