Author: St Oliver Plunkett
ANTI- BULLYING POLICY
This school policy should be read in conjunction with the Code of Behaviour and Discipline for St. Oliver Plunkett School.
Objectives and Aims
In devising this policy consideration has been given to the particular needs and circumstances of St. Oliver Plunkett special school. 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 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 in St Oliver Plunkett School requires a strong sense of community within the school and a high level of co operation among staff and between staff pupils and parents.
All pupils are made aware that bullying or aggressive behaviour towards another child or group of children is unacceptable and that ‘bullying’ behaviour is considered a serious misbehaviour and will be dealt with accordingly.
Pupils are encouraged to see the school as a caring environment and that they too have a combined responsibility to other pupils to maintain the school as a safe place. This may involve reporting incidents of aggressive behaviour to teacher or adult in charge.
Teachers will take reports of bullying seriously and investigate incidents where it is considered necessary. A teacher will report instances of serious misbehaviour to the Principal while at the same time keeping a written record of all such instances.
Pupils should be informed when instances of serious misbehaviour on their part are being recorded. Parents should be kept fully informed from the outset.
Agreed definition of bullying
Bullying is destructive behaviour It is repeated aggression, verbal, psychological or physical, conducted by an individual or group against others. Isolated incidents of aggressive behaviour, while not to be tolerated, should not be described as bullying. Only inappropriate aggressive behaviour which is systematic and ongoing is regarded as bullying.
Mona O ‘Moore 1998
St. Oliver Plunkett School is guided by the following principles when dealing with reported instances of bullying.
- Teachers will keep a written record of all instances of serious misbehaviour as well as a record of the 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 (see also Code of Behaviour and Discipline).
- 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
- In the case of repeated aggressive behaviour or bullying, the parents of both parties involved 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
- In this situation the parents will be requested in writing to attend the school to meet the Chairperson and Principal teacher. If the parents do not give an undertaking that the pupil will behave in and 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.
Reporting and Recording incidents of Bullying in St. Oliver Plunkett School
- If parents have concerns about their child being bullied they should inform the class teacher
- All reports of bullying either from parents or Staff members should be recorded. The teacher will investigate and act appropriately. If the teacher suspects that bullying occurred the Principal/Deputy Principal should be informed.
- All instances of bullying which have been reported to the Principal are recorded in a designated book kept in the office. This record includes dates, details of the incident(s) and action taken.
- Parents of those involved should be notified and given an opportunity to discuss the matter by the Teacher
- It will be made clear that children reporting incidents of bullying are acting responsibly.
A record will be kept of how the matter was handled and the outcome. When the children move to their second year in the school, the succeeding teacher will be informed of any problems that existed.
Procedures for investigating and dealing with bullying in St. Oliver Plunkett school
- Incidents will be investigated outside of the classroom situation
- Teachers will speak separately to the children involved
- A calm unemotional problem solving approach will be used at all times
- Members of a group will be met separately and as a group
- Parents will be informed where it has been determined that bullying has occurred
- Teacher will check with the child/parents of the child bullied later to check that no further difficulties have arisen
Bullying by Adults
In the case of intra-staff bullying, St Oliver Plunkett National School will adopt the procedures outlined in Section C (c2) of the INTO booklet: ‘Working Together: Procedures and Policies for Positive Staff Relations’. A copy of this document is available for free download on the INTO website.
In the case of Teacher – Child bullying, a complaint should in the first instance be raised with the teacher in question by the parent/guardian of the child if possible and then if necessary referred to the Principal. Where it has not been possible to agree a framework for resolution, the matter should be referred in writing by both parties to the Board of Management for investigation.
In the case of Parent – Teacher bullying, the Principal should be informed in the first instance, and if deemed necessary the Board of Management should subsequently be informed in writing.
In the case of Parent/Visitor to the school – Child bullying, the complaint should be referred in the first instance to the child’s class teacher and subsequently to the Principal if unresolved.
In the case of Principal – Parent/ Child bullying, the matter should be raised with the Principal if possible, or referred to the Chairperson of the Board of Management.
Child Protection Policy
Child Protection Policy
This document is a response to recent changes in legislation and takes account of the provisions of each of the following pieces of legislation
- Freedom of Information Act 1997
- The Education Act 1998
- The Child Welfare Act 2000
- Children First – National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2011.
The new procedures are based on the recently published Children First – National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2011.
- ‘Children First’ (Department of Health and Children 1999)
- ‘Our Children Our Church’ (CORI 2005)
- ‘Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures’ (Department of Education and Science 2001)
- Policy Sources accessed through Internet
The Board of Management (BOM) recognises that child protection and welfare considerations permeate all aspects of school life and must be reflected in all of the school’s policies, practices and activities. Accordingly, in accordance with the requirements of the Department of Education and Skills, Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools, the BOM of St. Oliver Plunkett NS has agreed the following Child Protection Policy.
The BOM has adopted and will implement fully and without modification the Department’s Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools as part of this overall child protection policy.
The Designated Liaison Person (DLP) is the Principal: Angela Power
The Deputy Designated Liaison Person (Deputy DLP) is the Deputy Principal: Sarah McGuire.
The school will recognise that the protection and welfare of children is of paramount importance, regardless of all other considerations. In its policies, practices and activities, St Oliver Plunkett NS will adhere to the following principles of best practice in child protection and welfare. The school will:
- Fully co-operate with the relevant statutory authorities in relation to child protection and welfare matters
- Adopt safe practices to minimise the possibility of harm or accidents happening to children and protect workers from the necessity to take unnecessary risks that may leave themselves open to accusations of abuse or neglect
- Develop a practice of openness with parents and encourage parental involvement in the education of their children
- Fully respect confidentiality requirements in dealing with child protection matters
Certain policies such as the St. Oliver Plunkett NS Code of Behaviour and Anti-Bullying Policies, Pupil Attendance Policy and the Supervision of Pupils Policy will take particular account of this Child Protection Policy. This policy will also be considered with reference to the participation by pupils in sporting activities, other extra-curricular activities and school outings. Other practices and activities, where child protection might have particular relevance, will take due consideration of the procedures outlined within this policy. The Board has ensured that the necessary policies, protocols or practices as appropriate are in place in respect of each of the above listed items.
This policy has been made available to school personnel and the Parent Association and is readily accessible to parents on request. A copy of this policy will be made available to the DES and the patron if requested.
Designated Liaison Person (DLP)
The Principal, appointed by the BOM, is the DLP. The Deputy Principal acts as Deputy DLP. Both teachers will undertake training from the Child Abuse Prevention Programme at the earliest opportunity. CAPP provides training to the whole school community (staff, parents and Boards of Management) on the Stay Safe Programme.
The DLP has specific responsibility for child protection and will represent the school in all correspondence with Health Boards, An Garda Siochána and other parties in connection with allegations of abuse. All matters pertaining to the processing or investigation of child abuse should be processed through the DLP.
Further information on the responsibilities of the DLP can be referred to on page 8, section 2.2 of ‘Child Protection’ (DES 2001).
The DLP acts in cases where there are reasonable grounds for suspicion or where an allegation has been made, as referred to in ‘Child Protection’ (DES 2001, pages 11-12).
All information regarding concerns of possible child abuse should only be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis in the interests of the child. The giving of information to those who need to have that information is not a breach of confidentiality. This procedure exists for the protection of a child who may have been or has been abused. The DLP who is submitting a report to the Health Board or An Garda Siochána should inform a parent/guardian, unless doing so is likely to endanger the child or place that child at further risk. A decision not to inform a parent/guardian should be briefly recorded together with the reasons for not doing so.
In emergency situations, where the Health Board cannot be contacted, and the child appears to be at immediate and serious risk, An Garda Siochána should be contacted immediately. A child should not be left in a dangerous situation pending Health Board intervention.
Protection for Persons Reporting Child Abuse
The protection for persons reporting Child Abuse Act 1998 provides immunity from civil liability to any person who reports child abuse ‘reasonably and in good faith’ to designated officers of Health Boards or any member of an Garda Siochána, see ‘Child Protection’ (DES 2001, page 6).
People making a report to the DLP in good faith have ‘qualified privilege’ under common law, see ‘Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures’ (DES 2001, page 6). Reports made to Health Boards may be subject to provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, 1997. This act enables members of the public to obtain access to personal information relating to them which is in the possession of public bodies. However, the act also provides that public bodies may refuse access to information obtained by them in confidence.
Definition and Recognition of Child Abuse
Child abuse can be categorised into four different types:
- Emotional abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
Each of these categories is defined in full in ‘Children First’ (Dept Health and Children 1999, pages 31-33) but for the purpose of this policy attention is drawn to the stated definition of ‘neglect’.
Neglect can be defined in terms of an omission, where the child suffers significant harm or impairment of development by being deprived of food, clothing, warmth, hygiene, intellectual stimulation, supervision and safety, attachment to and affection from adults, medical care.
Guidelines for Recognition of Child Abuse
A list of child abuse indicators is contained in Appendix 1 ‘Children First’ (DHC 1999, pages 31-33). This policy draws particular attention to ‘persistent evidence’ of neglect, including indicators such as no lunch, lack of uniform, no homework, poor attendance, persistent health problems, lack of sleep indicating inappropriate television viewing late at night and other evidence that would indicate lack of supervision in the home. All signs and symptoms must be examined in the total context of the child’s situation and family circumstances.
There are commonly three stages in the identification of child abuse:
- Considering the possibility
- Looking out for signs of abuse
- Recording of information
Each of these stages is developed in ‘Children First’ (DHC 1999, pages 34-35).
Handling Disclosures from Children
‘Child Protection’ (DES 2001, page 9) gives comprehensive details of how disclosures should be approached. Staffs are advised to deal with each situation sensitively, reassure the child but not to make promises that cannot be fulfilled.
The adult should not ask leading questions or make suggestions. They should explain that further help may have to be sought. The discussion should then be recorded accurately.
The record should include reference to what was observed with sketches of physical injury where necessary. It should also record when the alleged incident took place. Records should be kept in a secure place. The information should then be conveyed to the school DLP.
If the reporting person and the DLP are satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the suspicion/allegation, the procedures outlined in ‘Children First’ (DHC, page 38) will be adhered to. Standardised reporting forms should be used (Appendix 1). The content of the report should follow the guidelines on page 39 of ‘Children First’. The Chairperson of the BOM will be informed before the DLP makes contact with the relevant authorities.
Allegations or Suspicions in relation to School Employees
The Chairperson and the DLP are primarily concerned with the protection of the children in their care. However, employees must be protected against false and malicious claims.
Legal Advice should be sought by the board in relation to the employee. If the allegation is against the DLP, the Chairperson of the BOM will assume the responsibility for reporting the matter to the Health Board.
When an allegation of abuse is made against a school employee, the DLP should act in accordance with the procedures outlined in ‘Child Protection’ (DES 2001, page 11). A written statement of the allegation should be sought from the person/agency making the report. A parent/guardian may make a statement on behalf of a child. The DLP should always inform the Chairperson of the BoM.
School employees, other than the DLP, who receive allegations against another school employee, should immediately report the matter to the DLP. School employees who form suspicions regarding conduct of another school employee should consult with the DLP. The procedures outlined in ‘Child Protection’ (DES 2001, page 16) should be referred to.
The Chairperson and the DLP should make the employee aware privately:
- That an allegation has been made against him/her
- Of the nature of the allegation
- Whether or not the Health Board or Gardaí has been informed.
The employee should be given a copy of the written allegation and any other relevant documentation. The employee should be requested to respond to the allegation in writing to the BOM within a specified period and told that this may be passed to the Gardaí, Health Board and legal advisers.
The Chairperson must take the necessary steps to protect the child and may consult the BOM in this matter. The BOM may direct that the employee take administrative leave with pay and avoid suspension, thus removing any implication of guilt. The DES should be immediately informed.
Further follow-up procedures should be observed as outlined in ‘Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures’ (page 17).
School Measures Taken to Protect the Children in Our Care
There are a number of areas where common sense in our school should prevail in order to protect the children in the school and the staff who care for them. In relation to this, certain points should be noted:
- St Oliver Plunkett NS will fully implement the Stay Safe programme
- A copy of the school’s child protection policy, which includes the names of the Designated Liaison Person (DLP) and Deputy DLP, will be made available to all school personnel and the Parents’ Association and is readily accessible to parents on request
- The name of the DLP and other relevant support services are displayed in a prominent position near the main entrance to the school
- In addition to informing the school authority of those cases where a report involving a child in the school has been submitted to the HSE, the DLP shall also inform the school authority of cases where the DLP sought advice from the HSE and as a result of this advice, no report was made. At each BOM meeting, the Principal’s Report shall include the number of all such cases and this shall be recorded in the minutes of the board meeting.
- St Oliver Plunkett NS will undertake an annual review of its Child Protection Policy and its implementation by the school. A checklist, to be used in undertaking the review is included in Appendix 1. The school has put in place an action plan to address any areas for improvement which might be identified in the annual review. The BOM shall make arrangements to inform school personnel that the review has been undertaken. Written notification that the review has been undertaken shall be provided to the Parent Association. A record of the review and its outcome shall be made available, if requested, to the patron and the DES.
- Staff who take classes swimming should make sure that there are two adults in attendance at all times. The dressing rooms and pool area should be well supervised
- Staff should not be alone in a classroom with one child or detain a child on their own after school. In the case of special needs pupils where resource hours and assistance are sanctioned on an individual basis, it is school policy that staff in such a situation should work with the classroom door open, thus rendering the occupants visible at all times. When possible children should work in groups
- Children with physical disabilities who may require assistance in toiletry matters will be aided by a Special Needs Assistant who has met the necessary screening requirements when being employed by the school.
Checklist for Annual Review of the Child Protection Policy
The Board of Management must undertake an annual review of its Child Protection Policy and the following checklist shall be used for this purpose.
The checklist is designed as an aid to conducting this review and is not intended as an exhaustive list. The BOM may wish to include other items in the checklist that are of particular relevance to this school and reserves the right to do so if/when the need occurs.
|1.||As part of the overall review process, has the BOM assessed other school policies, practices and activities to check their adherence to the principles of best practice in child protection and welfare as set out in the school’s Child Protection policy||YES||NO|
|2.||Has the Board formally adopted a child protection policy in accordance with the ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools’?||YES||NO|
|3.||As part of the school’s child protection policy, has the Board formally adopted, without modification, the ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools’?||YES||NO|
|4.||Are there both a DLP and a Deputy DLP currently appointed?||YES||NO|
|5.||Are the relevant contact details (HSE and An Garda Síochána) to hand?||YES||NO|
|6.||Has the DLP attended available child protection training?||YES||NO|
|7.||Has the Deputy DLP attended available child protection training?||YES||NO|
|8.||Have any members of the Board attended child protection training?||YES||NO|
|9.||Has the school’s child protection policy identified other school policies, practices and activities that are regarded as having particular child protection relevance?||YES||NO|
|10.||Has the Board ensured that the Department’s “Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools” are available to all school personnel?||YES||NO|
|11.||Does the Board have arrangements in place to communicate the school’s child protection policy to new school personnel?||YES||NO|
|12.||Is the Board satisfied that all school personnel have been made aware of their responsibilities under the ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools’?||YES||NO|
|13.||Since the Board’s last annual review, was the Board informed of any child protection reports made to the HSE/An Garda Síochána by the DLP?||YES||NO|
|14.||Since the Board’s last annual review, was the Board informed of any cases where the DLP sought advice from the HSE and as a result of this advice, no report to the HSE was made?||YES||NO|
|15.||Is the Board satisfied that the child protection procedures in relation to the making of reports to the HSE/ An Garda Síochána were appropriately followed?||YES||NO|
|16.||Were child protection matters reported to the Board appropriately recorded in the Board minutes?||YES||NO|
|17.||Is the Board satisfied that all records relating to child protection are appropriately filed and stored securely?||YES||NO|
|18.||Has the Board ensured that the Parents’ Association has been provided with the school’s child protection policy?||YES||NO|
Ratification of Policy
This policy will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year.
This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on [Insert Date]
Signed: _________________________ Signed: __________________________
Chairperson of Board of Management Principal
Date: __________________________ Date: __________________________
Date of next review December 2013
The Board further endorses the Principal as the school DLP and the Deputy Principal as Deputy DLP.
On behalf of the Board of Management:
_______________________________ (Chairperson) Date: _____________________
It should be noted that children with disabilities may be more at risk of abuse due to a number of reasons (see list outlined on page 99 of ‘Children First Guidelines’). Parents, teachers and all staff involved in services for children with disabilities need to be familiar with the indicators of abuse and to be alert for signs of abuse.
This policy was ratified by the Board of Management on May 18th 2012.
ST OLIVER PLUNKETT N.S.
ALMA PLACE, MONKSTOWN, CO DUBLIN PH 01 2808824
CODE OF BEHAVIOUR & DISCIPLINE 2014-2015
St Oliver Plunkett N.S. is a special school for children with specific reading difficulties. Children are enrolled on a temporary basis for a period of up to two or three years. The aim of the school is to help each child to improve his/her reading skills so that he/she will be better able to benefit from and cope with mainstream education.
At St. Oliver Plunkett N.S. every effort is made to create a warm, caring atmosphere and to treat each child as an individual with his/her own special abilities, talents and needs. The curriculum is adapted as far as possible to match the abilities and needs of each pupil. Particular attention is paid to the development of the children’s self-confidence and self-esteem.
Every effort will be made by all members of staff to adopt a positive approach to behaviour in the school.
- This policy should be read in conjunction with the school mission statement as it is a means to create an atmosphere where the mission statement can be realised.
- The school recognises the variety of differences that exist between children and the need to tolerate 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 cooperation among staff and between staff, parents and pupils
- Every effort will be made to ensure that the code of discipline is implemented in a reasonable, fair and consistent manner.
- Staff have agreed to be careful with language used to describe children in casual conversation and to draw attention if it is inappropriate. This is a practical implementation of the agreed mission statement.
The code provides a framework through which positive behaviour is encouraged and negative behaviour is discouraged. It has been devised with three main objectives in view.
- The efficient operation of the school and the structuring of in-class discipline is such that an effective and stimulating learning environment is created.
- The maintenance of order throughout the school and respect for the school environment facilitates a positive learning environment.
- The development of self-discipline in pupils is based on consideration, respect and tolerance for others and respect for self.
Implementation of the Code of Behaviour & Discipline
The code has been developed in order to foster a harmonious relationship between children, teachers and parents.
The overall responsibility for discipline within the school rests with the Principal. Each teacher has responsibility for the maintenance of discipline within his/her classroom while sharing a common responsibility for maintaining order within the school premises. The SNA, under guidance from the teacher, will help to maintain discipline in the school. A pupil will be referred to the Principal for major breaches of discipline or for repeated incidents of unacceptable behaviour of a less serious nature.
The staff will adopt a positive approach to the question of behaviour within the school. Parents are encouraged to keep in regular contact with the school. Parents will be informed at an early stage if their child is having problems and support of parents is essential for the code to operate effectively.
Every effort will be made at St Oliver Plunkett N.S. to promote positive relations with parents. Parents will be encouraged to take an active role in their child’s education and to keep in regular contact with the school. It has been noted by staff and parents that it is very difficult to implement this because of the wide enrolment area of the school. Parents will be given a copy of the behaviour policy when their child is enrolled, they will be asked to sign it and a copy will be available on the website.
- A welcoming atmosphere for parents will be provided at the school.
- Parents will be informed at an early stage if their child is having problems with learning or discipline.
- Parents will be informed not only when their child’s behaviour has fallen short of expectations, but also when he/she has behaved particularly well.
- Communication with parents will be verbal or by letter depending on the circumstances.
- The main line of communication is the report card that is sent home every week.
- If a child’s behaviour is seriously unacceptable, his/her parents will be invited to the school for a discussion with the child’s teacher.
- Before resorting to serious action such as referral or suspension, the normal channels of communication between school and parents will be utilised.
Guidelines for Good Behaviour in St Oliver Plunkett School
- Be polite, kind and respectful
- Walk quietly inside the school building
- Put litter in bins, look after school property.
- Keep unhelpful hands, feet and objects to yourself
- Notify absences in writing
- Mobile phones must be switched off during school time
- School uniform must be worn
- School books and property must not be damaged
Each teacher will draw up a set of class rules, with the pupils, at the beginning of the school year
- Stay in the school playground. When the bell rings, line up quietly
- Play where the supervisor can see you
- Playground activities only at second break
- No hurtful physical contact
- Playing on the grass is weather dependant and the decision is made by the teacher on yard duty.
It is explained to children regularly that rules are created to ensure that they are safe and happy. All school rules can be traced back to these two aspirations.
The B.O.M. and teachers believe that order and discipline within the school result largely from the use of positive techniques of motivation such as encouragement and praise.
Although it may occasionally be necessary to impose sanctions, greater emphasis will be placed on rewards. The idea is that the children will acquire the skills of self-discipline.
The children will work with the principal, at the beginning of each year, to create a slogan for the year. This will be positive and unique to each year group.
Discipline for Learning
This is a programme that focuses on the positive behaviour of each pupil. St Oliver Plunkett has adapted the programme to suit the particular needs of its students.
Each child gets a card weekly wherein their effort at homework, school work and behaviour is recorded. Some class teachers in St Oliver Plunkett School also use a sticker book in which pupils are rewarded with stickers for positive behaviour.
The reward system is allocated on a daily basis and at the discretion of the class teacher.
While the system is based on the positive rather than the negative, the inappropriate behaviour may also be recorded on the record card or on the booklet.
Parents/Guardians sign the cards/booklets weekly to ensure that they are aware of their child’s progress in all areas on a regular basis.
This system has been reviewed following consultation with parent representatives and the following points are relevant:
- It is vital that the system reflects the positive reinforcement of every child that is the focus of every class teacher and central to the ethos of the school.
- It is important that this system communicates positive, as well as negative, comments. A “sandwich” approach was suggested, where efforts would be made to note two positive comments for every negative one. This may not always be realistic.
- A copy of the new card (which is no longer blue) is attached to this policy.
- *Homework, schoolwork and behaviour are evaluated using a point system. There is a possibility of gaining 15 points each week. When a child reaches 60 they are entitled to a prize. This prize is the equivalent of the old “clear week” prize. Bonus points can be added at any time by members of staff.
- Children will comment on their own week using a series of smiley
- The term “Clear week” will no longer be used.
- The term “Blue Card” will no longer be used.
- Negative comments can be viewed by parents as an opportunity to discuss behaviour with children.
- It will be important to reflect that negative comments on the card will more than likely be recorded after interventions in class and an opportunity for the child to change their behaviour.
* Please note that this was changed in 2015. The prize point system was deemed to be cumbersome to administer and didn’t reflect progress or achievement properly. The cards are now sent home as a simple report card at the end of the week. Children are selected by teachers for special mention at assembly and are given “Hero” badges that they can wear in school. All references to the “Points System” have therefore been removed from the policy.
Therefore, to acknowledge effort and to encourage good behaviour, a system of rewards will be put in place. These will include:
- Oral and written praise
- Special prizes from time to time
- Working with the principal for some one-to-one time.
- “Hero” badges
- Focus on one particular aspect of behaviour. Supported by special awards and prizes.
- Visits to the Principal’s office or to another member of staff for commendation.
- SNA’s and other non-teaching staff can suggest children for special recognition
- Visits to the Principal for special certificates, stickers and prizes. The Principal will keep a record of children sent to the office for positive reinforcement. Teachers will be reminded to send children for this reinforcement.
- Notes to parents/guardians
- Delegating some special responsibility or privilege
- Whole school recognition, for example at Assembly
- There will also be a yard prize for a class every month.
- A small trophy called the special principal’s reward is also available for rewarding special effort.
- Children are encouraged to share good news stories at assembly. Special class work, events or occasions are shared at assembly also
- Prizes are awarded, by the Principal, for puzzle of the week and caption competitions.
- A “Positivity Tree” will be created on the wall. The children who are trying really hard, behaving really well, working on the behaviour under focus, etc., will have their names on “leaves” and placed on the wall. This will give an opportunity to focus on, and reinforce, positive behaviour
Misbehaviour and Sanctions/Solutions
A high standard of behaviour is expected, so that every child has the opportunity to work to the best of his/her ability and to benefit fully from placement at St Oliver Plunkett N.S.
Therefore, procedures for dealing with any misbehaviour, which might arise, have been put in place. These procedures provide clear guidelines for children, parents and teachers
Misbehaviour can be classified in three categories:
The category of misbehaviour i.e. Minor, Serious or Gross will be judged by the teachers and/or Principal based on a common sense approach with regard to the gravity/frequency of such misdemeanours, Please see table of misbehaviours and sanctions.
Sanctions and Solutions
Teachers will keep a written record of all instances of serious or gross misbehaviour as well as a record of improvements in the behaviour of disruptive pupils. It is important that these is as much consistency as possible in the implementation of sanctions. This will be done on the weekly card. All serious and gross behaviours will be referred to the Principal. These will be recorded in the principal’s records. These records are known as the “Red Book” The Red Book will be seen as a last resort and exceptionally serious.
Distinctions can be made between continually disruptive behaviour and occasional outbursts and also between premeditated and impulsive action.
Sanctions will be applied having regard to the seriousness of the offence and the child’s previous behaviour record. Please see table of sanctions and misbehaviours.
- Talking in class
- Working reluctantly/slowly
- Distracting/interrupting others
- Arriving late for school
- Minor physical contact
- Having mobile phones on during the day
- Leaving seat in class without permission
- Not wearing uniform
- Not completing homework without good reason
- Homework not signed by a parent/guardian
- Being discourteous/unmannerly
- Interfering with other pupil’s property
- Arriving late repeatedly
- Repeatedly disruptive in class
- Refusing to do his/her work
- Fighting in yard/in class
- Using unacceptable language/name calling
- Leaving the class without permission
- Physical contact of a serious nature
- Being disrespectful or cheeky to any staff member
- Repeatedly not completing homework
- Damage to personal, school or other people’s property
- Repeated minor misbehaviours
- Misbehaviour at school events or school outings
- DFL system – recording on report card
- Reasoning with the child.
- Reprimand (including advice on how to improve)
- Time out from the group or class to another group or class at the discretion of the class teacher
- Minor misbehaviours are dealt with in class.
- Sanctions for minor misbehaviour remain the same but parents will receive notification from the teacher if behaviour is becoming a concern. Communication from the teacher is generally through the homework journals, notes, phone calls and blue cards.2012
- Loss of privileges as immediate as possible
- Detention during lunch break (See Footnote A)
- Extra schoolwork and homework.
- Referral to the Principal. (See Footnote B)
- Communication with parents by phone or letter.
- Meeting with parents.
- Consideration of services outside the school (see Footnote C)
- Gross bullying
- Repeated serious behaviour
- Leaving school premises without permission
- Open defiance of teacher’s instruction
- Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards staff/pupils
- Possession of dangerous implements e.g. pen knife
- Vandalism of school property or other people’s property.
- Taking medicine/drugs/cigarettes – supplying or in possession
- Referral to services outside the school.
- Ending of placement at St Oliver Plunkett N.S.
It should be noted that these lists consist of examples only. It is not meant to be a totally comprehensive list.
Detention (Footnote A)
- A letter; to be signed by parents, will be sent home before the detention takes place.
- Detention will involve writing out the school rules.
- It is important that an intention to implement detention is communicated to parents. This is done through a formal school letter that is signed and returned to the principal.
- In the case of misbehaviour during detention contact with parents will be made by the principal. The detention period will be repeated.
- In the case of misbehaviour at this repeat detention, a one day suspension will automatically apply.
Children being sent to the office (Footnote B)
Children sent to the office will be questioned about the problem and parents will get a standard letter (see attached for samples). These letters must be signed by parents and returned. Any child who is sent to the office as a sanction will also have their name recorded in the Red Book.
Letters will be sent for the following categories:
- Yard behaviour
- School Rules
- Serious Breach of Rules
- Class behaviour
Children who are sent to the office again for the same or another category of misbehaviour will receive detention. Detention will be supervised in classrooms on a rota basis. Detention will be perceived by the children to be avoided at all costs
The principal retains the right to detain a child, during lunch break, to reflect on behaviour, to discuss behaviour with the principal or to write out an account of behaviour. This sanction will form an instant one and will not require parental permission.
In the absence of the Principal, the Deputy Principal will assume the responsibilities and authority of the Principal.
Serious and repeated misbehaviour (Footnote C)
If a child’s behaviour is seriously unacceptable there will be a meeting with the child’s parents, teacher and principal. Support may be sought, as appropriate, from support services within the wider community e.g. Community Care Services provided by the HSE.
- When suspension is contemplated the parents are always invited to discuss the misbehaviour with the Principal and the class teacher.
- Before resorting to suspension or expulsion, all the normal channels of communication will be utilised.
- Pupils must be informed when instances of serious misbehaviour are being recorded and parents will also need to be kept informed.
Section 24 of the Education Act sets out suspension and expulsion procedures. St Oliver Plunkett School is mindful of the child’s constitutional right to an education which should only be deprived in exceptional circumstances.
- For continuously disruptive pupils, or a serious breach of discipline, the BOM shall authorise the Principal/Chairperson to suspend a child up to a maximum of three days.
- All communication regarding the proposed suspension shall be in writing.
- A written statement of the terms and dates of the suspension shall be given to parents.
- When a child returns from suspension he/she is obliged to report to the Principal, accompanied by a parent. The child is then readmitted formally to the class.
- A special decision of the BOM is necessary to authorise a further period of exclusion up to a maximum of 10 school days to allow for consultation with the pupils and parents/guardians.
There is an appeals procedure under section 29 of the Education Act, 1998. A copy of this procedure is attached to the behaviour policy under Appendix 1
Ending of Placement at St Oliver Plunkett N.S.
Continued enrolment at St Oliver Plunkett N.S. depends on abiding by the code of Behaviour & Discipline. The B.O.M. reserves the right to discontinue a child’s placement during the course of the school year. A second year may not be made available to a child, who:
- Because of his/her very negative behaviour is unlikely to benefit from continued placement at the school.
- Whose serious or gross misbehaviour impinges significantly on the learning of other children.
In these circumstances, parents will be asked to re-enrol their child at his/her original (home) school.
Expulsion will be in accordance with the terms of Rule 130(6) of “The Rules for National Schools”
Review of the Code of Behaviour and Discipline
This code has been drawn up following a process, which has involved teachers, pupils, parents and Board of Management. It will be reviewed at regular intervals.
As part of our 2013 review, all staff members have read and accepted the Code of Professional behaviour as communicated by the Teaching council. A copy of this code is kept with the Behaviour policy and is available to parents on request.
Parents were invited to read this policy in full in 2014 and were invited to add changes.
The staff were asked to ratify changes, to download the policy from the shared folder and to keep a copy of it in their class folder.
The policy was also read to the children who were offered a chance to contribute. This was done through the student council and in class.
Original Policy 2004
Full Review involving all partners 2014
Ratified by the BOM June 17th 2014
Minor changes made 2015
Appendix 1 Sample letter sent home
It has come to my attention that ________ is not completing some/all homework. If this continues he/she will be detained from playtime on the yard
Please sign this letter and return it to the school.
Appendix 2 Appeals Procedure of the Education Act
Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998, gives parents (and students who have reached the age of 18) the right to appeal certain decisions made by a school board of management, or a person acting on behalf of a board, to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills. (Changed from Science 2013)
Decisions which may be appealed
Currently, section 29 of the Education Act 1998 provides that the following decisions may be appealed to the Secretary General:
- Permanent exclusion from school
- Suspension for a period which would bring the cumulative period of suspension to 20 school days or longer in any one school year: or
Procedures to be followed
The detailed procedures that apply to all appeals to the Secretary General under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 as outlined in the appendix to Circular 22/02 will be followed. In brief there are three layers to these procedures.
- Both parties will be asked in the first instance to see if an accommodation can be reached at local level:
- Should that fail, and where the appeals Committee considers that it may be possible to facilitate agreement between the appellant and the school, a facilitator will be appointed to contact the parties at the earliest opportunity.
- Finally, an appeal may be referred for hearing by an Appeals Committee appointed by the Minister for Education and Skills.
Refusal to Enrol (amended 2015)
- The principal has the right to decide on enrolment.
- Parents have the right to appeal an enrolment decision to the Board of Management.
- The Board’s decision is final but an further appeal can be made to the NCSE (National Council for Special Education)
- Section 29 no longer applies to refusal to enrol.
Appendix 3 Weekly Report Card
Weekly Report Card
St Oliver Plunkett National School
Child’s Name______________________ Week Beginning
Child’s Comment on the week
Please return this card to your child’s teacher. Thanks.
Parental acceptance of Behaviour Policy (mandatory for admission)
I have read this policy carefully.
I understand that signing and agreeing to this policy is a condition of my child’s placement n St Oliver Plunkett NS.
Other Staff members
Other vital Staff members in the School
Special Needs Assistants (SNA)
Special Needs Assistants in the school
In general terms the SNA acts in a care and support role that is non-teaching in nature and works under the guidance and supervision of the Principal and/or class teacher. The role and duties of the SNA are more clearly defined in DES Circular 0030/2014.
We have an excellent hard-working Parents Association who fundraise and help in school planning and development. The Parents Association is affiliated to the National Parents Council (NPC).
They organise talks for Parents on transition to second-level, healthy lunches and anti-bullying. They share expertise and experience with pupils in the form of talks and workshops.
The Parent’s Association is selected at the first general meeting in September and a list of members is circulated soon afterwards.
It is school policy to bring the entire school on trips at least twice a year.
In past years these have been to ice-skating, the pictures, exhibitions, Airfield City Farm and Croke Park.
These venues are subject to change. Classes may also take individual school trips during the year.
We have reduced the number, and cost, of such trips in the past few years.
Most of the children come from the South Dublin/Wicklow area. The Department of Education provides transport for all of the children and a transport grant for those children who have to travel a long distance to access the school bus. The school is not in any way responsible for the school buses but will facilitate parents to apply for a place and will also assist in the selection of embarkation points. Disputes with the bus companies cannot be negotiated through the school.
A booklet entitled “School Transport for Children with Special Needs” issued by the Department of Education sets out information options. TheDepartment of Education provides the following transport options to and from the school for pupils:
(A) A travel ticket for Dublin Bus or DART for pupils using public transport.
(B) Private Coach transport via already established routes (three coaches currently operate from the Rathfarnham, Bray and Arklow directions) Application is made through the school and is organised during your visit to the school to enrol your child.
Children are not allowed to use the school bus to visit friends unless they are already a passenger on that bus.