Arklow CBS

Code of Behaviour

SCHOOL CODE OF BEHAVIOUR

Introduction

The School Code of Behaviour has been drawn up by the Board of Management. The code is in accordance with recent education legislation and guidelines. In drawing up the code the Board has consulted the Teaching Staff, the Parents’ Advisory Council, and the students. When enrolled as a student of the school, the Parents/Guardians, and the student, agree to accept the Code of Behaviour.

The School has a Code of Behaviour to which all students are expected to sign. (See www.arklowcbs.ie for full text of the code). The code of behaviour has been developed with the intention of encouraging students to become self-disciplined and responsible individuals.

The code has the following aims:

  • To create a safe and orderly environment for all.
  • To provide an environment, conductive to teaching and learning.
  • To respect every student’s right to an education.
  • To ensure that all members of the school community are treated with respect.
  • To encourage students to become self-disciplined and responsible individuals.
  • To encourage students to take responsibility for their learning and work to the best of their ability
  • To create an atmosphere of respect and tolerance for others

The Code of Behaviour gives priority to promoting good behaviour

  • Arklow CBS encourages commitment and standards of excellence in all schoolwork and extra-curricular activities. Students who have the honour to represent the school are expected to attend practices and events consistently.
  • Respect must be shown for all staff at all times. Students should also respect each other. Bullying of any sort will always be considered a serious offence.
  • Good order and attention are required in class so that students can pursue their right to learn effectively. Students must not talk at will during class or be involved in any other form of disruption.
  • Students are required to make their very best effort to present top quality homework. This must be recorded in the ‘Students Journal’, which each student must be in possession of on each school day. Students must get their journals signed each weekend by a Parent/Guardian.
  • To prevent disruption and to ensure good learning, students should be punctual for all classes.
  • Students should present themselves in a tidy and acceptable way. School Uniform must be worn and consists of grey jumper with school crest, grey slacks, light blue shirt, dark blue tie, and black polished shoes. Wearing additional garments over uniform in class is not acceptable and these MUST be handed over to class teacher or Principal/ Deputy Principal. The wearing of facial jewellery e.g. earrings, studs, bars, hoops etc. is not allowed.
  • Physical Education is an essential timetabled part of the curriculum, for which students must be appropriately attired.
  • Attention should be paid to the Health and Safety of all in the school community. Cycling in the school grounds is not allowed. Smoking (including vaping and e-cigarettes) is not permitted and students should not have any substances or items deemed to be unacceptable on the premises, grounds or school outings. Students should not congregate around exits or entrances which should be kept clear at all times.
  • Respect should be shown for school property and that of other students. Compensation may be required for offences in this area. Classrooms must be kept tidy, litter and recycle bins used appropriately and all eating/drinking should be confined to the canteen and grounds.
  • The use of mobile phones’ call, text, camera & video facilities is banned during school time (class, corridor etc.), this includes making and receiving calls and text messages. Phones are to be switched off
  • on entering the school. Mobile phones will be confiscated if pupils are found to be in breach of the above policy. The return of confiscated phones will be in accordance with the school policy. Students may use phones in the open areas of the school during recreation time only.
  • All absences must be accounted for by note or by email. The reason for the absence must be stated, this is as required by the NEWB. Mitching/truancy will always be considered a serious offence and will be dealt with accordingly.
  • The sanctions of the school include extra written work, removal from class, detention, and suspension. The school reserves the right to expel/exclude students who will not comply with the behaviour code.
  • Any breaches of social distancing, and any other health and safety measures put in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic will be treated extremely seriously and may lead to immediate suspension.

The educational needs of the student whose behaviour is unacceptable will be balanced with the educational needs of other students in the school.

Declaration

I ______________________________________ (Student) and

I ______________________________________ (Parent)

agree to comply with the above regulations and to accept the consequences where there is breach of same.

Promoting Good Behaviour

Arklow CBS is committed to the promotion of positive behaviour. Some of the methods used include:

  • Verbal praise for the student in private and in class
  • Merit System on VS Ware
  • PAC Awards system for Junior Cycle
  • Motivational assemblies
  • Awards ceremony in May every year for hard work and attendance
  • Leadership roles distributed to students such as Student Council, Liaison Officers, Head Boy
  • School trips and activities
  • Class prizes
  • Use of the intercom system to acknowledge student achievement
  • The display of student work throughout the school
  • Use of the school website, Newsletter, local newspapers, Twitter and Facebook to recognise student efforts and successes

To accompany the Code of Behaviour the school operates a demerit and a merit system - the operation of both is detailed below:

SYSTEM OF MERITS

In an effort to develop a more holistic and positive approach to behaviour - our school runs a Merit System for its students.

This system awards students for their:

C Co-operation

P Participation

V Volunteering

E Excellence

All merits are recorded on VSware. Students who have received merits will be recognised and awarded at the end of year ceremony.

Student Council is in the process of trying to devise a monthly/termly award to recognise merits more regularly.

PAC System

Students are referred to the PAC for positive affirmation by their teachers, in first, second or third year.

The Positive Affirmation Committee award acknowledge effort, good behaviour, random acts of kindness, improvement in application, being helpful, consistent hard work, charity work, extra-curricular achievement (in sports, arts or performing arts), unblemished attendance record etc.

Students achievements are acknowledged by postcards sent home sharing their achievements with their families.

Restorative Practice:

The school endeavours to employ a restorative approach to promote positive behaviour. Restorative practice allows students to reflect on their behaviour and how it has affected them or others in the class. It helps develop and sustain a happy and caring school environment by actively developing positive relationships, preventing the escalation of conflict and handling conflict in a healthy way. It creates an ethos of respect and inclusion and gives students the opportunity to be accountable and take responsibility for their behaviour.

Restorative Practices foster awareness of how others have been affected by inappropriate behaviour. This is done by actively engaging participants in a process which separates the deed from the doer and rejects the act not the actor, allowing participators to make amends for the harm caused.

When Things Go Wrong…

Virtually all so-called ‘discipline issues’ tend to stem from, or result in, inter-personal conflicts, which leave two or more people feeling angry, hurt, resentful, anxious or even afraid.

When in conflict people need:

  • A chance to tell their story
  • Express their feelings
  • Understand how the situation happened
  • Understand how it can be avoided another time
  • To feel understood by the others involved
  • An acknowledgement of the harmed caused
  • To find a way to move on.

How to use Restorative Practices when responding to harm…

Restorative Practice has a set of explicit and observable practices that help to bring this way of being to life when responding to harm. They range from the informal to the formal depending on what is considered to be a suitable response. What follows is a brief summary.

Conversations – informal chat using restorative questions, allowing for feelings to be expressed and the promotion of empathy. Individual member of staff team takes initiative and models the process, seeking to share and invite responses in a reciprocal process.

Restorative Circles – build relationships and/or solve problems. Individual member of staff team takes initiative and leads process.

Restorative Meetings – Year Heads, Tutors and/or a member of the Restorative Practice Committee invite the Student to respond to the incident by filling in a form answering the key Restorative Practice Questions.

Student are involved in Restorative Practice when they consistently fail to comply with the following (more than 5 demerits in a week):

  • Come late to school
  • Homework not done or completed
  • Failure to bring appropriate books/materials
  • Substance or alcohol use
  • Smoking/Vaping
  • Leaving school grounds without permission
  • Disrupting class by talking/fooling around/speaking out of turn/throwing things
  • Inappropriate language
  • Abusing/fighting with another pupil
  • Making a mess, not cleaning up
  • Theft and property damage
  • Bullying and harassment of others
  • Rudeness, insolence and contempt
  • Bringing the school into disrepute
  • Misuse of ICT

Unless all have agreed to take part in the restorative process, it will not proceed; all have to be willing participants. If during a restorative process any of those taking part are unable or unwilling to proceed, the process will close and an alternative resolution will need to be sought.

In exceptional circumstances and to ensure the health and safety of all students it may be necessary to temporarily exclude (suspend) or permanently exclude (expel) a student. The school seek to invite students to be part of the solution, aim to honour relationships above all else and endeavour to promote accountability by cultivating whole school practices that seek to acknowledge harm and invite actions that make amends for such harm. However, if this is met with persistent resistance and lack of engagement, then our school may need to avail of other less preferred practices to maintain the values in our school, such as safety for all, and to support the student with their unmet needs.

Such practices include:

  • Internal suspension
  • Temporary exclusion from school (suspension), please see*
  • Referral to Board of Management
  • Permanent exclusion from school, please see **

Internal Suspension

Where a gross misdemeanour takes place or where a student consistently fails to work with the school to improve their behaviour, internal suspension may be appropriate. In this case the student will remain in school but will work restoratively with the RP Team in the hope of building stronger trust relationships and in helping them gaining greater understanding & insight into their behaviour. The aim will be to provide a way forward that will help to repair the harm caused and for the student to take responsibility for their own actions. The student will not attend regular classes but will have time to reflect on the incident, assisted by appropriately trained staff members.

Suspension

Grounds for suspension are: (Note: Any breach of the Code of Behaviour of a serious nature may result in suspension)

  • A student’s behaviour is a cause of disruption to the learning of others or the teaching process.
  • A threat to the safety of others.
  • Serious damage to property or theft of property.
  • A student’s behaviour brings the name of Arklow CBS into disrepute.
  • Truancy, including leaving the school grounds without permission.
  • Showing disrespect to a member of staff of Arklow CBS.

THIS IS NOT AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST.

Arklow CBS is required by law to follow fair procedures when proposing to suspend a student (see 10.3 and 10.4 of the NEWB guidelines for more detail).

Suspension Procedure:

The Principal or the Deputy-Principal in the absence of the Principal has the authority to suspend a student. This sanction should be imposed with reference to the Code of Behaviour policy and to the specific incident.

Where a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant suspension, the school will observe the following procedures:

  • Inform the student about the complaint and give him/her an opportunity to respond.
  • Parents will be informed by telephone and given an opportunity to respond.
  • A meeting with parents and student may be arranged to explore the matter further.

Where suspension may result from an investigation and a meeting with the student and parents/guardians has been arranged:

  • It provides the opportunity for them to give their side of the story.
  • To ask questions about the evidence of serious misbehaviour, especially where there is a dispute about the facts.
  • It may also be an opportunity for parents/guardians to make their case for modifying the sanction.
  • And for the school to explore with parents/guardians how best to address the student's behaviour.

Where an immediate suspension is considered by the Principal to be warranted, a formal investigation will immediately follow the imposition of the suspension. In the case of an immediate suspension, parents will be notified, and arrangements made with them for the student to be collected.

The National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) will be informed if the suspension is for six or more school days or if the student has been suspended for an aggregate of twenty or more days in the school year.

Period and Type of Suspension:

In imposing a suspension and in deciding its duration, the following factors will be considered:

  • The seriousness of the breach/breaches of school regulations.
  • The severity of the behaviour, the frequency of its occurrence and the likelihood of its recurring
  • The behaviour of the student up to the time of suspension.
  • Previous interventions.
  • The age, state of health and special needs of the student.
  • The possible negative impact of the student’s behaviour on other students in the school.

Implementing the Suspension:

The parents/guardians of a student being suspended will be informed by:

  • Telephone, where they can be contacted.
  • A letter sent to the home with the student.
  • A copy of the letter sent by post (registered if it is deemed necessary).

The letter will contain:

  • The reason(s) for suspension.
  • The length and dates of the suspension.
  • The provision for an appeal to the Board of Management.

The letter may also contain the following (depending on individual circumstances):

  • The expectations of the student while on suspension.
  • A statement of the importance of parental assistance in resolving the matter including any commitments to be entered into by the student.
  • Arrangements for the return of the student to school.

During the period of suspension, a student is not permitted to enter the school premises without prior permission nor is a student permitted to loiter in the vicinity of the school premises. The suspension may be lifted temporarily to facilitate a student to participate in a State Examination.

The student upon his return to school may be required to report to the Deputy

Principal and/or Form Master before being permitted to go to class.

Grounds for removing a suspension:

A suspension may be removed if the Board of Management decides to remove the suspension for any reason or the Secretary General of the Department of Education & Skills directs that it be removed following an appeal under section 29 of the Education Act 1998.

Appeal:

Parents/guardians (and students aged 18 years or more) may appeal the decision to suspend to the Board of Management. They should furnish the Board in writing with full details of the appeal.

If the parents/guardians are not satisfied with the decision of the Board of Management, they may appeal to the Department of Education and Science under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998. Such an appeal regarding suspension can only be made where the suspension period brings the cumulative period of suspension to 20 school days or more in any one school year.

Review of use of suspension:

The Board of Management will review the use of suspension in the school at regular intervals to ensure that its use is consistent with school policies, that patterns of use are examined to identify factors that may be influencing behaviour in the school and to ensure that use of suspension is appropriate and effective.

Expulsion (Permanent Exclusion):

Expulsion (Permanent Exclusion) is a sanction reserved for use in the most extreme cases of indiscipline or in serious cases of misbehaviour as determined by the Board of Management.

The Board of Management has the authority to expel a student. A student is expelled when the Board of Management makes a decision to permanently exclude him from the school, having complied with the provisions of Section 24 of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000.

Expulsion is the ultimate sanction available to the school. The grounds for expulsion may be similar to the grounds for suspension. Factors such as the degree of seriousness and the persistence of the behaviour, failure on the part of the student to change his behaviour following other interventions, the effect on other members of the school community and / or the good name of Arklow CBS, or the seriousness of a single breach of the Code of Behaviour will be determinants.

The sanction of expulsion will be exercised by the Board of Management only in extreme cases of unacceptable behaviour such as:

  • the student’s behaviour is a persistent cause of significant disruption to the learning of others or to the teaching process.
  • the student’s continued presence in the school constitutes a real and significant threat to safety to other users of the school campus.
  • the student is responsible for serious damage to property.
  • the student is responsible for serious physical, emotional or psychological damage, through use of or threat of physical force, bullying, cyber bullying, or any other means, to any member(s) of the school community, including staff and students. This includes the use of Facebook, Twitter and other social network sites to bully a member of the school community (see the Anti-Bullying Policy, and Acceptable Use of the Internet Policy, for definitions of Bullying and Cyber Bullying).
  • the student persistently fails to adhere to the Code of Behaviour Policy.
  • the Board of Management reserves the right to expel a student for a first offence. The list below is an example but not exhaustive of the behaviour that may result in a proposal to expel on the basis of a single breach of the Code of Behaviour:
  • a serious threat of violence against another student or member of staff.
  • actual violence or physical assault.
  • possession of or supplying illegal drugs.
  • sexual assault.
  • usage of the internet, digital media, mobile phone, (including social network sites), which intrudes on the privacy and dignity of staff, students, or their families.
  • behaviour, both in school and ‘out of school’, that brings the name of Arklow CBS into disrepute.

Expulsion Procedures:

A detailed investigation will be carried out under the direction of the Principal.

  • Parents/guardians will be informed in writing of the alleged misbehaviour, how it will be investigated and that it could result in expulsion.
  • Both parents/guardians and students will be given the opportunity to respond to the complaint of serious misbehaviour.

Where expulsion may result from an investigation and a meeting with the student and their parents/guardians has been arranged:

  • it provides the opportunity for them to give their side of the story.
  • to ask questions about the evidence of serious misbehaviour, especially where there is a dispute about the facts.
  • It may also be an opportunity for parents/guardians to make their case for modifying the sanction, and for the school to explore with parents/guardians how best to address the student's behaviour.

If a student and his parents/guardians fail to attend a meeting, the Principal will write advising:

  • of the gravity of the matter, the importance of attending a re-scheduled meeting and, failing that, the duty of the school authorities to make a decision to respond to the inappropriate behaviour. The school will record the invitation issued to parents/guardians and their response.

Where the Principal forms a view, based on the investigation of the alleged misbehaviour, that expulsion may be warranted, the Principal will make a recommendation to the Board of Management to consider expulsion. The Principal will:

  • inform the parents/guardians and the student that the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion.
  • ensure that parents have records of: the allegations against the student; the investigation; and written notice of the grounds on which the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion.
  • provide the Board of Management with the same records as supplied to parents.
  • notify the parents of the date of the hearing by the Board of Management and invite them to that hearing.
  • ensure that parents have enough notice to allow them to prepare for the hearing.
  • advise parents that they can make a written and oral submission to the Board of Management.

It is the responsibility of the Board to review the initial investigation and satisfy itself that the investigation was properly conducted in line with fair procedures.

The Board should undertake its own review of all documentation and the circumstances of the case. It will ensure that no party who has had any involvement with the circumstances of the case is part of the Board's deliberations (for example, a member of the Board who may have made an allegation about the student).

The Board of Management will consider the Principal’s recommendation. If the Board decides to consider expelling the student, it will hold a hearing.

The Board meeting for the purpose of the hearing should be properly conducted in accordance with Board procedures.

At the hearing, the Principal and the parents, or a student aged eighteen years or over, put their case to the Board in each other’s presence. Each party should be allowed to question the evidence of the other party directly.

The meeting may also be an opportunity for parents to make their case for lessening the sanction. In the conduct of the hearing, the Board must take care to ensure that they are, and are seen to be, impartial as between the Principal and the student.

Parents may wish to be accompanied at hearings and the Board will facilitate this, in line with good practice and Board procedures.

After both sides have been heard, the Board should ensure that the Principal and parents are not present for the Board’s deliberations.

Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing:

  • having heard from all the parties, it is the responsibility of the Board to decide whether or not the allegation is substantiated and, if so, whether or not expulsion is the appropriate sanction.
  • where the Board of Management, having considered all the facts of the case, is of the opinion that the student should be expelled, the Board must notify the Educational Welfare Officer in writing of its opinion and the reasons for this opinion. (Education (Welfare) Act 2000, section24(1)).
  • the Board of Management will not affect exclusion within 20 days of the Educational Welfare Board being notified. Suspension may be applied for this period.
  • The Board will communicate its decision in writing to the parents and outline the next phase of the process involving the Educational Welfare Officer.
  • Following the twenty-day notification period and intervention of the Educational Welfare Officer, and where the Board remains of the view that the student should be expelled, the Board will formally confirm the decision to expel in writing.
  • Parents/guardians and the student will be informed of the right to appeal under the Education Act 1998 Section 29 and supplied with the standard form.

Appeals:

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 Skills (Education Act 1998 Section 29). An appeal may also be brought by the National Educational Welfare Board on behalf of a student.

Review of use of expulsion:

The Board of Management will review the use of expulsion in the school at regular intervals to ensure that its use is consistent with school policies, that patterns of use are examined to identify factors that may be influencing behaviour in the school and to ensure that use of expulsion is appropriate and effective.

SYSTEM OF DEMERITS

Demerits can be given by the class teacher if students do not adhere to school rules. They are as follows:

Homework -1

Disruption -3

Gear -1

Disrespect -5

Uniform -1

Serious Incident -5

Removed from class -5

Left school without permission -5

Total Defiance -5

Other negative behaviour -1

Throwing Litter -1

Procedures for demerits are:

5 Demerits………………Restorative Practice Meeting and/or Detention on Friday afternoon’s ( in which work is set) may also be used if the student fails to make progress with Restorative Practice. If this occurs Parents will be notified by text. NOTE: Failure to attend detention without a satisfactory explanation is deemed a serious offence.

In certain circumstances the School Authority reserves the right to suspend any studentwithout having to follow the demerit system.

All demerits are recorded on VSware.

STUDENT REPORT CARD

A Form Master, the Deputy Principal or the Principal can place a student on a report card if a student’s behaviour is deemed unsatisfactory. The report cards must be obtained from the office by the student daily, completed by his class teachers, signed at home, and then returned to the office the following day. The person who sanctioned the report card will check each report card on a daily basis and have the office scan the card and put it on the student's file. Once the student has handed in five satisfactory (as decided by the person sanctioning) report cards, then they can be taken off the card (this is at the discretion of the person sanctioning).

Demerit Totals

When the student has ten demerits a letter will be sent home requesting the parents to attend a meeting with the Form Master.

PUNCTUALITY

School begins at 8.45am. Students should arrive not later than 8:40am and are expected to have organised books and equipment for classes until the next break and then to go straight to class for the start of their first lesson at 8.55.

This expectation for book organisation also applies after small break and after lunch break at 1:50pm.

SANCTIONS

Students who arrive late to school must sign-in in the school office. His journal will be stamped and marked with the time. No demerit is assigned. A note from home explaining the reason for the late is acceptable and in this case no detention will be assigned but the late will still be recorded.

Once a student receives 3 late stamps, he will undertake Restorative Practice with his tutor/Form Master. It the student persists with being late he will not be allowed go into the next class that he is late for. He will be required to wait at the Deputy Principal's office until the start of the next class. At this point a text message will be sent from the office on behalf of the Form Master detailing this procedure.

If there is no improvement in punctuality, parents / guardians will be required to attend the school to discuss the matter with the Form Master.

Students who are late for class during the day will be sent to the office for a late stamp by their class teacher. This will be marked in the journal, recorded on VSware and will form part of the Restorative Practice procedures.

ATTENDANCE

  • Regular attendance is expected and encouraged.
  • A pupil who is absent from school must on return have a parent/guardian communicate with the school, details of the absence. This may be done by using the school APP ‘iClass CMS’ or by email to the dedicated school email account absent@arklowcbs.ie. Under current Covid-19 protocols, the school prefers communication to be done electronically, however if absolutely necessary a note from the students’ homework journal can be completed giving details of absence and handed into school office.
  • Confidential information can be communicated directly to the Form Master / Deputy Principal by email or by telephone to the school office or by sealed letter if necessary.
  • In the case of long-term absences, parents / guardians should notify the Year Head / Deputy Principal by telephone or in writing via email or on our App.
  • Medical and dental appointment cards are to be presented on the day or arranged via email or on our app.
  • Students out of class during lessons must have their journal signed and timed by the relevant staff member.
  • Mitching/truancy is not tolerated and is seen as a serious breach of the Code of Behaviour.
  • Good attendance will be marked with rewards termly/ Christmas/ Summer.

Interventions:

  1. Restorative practice.
  2. Parents contacted.
  3. Student removed from school & welcomed back the next day once he is on time.

School Records

Information relating to students is kept in a secure location in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1988 and the Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003.

Success Criteria

Improvement in the classroom teaching and learning environment. Decline in the number of detentions and suspensions.

Review and evaluation

There will be a review of the policy every 3 years by the Code of Behaviour planning committee.

A report each year will be made to the Board of Management on the implementation of the policy.

Footnote:

Restorative Practices acknowledges the intrinsic worth of the person and their potential contribution to the school community.

Relationship Window (Matrix) (Vaandering, 2016)

We use the Relationship Window to guide our thinking about our relationships. Healthy relationships are responsive to the needs and joys expressed by all who interact with each other. Responding effectively is a learned skill that begins with awareness of what it means to live in responsive relationships. We can increase our understanding and capacity for responding effectively in all circumstances by engaging with the Relationship Window. The Relationship Window illustrates how responsiveness occurs through high support and high expectations for being human. The Relationship Window is a framework that firstly helps to discern the kinds of relationships we find ourselves in and then serves as a guide to increase their quality. Central to relationship is the need to belong; we feel honoured when we are included and can be at our best.

As a restorative school we are committed to the belief that everybody is worthy and interconnected and that respectful communication is essential to healthy relationships. As such, we aim to work WITH people whenever possible, not doing things to, for or ignoring them, as is the heart of restorative practice. (Evans and Vaandering, 2016, p. 59 – 78)

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Policy Ratified by Arklow C.B.S. Board of Management on 29th September 2020

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Arklow,
Co. Wicklow,
Y14 RV04

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