Behaviour Policy / Suspension and Expulsion

Positive Behaviour Policy / Code of Behaviour

St. Jarlath’s College believes that its Positive Behaviour Policy/Code of Behaviour is firmly rooted in Christian values, mutual respect, justice, the common good and concern for health and safety.

 

An essential element of this is good, open communication between the partners. The School believes that such an approach will be beneficial for students, teachers, management, parents/guardians and the Board of Management alike. It should also encourage students to take a positive view of co-operation and interdependence into their adult lives. The Positive Behaviour Policy will have due regard for the rights and responsibilities of all the parties concerned within the school.

All the students attending St. Jarlath’s College are actively encouraged to make a positive impact on the school community through positive behaviour. In our School, positive behaviour is considered to be a form of training, which empowers students to make appropriate choices in a supportive environment.

Praise and positive consequences are seen as more important by the teachers in maintaining a good relationship with students than punishment and negative consequences.

Suggestions by teachers to promote Positive Behaviour

  • Positive written comments in official school journal
  • Verbal praise from teacher or tutor
  • Affirmation of student’s self-esteem and self-worth
  • Record system showing progress as well as high grades
  • Complimenting good behaviour, initiative, courtesy, neat appearance etc.
  • Praise for progress as well as achievement
  • Noticing people doing something good or helping someone else
  • Agreeing rewards with students or class for better effort or better behaviour- a quiz, an outing, a discussion, lunch time DVD or music, etc.

Code of Behaviour

Guidelines

The standard expected with regard to any issue not covered below is that which people would regard as decent and reasonable behaviour.

All students of St Jarlath’s College are expected:

(1) to be in attendance every day; they are likewise expected to be in their classhall in time for the commencement of each class.

 

(2) to strive for academic excellence; students will always try to do their best at classwork and at homework.

(3) to be properly prepared for each subject and each class.

(4) to wear full school uniform and also to be groomed in accordance with school guidelines.

 

(5) to show courtesy, manners and respect to people, such as other students, staff and visitors, at all times and in all places; this includes following instructions from teachers and others in authority.

(6) to respect school property and the property of others and to treat the property of others with the utmost care and respect.

(7) to eat and drink only in designated areas and only at allocated times and to refrain entirely from using chewing-gum.

(8) to observe the law relating to smoking and illicit drugs and substances.

(9) to have their mobile phones ‘powered-off’ and out of sight. Other electronic devices, such as ear-phones, MP3 players, I-pods, etc. must be kept in students’ bags or lockers.

Code of Behaviour

Guidelines

The standard expected with regard to any issue not covered below is that which people would regard as decent and reasonable behaviour.

(1) All students of St Jarlath’s College are expected to be in attendance every day; they are likewise expected to be in their classhall in time for the commencement of each class.

This means:
You are expected to be on time for school each day and to be on time for each class throughout the school-day.
You provide a note from your parents / guardian explaining any unavoidable absences.

Because:
– it is difficult for a student to catch up on topics taught in class while he was absent.
– the school has a duty of care to its students.
– a student arriving late unfairly disrupts the teaching / learning of others in the class.

(2) All students of St Jarlath’s College are expected to strive for academic excellence; students will always try to do their best at classwork and at homework.

This means:
You retain the official School Journal to record homework.
You complete homework, written and non-written, every night.
You listen to teachers, obey class procedures and ensure your behaviour never disrupts the learning of others.

Because:
– The Journal is also used by teachers to record comments: it is examined and signed weekly by class tutors and parents / guardians.
– homework reinforces and backs up what has been done in class and helps prepare for exams.
– disruptive behaviour is unfair to others who are trying to learn.

(3) All students of St Jarlath’s College are expected to be properly prepared for each subject and each class.

This means:
You have the proper pens, pencils, copies, textbooks, materials, etc. as asked of  you by your teacher.
You have any special equipment needed for particular subjects, such as P.E. gear, drawing equipment, etc.
You can access your locker only at the following times;

(i) before 1st class, (ii) during ‘little-break’, and (iii) during ‘big-break’ ;  at these times you bring all the materials needed for the three classes that follow,  ensuring you are at class on time.

Because:
– full and proper participation in class is not possible without necessary materials.
– a student is often easily distracted if he is in class without all necessary materials.
– class learning / teaching for others in the class is unfairly disrupted when a student arrives late for class.

(4) All students of St Jarlath’s College are expected to wear full school uniform and to be groomed in accordance with official school policy

This means:
You are expected to maintain the school’s reputation and high standards by the manner in which you wear your uniform. Your appearance reflects positively on yourself, your family and your school.

For more information on these see Appendix 1 (Uniform) and  Appendix 2  (Personal Grooming).

Because:
– members of the public associate you with the school and regard you as its representative.
– the uniform has been agreed by representatives of the school authorities and parents.
– the uniform ensures all students are treated equally.

(5) All students of St Jarlath’s College are expected to show courtesy, manners and respect to people, such as students, staff and visitors, at all times and in all places; this includes following instructions from teachers and others in authority

This means:
You look out for and are supportive of your fellow students.
You avoid engaging in any form of bullying, intimidation or picking on other people.
You avoid arranging for others to bully, intimidate or pick on other people.
You avoid fighting and/or you will avoid arranging fights in the school or elsewhere.
When in the school building you will walk and also you will refrain from and help to prevent running, jostling, pushing, shoving, etc.
You extend courtesy, manners, and respect to all people.
You follow the instructions of teachers and others in authority without causing any disruption.

These apply at all times including when you are in class, on the school premises, going to/from school, on school activities such as games, tours, debates, theatre visits, etc.

Because:
EVERY PERSON  is at all times entitled to the dignity of being treated with courtesy, manners and respect by other people such as students and teachers.
the students in a class are being denied their education if/when their class is being disrupted.
everyone is required to play his/her part in making the school a safe and happy place, free from any fear, misery, hurt and injury which might otherwise be present.

(6) All students of St Jarlath’s College are expected to respect school property and the property of others and to treat the property of others with the utmost care and respect.

This means:
You refrain from any attempt at destroying, defacing (graffiti, for example), damaging and /or  vandalising  either school property, such as buildings, plant , equipment, fittings, materials, shrubs, trees, etc., or the property of others, such as clothing, books, equipment and cars etc.

Because:
improved standards of cleanliness reflects well on the school, its students and its staff. It enables everyone to work and to study in a cleaner, healthier and more pleasant environment.
the cost of replacing and/or  repairing property / plants can be a burden on the school and parents/guardians.

(7) All students of St Jarlath’s College are expected to eat and drink only in designated areas and only at allocated times and to refrain entirely from using chewing-gum.

This means:
You eat and drink only in designated areas and only at designated times.
You refrain entirely from chewing gum on the school premises and properly dispose of chewing-gum, preferably in a litter bin, as you enter the school building.

Because:
– eating and drinking in other than designated areas and at other than designated times causes disruption and the mess created often damages books and copies etc.
– when stuck underneath desks, tables, chairs etc., chewing-gum is very unhygienic.
– significant additional expense is incurred by the school when cleaning up food, drink and chewing-gum if these are being consumed throughout the school building.

(8) All students of St Jarlath’s College are expected to observe the law relating to smoking and illicit drugs and substances.

This means:
You must refrain from smoking, consuming, possessing, supplying and / or arranging for the supply of cigarettes, alcohol, illegal drugs or other illegal substances.

Because:
– it is against the law.
– the school grounds and buildings are a smoke-free zone.
– there are serious health, safety & moral issues; especially the potential for addiction, serious ill-health and death.

(9) All students of St. Jarlath’s College are expected to have their mobile phones ‘powered-off’ and out of sight. Other electronic devices, such as ear-phones, MP3 players, I-pods, etc. must be kept in the students bag or locker.

This means:
You are not allowed to use mobile phones in the school building.
You do not borrow some other person’s mobile telephone and use it.

Because:
– mobile phones cause disruption.
– mobile phones can be used for intimidating, bullying or demeaning other people.
– the school telephone can be used for urgent communication with students.

PROCEDURES/ LADDER OF REFERRAL

Each teacher is responsible for maintaining a positive teaching and learning environment in his or her classroom and is expected to have a system to promote positive behaviour and also to have a system to deal with misbehaviour and breaches of class rules.

Each student is expected to contribute positively to the teaching and learning environment in every class.

Each teacher should insist on:
– Good timekeeping
– Order and respect for others and their property
– Homework being completed on time
– All students coming to class with all necessary books, copies etc
– No eating or drinking in class
– Mobile phones must be powered off and out of sight
– A prevailing atmosphere conducive to teaching and learning

Each teacher will encourage and promote positive behaviour by:
– Positive written comments in the official school journal
– Verbal praise to students who are showing progress
– Complimenting good behaviour, courtesy, neat appearance etc
– Noticing students doing something good or helping someone else
– Agreeing rewards with students or class for better effort or better behaviour- a quiz, an outing, a discussion, lunch time DVD or music, etc.

 

STAGE 1

A student is in breach of class rules.
Action:
– Verbal warning stating that the behaviour is inappropriate and advises the student to make a sensible choice and return to task.

STAGE 2

The student continues to be in breach of class rules.

Action:
– The student is given a second verbal warning.
– Extra work is assigned; this should be fair and reasonable.
– The student’s position in class may be changed (e.g. sitting at the front).
– The Teacher records the incident in the student’s official school journal and also in the teacher’s own records.

STAGE 3
The student continues to be disruptive in class or commits a more serious breach of the Code of Behaviour.
Action:
– The class teacher records the incident in student’s official school journal and in the teacher’s own records.

– Penalty exercises are assigned.  These should be fair and reasonable.

– The student may be sent to a designated teacher, in order to allow teaching and learning to continue.

– The class teacher assigns break-time detention and may hold a Solution Focus Interview with the student.

– Year Head will be notified via: ‘Incident Sheet’

STAGE 4
Failure to turn up for class teacher’s detention or further breaches of the Code of Behaviour or Concern form from class tutor (see appendix below)

Action:

Referral to Year Head via Concern Form from Tutor or Incident Sheets from class teachers
(i) Reflection form filled in by student and discussed with year head
– Explain incident(s)
– Suggest how to put things right
– Indicate how they will behave in future

(ii) Student Profile forms will be supplied by the Year Head to class teachers to be filled in relation to the particular student

(iii) School Detention (Weekday Detention / Saturday Detention)

(iv) Letter home from Year Head

(v) Penalty exercises or/and referral to Care Team (see appendix below)

STAGE 5
Further breaches of school rules leading to further incident sheets

Action:
– School detention-  Extended Detention
– Letter home from Year Head
– Student on Report Card
– Referral to Care Team

STAGE 6
Student continues to be disruptive and is in breach of school rules- leading to further incidents sheets
Action:
– Parents / Guardians required to attend a meeting with Year Head/Management
– The student may be put on in school suspension
– The student may be put on Weekday Detention’ or ‘Weekend Detention’
– Parents may be asked to take a student home immediately if there is a further breach
– Student put on report for one week (depending on progress, two weeks)
– Individual Improvement Behaviour Plan to be set up for the student by …….

STAGE 7
Student continues to be disruptive and is in breach of school rules- leading to further incidents sheets

Action:
– Matter referred to Deputy-Principal / Principal
– Meeting with Parents / Guardians
– Suspension  ( Ref: Policy on Suspension)
– Re-integration plan for student on his return
– Referral to Behaviour Support Classroom for support

If a student exhibits any of the following behaviours during class (or elsewhere*) he is removed from class. The student starts on this stage ‘Stage 7’ ( or he proceeds from any previous stage);
(i) aggression, or threatening behaviour towards staff /student(s),
(ii) malicious damage to school property or to property of other people,
(iii) behaviour likely to endanger the safety of others,
(iv) substance abuse,
(v)  leaving the school without permission,
(vi) interfering with the fire alarm.

*This stage also applies if such behaviour occurs outside class; including ion the school premises, on the school grounds, going to/from school, on school activities, etc.

STAGE 8
Student continues to be disruptive and is in breach of school rules- leading to further incidents sheets

Action:
– Matter referred to Principal/Deputy-Principal
– Matter referred to the Board of Management
– Meeting with Parents/Guardians
– Suspension ( Ref: Policy on Suspension)
– Re-integration plan for student
– Referral to Behaviour Support Classroom for support
– Matter referred to Supporting agencies, examples: NEPS / NEWB

STAGE 9
Student continues to be disruptive and is in breach of school rules- leading to further incidents sheets

Action:
– Matter referred to the Board of Management
– Parents are invited to a meeting with the Board of Management
– Suspension ( Ref: Policy on Suspension)
– Re-integration plan for student

STAGE 10
Expulsion should be a proportionate response to the student’s behaviour. The expulsion of a student is a very serious step, and one that is only taken by the Board of Management in extreme cases of unacceptable behaviour. The school has taken significant steps to address the misbehaviour and to avoid expulsion of the student however the School Authorities have tried a series of interventions and believe they have exhausted all possibilities for changing the student’s behaviour. A parent, or a student aged over eighteen years, may appeal a decision to expel to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science (Education Act 1998 section29).

Class Tutor
– Class tutors will meet with their assigned class on a weekly bases
– Journals will be monitored weekly to ensure parent/ guardian signature
– Concern Sheets will be passed on to Year Head if five or more negative comments are recorded weekly in the journal and will be dealt with according to Stage 4
– Negative comments in journal may be ‘redeemed’ via positive comments
– Tutor time may also be used for Year Group assemblies with Year Head, relaying information, reinforcing expected behaviour, motivation, encouraging team spirit, reward systems for students encouraging positive behaviour, life and study skills (tutor class activities/programme, etc)

 

Care Team
Care Team may implement an intervention plan for the student involving home-school liaison, career guidance support, behavioural support, resource teaching or referral to outside agencies

 

Expulsion Policy

  1. The mission of St. Jarlath’s College is “To Educate, Inspire and Empower”. This mission is best accomplished by the retention, if at all possible, even of students whose behaviour is persistently challenging. In spite of this there may arise situations in which a student’s behaviour is (1) so dangerous to others or (2) interferes so profoundly with the conduct and/or reputation of the school that there is no choice but to expel. Expulsion is a last resort and always “…a proportionate response to the student’s behaviour.” (Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools, NEWB, 2008).
  2. A student will only be expelled from St. Jarlath’s College by a decision of the Board of Management and in compliance with the provisions of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000.
  3. Such a decision will normally be taken only after every effort has been made to understand the student’s behaviour, to help the student understand the problems being caused by his behaviour and to assist him in positively changing such behaviour. This will include meetings with the student’s parents, the involvement of Year Heads, Tutors, the Guidance Counsellor and the Student Welfare Officer and the assistance of support agencies such as the NBSS, the NEWB, NEPS and CAMHS. It will also usually include the prior application of lesser sanctions such as suspension, applied in keeping with the Ladder of Referral established in the Code of Behaviour. Careful consideration will always be taken of the student’s background and especially of any special educational needs he may have.
  4. Certain actions on the part of a student, once proved beyond a reasonable doubt, may result in his being expelled for that action alone. These actions are of such gravity that no other measure will serve to sufficiently protect the school community and allow the management of the school to adequately discharge its duty of care. Such actions may include; an unprovoked physical assault on a member of school staff or on another student; the bringing of illegal substances into the school; the bringing of dangerous weapons or other dangerous and/or illegal items into the school; sexual assault. In a case such as this, the Board of Management will only decide to expel after the most careful investigation and the most thorough deliberation. Due process and fair procedures will be followed throughout.
  5. No student will be expelled for reasons of academic performance, attendance, lateness or for single minor breaches of the Code of Behaviour.
  6. Where a student is suspected of an offence which might result in expulsion, the Principal will direct a detailed investigation. As part of this, the student will be presented with the allegation and warned that, if proved, it may lead to expulsion. The student’s parents/Guardians will be informed in writing of the allegation and its implications and both student and parents /guardians will be given every reasonable opportunity to respond. This will always involve the offer of a meeting with the parents/guardians. No decision about the veracity of an allegation will be made prior to such response. In the event of the parents’/guardians’ not coming to a meeting the Principal will write to them again, explaining the gravity of the situation and the school’s duty to address it and attempting to persuade them to re-schedule a meeting within a reasonable timeframe. Appropriate records are to be kept of all meetings and correspondence.
  7. If, after due investigation, the Principal forms the view that expulsion is warranted, the Principal will recommend this to the Board of Management. The parents/guardians will be informed of this in writing and will be given records of the allegation, the investigation and written notice of the grounds on which the Principal is seeking expulsion. The same records will be furnished to the Board. A date will be set for a Board hearing and the Parents/Guardians will be given due and reasonable notice with an invitation that they attend and make, as they choose, a written and oral submission to the hearing. Every reasonable effort will be made to tactfully persuade parents’ guardians to attend.
  8. At the hearing, the Board will review the initial investigation in all aspects and give due consideration to all circumstances of the case. It will allow both the Principal and the parents/guardians or a student at the age of eighteen or over to put their case in each other’s presence and to question each other’s evidence directly. Each party will be given as much time as they reasonably require. Parents/guardians who wish to be accompanied at the hearing will be facilitated in this but such companions may not take part in the discussions. The presence of legal personnel acting in a professional capacity will not be permitted at such a hearing.
  9. When the Board is satisfied that it has heard all available evidence, it will deliberate. No party who has had prior involvement with the circumstances of the case may remain for this deliberation. This includes the Principal and the parents/guardians. The Board will then decide whether the case has been proven and, if so, whether the offence merits the penalty of expulsion.
  10. If the Board’s decision is to expel, the Board will then communicate this to the parents/guardians in writing, informing them of its intention to report its decision, and the reasons behind the decision, to the Educational Welfare Officer (Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, s24 (1)), This report will be made immediately. From the date on which the EWO receives the report, a period of twenty school days will run during which the expulsion cannot take effect (Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, s24 (1)). Parents/guardians will be informed of this.
  11. During the entire period of twenty school days mentioned in (10) above, the student will normally be suspended, excepting only where the Board, for stated reasons, decides otherwise (St. Jarlath’s College, Suspension Policy, pg. 6). The Principal and the Board will, during this period, afford the Educational Welfare Officer all possible cooperation in attending and participating in such meetings and consultations as the Educational Welfare Officer may consider necessary.
  12. If, after the period of twenty school days provided for in (10) above, the Board is still minded to expel the student, the Board will notify the parents/guardians immediately in writing. The parents/guardians will be told of their right to appeal the decision to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills (Education Act 1998, Section 29). They will be given a copy of the standard form on which to make such an appeal. The Board will then inform the Educational Welfare Officer of the decision.
  13. The Board of Management will cooperate fully in the appeals process under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998 and in current guidelines laid down by the Department of Education and Skills.
  14. At all times the Board of Management will be guided by its responsibility for the good of all its students, including the student whose behaviour has led to his being considered for expulsion. To this end, it is repeated that expulsion will always remain a last resort and will only be undertaken for the general good.