Code of Behaviour

Code of Behaviour

ARDSCOIL MHUIRE  CODE OF BEHAVIOUR   Introduction and Ethos  Ardscoil Mhuire, with a student population of approximately 500 students and a large teaching, student support, supervisory, office and maintenance staff is equivalent in size to a substantial industrial or commercial concern. The purpose of this Code of Behaviour is to create a safe and positive environment in which students can learn and grow, and teachers can teach and guide them.  Rules will be administered in a spirit of fairness, bearing in mind the best interests of the whole school community.  When sanctions have to be administered, students and parents are reminded that it is the offence that is disapproved of and not the individual.  Parents are specifically reminded that they always have the right to make representations to the school on their children’s behalf. Although success in education is often perceived as success in the academic field, Ardscoil Mhuire sees the education process as being broader and deeper than this. While not detracting from the importance of scholastic attainment, Ardscoil Mhuire aims to give its students an education founded in the Christian values of the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy.  The student is seen as a whole person who is helped to grow to maturity in an atmosphere of Christian respect, care and concern.  The aim of education in our system is the formation of the whole person. Success in our system is not measured by academic success alone, although the importance of such success is acknowledged.  As well as such attainments, our aim is to assist the students in knowing God in their lives, and our goal is to create a school community that assists this growth towards knowledge. With these aims in mind, this Code of Behaviour for our school has been devised and adopted. It is the understanding of the school that parents and students will familiarise themselves with the Code and students will present themselves for school in the knowledge of the standards of conduct that will be expected of them, and with the intention of meeting those standards.  Parents are expected to support the school in the administration and implementation of the Code in a fair and efficient way, and it is on the basis of this understanding that Ardscoil Mhuire undertakes the education and formation of the students. The Code of Behaviour:  In reading this Code and especially the section on School rules, the following points should be kept in mind.
  1. Consideration is given to the particular needs and circumstances of students and the school. The aim is to ensure the individuality of each student is accommodated, while the right of each student to be educated in an atmosphere that is free of disruption is affirmed.
  2. Every effort will be made by Staff to adopt a positive approach to the question of behaviour in school, and the code sets out to offer a framework in which positive techniques of motivation and encouragement can be applied.  
  3. The school emphasises praise, encouragement and acknowledgement rather than sanctions or punishments, in the belief that this will give the best results in the long term.
  4. The school recognises that a variety of differences exist between students and acknowledges the need to accommodate such variation.    
Relationships with Parents   Every effort will be made by Principal and Staff to ensure that Parents are kept well informed, that the school provides a welcoming atmosphere towards parents and that parents are informed not only when their children are in trouble but also when they have behaved particularly well. Parents are entitled to expect that the school will be conducted in a way that their child will be given the opportunity and encouragement to advance and flourish and that the school will keep them briefed on their child’s progress and development.   In return the school is entitled to expect that students will adhere to reasonable standards of behaviour, dress, conformity to school discipline, neatness, application and punctuality. They will show consideration for others; fellow students, staff members and visitors to the school to promote a common good within the school. The school is also entitled to expect that parents will have informed themselves of the nature, ethos and goals of the school, and will be supportive of the school in the attainment of these goals. In cases where sanctions are necessary, we have attempted to distinguish between major offences/breaches and minor misbehaviours and consequently we have endeavoured to devise a system through which sanctions can be quickly, fairly and consistently applied. The details of this system are set out in the section on Responding to Inappropriate Behaviour, and a copy will be made available to all parents.

Promoting Positive Behaviour

Ardscoil Mhuire actively promotes good behaviour among our student body with strategies that affirm and promote positive behaviour at both class and school level.
    • Annual Attendance Award
    • Annual Realt Award
    • Cara Awards
    • Academic Awards
    • Project and Reader Awards
    • Student of the Year Award
    • Student Council
    • Student Ambassadors
    • Prefect Roles
    • Merit Letters
    • Class Tutor System
    • Merit System for Second Year Group
    • Text Messaging System
    • Parent /Teacher/ Student meetings for Sixth Year Group
    • “Hall of Fame” photo gallery
  • Public announcements and acknowledgement of all achievements and participation in school events
  • Achievement Awards
  • TY Participation Awards
    • School Rules:  
  • The school reserves the right to add to, delete, modify or adapt these school rules in the light of experience, and circumstances, but guarantees that any such alteration will be brought to the attention of those concerned.
  • The following specific rules are needed to ensure the safe, harmonious and efficient conduct of the business of the school.
  1.         CONDUCT in school must be co-operative, attentive, respectful of fellow students and teachers and obedient at all times.
  2.         UNIFORM: Full uniform will be worn at all times i.e. the regulation tartan skirt or navy trousers, school jumper and blouse, navy knee socks or navy tights and black shoes.
  3.         MAKE-UP: Only discreet foundation allowed.
  4.         PUNCTUALITY: Students MUST be on time for roll calls and all classes.
  5.         ABSENCE: Following absence a student must present written explanation on absence notes at the back of their school journal. This note must be signed by parent/guardian and given to the teacher at 9.00 a.m. roll call. The absence note will then be sent to office with rolls.
  6.      LEAVING THE SCHOOL: Students who, in exceptional circumstances, need to leave school during school hours must have a general request /explanation note signed by parent/guardian. This note must be presented to office before 8.55 a.m. or between 11.00 a.m. and 11.10 a.m. Students will then be given a special pass. a Parent or Guardian MUST come to the office to sign out students
  7.        LEAVING THE CLASS:
  •                          This may happen only with the teacher’s permission.
  •                          Toilets should be used during break time and lunchtime only.
  •                          Books should be obtained from lockers before 9.00 a.m, at 11am and during lunch break only
  • 7. SUPERVISION: In the absence of a teacher the class will go to the Central Assembly Area where they will have supervised study stud
  • 8. LITTER: Students have a responsibility to keep the school tidy. The throwing of litter or the writing of graffiti is forbidden anywhere inside or outside the school. Any teacher may request a student to pick up litter within the school buildings or grounds even if the student is not responsible for depositing that piece of litter.
  • CHEWING GUM is banned within school grounds
  • 10. SMOKING drug taking (including possession) and drinking alcohol are strictly forbidden in school, coming to school and going home, and on all organised school activities. This rule extends to the carrying of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes/matches and the aiding, in any way, of other students in smoking, taking drugs or alcoholic drink. The sniffing of glue, solvents and similar substances is considered a form of drug abuse
  • 11. HOMEWORK: Students are expected to produce set homework as well as appropriate books, materials and P.E. gear. If a student misses a class/classes for e.g. matches, open days etc. it is her responsibility to get and complete any homework assigned.
  • 12. PROPERTY: Students, singly and collectively, are responsible for school property. Damage to school property must be made good by the student/s concerned
  • 13. THEFT: Each person’s property is private, any interference or theft will be treated as a serious offence 
  • 14. BULLYING  of any kind will not be tolerated.
  • 15.MOBILE PHONES must be powered off at all times in the classroom and on the corridor except during break time. Sight or sound of a mobile phone or music device during class time will incur confiscation for THE NEXT FIVE SCHOOL DAYS. Emergency calls may be made from the school office with permission.
  • 16. The SCHOOL JOURNAL is the official journal for Ardscoil Mhuire. Students must have it in school everyday and it must be brought to every class. It can be inspected at any time by any teacher.A PENALTY POINT system is in operation for infringement of school rules.

Responding to Inappropriate behaviour

Despite the best efforts of the school, inappropriate behaviour happens. Even minor breaches of the Code of Behaviour can be disruptive. Serious misbehaviour can have damaging and long lasting effects. The Disciplinary Structure of the School: All teachers have a role in school discipline, and this is specifically drawn to the attention of students. It is however in the nature of things, that instances of misbehaviour will be dealt with by the class teacher, and only more serious misbehaviours will need to be taken beyond the classroom. The School’s Discipline Structure is:
  • The Classroom teacher
  • The Class tutor
  • The Year Head
  • The Deputy Principal
  • The Discipline Council (Deputy Principal, Year Head & one teacher)
  • The Principal
  • The Board of Management. 
  • Counselling will be offered to students who need it in order to improve their behaviour.

Teacher issues penalty points, as outlined in the following Penalty Points System.

POINT SYSTEM: Assignment of Points to Rules: Students must                                                                  Penalty for failing to obey Present note explaining absence from school         2 points Be on time for class                                                      2 points Wear full uniform                                                         2 points Have correct books and materials                             2 points Have homework done                                                   3 points Always follow teachers instructions                           3 points Put litter in appropriate bin                                         3 points Students must not: Eat, drink or chew in class                                          2 points (Drinking of water is allowed except in laboratories) Disrupt class in any way      4 points and/or removal from class Use bad language               4 points and/or removal from class   Challenge teacher               4 points and/or removal from class inappropriately   Damage school property or write on     4 points and replace/repair desks or walls or damaged property. Students who are removed from class are not allowed back to class until their Parents/Guardian have been notified and student apologises to teacher concerned. 10 points results in a lunchtime detention. 18 points results in evening detention. 24 points and over students may be denied school privileges (e.g. trips, matches – players and supporters, speakers) and Parents/Guardians must meet with Principal/Deputy Principal/Year Head. Also, one or more of the following measures are taken.
  • On report
  • In house suspension
  • Privileges being denied
  • Individual behaviour plan
  • Brought before Discipline Council
  • Brought before school Principal
  • Suspension
  • Referral to outside agency(Parents will be notified of both internal and external suspensions)Serious offences outside of Point System:e.g. Truancy, Taking illegal substances, Fighting etc. will result in student’s Parents/Guardians being contacted and one or more of the above measures being taken which may result in a meeting with the Board of Management.  
Unacceptable Behaviour
Misbehaviours will be treated less severely than serious breaches of the Code. Misbehaviour includes minor breaches of school rules and isolated infringements in relation to schoolwork and homework.  Advice and warnings are the favoured method of dealing with these, followed by the imposition of the milder sanctions where this is felt to be warranted. Repeated misbehaviours will lead to more serious sanctions. This includes repeated minor breaches of school regulations and/or repeated neglect of schoolwork or homework. The school keeps records of each student’s behaviour, and if a pattern of misbehaviour is seen to be forming, more severe sanctions will be used to deal with this tendency.  Major Breaches of Code of Behaviour:  Major breaches of the School Rules and Code of Behaviour will be treated seriously and the appropriate sanction applied.   Examples of such serious breaches would be
  • Defiant or insulting behaviour towards a member of the school community
  • Deliberate damage to property, or theft
  • Threatening behaviour
  • Bullying
  • Possession of banned substances
  • Physical aggressionDepending on the nature of the breach, an appropriate sanction will be applied. If an investigation or enquiry has to be undertaken this will be done without delay before the sanction is imposed. The student will be withdrawn from class and Parents/Guardians will be contacted and requested to take the student home. Serious breaches may lead to immediate suspension, the fact of which will be communicated to the parents directly. The authority to suspend for a specific number of days is delegated to the Principal by the Board of Management. Extreme or gross misbehaviours may be of such a nature that the only appropriate penalty is expulsion from the school. (See Suspension and Expulsion section)    Records of Conduct:All instances of misconduct, except those of a very minor nature will be recorded in writing. Improvements in the behaviour of disruptive students will also be recorded. Before the serious sanctions are availed of, the parents will be communicated with; it is expected that they will support the school in ensuring the good behaviour of their children.   Right to be heard:Where parents wish to make a case on their child’s behalf or to offer explanations of the child’s behaviour, they are assured that they will get the opportunity to present their case and will be given a fair hearing. The imposition of any sanction may be deferred for a reasonable time to allow for this. Any points they wish to make will be fully considered before a decision is taken. Parents are specifically informed that a right of appeal of serious sanctions exists, and are advised that they should feel free to consult the school for information or guidance. It is the belief of the school that, since the students’ welfare is the common aim and interest of both parents and school, most incidents of student misbehaviour are solvable by meeting and discussion, and the school undertakes to show reasonableness and flexibility in the imposition of sanctions, always bearing in mind the need to maintain school standards and promote the common good.    
  • Bullying 
Bullying is repeated aggression, verbal, psychological or physical, conducted by an individual or group against others. Isolated incidents of aggressive behaviour, which should not be condoned, can scarcely be described as bullying. However, when the behaviour is systematic and ongoing it is bullying. Bullies rely on our silence. It is important that Bullying Behaviour be reported. Ardscoil Mhuire is a “Telling” school.

Procedures for countering bullying behaviour in Ardscoil Mhuire

The Students, Staff and Parents of Ardscoil Mhuire have drawn up the following procedures for dealing with Bullying:
  1. A verbal complaint should be made to the Class Tutor, Year Head, Guidance Counsellor, Principal, Deputy Principal or any other member of the staff and this complaint will be recorded by the teacher concerned
  2. The Teacher will :
  3. a) Deal with the incident him/herself
  4. and   (b) Report to and consult with the Counsellor
  5. and   (c) Report to the Principal/Deputy Principal/Year Head
  6. The Principal will consult with the Parents of both the student who is being bullied and of the student engaging in bullying behaviour.
  7. Counselling will be provided for the student who has been bullied.
  8. Counselling will be provided for the student who has engaged in bullying behaviour. Sanctions will be imposed. The severity of the sanctions will be determined by the degree and frequency of bullying engaged in.
  9. All cases of bullying will be monitored on an ongoing basis by the Prefects, Teachers involved, Deputy Principal and Principal.
  10. All interviews will be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of the pupils involved.These procedures together with our Charter are intended to reassure anyone who is being bullied that she will be listened to and that her case will be dealt with seriously.         
  11. Mobile Phones and Music devices must be powered off during class periods otherwise they will be confiscated for the following five school days.
  12. Compensation: Damage to school property, or to the property of staff members and other students, must be made good by the students concerned. Where it is impossible to determine the exact individual and a group was involved, the cost shall be paid by the whole group.
  13. Confiscation: Dangerous, inappropriate or unsuitable objects may be confiscated and may be returned to the student or parents, as appropriate.
  14. Withdrawal of Privileges: Students may be deprived of certain privileges, such as school tours, matches. etc.
  15. Community Service: Students may be required to do additional periods on the clean-up rota, either in classroom or anywhere on school premises.
  16. On Report: A Year Head may place a student on Report. This requires the student to obtain a written comment from the teacher of each of her classes every day she is on Report. The final Report will be signed daily by the Parents/Guardians and monitored by the Year Head. Where a student’s behaviour has not improved she may be placed on Report for a further week. If the pattern of misbehaviour continues further action will be taken, in consultation with the parents.
  17. The following sanctions are not exclusive, but they do list those sanctions most used in the school. Where a teacher, for reasons of effectiveness, would use other sanctions, they would have the same degree of severity as these sanctions. For minor offences, the emphasis is on correction rather than chastisemen   
  18. Sanctions for Breach of the code of Behaviour Detention: Students will be placed on detention during lunch break or evening detention following a written letter of explanation home.
Modification: The school reserves the right to add to, delete, modify or adapt the above rules in the light of experience and circumstances, but guarantees that any such addition, deletion, modification or adaptation will be brought to the attention of those to be affected by it without undue delay and will be issued in writing on a sheet to be added to this Code of Behaviour. Review: The School’s Code of Behaviour is constantly kept under review. Comments and suggestions are welcomed by the school and will be considered at the next formal review of the Code.                                                         (Reviewed and updated Nov 2010)