Code of Discipline

Introductory Statement

This version of the school's Code of Discipline has been edited for the school web-site. The complete policy is available at the school.

 

Rationale behind our Code of Dscipline

The school Motto is “Mol an Óige” which is a shortened form of the Irish proverb “Mol an Óige agus tiocfaidh sí”. This is central to the school’s Code of Discipline and translates as ‘Praise the young and they will improve’. It could also be said that they will come with you. In Powerstown School, high self-esteem through praise and encouragement is central to our promotion of correct and appropriate behaviour.

Powerstown N.S. aims to provide a caring school environment that is conducive to learning and to the development of the whole person, where children can acquire independence and can achieve their full potential, spiritually, physically academically and socially.

 

It is our belief that our Code of Discipline will allow us to create this environment. This Code will assist parents and pupils in understanding the systems and procedures that are part of school life and will help to ensure the safety and well-being of all members of the school community.

 

Discipline in school is linked to the creation of an orderly environment that permits teaching and learning, and allows the creation of a happy, stimulating atmosphere for the children.  It is centrally linked to issues of social cohesion, justice and equality.

Each child is entitled to an education and learning environment which facilitates the nurturing of her/his full educational potential.  We aim to create such an environment for our pupils to the greatest extent possible.

 

Teachers experience minor misbehaviours and problems on a daily basis.  Regardless of its severity, all forms of misbehaviour adversely affect learning and teaching in the classroom, as well as the interaction between children at break-times.

 

Discipline is about the needs, rights and responsibilities of children, parents, teachers and the whole community. Every child needs to be taught an acceptable way to behave, as they grow and develop.

 

Discipline is not about controlling children; it is a teaching strategy to empower and enable children to learn positive behaviour, and self-discipline in the classroom and beyond.

 

Discipline in our school is a shared, collective responsibility.  The concerns and expectations of teachers, pupils, Boards of Management and parents must be considered. The support and co-operation of all those involved is essential if our school is to continue as a safe and secure society for our children.

  

Atmosphere of the School

We believe that:

  1. The general atmosphere of the school shows evidence of good discipline.
  2. The school has a sense of purpose understood by teachers, parents and pupils.
  3. The pupils are happy and courteous.
  4. There are good relationships among the staff.
  5. There are good relationships between the staff and pupils.
  6. There are good relationships between staff and parents.
  7. There are good relationships between the pupils.
  8. Teachers, parents and pupils have a pride in their school.

Disciplinary Framework

  1. There is staff agreement regarding implementation of code of discipline.
  2. Parents are aware and supportive of the school’s Code of Discipline.
  3. All parents are requested to sign that they have read the Code of Discipline and will help to implement it when enrolling their child.
  4. Principal and staff give satisfactory support to colleagues in disciplinary matters.
  5. The pupils know the rules of the school.
  6. The pupils are aware of the Principal and staff’s attitude to discipline.

Implementation of Code of Discipline

  1. There is a reward system for good behaviour.
  2. There are sanctions for unacceptable behaviour.
  3. Discipline is enforced consistently.
  4. All staff are responsible for helping to implement the Code of Discipline throughout the school.
  5. Children’s behaviour is discussed with parents.

School Rules

The Golden Rule in Powerstown School is to have respect for oneself, for others and for their property. No sensible list of rules can cover every eventuality. The most important rules are listed below. Thereafter, as a rule of thumb, failure to show respect for oneself, others and the property of others will be construed as a failure to comply with the school’s Code of Discipline.

 

  1. Children are expected to be courteous to their teachers and to one another.
  2. Children should respect the school’s and other’s property.
  3. Class rules must be obeyed.
  4. Permission to leave the classroom must be obtained from the class teacher.
  5. Children must be neat in dress and should not wear excessive ornamentation.
  6. Mobile phones or other hand-held computer or communication devices (eg. Nintendo D.S.) should never be switched on in the school premises.
  7. Glass containers, chewing gum, nut products or crisps should not be brought to school.
  8. Cycling inside the school gates is forbidden.
  9. Use of vulgar or degrading language is not allowed.
  10. Children may not leave the school premises without a teacher’s permission.
  11. Taking or sharing harmful drugs, including nicotine, is expressly forbidden.
  12. Intimidation of others, name-calling or fighting will not be tolerated.
  13. Items which pose a threat to the welfare of students are banned and will be confiscated.
  14. Children may not climb or swing from trees.
  15. Children may not run with or throw sticks and stones.

Rewards and Sanctions

Each teacher has her/his own set of agreed classroom practices. These are discussed with the children at the beginning of the year and the children are helped to understand the need for these rules. Rewards for good behaviour serve to reinforce the positive side of school discipline and are favoured in Powerstown N.S. These include:

Rewards

  • Praise
  • Small treat eg. Pencil, apple
  • Golden Time.
  • Circle Time.
  • Opportunities for greater responsibility.
  • Merit certs.
  • Homework passes, stars, work display, and commendations of various kinds.
  • Points award scheme for homework (seniors), a visit home by a classroom toy or book (juniors).

Sanctions

Generally teachers deal with incidents of misbehaviour in their own classes. The Principal may be asked to take an active part when the child‘s level of misbehaviour becomes more serious or persistent or where the misbehaviour happens outside the classroom.

  • Penalties for unacceptable behaviour can include:
  • Extra work
  • Detention during ‘break’ time
  • Withdrawal of privileges
  • A short time in a different classroom
  • Referral to Principal
  • A note to parents
  • A meeting with parents
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion in extreme cases (Rule 130 (6) )

Absenteeism

The right to an education is one of the fundamental rights afforded to children in this country. The State and by extension, schools, are obliged to ensure that this fundamental right is accessible to children. Where children are absent, the school requires parents to inform the class teacher, using absence notes provided for this purpose. These notes should be submitted once the child returns to school after an absence of any duration and in all cases, a reason for the absence should be supplied. For particularly long absences due to illness, a doctor’s cert is expected. The school is obliged to notify the National Education Welfare Board when a child reaches 20 days cumulative absence in any school year. The school may also notify the National Education Welfare Board where it has concerns over the attendance pattern of individual children. In severe cases, the principal may take the decision that the child’s absenteeism is a case of neglect and make contact Social Services to put in place interventions.

Parents

Parents have a huge part to play in the effective implementation of our school’s Code of Discipline. Many of the incidents which happen in the school will be dealt with immediately by the teachers and will not warrant any contact with parents.

At other times, however, the school may seek reinforcement by parents of expected behaviour and a note may be sent home. In more serious breaches of discipline, teachers or the principal may seek a meeting with parents to discuss the misbehaviour and ways to avoid future breaking of the school rules.

In any disciplinary action, it must be emphasised that the behaviour is the problem and not the child.

The following guidelines will assist parents in fulfilling their role in the school:

  • Ensure their children attend school and are punctual
  • Equip pupils with appropriate school materials, a sufficient healthy lunch and appropriate clothing for the weather conditions
  • Be courteous towards pupils and staff
  • Make an appointment to meet with a teacher/the Principal through the office
  • Respect school property and encourage their children to do the same
  • Label pupils coats and other personal property
  • Strictly supervise pre-school children, when in the school.

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

Suspension/Expulsion

Where a student carries out a major misdemeanour, the Board of Management may suspend or expel the student. However, the school is required by law to follow fair procedures. Such fair procedures will include:

  • Minimum delay in carrying out an investigation and in making decisions about the imposition of suspension/expulsion.
  • The student has the right to know that the alleged misbehaviour is being investigated.
  • The student has the right to respond to the allegations.
  • The student has the right to expect an absence of bias in the decision maker.

Because of the age of pupils attending Powerstown School, the above rights are conferred on the parents of the student such that parents must be fully informed about an allegation and the processes used to investigate and decide the matter and they are entitled to an opportunity to respond to an allegation before a decision is made and before a serious sanction is imposed.

Grounds for deciding on suspension could be but are not limited to:

  • the student’s behaviour has had a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other students
  • the students continued presence in the school at this time constitutes a threat to safety
  • the student is responsible for serious damage to property
  • a single incident of misconduct may be grounds for suspension.

In the case where it is continuous unacceptable behaviour by a student which is of such concern that a suspension/expulsion is deemed necessary, a full record of incidents and interventions should be available to the Board of Management for its deliberations.

The sole authority to suspend or expel a pupil from Powerstown National School rests with the Board of Management. In the future, if the Board of Management delegates the authority to suspend a student to the principal, the delegation shall be done formally and in writing. The Board may not delegate its authority to expel a student.

Confiscation of Items

Where a child has in their possession an item that is likely to prove harmful to themselves or others, the teacher or principal is entitled to confiscate such item and retain it until the end of the day or until it is collected by parents, depending on the judgement of the teacher/principal.

In the case of mobile phones/hand-held communication devices, such items may be confiscated if they are switched on and in the opinion of the teacher, are being inappropriately used – for example, recording or taking photos, texting, general nuisance-making. Dependent on the situation, they may be returned to the child at the end of the day or parents may have to collect the item at the school.

 

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Powerstown NS

Powerstown
Clonmel,
Co. Tipperary

Tel: 052 6123178

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