Charter of Behaviour

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CHARTER OF BEHAVIOUR    Revised May 2017

 

INTRODUCTION

Irish Education and those involved, parents, teachers, management, trustees, Department of Education and Skills are bound by the following pieces of legislation.

  • Education Act, 1998
  • Education (welfare) Act, 2000
  • Equal Status Act, 2000
  • Teaching Council Act, 2001
  • Safety Health & Welfare at Work Act 1989
  • Convention on the rights of the child (1992)
  • Article 42 of the Constitution
  • Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2011)

 

 

Community and Comprehensive Schools are also guided by the Articles of Management in the DEED OF TRUST under which these schools were established and by Circular Letters issued from time to time by the Department of Education and Skills.

Parents have the right to appeal decisions made concerning their son/daughter. Issues of concern are best resolved initially at school level and after that at Board level. However appeals may be made;

  • To the Principal
  • To the Board of Management
  • To the National Education Welfare Board
  • To the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills

 

In particular, 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’s Board of Management, or a person acting on behalf of the Board of Management, to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills.

 

The Education (welfare) Act, 2000 aims to provide for the entitlement of every child in the State to a certain minimum education. It also sets out;

  • To provide for the registration of children receiving education in places other than recognised schools.
  • To insist on the compulsory attendance of certain children at recognised schools.
  • To monitor school attendance, to identify the causes of non-attendance and to adopt measures for its prevention.
  • To establish a body known as The National Educational Welfare Board to co-ordinate and enforce the above named activities and other issues pertaining to young people in education.

Poor school attendance is now a matter not just for parents and schools but for the National Educational Welfare Board which has legal powers to monitor and ensure compliance with the requirements to attend school regularly.

A child who consistently misses school may be being deprived of intellectual stimulation. This could constitute neglect and schools are now obliged to alert the HSE where they suspect that a child is being neglected.

These pieces of legislation are important to parents who should familiarise themselves with their contents. The documents are available from Government Publications, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.

 

CODE OF BEHAVIOUR – PUPIL GUIDELINES

 

The principles, which shape the guidelines for pupils, are part of the school’s mission statement. These include:

  • creating a climate that encourages and reinforces good behaviour.
  • creating a positive and safe environment for teaching and learning.
  • encouraging pupils to take responsibility for their learning and their behaviour.
  • building positive relationships based on mutual respect and mutual support among pupils, staff and parents.
  • ensuring that the school’s high expectations for the behaviour of all the members of the school community are widely known and understood.
  • recognising that each member of the school community is individual and unique and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and that our individual differences enrich and enhance our immediate environment. Each person’s contribution is of importance and is welcome.

 

SCHOOL ETHOS

We ask pupils that they show

                                                                              RESPECT FOR THEMSELVES

                                                                               RESPECT FOR OTHERS

RESPECT FOR OPENNESS

RESPECT FOR PROPERTY

 

This is the underlying spirit of our code of behaviour, a code which is there not to annoy or frustrate but to protect pupils and to ensure that the main task of the school, which is teaching and learning, is safeguarded and encouraged. The creation of the desired atmosphere in the school is dependent on co-operation between all parties involved (pupils, parents/guardians, staff, Board of Management).  We expect all parties to adhere to the basic principles of tolerance and consideration for others and to recognise the right of the individual to learn and to work, in an encouraging atmosphere without disruption or fear of intimidation.

In upholding our school ethos we have drawn up a code of behaviour for the benefit of all members of the school community.

 

ATTENDANCE/ABSENCES

Attendance is of the utmost importance and is vital to educational progress. We depend on parents’ / guardians’ support to successfully achieve good school attendance. All absences must be explained by a note, written by parents/guardians, in the school journal on the day the student returns after being absent. We would appreciate parents/guardians ensuring that absences are genuine and justified and stating the reason. Under the Education Welfare Act 2000 the school is required by law to report to an Education Welfare Officer any pupil who accumulates 20 days absence, if that pupil is under 16 years. The Education Welfare Officer may then make contact with the parents/guardians.

Students leaving school during the school day, for any reason, should sign a special “Sign Out Book”in the front office after getting permission from either Deputy Principal, their year head or tutor and should have a note of permission.

 

PUNCTUALITY

Students should be in school by 8.40 each morning and by 1.05 in the afternoon. Assembly begins at 8.45 and afternoon classes begin at 1.10.  It is expected that pupils will move promptly from class to class during the day: a written explanation will be required for any undue delay. The tuition school day ends at 3.30 p.m. on Monday to Thursday and on Friday at 2.55 p.m.

Students who are late for school should have a written explanation. They should sign in and get a late stamp to allow entry to class, which should then be signed by a parent or guardian and returned the next morning.

 

CLASSWORK/ HOMEWORK/STUDY

Students should come to class with all books, copies, pencils/pens and equipment. Homework should be completed to an acceptable standard. All work for the following day should be written into the school journal. Students should have their journal with them at all times and must present it whenever requested by a member of staff.  Parents are asked to check and sign the school journal at least once a week as it is a vital communication link between home and school.  Class exam results during term are written in the school journal and should be signed by Parents.

 

GENERAL BEHAVIOUR

Pupils are expected to display good manners and to treat others with respect and consideration both in school and on the way to and from school. Physical roughness, inappropriate language or bullying is not in keeping with the school ethos.

Pupils using bicycles should dismount at the gate and walk their bicycles to the designated bicycle rack. Cycling is not allowed in the school grounds.

Pupils are asked to walk in the school building and to keep to the left-hand side of the corridor to facilitate movement between classes.

 

CLASSROOM BEHAVIOUR

Students should be calm, courteous and respectful in class. Classroom behaviour should help to create a focussed learning environment.  We ask that students and teachers not argue in class.  Any difficulties that arise during class can be best dealt with calmly after class.

 

CLASSROOM GUIDELINES

  • Pupils arriving at a classroom line up and wait. They enter the classroom when told to do so by the teacher.
  • Pupils arriving at a classroom line up and wait. They only enter the classroom when told to do so by the teacher.
  • They enter and take the places assigned to them by the teacher.
  • They remove overcoats, scarves etc. Only the school uniform may be worn in class.
  • They take out the books required for the class and place their school journal on the desk.
  • All books, copies, journals etc. should be neat clean and presentable.
  • All students must have the school homework journal every day. It should be signed weekly by the parent and tutor. All pupils must write their homework into the journal and adequate time must be given to allow this to be done, Where students come to school without a journal they must obtain a journal pass from their year-head before going to class.
  • Students should follow class teachers’ instructions. Work given in class or for homework should be written into the journal, should be completed to a high standard and presented at the appropriate time.
  • Students who leave class must sign the attendance sheet and note time.
  • The journal should be given to any member of staff when requested.
  • Students should not eat or drink in class.
  • Mobile phones/iPods etc. must be switched off.
  • Students should not pack up until told to do so by the teacher. Students should leave                  the classroom in an orderly manner. The classroom should be left neat and tidy.
  • At the end of last class, chairs should be placed on the tables to facilitate cleaning.

 

DRESS CODE

Full uniform is compulsory for all pupils at all times unless otherwise informed. School shoes must be black leather (no canvas or visible logos). Runners are not acceptable as footwear except for P.E. or with the provision of a note from a medical doctor. All students participate in Physical Education class. The PE uniform consists of a blue t-shirt and navy tracksuit bottoms. A clean jersey is provided for those who do not bring correct PE uniform. If a student is ill or injured, they are expected to bring in their own PE gear and be ready to participate to the best of their ability. Jewellery is limited to one ring per hand, small sleepers or stud earrings and chains worn inside jumpers. Facial jewellery is not permitted. Excessive jewellery will be confiscated and returned after an agreed time period.

The only jacket students may wear in school is the school jacket. Hoodies are not allowed.

 

CYBER REFERENCING OF STAFF

Members of staff of Hartstown Community School are committed, in a professional capacity, to working to achieve the best possible outcomes for students.  Students are asked to respect the boundaries between the professional and personal aspects of staff members’ lives.

Students should not comment on, or make reference to, a member of staff on social media sites or social fora.

Students should not circulate or publish, through ICT or other means, material recorded without consent that may undermine, or cause damage to, the professional or personal reputation of another person.

Any breach of these rules will lead to sanctions. The student concerned may be liable for expulsion.

 

PROPERTY

To counteract theft pupils are asked to clearly mark all their belongings. Deliberate or careless damage, to any property or equipment, is treated very seriously and must be paid for by that pupil or his/her family. Sanctions may also be imposed.

Theft of any kind in the school is considered a serious offence and, as with damage to property, will be liable to further sanctions. Students who are guilty of theft will be liable to expulsion.

Any interference with the fire alarm/safety equipment will result in serious sanction(s).

 

The School Management cannot accept responsibility for students’ property.

 

BICYCLE POLICY

Students are encouraged to walk or cycle to school but do so at their own risk. Those using bicycles should enter and exit the school via the Hartstown gate entrance only.  Students must not ride bicycles when on the school grounds at any time as it creates an unacceptable Health and Safety risk to other school users.  Whilst the school will investigate such incidences as fully as possible, the school accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage to students’ bicycles, however caused.  Students should use a lock on their bikes at all times, accessible only by key, which they should keep in their possession.  The school strongly encourages students who cycle to wear helmets but understanding that this is ultimately the responsibility of the student and their parents.  Students, when cycling should use the designated cycle lane and keep footpaths clear for pedestrian traffic.  Students found cycling on the school grounds may have their bicycles confiscated.

 

SMOKING

Legislation outlaws smoking in the workplace. For schools smoking is prohibited within the entire school boundary with no exception. This policy applies to all employees, students, parents / guardians of students, consultants, contractors or their agents / representatives and visitors to the school.  Smoking in the immediate environment outside the school, while in school uniform, is not allowed.

There are serious fines/penalties for breach of this legislation.

Parents please advise your son / daughter of this legislation – it does apply to them and not just to adults.

 

SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Possession, use or supply of drugs, alcohol or any illegal substances is completely prohibited. Any breach of this regulation will warrant removal from class and the imposition of sanctions. A final decision of the severity of the sanction rests with the Board of Management. The substance policy is available for inspection in the school.

 

MOBILE PHONES/ IPODS/ WALKMANS/ DISCMANS

We operate a strict Acceptable Use Policy for mobile phones. Pupils and parents must become familiar with it and sign the student/Parent Acceptance found on page 17 of the journal. Mobile phones/ipods must be switched off during the school day and will be confiscated if found in use. The confiscated items will only be returned to the pupil or parent/guardian after one week (2 weeks in exceptional cases).

 

CHEWING-GUM

Due to damage to the general school environment, chewing gum is prohibited in all areas of the school complex. Students who chew gum will be liable to a cleaning charge of €10 and may be required to carry out cleaning duties.

 

TIPP-EX AND LARGE MARKERS

Use of Tipp-Ex or other correcting fluids and large markers are not allowed in the school. Non fluid based corrector pens may be used.

 

SANCTIONS

Where students do not respect the charter of behaviour and where reasonable requests and/or discussion do not bring about a change in behaviour, it may be necessary to impose sanctions. Depending what has happened sanctions may include the following:

  • a warning/reprimand by teacher
  • a note in school journal to be signed by parents
  • incident report form to be presented to year head
  • extra work and/or punishment given by class teacher/tutor/year head
    • detention: pupils can be detained for 15 minutes on any day without notice – longer periods of detention require parents to be notified the day before
  • the pupil may be placed on a report card to monitor work/behaviour in each class to be signed nightly by parents
  • the pupil may be brought for interview to Principal/ Deputy Principals
  • parents may be asked to come to the school to discuss the behaviour
  • the pupil may be suspended from school
  • a report may be given to Board of Management
  • ultimately, a pupil may be expelled from the school.

 

The decision to expel a student will be made by the board of management in accordance with NEWB guidelines and with section 24 of the Education (Welfare) Act.

 

The board of management delegates authority for sanctioning suspensions to the principal and deputy principals in accordance with NEWB guidelines.

 

Serious breaches of the Code of Behaviour may lead to immediate suspension by Principal/ Deputy Principals. In the event of a suspension or expulsion, parents are reminded that they have the right to appeal to the Board of Management, the Education Welfare Board or the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science.

 

N.B. It is not possible to cover all possible infringements of behaviour and their eventual sanctions. The Board of Management reserves the right to interpret the above rules and to make the final decision.

 

I/We agree that the school may use our son/daughter’s image of him/her participating in school activities on the school website, social media, ezine, Year Book and other school publications. (If you do not agree please inform the principal in writing).

 

 

Attendance at Hartstown Community School is conditional on the pupils and parents’/guardians’ acceptance of the above Code of Behaviour which should be signed in the school journal.

 

PREVENTION OF BULLYING –SHORT VERSION FOR SCHOOL JOURNAL

Hartstown Community School aims to provide a safe, caring environment for all our students, in a spirit of tolerance, which recognises that each one of us, both students and teachers, is individual and unique and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

 

It is every student’s right to be in a safe, secure and comfortable learning environment where they can fully realise their social, moral, cultural and academic development.

Bullying including cyberbullying is not acceptable

Our code of behaviour is based on respect.

 

RESPECT FOR SELF

RESPECT FOR OTHERS

RESPECT FOR OPENNESS

RESPECT FOR PROPERTY

 

Bullying disrespects this code. A student who excludes, threatens, intimates or hurts another person in any way is not treating the other person with respect.

 

As teachers we do not accept actions or words which have a destructive or intimidating influence, or which interfere with a person’s right to be in a safe and secure environment.

 

A person who bullies does not deserve your protection. Break the code of silence.  If you are being bullied or you know of another person who is being bullied, tell someone.  You will be listened to and we can and will help you.

 

If you are involved in bullying another member of the school community your parents will be informed if necessary.

 

If the bullying incident is particularly serious the offender may be suspended or the incident reported to the Board of Management.

 

The full text of the bullying policy is in the Parent Handbook