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Code of Behaviour


St Patrick’s GNS, Hollypark

Roll Number: 19259W

Policy ratified: October 2020

Signed: Arthur Hutchinson

              Arthur Hutchinson, Chairperson BOM


At the time of drawing up this policy, all details and the enclosed information are correct. It is possible that between now and the review date, changes may have to be made to the provisions, policies and procedures of the school. This may be due to external changes required by the Department of Education and Skills, the school patron or other agencies. Mandatory policies will be available on the school website and up to date information will be posted regularly.



This policy has been prepared for the Board of Management by the staff.


Introductory Statement

The Code of Behaviour of St Patrick’s GNS, Hollypark is directed toward creating and maintaining conditions of a pleasant, orderly environment within the school so that pupils and teachers may work in an environment which is conducive to learning. It is a working document designed to enhance the development of positive relationships between children, staff, parents/guardians and other members of the wider school community.


The school has a central role in the children's social and moral development just as it does in

their academic development. In seeking to define acceptable standards of behaviour it is

acknowledged that these are goals to be worked towards rather than expectations that are either fulfilled or not.


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


Parents/guardians can co-operate with the school by encouraging their children to understand the need for school rules, by visiting the school and by talking to the members of staff.


A Code of Behaviour for St Patrick’s GNS, Hollypark was established to ensure that the individuality of each child is accommodated while at the same time acknowledging the right of each child to education in a relatively disruption-free environment.



We aim to create a welcoming, caring environment where relationships are based on respect and to develop a positive self-esteem in each child. The staff at St Patrick’s GNS, Hollypark is committed to maintaining high expectations of good behaviour as an essential contribution to the educational experience of the children and to their happiness and well-being while in school.



The responsibility for the implementation of the policy rests with the partners in education i.e. the Board of Management, Principal and teaching staff and the parents/guardians of the pupils in St Patrick’s GNS, Hollypark.


Aims of the Code
  • To create a positive learning environment that encourages and reinforces good behaviour.

  • To promote self-esteem and positive relationships.

  • To encourage consistency of response to both positive and negative behaviour.

  • To foster a sense of responsibility and self-discipline in pupils and to support good behaviour patterns based on consideration and respect for the rights of others.

  • To facilitate the education and development of every child.

  • To foster caring attitudes to one another and to the environment.

  • To enable teachers to teach without disruption.

  • To ensure that the school's expectations and strategies are widely known and understood through the availability of policies and an ethos of open communication.

  • To encourage the involvement of both home and school in the implementation of this policy.

Responsibility of Adults

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


As adults we should aim to:

  • Create a positive climate with realistic expectations.

  • Promote, through example, honesty and courtesy.

  • Provide a caring and effective learning environment.

  • Encourage relationships based on kindness, respect and understanding of the needs of others.

  • Show appreciation of the efforts and contribution of all.

  • To discourage physical aggression and encourage ‘Kind Hands, Kind Words, Kind Feet’. A Code of Conduct for staff and volunteers ensures that the rights of the children are upheld.

  • Uphold the Equal Status Act 2000, Part 1 Section 3(2). Under this act the areas specifically mentioned are:

  • Gender

  • Marital Status

  • Family Status

  • Sexual orientation

  • Religion

  • Age

  • Disability

  • Race

  • Membership of the traveller community

At the start of each year Class Teachers will discuss and clarify the Code of Behaviour with each class group. This will be followed by a Class Code of Behaviour – Class Rules - being drawn up between the class teacher and the pupils.

School Rules

The School Rules can be summed up as 6 main rules:

  • Respect/ Be nice

  • Do your best

  • Be tidy

  • Be safe

  • Walk

  • Listen

  1. Pupils must respect and obey the teachers and be courteous to other pupils and visitors to the school.

  2. School opens at 8:40am (8:30am COVID staggered time). Dismissal at 1:10pm (COVID time) for Infant Classes and 2:20pm (2:10pm COVID staggered time) for Senior Classes (1st – 6th). Class begins at 9:00am sharp. Punctuality is very important. Correct entrance / exit doors to be used.

  3. Children will walk in an orderly manner with their teacher to the exit point at dismissal time. (Ref School COVID response Plan and School COVID Logistics Plan)

  4. Children should hand sanitize on entry to and exit from the classroom.  Children should wash hands/hand sanitise regularly throughout the school day.

  5. Absence and lateness should be explained by a brief note via Aladdin Connect App (or note in School Journal). Parents/Guardians should notify the school by email of any COVID-19 type symptoms. Otherwise there is no need to contact the secretary unless illness is contagious. Absences of 20 days or more must be reported to Túsla by the school.

  6. Any pupil wishing to leave the school early must have a note signed by their parent /guardian (this can be sent via email to the school or class teacher). On arrival for collection at the school the parent/guardian should contact the school secretary who will notify the class teacher to send or bring the pupil to the school lobby.

  7. The uniform should be worn on all days save PE days when the pupils are required to wear the school tracksuit. (For the duration of COVID pupils may choose to wear the school tracksuit on days other than the PE day.)

  8. Pupils should respect school property at all times.

  9. Homework should be checked daily by parents. If homework is not done, parents should notify the class teacher via the class teacher’s email (or with a note in School Journal)

Good Behaviours


Behaviour in the Classroom

At the beginning of each academic year, the class teacher will draft a list of Class Rules with the children. These reflect and support the school rules, but are presented in a way that is

accessible to the children.


In certain circumstances and if necessary, Behaviour Contacts may be drawn up. The aim of a Behaviour Contract is to support the child in ownership of his/her behaviour and to replace

unacceptable behaviours with acceptable behaviours. Please see Appendix A.


Besides the procedures and other regulations implemented by the teacher for the effective

teaching and learning environment for all our children, the following are basic requirements for the various classes:


Junior Infants - Second Class

  1. Walk, work and talk quietly.

  2. Listen to teacher and each other.

  3. Put up your hand and wait for teacher to call your name.

  4. Stay in your seat when the class teacher is not in the room. If in a pod remember to remain and share in pod while indoors.

  5. Keep desk and classroom clean. Clear your desk every evening so that it can be disinfected.

  6. Be kind, fair and honest.


Third Class - Sixth Class

  1. Be punctual, seated and prepared for each lesson.

  2. Listen to teacher and each other.

  3. For attention raise your hand and wait your turn.

  4. Remain seated and find something quiet to do when your teacher is otherwise

occupied. Remain and share in class pod while indoors

  1. Keep desk and classroom tidy. Clear your desk every evening so that it can be disinfected.

  2. Be kind, fair and honest.


Behaviour in the Yard

  1. All play is to be conducted in a spirit of friendship, courtesy and care.

  2. Walk out quietly in line to the yard.

  3. Stay in area designated for your class bubble.

  4. Climbing or other unsafe behaviour is not permitted.

  5. No admission to school building during yard time for the duration of the pandemic.

  6. Supervising adults’ instructions to be followed at all times.

  7. Line up procedure: On first bell children freeze, on second bell all children walk to

their respective class lines.


Behaviour in the School Grounds and Garden

  1. Every effort shall be made to respect and care for our environment.

  2. Litter shall be placed in bins provided.

  3. Care shall be taken not to break or damage the plants.


Behaviour in the School Hall

  1. Children shall enter and exit the hall in an orderly manner.

  2. Children using the hall must be supervised at all times.

  3. Suitable clothing and footwear must be worn while participating in physical activities in the hall.


Behaviour in the School Corridors

  1. Children are expected to walk in an orderly and quiet manner and hold on to handrails where appropriate.

  2. Children shall behave in a mannerly way by standing back to allow adults to proceed through doorways etc.

  3. Children are invited to view but not interfere with displays.

  4. Children may be sent on messages/errands in pairs. (but not for the duration of the pandemic)

  5. When a child is sent on a message to another classroom they should knock first and then walk in.


Behaviour in the Computer Room

  1. No food and drink in the Computer Room at any time.

  2. Make sure hands are washed and dried thoroughly before commencing work.

  3. Use the keyboard and equipment gently.

  4. If you have a problem, stay at the computer and seek help from your teacher.

  5. No moving around on any swivel chairs.

  6. Do not place any object on any part of the computer.

  7. Only teachers are allowed to handle blinds.

  8. Make sure the computer room is left tidy and that the chairs are in place for the next

  9. Work quietly on your computer.

  10. Do not use printer without permission from your teacher.


Ref: School Acceptable Usage Policy (AUP)

Incentives/Reward System


St Patrick’s GNS Hollypark aims to help children achieve their personal best and thus prepare them for further education, life and work.  We recognise that there are many different forms of intelligence and similarly that children use a variety of approaches to solve problems.  Children will be encouraged, praised and listened to by adults in the school. Praise is earned by the maintenance of good standards as well as by particularly noteworthy personal achievements. Rates of praise for behaviour should be as high as for work.

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

  • A quiet word or gesture to show approval

  • A comment in a pupil’s copy or homework journal

  • A visit to another member of staff or to the Principal for commendation

  • A word of praise in front of a group or class

  • Delegating some special responsibility or privilege

  • A mention to parent, written or verbal communication

  • ‘Bualadh Bos’ in class or special mention in morning ‘Announcements’ or at school assembly.

Field trips, annual school tours and special school events will be reserved for those who have consistently strived to behave well. 

Unacceptable Behaviours


Three levels of misbehaviour are recognised: Minor, Serious and Gross. All everyday instances of a minor nature are dealt with by the class teacher, or the supervising teacher at break-times.  In cases of repeated serious misbehaviour or single instances of gross misbehaviour parents/guardians will be involved at an early stage and invited to meet the teacher and/or the principal to discuss their child’s behaviour.


Examples of minor misbehaviour include:

  • Not wearing appropriate uniform

  • Not following instructions

  • Bringing electronic equipment or mobile phones to school


Examples of serious misbehaviour include:

  • Behaviour that is hurtful including bullying (Ref: School Anti-Bullying Policy), harassment, discrimination and victimisation

  • Behaviour that interferes with teaching and learning

  • Deliberate disregard of COVID guidelines (ref School COVID Response Plan)

  • Threats or physical hurt to another person

  • Damage to property

  • Theft

  • Bringing dangerous equipment to school

  • Leaving school/school activities without permission.


Examples of gross misbehaviour include:

  • Serious assault on a teacher or pupil

  • Serious theft

  • Serious damage to property

  • Serious bullying (Ref: School Anti-Bullying Policy)

  • Carrying drugs, alcohol, cigarettesSanctions

The use of sanctions or consequences should be characterised by certain features:

  • It must be clear why the sanction is being applied.

  • The consequence must relate as closely as possible to the behaviour.

  • It must be made clear what changes in behaviour are required to avoid future sanctions.

  • Group punishment should be avoided as it breeds resentment.

  • There should be a clear distinction between minor and major offences.

  • It should be the behaviour rather than the person that is the focus.


The following steps will be taken when a pupil behaves inappropriately. The steps are listed in order of severity with ‘1.’ being for a minor misbehaviour and ‘8.’ being for serious or gross misbehaviour. The list is by no means exhaustive. Teachers may put in place alternative measures bearing in mind the features by which sanctions should be characterised. The aim of any sanction is to prevent the behaviour occurring again and, if necessary, to help the pupils devise strategies to improve her behaviour:


  1. Reasoning with pupil.

  2. Verbal reprimand including advice on how to improve and two additional verbal warnings.

  3. Temporary separation from peers within class.

  4. Communication with parents on same day as behavioural issue occurred either through message on Aladdin (or note in School Journal) or phone call (age appropriate). Principal or Deputy Principal should be made aware of any such communication.

  5. Letter of apology clearly outlining negative behaviour from child signed by parent/guardian. In the case of an infant, parent/guardian will scribe and child will sign. These letters are to be filed carefully by the Class Teacher. (Each teacher will have Incident File with disciplinary notes in folder). Principal or Deputy Principal should be made aware of any such letter.

  6. A pupil is brought to the Principal. This should be regarded as a last resort and the matter should be discussed with the Principal beforehand.

    1. Record the time and date, name of pupil and reason for visit.

    2. The pupil must write a letter of apology to the Principal which should be signed by the parent/guardian

    3. Meeting with parent/guardian may be requested

  7. Should there be another breach of Code of Behaviour the above sanction steps will be followed again. In the case of a third breach, the Principal will co-ordinate a meeting with all parties present. At this point an Individual Behaviour Contract will be drawn up with the pupil in question.

  8. If Individual Behaviour Contract is unsuccessful parents will be requested at the time of the incident to remove their child from the premises. The Board of Management will be informed of suspension /expulsion at this point (in accordance with Rule 130 of the Rules for National Schools as amended by circular and Education Welfare Act 2000)


Please note it is at the discretion of each individual class teacher to use their professional judgment as to which sanction/step to begin the process (always mindful that sanctions must be age-appropriate). Class teacher is best positioned to judge the severity of the behavioural incident in the context of the particular group or class dynamics.


Pupils will not be deprived of engagement in a Curricular Area, except on the grounds of Health and Safety.


Suspension and Expulsion

Before serious sanctions such as detention, suspension or expulsion are used, the normal

channels of communication between school and parents will be utilised. Communication with parents may be verbal or by letter depending on the circumstances.


For gross misbehaviour or repeated instances of serious misbehaviour suspension may be

considered. Parents/guardians will be invited to come to the school to discuss their child’s case.

(Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards a teacher or pupil will be regarded as

serious or gross misbehaviour.)


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


In the case of gross misbehaviour, where it is necessary to ensure that order and discipline are maintained and to secure the safety of the pupils, the Board may authorise the Chairperson or Principal to sanction an immediate suspension for a period not exceeding three school days, pending a discussion of the matter with the parents/guardians.


Expulsion may be considered in an extreme case, in accordance with the Rules for National

Schools and the Education Welfare Act 2000. Before suspending or expelling a pupil, the Board shall notify the Local Welfare Education Officer in writing in accordance with Section 24 of the Education Welfare Act.

Removal of Suspension (Reinstatement)

Following or during a period of suspension, the parents/guardians may apply to have the pupil reinstated to the school. The parents/guardians must give a satisfactory undertaking that a suspended pupil will behave in accordance with the school code and the Principal must be satisfied that the pupil’s reinstatement will not constitute a risk to the pupil’s own safety or that of the other pupils or staff. The Principal will facilitate the preparation of a Behaviour Plan for the pupil if required and will re-admit the pupil formally to the class.

Children with Special Needs

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

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

Methods of Communicating with Parents

Communicating with parents is central to maintaining a positive approach to dealing with

children. Parents and teachers should develop a joint strategy to address specific difficulties, in addition to sharing a broader philosophy which can be implemented at home and in school.


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


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

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


  • Informal parent/teacher meetings and Formal parent/teacher meetings (including phone meetings)

  • Through children’s homework journal/Class Teacher email

  • Aladdin notices/emails from school to home and from home to school

  • School Newsletters

  • School Website



Teachers’ attention (especially that of new teachers) will be drawn to the Code of Behaviour. An abbreviated Code of Behaviour (including Class Rules) should be sent home and children encouraged to discuss with parents/guardians. (Children’s homework journals include an abbreviated version of the Behaviour Code which should be signed by parents). Parents/Guardians are asked to read the Code of Behaviour which is published on the school website and are asked to sign the Annual Parental Consent/Agreement Form.


New parents are advised of the Code of Behaviour and a copy is included in the school prospectus/information pack.


Timeframe for Review

The success of the policy will be reviewed on a regular basis at staff meetings taking into account feedback from the Board of Management, parents and pupils. Changes will be made where necessary.


Responsibility for Review                

This policy will be reviewed by the relevant post holder along with a small subcommittee of

teachers together with the full support and co-operation of all staff members.


Ratification and Communication

The Code of Behaviour will be subject to regular review by the Board of Management.

Appendix A

Behaviour Contracts


Some Guidelines for Behaviour Contracts:

The aim of a behaviour contract is to support the child in ownership of her behaviour and to replace unacceptable behaviours with acceptable behaviours. The contract may be a verbal agreement between teacher and pupil or other parties and may be informal and brief. If there are greater concerns with regard to the pupil’s behaviour, a more formal contract may be required, and this will also involve a broader level of consultation.

The following will facilitate successful behaviour contracts:

1. Concerns

List the concerns that the teacher has regarding the child’s behaviour. Consult with and list any additional concerns expressed by one or more of the following: the child, child’s parents/guardians, colleagues, classmates, wider school community.

2. Aim

State the aim of the Behaviour Contract which must relate directly to the recorded concerns.

3. Set Targets

Set specific targets for the child with emphasis on ‘doing’, and clarity on who, where and when the ‘doing’ is expected. Be realistic in your expectations and offer maximum opportunity for success. It may be necessary to set targets at regular intervals during the school day and to grade targets for achievement over set periods of time.

4. Support

A variety of methods should support the achievement of the set targets. Of primary importance among these should be warm body language, verbal encouragement, a sheet or chart to record success, listening to the child’s evaluation of behaviours and giving feedback. This support may also need to come from the child’s parents/guardians, Principal, other teachers, the child’s peers or child support agencies and services.

5. Review

Set a time-frame for the contract and review it. A positive outcome to the contract may not be immediate. The support strategy of listening and giving feedback is crucial.



Behaviour Contract – Template 1


I, the undersigned, do hereby agree to the rules presented below.  I promise to uphold the values presented in this document during my time in Ms. …….. classroom.  I understand that these rules exist to ensure success in my learning and I will do everything in my power to reach my full potential.


  1. I will give my full attention during class

  2. I will ask if I do not understand

  3. I will listen when others are speaking, whether it is Ms.______ or another member of the class

  4. I will make an effort to contribute lots of brilliant ideas

  5. I will come to lessons on time and in a positive frame of mind

  6. I will complete work on time and to the best of my ability

  7. I will not disrupt the learning of other students

  8. I will accept Ms. ______ decisions as final and speak with her at the end of the lesson if I feel there is a problem


Print Name ___________________________________________


Signature ____________________________________________


Ms .....


Behaviour Contract – Template 2


Pupils name:                            Class:

Time of incident:                      Date:


The school rule I chose not to follow:

What happened:

My reasons:

What I could have done differently:

Pupil signature: _______________________________


Date: __________

Teacher signature: ____________________________


Date: __________

Parent(s)/Guardian(s) signature: __________________


Date: __________

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