Code of Behaviour for Scoil Chiaráin Special School

Introductory Statement

This policy has been formulated by the staff of Scoil Chiaráin in consultation with parents, pupils and the Board of Management. This policy was drawn up and revised on a number of occasions since the school was founded. The current policy statement was revised prompted by the format provided by the School development planning Support initiative and NEWB “Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools” 2009.


The Scoil Chiaráin community decided to review the Code of Behaviour as it was identified by the Board of Management and the staff of the school as a priority area.  Reviews will be conducted on a yearly basis by the Board of Management and other stakeholders.

Relationship to Characteristic Spirit of the School.

Scoil Chiaráin is a special school where the principles of equality, participation and respect for all students are valued. We seek to foster a caring and secure environment where all students’ needs are considered and protected.


  • To ensure the well-being and safety of all members of the school community.

  • To create an atmosphere of respect, tolerance and consideration for others.

  • To ensure that everyone gets a fair chance to live and learn without others interfering from others or causing problems for them.

  • To promote positive behaviour and self-discipline, recognising the differences between children and the need to accommodate these differences

  • To create an atmosphere where effective teaching and learning can take place

  • To ensure that the system of rules, rewards and sanctions are implemented in a fair and consistent manner.

  • To assist parents and pupils in understanding the systems and procedures that form part of the Code of Behaviour and to seek students’ co-operation in relation to their own behaviour and personal/social development

Policy Content

The Code of Behaviour is based on having and showing respect for all members of the school community. The code seeks to ensure that this school is a safe, happy and helpful place for children and staff alike. Children are encouraged by positive reinforcement of good behaviour and regular reminders of school rules.


You show respect for yourself and others by:

  • Looking at and paying attention to the other person when you are talking to them

  • Speaking clearly and using a pleasant tone of voice

  • Saying what you would like without being cheeky

  • Not cursing or using bad language or saying something hurtful which might upset another person

  • Showing that you want to listen to what the other person is saying

  • Keeping yourself clean and tidy

  • Being on time for school and classes throughout the day

  • Not disturbing others when they are working

  • Keeping your hands and feet to yourself and ensuring you never physically hurt another person

  • Being a good sport, whether you are winning or not

  • Taking care of your own property and the property of others

  • Keeping your classroom and area tidy and by helping to keep the school grounds and all areas within the school litter free

  • Sharing the resources of the classroom and school fairly with others

  • Accepting correction from members of staff and accepting responsibility for your own actions

Some simple school rules a non-exhaustive list

  1. Each student is expected to attend school each day and to be punctual

  2. Each student is expected to participate in all school/class activities

  3. Each student is expected to do his/her best both in school and for homework

  4. Each student is expected  to allow others to work without disturbance

  5. Each student is expected to be well behaved and to show consideration and respect for other students and staff.

  6. Each student is expected to show respect for the property of the school, other children’ property  and their own belongings

  7. Students are not allowed to eat chewing gum in school

  8. Smoking by pupils is strictly forbidden in any part of the school

  9. Personal stereos, electronic equipment and mobile phones should be stored safely by staff and may not be used during school hours

  10. No pupil is allowed to physically hurt anyone.

Encouraging positive behaviour

Every effort is made to reinforce good behaviour. Regular praise and reminders help to encourage children to behave in an appropriate manner. At Monday morning assembly, children are reminded of some general rules and asked to try to show this through their interaction with others during the week (i.e., listening carefully, speaking nicely, greeting each other in a friendly manner, etc). Each week, an award for “Class of the Week” is awarded to a class that have worked and participated together in a spirit of friendship. 

Taking into consideration the different age groups in each area and the students level of understanding, staff have developed age appropriate methods of conveying the rules and reinforcing good behaviour.

Class teachers and specialist personnel such as Special Needs Assistant, Resource teachers and Special subject teachers are expected to check that standards and rules are communicated in a way that our students can understand.  Staff will check for this understanding from time to time especially where students are exhibiting behaviour that would be seen as a breach of the rules. For some students, visual prompts or pictures maybe needed.  Some students may need opportunities to practise observing the rules, with feedback on their progress. Some students may need additional support and the Principal will contact relevant support services.

  1. Junior Area

Junior Area staff work on school, Area and classroom rules in September and these are reinforced throughout the year. Staff work with the students on devising rules for the classroom. The staff use many teaching methods and styles to ensure students understand what is expected from them in school.  Within the classroom school staff reinforces good behaviour by regular praise, awarding gold stars, using stickers on children’s work and allow time for favourite activities. At break times, children are allocated to sit at tables with their classmates to encourage chat and build friendships. The rules are on display in each classroom with picture images.  For older students in the Primary Area ‘Friends First’ and ‘Fun Friends’ are programmes staff use to help students manage their own behaviour and feelings.

  1. Middle Area

Students in this area are encouraged to discuss and help formulate the rules of the classroom and the area. The need for rules is also discussed. Staff make every effort to engage all students and to identify suitable rewards for good behaviour. Consequences for unacceptable behaviour are also in place;  e.g. such as missing minutes from yard time or not going to the shop on Fridays.

Area assemblies are held at least one per term where students’ achievements are recognised and rewarded with certificates.

Each class identifies the key rules for the classroom and these are agreed and posted in the classroom. The rules are stated in the most positive way, outlining the correct way to behave.

Good behaviour is rewarded by praise and encouragement and students may be allocated extra time for favourite activities. Some teachers award points / stickers for good behaviour and rewards are awarded when a student achieves a given number of points.  Reports are also sent to parents and outline good behaviour and areas for improvement .

Within the area children are allowed to sit with their class group during break times to enjoy eating and chatting together.

  1. Senior Area

As the children are older in this area, staff try to engage them in making class rules and drawing up contracts with the staff members at the start of each school year. The emphasis is on taking responsibility for their own actions and behaviour. Staff remind students of rules at regular intervals.

Students in this area are not required to stay seated during break times but are allowed to select an activity or to socialise in groups. Students from the leavers group are not required to leave their classroom as they are considered responsible enough to remain in the room listening to music.

The Board of Management, in consultation with staff, decided to include responsibility for assisting the Principal in encouraging and maintaining good discipline within the senior area with a post of responsibility. This Deputy Principal, Bernie Regan, currently fulfils this role. Other members of the In School Management Team are expected to support their colleagues in maintaining discipline in their respective areas of the school.


Scoil Chiaráin recognises that most children are well behaved and acts of wilful misbehaviour are rare. However, at times children may experience difficulties participating and co-operating due to personal problems or emotional/psychiatric conditions. While every effort is made to encourage and reward good behaviour, it is also necessary to have sanction which are fair and reasonable and apply when students misbehave.

Generally the following strategies are used:

  • Staff member talks to student

  • Reprimand by staff member, telling student why the behaviour is unacceptable and pointing out a better course for resolving conflict in the future

  • Temporary separation from friends / group until student indicates he/she is ready for learning and to re-join the activity

  • Loss of privileges / play activity for a short period of time

  • Younger children may have time out, away from group for a short period – this is usually timed with the use of a large egg timer to show child visually how long they must remain in time out

  • Detention during break time – student may be required to write lines or written apology for behaviour

  • Additional homework – usually used if the student has not completed class work due to disruption

  • Teacher on duty at break-time may refer child to class teacher for reprimand and may enter details of incident on record

  • Student may be put on daily/weekly report and parents informed – written report filled in each day by teacher/staff and can be sent home to parent for signature. Parents may be contacted by the class teacher to report on students’ progress each week.

Sanctions for serious misbehaviour

  • Students should be referred to the Principal for serious misbehaviour or repeated incidents of indiscipline – Principal will reinforce rules and give advice on how to improve behaviour.  Parents will be informed of any such actions.

  • The Principal may decide that a student is to be put on report for a week or two if warranted.  Parents will be notified if it is deemed necessary for their child to be put on a daily report.  Every effort is made to encourage the student to take responsibility for their behaviour and to consider how they might have behaved differently in the particular circumstance and the choices they had to resolve the difficulty.

  • Parents / Guardians may be informed and asked to come in to the school to discuss the behaviour / incident involving their child. The child may be asked to sign a contract agreeing to cooperate with staff in school.

  • A student may be suspended for an incident of serious misbehaviour or repeated incidents. The maximum period is usually 3 days suspension and this decision to suspend is explained to parents by letter which may be posted or entrusted to the bus escort to deliver by hand. A copy of this letter will be kept in the student’s file. Parents are expected to come into the school to discuss the suspension prior to readmitting the student.

  • Students may be suspended for one day for verbally abusing a staff member. This behaviour is not tolerated.

  • In extreme cases, parents may be asked to meet with representatives of the Board of Management and  give an undertaking that they will  endeavour to ensure that their child will behave in school and follow school rules.

  • For persistent incidents of class disruption or unacceptable behaviour from the student it may be necessary to seek help or assistance from the clinical team who referred the student, NEP’s, CAMH’s or a referral to the students GP for further supports.   It may also be necessary to extend the period of suspension to arrange for this meeting or for additional supports to be sought from the DES, particularly where there is concern that the readmission of the student may pose a risk to others.

  • Repeated incidents of misbehaviour may warrant limiting the number of days per week or hours per day that a student may attend school. In such a case, the student will be referred to the clinic or agency responsible for referral for additional support

  • Repeated incidents of misbehaviour may lead to a system of “probation”, a system of continuous monitoring throughout the school day. A written record of the student’s behaviour will be compiled and records kept to support the referral to a clinic / agency or as evidence to seek to remove the student from the school in accordance with the Education Act. Parents have a right to view these records at any time and to discuss their content with the school Principal.

  • The Board of Management may deem it necessary to expel a student for serious breaches of behaviour and/or the persistent disruption of the teaching and learning process for other students.

  • Parents may at any time request a meeting with the school Principal or Chairperson of the Board of Management to discuss / appeal sanctions applied to their child. Under Section 29 of the Education Welfare Act, parents are also entitled to appeal to the Secretary General of the DES against some decisions of the BOM, including (1) permanent exclusion from a school and (2) suspension for a period that would bring the cumulative period of suspension to 20 days or longer in any one school year. Appeals must generally be made within 20 calendar days from the date the decision of the school was notified to the parent or student.

All the above sanctions also apply to students who engage in bullying behaviour against others in the school community. The Anti bullying policy will also apply.

Suspensions from school

The Board of Management and staff of Scoil Chiaráin will follow the procedures for suspension and expulsion outlined in Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools published by the National Educational Welfare Board in 2008 (hereinafter ‘the NEWB Guideline’').  Fair procedures (i.e. the right to be heard and the right to impartiality) will be applied at all times.

In the event that the suspension of a student is considered, the procedure set out at 11.5 of the NEWB Guidelines will be applied.

In determining the appropriateness of suspending a pupil the staff and the Board of Management will refer to the factors to consider before proposing suspending a pupil. These factors include, the nature and seriousness of the behaviour, the context of the behaviour, the impact of the behaviour, the interventions tried to date, whether suspension is a proportionate response and the possible impact of suspension.

The Board of Management has delegated responsibility for suspensions to the Principal in the event that immediate suspension of a pupil is warranted.

Expulsion from school

The Board of Management will deem it necessary to expel a student when all other lesser sanctions and all reasonable avenues of support and interventions for the student have been exhausted and where:

  • the child’s behaviour is a significant safety risk to staff and/or students, or to themselves, 

  • the child’s is responsible for persistent or extreme damage to school property or school resources 

  • the students behaviour is a persistent cause of significant disruption to the teaching and learning of others



To expel a student from school is a serious step to take and the Board of Management will ensure that fair procedures will be implemented when proposing to expel a student following the procedures set out at 12.4 of the NEWB Guidelines. 

The Education Welfare Officer will be notified of the situation where a student’s behaviour may lead to the Principal recommending to the Board of Management that the student should be expelled.

A meeting will be convened with the Board of Management and the parents and representatives of the parent. Deliberations will be made by the Board of Management.

Education (Welfare) Act 2000 states “A student will not be expelled from school before the passing of 20 school days following the receipt of a notification under this section by an Educational Welfare Officer.

Success Criteria

The full implementation of the policy should give confidence to pupils, parents and staff that our school is a safe and secure place for teaching and learning to take place. Where breaches of discipline occur, all members of the school community can apply the policy and have confidence that the strategies are in place to deal with incidents quickly and fairly. Students will also be encouraged to develop personal and social skills and recognise what acceptable and unacceptable behaviour both in school and beyond. We recognise that consistency is crucial to create an atmosphere of support and security for all within the school.

It is our aim that the policy will receive the full support of parents, staff and pupils and will lead to a general improvement in behaviour among children, both inside and outside the school (i.e. when engaged in out of school activities under the supervision of school staff and on school transport)

Roles & Responsibilities

The Principal

The Principal will have overall responsibility for monitoring the policy and its implementation. Where situations arise, not covered by the policy, the principal will refer the matter to the BOM for guidance. The Principal will also consult with staff on a regular basis and consider staff feedback when reviewing the policy.   The Principal supports staff members in drawing up class rules and reminding pupils of agreed procedures.

The Deputy Principal

The Deputy Principal has, as part of her area of responsibility, an important role in encouraging and maintaining good discipline and consistency of approach within the school.  The Deputy Principal will also remind pupils of agreed procedures.

Staff Members

All members of staff share responsibility for ensuring the fair and consistent application of the policy. School staff play an important role in modelling good behaviour, classroom planning and practice and in addressing discipline issues with students. Teachers and Special Needs Assistants should address discipline issues when planning for individuals and the class group, agreeing strategies for use, which limit the disruption to everyone’s learning.

Members of the In School Management Team are expected to support their colleagues in promoting positive behaviour and assisting when students require support.


One of the aims of the Code of Behaviour is to suggest ways in which parents and the staff of the school can work together to help each child learn ways of behaving which are helpful and pleasing to him/herself and acceptable to others. Together we want each child to developing good coping skills and personal values which will prepare them for the life ahead.

When parents visit the school they will be invited to talk openly about their child’s behaviour, to help work out a solution where a problem exists, to seek advice if necessary and to agree about what will happen should their child misbehave in the future.

Parents can support the school in the following ways:

  • Talk to your child about the Code of Behaviour and the rules of the school, explaining the reasons for behaving in a particular way by pointing out the benefits and advantages for themselves and others

  • Keep in contact with the school. You know your child best so please tell us if they are ill or upset or if they are having difficulty with school or homework. Do please write a brief note or telephone if your child needs to be absent or is late for school.

  • If there is a problem concerning your child in school you will be told about it and your help, advice and co-operation sought in sorting it out.

  • You are welcome to visit the school at any time during the school day to discuss a problem or concern in relation to your child. Please let us know in advance when possible to ensure that staff members are free to talk to you in private.


Pupils are expected to engage in the process of drawing up and discussing class and area rules and to make every effort to abide by these rules on a daily basis. Pupils are reminded that they should involve an adult if someone upsets or hurts them in any way.


The Code of Behaviour is already implemented and is regularly reviewed by the staff and the BOM to ensure it support the school community.

Timetable for Review

This review will take place annually in September and any changes will be notified / discussed with parents in October before the BOM finalises any changes in October 2018.

Ratification & Communication

The BOM will ratify the policy statement following each annual review. The policy statement will be circulated to staff members and parents notified of any changes through the school newsletter. Copies will be available on request and the document will continue to be included in the enrolment pack for new parents. Parents are encouraged to read the document before accepting a place for students in Scoil Chiaráin and to sign an undertaking that they will support the policy in relation to their child.






This policy was ratified by the Board of Management in May  2018  following consultation with staff and parents.

This policy will be reviewed in May  2019









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