Code of Behaviour


Our School Crest

Saint Mary’s National School



St Mary’s National School is a co-educational, Catholic primary school which strives to provide a well-ordered, caring, happy and secure atmosphere where the intellectual, spiritual, physical, moral and cultural needs of the pupils are identified and addressed.


The school acknowledges the uniqueness of each individual and his/her worth as a human being.


Through an integrated and challenging curriculum the school strives to foster in each pupil a positive self image and a confidence which allows each child to attain their maximum academic and social potential.


The school acknowledges the parents/guardians as the primary educators of their children and endeavours at all times to foster a partnership of mutual respect and co-operation.


Each member of the school community (teaching staff, students and other staff) has the right to enjoy school in a secure environment.


The school recognises its place in a changing society and endeavours to adapt appropriately as the need arises.


The school has a clear commitment to promote equality in all aspects of its functioning.




St. Mary’s code of behaviour aims to foster the conditions for learning and teaching in order that each child develops to his/her full potential academically, socially, physically and spiritually.


a)    St. Mary’s School aims to create a climate that encourages all members of the school community to take ownership and responsibility for their own actions at all times.

b)    The school aims to provide a safe and healthy environment in which pupils and staff can grow in self-esteem.

c)    The school aims to ensure that each pupil in every class is educated without interruption or disturbance.

d)    The school aims to ensure that all staff members can carry out their work without interruption or disturbance.

e)    The school promotes qualities of social responsibility, tolerance and understanding.

f)     The school promotes positive habits of self-respect, self-discipline and responsibility among all its members.

g)    The school promotes habits of mutual respect, courtesy and an awareness of the interdependence of people in group and community.





  1. Pupils and parents/guardians should be familiar with the contents of the St. Mary’s N.S. Code of Behaviour Policy.
  2. Assembly is at 9.20 a.m.  Supervision of yard begins at 9.10 a.m. Therefore, children should not be in the yard prior to that time.  No pupil should arrive later than 9.20 a.m.  On wet mornings supervising teachers will admit children at 9.10 a.m., directly to their classrooms.
  3. There is a short break at 11.00 a.m.  Lunch break is from 1.00 p.m. to 1.30 p.m.  Weather permitting, children go to the yard.  For safety reasons children are asked to walk in the yard.  When it is deemed appropriate children will go to the field.  On wet days children stay in their classrooms during breaks, where they are supervised by teachers on duty.
  4. A note from parents must be presented when a child has been absent.

A note or verbal explanation from parents must be presented when:

(a)          a child has to go home early

(b)          a child is late arriving

(c)          homework has not been done

(d)          a child is being collected by a different adult or there is any change in usual arrangement

  1. While your child is in school he/she will be known by the names (Christian name and Surname) that are on his/her Birth or Baptismal Certificate.  The school will only change the name if evidence of changing name by legal process is made available to the Principal of the school.
  2. A child who shows signs of illness should be kept at home.  If a child has a chronic ailment of any kind it is most important for the parents to give each teacher the relevant information as the child moves through the classes.  If a child shows signs of illness in school, the parent/guardian or nominated adult must collect the child from the school.  In the event of an emergency the parent/guardian will be notified.  If the parent/guardian cannot be contacted medical attention will be sought for the child.
  3. Junior and Senior Infants go home at 2.00 p.m.  Classes line up and are collected by parents, guardians or child minders when officially dismissed by their teacher.  Infants are not allowed to go home on their own.  All other pupils are dismissed at 3.00 p.m.
  4. When it is necessary for a pupil to leave school early, the class teacher must be informed.  When collecting a child, parents/guardians are asked to call to the Secretary’s Office/Reception.  The child/children will be called from the classroom and will meet the parent/guardian at the office.   Any person collecting a child on behalf of the parent will only be permitted to take the child if the parent has contacted the school beforehand.  During school hours a child may never go home unless accompanied by an adult.  During break times child/children to be collected will be either in the yard or in designated First Aid area.  Supervising teachers must be informed before the child leaves.
  5. When bringing in items such as forgotten sports bag, lunch etc to the school these should be left into the Secretary’s Office/Reception where they can be collected by the child or class teacher.
  6. If sending money into the school, for any reason, parents are asked to please place it in an envelope with the child’s name, class, date and the purpose for which it is being sent.
  7. No dogs are allowed on the school grounds.


As the need arises parents will be notified by letter, text or email with regard to school matters and events.





The policy of our school is to foster appropriate attitudes and behaviour among our pupils.


  1. Children are expected:

(a)          to attend school regularly and punctually; (see note below regarding Attendance).

(b)          to be honest and truthful at all times;

(c)          to have respect for teachers, ancillary staff, for each other, for themselves and for the school environment.

(d)          to be clean, tidy and appropriately presented at all times in school.

Note: Attendance Policy

Each child to whom the School Attendance Act applies, (i.e. those between the ages of 6 and 16) is obliged by law to attend school every day on which the school is in operation unless there is a reasonable explanation for not attending.  The school authorities are obliged to notify the National Educational Welfare Board [NEWB] once a child has missed twenty school days in any school year.

  1. All pupils are expected to wear full school uniform as a mark of respect for their school as well as for the convenience of parents.  School track-suits, white polo shirt and non-marking footwear are essential for P.E. classes.  Please label your child’s clothing with their name.
  2. At 3.00 p.m. pupils are expected to leave the school grounds in an orderly fashion.  They are expected to walk on the footpaths.
  3. As part of our policy of promoting a healthy, balanced diet we do not allow any crisps, popcorn, fizzy drink, chewing gum, glass bottles or hot drinks.  A ‘treat’ is allowable on Fridays only and we ask you to limit this to only one “treat”.
  4. Pupils are strictly forbidden to:

(a)          Have any item that is a danger to the welfare and safety of pupils, teachers or the whole school community.

(b)          Have any item that is likely to cause distraction or interruption in school.

(c)          Leave school grounds during school hours without permission.


  1. The use of mobile phones by pupils is strictly forbidden within the school grounds during school hours.  If a child is found using a mobile phone it will be confiscated until collected by parent/guardian from the principal.
  2. Boisterous behaviour, rough play and dangerous games are prohibited.
  3. Cycling in school grounds is strictly forbidden at all times.
  1. Only staff cars and school bus may drive into school grounds/car park during school hours.  All other vehicles must park at a safe distance outside school gates.






Board of Management’s Responsibilities:


  • To provide a comfortable and safe environment for all members of the school community.
  • To support the principal and staff in implementing the code.
  • To ratify the code within the context of the Mission Statement.
  • The Board will play an active role in promoting relationships and behaviours that will reflect the school’s ethos and responsibilities.
  • To regularly review the code of behaviour.
  • To promote the unique identity, ethos, values and culture of the school.
  • To examine and deal with situations whereby suspension may be warranted.


The Principal’s Responsibilities:


  • To promote a positive climate in the school.
  • To ensure that the code is implemented in a fair and consistent manner for each person.
  • To arrange the review of the code based on observation, recording and communication with staff and other members of the school community.
  • To liaise with parents/guardians/teachers/SNAs.
  • To liaise with the Board of Management in relation to behaviour.


Teachers’ Responsibilities:


All teachers have an equal role to play in the overall implementation of the code of behaviour throughout the school.

  • To present to all children the school rules in a manner appropriate to their understanding and learning.
  • To formulate and display at the beginning of each academic year age appropriate rules for classroom behaviour.
  • To create a safe working environment for each pupil.
  • To be courteous, consistent and fair.
  • To provide an inclusive and engaging learning programme so that students are motivated to learn, thus encouraging positive behaviour.
  • To recognise and affirm good behaviour, progress and effort.
  • To teach and model the essential skills of listening, negotiating and managing differences.
  • To deal appropriately with misbehaviour.
  • To keep a record of instances of misbehaviour.
  • To ensure there is an appropriate level of supervision of the class at all times.
  • To provide support for colleagues.
  • To liaise with parents/guardians/teachers/SNAs.
  • To notify and discuss with parents/teachers changes in pupil’s behaviour patterns.



It is accepted that while the responsibility for the implementation of the code rests with teachers of the children within their care, other staff members may inform this.



S.N.A.’s Responsibilities:


  • To ensure that children in their care are in a safe and secure environment.
  • To inform teachers of any concerns/report misbehaviour.
  • To be courteous, consistent and fair.
  • To recognise and affirm good behaviour, progress and effort.
  • To provide support for colleagues.
  • To maintain a close liaison with teachers.



Pupil’s Responsibilities:


  • To adhere to the Code of Behaviour:
    • During  all curricular and school related activities in or outside of school
    • With all school personnel and visitors to the school.
  • To be actively involved in formulation of classroom rules.
  • To participate positively, ensuring a happy learning environment for all.
  • To show respect for all members of the school community.
  • To not engage in boisterous behaviour, rough play or dangerous games
  • To listen to their teachers, follow instruction and do as requested.
  • To take responsibility for their own work and behaviour.
  • To speak and act with courtesy and good manners at all times and to include other pupils in games and activities.
  • To respect all school property, the property of other pupils and keep the school tidy and litter free.
  • Not to leave the school or classroom during the day without permission.
  • To move quietly around the school and avoid causing disturbance.
  • Not to be in possession of items which have been deemed inappropriate and offensive to a safe secure learning environment for all.
  • To use the internet while at school in line with school Acceptable Usage Policy.



Parents’/Guardians’ Responsibilities


  • To be familiar with all school policies e.g. homework, healthy eating, code of behaviour and grievance procedure and to adhere to same.
  • To support the implementation of the Code of Behaviour and sign the acceptance of same.
  • To help their children with their homework and ensure it is completed
  • To ensure that children attend school regularly and punctually and to be in the correct uniform.
  • To ensure their children have the correct books and materials
  • To help their children to learn and practise good behaviour and to have a positive attitude towards themselves, other people and towards the school
  • To communicate with the school in relation to any problems which may affect the child’s progress/behaviour or that may impact on school life.  In order to avoid class disruption an appointment is necessary to speak at length to teacher (Note: refer to Parent Teacher Contact Procedures)
  • To be courteous, consistent and fair.
  • To notify the school of all absences, early collection or change of routine etc.



Promoting Positive Behaviour



St. Mary’s encourages children to achieve their personal best academically, intellectually and socially.


All children deserve encouragement to attain their own best.  Children will be encouraged, praised and listened to at all times by adults in the school.  Praise and reward 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 strategies used in our school to promote good behaviour:

  • Praise
  • Weekly assembly
  • Positive note home
  • Visit to Principal or other member of staff
  • In-class reward system e.g. stamp sheets, golden time, merits
  • Classroom based interventions such as Circle Time, Incredible Years Programme or class meetings


To develop and maintain good behaviour throughout the school, children line up in orderly fashion each morning in the yards (when outside) and enter their classrooms quietly in such manner.


Inappropriate Behaviour

In order to establish a common understanding and a consistent response the Code of Behaviour classifies misbehaviour into three levels based on the degree of disruption caused by the misconduct. The code also specifies the strategies and sanctions for dealing with the three levels of inappropriate behaviour.

Level 1: Minor Breaches

  • Not listening in class and failure to follow instructions given by teacher and other adults working within the school
  • Interruption of and disruption of work within the classroom
  • Being discourteous to others
  • Not completing homework without good reason
  • Not wearing the correct school uniform
  • Failing to walk and move in an orderly manner within the school and its grounds.
  • Littering inside and outside school
  • Running in the yard
  • Rough play in the field or yard
  • Other behaviours as may arise

Strategies and Sanctions for dealing with Minor Breaches:

  • Reasoning with a pupil
  • Verbal reprimand including advice on how to improve
  • Encouraging children to problem solve and/or discuss the incident or misbehaviour
  • Temporary separation from peers, friends or others
  • Temporary loss of privileges
  • Name in yard notebook
  • Note for parents in journal or informal consultation with parents
  • Record kept of repeated minor misbehaviour


Level 2: Serious Breaches

  • Repeated incidences of above despite repeated reminders and warnings regarding future conduct
  • Leaving classroom, yard, field or school grounds without permission during school hours
  • Use of mobile phone
  • Inappropriate use of I.C.T.
  • Bullying behaviour – Note: We have an Anti-Bullying Policy in place in the school.   The Department of Education and Skills guidelines define bullying as “… 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. (Guidelines on Countering Bullying Behaviour in Primary and Post-Primary Schools, 1993)
  • Careless use of school property
  • Use of or possession of any offensive items by a pupil on school grounds
  • Stealing

Strategies and Sanctions for dealing with Serious Breaches:

  • Child is given an official warning about his/her behaviour and principal and parents are informed
  • Parents receive formal notification from school and are requested to attend a meeting with teacher/principal
  • Where appropriate senior pupils write an account of what has occurred
  • Confiscation of mobile phone  or other offending articles
  • Pupils who misbehave frequently and who have made insufficient effort to modify their behaviour will not be allowed to participate in school outings for their own safety and that of others.

Level 3: Gross Misbehaviour

  • Repeated incidences of above despite repeated reminders and warnings regarding future conduct
  • Use of threatening language or behaviour towards teachers or others
  • Any act of wilful violence towards pupils, teachers, ancillary staff or visitors
  • Possession of or supply or use of alcohol, cigarettes, illegal drugs and/or other harmful substances
  • Wilful or attempted wilful damage of school property or the property of teachers, ancillary staff, other pupils or visitors to school.
  • Discriminatory or prejudicial activities or actions towards another person or group involving gender, religion, disability or ethnic origin



Strategies and Sanctions for dealing with Gross Misbehaviour

  • For gross misbehaviour or repeated incidences of serious misbehaviour suspension / expulsion will be seriously considered by B.O.M. The principal will follow due procedures as laid down by N.E.W.B.

While all children are required to follow the St. Mary’s N.S. Code of Behaviour, the school recognises that children with Special Educational Needs may require assistance and support in the understanding and following of certain rules.


Our School Crest

Parent Teacher Contact, Informal, Formal and

Complaints Procedure.


The Board of Management acknowledges and greatly values the excellent relationship between parents and the school.  It has developed this section of our Code of Behaviour with the intention of nurturing and protecting this relationship and of providing structures and procedures to support parents and teachers when difficulties arise.

Informal meetings:

Informal parent teacher contacts are a normal and necessary feature of school life and usually concern matters such as a forgotten lunch, P.E. gear, dental appointments, minor ailments etc.  These informal contacts are usually brief and of an “information giving” nature.

Formal meetings:

If and when a parent has a concern about their child which they need to discuss with the class teacher, an appointment must be made either by a note in the child’s journal or by a phone call to the school secretary.  A meeting can then be arranged where both parties have the time and privacy to discuss the issue.


  1.       i.        It is unacceptable for an irate or angry parent/guardian to approach a teacher at any time.
  2.     ii.        Each parent/guardian should represent their own child.

Group delegations of parents/guardians should not seek to meet a teacher.


Parental Complaints Procedure

The following is an agreed complaints procedure which the Board of Management of St. Mary’s N.S. has adopted.



The Board of Management of St. Mary’s N.S. has adopted the Complaints Procedure, agreed by the teachers’ union and management bodies, which provides a mechanism for dealing with parental complaints against a teacher as set out in Section 28 of the Education Act 1998.

Relationship to School Ethos

The school promotes positive home-school contacts and endeavours to enhance the self-esteem of everyone within the school community.  The policy contributes towards those ideals.



  • To foster fruitful and trusting relationships between school and parents
  • To afford parents an opportunity to express opinions/grievances through the framework of a defined procedure
  • To minimize conflict arising by providing parents an opportunity to liaise with the class teacher.


Only those complaints about teachers which are written and signed by parents/guardians of pupils may be investigated formally by the Board of Management, except where those complaints are deemed by the Board to be:

  • Matters of professional competence and which are to be referred to the Department of Education & Science
  • Frivolous or vexatious and which do not impinge on the work of a teacher in a school
  • Complaints in which either party has recourse to law or to another existing procedure

Unwritten complaints not in the above categories may be processed informally as set out in Stage 1 of this procedure.


Stage 1

1.1         A parent/guardian who wishes to make a complaint should make an appointment to meet the class teacher with a view to resolving the complaint.

1.2         Where the parent/guardian is unable to resolve the complaint with the class teacher she/he should approach the Principal Teacher with a view to resolving it.

1.3         If the complaint is still unresolved the parent/guardian should raise the matter with the Chairperson of the Board of Management with a view to resolving it.


Stage 2

2.1       If the complaint is still unresolved and the parent/guardian wishes to pursue the matter further she/he should lodge the complaint in writing with the Chairperson of the Board of Management.

2.2       The Chairperson should bring the precise nature of the written complaint to the notice of the teacher and seek to resolve the matter between the parties within 5 days of receipt of the written complaint.


Stage 3

3.1       If the complaint is not resolved informally, the Chairperson should, subject to

the general authorisation of the Board and except in those cases where the Chairperson deems the particular authorisation of the Board to be required:

a)    Supply the teacher with a copy of the written complaint; and

b)    Arrange a meeting with the teacher and, where applicable, the Principal teacher with a view to resolving the complaint.  Such a meeting should take place within 10 days of receipt of the written complaint.


Stage 4

4.1       If the complaint is still not resolved the Chairperson should make a formal report to the Board within 10 days of the meeting referred to in 3.1 b)

4.2       If the Board considers that the complaint is not substantiated the teacher and the complainant should be so informed within 3 days of the Board meeting.

4.3       If the Board considers that the complaint is substantiated or that it warrants further investigation it proceeds as follows:

a)    The teacher should be informed that the investigation is proceeding to the next stage;

b)    The teacher should be supplied with a copy of any written evidence in support of the complaint;

c)    The teacher should be requested to supply a written statement to the Board in response to the complaint;

d)    The teacher should be afforded an opportunity to make a presentation of the case to the Board.  The teacher would be entitled to be accompanied and assisted by a friend at any such meeting.

e)    The meeting of the Board of Management referred to in d) and e) will take place within 10 days of the meeting referred to in 3.1 b)


Stage 5

5.1       When the Board has completed its investigation, the Chairperson should convey the decision of the Board in writing to the teacher and the complainant within 5 days of the meeting of the Board.

5.2       The decision of the Board shall be final.


In this policy ‘days’ means school days.


Board of Management

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