Scoil Cholmcille Ballybrack

Go to content

Main menu

Pupil Welfare and Behaviour







In Scoil Cholmcille we aim to provide a secure, stable and stimulating educational environment where each individual child can develop to his / her fullest potential. The existence of a strong sense of community within the school derives from the high level of co-operation among teachers, ancillary staff and Board of Management, and is dependent on the positive support and interest of parents in the work of providing our pupils with the very best in primary education in a caring, Christian atmosphere.

The school’s policy seeks to ensure the right of each child to education in a relatively disruption-free learning environment sympathetic to the needs and interests of all the pupils.
We try to develop in each child a concept of self-discipline based on consideration, respect and tolerance for others. In character formation like this, the notion of a strong sense of responsibility is all important. Each child should take responsibility for his / her actions and be aware of how these actions affect others as well as themselves.
It is expected that all children come to understand the importance and value of maintaining good order throughout the school and respecting the school environment and premises.

In the following sections, the main rules of the school are outlined. In Scoil Cholmcille these are kept to a minimum and are not intended to be repressively negative but rather to be reasonable and fair with the health, safety and welfare of the school community in mind. The purpose of the rules is explained to pupils positively in terms of what they should do and why they should do it and their implementation is carried out firmly, fairly and consistently. The encouragement of positive behaviour by approval, rewards, etc.  receives much greater emphasis than the highlighting of negative behaviour by sanctions.

Regular attendance at school is vital for the continuing development of each child’s education. Parents / guardians should inform the class teacher of any impending absence of more than one week. Other absences should be explained by way of written communication with the teacher on the child’s return to school. Pupils will be excused from class early only on receipt of a written request from parents / guardians. The Education welfare Board is notified if a child is absent for more than 20 days. Parents / guardians can be contacted by the NEWB representative then to explain absences. Children should not be sent to school if they are ill and any infectious illness should be notified to the school immediately.

School classes commence at 8.50 a.m. and finish at 2.30 p.m. Lunch time is 12.25 – 12.55 p.m. As late arrivals cause disruption to teachers and other children the importance of good time-keeping cannot be emphasized enough. Parents / guardians who wish to have their children home at lunch time must sign a form of indemnity at the beginning of each year.

School uniform consists of:
Grey trousers / skirt
Grey or white shirt / blouse
Maroon jumper / cardigan with crest
School track suit
Children are expected to wear their uniform at all times during the school day and also on occasions outside school when they may be representing the school as part of a team / group/ choir etc. On P.E. day children wear the school track suit. The school discourages the use of make up, hoop earrings, nose studs and facial piercings are prohibited. Lurid hair colouring is not acceptable. A note will be sent to parents / guardians if a child does not comply with our appearance code.

Homework is an important element in each child’s progress. It generally takes the form of a continuation of, follow-up to, the day’s work in school and so is a regular part of each child’s learning routine. The oral dimension (Reading, Spellings, Tables etc.) is regarded as equally important as the written assignments. The support of parents /guardians is all-important and in this regard the child’s homework and diary should be checked and signed each night. If a child is experiencing regular or constant difficulties with homework, parents /guardians should contact the class teacher.
Regarding homework, any unfinished / undone homework will be completed at home and not in school.
If homework is not done properly or not done at all, the procedure is
 Homework not done once  verbal warning
 Second time    note in journal
 Third time    formal note home
 Fourth time    principal speaks to child
 Fifth time    parents meet with principal
The principal will explain to the parents that they will be contacted again if the situation does not improve.

Children should have their names on their coats  and other property such as school books, copies, tracksuit etc. and must be responsible for taking good care of them.

Pupils must respect all school property and do their best to keep the school environment clean and litter free.

General set of manners expected in school
1. Be respectful when an adult enters a room
2. Always address a teacher with “excuse me” or “Gabh mo leisceal”
3. Use please and thank you as much as possible
4. Stand back when you meet an adult at a door / gateway
5. Children are expected to treat staff, visitors and their fellow pupils with respect, courtesy and consideration.

One of the main elements of this whole policy is based on the notion that we care for one another. We show this by not tolerating any action or word that threatens, intimidates or bullies anyone in the school. We each have different talents and gifts. We are different in looks. We have different interests and opinions. This is normal and good, so we should always respect the differences in each other.
In doing this, we also respect each others property, good name and feelings. We try to help each other when we are in difficulty, and we try to include everyone in our conversations, games, etc. Naturally, there will be times when we disagree and argue with each other. This too is normal. It is only when these occasions are accompanied by words or actions that are abusive and threatening, and when these are persisted with over a period of time that bullying can be said to be occurring. Children are reminded regularly by teachers not to accept being bullied, not to think that they themselves are in some way the cause of it. They should tell their class teacher, the teacher on duty in the playground or the school principal or parents  / guardians if they are being subjected to physical or verbal bullying. They should not suffer in silence. The matter will be dealt with by the class teacher, and / or school principal,  swiftly, firmly and fairly. If necessary, parents will be asked to come to the school to discuss the situation. The school has an anti-bullying policy which deals with this area in further detail. This can be viewed on request or on the school website

1. Each teacher has responsibility for the maintenance of discipline within his / her classroom and pupils are expected to comply with the classroom rules. Overall responsibility for discipline within the school rests with the principal, although each teacher also shares a common responsibility for good order within the school premises.
2. Pupils are expected to work to the best of their ability, to show respect for their teacher and classmates and to follow their teacher’s instructions in a spirit of co-operation and good will.
3. Minor offences are dealt with on the spot by the class teacher. Strategies such as reprimands, extra work, loss of privileges, a contract of good behaviour and other sanctions as may be deemed appropriate  are used for such misdemeanours as:
a) Talking out of turn
b) Inattentiveness
c) Distracting other pupils

• Personal discipline record sheets will be kept on all children by class teacher on a weekly basis.
• If any child receives 5 negatives in a week, then the teacher  writes a note home to the parent/guardian via Homework Journal
• If in the same week, the child continues to receive negatives, a formal generic letter is to be sent home, carrying the principal’s signature. The principal will give the pupil a reflection form and record the child’s name in a school discipline record book.
• If again in the same week,  the child continues to display similar poor behaviour, the child is sent to the principal. The child’s parents/guardian are notified and a meeting is set up between the principal and the parents. The class teacher may be called upon to input at this meeting.
All the above are for minor offences, i.e. for breaking class rules. Any serious behavioural problems will involve more immediate action, i.e. referral to the principal.

The following are some of the offences considered to be serious:
a) Lying, stealing, destruction / defacement of school equipment or property
b) Defiance, disrespect, rudeness, obscene language and abuse
c) Fighting, bullying, threats, intimidation
d) Leaving class or school premises without permission, truancy

1. Reference here is to the school corridors, stairs, hall, library, playground etc. Where pupils must  not behave in any way which endangers themselves or others. Particular care is needed on stairways.
2. Running, pushing, shoving etc. inside the school building is not permitted.
3. Pupils must enter and exit in an orderly manner. This entails being in, and remaining in, their lines when coming into and leaving the building. Pupils should only use the doors assigned to their classes, and should keep corridors and passageways clear and unobstructed.
4. The staff car park is out of bounds to pupils.
5. The area of the school playground, particularly during lunch time is subject to the following regulations:
a) Pupils must obey the instructions of the teacher on duty.
b) Pupils must remain within the designated play area – games such as basketball and football may only be played at either end of the playground, the central area being reserved for chasing, skipping etc. Permission to leave the play area e.g. to retrieve a ball, must be obtained from the teacher on duty.
c) No food or drink is to be brought to the playground for consumption.
d) Any form of rough play, fighting or bullying will not be tolerated.
e) On yard children who commit minor offences will be recorded in a yard behaviour book by the teacher on yard duty. This book will be sent to class teachers after lunch and the class teacher records the negatives on the child’s personal record card.
f) More serious offences, i.e. verbal abuse, physical abuse, threatening behaviour will be dealt with by isolating the child at the wall or sending the child immediately to the principal.
6. These regulations also apply to out of school activities i.e. school tours, sports fixtures etc. Breach of any of the above regulations may result in the pupil being referred to the principal and depending on the seriousness of the offence may lead to the imposition of periods of supervised detention and loss of privileges during lunch time. Continuous and recurring misbehaviour out of class, or serious single instances of misbehaviour will necessitate consultation with parents / guardians.

The school’s policy places a strong emphasis on rewards for good behaviour and seeks to encourage good work and a positive pupil response. Children need to understand the limits of acceptable behaviour too however, and there will be times when it is necessary to impose sanctions in the interests of good order.

a) Verbal approval
b) Written praise or acknowledgement (stars etc.)
c) Merit table – results after each week produce rewards such as relief from some homework etc.
d) Certificates, trophies, prizes for good work in specific areas or most improved pupil etc.
e) Free choice of activity
f) Extra playtime, P.E. activity or video
g) Privileges such as jobs in the classroom or around the school
h) Communication of approval to parents / guardians.

Assemblies will provide a public reinforcement of positive behaviour. It will allow the principal to remind children of the school and class rules.
There will be no more homework passes. Instead there will be subject passes where the teacher will nominate the subject the child has free. Subject passes are only awarded for good effort in homework. For all other good effort, the child is rewarded with a positive on their personal record.

Sanctions are a valuable and effective means of helping children to develop a sense of responsibility and reach a certain level of self-discipline. The following are examples of the kind of sanctions employed to show disapproval of unacceptable behaviour. The type of sanction used is related to the nature of the misdemeanour.
a. Reasoning with the pupil
b. Reprimand  including advice on how to improve
c. Temporary separation from peers, classmates, removal to another class.
d. Loss of privileges
e. Detention during lunch break
f. Extra work
g. Referral to principal
h. Communication  with parents / guardians

The Board of Management of Scoil Cholmcille has the authority to suspend a student. Suspension is a proportionate response to the behaviour that is causing the problem. Normally other interventions have been tried before suspension and the school staff have reviewed reasons why these have not worked. The decision to suspend a student requires serious grounds such as that :-
• The students behaviour has had a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other students.
• The students continued presence in the school at this time constitutes a threat to safety .
• The student is responsible for serious damage to property.
A single incident of gross misconduct may be grounds for suspension.

The Board of Management of Scoil Cholmcille has the authority to expel a student. Expulsion is a very serious step and should only be taken by the Board of Management in extreme cases of unacceptable behaviour, after the school have taken significant steps to address the misbehaviour including:-
• Meeting with parents and the student to try to find ways of helping the student to change their behaviour.
• Making sure that the student understands the consequences of their behaviour.
• Ensuring that all other options have been tried.
• Seeking the assistance of support agencies e.g. NEPS, HSE, NCSE.
The grounds for expulsion are similar to the grounds for suspension. In addition to factors such as the degree of seriousness and the persistence of the behaviour, the key difference is that, expulsion is considered because the school has exhausted all possibilities for changing the student’s behaviour.
There are exceptional circumstances where the Board of Management forms the opinion that a student may be expelled for a first offence. The kinds of behaviour that might result in the proposal to expel for a first offence include:
• A serious threat of violence against another student or member of staff.
• Actual violence or physical assault.
• Supplying illegal drugs to other students in the school.
• Sexual assault.

The support and co-operation of parents / guardians are essential to the effective operation of this policy. If teachers and parents / guardians are not working in harmony, the pupils will inevitably suffer. Parents / guardians will be informed at an early stage if problems occur and not simply at the point where possible suspensions are involved. Parents / guardians are urged to keep in close contact with the school with regard to all aspects of their child’s progress. Both formal (annual parent teacher meetings) and informal contacts are long established practices in Scoil Cholmcille.  Parents / guardians are always welcome in the school to discuss any aspect of their child’s progress. If it is anticipated that a meeting of more than a few minutes will be necessary, then an appointment should be made with the class teacher or principal. The child’s homework journal should be regarded as a valuable link between home and school and should serve as a guide to a pupil’s progress.

The Code of Practice has been drawn up after a process of consultation involving teachers, pupils, parents / guardians and the Board of Management. A copy of the code has been made available to all parents / guardians who have studied it and signed and returned the form appended to it indicating their agreement with its terms. It is a condition of attendance in Scoil Cholmcille that pupils abide by the rules and regulation contained in the code and that parents / guardians co-operate in it’s implementation. The code will be reviewed on an annual basis.

Signed by Chairperson of Board of Management: ___________________________

Implementation date:  7th January 2009.

Back to content | Back to main menu