Code of Behaviour





The Staff and representatives of parents of the school drafted the following policy on ___­January 2014_____ after compiling a review process.



The Board of Management of Scoil Fhionáin, has adopted the Dept. of Education and Skills Guidelines and Procedures for schools in relation to Section 23 of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000.  It has referenced ‘Developing a Code of Behaviour:  Guidelines for Schools ’(N,.E.W.B. 2008) in the process of drawing up this policy.  

The school has a central role in the children’s social and moral development just as it does in their academic development.  In seeking to define acceptable standards of behaviour it is acknowledged that these are goals to be worked towards and expectations to be met.

The children bring to school a wide variety of behaviour.  As a community environment, in school we must work towards standards of behaviour based on the basic principles of honesty, respect, consideration and responsibility.  It follows that acceptable standards of behaviour are those that reflect these principles.

Children need limits set for them in order to feel secure and develop the skills for cooperation.  Therefore any rules will be age appropriate, with clear agreed consequences.

Parents can co-operate with the school by encouraging their children to understand the need for school rules.

A code of behaviour is established to ensure that the individuality of each child is accommodated while at the same time acknowledging the right of each child to education in a safe, positive climate and environment.

Aims of the code

  • To create a positive learning environment that encourages and reinforces good behaviour
  • To promote self-esteem and positive relationships
  • To encourage consistency of response to both positive and negative behaviour
  • To foster a sense of responsibility and self-discipline in pupils and to support good behaviour patterns based on consideration and respect for the rights of others
  • To facilitate the education and development of every child
  • To foster caring attitudes to one another and to the environment
  • To enable teachers to teach without disruption
  • To ensure that the school’s expectations and strategies are widely known and understood through letters to parents, availability of policies and an ethos of open communication
  • To encourage the involvement of both home and school in the implementation of this policy

Whole School Approach

The Board of Management recognises the importance of creating consistent values, policies, practices and relationships that support the Code of Behaviour.  Such an environment may be formed by involving the entire school community and in this respect the Board acknowledges the importance of the roles played by the principal, teachers, ancillary staff and parents in the review and operation of the Code.

 Responsibility of Adults

 The adults encountered by the children at school have an important responsibility to model high standards of behaviour, both in their dealings with the children and with each other, as their example has an important influence on the children.

As adults we should aim to:

  • Explain what respect and courtesy means
  • Create a positive climate with realistic expectations
  • Promote, through example, honesty and courtesy
  • Encourage relationships based on kindness, respect and understanding of the needs of others
  • Ensure fair treatment for all regardless of age, gender, race, ability, disability or differences
  • Show appreciation of the efforts and contribution of all
  • To discourage physical aggression, encourage self-discipline and promote positive conflict resolutions

School Rules

These are based on the following principles of good behaviour

  • Respect for self and others
  • Respect for property of others
  • Respect other students and their learning
  • Kindness and willingness to help others
  • Courtesy and good manners
  • Readiness to use respectful way of resolving difficulties and conflict

These can be summed up as 11 main rules;

  • Follow direction of the teachers
  • Show respect, be nice to everyone
  • Do your best in class and at homework
  • Walk quietly inside school building
  • Value the property of school and others
  • Attend school on a regular basis and be punctual
  • Use toilets in a respectful and hygienic manner
  • Disrespectful or foul language, tone or manner are not allowed
  • Ignoring staff requests is not tolerated
  • School uniform must be worn on non P.E. days with dark shoes
  • Plain navy or school tracksuit must be worn on P.E. days with runners

Class Rules

At the beginning of each academic year, the class teacher will draft a list of class rules with the children with the aim of promoting a positive learning environment within the classroom.  These reflect and support the school rules, but are presented in a way that is accessible to the children.  Class rules should be kept to a minimum and are devised with regard for the health, safety and welfare of all members of the school community.  They should where possible, emphasise positive behaviour (e.g. ‘Walk’ and not ‘Don’t run’).  Rules will be applied in a fair and consistent manner, with due regard to the age of the pupils and to individual difference.  Where difficulties arise, parents will be contacted at an early stage.

 Playground rules

 Each child has the right to play happily and safely in the school yard.

  1. Pupils are expected to be respectful and considerate towards fellow pupils and teachers
  2. Pupils must play within their own designated area.
  3. The teacher on yard duty or at P.E. must be obeyed immediately and at all times.
  4. No rough play, fighting, mock fighting or bad language.
  5. No bullying.
  6. No cartons or papers to be taken outside.
  7. All pupils must go out and stay outside in the school yard or playing field unless given permission to do otherwise.
  8. When the first bell rings walk calmly to the line.
  9. Walk quietly into the classroom when instructed by an adult in charge.

School Tours

During school outings (tours, matches, etc.) each pupil is expected to adhere to the general school rules and also to specific guidelines which will be relayed to pupils prior to the outing.  Broadly, pupils will be expected to follow the directions of the teacher and /or other adult in charge, to remain with their assigned group and to behave politely towards those they meet on the outing.

The following procedures will assist in the smooth running of the school outings;

  1. Locations suitable for the education, enjoyment and safety of children will be chosen.
  2. Reputable bus companies will be used and all legal requirements will be adhered to.
  3. Adequate supervision of children will be provided.
  4. All children will be in the care of a particular staff member for the duration of the trip.
  5. Parents of children with a particular need or condition may be asked to accompany a child where relevant.
  6. Advice will be given on suitable clothing to be worn by children.
  7. Parents will be notified of details of the trip.


It is the Principal’s responsibility to ensure the school’s Code of Behaviour is administered in a manner that is consistent and fair to all pupils. However each staff member has responsibility for the maintenance of discipline within common areas of the school.

Teaching staff are specifically responsible for the management of behaviour within their own class.

They will:

  • Discuss the Code of Behaviour with their class in an age appropriate manner at the beginning of the school year
  • Ensure the rules are displayed in the classroom
  • Encourage self-discipline and positive behaviour
  • Ensure there is an appropriate level of supervision at all times
  • Implement the reward/sanction scheme in a fair and consistent manner
  • Keep a written record of all incidents of continued, serious or gross misconduct. This record will indicate the advice and/or warnings given to the child on the misbehaviour and, the consequences of its repetition
  • Inform pupils when instances of misbehaviour on their part are being recorded.
  • Report repeated instances of serious misbehaviour to the Principal
  • Incidents of bullying behaviour will be recorded on a special template as directed by D.E.S. and kept by the Principal. (Appendix 3 Template for recording bullying behaviour).

 Parents and Guardians

Parents/guardians play a crucial role in shaping attitudes in their children which produce positive behaviour in school.  Parents/guardians can assist the school by encouraging their children to abide by the school rules, encouraging punctuality and regular attendance and by ensuring that homework is given due time and effort.

Should a parent/guardian be concerned about any aspect of their child’s behaviour they are welcome to make an appointment to discuss their concerns.

In cases of an identified pattern of misbehaviour parents will be invited to participate in an intervention process.

Promoting Positive Behaviour

Part of the vision of Kilfinane National School is to help children achieve their personal best – academically, intellectually and socially.  We recognise that there are many different forms of intelligence and that similarly children use a variety of approaches to solve problems.  Children will be encouraged, praised and listened to by adults in the school.  Praise is earned by the maintenance of good standards as well as by particularly noteworthy personal achievements.  Rates of praise for behaviour and effort should be as high as for work

The following are some samples of how praise might be given;

  • A quiet word or gesture to show approval
  • A comment in a pupil’s exercise book
  • Special privileges
  • A visit to another member of staff or to the Principal for commendation
  • A word or praise in front of a group or class
  • A system of merit marks or stickers
  • Delegating some special responsibility or privilege
  • A mention to parent, written or verbal communication
  • General positive comments by staff when dealing with children around the school eg. play, in corridors etc.

Unacceptable Behaviour

Three levels of misbehaviour are recognised:  Minor, Serious and Gross

Instances of minor misbehaviour will be dealt with by the class teacher

In cases of serious misbehaviour parents will be involved at an early stage and invited to meet with teacher and/or Principal to discuss the child’s behaviour.

Examples of serious misbehaviour:-

  • Continued minor misbehaviour
  • Behaviour that is hurtful or dangerous to oneself or others including bullying, harassment, discrimination and victimising of a physical, verbal or psychological nature.
  • Behaviour that often interferes with teaching and learning
  • Deliberate damage to property
  • Theft
  • Leaving the school  premises without permission
  • Aggressive or defiant behaviour
  • Continued, repeated disruption of the class

Examples of gross misbehaviour:-

  • Assault
  • Serious theft
  • Serious damage to property

The following steps will be taken when the children behave inappropriately.  They are listed in order of severity with one being for a minor misbehaviour and ten being for serious or gross behaviour.  The list is by no means exhaustive.  Teachers may put in place alternative measures bearing in mind the features by which sanctions should be characterised.  The aim of any sanction is to prevent the behaviour occurring again and if necessary to help the pupils devise strategies for this and recognise that their actions have consequences.


  1. Reasoning with pupil
  2. Verbal reprimand including advice on how to improve
  3. Temporary separation from peers within class and/or temporary removal to another class
  4. Prescribing extra work/writing out the story of what happened
  5. Loss of privileges
  6. Detention during break
  7. Communication with parents
  8. Referral to Principal
  9. Principal communication with parents
  10. Exclusion (Suspension or Expulsion) from school (in accordance with rule 130 of the Rules for National Schools as amended by circular and Education Welfare Act 2000).  However, sanctions should relate as closely as possible to the behaviour.  Therefore a child, who does not do his/her work in class or has not completed his/her homework, may be detained at break time to finish the work.

Pupils will not be deprived of a curricular area unless there are health, safety or welfare grounds for doing so.


A standardised record system will be used to track an individual pupil’s behaviour.  Such records will contain:

  • Incidents of misbehaviour
  • Intervention used to improve behaviour, including contract with parent(s)/guardian(s) or referral to other agencies
  • Evidence of improved behaviour
  • Any sanctions imposed, and the reasons they were imposed

Pupils will be told when a record is being made about their behaviour, and the reasons for keeping a record will be explained.

All records will be kept in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1988 and the Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003.

A template for recording bullying behaviour as indicated by D.E.S. will be filled out by a teacher dealing with a report or incident and given to the Principal.


Procedures for Suspension and Expulsion

Suspension as defined by ‘Developing a Code of Behaviour, Guidelines for schools (N.E.W.B.)’ requires ‘the student to absent himself/herself from the school for a specified, limited period of school days’.  The Principal of Scoil Fhionáin in consultation with the Chairperson has the authority to suspend a student for a maximum of 3 days where deemed necessary except in exceptional circumstances.

Before serious sanctions such as detention, suspension or expulsion are used, the normal channels of communication between school and parents will be utilised.  Communication with parents may be verbal or by letter depending on reasons for misbehaviour.

For gross misbehaviour or repeated instances of serious misbehaviour, suspension may be considered.  Parents concerned will be invited to come to the school to discuss their child’s case. (Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards a teacher or pupil or staff  member will be regarded as serious or gross misbehaviour).

Where there are repeated instances of serious misbehaviour, the Chairperson of the Board of Management will be informed and the parents will be requested in writing to attend at the school to meet the Chairperson and the Principal.  If the parents do not give an undertaking that the pupil will behave in an acceptable manner in the future the pupil may be suspended for a period.  Prior to suspension, where possible, the Principal may review the case in consultation with teachers and other members of the school community involved, with due regard to records of previous misbehaviours, their pattern and context, sanctions and other interventions used and their outcomes and any relevant medical information.  Suspension will be in accordance with the Rules for National Schools and the Education Welfare Act 2000.

 Immediate Suspension

In exceptional circumstances, the Principal may consider an immediate suspension to be necessary where the continued presence of the student in the school would represent a serious threat to the safety of students or staff of the school, or any other person.

 Automatic Suspension

Certain behaviours may incur automatic suspension as a sanction.  Fair measures will be applied in all cases of suspension, according to ‘Developing a Code of Behaviour’( N.E.W.B.)

Expulsion may be considered in an extreme case, in accordance with the Rule for National Schools and the Education Welfare Act 2000.  Before suspending or expelling a pupil, the Board shall

  1. Notify the Local Welfare Education Officer in writing by registered post in accordance with Section 24 of the Education Welfare Act.
  2. Will not expel the student before the passage of 20 school days from the date on which the Educational Welfare Officer receives this written notification.
  3. Will in writing notify the parent(s)/guardian(s) of their decision and inform them that the Educational Welfare Officer is being contacted.
  4. Will be represented at the consultation to be organised by the Educational Welfare Officer.
  5. Will suspend the student, if it is deemed likely that the continued presence of the student during this time will seriously disrupt the learning of others, or represent a threat to the safety of other pupils or staff.


Removal of Suspension (Reinstatement)

Following or during a period of suspension, the parent(s) 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.  The Principal will facilitate the preparation of a behaviour plan for the pupil if required.

Children with Special Needs

All children are required to comply with the code of behaviour.  However the school recognises that children with special needs may require assistance in understanding certain rules.  Specialised behaviour plans will be put in place in consultation with parents and the class teacher, learning support/resource teacher, and or Principal will work closely with home to ensure that optimal support is given.  Cognitive development will be taken into account at all times.  Professional advice from psychological assessments will be taken into consideration.

The children in the class or school may be taught strategies to assist a pupil with special needs to adhere to the rules and thus provide peer support.  This will be done in a supportive and safe way, acknowledging and respecting the difference in all individuals.

Methods of Communicating with Parents/Guardians

Communicating with parents/guardians is central to maintaining a positive approach to dealing with children.  Parents and teachers should develop a joint strategy to address specific difficulties, in addition to sharing a broader philosophy which can be implemented at home and in school.

A high level of co-operation and open communication is seen as an important factor encouraging positive behaviour in the school.  Structures and channels designed to maintain a high level of communication among staff and between staff, pupils and parents have been established and are being reviewed regularly.

Parents should be encouraged to talk in confidence to teachers only about any significant developments in a child’s life, in the past or present, which may affect the child’s behaviour.

The following methods of communication are to be used at all levels within the school:

  • Informal parent/teacher meetings and formal parent/teacher meetings
  • Through children’s homework journal (infants do not have a homework journal- check bags)
  • Letters/notes from school to home to school
  • Phone calls

Please note that staff other than Principal, Deputy Principal and teachers are not to be approached with personal or confidential information in relation to a child.

Anti – Bullying Policy Attached

Anti-  Cyber Bullying Policy attached




Introductory Statement:


This policy was formulated by teachers, ancillary staff, pupils, parents and Board of Management in 2000 and has undergone several reviews since then.




Bullying behaviour, by its very nature, undermines and dilutes the quality of education and imposes psychological damage.  As such it is an issue that must be positively and firmly addressed through a range of school-bases measures and strategies through which all members of the school community are enabled to act effectively in dealing with this behaviour.



Relationship to the Characteristic Spirit of the School:


Vision Statement:


  • In our school we strive to make each child and adult feel valued in a caring atmosphere where everybody is equally respected


  • The school seeks to embrace children of all needs, cultures and beliefs


  • The development of the whole child, which includes his/her academic, moral, emotional, spiritual, social, aesthetic, cultural and personal growth is our priority


  • We aspire to create an environment where honesty and justice prevail


  • We aim to achieve a healthy work ethic and a dedication to excellence


¨      Dia ár mbeannachadh




  • To raise awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour with school management, teachers, pupils, parents/guardians.
  • To create a school ethos which encourages children to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour
  • To ensure comprehensive supervision and monitoring measures through which all areas of school activity are kept under observation
  • To develop procedures for noting, investigating and dealing with incidents of bullying behaviour.
  • To implement a programme of support for those affected by bullying behaviour and for those involved in bullying behaviour
  • To work with appropriate agencies in countering all forms of bullying and anti-bullying behaviour.
  • To assist children in developing skills in dealing with conflict and in restoring relationships.





Definition of Bullying:

Bullying, as defined in DES Circular 045/2013 (Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary & Post Primary Schools) is “unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical conduct by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time.  (This definition includes cyber-bullying and identity based bullying).  Identity bullying refers to homophobic bullying.


Indications of Bullying:

All staff should be vigilant for signs of bullying.  Indicators may be – unwillingness to go to school, anxiety about travelling to and from school, behaviour change, attitude change, deterioration in educational performance etc.  There are many other indicators but sometimes there are no obvious signs.

Strategies for Prevention of Bullying:

There is a strong sense of community and cooperation between Board of Management, staff, pupils and parents, and each has a clear role in the prevention of bullying.

  • The school Code of Conduct encourages respect for each individual and clearly forbids inappropriate behaviour.  The development of self-discipline in the children is a fundamental aim of the code of conduct.
  • Classroom Rules to be drawn up in each classroom with the help of the children.  These rules discourage unkind behaviour.
  • It has been noted that most bullying incidents occur during “free – play” time, i.e. breaktime, or lunchtime. Teachers are very conscious of the potential for bullying at these times.  Children are supervised at breaktimes.
  • External Personnel i.e. – Games coaches will be informed that it is school policy, not to allow children to choose teams or partners as it leads to isolation of certain individuals and can increase tensions where there may be or has been a problem.
  • Every effort will be made by staff members to be consistent and fair in their approach to the children at all times
  • Through a programme of positive action, the school promotes an atmosphere of friendship, respect and tolerance.
  • The SPHE curriculum, including the Walk Tall, Bí Folláin, Stay Safe and Web Wise programmes are used throughout the school to support the anti-bullying policy.
  • The Anti-Cyber Bullying Policy is incorporated into the Anti-Bullying Policy.
  • Positive self-esteem is fostered among the pupils by celebrating individual differences/achievements, by acknowledging and rewarding good behaviour and by providing opportunities for success.
  • Pupils are helped to develop empathy by discussing feelings and by trying to put themselves in the place of others.
  • The school’s anti-bullying policy is discussed regularly with the pupils.
  • Staff are particularly vigilant in monitoring pupils who are considered at risk of bullying/being bullied.  The topic will be raised at staff meetings.
  • All disclosed incidents of bullying are investigated.
  • Members of the BOM are familiar with the school’s policy on bullying and actively promote it on a repeated basis among staff, parents and pupils.
  • Parents contribute to and support the school’s policy on bullying by encouraging positive behaviour both at home and at school, by being vigilant for signs and symptoms that their child is being bullied or is bullying others, by communicating concerns to the school.
  • The school maintains an awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour by reminding pupils of school’s anti-bullying policy and by using the curriculum formally and informally to emphasise the message (see our anti-bullying policy)

It is acknowledged that incidents which occur outside school frequently influence pupil behaviour and relationships in school.  However, only incidents which occur within school can be dealt with by school staff.

Procedures For Dealing With Bullying:

Pupil behaviour is constantly monitored by teachers and if a pattern of bullying behaviour is thought to be emerging parents are contacted immediately with the view to pre-empting any escalation.

 Any and all parties to the incident(s) will be given a hearing in order to establish the following:-

  • What happened (including directly preceding events)?
  • Where did the incident(s) happen?
  • When did the incident(s) happen?
  • Who was involved in the incident(s)?
  • Why did the incident(s) happen?

Parties involved (and witnesses, if applicable) will be asked to give a written account of events depending on:

  • the seriousness of the event
  • capability of giving a written account

The teacher will act as scribe for those whose literacy skills are inadequate for the above purpose.

The teacher will keep a written record of serious/frequent incidents of bullying.

These serious and frequent incidents of bullying will be referred to the Principal. A template (Appendix 3, Circular 045/2013) for recording incidents will be kept by Principal.

The relevant teacher must record the bullying behaviour in the standardised recording template at Appexdix 3 (and a copy must be provided to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable) in the following circumstances:

  • In cases where he/she considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she determined that bullying behaviour occurred;


  • Where the school has decided as part of its anti-bullying policy that in certain circumstances bullying behaviour must be recorded and reported immediately to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable.


Children will be encouraged to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour.  They will be helped to differentiate between incidents of a minor nature and those that constitute bullying.  They will also be taught the difference between ‘telling tales’ and asking for help.

Sanctions Against Bullying:

When bullying has been established, the following sanctions are followed:-

  • Formal reprimand.
  • Apology to the injured party.
  • Time out in playground/classroom under the supervision of a teacher.
  • Possible withdrawal of privileges.
  • Meeting with parents with view to drawing up helpful strategies.
  • On-going communication with parents to monitor effectiveness of strategies.
  • Meeting between Parents, Principal and Chairperson of Board of Management.
  • Board of Management meeting where suspension will be considered.


Adult to Adult Bullying –  Board of Management handbook- Revised 2007-Appendices 21, 22, 23, 24

Adult to Child Bullying

Our vision statement states that ‘in our school we strive to make each child and adult feel valued in a caring atmosphere where everybody is equally respected’.  Adults on staff will be conscious that their behaviour towards each other and towards pupils will contribute greatly to the pervading atmosphere in the school.  It is considered of extreme importance that all staff members model good manners, courtesy and respect and thus set good examples for pupils.

  • Ancillary staff (SNA staff and secretary) will not impose sanctions on pupils.  They will report incidents or observations to relevant teachers, Principal or Deputy Principal.
  • Teachers will investigate incidents as fully and as fairly as possible.
  • Teachers will address pupils in non-threatening tone and will listen to all sides.
  • When imposing sanctions teachers will act in the best interest of all pupils concerned and will be mindful of our vision statement which states ‘ we aspire to create an environment where honesty and justice prevail’.


Safeguards against Bullying:

 All reported/observed incidents of bullying, no matter how seemingly trivial, will be investigated by a teacher.  Where possible and practicable, these investigations will take place in a private setting other than the classroom or playground.  Reports or observations of incidences of bullying by ancillary staff will be investigated.

In a proactive attempt to prevent bullying incidences, S.P.H.E. lessons will be taught where self-esteem, fair play, consideration for others, respect for differences will be emphasised.  It will be sought to cultivate and model these in the general management of the classroom.

 Board of Management:

The Board of Management is responsible for ensuring that all members of the school community are enabled to deal effectively with bullying.  The Board is committed to providing time and resources for the implementation of the policy.  The Board will ensure that proper supervisory and monitoring measures are in place to prevent bullying and to deal with incidents appropriately as they arise.

Other school policies which have a bearing on the anti-bullying policy:

SPHE plan

Code of Behaviour

Home/School Links

Health and Safety

Special Educational Needs

Mobile Phone Policy

Anti-Cyber Bullying Plan

Acceptable Use Policy (Internet)

Child Protection

Success Criteria

Some practical indicators of the success of this policy would be:

  • Positive feedback from teachers, parents and pupils.
  • Observation of behaviour in classrooms, corridors, yard

Roles and Responsibilities

The Principal and Deputy Principal will co-ordinate and monitor the implementation of this policy.

Class teachers will monitor and deal with situations in their classrooms.  They will report to Principal if there is a serious incident.  They will keep a record of all incidents.

Teachers on yard duty will deal with incidents as they occur.  They will report serious or repeated incidents to Principal.  Serious incidents will be recorded in the incident book.  Pupils and parents will be encouraged to report concerns to teachers.

SNA’s and Secretary will report observations, concerns or incidents to the teacher on yard duty or to the Principal or Deputy Principal.

The Principal will report the number of recorded incidences of bullying at BOM meetings once per term.