Behaviour

This document summarises our school policies in relation to promoting positive behaviour in school. Guidance is also given which relates to our Pastoral Care procedures.

Introduction

As you can see from our Aims and our Creed, we wish to create an environment in school where children become self-disciplined, where they think about the consequences of their actions and where they develop respect for others.

The first section of this document outlines the means by which positive behaviour is promoted both in and outside the classroom. The second part will indicate the means by which pupils are guided towards appropriate behaviour and deterred from poor behaviour. The third part outlines our procedures relating to Pastoral Care and Child Protection.

As with any aspect of school life, the success of our policies and procedures depends on the development of strong links between school and home. One of the 'secrets of our success' at Finaghy Primary School has been the exceptionally close and positive partnership that exists between parents and teachers. Such a partnership is of utmost importance in developing our approach towards promoting positive behaviour.

We hope that you find this document useful. If you have any further questions about any aspect of our policies, do not hesitate to contact the Principal for further information.

Mr P Breene
Chairperson
Finaghy Primary School Board of Governors

Promoting Positive Behaviour in the Classroom

All teachers aim to develop a classroom atmosphere that is conducive to positive behaviour. From P1 upwards, children are encouraged to understand the school rules and the classroom rules.

Teachers use a variety of strategies to promote and reward good behaviour. As children move through the school they are given increased opportunities to be involved in the development of such rules and to discuss their own conduct.

Examples of classroom activities designed to promote positive behaviour:
  • Agreed class rules displayed in classrooms.
  • Star charts displayed on walls.
  • Use of encouragement and praise.
  • Use of motivation stickers.
  • Certificates
  • Challenge corners
  • Being appointed 'class helper'.
  • Choosing a group activity.
  • Class rewards (choosing their 'end of day' activity, extra computer time, choosing the game to be played in PE etc.)

Through the curriculum:

Circle Time

During Circle Time, pupils engage in a variety of activities, some of which will be connected to promoting positive behaviour. Circle Time has a set of rules which develop as the children get older. An object is usually passed around the circle and only the person holding the object is allowed to speak. The topics for discussion can be many and varied: classroom rules; things that are fair and unfair; bullying; 'staying safe'; showing respect for others etc.

EMU (Education for Mutual Understanding)

In Finaghy Primary School we value the diversity of our pupils' backgrounds. Children are taught to respect the views and attitudes of others. They are taught to demonstrate tolerance, to 'love thy neighbour as thyself' and to find peaceful means to resolve their conflicts.

English and Drama

Pupils have opportunities to express their thoughts and feelings through role play, creative writing, poetry, discussions, debates and group tasks. In junior classes, a large picture book can often be the stimulus for discussion. In senior classes, pupils may be given a topic to discuss in groups, then be asked to make a presentation to the rest of the class.

Positive behaviour is promoted through all subjects within the Northern Ireland Curriculum as and when appropriate.

Outside the classroom

Almost every visitor to our school comments on the warm and happy atmosphere which they experience. In order to sustain such an atmosphere, we are very clear about our expectations for pupil conduct in and around the school.

We expect pupils to be polite and courteous to each other, to teachers, to other adults working in the school and to all visitors. Simple courtesies such as holding a door open for other to pass through, saying 'good morning' or just a smile can make such a positive impression. Teachers and other adults endorse and reward such behaviour.

Uniform

We expect pupils to wear full school uniform at all times and to respect regulations regarding jewellery and footwear. We strongly believe that pride in personal appearance is conducive to good behaviour, to making a positive identification with the school and to maintaining the school's excellent reputation.

Behaviour
  • We expect pupils to engage in non-violent, non-aggressive behaviour at all times.
  • We exercise a policy of zero-tolerance towards bullying of any kind.
  • Use of foul or abusive language is unacceptable.
  • Racist remarks, slurs or comments are unacceptable. ('I was only joking' is not accepted as a defense.)

Pupils are expected to play in the playgrounds in a non-aggressive, non-threatening manner.

We also expect pupils to behave appropriately on the way to and from school. If an incident occurs during these times, we will follow the procedures outlined in this policy.

* It is explained clearly to children that if someone does hit them or verbally abuse them, they must not retaliate. Rather, they must inform a supervisor, a teacher or other appropriate adult. We are legally and morally obliged to teach children non-violent, non-aggressive means to resolve conflicts. Pupils are informed that retaliation may well lead to a sanction against them, even if they were not the instigator of the problem.

How can pupils get help?

If a pupil is unhappy with how they are being treated by any other individual, they are obliged to inform the nearest adult. Supervisory staff, students and other adults working in the school will then inform the child's teacher.

Your child's teacher will make a decision to either deal with the problem in class or to make a further referral.

Referral Structure

If necessary, your child's teacher may refer the problem to their year group coordinator or Head of Key Stage:

  • For P1 - P4 pupils: Head of Key Stage One (Mrs Boomer)
  • For P4 - P7 pupils: Vice Principal /Head of Key Stage Two (Mrs Corbett/Miss Mawhinney)
  • A further referral may then be made to the Principal.
Communication with Parents / Guardians

For anything other than minor incidents it is our policy to inform parents / guardians at an early stage. In this way, we can seek your help and support to resolve problems quickly.

Likewise, we are always happy to deal with concerns that you child has expressed to you at home.

* Your child's class teacher will be happy to speak to you informally about any issue but please be aware that during class time, or when involved in other duties, teachers will have to arrange an appointment for you to discuss your concerns.

Sanctions

The majority of our pupil behaviour problems are of a minor nature. Mostly, they can be dealt with 'on the spot.' However, we have a range of strategies for dealing with more serious and/or persistent misdemeanours.

Before applying any sanction, every effort will be made to investigate the issue in a fair and appropriate manner.

For anything other than minor incidents, the class teacher keeps a written record of the problem and any action taken.

Our overall approach is based on encouraging children towards self-disciplined behaviour. Children who behave inappropriately have the consequences of their actions explained to them and are made to consider the impact of their behaviour on others. This is done in discussion with the class teacher or other appropriate adult.

Strategies employed:

  • Verbal reprimand
  • Letter of apology from the pupil or other suitable written task.
  • 'Time-Out' (In the classroom, this may mean sitting on their own for a specified period of time. In the playground, this may mean standing by a wall, again for a limited time period.)
  • Exclusion from a 'class treat' or a special event.
  • Exclusion from the playground at break or lunch-time.
  • Children may also be asked to stay in at break or lunch time to complete work not done at home or in class.

If a child exhibits persistent behaviour problems, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is initiated. This is drawn up in consultation with the class teacher, the Head of Key Stage, the Special Educational Needs Coordinator, the Principal and the parents.

The outcome of such a plan may be to begin a daily report sheet (signed by teachers and parents / guardians each day,) set targets for improvement and/or draw up a 'contract' between the school, the pupil and the parent / guardian.

It may also be necessary to enlist the help of outside agencies such as the Educational Psychologist or Behavioural Outreach Support.

The Principal reserves the right to initiate formal suspension and expulsion procedures as per regulations prescribed by the Belfast Education and Library Board.

Bullying

  • Bullying is defined as persistent verbal or physical assault of one pupil by another.
  • As already mentioned, we maintain zero-tolerance of bullying behaviour in this school.
  • In school we make it clear to all pupils that if they are being 'picked-on' or bullied in any way they MUST tell an adult.
  • If bullying behaviour is identified, the following steps will be taken:
  • Parents / guardians of both the bully and the victim will be informed / involved in any action taken.
  • Sanctions (as described above,) will be employed against the bully and strategies will be developed to remedy their behaviour.
  • The victim of bullying will be offered all practical means of support / counselling / reassurance within school, in cooperation with the wishes of parents / guardians.

* Please note that the sanctions used for bullying (as defined above,) will be more severe than those used for incidents of 'rough horseplay' or, say, an isolated example of 'name-calling.'

No school can guarantee any parent that their child will not, at any stage of their school career, be the subject of poor behaviour from another pupil. However, we can guarantee that any incidents brought to our attention will be investigated and appropriate action will be taken to deal with the problem.
Please be aware that in certain circumstances it can be difficult to establish the true cause of a problem - particularly in a situation where we are dealing with 'one child's word against another.' In such situations it is very important that we have your support whilst trying to establish a fair and reasonable solution.

The school’s Child Protection policy now includes a section on Cyber bullying.

Cyber bullying has been defined as “an aggressive intentional act carried out by a group or an individual using electronic forms of contact, repeatedly, over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself”

Cyber bullying can take place through:

  • Text messages
  • Picture/video clip
  • Mobile phone call
  • E mail bulying
  • Chat room
  • Instant messaging
  • Websites such as BEBO

The school follows the same procedures when dealing with Cyber bullying as with all other forms of bullying.