Positive Behaviour Policy


(June 2012)


This Policy is presently under Review




In devising this Code of Behaviour, consideration has been given to the particular needs and circumstances of this school. This document should be read in conjunction with the School Ethos Statement and Challenging Behaviour Document.

The aim of the school is to ensure that the individuality of each pupil is accommodated whilst acknowledging the right of each and every pupil to education in a relatively disturbance-free environment. Staff should also be supported and able to perform their responsibilities without impairment. Our aim is to create a happy, secure and safe environment for all our pupils, within which there is a sense of good order so that effective teaching and learning can take place with an agreed approach to discipline.

The emphasis in the St Joseph’s Primary School for Children with Visual Impairment is on building a positive community. Our motto is:

Together we can do so much’
(Helen Keller)
Every effort will be made by all members of staff to adopt a positive approach to the question of the behaviour of pupils in the school. It is not just the responsibility of the Principal to promote good behaviour, but the duty of all.

The school’s positive behaviour code is composed of the following:

  • Outline of general expectations of behaviour.
  • General Positive Behaviour Code.
  • Specific Behaviour Codes for:- Yard time
    – Corridors

Additional information is given on the use of sanctions for when transgression of the code occurs.


Aims of the Code

  • To create a positive learning environment that encourages and reinforces good behaviour
  • To promote self-esteem and positive relationships
  • To encourage consistency of response to both positive and negative behaviour
  • To foster a sense of responsibility and self-discipline in pupils and to support good behaviour patterns based on consideration and respect for the rights of others
  • To facilitate the education and development of every child
  • To foster caring attitudes to one another and to the environment
  • To enable teachers to teach without disruption
  • To ensure that the school’s expectations and strategies are widely known and understood through the parent’s handbook, availability of policies and an ethos of open communication


  • To encourage the involvement of both home and school in the implementation of this policy


Responsibility of Adults


The adults encountered by the children at school have an important responsibility to model high standards of behaviour, both in their dealings with the children and with each other, as their example has an important influence on the children. This extends to school transport personnel as well.


As adults we should aim to:

  • Create a positive climate with realistic expectations
  • Promote, through example, honesty and courtesy
  • Provide a caring and effective learning environment
  • Encourage relationships based on kindness, respect and understanding of the needs of others
  • Ensure fair treatment for all regardless of age, gender, race, ability and disability
  • Show appreciation of the efforts and contribution of all
  • Discourage physical aggression.

Positive Behaviour Code

Expectations of Pupil Behaviour


During school hours, St Joseph’s Primary School Pupils are expected to:


  • Be kind, polite and respectful to all.
  • Follow instructions given by all school staff including teachers, SNAs, bus escorts and dining room staff.
  • Give their best effort to all school activities.
  • Respect school property, other people’s property and the environment.


General Behaviour Code

Pupils of St Joseph’s should make every effort to:

  • Wear and have pride in the school uniform.
  • Attend school daily, unless not well enough to do so.
  • Arrive punctually to lesson.
  • Wear glasses or use of low vision aids which may have been issued.
  • Do homework as set by all teachers.

In addition to the above general expectations, the following area-specific codes for behaviour exist:
Yard and Grass Area

Class teachers will prepare classroom specific positive behaviour codes in line with the age and ability of the pupils.   Pupils must also abide by existing rules for the swimming pool.




Area Code of Behaviour – Yard

Yard time is a time for all to have fun. But it must also be safe time for all.   For the good of everyone, pupils should follow the following code:


  • Stay in the yard area during playtime.
  • Do not gather or hang around near the yellow entrance gates to the yard.
  • No rough play.
  • Use equipment properly and put it back in the right place when finished.
  • No running on the soft play surface.
  • Take turns and include others in their games.
  • Only leave the yard with the permission of the teacher on duty.
  • Stay outside the barriers around the wheelchair swing.
  • Ask for permission to collect any ball which has been kicked off the grass/yard on to the road.
  • Stay off play equipment which is wet.


Area Code of Behaviour – Corridors


Corridors can be very busy. To keep everyone safe, it is important that pupils:


  • Move calmly, quietly and with care in the corridors. No running at any time.
  • Use mobility training skills.
  • Do not disturb other classes.
  • Carry equipment safely and properly. Ask for help if necessary.



Additional Notes:

Mobile Phones, iPods and Handheld Computer Consoles


The school discourages pupils bringing mobile phones, iPods and other similar devices into school. Pupils have no reason to use mobile phones on school premises for phoning, texting, playing music on MP3 files or photographs. Any pupil bringing a phone into school should leave the phone out of sight in her/his coat pocket or bag. If a phone is used within school, it will be confiscated and returned at the end of the day. If a photo has been taken, it will be deleted before the phone is returned. If a pupil is found to have taken a photo in school time, and then shared it, it will be treated very seriously by the school.


The school takes absolutely no responsibility for the safekeeping of phones, iPods and other similar devices brought into school. The school will not be liable for any loss or damage to any such device.
Positive Behaviour in the Classroom


It is the responsibility of the class teacher to establish a positive behaviour code which is appropriate to the needs of her/his pupils inside the classroom in addition to the positive behaviour code. A high standard of positive behaviour should be promoted and expected within classrooms as well as a positive and respectful climate. However, we are a special school whose current roll includes pupils with additional support needs which may make it difficult for them to meet classroom rules which would be applied in a mainstream setting. Accordingly, the application of codes must in line with the pupils’ special educational needs. Unacceptable behaviour by pupils for whom appropriate good behaviour is expected should be dealt with appropriately.


Recognising and celebrating success is important to building a positive ethos within the school and classroom. If a pupil or class has made particular progress, the following can be used to reinforce the achievement:

  • Verbal praise/reinforcement.
  • Choice of Activity e.g. music/computer or playtime.
  • Pupil of the Week nomination.
  • Star charts, stickers and stamps.
  • An achievement brick on the Achievement Wall.
  • Homework pass.
  • Certificate of Achievement (Certificates can be produced using Microsoft Publisher.)




The general implementation of the positive behaviour code will be as follows:
General Expectations and Positive Behaviour Code

Attention will be drawn to the code of behaviour at the first school assembly. Class teachers will take pupils through the code of behaviour at the start of term or whenever necessary. The code will be in classrooms.

Class teachers should also devise an additional code outlining the positive behaviour expected within the classroom. These additional codes should be in-line with general positive behaviour code and expectations of the school as outlined above.


VEC teachers should, of course, apply the positive behaviour code within their classrooms using the same principles as a class teacher. The option of returning a pupil to her/his class should not be the first response. VEC teachers do have the option to issue sanctions if required.

Implementation of Specific Area Codes


Yard Code

a. Staff should communicate to pupils the additional rules for the corridor, yard and dining room on a regular basis.

b. Ensure that large yellow cones are placed on the grass to mark the boundary of the play area.

c. Ensure pupils collect and return all play equipment taken outside.

Dining Room Code



To ensure that the dining room code of behaviour functions correctly, school staff should:

a. Identify 5 pupils who will act as door openers and cane collector.

b. Allocate pupils to dining room tables.

c. Determine an appropriate order of classes for the journey to and from the dining room. The order of the queue will be determined by the most useful order for entering and leaving. It is suggested that pupils who are wheelchair users are placed at the head of the queue to prevent disorderly conduct.

  1. Determine the appropriate order for the exiting of the dining room.e. Ensure pupils are aware of the rules for the dining room are communicated to all pupils.

    f. During the school term, staff should ensure consistency in the management of all activities concerning the dining room and review and adjust arrangements as required.







Rewards and Sanctions


Minor Misbehaviour

Minor misbehaviour is defined as running, pushing, shouting, rudeness or mild bad language for instance. On-going failure to complete homework without good excuse also falls into this area. (Again, reference should be made to the pupil’s SEN in determining whether the misbehaviour may be related to his/her needs.)

If minor misbehaviour occurs, it should be dealt with by a verbal reprimand in the first instance. Other ways of approaching this are:

  • A comment in a pupil’s exercise book
  • A mention to parent, written or verbal communication.

However, where a pupil has shown improvement, it should also be noted by:

  • A visit to another member of Staff or to the Principal for commendation
  • A word of praise in front of a group or class
  • Delegating some special responsibility or privilege



If an unacceptable number of reprimands are given in any one day, the pupil should be sanctioned though separation from peers. This might also include loss of choice activity at the end of the day.
If a pupil has to be separated from his/her peers 3 times in one week, there will be a loss of privilege to be decided by the class teacher. For instance, loss of yard time, loss of softplay time etc.

If there are 3 losses of privileges in one half-term, a letter should be sent home to parents/guardians advising that the pupil’s behaviour is not acceptable and request them to discuss this with the child.

Persistent Minor Misbehaviour or More Serious Misbehaviour         

The following applies when, despite loss of privileges and a letter home to parents, minor misbehaviour continues. Alternatively, there has been:

  • Behaviour that is hurtful (including bullying, harassment, discrimination and victimisation)
  • Behaviour that interferes with teaching and learning
  • Threats or physical hurt to another person
  • Damage to property
  • Theft


The misbehaviour will be brought to the attention of the Principal, or if absent the Deputy Principal.   For persistent minor misbehaviour or an incidence of serious misbehaviour, the Principal will request that an individualised positive behaviour plan be drawn up in consultation with the class teachers (see below).

Other actions open to the Principal will include:
Phone call to parents.

Issue of a conduct sheet (See Appendix).

Further loss of privilege.
The Principal will decide on the basis on the seriousness of the incident whether or not a conference with parents and possibly other staff/agencies is required.


Preparing a Positive Behaviour Plan

A positive behaviour plan provides information to the pupil as to the rules and expectations which are expected of him/her. It will also detail the rewards and recognition that will be given for complying with the rules.   However, the plan will also outline the consequences of any transgression of the rules. This should be completed with the pupil so that he/she understand and agrees to the plan.

A positive behaviour plan is prepared as follows:

Part 1: Outline the Expected Behaviour required the Pupil.

Part 2: Break the expected behaviour of the pupil down into a simple set of rules. There should be no more than 5 rules.

Part 3: Detail the Rewards which will be given for succeeding in achieving the rules. These should be progressive.

Part 4: Outline the Consequences for not achieving the rules. These should also be progressive.


Residential Pupils

Class staff should communicate concerns to residential care staff if they have concerns regarding a pupil’s behaviour. This should be done as soon as possible and may require an informal meeting or telephone call after school.
Board of Management


In the case of on-going failure to apply the positive behaviour code or a very serious misdemeanour, parents/guardian’s will be informed and requested to meet with the Chairperson of the Board of Management and the Principal. Parents are an important partner in ensuring that pupils understand the importance of positive behaviour in school.




Staff are required to record all incidences of behaviour falling below expectations. Teachers will record individual pupil’s behaviour through the use of the following recording sheet. This should be kept with the weekly plans and updated as and when misbehaviour occurs. Copies of this form are available from the school office.

It is important that this sheet is kept up-to-date to ensure that patterns of misbehaviour can be identified and addressed.

Serious incidences should be recorded on a school incident form, copies of which are available in the school office.





Gross Misdemeanours


Gross misdemeanours cover serious of malicious damage to school property (e.g. setting fire to school property, deliberately leaving taps turned on in an attempt to cause flooding, wilful damage to school property), aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour to any pupil towards another pupil or a member of staff.


Gross misdemeanour can only be applied in cases where it is accepted that the child has an understanding that his/her actions are malicious and likely to cause damage. For certain pupils with additional disabilities including behaviour difficulties, this may not be the case. In such circumstances the protocol for challenging behaviours should be applied.


If a pupil has engaged and understood that his/her actions that are malicious then the Chairperson/Principal can sanction immediate suspension pending discussion with parents.

Further action regarding suspension and expulsion from the school is outlined as below.
Suspension and Expulsion         


Before serious sanctions such suspension or expulsion are used, the normal channels of communication between school and parents will be utilised. Communication with parents may be verbal or by letter depending on the circumstances.


For gross misbehaviour or repeated instances of serious misbehaviour suspension may be considered. Parents/guardians concerned will be invited to come to the school to discuss their child’s case. Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards a teacher or pupil will be regarded as serious or gross misbehaviour.


Where there are repeated instances of serious misbehaviour, the Chairperson of the Board of Management will be informed and the parents/guardians will be requested in writing to attend at the school to meet the Chairperson and the Principal. If parents/guardians do not give an undertaking that the pupil will behave in an acceptable manner in the future the pupil may be suspended for a period. Prior to suspension, where possible, the Principal may review the case in consultation with teachers and other members of the school community involved, with due regard to records of previous misbehaviours, their pattern and context, sanctions and other interventions used and their outcomes and any relevant medical information. Suspension will be in accordance with the Rules for National Schools and the Education Welfare Act 2000.


In the case of gross misbehaviour, where it is necessary to ensure that order and discipline are maintained and to secure the safety of the pupils, the Board may authorise the Chairperson or Principal to sanction an immediate suspension for a period not exceeding three school days, pending a discussion of the matter with the parents.


Expulsion may be considered in an extreme case, in accordance with the Rule for National Schools and the Education Welfare Act 2000. Before suspending or expelling a pupil, the Board shall notify the Local Welfare Education Officer in writing in accordance with Section 24 of the Education Welfare Act.


Removal of Suspension (Reinstatement)

Following or during a period of suspension, the parent/s may apply to have the pupil reinstated to the school. The parent/s must give a satisfactory undertaking that a suspended pupil will behave in accordance with the school code and the Principal must be satisfied that the pupil’s reinstatement will not constitute a risk to the pupil’s own safety or that of the other pupils or staff. The Principal will facilitate the preparation of a behaviour plan for the pupil if required and will re-admit the pupil formally to the class.




This policy should be reviewed in May 2014 or if experience shows areas are in need of revision.

Appendix – Conduct Sheets


  1. Conduct sheets are used to monitor the behaviour of an individual pupil who is causing a concern. They record both positive and negative behaviour in order to encourage the former and dissuade the latter. Conduct Sheets can also draw attention to patterns of behaviour.
  2. Conduct sheets are issued when a pupil has been spoken to on a number of occasions by staff and/or the Principal regarding low level indiscipline and has not responded appropriately; has been involved in a single incident of serious misbehaviour; is exhibiting behaviour which is out of his/her normal character.
  3. Parents/Carers’ should normally be informed by telephone or in writing that a conduct sheet is being issued.
  4. A pupil on a conduct sheet is required to present the sheet to the teacher at the end of a specialist lesson e.g. music, pottery or swimming. The teacher is required to record how the pupil behaved, his/her motivation and so forth.Where a pupil does not attend a specialist lesson, the class teacher will record behaviour before break, between break and lunch and after lunch.
  5. Conduct sheets are normally issued for 1 week, though they can be issued for a longer period of time.
  6. At the end of the week, the conduct sheet is presented to the Principal who will decide whether the pupil should continue on the sheet or be taken off.
  7. Day pupils are required to present their conduct sheets to parents/carers each evening for signing to indicate that the sheet has been read.Residential pupils are required to present their conduct sheet to the senior residential care worker on duty each evening who will also sign the sheet.

    Conduct sheets will be sent home to at the end of the week by post.

  8. If a pupil does not respond to positively to a conduct sheet, further actions may be taken to address the concern.

Conduct Sheet