Code of Behaviour & Discipline Policy



The aim of primary education may be stated as:

   a) To enable the student to live a full life as a student.

   b) To equip him/her to avail himself/herself of further education so that he/she may go on to live a full and useful life as an adult            in society.


The staff members are committed to the realisation of these aims. The board of management of the school is committed similarly. Parents of the students in this school have been strongly supportive of these aims for many years. The ethos of our school is a major factor in establishing and maintaining high standards of behaviour and discipline. This means a strong sense of community in our school and a high level of co-operation among staff, students, parents, the Board of Management.


This code has been formulated in accordance with Section 23 of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, and ‘Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools’ (NEWB/TUSLA).  Formulation and review of this code involved the Board of Management, staff, and Parents’ Association. In devising this code, consideration has been given to the particular needs and circumstances of this school.


The aim is to ensure the individuality of each student is accommodated while acknowledging the right of each student to education in a relatively disruptive-free environment.


The Code of Discipline Aims to Achieve:

a) The efficient operation of the school.

b) The structuring of discipline, which promotes an efficient and stimulating environment.

c) The maintenance of good order and safety throughout the school day, including break times, sport activities, all movements between classes and at all times representing the school.

d) The development of self-discipline in all students and care and courtesy towards others.

e) The development of respect for school buildings, all school property and the general school environment.

Principles of our Discipline Policy

a) Our policy is based on the principles of caring, fairness, respect, tolerance, compassion and courtesy. Staff shall consider themselves responsible at all times for the behaviour of students within sight or sound of them and shall respond promptly and firmly to any incident of unacceptable behaviour. Implementation of discipline in general shall be a team effort – every member of staff has the right to correct any student in school whether that student is a student in his/her class or not.

b) If our school is to achieve a happy, secure environment where the student can develop and learn to his/her full potential, will provide a framework for positive behaviour and discourage unacceptable behaviour, dangerous to oneself or others, and disruptive or anti-social behavour. Every effort will be made to adopt a positive approach to the question of behaviour in the school.  Teachers shall talk to students regularly, about rules and the reasoning behind them.

c) The school places greater emphasis on rewards than on sanctions.  The agreed code offers a framework within which positive techniques of motivation and encouragement are utilised by the teachers.

d) The school recognises the variety of differences that exist between students and the need to accommodate these differences.

A - General


1. Respect and courtesy

Students are expected to behave in a responsible manner, both to themselves and all others. They are expected to treat all other students, all members of staff and visitors with respect and courtesy at all times and whenever representing the school. The use of any vulgarity or offensive language is unacceptable.


2. Punctuality

Students must be on time for school every day and must return to class punctually after breaks. The official opening time of the school is 9.20 a.m. Class for infants ends at 2.00 p.m. and class for all others ends at 3.00 p.m. No responsibility is accepted for students outside these times. Those collecting students from school should always be punctual. Lateness causes great anxiety, especially for younger students.


3. Safety when entering or leaving the school

Parents and students must enter and exit from the school via the front gate only. Students must walk, using the footpaths when entering or leaving the school.


4. Cyclists

Cyclists must dismount, place their bicycles in the designated area and walk when entering or leaving the school.


5. Attendance and absences

Parents/Guardians must account for every absence of a student from school by forwarding a written note. If a student has to leave school early or be absent from school for a part of the day, a written note must be forwarded to the class teacher in school. This is to ensure, as far as possible, the safety of students throughout school hours, and to comply with NEWB/Tusla Child & Family Agency requirements.


6. Illness

Anything contagious, (i.e. measles, slapped cheek etc.) should be notified to the school immediately. Students should return to school only when fully recovered.


7. Personal property

Children are required to have their names on all items of school clothing, coats, indoor shoes, school books, lunch boxes and any property of value.


8. School property

Students must respect all school property and treat all schoolbooks and equipment with care. Parents will be held accountable for the cleaning, repair or replacement of any school property or equipment wilfully damaged or vandalised by their students. Similar care is required for School Rental Book Scheme.


9. Environment

Pupils must co-operate in keeping the school environment clean and free from litter. Children must have a lunch box clearly marked, and all lunch or food wrapping, drink containers etc. must be disposed of at home. Children will be required to help maintain a litter free environment. Students are expected to co – operate fully in any organised clean – up activities.


10. Communication technology

Children are not allowed to have mobile/smart phones or technological devices in school or during activities organised by the school. If a parent needs to contact a child during school hours, the parent may do so by ringing or contacting the school directly. No exceptions to this rule will be made.  If a child is engaged in an after school activity such as a football match or a school tour, parents will be contacted via text message by the class teacher. Unacceptable use of communication technology is absolutely prohibited and will be regarded as a serious offence. This includes taking photos or videos and uploading or posting on the internet, malicious social networking, posting abusive comments or cyber-bullying of any kind. Please refer to anti-bullying policy.


11. School Uniform

The school uniform of navy jumper, white shirt, navy trousers/skirt, navy school tie must be worn daily. A white polo shirt, navy track suit bottoms and the navy school jumper is worn for P.E. Indoor rubber soled shoes, clearly marked, must be worn indoors and outdoor shoes stored neatly away in the storage units inside the school building. Pupils’ hair must be kept neat and tidy and tied back once it reaches shoulder length.


12. Homework

Homework should be done consistently to the best of the child’s ability and written work, computer projects should be presented clearly. Homework may also involve oral language presentations, research and consolidation of literacy and numeracy tasks. If a child has persistent difficulty with homework or is spending too much time at it, please make an appointment with the class teacher and discuss.


13. Jewellery

Jewellery in school is not encouraged and should be kept to a minimum of pierced stud ear-rings and a watch. Jewellery should not be worn during sporting activities.


14. Accidents and Injuries

There is always a teacher on duty. A student involved in an accident or hurt in any way must report to the teacher on duty. The teacher may decide to attend to the injury or to contact the parent(s) if necessary. In the event of the student needing urgent medical attention, the teacher on yard duty will inform the principal teacher and act accordingly. Accidents must be recorded on the School Incident Book. Serious accidents are recorded on the school’s Incident Report Form.


B – Behaviour in Class


  1. Pupils should have all books and materials required.

  2. Children are expected to work to the best of their ability and present their work to the best of their ability.  

  3. Respect and courtesy are basic to classroom behaviour.  Disrespectful behaviour towards other students, towards a teacher or coach or BOM approved personnel or towards any member of staff or any visitor to the school is unacceptable.

  4. Students must respect the right of other students to learn.  Any behaviour that interferes with this right e.g. regular disruption of class or persistent distraction of others is unacceptable behaviour.  Students are expected to co-operate fully with their teachers’ instructions as given so that effective education programmes can be undertaken.

  5. Any form of disruption or interference with the rights of other children to participate, is unacceptable.

  6. Writing on school property is strictly forbidden.  First to sixth class students must clean up any writing themselves.

  7. Students must greet school visitors politely.

  8. Children should bring a healthy nutritious lunch – a portion of fruit or veg at small break, a healthy snack/sandwich at lunch. “One sweet item” allowed daily in the lunchbox. Glass bottles, chewing gum, taytos /crisps/fizzy drinks are absolutely forbidden.


C – Behaviour out of Class


  1. Pupils must behave in an orderly manner at all times and in the interests of safety must “walk” from one class area to another.

  2. At break times children are under the supervision of a designated teacher, who will ensure, to the best of his/her ability that safety standards are observed. The instructions of the supervisory teacher must be obeyed. The children in the junior classes play on the top yard, the children in the senior classes play on the lower court. The large grassy area is shared by both sections of the school on a seasonal basis, weather permitting.  Astro turf soccer pitch will be available to the children during lunch breaks on a class rota basis.

  3. Pupils are required to line up in an orderly manner at the end of break.

  4. On wet days, children remain in their classrooms for breaks. Activities such as board games, reading activities, other projects will be organised by the class teacher, but safety procedures as directed by the class teacher or supervisory teacher must be followed

  5. A note from a parent/guardian is required if a child is to remain indoors during break time as arrangements must be made for supervision.

  6. Students must not behave in any way that endangers others or themselves. Members of staff will seek to ensure that standards of safety are observed and shall prohibit games or activities considered dangerous. Any directions given by a member of staff on these matters are to be followed implicitly.

  7. Students are required to play in their designated yard areas. Students who misbehave will be required to take time out from play, in a designated location at the discretion of the supervising yard teacher. Students may not go into neighbouring fields or go out to the front of the school without the permission of the supervisory teacher. This includes re-entering the classroom without permission. 

  8. All students are required to line up promptly and in an orderly manner at the end of breaks. There should be no playing or any horseplay when classes are in line.

  9. No playing with a ball or running allowed when in line. 

  10. Students must not swing on the goal posts.

  11. Children must eat their lunches in the classroom, with eating confined to the child’s classroom at designated break times.


D – Acceptable/Unacceptable Behaviour


Rewards and Sanctions: The school places a greater emphasis on rewards.


Strategies Employed to Encourage Good Behaviour:

  • An appreciative word or gesture of approval

  • A positive comment in a pupil’s exercise book

  • A visit to another member of staff for commendation

  • Praise of positive behaviour in front of a group or class or assembly

  • A system of merit marks

  • Delegation of some special duty or privilege

  • Commendation to parent – written or verbal communication.

  • An individual, group, class or school prize.


Positive Encouragement and Reinforcement 

Positive encouragement and reinforcement is regarded as primary, in helping students to develop responsibility, a positive attitude and self-discipline. However, where a student wilfully disregards school rules and infringes on the rights of others to participate in an ordered and structured learning environment sanctions may be needed. The overall responsibility for discipline within the school lies with the principal. Each teacher has responsibility for the maintenance of discipline within his/her classroom while sharing a common responsibility for the good order within the school. A student will be referred to the principal for serious breaches of discipline and for repeated incidents of minor misbehaviour.


Unacceptable Behaviour may be dealt with by way of Sanctions.

The degree of misconduct minor, serious or gross, will be judged by the teachers or principal based on a common sense approach with regard to the gravity/frequency of such misconduct.


The following considerations will apply:

  1. The frequency, duration and persistence of the behaviour.

  2. Whether it is part of an escalating pattern of poor behaviour

  3. The context of the behaviour


Examples of Minor Misconduct: might include the following but this list is not exhaustive.

  • Talking out of turn in class,

  • Leaving seat without permission

  • Homework tasks or schoolwork  incomplete,

  • Copying homework from others

  • Bickering in class or on the yard, not sharing with others

  • Being discourteous in manner

  • Being inattentive, displaying poor attitude, being lazy

  • Ignoring instructions

  • Littering, placing unfinished food, drinks cartons in the bin

  • Showing undue care for school property or school environment

  • Entering classroom during lunchtime without permission

  • Not wearing uniform regularly


Major Misconduct

  • Endangering the health and safety of others –(physical aggression, emotional aggression, cyber-bullying)

  • Homework consistently not  done

  • Being verbally abusive to peers, teachers, members of the school community

  • Bringing weapons to school

  • Smoking /taking alcohol or drugs to school (see substance use policy)

  • Absconding from school

  • Mocking disabilities of others

  • Use of mobile phone

  • Deliberately interfering with the infrastructure of the school

  • Interfering with fire extinguishers


Gross Misconduct:

This is where

  • A student’s behaviour has had or continues to have a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other students

  • A student’s continued presence in the school at this time constitutes a threat to safety

  • A student is responsible for serious damage to property

           Note: A single incident may constitute Gross Misconduct.


Examples of Gross Misconduct

  • Bullying -as defined at paragraph 2.1 of the Anti –Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools which includes cyber-bullying

  • Consistently disruptive in class, interfering with the rights of others to participate

  • Use of cyber-bullying

  • Deliberately damaging, destroying or setting fire to school property

  • Burglary of school premises

  • Substance Abuse

  • Serious infringements of the rights of others to learn

  • Repeated patterns of negative behaviour

  • Threatening others, abusive, insulting, offensive or insolent remarks

  • Wilful damage to school property/building/furniture/ equipment or property of others


 Summary of Sanctions for Any Unacceptable Behaviour as Set out in this Policy

  • Reasoning with pupils and or teacher/student chat

  • Reprimand including advice on how to improve

  • Use of class timers for a period of reflection

  • Prescribing extra work, weekend homework

  • Temporary removal to another classroom

  • Carrying out a useful task in the school

  • Loss of privileges resulting from inappropriate behaviour in class or out of class

  •  Noting instances of misbehaviour with a view to informing parents if such behaviour persists, via homework journal, letter, email, phone call.

  • Detention during or part of break time

  • Referral to another teacher / Principal

  • Referral to Principal Teacher

  • Class teacher and or Principal  meets one / both parents

  • Withdrawal from class environment to another classroom pending communication with parent(s)/guardian(s)

  • Formal report to the Board of Management

  • Chairperson of Board of management will be  informed and parents are requested to meet with Chairperson and Principal


Management of Problem Behaviour: In cases where a pattern of problematic behaviour emerges the following steps will apply.

  • The class teacher will discuss the child’s behaviour with the parent to discuss co-operative strategies through which the child’s behaviour may improve

  • The child depending on the circumstances may be invited to participate in the meeting at some point to reinforce positive participation

  • Problematic behaviour will be monitored by the class teacher and principal and parents will be encouraged to keep in touch with the school via homework diary, phone, parent teacher meetings, by appointment.

  • In certain circumstances the class teacher or principal will seek parental consent for assessment. (e.g. psychological, speech and language, clinical, medical assessment).


Management of Aggressive or Violent Behaviour:

  • Children experiencing serious emotional and behavioural problems will be referred immediately for psychological assessment

  • External agencies such as H.S.E., NEPS, will be contacted. Appropriate support resources will be sought through the office of the Special Education Needs Organiser.

  • In the event of seriously violent or threatening behaviour causing a risk to the safety of the pupil himself or that of other pupils or staff,  the child’s parents/guardian will be asked by the principal to remove the child immediately pending further action by the B.O.M.


 Examples of action to be taken when dealing with Gross Misconduct:

  • Chairperson/Principal will sanction immediate suspension pending discussion with parents

  • Expulsion will be considered in extreme cases



Teachers shall keep a written record of all instances of serious misbehaviour as well as a record of improvements in the behaviour of the student


Communication with Parents

Before resorting to serious sanctions, the normal channels of communication between school and parent(s) will be utilised. Parent(s) will be involved at an early stage rather than a last resort. Communication with parents(s) will be verbal or by letter, depending on the circumstances. The parent(s) concerned will be invited to the school to discuss their child’s case. For gross misconduct, suspension will be considered. School staff members have a right to be treated with in a respectful and temperate manner. 


Meeting with Parents

Where there are repeated instances of unacceptable behaviour the chairperson of the Board of Management will be informed by the principal and the parents will be requested to attend the school to meet the principal and the chairperson. If the parent(s) do not give an undertaking that their child will behave in an acceptable manner in the future, the student may have to be suspended for a temporary period. 


Involving the Gardai

Where allegations of criminal behaviour are made about a student, these will usually be referred to the Gardai who have responsibility for investigating criminal matters. The Juvenile Liaison Officer may be contacted in such circumstances by the Principal in respect of advice or support for both student and school as may be appropriate.


E- Suspension


1. Suspension: Grounds

The decision to suspend a student will be on grounds of Gross Misconduct where:

  • a student’s behaviour has/ had or continues to have a seriously detrimental effect on the education of another student or students.

  • a student’s continued presence in the school at this time constitutes a threat to safety.

  • a student is responsible for serious damage to property.


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


2. Suspension: Authority

The Board of Management of Ballyleague National School has the authority to suspend a student.


The Board of Management of Ballyleague National School has the authority to remove a suspension for any reason.


The Board of Management of Ballyleague National School has delegated the authority in respect of suspension to  the Principal of Ballyleague National School pursuant to paragraph 11.1 of the Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools’ (NEWB/TUSLA).


3. Suspension: Procedure

The Principal and Board of Management of Ballyleague National School will abide by the fair principle procedures pursuant to paragraph 11.5 of the Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools’ (NEWB/TUSLA).


In cases of Gross Misconduct warranting suspension:

  • The parents and student will be informed in writing or verbally-where necessary, about the matter.

  • The parents and student will be informed of the School Code of Behaviour and Discipline Policy and where necessary provided with a copy.

  • The parents and student will be informed that the matter will be investigated and could result in suspension.

  • The parents and student will be afforded the opportunity to meet with the BOM to present their case before a decision is made.

  • The parents will be notified in writing (letter or email) of the decision to suspend.

  • The notification will in addition set out:

  • The period of suspension;

  • The commencement date;

  • The reasons for the suspension;

  • Any study programme to be followed;

  • The arrangements for returning to school, including any commitments to be entered into by the student and the parents;

  • The provision for an appeal to the Board of Management.

  • The right to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science pursuant to section 29 of the Education Act 1998.


This is without prejudice to the authority of the Principal of Ballyleague National School who may in exceptional circumstances consider an immediate suspension necessary where there is a serious threat to the safety of students or staff.


In such cases warranting immediate suspension: 

  • A formal investigation will follow the imposition of the suspension. 

  • All of the conditions for suspension apply to immediate suspension.

  • Parents will be notified, and arrangements made with them for the student to be collected.


4. Suspension: Periods

A student may not be suspended for more than 3 days, save for exceptional circumstances, as may be determined by the Principal where a longer period may be required in order to achieve a particular objective.


Any proposed suspension period in excess of 3 days shall be referred by the Principal to the Board of Management of Ballyleague National School for consideration and approval by the Board of Management.  This approval may be obtained at a regular meeting of the Board or at an emergency meeting at which the Chairperson and Principal have outlined for the Board the reasons why it is necessary to impose a further suspension. 


Pursuant to section 21(4) of the Education Welfare Act (2000), the Board of Management will inform the Education Welfare Board when any student’s period of suspension equals or exceeds six school days.


Any proposed suspension period which would cumulatively bring the number of days suspended in any school year to 20 days or more, shall be formally reviewed by the Board of Management of Ballyleague National School.

5. Suspension: Appeals

A decision by the Principal to suspend a student may be appealed by the Parents of said student to the Board of Management.


Where the total number of days for which a student has been suspended in the current school year reaches 20 days, the parents may appeal the suspension under section 29 of the Education Act 1998, as amended by the (Education (Miscellananeous Provisions Act 2007).


6. Removal of Suspension (Reinstatement) 

The parent/s (and student) must give a written undertaking that a suspended student will behave in accordance with the school code and the Principal must be satisfied that the student’s reinstatement will not constitute a risk to the student’s own safety or that of the other students or staff and will not have a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other students. The Principal will facilitate the preparation of a behaviour plan for the student, if required, and will re-admit the student formally to the class.


7. Review of use of suspension

The Board of Management shall review the use of suspension annually to ensure that its use is consistent with school policies and that the use of suspension is appropriate and effective.


Records and Reports:

 Formal written report will be kept of:

  1. The investigation

  2. The decision- making process

  3. The decision and the rationale for the decision

  4. The duration of the suspension any conditions attached to the suspension

F – Expulsion


  1. Expulsion: Authority

The Board of Management of Ballyleague National School has the authority to expel a student.


Expulsion is an option in extreme cases and will be utilised in accordance with Section 12 of the terms of ‘Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools’ (NEWB/TUSLA).


The Board of Management of Ballyleague National School will take all necessary steps to address the issues and to avoid expulsion of a student including, as appropriate:

  • Meeting with parents and the student

  • Making sure the student understands the possible consequences of their behaviour, if it should persist

  • Ensuring that all other possible options have been tried

  • Seeking the assistance of support agencies as set out under Section 12.2 of the ‘Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools’ (NEWB/TUSLA).


The Board of Management of Ballyleague National School will have exhausted and considered all other interventions, and will have formed the view that they have exhausted all possibilities for changing the student’s behaviour.


2. Expulsion: Grounds

The decision to expel a student may be taken where:

  • a student’s behaviour is a persistent cause of significant disruption to the learning of others or to the teaching process.

  • a student’s continued presence in the school constitutes a real and significant threat to safety.

  • a student is responsible for serious damage to property

  • a student has engaged in cyber-bullying


Expulsion for a First Offence: The kind of behaviour which might incur expulsion on the basis of a single breach of the code may include:

  • A serious threat of violence against another pupil or staff member

  • Actual violence or physical assault

  • Supplying illegal drugs or substances to other pupils in the school

  • Sexual assault

  • Cyber-bullying

  • Serious threat to health and safety of others


3. Procedures in respect of expulsion


Where a preliminary investigation of the facts confirms serious behaviour that could warrant expulsion, the procedural steps will include:


a). A detailed investigation carried out under the direction of the Principal.

Parents will be informed in writing and given the opportunity to respond.

A meeting with parents and student will be arranged to address the issue.


b) A recommendation to the Board of Management by the Principal.

The Principal will inform parents that the Board is being asked to consider expulsion.

Parent and BOM will be provided with comprehensive records concerning the incident.

A hearing will be arranged by the BOM.

Parents will be invited to make a written and oral submission to the BOM


c) Consideration by the Board of Management of the Principal’s recommendation and the holding of a hearing.

The BOM will review the initial investigation to ensure fair procedures were applied.

A hearing is held at which the Principal and parents are invited to make submissions.

The Principal and parents are not present for the Board’s deliberation.

Further, the BOM will ensure that any member of the BOM who may have a conflicting interest will be excused and not participate in the decision.

The student may need to stand suspended from school pending the decision of the Board of Management.


d) Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing.

If the BOM decide not to expel, it is a matter for the Board to decide  on what  conditions, if any, the student will be allowed back to school.

If the BOM decide to impose expulsion, the Board will notify the Education Welfare Officer of its decision and the reasons for its decision.

A student shall not be considered expelled before the passing of twenty school days from the receipt of such notification by the Education Welfare Officer.  The student will remain suspended for the twenty days until the Expulsion Order takes effect.


The Board of Management will inform the parents in writing of its conclusions and the next steps in the process including the informing of the Educational Welfare Officer.


e) Consultations arranged by the Educational Welfare Officer.

Within twenty days the Education Welfare Officer must make all reasonable efforts to hold individual consultations with the principal, parents and student and others if relevant.

Convene a meeting.

Make provision for the continuing education of the student involved.


f) Confirmation of the decision to expel.

When the twenty day period has elapsed and where the Board of Management remains of the decision to expel, the Board of Management will formally confirm its decision to expel. Parents will be notified immediately by registered letter that the expulsion will now proceed.  A formal record should be made of the decision to expel


4. Appeals

Under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998, parents are entitled to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science against the decision to expel a student.

Appeals must generally be made within 42 calendar days from the date the decision of the school was notified to the parent or student.

A copy of Circular 22/02 and the relevant forms will be forwarded to parents.


An appeal may also be brought by the National Education Welfare Officer on behalf of the student. ( Education Act 1998, Section29)


The Board of Management will review its use of expulsion to ensure its appropriateness.


G – Communications 


1.  Home – School 

Parents are welcome to make an appointment to meet teachers, stating the nature of the matter they wish to discuss.


2. Parent - Teacher Meetings 

Formal meetings are arranged on specific days each year when parents are assigned a specific time to discuss their child’s progress with the teacher. Parents are welcome by appointment at any other time. 


3. Absences 

In accordance with Educ. Welfare Act ’00, Section 23,

  • Parents must notify the school in writing of a student’s absence and the reason for this absence. Letters must be signed and dated and will be retained for one school year. Details of pupil absence in excess of twenty school days must be reported by the school to the N.E.W.B.


Reference to Other Policies

The following policies have a bearing on the code of behaviour: S.P.H.E., Anti-Bullying, Child Safeguarding Statement, Sexual Harassment, Enrolment, Record Keeping, Supervision Policy,  Safety Statement, Special Educational Needs, Curricular Policies.

This policy was devised by the Board of Management in collaboration with the staff and Parents’ Association. It was ratified by the Board, pursuant to Section 23 of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000. It will be reviewed annually.

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