Code of Behaviour 2021

Cosby National School        10544w

Code of Behaviour

Introductory Statement

The Code of Behaviour was reviewed by the staff during December 2018 and the Appendix outlining our current Behaviour Management System as updated.  

The updated plan was presented to the Board of Management at their meeting on 29th January 2019, and ratified.

The Behaviour Management System (ie. school rules, rewards and sanctions systems) are reviewed by the staff in consultation with the pupils every September and any updates and /or amendments are implemented in the classrooms and circulated to the parents.

Staff formulated the original Code of Behaviour policy during the spring term 2010. Through SPHE and Circle Time pupils were involved in the drawing up of the rules and the reward systems. 

Following a period of consultation with the Board of Management and parents, the Board ratified the final draft at their meeting on 20th April 2010.


The Code of Behaviour has been reviewed 

  • To ensure an orderly climate for learning in the school
  • It is a requirement under the Education Welfare Act, 2000, Section 23 (1) which refers to the obligation on schools to prepare a code of behaviour in respect of the students registered at the school. It details in Section 23(2), that the code of behaviour shall specify:
  1. The standards of behaviour that shall be observed by each student attending the school;
  2. The measures that shall be taken when a student fails or refuses to observe those standards;
  3. The procedures to be followed before a student may be suspended or expelled from the school concerned;
  4. The grounds for removing a suspension imposed in relation to a student; and 
  5. The procedures to be followed in relation to a child’s absence from school.
  • To ensure that our policy is in compliance with legal requirements and good practice as set out in Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools, NEWB, 2008.

Relationship to characteristic spirit of the school

We endeavour to create a well functioning, happy and safe environment which promotes the dignity and individuality of every pupil, enabling them to reach their full potential. This is achieved in partnership with the parents/guardians and wider community. Our Code of Behaviour supports this vision. 


  • To ensure an educational environment that is guided by our vision statement        
  • To allow the school to function in an orderly way where children can make progress in all aspects of their development 
  • To create an atmosphere of respect, tolerance and consideration for others
  • To promote positive behaviour and self-discipline, recognising the differences between children and the need to accommodate these differences
  • To ensure the safety and well being of all members of the school community
  • To assist parents and pupils in understanding the systems and procedures that form part of the code of behaviour and to seek their co-operation in the application of these procedures
  • To ensure that the system of rules, rewards, and sanctions are implemented in a fair and consistent manner throughout the school.  

Guidelines for behaviour in the school 

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 co-operation among staff and between staff, parents and pupils.  Every effort will be made to ensure that the Code of Behaviour is implemented in a reasonable, fair and consistent manner. The limits of behaviour are clearly defined and children become familiar with the consequences of behaviour beyond these limits. 

The over-riding principle governing this code is RESPECT – respect for ourselves and others; our own and others’ property and the environment. 

Rules, Rewards and Sanctions

The pupils and teachers have worked together 

  • to draft their own class rules, school rules and playground rules.  These rules have been kept to a minimum, are recorded in simple language stated positively, telling pupils what to do as well as what not to do. The rules will be referred to regularly, displayed in the classrooms and will form part of SPHE lessons. 
  • to devise a fair, clear, workable Sanctions system which promotes self-discipline and responsibility for one’s own behaviour. It is supported by our Rewards system which is non-competitive and designed to recognise and reinforce individual effort and good behaviour.  

The rules, rewards and sanctions will be revised each September and adjusted if/as necessary and circulated to the parents.

When registering a child in Cosby N.S., parents are required to confirm in writing on the Registration form that the Code of Behaviour so provided is acceptable to them and that they shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure compliance with such code by the child. The Code of Behaviour Policy is given to parents with the Registration Form but may be requested at Application stage.

Whole school approach in promoting positive behaviour 

The Board of Management and the Principal have overall responsibility for the implementation and on-going monitoring of this policy. However, each staff member has responsibility for her own class groups and for the general school population when on yard duty or on any organised out-of-school activity. 

The school values the support and co-operation of parents in the promotion

of this strategy. The policy shall apply to all pupils during all school related activities.

It is the policy of this school to actively promote good behaviour. Children learn best by being rewarded. It is more positive to praise a child doing the proper thing than to constantly scold the child who misbehaves. As part of our on-going efforts to promote positive behaviour, time will be allocated at staff meetings for discussion regarding the implementation of the code. Teachers will use various strategies to promote good behaviour as detailed below. 

A pack containing a copy of this code, the Anti-bullying policy, general school details and timetables will be prepared for new members of staff – shared Support teachers, substitute teachers – to enable them to become familiar with practices within the school.  A copy of the code will be also be available on the school website.

School related activities

The provisions of this Code of Behaviour apply in any situation where pupils are still the responsibility of the school e.g.  during school tours, swimming, games and other school-linked events.

Positive strategies for managing behaviour

The positive strategies used throughout the school to promote good behaviour and to prevent misbehaviour are: 

In each classroom 

  • “Ground rules”, which have been devised by pupils and teachers, set a positive atmosphere for learning
  • Rules are displayed, taught and revised frequently 
  • A clear system of acknowledging and rewarding good behaviour and sanctions for misbehaviour is in use and is understood by pupils.
  • A variety of activities and methodologies is in use to sustain pupil interest and motivation.
  • An inclusive and engaging curriculum is taught with differentiated teaching to suit age and ability.
  • Pupils are encouraged to be self-motivated e.g. to engage in independent activities once assigned work has been completed. Teacher/pupil conferencing is frequent throughout the day.
  • Pupils are encouraged to work collaboratively and co-operatively in pairs or small groups e.g. reading buddies, project work, art work. 
  • Opportunities are created for pupils to work as a whole school team e.g. school musical, green flag award.

In the Playground 

  • “Ground rules” which have been devised by pupils and teachers, set a positive atmosphere for play
  • Pupils are supervised in the playground at each break by a teacher. Pupils play at the back of the school, where all children are visible to the supervising teacher.
  • Equipment, designated for playtime use, is available to pupils, weather permitting.
  • For safety purposes, the teacher may designate certain areas of the playground for certain activities e.g. football games on the pitch, tennis on the concrete area. 
  • On wet days, pupils are supervised in the classrooms and may choose from activities such as board games, K’nex, computer, jig-saws
  • All pupils are supervised as they go to the yard. Pupils line up at the end of break, in classroom groupings, and return to class with teacher.
  • When a pupil needs to remain indoors at break times due to medical reasons, the child will be supervised with one other pupil in the classroom, by a supervising adult. Where possible a note / text message should be provided by the parent in advance with this request.
  • To minimize the need to return indoors during break, pupils are encouraged to use the toilet before going to the yard and to bring coats with them.  Any pupil who needs the bathroom while outside must seek permission from the supervising adult. Only one child at a time is permitted to go indoors.
  • Supervising teacher deals with incidents of misbehaviour on the yard and reports the incident to the other class teacher where appropriate. Strategies such as time-out may be used to deal with misbehaviour.

Other areas in the school

During the school day within the classrooms, one pupil uses the toilet facilities at a time. 

Opening and closing times

School opens:       8.40am  

Children arrive:   8.40 – 8.55am

Formal lessons begin: 9.00am

Morning break:   10.50 11.05am

Lunch break:                      Mon – Thurs: 1.00 – 1.30pm.    Fri: 12.30 – 1.00pm

Junior & Senior Infants go home: 1.30pm

School closes:     2.40pm.  1st – 6th classes go home.

Before/After School

Parents are reminded that the staff of the school does not accept responsibility for pupils before official opening time of 8.40a.m. or after the official closing time of 2.40pm

Involving Parents/Guardians in Managing Problem Behaviour

Parents/guardians are valued as partners in the school community and are encouraged to participate in promoting positive behaviour both in school and in the wider community. 

The class teachers will communicate repeated episodes of minor misbehaviour through a note home / text message, depending on the nature of the misbehaviour (1st – 6th ) and/or in the pupil’s Homework journal which parents/guardians are requested to sign each evening. Parents of infants may be spoken with at ‘home time’ or may receive a short note from the teacher. 

In cases where pupils are required to complete some extra work as a sanction, parents/guardians will again be requested to sign the relevant work. 

The teachers may, as above, request parents/guardians to visit them in school to discuss some aspect of a pupil’s behaviour. The Principal will be informed of these meetings and may be invited to attend. Parents/guardians are encouraged to make appointments to meet with teachers and/or the Principal at the earliest opportunity in an effort to prevent any escalation of inappropriate behaviour. 

The school will remind parents/guardians of the procedures for contacting the school in the annual autumn newsletter and on the school website.

Where pupils are found to be involved in more serious / gross misbehaviour the Principal will telephone or write to parents/guardians to request them to attend an informal/formal meeting at the school. A teacher who witnesses misbehaviour while supervising on yard duty and the Chairperson of the Board of Management may also attend these meetings. The pupil may also attend all or part of these meetings if deemed appropriate.

Managing aggressive or violent behaviour

The school recognises that occasionally pupils may not respond positively to the usual interventions and that they may require extra support in an effort to manage aggressive or violent behaviour. A small minority of pupils may show particular challenging behaviour. These pupils will need a sustained and systematic response involving the important adults in their lives, in school and at home. Regular communication, in the form of a written log, may be completed by the class teacher in order to provide continuous feedback between parents and teachers on the child’s behaviour, in addition to regular verbal communication.

The school may also, in consultation with the parents/guardians, engage the support of any local support services that may be available to assist in responding to the needs of a pupil with behavioural difficulties. Sources of support may include the National Educational Psychological Service, HSE Community Psychology Services, the National Behavioural Support Service, and the National Council for Special Education and Child Guidance Services.

Students with special educational needs

Teachers will take particular care that they help any pupils with special educational needs to understand clearly the purpose of the sanction and the reason why their behaviour is unacceptable. The school and classroom practices that support good learning behaviour are valid for all pupils, including those with special educational needs.



Suspension is requiring the student to absent himself/herself from the school for a specified, limited period of school days.

During the period of a suspension, the student retains their place in the school.

Authority to suspend

The Board of Management of Cosby NS has the authority to suspend a pupil. This authority has been delegated to the Principal in writing. 

The grounds for suspension

Suspension will be a proportionate response to the behaviour that is causing concern. 

Any behaviour that is persistently disruptive to learning or potentially dangerous can be a serious matter. Behaviour must be examined in context to understand both the behaviour itself and the response or sanction that is most appropriate. Normally, other interventions will have been tried before suspension, and school staff will have reviewed the reasons why these have not worked. The decision to suspend a student requires serious grounds such as that:

  • the pupil’s behaviour has had a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other pupils
  • the pupil’s continued presence in the school at this time constitutes a threat to safety
  • the pupil is responsible for serious damage to property.

A single incident of gross misconduct may be grounds for suspension.

to consider before suspending a 

Suspension as part of a behaviour management plan

Suspension will be part of an agreed plan to address the pupil’s behaviour. The suspension will:

  • enable the school to set behavioural goals with the pupil and their parents
  • give school staff an opportunity to plan other interventions
  • impress on a pupil and their parents the seriousness of the behaviour.

Forms of suspension

Immediate suspension: In exceptional circumstances, the Principal may consider an immediate suspension to be necessary where the continued presence of the pupil in the school at the time would represent a serious threat to the safety of pupils or staff of the school, or any other person. Fair procedures will still be applied.

Rolling suspension: A pupil should not be suspended again shortly after they return to school unless:

  • they engage in serious misbehaviour that warrants suspension and fair procedures are observed in full and the standard applied to judging the behaviour is the same as the standard applied to the behaviour of any other student.

Informal or unacknowledged suspension: Exclusion of a pupil for part of the school day, as a sanction, or asking parents to keep a child from school, as a sanction, is a suspension. Any exclusion imposed by the school is a suspension, and will follow the Guidelines relating to suspension.

Procedures in respect of suspension

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

Inform the pupil and parents

The principal will let the pupil and their parents know about the complaint, how it will be investigated, and that it could result in suspension.

Parents will be informed by phone or in writing, depending on the seriousness of the matter. This ensures that parents are clear about what their son or daughter is alleged to have done and underlines to parents the seriousness with which the school views the alleged misbehaviour.

Give an opportunity to respond

Parents and pupil will be given an opportunity to respond before a decision is made and before any sanction is imposed.

A meeting with the pupil and their parents provides an opportunity for them to give their side of the story and 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 to make their case for lessening the sanction, and for the school to explore with parents how best to address the student’s behaviour. 

If a pupil and their parents 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 negative behaviour. The school will record the invitations made to parents and their response.

Procedures in relation to immediate suspension

Where an immediate suspension is considered by the Principal to be warranted for reasons of the safety of the pupil, other pupils, staff or others, a preliminary investigation will be conducted to establish the case for the imposition of the suspension. The formal investigation will immediately follow the imposition of the suspension. All of the conditions for suspension apply to immediate suspension. No suspension, including an immediate suspension, should be open-ended.

In the case of an immediate suspension, parents will be notified, and arrangements made with them for the pupil to be collected. 

The period of suspension

A pupil should not be suspended for more than three days, except in exceptional circumstances where the Principal considers that a period of suspension longer than three days is needed in order to achieve a particular objective.

If a suspension longer than three days is being proposed by the Principal, the matter will be referred to the Board of Management for consideration and approval, giving the circumstances and the expected outcomes.

Where a meeting of the Board cannot be convened in a timely fashion, the authority to suspend a pupil for up to five days, has been delegated in writing to the principal.


The Board of Management will normally place a ceiling of ten days on any one period of suspension imposed by it.

The Board should formally review any proposal to suspend a pupil, where the suspension would bring the number of days for which the pupil has been suspended in the current school year to twenty days or more. Any such suspension is subject to appeal under section 29 of the Education Act 1998 (see 11.7 Appeals).

These provisions enable school authorities to give the pupil a reasonable time to reflect on their behaviour while avoiding undue loss of teaching time and loss of contact with the positive influences of school. They recognise the serious nature of the sanction of suspension and ensure that this seriousness is reflected in school procedures. The provisions mean that the Board of Management takes ultimate responsibility for sanctions of significant length, especially where such suspensions might reach twenty days in one school year and therefore might lead to an appeal.

Removal of Suspension (Reinstatement)

Following, or during a period of suspension, the parent/s may apply to have the pupil reinstated to the school. The parent/s (and pupil) must give a satisfactory undertaking that a suspended pupil will behave in accordance with the school code and the Principal must be satisfied that the pupil’s reinstatement will not constitute a risk to the pupil’s own safety or that of the other pupils or staff and will not have a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other pupils. 

The Principal in consultation with the parents, the class teacher and the pupil (if appropriate) will facilitate the preparation of a behaviour plan for the pupil, if required, and will re-admit the pupil formally to the class.

Where a satisfactory resolution of a problem is achieved, a pupil may be re-admitted to school within a suspension period at the discretion of the chairperson of the board and the principal.


A pupil is expelled from a school when a Board of Management makes a decision to permanently exclude him or her from the school, having complied with the provisions of section 24 of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000

Authority to expel

The Board of Management of Cosby N.S. has the authority to expel a pupil. This will be in extreme cases of unacceptable behaviour and when all other avenues have been exhausted. 

The Board of Management will seek legal advice before expelling any pupil.

Grounds for expulsion

A proposal to expel a pupil requires serious grounds such as that:

  • 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 safety.
  • The pupil is responsible for serious damage to property.

The grounds for expulsion may be similar to the grounds for suspension. In addition to factors such as the degree of seriousness and the persistence of the behaviour, a key difference is that, where expulsion is considered, school authorities have tried a series of other interventions, and believe they have exhausted all possibilities for changing the student’s behaviour.

Procedures in respect of expulsion

Fair procedures will be followed when proposing to expel a pupil, including the right to be heard and the right to impartiality. Where a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant expulsion, the procedural steps which will be followed are:

  1. A detailed investigation carried out under the direction of the Principal.
  2. A recommendation to the Board of Management by the Principal.
  3. Consideration by the Board of Management of the Principal’s recommendation, and the holding of a hearing.
  4. Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing.
  5. Notify the Education Welfare Officer in writing of the Board’s opinion and the reasons therefore.
  6. The Education Welfare Officer shall, as soon as may be after receiving a notification under subsection (1), make all reasonable efforts to ensure that provision is made for the continued education of the student to whom the notification relates.
  7. For the purposes of subsection (2), the Education Welfare Officer shall, as soon as may be after receiving the said notification:
    • Make all reasonable efforts to consult with the Principal, or a person nominated by the Principal, the pupil concerned and his/her parents, and such other persons as the Education Welfare Officer considers appropriate, and
    • Convene a meeting with all necessary people.
  8. Confirmation of the decision to expel.
  9. A pupil shall not be expelled from a school before the passing of 20 school days following the receipt of a notification under this section by the Education Welfare Officer.

The Board of Management will decide which of the tasks involved in these procedural steps require separate meetings and which tasks can be accomplished together in a single meeting. Parents will be given due notice of meetings and a fair and reasonable time to prepare for a Board hearing.

In exceptional circumstances, the Board of Management may decide that a pupil should be expelled for a first offence. The kinds of behaviours that might result in a proposal to expel on the basis of a single breach of the code could include:

  • A serious threat of violence against another pupil or member of staff.
  • Actual violence or physical assault.
  • Supplying illegal drugs to other pupils in the school.
  • Sexual assault.


Under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998, parents (or pupils who have reached the age of 18) are entitled to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science against some decisions of the Board of Management, including (1) permanent exclusion from a school and (2) suspension for a period which would bring the cumulative period of suspension to 20 school days or longer in any one school year.  Appeals must generally be made within 42 calendar days from the date the decision of the school was notified to the parent or pupil. 

When parents are being formally notified of such a suspension, they and the pupil will be told about their right to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998, and will be given information about how to appeal. (See Circular 22/02)

Keeping records

In line with the school’s policy on record keeping, and data protection legislation, formal records in relation to pupils’ behaviour are kept in a secure filing cabinet. Copies of all communications with parents/guardians will be retained in the school. Records of more serious incidents are recorded in a specific journal. All such records are retained indefinitely / never destroyed, as per Data Protection for Schools Full Records Retention Schedule.

Procedures for notification of pupil absences from school

There is a very strong tradition of good attendance in Cosby N.S.  To help foster an appreciation of learning and good attendance, a Statement of Strategy for School Attendance (as required by Tusla) was prepared by the Board of Management and came in to effect at the start of the 2017/2018:

To summarise:

  • Attendance (Roll call) is recorded daily on the Aladdin Office Admin System at 10am. As this is a ‘live’ system, once recorded, attendance cannot be changed. 

Therefore, as per TUSLA, arrival at school after 10am must be recorded as non-attendance. 

However, should this happen, it is still vital that the pupil attends for the remainder of the day, to keep up with class work.

  • If a pupil cannot attend school, parents are required to send a text message to 089 2492990 on the FIRST morning of the absence. This takes the place of sending in a ‘note’.
  • Parents will be notified by letter when a pupil’s number of days absent reaches 10/15/20 days.
  • Pupils who arrive between 9am and 10am will be recorded as ‘Late’. Parents are asked to have pupils in school by 8.50am to give them time to prepare for the day ahead.
  • Parents are also required to text in advance if a pupil is to be collected early or by a different minder/relative than those recorded on the Information Update form.

The full text of the Statement of Strategy is available on the school website.

Reference to other Policies

Other school policies that have a bearing on the Code of Behaviour include

  • SPHE plan Anti-bullying policy
  • Substance use Admissions
  • Attendance Strategy Safety, Health & Welfare
  • Equality Special Educational Needs
  • Data Protection Child Safeguarding Statement

These will be made available in the Parents’ section of our school website.

Success Criteria

This policy will be deemed to be successful when the following are observed;

  • Positive behaviour in class rooms, playground and school environment
  • Practices and procedures listed in this policy being consistently implemented by teachers
  • Positive feedback from teachers, parents and pupils

Roles and Responsibilities

The Role of the Board of Management

  • To provide a comfortable, safe environment.
  • To support the Principal and staff in implementing the code.
  • To ratify the code.
  • To ensure the code is communicated to the whole school community.

The Role of the Principal

  • To promote a positive climate in the school
  • To ensure that the Code of Behaviour is implemented in a fair and consistent manner
  • To arrange for review of the Code, as outlined in the timetable for review.

The Role of the Staff

All members of staff are expected:

  • To adopt a positive approach to behaviour.
  • To model the behaviour expected from pupil
  • To discuss and explain the various rules and expectations as outlined in the school Code of Behaviour.
  • To place emphasis on rewards rather than on sanctions.
  • To recognize the differences between children and the need to accommodate these differences.
  • To encourage each child to reach his or her full potential.
  • To prepare school work and correct work done by pupils
  • To be courteous, consistent and fair
  • To deal appropriately with misbehaviour
  • To foster and encourage a strong sense of community and co-operation between staff, pupils and parents/guardians.

The Role of the Parents/Guardians

Parents/Guardians are expected:

  • To be familiar with the Code of Behaviour and support its implementation
  • To support and encourage their child(ren) with their schoolwork and homework.
  • To ensure punctuality and regular attendance.
  • To promote respect for teachers, pupils and other school personnel.
  • To keep in contact with teachers regarding their child(ren)’s progress.
  • To make themselves available to discuss any problem(s).
  • To share information with the Class Teacher/Principal about anything that they think might affect their child(ren)’s behaviour/progress in school.
  • To communicate to the school the reasons for the child(ren)’s absences. 

The Role of the Pupil

Pupils will be expected:

  • To show courtesy and consideration at all times.
  • To have respect for their own property and the property of others.
  • To have respect for the school building and its environs.
  • To attend school on a regular basis and be punctual.
  • To do their best both in school and for homework.
  • To bring correct equipment / books to school
  • To adhere to school rules. (as listed in Appendix 1)

Timeframe for Implementation:

The existing agreed procedures continue to be implemented and any amendments / additions will be implemented following ratification by the Board of Management

Timeframe for Review:

This policy will be reviewed annually and amended as/if necessary

Responsibility for Review:

  • Principal

Ratification and Communication:

Once ratified this policy will be posted on the school website and all parents notified by text message. Hard copies will also be available from the school upon request. 

The original policy was ratified by The Board of Management of Cosby N.S. at its meeting on  20th April 2010.

This current policy was ratified by The Board of Management of Cosby N.S. at its meeting on  28th February 2019.

Appendix 1

Our school rules

We expect pupils to

  • show respect for themselves and others 
  • show respect for property (their own and others)
  • be well behaved and to show consideration for other children and adults
  • take responsibility for one’s own behaviour
  • do their best both in school and for homework
  • attend school on a regular basis and be punctual
  • eat lunch in classrooms, drinks only to be brought to yard 

Our classroom rules

In the Junior room we expect pupils to:

  • Pay attention in class
  • Be patient
  • Show respect to others and their property
  • Wait for your turn and do not talk over others
  • No running in the classroom

In the Senior room we expect pupils to:

  • Listen carefully
  • Take turns to talk
  • Respect each other’s views
  • Stick to the subject
  • Follow instructions promptly
  • Work quietly (including times when teacher/principal is interrupted by a visitor or phone-call)
  • Sit correctly (i.e. feet and chair legs all on floor – for comfort and safety reasons)
  • Use classroom equipment responsibly 

Our Playground rules

To keep break times safe and enjoyable, we expect pupils to

  • respect each other’s space
  • play fairly and considerately 
  • include everyone in games and follow the rules
  • always be truthful about incidents in the playground
  • stay at the back of the school, within teachers’ view 
  • ask supervising teacher’s permission to go to toilet
  • keep our playground litter free
  • report any broken glass/ litter etc., left by third parties 

We will not 

  • Answer teacher back
  • Play roughly, kick or hit anyone else
  • Use bullying or hurtful behaviour e.g. shouting at others
  • Use bad language
  • Damage or take property that does not belong to us

When implementing the above expectations, teachers take into consideration factors which may influence children’s behaviour e.g. age and stage of development, skills and ability to learn, domestic circumstances.

Behaviour Management System: Rewards and Sanctions

(1) Rewards and acknowledgement of good behaviour

  • Praise 
  • ‘Catch good behaviour’
  • Communication of good news to parents verbally, both formally and informally or a written note in journal
  • #Proud wall – examples of work that children are proud of – with a agreed reward if something ends up on the proud wall
  • Sharing good news with other class and class teacher
  • Individual rewards:  Rewards earned are non-competitive and are designed to recognise and reinforce individual effort and good behaviour, eg for
  • doing work particularly well
  • trying very hard
  • improving on previous work or behaviour
  • being kind and helpful
  • giving us reason to be proud of them

In the Junior room a ‘Stars’ Reward system is operated.  

  • Children will earn stars for any positive contribution/ behaviour or improvement in their work.
  • Teacher will have a jar of stars on her desk, visible for everyone to see. When the jar is empty the entire class will win a prize (to be decided by the children). The table with the most stars will go up onto the proud wall.

In the Senior room a ‘Stars’ Reward system is operated.

  • Children will earn stars for any positive contribution/ behaviour or improvement in their work.
  • Teacher will have stars on her desk. Children will receive any number of stars during the week. At the end of the week stars are counted. The team with the most stars wins a prize of a night off homework, as agreed by all class members. 

(2)  Minor Misbehaviour

The following are examples of possible minor misbehaviour as dealt with in our School Rules:

not listening carefully / not following instructions promptly / talking out of turn / interrupting class work / not completing homework without good reason (to include a note from a parent/guardian) / littering around the school / not playing fairly 

This is not an exhaustive list.

Incidents of minor misbehaviour will be dealt with as follows:

We use a three warning system, followed by a consequence agreed on in class with the children. 

Agreed Consequences 

Junior Room  Senior Room 
Lose an age appropriate amount of time from playtime -sit or stand out with teacher Lose an amount of time from golden time depending on the seriousness of the rule breakTeacher will speak to the child’s parents to inform them of the behaviour Lose an age appropriate amount of time from an activity they enjoy doing -sit or stand out of activity Lose an amount of time from golden time depending on the seriousness of the rule breakTeacher will speak to the child’s parents to inform them of the behaviour

In the Yard

Incidents of minor misbehaviour will be dealt with as follows:

  • The teacher on duty who notices misbehaviour will warn the pupil/s about the misbehaviour.  
  • The teacher may also impose a period of “time out” – 2 to 5 minutes – where the pupil will be asked to remain in a specified place until told to return to play.

(3)  Serious misbehaviour 

The following are examples of possible serious misbehaviour:

Constantly disruptive in class / Persistently not working to full potential / Telling lies / Stealing / Damaging others’ property / Answering back a teacher / Endangering self or fellow pupils in the class or the yard / Using unacceptable language / Deliberate, continual disobedience / discourteous or unmannerly behaviour / Bullying behaviour

This is not an exhaustive list. Repeated minor misbehaviour may be considered serious misbehaviour.

Steps to be taken at this stage include:

  • If the minor misbehaviour has not improved over the course of a month , or there has been an incident of serious misbehaviour then:
  • An account of all incidents entered in relevant incident book +
  • Principal is consulted
  • Communication with parent to arrange a meeting
  • Meeting with class teacher, parents/guardians and pupil to discuss and agree actions that need to be taken to resolve the problem. 
  • Implement the agreed actions, over an agreed time frame and meet again with parents to review progress. 

(4)  Gross Misbehaviour

The following are examples of gross misbehaviour:

Leaving school premises without permission /  Bullying / Persistently engaging in activities which have been identified by members of staff as dangerous or inappropriate /  Deliberately injuring any member of the school community / Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards a member of staff or a pupil; (e.g. physical violence, kicking, striking, nipping, biting, spitting) / Bringing weapons or dangerous substances to school. 

Persistent incidents of serious misbehaviour will be classified as gross misbehaviour.

Teachers will take the following step when dealing with Gross Misbehaviour

  • Every effort will be made to contact parents by phone immediately following an incident of Gross Misbehaviour. They will be asked to come to the school as soon as is practical.   A Red card (describing incident) will be filled in and will be given to parents and signed by parents/teacher/student to signify that it is an agreed record of the incident.  It will be kept on file by the school. 
  • As a matter of urgency a meeting will be arranged and held with class teacher, principal and parents/guardians to discuss and agree actions that need to be taken to resolve the problem. The pupil will be involved in some / all of the discussion as appropriate. A behaviour contract may be drawn up or targets may be set with the pupil.  
  • A timeframe will be agreed to implement these actions, and to meet again with parents to review progress. 
  • Suspension will be used as a sanction where all attempts at reasoning with the pupil have failed and where all other efforts of the school in consultation with the parents or guardians of the pupil have failed to achieve a satisfactory conclusion.  Following formal verbal discussions a letter outlining items discussed will be sent to parents. Communications to parents regarding the suspension of a pupil, or the possibility of considering suspension as a sanction, will be in writing. (Copies of all correspondence will be retained) (see suspension and expulsion)

All incidents of bullying will be dealt with as outlined in the school’s Anti-bullying policy. (See separate policy)

Reference Section

  • Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools, NEWB, 2008
  • Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act,  2007 – provides for certain changes in the hearing of Appeals under  S29 of the Education Act, 1998 
  • Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 
  • Education Act, 1998 
  • Circular 22/02 Appeals Procedures under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998. (DES website).  Deals with appeals under the following headings:

(1) Permanent exclusion from a school

  1. Suspension 
  2. Refusal to enrol
  • Department of Education and Science Guidelines on Countering Bullying Behaviour in Primary and Post Primary Schools (1993) available on DES website 
  • Report to the Minister of Education Niamh Breathnach, T.D. on Discipline in Schools. Maeve Martin, 1997. Ch. 4 p.56-61 Recommendations for Schools
  • Stay Safe and Walk Tall Programmes
  • Management Board Members’ Handbook. Revised 2007. CPSMA: A suggested Code of Behaviour & Discipline for National Schools
  • INTO (2004) Managing Challenging Behaviour: Guidelines for Teachers
  • INTO (2006) Towards Positive Behaviour in Primary Schools 
  • INTO (1995) Enhancing Self Esteem
  • The Education Act 1998. The Education Welfare Act 2000. Questions and Answers, INTO 
  • The Principal’s Legal Handbook Oliver Mahon B.L. IVEA 2002 Ch. 2 School Discipline
  • Responding to Bullying. First Steps for Teachers. The Cool School Programme. NE Health Board
  • Investigating and Resolving Bullying in Schools. The Cool School Programme. NE Health Board
  • Stop it! Steps to Address Bullying. Wexford Education Network. Wexford Area Partnership. 
  • Working Together – to promote positive behaviour in classrooms, CEDR, Mary Immaculate College of Education
  • Achieving Positive Behaviour. A Practical Guide. Patricia Dwyer. Marino