Code of Behaviour for Cappawhite N.S.

Introductory Statement

  •  This Code of Behaviour was developed to promote positive behaviour and to allow Cappawhite N.S. to function in an orderly and harmonious way and to enhance the learning environment where children can make progress in all aspects of their development.
  • It was developed through whole staff involvement during a school development planning day.
  • It was also developed in conjunction the Board of Management of Cappawhite N.S.


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

Relationship to Characteristic Spirit of the School

Cappawhite N.S. is a Catholic school under the Patronage of the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly. This policy reflects the mission statement of the school and in particular, our school motto, “ Mol an Oige”

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


Guidelines for behaviour in the school

The Education Welfare Act, Section 23, states that the code of behaviour shall specify “the standards of behaviour that shall be observed by each student attending the school”.

Cappawhite N.S.promotes the following code

  • Each pupil is expected to be well behaved and to show consideration for other children and adults
  • Each pupil is expected to show respect for the property of the school, other children’s and their own belongings
  • Each pupil is expected to attend school on a regular basis and to be punctual
  • Each pupil is expected to do his/her best both in school and for homework.

As outlined in  Section 23(4) of the Education Welfare Act the principal teacher, prior to enrolment of a child to Cappawhite N.S. shall provide the parents of the child with a copy of the school’s code of behaviour and that the principal ‘may, as a condition of so registering such child, require his or her parents to confirm in writing that the code of behaviour so provided is acceptable to them and that they shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure compliance with such code by the child’. 

A copy of the school rules is included in Appendix 1 of this code.

Whole school approach in promoting positive behaviour

The elements of a whole school approach to behaviour include

  • An ethos, policies and practices that are in harmony
  • A teamwork approach to behaviour
  • A whole-school approach to curriculum and classroom management
  • An inclusive and involved school community
  • A systematic process for planning and reviewing behaviour policy


Teachers and other staff members can play important roles in the work in the review and updating of the code. They bring to this work their professional expertise in understanding the links between behaviour and learning; their experience of what works to help students to behave well; and their knowledge of the school and of the school community Providing opportunities for staff to deepen their understanding of the factors that affect behaviour and that help students to change behaviour

Staff as a team  have opportunities to confirm that all school policies and practices support the objectives of the code of behaviour

The school’s SPHE curriculum is used to support the code of behaviour. It aims to help our children develop communication skills, appropriate ways of interacting and behaving, and conflict resolution skills. It also aims to foster self-esteem and to help children accommodate differences and develop citizenship. Programmes such as Walk Tall, Circle Time, Golden Time, Drama and role play will be carried out in Cappawhite N.S. to support this code of behaviour.

Board of Management

The overall responsibility for ensuring that a code of behaviour is prepared rests with the Board of Management .The Board has particular responsibility for the ethos of the school, as well as having overall responsibility for school policies. The Board will play an active role in exploring the kinds of relationships and behaviours that will reflect the school’s ethos and responsibilities.

The Board will make sure that all members of the school community have the opportunity to be involved in work on the code of behaviour. The Board of Management will formally record the adoption of the code of behaviour, the commencement date and decisions about when the code will be reviewed. This code will be reviewed annually.


The code of behaviour will be more likely to work well where parents have meaningful ways of contributing to the development or review of the code. Their involvement will draw on their expectations, insights and experience. It will help to underline their responsibilities for their children’s behaviour.  The parent representatives of the Board of management were consulted with the drafting of this code.

Parents  can support the school in the promotion of positive behaviour and the maintenance of high standards of behaviour through the following

  • Parents ensure their children attend school regularly and punctually
  • Parents encourage their children to do their best and to take responsibility for their work
  • Parents are aware of and cooperate with the school’s rules and system of rewards and sanction
  • Parents attend meetings at the school if requested
  • Parents help their children with homework and ensure that it is completed
  • Parents ensure their children have the necessary books and materials for school.

A copy of this code of behaviour will be given to the parents of all new entrants to the school.


Students are more likely to support a code of behaviour when they have helped to develop it. Relationships of trust between teachers and students can grow stronger through the process

Pupils are involved in drafting the code of behaviour by

  • Drafting rules for the classroom
  • Drafting Golden time Rules
  • Taking part in assemblies

Pupils are regularly reminded of these rules.

Positive strategies for managing behaviour

‘The most effective methodology that teachers develop in attempting to manage challenging behaviour is to prevent it occurring in the first place’. (Managing Challenging Behaviour, Guidelines for teachers INTO 2004: 5).  


The positive strategies which you the staff use to effectively manage behaviour in the classroom.

  • “Ground rules”/ behavioural expectations in each class that are consistent with the ethos as expressed in the code of behaviour and which set a positive atmosphere for learning
  • Pupil input in devising the class rules
  • Teachers ensure that pupils understand and are frequently reminded of how they are expected to behave
  • A clear system of acknowledging and rewarding good behaviour and sanctions for misbehaviour
  • Classroom management techniques that ensure a variety of activities and methodologies to sustain pupil interest and motivation
  • Timetabling.


The positive strategies which the staff implements to promote good behaviour, to prevent behavioural difficulties and to deal with incidences of unacceptable behaviour. e.g.

  • A concise set of playground rules which emphasise positive behaviour and make it clear what activities are permitted are in place
  • The arrangements for supervision in the playground involve teachers and available S.N. As present on the playground at all times.
  • Activities are organised in ways that will minimise misbehaviour.
  • Teaching playground games to children may be a consideration, adapted to suit different class levels
  •  There is a creation of zones within the playground, providing sections for specific age groups.
  • The role of the SNA is to assist the supervisor in the playground. The SNA may reprimand pupils and may bring inappropriate behaviour to the attention of the teacher in the yard.
  • The arrangements for wet days are that pupils remain in classroom, playing with toys, cards and board games
  • Pupils are collected from the playground by class teachers.
  • Pupils who leave the yard to go to the toilet have to get prior permission from the teacher on yard duty.

Incidents of misbehaviour are reported to classroom teacher and may involve time-out or withdrawal of privileges. Serious incidents of misbehaviour are recorded in the incident book.

A set of playground rules is included in Appendix 2

Other areas in the school

There are positive strategies which the staff implements to prevent behavioural problems in school corridors.  Pupils are always accompanied by a teacher and are encouraged to walk quietly on school corridors. Class teachers accompany pupil to the front door at the end of the school day. The Principal stands at the school entrance each evening. Pupils are regularly reminded of these rules particularly at the start of the year and at the start of terms

School related activities

Standards and rules contained in the code of behaviour will usually apply in any situation where pupils are still the responsibility of the school.  This includes to school tours, games and extracurricular activities and other school-linked events.

 Rewards and Sanctions

Rewards and acknowledgement of good behaviour

Good behaviour is publicly recognised and acknowledged in the school. Our school motto is “ Mol an Oige

There special occasions when pupil achievement is acknowledged e.g. assemblies, end of term awards, end of year wards. Graduation certificates are presented to Sixth class pupils at a graduation mass at the end of the school year.

Merit awards and certificates are displayed in the front hall of the school. We also have a good news noticeboard and pupils from Junior classes receive merit reward stickers. Information is conveyed to parents by means of a note in the homework diary.

Pupils from First to Sixth class earn Golden time on Friday afternoons for good behaviour.

Strategies for responding to inappropriate behaviour

The Education (Welfare) Act 2000, Section 23, states that a school must outline ‘the measures that may be taken if a student fails to observe the standards of behaviour that the school has outlined’.

  • The strategies used in response to incidents of inappropriate behaviour  may include the following

  • Verbal reprimand
  • Removal from the group (in class)
  • Withdrawal of privileges; informing parents by note in the journal
  • Withdrawal from the particular lesson or peer group
  • Carrying out a useful task in the school
  • Formally refer the child to the principal


  • Formal report to the Board of Management
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion

Involving parents in management of problem behaviour

Parents are contacted by the school if there is an ongoing issue with regards to homework or behaviour.

  • This contact may be made by the class teacher or Principal
  • When parents are invited to the school, they are put at their ease in order to maximise a co-operative approach.  The meeting may take place in the classroom or in the Principal’s office.
  • The child may be present for part of the meeting, depending on the issues concerned.
  • Parents are encouraged to contact the school if they have concern. They are asked to contact the class teacher or Principal to make an appointment. This is communicated to parents by letter at the start of each school year.

Managing aggressive or violent misbehaviour 

 The following strategies are used for dealing with serious emotional and behavioural problems

  • Children who are emotionally disturbed are immediately referred for psychological assessment. 
  • Through the Special Educational Needs Organiser, appropriate support is sought from services available e.g.  Health Service Executive, NEPS,
  •  S.E.N. personnel may facilitate teachers in sharing practice and support in the management of challenging behaviour and also share information to rest of staff from in-service.

  • Professional development is available to staff e.g. SESS, Colleges of Education, ICEP (ProfExcel) courses, Education Centres
    • In the event of seriously violent or threatening behaviour causing a risk to the safety of the pupil himself/herself or the safety of other pupils or staff, the school will use the following steps
    • Send for Principal or another teacher
    • Use the code “Red Alert”
    • Use verbal reasoning with the pupil/pupils involved
    • Restrain the pupil in a safe manner if necessary
    • Separate pupils and give them “ time out”
    • Contact parents if necessary

5. Suspension / Expulsion

The authority to suspend lies with the Board of Management. However, the Board of  .Management may delegate this responsibility to the Principal

Categories of Suspension that would warrant immediate suspension:

Uncontrollable threatening behaviour where the continued presence of the child in the school would represent a serious threat to others or him/herself.

  • In each suspension case, the parents have a right to be heard and a right to impartiality
  • A letter would be sent to the parents where they would be informed of the alleged behaviour and how it is being investigated. The parents and the students would be invited to a meeting and be given an opportunity to respond before a decision is made and before any sanction is imposed. If a student and the parents fail to attend the meeting a further letter will be sent to the parents by the principal advising of the gravity of the matter and will outline the importance of attending a rescheduled meeting. If they fail to attend this meeting, a decision will be made by the BOM to respond to the negative behaviour. The school will maintain a record of all communication made by parents.
  • In the event of an immediate suspension, a preliminary investigation will be conducted to establish the case for suspension. A formal investigation will immediately follow the imposition of suspension. Parents will be notified immediately and arrangements will be made with them for the student to be collected.
  • In general, suspension will not be more than three days except in exceptional circumstances.
  • The principal will notify the parents in writing of the decision to suspend. This will confirm the period of suspension and the dates on which it will begin and end. 

On returning from suspension:

  • When the student returns to school, they return with a clean slate, although a record is kept of behaviour.

The BOM will review the use of suspension on an annual basis


Under the Education Welfare Act, 2000, ‘A student shall not be expelled from a school before the passing of twenty school days following the receipt of a notification under this section by an educational welfare officer’ (Section 24(4)) It is the right of a Board of Management to take ‘…such other reasonable measures as it considers appropriate to ensure that good order and discipline are maintained in the school concerned and that the safety of students is secured.’ (Section 24(5)).The Board of Management has the authority to expel a student. The following steps will be taken by the school

  • Meeting with parents and the pupil to try to find ways of helping the pupils to change their behaviour
  • Making sure that the student understands the possible consequences of their behaviour, if it should persist
  • Ensure other possible options have been tried.
  • Seek support from support agencies i.e. N.E.P.S., H.S.E., Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

A proposal to expel a student requires one the following grounds

  • The student’s behaviour is a persistent cause of significant disruption to the learning of others and the teaching process.
  • The students continued presence in the school constitutes a real and significant threat to safety
  • The student is responsible for serious damage to property

The Board of Management may decide that particular behaviours may involve expulsion for a first offence

These may include

  • Sexual assault or supplying illegal drugs to other students

The following procedure in respect to expulsion will apply

  • A detailed investigation will be carried out under the direction of the Principal
  • A recommendation will be made by the Principal to the Board of Management
  • A consideration will be carried out by the Board of Management based on the Principal’s recommendations.
  • A hearing with the Principal and parents of the pupil involved will be heard by the Board.
  • The Board of Management deliberates and carries out actions following the hearing.
  • Consultation will be arranged by the Educational Welfare Officer

This policy on expulsion will be reviewed biannually.


Under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998, parents (or pupils who have reached the age of 18) are entitled to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science against some decisions of the Board of Management, including (1) permanent exclusion from a school and (2) suspension for a period which would bring the cumulative period of suspension to 20 school days or longer in any one school year.  Accordingly, schools will advise parents of this right of appeal and associated timeframe if it has been decided to suspend or permanently exclude a pupil. Appeals must generally be made within 42 calendar days from the date the decision of the school was notified to the parent or student. (See Circular 22/02)

  • Parents/guardians will be informed of their entitlement to appeal a decision of the Board of Management in relation to suspension or expulsion. Parents be given a copy of Circular 22/02
  • The Chairperson of the Board of Management will prepare a response if and when an appeal is being investigated by the Dept. of Education and Science (Section 12, Circular 22/02 – Processing of an Appeal

Keeping records

In line with the school’s policy on record keeping, and data protection legislation, records of serious incidents of misbehaviour are recoded in the school’s incident book. These are factually recorded in an impartial manner

Class level

  • Class teachers maintain records of serious misbehaviour. This information may be given to parents by means of a note in the homework diary. This note may be written by the class teacher or Principal

        Serious misbehaviour is reported to the principal immediately.

  • The end of year report includes a reference to behaviour. There is a reasonably consistent understanding of what constitutes excellent – poor behaviour among the staff. Parents are kept up to date during the year regarding behaviour issues.


  • Supervising staff keep a record of serious misbehaviour in the incident book. Class teachers and the principal are kept informed at the end of break time.
  • Playground rules are sent home at the start of each school year and discussed in class by each class teacher.

School records

  • Serious incidents will be recorded in an incident book for the school and each teacher keeps an individual record of minor incidents.  The incident book will be stored in the Principal’s office
  • Factual reports of particular incidents, communication between school and home, with outside agencies, Board of Management will be kept on file in the Principal’s Office
    • Documentation pertaining to appeals under Section 29

 Procedures for notification of pupil absences from school

 The Education Welfare Act, 2000, Section 23 (2) (e) states that the code of behaviour must specify, “the procedures to be followed in relation to a child’s absence from school.” Section 18 stipulates that parents must notify the school of a student’s absence and the reason for this absence.

A list of strategies that are used to encourage school attendance include

  • Creating a stimulating and attractive school environment
  • System for acknowledging/rewarding good or improved attendance
  • Adapting curriculum content and methodologies to maximise relevance to pupils
  • Adapting the class and school timetables to make it more attractive to attend and to be on time
  • Making parents aware of the terms of the Education Welfare Act and its implications.
  • The school’s policy in relation to explanation of pupil absences is that parents/guardians send in a note informing teachers in writing of their child’s absence from school and the reason for this absence These notes are signed and dated. These notes are  kept for one school year
  • The school uses the standard forms to report on pupil absences to the National Education Welfare Board

8. Reference to other Policies

Other school policies that have a bearing on the code of behaviour

  • SPHE plan
  • Anti-bullying
  • Harassment
  • Sexual harassment
  • Enrolment
  • Record keeping
  • Health & Safety
  • Special Educational Needs
  • Success Criteria

Practical indicators of the success of the policy

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

Roles and Responsibility

Roles and Responsibilities:

The overall responsibility for the implementation of this policy lies with the Board of Management of Cappawhite N.S.

 All staff members will be responsible for the implementation of the Code of Behaviour within the school, in co-operation with the pupils and parents

  • Timeframe for Implementation

This policy will come into effect in September 2021

Timeframe for Review:

  • It will be reviewed in June 2022

Responsibility for Review

  • The responsibility for the review lies with the Board of Management.

  • Ratification and Communication

This policy was ratified by the Board of Management on ___________

 and will come into effect from September 2021