Fingal Community College
Code of Positive Behaviour
Our college is a caring and proud learning community committed to the pursuit of excellence. Students, teachers and parents are encouraged and supported to be the best that they can be in a school environment that respects diversity and fosters justice and equality for all.
Through co-operation and mutual respect between the partners in education, the students, the teaching staff, parents/guardians and the Board of Management we strive to ensure that each student achieves his/her full potential. The school reserves the right to adapt or modify this code in response to changing patterns of behaviour among students.
This policy applies to students of the school when they are in school uniform, whether in the school building, travelling to and from an organised event and/or on a school trip. The school code of behaviour will apply if there is a clear connection with the school and a demonstrable impact on its work.
The following legislation was considered in the creation of our Code of Behaviour:
- Article 42 of the Irish Constitution
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Education Act 1998- Sections 28 & 29
- Education (Welfare) Act 2000-Section 23
- Equal Status Act 2000
- EPSEN Act 2004
At all times the school endeavours to employ a restorative approach to promote positive behaviour. Restorative practice is at the core of our school’s policy. Restorative practice allows students to reflect on their behaviour and how it has affected them or others in the class. It helps develop and sustain a happy and caring school environment by actively developing positive relationships, preventing the escalation of conflict and handling conflict in a healthy way. It creates an ethos of respect and inclusion and gives students the opportunity to be accountable and take responsibility for their behaviour.
Inclusion of all students
Fingal Community College places a high value on respect, tolerance and the acceptance of diversity which is central to the policies and practices in the school. Our activities address the needs of all of our students including those with special education needs.
Goals and Objectives of our Code of Behaviour
- to provide a learning environment in which students feel safe and secure
- to promote good behaviour, self-discipline and pride in our college
- to encourage students to take responsibility for their learning and work to the best of their ability
- to create an atmosphere of respect and tolerance for others
- to outline the procedures in place which allow for the effective running of the college and which meet with the demands of current legislation.
Promoting Good Behaviour
Fingal Community College is committed to the promotion of positive behaviour. Some of the methods used include:
- Verbal praise for the student in private and in class
- Positive points on VS Ware
- Motivational assemblies
- Awards ceremony in May every year for hard work and attendance
- Leadership roles distributed to students such as Student Council, Prefects and Sports Council
- School trips and activities
- Class prizes
- Use of the intercom system to acknowledge student achievement
- The display of student work throughout the college
- Use of the school website, Twitter and Facebook to recognise student efforts and successes
Responsibilities of our Students
Respect for each other and the school environment
- Students are expected to treat themselves, members of staff, fellow students and all visitors to our college with respect and courtesy. Students are expected to follow the instructions of staff at all times and respect the authority of the school. This includes online activity, via use of mobile phones and associated apps. and on social media as outlined in our Acceptable Usage Policy. Students are not permitted to use these to record or photograph any person or thing related to the school without prior permission.
- All incidents of bullying and cyber bullying are not tolerated as per our Anti-bullying Policy and Child Protection Procedures (DES 2017).
- Students are expected to work to the best of their ability at all times and not act in a way that might prevent teaching and learning.
- Students are expected to show respect for all property, lockers, bathroom facilities and equipment in school and on the school grounds. Graffiti is not tolerated and chewing gum is forbidden. The school should be kept litter free and students will assist in keeping the school clean and tidy. Smoking and the use of electronic cigarettes is not permitted. The use of drugs or alcohol is forbidden. For the safety of students, tippex and permanent markers are not permitted in school. All illegal instruments are forbidden.
Attendance and Punctuality
- Students are expected to be punctual, not just in the morning and following break-time and lunchtime but for all classes. School begins at 8.45 am and finishes at 3.35pm. School finishes at 1pm on Friday.
- Parent/ guardian should notify the school prior to or on the day of absence. On their return, a note of explanation from a parent/guardian should be written into the student’s journal to explain a late arrival or the absence of the student for a full or partial day. Parents are obliged under the Education Act (2000) to provide a note to explain each absence. The school is required by the Education Act (2000) to report to the NEWB any student who is absent for 20 or more school days in a year.
- Students must sign the “Late Book” at the office when they arrive late to school and must not go to class without a late slip. Students who are leaving early must get written permission in their journal from the Principal, Deputy Principal or Year Head. If a student feels unwell during the day, the student must go to the appropriate Year Head to obtain permission to go to the office to ring home. Under no circumstances is a student permitted to contact home and arrange to be collected from school without going through the appropriate procedures. Students must sign out at reception before they leave.
- Students must attend school in full uniform. The school jacket must be worn by all students in Junior Cycle. Senior Cycle students must wear a black jacket or the school jacket. Students who are not in full uniform are not permitted to attend class unless first authorised by the Principal, Deputy Principal or Year Head.
- Students from Third, Fifth and Sixth Year are permitted to leave the school at lunchtime First and Second Years must remain in the school. No student is permitted to leave at break-time. Students are expected to behave in a respectful and responsible way while off the premises.
- Lockers are allocated on a contract basis at the beginning of each school year by the appropriate Year Head and should be maintained in a clean and safe manner and locked when not in use. Students should only use their lockers before school begins in the morning, during break-time and lunchtime and at the end of the school day. Students are not permitted to go to lockers between classes. Students may only use lockers during class time with the permission of the class teacher. Students are responsible for property left in their lockers and be aware that lockers can be inspected at any time.
Achievement in the Classroom
- All students have the right to learn and to progress in an orderly fashion. Therefore all students’ behaviour should contribute towards every lesson being a positive experience for every student, under the guidance and direction of the teacher.
- Students should line up quietly outside the classroom and should not enter the classroom, without being accompanied by a teacher. Students should enter and leave the classroom in an orderly fashion. Students are not permitted to leave the classroom without the permission of the teacher. Permission to leave the classroom should be recorded in the student’s journal.
- Students must have all books, equipment and journals with them for each class. Journals and all equipment should be on the desk at the beginning of every lesson. Jackets should be removed at the start of each lesson.
- Mobile phones and other electronic devices including accessories must be switched OFF and out of sight as per our Mobile Phone Policy unless given prior permission from the teacher. Sending text messages or any other inappropriate use of electronic devices during class time is forbidden.
- Students are not permitted to use the toilet during class time or between classes, without the permission of the teacher. Students should use the toilet at break times and before and after school.
- All homework should be recorded in the journal and journals should be signed every week by a parent/guardian.
Responsibilities of Teaching Staff and Management
Staff and Management will endeavour to uphold a fair and consistent approach to supporting good behaviour by
- Nurturing respectful relationships between students, parents/guardians and all school staff.
- Recognising and rewarding positive behaviour and learning achievements and effort.
- Implementing various teaching strategies and methodologies to facilitate the achievement of all students.
- Following clearly defined sanctions in a fair and consistent way.
- Supporting students through guidance, the Social, Personal and Health Education programme and psychological support services.
- Monitoring the students’ school journals.
Responsibilities of Parents
We welcome the participation and involvement of parents in the education of their son/daughter. Through mutual respect and co-operation, we can ensure that all students achieve their potential while attending Fingal Community College. We request all parents of children in our school to
- Ensure that their child adheres to our Code of Positive Behaviour
- Familiarise themselves with of our policies on the website
- Ensure that their son/ daughter attends school on a daily basis, is on time and in full uniform
- Check their son/ daughter’s journal every week to ensure all homework is done and to check for notes from teachers and sign the journal at the end of the week
- Regularly check our VSWare system to monitor their son/daughter’s progress
- Provide a written note in the journal to explain all absences or when a student needs to leave early or is late to school
- Attend Parent/Teacher meetings.
Sanctions and Interventions
Not all breaches of the Code of Positive Behaviour will incur sanctions although they may earn disapproval. However, specific serious breaches or repetitive minor breaches will result in sanctions being imposed. This will encourage and promote a good learning environment which respects the rights of all students to achieve their best. Some or all of the following strategies may be employed;
- Every effort will be made to resolve the difficulty with the co-operation of a parent(s)
- The class teacher is responsible for their own classroom management. This may include reasoning with the student, a firm reprimand, negative points on VS Ware and/or a letter of apology from the student
- Serious breaches will be referred on to the appropriate Year Head who may have to report the matter to parents/ guardians, following investigation and/or interview(s)
- A class teacher or Year Head may deem it necessary to report a student directly to the Principal or Deputy Principal
- All staff on supervision or substitution duties are authorised to ensure full compliance with our code of behaviour by imposing recommended sanctions.
The following strategies may be used to show disapproval of unacceptable behaviour;
- Reasoning with the student
- Reprimand, including advice on how to improve behaviour
- Move place in class
- Removal from a class, or for a more serious breach, a block of classes
- Parents/ Guardians will be notified by phone of serious indiscipline when a Year Head or member of Senior Management feels that notification is warranted
- Loss of privileges
- Detention before or after school or during lunch-time. Parents will be given at least 24 hours notice
- Placement on Conduct/Behaviour Sheet
- In-House Suspension from a particular subject for a limited time
- External suspension (in consultation with the Principal).
Procedures for Suspension
As required under the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, Section 23 (2) the following procedures will apply in the case of suspension;
- The Principal and/or Deputy Principal can suspend a student from school for a serious breach of discipline or in circumstances of continuous failure to conform to school rules.
- Parents have the right to appeal the decision to suspend their son/daughter to the Board of Management.
- The Principal will inform Tusla if a student has been suspended for more than 20 days in any school year.
- Suspension will always be considered in matters that involve bullying, fighting, unauthorised absence, substance abuse, possession of illegal instruments, possession of illegal substances, serious disrespect for all managerial, teaching and ancillary school staff, school property and repeated breaches of the Code of Behaviour.
- Parents will be notified of a serious breach of the code of behaviour and will be given the opportunity to meet with a member of the Senior Management to discuss the decision to suspend and the duration of the suspension. Please note that a suspension from one or two or up to ten school days may be imposed for very serious breaches of discipline.
- Students are expected to follow a programme of study while suspended.
- The student must report to the Principal, Deputy Principal or Year Head upon his/ her return to school.
- All supports available in the school will be offered to help students to reflect on the impact of their behaviour.
- The Principal may refer the student to the relevant authorities, including the Gardaí.
- In order to ensure the safety of all our students and uphold discipline and good order in the school it may be necessary to permanently exclude a student from the school.
- Where the Principal considers that the safety of other members of the school is at risk or where the teaching and learning of other students is being seriously disrupted by another student, the Principal will refer the matter to the Board of Management.
- The rules of natural justice shall be adhered to and pupils (over 18) and parents will be given an opportunity to respond prior to any decision being made.
- Where the Board of Management is of the opinion that the student should be excluded, it shall notify Tusla, in writing, of its opinions and decisions.
- Parents may appeal the decision of the Board of Management to DDLETB ( Dublin & Dun Laoghaire Education Training Board).
- Should DDLETB uphold the decision of the Board with regard to the exclusion of the student then parents may appeal this decision to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science.