Code of Behaviour

Policy No. 28



This revised code of behaviour was assessed by staff at its meeting of 16th January and was presented to the parent body representatives and to the Board of Management at its meeting of 26th January 2009 in draft form.   It was officially adopted as school policy on 20th April, 2009 by the Board of Management.


The policy was revised in line with Developing Code of Behaviour Guideline for Schools published by the NEWB (May 2008). The existing policy was due for review and our new revised policy will be compliant with the requirements of the Education Welfare Act 2000 particularly in relation to suspension and expulsion.


According to our Mission Statement our school is dedicated to St. Columba. Like him, we hope to instil in our children a love of learning, prayer, dedication, a love of nature, of books and people, along with discipline, bravery and wonder. This can only be achieved when there is a high level of respect and co-operation between staff, parents and pupils.

The formulation of this policy was the result of a collaborative process between teachers, parents, Board of Management, pupils and all other staff. Pupils will be involved in drawing up an in-class Code of Good Practice. The Students’ Council, as representatives of the student body, may assist in the implementation of this policy. The Parents Association will also have an active role in the process. Proposed amendments to the draft can be presented to the Board of Management prior to the final approval. The authority for final approval of the policy rests with the Board of Management. When sanctioned, a copy will be made available to all members of the school community. This policy will be supported by the following school policies

  • Anti-bullying
  • Attendance
  • Healthy Eating
  • Homework
  • Social, personal and health education
  • Health and safety statement
  • Child Protection policy.
  • Admissions policy


In accordance with the Health & Safety at work act 2005 the Board of Management will conduct their business, as far as reasonably practicable, in ways that prevent improper conduct or behaviour likely to put the safety, health or welfare at work of employees or the health and safety of pupils, parents or visitors at risk. Our aim is to ensure that the right of each child to education is upheld and maintained. The need for order and good behaviour is emphasised. Pupils and adults in the school community are expected to accept the rules in a spirit of goodwill and co-operation. Parental support is an integral part in the implementation of our code of behaviour. Respect and order are its key components.
The daily responsibility for school discipline within the school rests with the Principal. The Deputy Principal also has a key role in its implementation. Each teacher has responsibility for the maintenance of discipline within his/her classroom while sharing a common responsibility for good order within the school. Post holders, all teaching and auxiliary staff will help to ensure the successful implementations of this policy.
General guidelines for behaviour based on the characteristic spirit of the school.

  • Pupils must be polite and gentle at all times
  • Physical and verbal aggression are not permitted under any circumstances
  • Pupils must pay attention at all times and must respect their teacher and all adults within the school community
  • Each pupil must show respect for the property of the school and the property of fellow pupils
  • Each pupil must attend school as required and be punctual at all times

The school recognises the fact that effective teaching and learning takes place when pupils are well behaved and self-motivated. The importance of good behaviour is constantly emphasised and pupils will be encouraged to achieve the highest standards possible in line with their own capabilities.


  • Pupils must respect themselves, the opinion of others and all visitors to the school. In respecting themselves pupils must look after their appearance and possessions in accordance with our school uniform policy (copy attached)
  • Pupils must respect the good name of the school and never bring into disrepute.
  • Pupils must be loyal, truthful, honest and honourable.


Routine and structure play a vital part in ensuring an effective implementation of our code so that pupils and teachers can work in an ordered setting. Accordingly it is necessary that pupils observe the following rules. The standards and rules contained in the Code of Behaviour would usually apply in any situation where the pupil, although outside the school, is still the responsibility of the school. Examples include school tours, games and extra- curricular activities and attendance at events organised by the school.



  • Obey your teacher and supervising staff
  • Pay attention during lesson time and respond immediately to teacher instructions
  • Have all school materials organised properly
  • Speak politely during class and remain seated when requested to do so
  • Non-educational items / literature e.g. Electronic games, playstation etc must not be brought into school unless special permission has been granted by the Principal / Deputy Principal
  • Pupils are not allowed bring mobile phones to school


  • Follow directions of the person in charge
  • Enter and leave your classroom in a quiet and orderly fashion
  • Walk quietly and with care in the corridors
  • Play in the permitted areas
  • Play in a gentle and friendly manner
  • Cease play when signalled to do so
  • Move safely and with caution

Teachers supervise the yards at interval breaks during the school day in accordance with Circular. Post holders and the Principal/Deputy Principal supervise the yards in the morning at 8.40 and at 2.30 dispersal. A written record is kept of yard misbehaviours under the four categories of misbehaviour outlined in this policy. This information is collated and stored centrally in the school computer. Pupils with exemplary behaviour in the yard will be rewarded through certificates of achievement and special treats.

Supervised time out (detention) will be allocated to pupils responsible for aggressive behaviour to include:

  • Deliberately hurting and causing injury to another child
  • Continually disrupting and spoiling playtime for other children
  • Unsafe and dangerous play
  • Continually engaging in bullying behaviour.

Detention will take place on the day following the offence. Parents will be informed and will sign a detention slip (see Appendix)

  1. Aggressive behaviour – kicking, hitting, pulling, pushing, ganging up, punching, fighting, rough play, etc.
  2. Moving without care or caution (running, chasing etc)
  3. Verbal disrespect (name calling, teasing etc.)
  4. Non co-operation with routine (not paying attention, not lining up properly, talking out of turn etc.)


Pupils who are respectful and orderly will be given due recognition within the school system.. Greater emphasis will be put on rewards for good behaviour rather than sanctions for inappropriate behaviour. Good behaviour can be rewarded by:

  • Affirmation – regular teacher praise and encouragement
  • Special privileges and rewards. E.g. stickers and stars
  • Achievement certificates
  • A positive comment on homework journal
  • A visit to another member of staff for commendation
  • A visit to the Principal
  • A supply of merit marks
  • Delegating a special responsibility or privilege
  • A telephone call to parents

Sanctions will be appropriate to the age and developmental stage of the child and will take account of the cultural background of the child. Sanctions will be sensitive to the particular circumstances of vulnerable individuals or groups of children. In compliance with equality legislation, sanctions will not be used in a manner that discriminates against particular children or groups of children.

It is only when the standards we set are not observed that the structured system of discipline and sanction is imposed. Sanctions will be imposed in the event of unacceptable behaviour. The nature and gravity of the misbehaviour will determine the appropriateness of the sanction. In dealing with misbehaviour teachers will endeavour to provide a uniform approach. Allowances however must be made for the individual teacher dealing with individual situations.

  • Speak to the pupil and reason with him
  • Reprimand and advise
  • Provide extra meaningful work
  • Write out contravened rule(s)
  • Withdraw privilege – e.g. denial in participation in some class activity, temporary separation from peers
  • Note to parents


  • Principal / Deputy Principal is informed
  • Principal keeps a formal record of complaint on file
  • Principal informs parent and seeks a meeting to discuss matter
  • Principal meets one or both parent (s) / guardian
  • Chairperson of Board of Management is informed
  • Parent requested to meet with Chairperson of the Board of Management and the Principal
  • When there are repeated instances of serious misbehaviour the parents and pupil (if appropriate) will be requested to give an undertaking in writing to the Principal and class teacher (if relevant) that the pupil will behave in an acceptable manner in the future.
  • Cumulative incidents of serious misbehaviour may be considered as gross and may result in suspension or expulsion.


Suspension should be a proportionate response to the behaviour that is causing concern. Other interventions as per Phase I and Phase 2 of this policy will have been tried before suspension. A decision to suspend a pupil can be made on the following grounds:

  • The pupil’s behaviour has had a seriously detrimental effect on the education of others pupils
  • The pupil’s behaviour has had a seriously detrimental effect on the teaching process
  • The pupil’s behaviour has had a seriously detrimental effect on the welfare of the teacher
  • The pupil’s continued presence at the school at this time constitutes a threat to safety
  • The pupil is responsible for serious damage to property
  • The pupil is constantly insubordinate and totally disrespectful to staff members
  • A single incident of serious misconduct may be considered sufficient grounds for suspension


The Board of Management of the school has the authority to suspend a pupil. This authority was delegated to the Principal and was agreed formally at its meeting of 20th April, 2009.

Immediate Suspension

In exceptional circumstances, the Principal may consider an immediate suspension to be necessary.

  • When an immediate suspension is considered by the Principal, he must first inform the Chairperson of the Board of Management.
  • A formal investigation should follow the imposition of the suspension
  • Parents must be notified and arrangements made with them for the pupil to be collected
  • A pupil will not normally be suspended for more than 3 days
  • In exceptional circumstances, a pupil may be suspended for more than 3 days. Such a suspension is to be referred to the Board of Management for consideration and approval. However the Board of Management may wish to authorize the Principal with the approval of the Chairperson of the Board to impose a suspension of up to 5 days in circumstances where a meeting of the Board cannot be convened.
  • A pupil may be automatically suspended if the grounds for suspension comply with those as set out in this policy.

The Principal will inform the parents in writing of the decision to suspend. The letter will state:

  • The period of suspension and the date on which the suspension beings and ends
  • The reason for suspension
  • Programme of work
  • The arrangements for returning to school in which will include a written undertaking to be of good behaviour on return.
  • The appeal mechanism


A Student maybe expelled from this school when the Board of Management makes a formal decision to permanently exclude him from the school (Welfare Act 200). The sanction of expulsion will only be used in exceptional circumstances when all other avenues have been exhausted.

  • The pupil’s behaviour is a persistent cause of significant disruption to the learning of others or to the teaching process.
  • The pupil’s continued presence in the school constitutes a real and significant threat to the safety of fellow pupils or staff.
  • The pupil is responsible for serious damage to property.
  • Supplying illegal drugs to other students in the school
  • Sexual assault


  • Detailed investigation carried out under the direction of the Principal
  • Recommendations by the Principal to a specially convened meeting of the Board of Management.
  • The Board of Management deliberates and proposes an appropriate course of action subsequent to the hearing.
  • If the Board of Management decides to expel the pupil the Educational Welfare Office will be informed
  • A confirmation of the decision to expel will be communicated to the parents in writing

Any decision to suspend may be appealed to the Board of Management. The Board of Management will formally review any proposal to suspend a pupil where the suspension would bring the number of days in the current school to 20 days or more. In this instance parents will be informed of the right to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science (Education Act 1998, Section 29). An expulsion may also be appealed in the same manner.



Teachers shall keep a written record of all instances of serious inclass misbehaviour as well as a record of improvements in the behaviour of pupils who have been disruptive. Before resorting to serious sanctions e.g. suspension, the normal channels of communication between school and parents will be utilised. Teachers must always appraise the Principal if there is communication between parent and teacher over behaviour issues.



  • Positive feedback from teachers, parents and pupils. Student Council to help collate this information
  • Staff observation in classrooms, corridors and yard



The Principal has primary responsibility for the implementation of this policy. He will conduct regular assemblies outlining the responsibilities of all pupils in ensuring that the code is adhered to along with our anti bullying policy. The Deputy Principal will support and assist him in these duties. All teachers will actively support in its implementation by teaching the children the rules as set out and by constantly rewarding and praising good behaviour.


Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh si.



This policy was ratified by St. Columba’s BNS on 20th April, 2009.

It is written into our homework journal and must be signed on the journal by the parents/guardian. Copies are available on request either by hand at the office or via email.



  • Developing a Code of Behaviour, Guidelines for schools NEWB May 2008
  • Toward Positive Behaviour in Primary School INTO
  • Articles by David Ruddy, I.P.P.N Leadership Publication Issues 47, 48, November 2008.
  • Circular 20/90 on Discipline – DES
  • Appendix 54 CPSMA
  • INTO handbook
  • Circular 22/02 Appeals Procedures under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998. Deals with appeals under the following headings:
    • Permanent exclusion from a school
    • Suspension
    • Refusal to enrol


  • Education Act, 1998 Section 15 (2(d))(DES website)
  • Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, Section 23(1-5), 24 (1-5)(DES website)
  • Management Board Members’ Handbook.. Revised 2000. CPSMA
    1. Appendix 42 p.151 Rule 130 of the Rules for National Schools
    2. Appendix 54 p.164 Guidelines for School Behaviour and Discipline
    3. Appendix 55 p.167 A suggested Code of Behaviour & Discipline for Schools
      • Department of Education and Science Guidelines on Countering Bullying Behaviour in Primary and Post Primary Schools (1993) available on the DES website.
      • Discipline in the Primary School INTO August 2002
      • Enhancing Self Esteem INTO 1995
      • Working Together. Procedures and Policies for Positive Staff Relations. INTO 2000
      • The Education Act 1998. The Education Welfare Act 2000. Q & A INTO
      • The Principal’s Legal Handbook Oliver Mahon B L IVEA 2002 Ch. 2 School Discipline
      • Quality Circle Time in the primary school. Jenny Mosley LDA 2000
      • Working towards a Whole School Policy on Self-Esteem and Positive Behaviour. Jenny Mosley. Positive Press 2001
      • Code of Practice on the Prevention of Workplace Bullying. HAS 2002


  • Investigating and Resolving Bullying in Schools / Responding to Bullying. First Steps for teachers. The Cool School Programme. NE Health Board
  • Stop it! Steps to Address Bullying. Wexford Education Network Phone 052-23994
  • Stay safe and Walk Tall programmes
  • School’s own SPHE Plan
  • Anti Bullying Unit. Trinity College. Dr. Mona O’Moore
  • Achieving Positive Behaviour. A Practical Guide. Patricia Dwyer. Marino
  • Article in Solas (March 2001)
  • Articles in InTouch
    1. InTouch (April 2002) pg 26 Discipline For Learning
    2. InTouch (March 2002) pg 22 Circle Time
    3. InTouch (April 2000) pg 33 Circle Time
    4. InTouch (May 2001) pg 31 Calm classrooms using Montessori methods


Review and Evaluation

This document has been made available to all staff members and to members of the Board of Management. Copies can be made available on request from the principal’s office.

This document will be reviewed and evaluated at staff and Board of Management level as the need arises.

School Calendar