SCHOOL ETHOS

The policy was drawn up in line with our school Mission Statement and in line with the philosophy of its founding partners, County Kilkenny Vocational Education Committee, and reflects its values and beliefs.  The primary responsibility for the development of good behaviour rests in the home with parents and guardians, where children spend most of their time.  However in order to foster good behaviour in school every member of the school community has a role to play.  We believe that positive reinforcement of good behaviour leads to better self-discipline and we place a greater emphasis on rewards and incentives than on sanctions.

RATIONALE

This Code of Behaviour is in place in order to:

  • Promote good behaviour
  • Ensure the safety of all its members of the school community both on the school premises and on school activities
  • Promote a positive and successful teaching and learning environment
  • Help students acquire good habits of discipline, behaviour and responsibility
  • Prepare students in becoming autonomous, responsible and mature adults for future responsibilities in the working environment
  • To inform students and their parents of the procedures used by the school to address issues of discipline in the school, to define standards of behaviour for students, to inform students and their parents of the measures that the school may take to address student misbehaviour, to inform parents of the school procedures that will be followed before a student is suspended or expelled, to explain the grounds and conditions under which a suspension is imposed on a student may be lifted and to inform parents of their legal responsibilities relating to occasions when their child is absent from school.
  • To facilitate the delivery of the curriculum to students
  • To conform to the statutory obligation in section 23 of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 which obliges recognised schools to prepare, for the information of students and their parents, a code of behaviour in respect of students registered at the school.

RULES AND REGULATIONS

Behaviour

The following rules safeguard our rights as persons and our property in Kilkenny City Vocational School.

  • Students are to act in a respectful, appropriate and well behaved mannerly fashion towards their fellow students and staff at all times.
  • Students will move quietly between classrooms in an orderly manner. All students must wait in a quiet orderly manner outside the classroom until the teacher arrives.
  • Offensive language, defiant or insulting behaviour to a member of staff by word or action is completely forbidden and will lead to disciplinary action.
  • As chewing gum causes damage to furniture, fittings and the school environment, the chewing of gum on the school grounds is absolutely forbidden.
  • For health, hygiene and safety reasons, the possession, purchase or consumption of alcohol or addictive substances during the school day or during school activities is absolutely forbidden, in accordance with the school’s Substance Abuse Policy.
  • Smoking is absolutely forbidden on the school premises, its vicinity and during school functions and activities.
  • All damage to school property must be immediately reported to the school authorities, after which appropriate action will be taken.
  • Students must bring all necessary books and equipment every day, including P.E. gear when appropriate. School books which are loaned to pupils on rental system must be looked after properly and returned at the appropriate time.  The use of tippex, indelible markers, and other items which are not necessary should not be brought into school.  Such items, if they are brought in, will be confiscated.
  • Mobile phone or other digital/electronic device is restricted to break and lunch times. Use at any other times is forbidden and will lead to confiscation.
  • The unauthorised use of the ‘camera feature’ on a mobile phone, or any other recording device is strictly forbidden in school, or at any school-related activities.
  • Students are expected to be well behaved in the social areas at all times. Bags and equipment should be stored safely.  Misuse of sports equipment will lead to confiscation.
  • Copying tests or examinations is considered a serious offence.
  • Students are expected to be conscious of their environment and keep the premises clean and litter free by disposing of their litter in the correct bins.
  • Eating and drinking are restricted to break-times and lunch-times and are only permitted in designated areas. Students are only permitted in the canteen at break and lunch time.
  • Students are forbidden to be on school premises outside normal school hours unless authorised by a member of staff.
  • Students must respect all school property. Defacing school property by writing on desks, walls etc, or by placing graffiti on any part of the school premises is a very serious offence and students will be held responsible for the restoration of the damage.  Students must never interfere with the property of another student.
  • In Kilkenny City Vocational School, staff and pupils are protected from any invasion of privacy or harassment.
  • In Kilkenny City Vocational School, students are expected to follow the SMILE entry to class routine.
  • In Kilkenny City Vocational School, students are expected to follow the corridor behaviour routine / plan while using the corridors.

Personal Property

  • Management is not responsible for articles lost or stolen. Money or valuables should not be left in social areas.
  • Lockers are provided for the use of students but are at all times the property of the school, and it is a condition of rental of the lockers to the students that the school reserves the right to open and search students’ lockers when necessary. The student will be invited to be present during any search.  Students will be responsible for the contents of their lockers at all times.
  • Under no circumstances should school bags be left in school after 4.00pm.

Punctuality and Attendance

  • Under the Education Welfare Act 2001, the school is obliged to keep a record of each student’s attendance in the school. Under this Act parents/guardians are required to inform the school in writing of the reasons a student may be absent.  Absences of more than 20 school days will be reported to the Education Welfare Officer in accordance with the Education Welfare Act 2001.
  • Students must be in time for school every day. If you are late, absent or have to leave school early during class time, a written explanation is required in your diary from one of your parents/guardians.  All students are expected to be in school before 8.40am everyday to properly organise themselves for their morning classes.  Students are expected to prepare for afternoon classes at 1.40pm.  Students are expected to be punctual for all classes during the day.
  • Students who are persistently late without good reason, is regarded as a serious matter, therefore will result in sanctions and contact with home. Students will be deemed late if not at their designated classrooms at 8.50am.

School Diary

  • Students must bring their diary with them at all times. A careful record of homework given or class activities is to be kept in the school diary. School diary must be signed weekly by parents/guardians.  Each student is responsible for his/her own diary and must be available for inspection at all times and used for official purposes only.  Loss of the diary must be reported to the class teacher immediately and a new diary paid for by the student.  When leaving class for any reason, students must carry their diary with explanatory note from teacher.  The diary is school property.
  • Adequate time and effort must be given to homework. Neglect of homework will lead to sanctions being imposed.
  • Parents/Guardians are requested not to make appointments (e.g. dentist/optician etc.) for students during school hours, and to refrain from taking students out of class unless absolutely necessary.
  • Visitors/Parents/Guardians must make an appointment if they wish to talk to a staff member. On arrival at the school, they must report to the front office.

School Uniform

We are proud of our school uniform.  It identifies each student as a member of our school community.  Therefore we must show our community at its best at all times.

  • Students are expected to be neat and tidy in dress and appearance and to wear the full school uniform.
  • Appropriate P.E. gear is obligatory for students in PE class
  • When representing the school, students are required to wear full school uniform
  • On persistent breach of the above code, parents may be asked to collect the student from the school
  • Kilkenny City Vocational School reserves the right to adjust these rules periodically

If a student does not have correct uniform, she/he must report to the Principal or Year Head before 8.40am.

Health and Safety

To ensure the safety and well-being of all, the school’s Health and Safety Policy sets out specific rules for safety in specialist areas such as laboratories, practical subject rooms and for sport.  These rules and guidelines for usage and safety, as outlined by the subject teacher, apply to all students and school sanctions may be imposed for breaches.  These rules are in place to protect the safety and well being of all and to ensure a safe working environment.

PREVENTATIVE MEASURES

Students will be encouraged to uphold the Code of Behaviour by the following measures:

  • NBSS preventative strategies at level 1, level 2 and level 3.
  • The Code of Behaviour is circulated to the parents of all new entrants into the school and they are asked to read it and to sign their agreement with the content and their support and co-operation with it.
  • At the beginning of the school year, as part of our induction process, each class is brought through the code of behaviour and any amendments are highlighted.
  • School rules and the reasons for them are discussed as part of the school’s C.S.P.E. and S.P.H.E. programmes. The concept for tolerance for others, self control, a sense of fairness and the principles of natural justice are discussed as part of the Religious Education programme in the school.

Intervention / Support

At Kilkenny City Vocational School, the welfare of the student is of paramount importance, and we recognise the need for support for all students.  A comprehensive care structure is in place.  As part of the interventions and support for students experiencing difficulties for whatever reason, any of the following may be involved:

  • Principal
  • Discipline Board
  • Year Head
  • Class Teacher
  • Subject Teacher
  • Guidance Counsellor
  • Learning Support Team
  • NEPS Psychologist
  • TUSLA
  • HSE (Health Service Executive)
  • NBSS at level 1, level 2 and level 3
  • Level 1 – Corridor, SMILE, Token Economy
  • Level 2 – Induction, Friends for life, Alert, Check & Connect
  • Level 3 – Why Try? , Tough Issues, Tough Choices, Re-tracking, Anger Management Programmes, Individualised Support Plan

 

  • Any other relevant support body

Intervention may take place at any stage with the support/knowledge of parents/guardians.

Positive Behaviour

In Kilkenny City Vocational School, a Positive Behaviour Programme is in place for Junior Cycle students.  The focus of Positive Behaviour is to use incentives such as encouragement, motivation praise and reward to improve behaviour and performance.  The aim of the programme is to foster team spirit in a class group and to harness peer pressure to improve attendance, class-work, homework and behaviour.  The Positive Behaviour Programme entails collaboration among Year Heads, class tutors, class teachers, students and parents/guardians.

Teachers use the following methods to encourage and motivate students to uphold the Code of Behaviour:

  • Verbal praise
  • Positive notes to parents in School Diary
  • Occasional class treats at the discretion of the individual teacher
  • Certificates of Achievement and initiatives to encourage co-operation, participation and positive behaviour.
  • Re-tracking Programme
  • Social Skills Group
  • Group work (students are withdrawn from class to join in group work, which promotes positive behaviour and social skills).
  • Display of student’s work
  • Annual prize-giving ceremony acknowledges the talents, achievements and efforts of our students across all aspects of school life.
  • Student Reward Sheet
  • NBSS –         Token Economy

Tracking Booklet

 

SANCTIONS

The purpose of the following strategies and other sanctions is to promote positive behaviour and discourage misbehaviour.  Sanctions will be applied according to the gravity of the misbehaviour, with due regard to age and emotional development.  These may include:

  • Verbal reprimand
  • Extra written work
  • Lunchtime detention including note in diary
  • Request for meeting with parent including Management Sheet
  • Referral to Discipline Board
  • Suspension including reason for and duration
  • Exclusion

Procedures for Suspension

The Principal has the authority to suspend where serious incidents of misbehaviour occur.  It is envisaged to only use suspensions when all other in-house sanctions have been exhausted.

Following a decision to suspend a student from Kilkenny City Vocational School they will be kept on the premises until their parents/guardians have been notified, where possible by telephone.  A letter will follow and will be posted stating:

  • The fact that suspension has been imposed and the term of suspension
  • Specific reason(s) for suspension
  • The necessity for parent or guardian to attend for meeting with Principal and Year Head on students return to school.

Under the Education Welfare Act, Kilkenny City Vocational School must notify our Education Welfare Officer of any suspension of 6 days or more.

Exclusion

Exclusion will only be considered when all other efforts have failed, when the behaviour of the student clearly puts the safety of others in Kilkenny City Vocational School at risk, when the behaviour is preventing the work of the school from being carried out, in the event of a once off serious incident or for other sufficient reason.

Procedures for Exclusion

  • Case brought to the Board of Management. Board considers all sanctions up to and including permanent exclusion, parents invited to the Board Meeting, provided with a copy of the case being presented by the Principal/School and inform parents that Education Welfare Officer is available.  Parents are allowed to present their case before they reach a decision on exclusion.
  • Decision of the Board is taken only after school and parents have the opportunity to make their case to the Board. If the decision is to exclude the student, this decision will be communicated to the parents in writing signed by the Principal as Secretary to the Board of Management.  Parents/Guardians or students over 18 have the Right of Appeal.  At the same time a letter should issue to the Education Welfare Board notifying them of the decision to expel and reason why.
  • The content of the notifying letter should state:-
  1. that the Board has arrived at a decision to exclude pupil and
  2. that this decision will take effect 20 days after the date of the notifying letter

(Section 24, Subsection 5 of the Education Welfare Act).

  • inform parents of their right to Appeal the Board’s decision to the CEO of the ETB, within the 14 days including address, contact details, procedures and form.

(Section 29, Education Welfare Act)

  1. Copy of letter to be given to Education Welfare Act

 

Review of the Policy

The Policy will be reviewed by the Senior Management Team at the end of each academic year.  The Board of management may modify details of the code as necessary, to allow for minor adjustments and additions that do not impact on the code as a whole.  Any amendments will be communicated to members of the school community.

A major review, including parents, students, staff and Board of Management will be conducted at least every three years.

 

 

PARENTS AND STUDENTS CONTRACT ON CODE OF BEHAVIOUR

Parents/Guardians and students should be aware that it is not possible to detail every rule and regulation to govern one’s behaviour at school.

All Parents/Guardians are requested to read and become fully aware of the Kilkenny City Vocational School Code of Behaviour Policy.

The Policy on Code of Behaviour is drawn up to ensure the smooth running of the school, and to ensure that each student will be allowed to perform to the best of his/her abilities in a safe and happy atmosphere.

 

ROLES OF KEY PERSONNEL IN CODE OF BEHAVIOUR

 

THE SUBJECT TEACHER

In order to elicit co-operation and effort from the students, praise and commendation, both written and verbal are vital in raising each student’s self esteem and confidence.  The Subject Teacher should aim to build a positive and vibrant work ethic in the classroom.  His/her approach to classroom management should be firm, fair, inclusive and consistent.

Achievements and positive contributions of students can be recognised in a variety of ways:

  • Words of praise and encouragement
  • Note to parents – placed in the student’s journal
  • Extra responsibility given
  • A display of their work
  • Inform Class Teacher/Year Head, who will reinforce achievement in a number of ways
  • Nomination for awards

In the event of the non co-operation of a student, the following procedures may be useful:

  • Take time to talk to the student in a calm atmosphere.  Remember to listen to what they have to say.  Try to reason with them while making sure that they understand the consequences of their actions for everyone involved.
  • Any sign of improvement needs to be met with approval
  • Verbal reprimand may suffice
  • Be critical of the behaviour, not the student
  • Consider change of location within the class
  • Send note to parents in student diary or speak with parent/guardian
  • Issue extra work assignments (Proportionate to the level of indiscipline)
  • Consider removal of privilege
  • Formal Referral to Year Head
  • Formal Referral to Principal in the case of Gross non-compliance

NOTE: Any problems should, where possible, be resolved at Subject Teacher level before being passed on to the Year Head etc.

YEAR HEAD:

  • Pays careful attention to every aspect of the Year group, which contributes to the learning environment of the school.
  • Liaises with students, teachers, parents, and management.
  • Takes action in consultation with others.
  • Monitors and reviews progress of the Year Group
  • Helps to build a positive spirit.
  • Discusses matters of concern
  • Acknowledges and rewards achievements.
  • Consults with Principal on serious matters.
  • Ensures that all School Procedures and Systems operate effectively in the Year Group.

On receipt of a Referral on a pupil from a member of staff the Year Head may adopt a form of the following course of action:

  • Consultation with Principal
  • Meet Pupil. Listen. Gather facts.
  • Counsel / Warn /Impose sanction / Note in diary.
  • Place student on Detention (24 hours notice given)
  • Request Parent-Teacher meeting.
  • Place pupil on Management Sheet.
  • Refer to Discipline Board
  • Refer for counselling.
  • Monitor progress and review.

Further forms of affirmation by the Year Head:

  • Recognition of achievements
  • Rewards

NBSS

 

DISCIPLINE BOARD

The Discipline Board is made up of all Year Heads.  The role of the Disciple Board is to meet with priority students and their parents to discuss issues of concern regarding behaviour.

PRINCIPAL

  • Has overall responsibility for the Pastoral and Disciplinary System in the school.
  • Takes under serious review any cases referred.
  • Consults with Year Heads at weekly meetings and offers support, advice where needed.
  • Emphasises the on-going development of a positive, affirming atmosphere in the school, in line with the school ethos and vision.
  • Establishes a culture of continuous improvement.
  • Manages the implementation of all policies that support and affirm the endeavour and success of all students.
  • Promotes the co-operation between school and the community it serves.

Extra Sanctions imposed by the Principal:

  • Suspension and Permanent Exclusion or Expulsion in accordance with legislative guidelines and provisions.

Suspension and Exclusion are a last resort and are only applied after repeated or very serious misbehaviour.  All the specified procedures will be followed before such actions are taken, and the co-operation of parents/guardians will have been earnestly sought.

THE SCHOOL COUNSELLOR:

  • Support troubled members of the school community in times of need.
  • Listen carefully and supportively.
  • Offer advice on many areas of issue.
  • Students must have Subject teacher’s permission to attend meeting with counsellor and must follow Appointment Procedure.
  • Any teacher who feels that a particular student needs or would benefit from a form of counselling should first consult with Year Head.

KEY ISSUES FOR CONSISTENCY

The consistent implementation of the school ‘code of behaviour’ is central to the effective running of our school.  It ensures that an environment conducive to teaching and learning is present throughout the school year.

Chewing Gum:
Strictly forbidden within the school

Smoking:
In line with State legislation smoking is banned at all times in the school, on the grounds, or in the environs of the school.  Please refer breaches immediately to the Year Head.

Mobile Phones:
Mobile phones may only be in a student’s possession during lunch time.  At all other times they should be kept securely locked in student’s locker.  The school cannot accept any responsibility for loss of, or damage to, mobile phones at any time.  In cases of emergency students will be allowed to use the school phone to contact parents/guardians.  Confiscated phones may be collected by parent/guardian or by the student at 4.00pm.  Mobile phones with photographic capability are strictly forbidden and under no circumstances should such a phone be brought to the school.

Uniform:
The official school uniform must be worn at all times, the only exception being on the day when Physical Education classes are scheduled, or on specific school outings and activities where wearing the official P.E. tracksuit may be permitted.

Morning Break:
Students may not leave the school grounds at morning break.  The school and grounds are supervised at break time.

Main Lunch:
Students are not permitted to leave the school grounds unless written permission is received from home.  The school and grounds are supervised at lunchtime.

Lockers and Personal Property:
Money or other valuables should not be placed in lockers or left in classrooms.  Valuables should be kept in the students possession at all times or leave them in the school office for safe keeping.  A locker is assigned to each student.  Students are not permitted to use lockers between classes.  The following are the only times when students may have access to their lockers: before classes each day, at mid morning break, at lunchtime and at 4.00pm.

Use of Toilets:
All toilets are available for student use prior to 8.50am, at mid morning break, at lunchtime and after 4.00pm.  Toilets are locked during class time.  In the event of an ‘emergency’ during class time a student should be provided with a ‘Toilet Pass’ by the subject teacher.

Formal Detention:
A formal detention system operates, every Tuesday and Thursday from 1.10pm – 1.55pm.

Students Leaving School Early:
Permission to leave school early is granted by the Principal or Year Head upon receipt of a written request from parents.  Parents/Guardians must ring the office to grant a student permission to leave school early.

Students are not permitted to leave the building in any other circumstances.

 

 

APPENDIX 3

DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES

(Summary)

Stage 1:

  • Subject Teacher to devise strategies for dealing with in-class difficulties.
  • If problem is not resolved ……. referral

All referrals / incident reports to be submitted in writing on specified complaint sheet.

Stage 2:

  • Referral to Year Head
  • Verbal warning to student
  • Year Head discusses situation with student, encourages improvement
  • Possible Management Sheet
  • If problem persists ……….

Stage 3:

  • NBSS

Stage 4:

  • Year Head invites parent / guardian (Use letter attached) to call to school
  • Management sheet
  • May recommend suspension

Stage 5:

  • Referral to discipline Board
  • Meet with student
  • Contact parents/guardians
  • Arrange meeting with parents/guardians
  • May recommend suspension

Stage 6:

  • Referral to Principal

Stage 7:

Referral to Board of Management