Code of Behaviour
Introduction - Our Ethos and Values
Drogheda Grammar School is a co-educational school with a Quaker and Protestant history. Our school welcomes students of all denominations and none. We value each and every student’s identity and background. The school’s ethos is based on broad Quaker principles and values which influence and guide our actions.
Every day in the school we work hard to create a positive atmosphere that values each individual student and offers them opportunities to contribute and achieve.
By ensuring each student feels valued and important we can encourage students to strive for excellence in the classroom and challenge them to achieve their individual potential.
What underpins this ethos is the sense of mutual respect that influences all of our teaching and learning and general interaction with each other. Treating each person with respect, decency and kindness allows everyone involved with the school to flourish.
We believe in spending more time talking to students than about them. This is reflected in the individual attention and knowledge of each student, the small class sizes, the invitation for our students to attend parent teacher meetings and the general atmosphere around the school.
By creating this positive atmosphere it provides the environment in which effective teaching and learning can take place. Through caring for and knowing each and every one of our students we can ensure they feel confident, listened to and encouraged.
Our overall aim is to ensure our students leave Drogheda Grammar School as confident, considerate and knowledgeable people who act with integrity and respect.
Our Principles and Aims:
Our school believes that in order to enable effective teaching and learning to take place, good and positive behaviour in all aspects of school life is necessary.
We seek to create a caring, learning environment in the school by:
- promoting good behaviour and establishing an orderly environment;
- promoting self-esteem, self-discipline, proper regard for authority and positive relationships based on mutual respect;
- ensuring fairness of treatment for all;
- encouraging consistency of response to both positive and negative behaviour;
- promoting early intervention;
- providing a safe environment free from disruption, violence, bullying and any form of harassment;
- encouraging a positive relationship with parents and carers to develop a shared approach to involve them in the implementation of the school’s policy and associated procedures.
- To encourage our students to let their life speak for them; to ensure that their actions reflect well on them and the school; to endeavour to allow everyone to act always with consideration and thought of the needs of others; in school and in the wider community.
- To promote good relationships, so that people can work together with the common purpose of helping everyone to learn.
While self-discipline and collective responsibility are the overall aims, there will be occasions when sanctions must be imposed in the interests of the school community as a whole. In these instances our approach will be fair, consistent, supportive and with the aim of ensuring the sanction and follow up is used to change behaviour and not just impose punishment.
Our Roles and Responsibilities:
- The Board of Directors and Board of Management will establish, in consultation with the Headmaster, staff, students and parents, the policy for the promotion of good behaviour and keep it under review. It will ensure that it is communicated to students and parents, is non-discriminatory and the expectations are clear. The Board of management will support the school in maintaining high standards of behaviour.
- The Headmaster will be responsible for the implementation and day-to-day management of the policy and procedures. Support for staff faced with challenging behaviour is also an important responsibility of the Headmaster.
- Teaching staff and school management will be responsible for ensuring that the policy and procedures are followed, and consistently and fairly applied. Mutual support and cooperation amongst all staff in the implementation of the policy is essential. Staff have a key role in advising the Headmaster on the effectiveness of the policy and procedures. They also have responsibility, with the support of the Headmaster, for creating a high quality teaching and learning environment, acknowledging good behaviour and implementing the agreed policy and procedures consistently.
- The Board of Management , Headmaster and staff will ensure there is no differential application of the policy and procedures on any grounds, particularly ethnic or national origin, culture, religion, gender, disability or sexuality. They will also ensure that the concerns of students are listened to and appropriately addressed.
- Parents and carers will be expected to take responsibility for the behaviour of their child both inside and outside the school. They will be encouraged to work in partnership with the school to assist the school in maintaining high standards of behaviour and will have the opportunity to raise with the school any issues arising from the operation of the policy.
- Students will be expected to take responsibility for their own behaviour and will be made fully aware of the school policy, procedure and expectations, Students also have a responsibility to ensure that incidents of disruption, violence, bullying and any form of harassment are reported.
There is a clear understanding that rights and responsibilities are connected. In order to enjoy rights we must all fulfil our responsibilities. In that context everyone’s basic responsibility should be to uphold the rights of others. The school community has high expectations of all its members in that respect
What happens when things go right:
How we value Positive Behaviour:
All members of staff have the responsibility to promote good behaviour amongst students through acknowledging students’ active participation in the life of the school and all of their attainments within and beyond the school day. Below is a list of how we acknowledge and recognise good behaviour both inside the classroom and throughout the school.
- Verbal praise -in class, privately, to other staff
- Reward as focus of lesson e.g. reading for pleasure, Music while you work in agreement with staff
- Positive body language
- Displaying work
- Comments in Student Journal
- Recorded on VSware
- Mentions at weekly Assemblies / Website / Social Media
- Use of the school’s commendation system
- Becoming a mentor
- Becoming a prefect
Drogheda Grammar School Commendation System:
- To formally recognise and promote positive behaviour, effort and conduct.
- To bring balance to our code of behaviour- focus on the positive, not just how we sanction.
- To create an easy to use system that allows staff to recognise and reward “extraordinary” behaviour that reflects the values of the school.
How it works:
- A teacher decides a student deserves a commendation- it may be for work or conduct.
- The student now takes responsibility for minding the commendation, getting it signed at home and ensuring the year head signs it. It is the student’s responsibility to look after this.
- It must be signed by the parents, teacher and year head. The parents, student and teacher can keep a copy.
The Role of the Teacher:
- Decides on who gets a commendation.
- Fills out a commendation form.
The Role of a Year Head:
- To keep a record of how many commendations (signed by parents and teacher) each student receives.
- To let Headmaster know when a student has received 5 commendations in a term.
The Role of the Headmaster
- When a student receives 5 commendations in a term the Headmaster will write a letter home congratulating them and meet the student to praise them. This will also go into the student’s file.
The Role of the Student:
- Earning the commendation.
- Getting it signed and ensuring the year head receives the signed copy.
What happens when things go wrong?:
In the event of behaviour which is contrary to the values of the school or is in contravention of the code of behaviour/school rules sanctions will be applied. The rationale behind the use of sanctions is to intervene at an early stage in an attempt to educate students in personal responsibility, to encourage self-discipline and to change future behaviour.
Sanctions operate successfully when:
- All students are aware of the school’s expectations and their own responsibilities.
- All staff take responsibility for the monitoring of student behaviour and use consistently and agreed structure of sanctions.
- The response is to the behaviour and action, not a comment on the student.
- An opportunity for understanding and change is provided.
- We use discipline/sanction to change behaviour, not just to punish.
- We follow up and ensure improvements have been made.
Our range of sanctions
In class discipline/sanction:
A range of sanctions are available to teachers to deal with issues that arise in class or on the corridor:
Note on VSWare
A verbal reprimand
Extra work being set
A note home in the journal
Asking a student to move seat/position in class
Issuing a detention
Referring a student to the Year Head
Teachers will log and record and discipline issues and sanctions used. Year Heads, the Deputy Principal and Headmaster will be informed as necessary.
Lunchtime detention is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at lunchtime. Students are assigned this detention for minor infractions of the school rules or failing to complete assigned work. The reason for a detention will be clearly explained either verbally or in writing in the student journal.
- Friday Detentions:
Friday detentions are held after school from 3:45 to 4:45 pm. They are for more serious and/or repeated violations of basic school rules and can be issued by the year head, Headmaster or deputy Headmaster. If a Friday detention is decided upon the parents/guardian are informed.
Suspension is defined as:
requiring the student to absent himself/herself from the school for a specified, limited period of school days.
During the period of a suspension, the student retains their place in the school.
Suspension should be a proportionate response to the behaviour that is causing concern.
A student may be suspended for a serious violation of school rules, for persistent misbehaviour or if previous sanctions have not been completed.
The Board of Management delegates to the Headmaster the authority to suspend students for periods of no longer than 3 days. Any longer period of suspension will go before the Board of Management. If a suspension longer than three days is being proposed by the Headmaster, the matter should be referred to the Board of Management for consideration and approval, giving the circumstances and the expected outcomes.
Parents/guardians (and students aged 18 years or more) may appeal the decision to suspend to the Board of Management. They should furnish the Board in writing with full details of the reasons for Appeal prior to the next Board meeting for consideration. The Board will observe fair procedures (in particular giving the student/parents in question the right to hear the case against him or her and the right to state a case in rebuttal, based on their written appeal). A sub-committee will be formed by the Board of Management to hear the appeal.
Section 29 Appeal
Where the total number of days for which the student has been suspended in the current school year reaches twenty days, the parents, or a student aged over eighteen years, may appeal the suspension under section 29 of the Education Act 1998, as amended by the Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007.
Suspension as part of a behaviour management plan
Suspension should be part of an agreed plan to address the student’s behaviour. The suspension should:
- enable the school to set behavioural goals with the student and their parents
- give school staff an opportunity to plan other interventions
- impress on a student and their parents the seriousness of the behaviour.
A student is expelled from a school when a Board of Management makes a decision to permanently exclude him or her from the school, having complied with the provisions of section 24 of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000.
A proposal to expel a student requires serious grounds such as that:
- the student’s behaviour is a persistent cause of significant disruption to the learning of others or to the teaching process
- the student’s continued presence in the school constitutes a real and significant threat to safety
- the student is responsible for serious damage to property.
The grounds for expulsion may be similar to the grounds for suspension. In addition to factors such as the degree of seriousness and the persistence of the behaviour, a key difference is that, where expulsion is considered, The Board and school management will have tried a series of other interventions, and believe they have exhausted all possibilities for changing the student’s behaviour.
Further information regarding the procedures for suspension and expulsion can be found in the suspension and expulsion policy and also in appendix B and C.
Other policies linked/relevant to this Code of Behaviour:
- Anti- bullying policy
- Whole school guidance plan
- The role of year head
- Child protection policy and guidelines
- Acceptable user policy, e mail and data protection policies
- Suspension and expulsion policy
Drogheda Grammar School Guidelines and Rules
Every student of Drogheda Grammar School is expected to behave in a responsible manner and help build an atmosphere which is caring, friendly and encourages effective learning and high expectations.
These guidelines and rules are designed to create and foster that atmosphere and ensure we promote a safe, happy environment in which each individual student feels valued and can achieve and contribute to their full potential.
It should be noted, however, that it is not possible to detail everything regarding a student’s behaviour and the school authorities reserve the right to make the final decision in interpreting these rules/guidelines and related matters.
Our School Rules:
The school rules and guidelines below were created after a long consultation process with students, parents and staff.
They have been created to give rights and responsibilities, consistency and structure to each student’s school experience.
They also afford protection for both staff and students and help to establish high expectations and norms of behaviour within the school.
Finally the rules and guidelines are there to support parents/guardians by sharing our expectations and establishing the standards needed for successful teaching and learning to take place.
Behaviour and respect for one another
- Students must behave with courtesy and respect to staff, fellow students and others in the school.
- Students must co-operate with and follow the instructions of all staff members and prefects.
- Students must not bully, intimidate or in any way victimise anyone else in school or via social media.
- Rowdy behaviour and the use of bad language are forbidden.
- Public displays of affection are considered inappropriate in a school environment e.g. no kissing.
Attendance and Punctuality
- Students are required to attend school regularly. It is the duty of parents/guardians to ensure regular attendance. If a student is absent, parents/guardians should inform the school by phone or email, and submit a letter/note of explanation when the student returns to school.
- Requests for absence from school must be made in writing to the Headmaster, Deputy Headmaster or Year Head.
- Punctuality is essential and expected at all times.
- Students should arrive into school in plenty of time and be in class/assembly by 08:45 am on all school days.
- Visits to lockers are not permitted during class time or between classes (unless with specific permission from a teacher). Students may visit their lockers at break time, lunchtime, and before and after school.
- All students must leave the school premises by 4.00 pm (1.45 pm on Wednesdays) unless they are taking part in an official supervised school activity, or attending Homework Club or Evening Study.
Uniform and Appearance
- Students must wear the correct school uniform at all times during the school day or while representing the school (except in cases where clothing suitable to an activity is required e.g. horticulture, PE classes). This includes wearing the school jacket to and from school.
- Students must maintain a high standard of hygiene and appear smart at all times. Hair must be of a natural colour/dyed a natural colour and be clean, neat and tidy. Hair must not conceal the student’s face or eyes.
- Boys should be clean-shaven.
- The wearing of jewellery must be kept to a minimum – jewellery items must be small, unobtrusive and not pose a hazard. Visible body piercings, including tongue piercings, are forbidden. Students will not be exempted from this rule on the grounds that piercings are recent and need time to heal. Wearing a plaster over jewellery is not acceptable. (Small ear studs are permitted.)
- Students are not allowed to wear make-up in school or on a school activity while wearing the school uniform.
- School footwear: shoes should be plain black leather or plain black synthetic material only. No logos, other colours etc. The following types of shoes are not permitted –, white-soled shoes, Ugg boots etc . During PE and sports students must wear appropriate sporting footwear.
- The decision of the Headmaster and the Deputy Principal in the interpretation of these uniform rules and guidelines will be final.
Schoolwork and Homework
- Students must complete homework and schoolwork to the best of their ability and on time.
- All students are responsible for asking a parent/guardian to sign their journal at the end of each week.
- If a student is absent from class in order to participate in an extra-curricular activity, s/he should make all reasonable effort to complete homework and to catch up on all work missed.
- Students should have all the materials required for class at all times, including their school journal.
Property and the school environment
- Students must endeavour to keep the school environment safe, clean and tidy.
- Eating is allowed only in the designated areas (dining hall and picnic benches) and at the designated times.
- Students must respect school property, their own property and the property of other students and staff.
- Students must not litter/graffiti in any part of the school and must use the appropriate bin/recycling bin at all times.
- Chewing gum is not permitted in the school/on school grounds.
Health and Safety
- Students should behave at all times with due regard for their own safety and for the safety of others.
- Smoking (including e-cigarettes) is strictly prohibited in the school, on the school grounds, or while students are engaged in school activities or wearing the school uniform.
- The possession or consumption of alcoholic drink is forbidden in the school and on school grounds and/or whilst wearing the school uniform.
- The possession, sale, assisting a sale of or use of illegal or unprescribed drugs is strictly forbidden, as is the misuse of any other substance.
- Mobile phones, electronic devices and earphones must be switched off and kept in lockers during the school day (unless with permission from a class teacher for specific educational purposes in a class setting). Please refer to the school’s mobile phone policy.
- Potentially dangerous items or other materials that might cause harm or disruption, e.g. pointed objects, laser lights, "joke items," rubber bands, aerosols etc. are prohibited.
- A student must never leave the premises or go home during the school day without prior permission from their Year Head, the Deputy Headmaster or Headmaster. Permission will only be granted if there is a prior note or phone call of explanation from a parent/guardian. If permission to leave is granted, students must sign out in the office before leaving the premises.
- The only drink permitted in the classroom is water. Other food and drink are not permitted in the classroom.
- Students are not allowed into the staff room, the staff work room or to use the school photocopiers.
Amendment ref: COVID- August 2020
The health, safety, physical and mental wellbeing of all school staff and students are of absolute importance to the school management. All staff and students must adhere to the strict hygiene guidelines and protocols as directed and issued by the HSE and the school.
Please be advised if at any time it is perceived by school management that a student has deliberately ignored these hygiene protocols and placed the health and safety of another student or staff member at risk, the school management will respond swiftly and sanction in accordance with the severity of these actions. The student will be removed from class/school until resolved.
Actions such as spitting or deliberately coughing in another person's face will be treated as a physical assault and may result in serious sanction, including suspension.
Amendment ref: Online Behaviour- April 2021
The school has a ban on the use of mobile phones and operates a secure email and network within the school. It can educate guide and advise about appropriate online behaviour. Inappropriate use of the school email system will be sanctioned.
With regard to social media, the school does not operate, create or condone social media groups outside of school amongst students and parents. We have no control over their creation and never use them to disseminate information. Creation of any online groups using the schools name or image is strictly forbidden.
However, we are aware this happens outside of school and can sometimes impact within the school as a result. We cannot sanction and/or intervene for every action, unless it directly impacts on the behaviour of our students and the learning environment within our school. We expect parents and students to monitor, advise and assume responsibility for online behaviour outside of school.
Our advice for parents and students is to ‘keep a record of the incident and do not delete’ as the school will require proof of any accusation of online bullying against a student / person in the school.
The school cannot investigate an alleged incident without proof / evidence that such an incident occurred. E.g. Screenshots.
- This code of Behaviour, rules and guidelines was first approved by the PTA, Student Council, Teaching Staff and Board of Management April 2018"
- Reviewed and Amended by the Board of Management August 2020
- Further reviewed by the Board of Management April 2021
- School rules ( specifically with regard to uniform)- reviewed by the Student Council and PTA January 2023
Sample situations and responses:
While each situation may have a different context, the table below gives an indication of how our code of behaviour is applied in general:
SUBJECT TEACHER/ TEACHER
• Failure to produce Homework/Coursework
• Careless Homework/Classwork
• Forgotten books/equipment/kit
• Lateness to Class/Assembly
• Inappropriate uniform
• Failure to submit a note after absence
• Inappropriate behaviour in Class e.g. speaking out/inappropriate questions or comments/mobile phone switched on
• Discuss and offer opportunity to change
• Give a verbal reprimand
• Suggest a verbal or written apology
• Change the seating plan in the room
• Set repeat/catch-up work
• Set a detention
• Collect mobile phone and leave with Year Head
• Note/phone call home
• Refer to the Year head for further action
REPEATED instances of above behaviour and more serious breaches of School’s Code of Behaviour are referred to the Year Head and on to the Deputy Principal/Headmaster
• Repeated lack of application in class
• Abuse of school property
• Repeated violation of uniform regulations
• Truancy from Class/school
• Persistent lateness to Class/Assembly /School
• Bullying type behaviour
• Disrespect to Subject teacher/peers in speech or gesture
• Abusive language
• Other inappropriate behaviour – rudeness/disobedience/disruptiveness
• All of the above
• Discuss and offer opportunity to change
• Formulate clear behaviour plan
• Set a lunchtime or Friday detention
• Place on comment form
• Community service
• Put additional support measures in place – e.g... Mentor, Counsellor
• Contact and meet parents
• Restrict extra-curricular activities/trips
• Refer to DP/Headmaster for further action
• Truancy from School
• Physical aggression
• Abuse of School property
• All of the above
• Suggest a verbal or written apology
• Contact and meet parents
• Set a lunchtime/Friday detention
• Withdraw the student’s privileges for a set period
• Withdraw the student from class
• Refer to Headmaster
• Provide appropriate support structures with outside agencies
• Put additional support measures in place – e.g. Mentor, Counsellor
• Formulate clear behaviour plan
• Refer to the Headmaster for further action
All of the above
• All of the above
• Meeting with parents /guardians
• Suspension from school
• Put in place a behaviour plan
• Refer to the Board of management for further action.
Board of Management
• Consult with Headmaster, DP and Year Heads and recommend further suspension.
• Support a behaviour plan
• Seek legal advice
Factors to consider when considering Expulsion
The nature and seriousness of the behaviour
- What is the precise description of the behaviour?
- How persistent has the unacceptable behaviour been and over what period of time?
- Has the problem behaviour escalated, in spite of the interventions tried?
The context of the behaviour
- What are the circumstances of the incidents of serious misbehaviour (e.g. in class, in a particular teacher’s class, in the yard, in a group)?
- What factors may have triggered or provoked incidents of serious misbehaviour (e.g. bullying, cultural or family factors)?
- Are there any factors that may be associated with the behaviour (e.g. particular home circumstances, special educational needs)?
The impact of the behaviour
- How are other students and staff affected by the student’s behaviour?
- What is the impact of the behaviour on the teaching and learning of the class?
The interventions tried to date
- What interventions have been tried? Over what period?
- How have the interventions been recorded and monitored?
- What has been the result of these interventions?
- Have the parents been involved in finding a solution to the problem behaviour?
- Has the intervention of NEPS or other psychological assessment or counselling been sought, where appropriate?
- Is the student or parent involved with any support service and has this agency or support service
been asked for help in solving this problem?
- Has any other agency been asked for assistance (e.g. Child Guidance Clinic, Child and Adolescent Mental Health services)?
- Is the Board satisfied that no other intervention can be tried or is likely to help the student to change their behaviour?
Whether expulsion is a proportionate response
- Is the student’s behaviour sufficiently serious to warrant expulsion?
- Is the standard being applied to judging the behaviour the same as the standard applied to the behaviour of any other student?
The possible impact of expulsion
- To what extent may expulsion exacerbate any social or educational vulnerability of the student?
- Will the student be able to take part in, and benefit from, education with their peers?
- In the case of a student who is in care, what might be the implications of expulsion for the care arrangements?
A parent, or a student aged over eighteen years, may appeal a decision to expel to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science (Education Act 1998 section 29). An appeal may also be brought by the National Educational Welfare Board on behalf of a student.
ACCEPTANCE OF OUR CODE OF BEHAVIOUR POLICY
This section must be signed and returned to the school before September 1st.
I/we have read Drogheda Grammar School’s Code of Behaviour Policy.
I/we understand that by enrolling in this school I/We agree to the terms as outlined in this policy.
STUDENT NAME(s): ____________________________ BLOCK CAPITALS
Parent 1: ________________________________
Parent 2: ________________________________