Introductory Statement

This code was prepared in accordance with the guidelines issued by the National Education Welfare Board (NEWB). This is a draft policy. A review process will take place over a term, headed by the Behaviour Committee, to ensure that the views from everyone in the school community are included. 

The Code of Positive Behaviour places a greater emphasis on rewards rather than sanctions or punishments through implementing the Incredible Years programme throughout the school. The code of positive behaviour helps the school community to promote the school’s unique ethos, relationships, policies, procedures and practices that encourage good behaviour and minimise unacceptable behaviour. This policy also helps teachers, other members of staff, students and parents to work together to create a happy, caring, respectful and safe school environment.

Our code expresses the vision, mission and values of Owenabue Educate Together. It translates the expectations of staff, parents and students into practical arrangements that will help to ensure continuity of learning for all students. It helps to foster an orderly, harmonious school where high standards of behaviour are expected, supported and recognised. 

Mission Statement

Owenabue Educate Together is a multi-denominational school under the patronage of Educate Together. Our school motto “Equality, Diversity, Respect” is inherent in everything we do. We are committed to creating a caring, supportive and respectful atmosphere at school, where every student can achieve their full potential. The ethos of the school is reflected in our Code of Behaviour with the emphasis on respect for self, for others and for the environment. 

The aims of the Code of Positive Behaviour are: is to ensure that the individuality of each child is respected and that individual differences are celebrated, acknowledging the right of each child to an environment in which they can learn safely and grow. To facilitate the education and development of every child.

  • Through the implementation of the Incredible Years programme as a whole school approach to the management of behaviour issues, we seek to promote positive behaviours and self-discipline in an atmosphere of respect, acceptance, open-mindedness and consideration for others.
  • To ensure an educational environment that is guided by our Educate Together ethos.
  • To ensure the safety and well-being of all members of the school community.
  • To assist parents and students in understanding the school’s code of positive behaviour and to ensure their co-operation with its implementation. 
  • To ensure that the system of rules, rewards, and sanctions are implemented in a fair and consistent manner throughout the school.

The entire school community has a part to play in contributing to this environment. 

Roles and Responsibilities 

The responsibility for the implementation of this policy rests with the partners in education i.e. the Board of Management, principal and teaching staff, students and the parents/guardians of the students at Owenabue Educate Together. 

The school’s standards of behaviour describe the behaviour expected of all members of the school community, staff and students, parents/guardians and visitors. These values are put into practice through simple, clear and consistent school rules and routines which are built on:

  • respect for yourself 
  • respect for others 
  • respect for your school

Responsibilities of Board of Management

  • Provide a comfortable, safe environment. 
  • Ratify the code of behaviour
  • Support the Principal and staff in implementing the code.

Responsibilities of Principal 

  • Promote a positive climate in the school.
  • Ensure that the code of behaviour is implemented in a fair and consistent manner and arrange for review of the Code, as required.

Responsibilities of Teachers 

  • Support and implement the school’s code of behaviour.
  • Create a safe working environment for each student and affirm good work.
  • Be courteous, consistent and fair.
  • Deal appropriately with misbehaviour.
  • Keep a record of instances of serious misbehaviour or repeated instances of misbehaviour.
  • Provide support for colleagues.
  • Communicate with parents when necessary and provide reports on matters of mutual concern.

Responsibilities of Parents/Guardians

Schools need the support of parents with regard to good behaviour and discipline. Parents can help their children in the following ways:

  • Parents should provide their children with positive models of behaviour.
  • Children need boundaries and rules about behaviour. Talk to your child about school rules. They help make the school a safe place where everyone can learn and nobody feels left out or threatened.
  • Be interested in, support and encourage your child’s school work.
  • Cooperate with teachers in instances where your child’s behaviour is causing difficulties for others.
  • Answer any phone calls from school promptly.
  • Ensure that there is always someone available to collect child from school promptly at school’s request. 
  • Attend meetings at the school as requested.
  • Check your child has all their needs for class i.e. books, copies pens, pencils, rubber, ruler, etc.
  • Share information with the school in relation to any problems which may affect child’s progress / behaviour. 
  • Behave in a respectful manner to all members of the school community. 
  • Ensure that your child attends school regularly and on time.
  • Children are supervised in the mornings from 8:30am. It is parents’/guardians’ responsibility to ensure their child is supervised if on site before that time. 
  • Children must be collected promptly at 1.20pm.
  • Inform the school if an unknown adult will be collected their child.
  • Ensure the school has up to date contact information for parents/guardians.

Responsibilities of Students

The school has three core School Rules.

  1. Be respectful.
  2. Be ready.
  3. Be the best you can be.

These rules are brought to the attention of the children through the class teachers on a regular basis

Behaviour that does not conform to one or more of these rules can be considered unacceptable. For each rule we have certain expectations, and these are explained and taught to all students. 

The success of the school’s code of behaviour depends on consistency in the implementation of these rules. This will be achieved as follows:

These rules are brought to the attention of the children through the class teachers on a regular basis

Behaviour that does not conform to one or more of these rules can be considered unacceptable. For each rule we have certain expectations, and these are explained and taught to all students. 

The success of the school’s code of behaviour depends on consistency in the implementation of these rules. This will be achieved as follows:

  • Teaching of the School Rules
  • Modelling the standards
  • Rewards and Incentives for keeping the rules
  • Prevention Strategies
  • Sanctions For Breaking the Rules

Promotion of the School Rules

All students are taught the School Rules when they start school and they are revised consistently throughout their remaining years in the school. Parents are encouraged and expected to talk to their children about the rules and to encourage their children to keep them.

Individual rules will be highlighted at regular periods at assembly for special attention. 

The School Rules are promoted through the entire school community as follows:

  • Noticeboards

The School Rules are displayed prominently in each classroom.

  • Assembly

Assembly takes place weekly. It forms a valuable role in our whole school approach to developing

self-esteem, promoting positive behaviour and effective discipline. Good work and achievements are

highlighted, celebrated and rewarded. The school rules are emphasised and explained. Specific school

routines for the classroom and yard are emphasised and explained.

  • Parent Information Booklet

All Parents / Guardians are provided with a copy of the school’s code of behaviour before enrolment

as required by Section 23(4) of the Education (welfare) Act 2000.

Parents/Guardians must accept the code of behaviour, acknowledging it is acceptable to them and

that they will make all reasonable efforts to ensure compliance with the code by the child. 

Building Relationships and Promoting good behaviour

The primary aim in Owenabue is to build solid relationships with every pupil. This in turn leads to more effective learning and more positive behaviour. Owenabue is working to become a Nurturing School and a Trauma aware school to achieve this aim. All staff have received or are receiving Nurturing schools training. Staff receive professional supervision with a psychologist regularly with the goal of becoming trauma informed. 

The following strategies are used to promote positive behaviour:

  • Check in circles
  • Use of emotional regulation strategies
  • Sensory breaks as needed
  • Safe/Calm corners in every room
  • A zen den at breaktimes
  • Regular discussion and conversation about expectations
  • Whole class reward strategies such as ‘bucket filling’ to promote kindness and care

Prevention Strategies

The most effective methodology in attempting to manage challenging behaviour is to prevent it occurring in the first place. Positive reinforcement of good behaviour leads to better self-discipline and we place a greater emphasis on rewards and incentives than on sanctions. The school’s SPHE curriculum and the Learn Together programme is used to support the code of behaviour. It aims to help our children develop communication skills, appropriate ways of interacting and behaving, and conflict resolution skills. It also aims to foster self-esteem and to help children accommodate differences and develop citizenship. 

Prevention strategies used in the school may include:

  • Restorative Practice
  • Circle time
  • Organised activities at break time
  • Carrying out useful tasks
  • Helping in the school garden
  • Sensory Breaks/Movement Breaks
  • Lunchtime Indoor Activity Groups
  • Use of individual behaviour systems
  • School Support Plans and SET support

Additional Supports

Children with additional needs may require assistance in understanding and respecting certain rules. Additional inputs and interventions may also be required to help some students manage their behaviour and to prevent them failing educationally. Such interventions could include

  • Referral to another teacher or adult who can work with the student
  • Individual Behaviour Support Systems may be devised in consultation with parents, class teacher, SET staff, ANA and outside agencies. Professional assessments where available may inform and shape the plan.

Specialised Supports

A small minority of students may exhibit particular behaviours of concern. The school, in cooperation with the student’s parents will seek to avail of any local services that may assist in responding to the needs of the student. These services could include the National Educational Psychological Services (NEPS), CAMHS, relevant professional counselling services, etc.

Sanctions for Misbehaviour

The school strives to solve issues at the lowest level possible. Teachers encourage, support and show students how they may be able to resolve issues themselves. Most issues will be resolved at this point. Where sanctions are imposed they will be graded and reflect the seriousness of the behaviour. (See Appendix B for examples of behaviours)

Dealing with Minor Issues

Where issues occur the class teacher may employ any of a number of strategies to respond to, or divert children’s inappropriate behaviour in order to prevent it escalating into something more disruptive to learning and more difficult to manage. These strategies may include: 

  • Gesture / Look / Whisper.
  • Tactical ignoring.
  • Carrying out a useful task in the school.
  • Catch students being good.
  • Rule reminder.
  • Teaching rule to class or class recitation of the rule.
  • Expressing disappointment or disapproval, or using humour.
  • Change of place.

Dealing with more Serious Issues

Disruptive behaviours waste teaching and learning time and impinge on the good order and discipline in the school. When behaviour issues arise that require a sanction either because of the level of disruption, upset or hurt caused, or the persistence of the disruption the following sanctions will be used in a graded system to show disapproval and to discourage such unacceptable behaviour. Deputy Principal/Principal may be involved in investigating incidents as necessary. 

Warning/Sanction Procedure

When misbehaviour impacts upon the learning or safety of others, it may be necessary to use sanctions. The sanction will depend on the type and level of misbehaviour; minor, serious, very serious, and also the individual context. 

Examples of minor misbehaviour may include:
  • Pushing and talking in the line.
  • Writing and passing notes..
  • Interfering in others games.
  • Not following adult instruction. 
Examples of serious misbehaviours include:
  • All minor misbehaviours when on a persistent basis.
  • Behaviour that disrupts the learning of others in class.
  • Refusal to do work.
  • Telling lies.
  • Name calling other students.
  • Swearing / bad language to other students.
  • Throwing food at other students.
  • Rough play.

Examples of very serious misbehaviour include:

  • Persistent disruptive behaviour.
  • Persistent slagging  / name calling.
  • Persistent defiance and disrespect.
  • Hitting or other aggressive behaviour.
  • Throwing objects that could cause injury or harm.
  • Racist / bad / inappropriate language deliberately directed at someone.
  • Inappropriate harassment and bullying.
  • Angry / aggressive play.
  • Fighting.
  • Deliberately spitting at another child .
  • Leaving the school without permission.
  • Verbal Abuse towards staff.
  • Destruction of property.

Procedure when dealing with persistent misbehaviour, or serious misbehaviour

  • Staff member working with a child reminds child of expected behaviour. Makes environmental changes as needed.
  • Class teacher is informed if behaviour persists and uses strategies (examples below) to address behaviour. Class teacher may involve other adults such as ANAs, Support Teacher, parents to help resolve the issue
  • Principal becomes involved if the behaviour persists. Will assess the situation and support. Principal may decide there is a health and safety risk and require parents to collect the child. If this happens, staff will discuss and come up with a behaviour support plan to attempt to minimise the chances of repeated behaviour on return, and communicate this to the parents.

In some circumstances it may be necessary to escalate the response to:

  • Suspension- See Appendix C, Procedures for Suspension
  • Expulsion- See Appendix D, Procedures for Expulsion

This may be due to persistent and repeated serious behaviours or one incidence of very serious behaviour which causes health and safety risks to other members of the school community. 


For repeated serious misbehaviour on the yard, or where a behaviour support plan requires it, arrangements may be made for the student not to go to yard at break time. In this instance the pupil will be supervised by a member of staff in another location.

School Trips and Outings

Student’s behaviour on tours will comply with the standard set down in the school’s code of behaviour. Where it is felt that a child’s conduct would pose a safety risk or inhibit the educational benefit for self or others, the school management reserves the right to refuse the child permission to travel on school trips / tours / outings.  Parents will be advised of this in advance. 

When the code of behaviour applies

The school’s code of behaviour applies during school hours, at all extra-curricular classes or events, at swimming classes, at all fund-raising and social events organized by the school, on school tours, and at all events organised by, on behalf of, or in the name of Owenabue Educate Together whether during school hours or outside of school hours.

The Board of Management reserves the right to investigate matters which occur outside of the school premises at any time if it impacts upon the school community or reputation.


In dealing with incidences of bullying behaviour, teachers have regard to the school’s Anti-Bullying Policy and are drawn up in accordance with Anti Bullying Procedures for Primary Schools (2013).

Absences / Communication

The Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, Section 18, requires parents to notify the Principal of a school of the reasons for a child’s absence.  In compliance with these sections, the following procedures apply. For absences of students from school parents will send a note upon the return of the child to school outlining the reason(s) for absence.

The Education (Welfare) Act 2000, Section 21(4) requires a School Principal to inform an Educational Welfare Officer in writing if the aggregate number of school days on which a student is absent from school during a school year is 20 days or more.  Additionally, Section 21(4) authorises the School Principal to notify an Educational Welfare Officer if, in the opinion of the Principal, a child “is not attending school regularly”.


Where any parent has a concern about any aspect of behaviour the school should be contacted either by phone, in person or in writing and the matter brought to the attention of the child’s teacher followed by the principal/deputy principal as appropriate.


Our Code of Behaviour will be next reviewed in January 2023.


Parents/Guardians    ___________________________________


Date            ___________________________________

Appendix A

Rules of the School Explained

  1. Be respectful
This means:
  • That you will be helpful and treat other students and all staff with good manners and respect.
  • That you will be gentle and kind, keeping unhelpful hands, feet, objects and comments to yourself.
  • That you will be honest.
  • That you will call others by their preferred names.
  • That bad language, biting, bullying, kicking, punching, spitting is unacceptable behaviour.
  • That you will respect the instructions of all the school staff.
  • That you will not pick on or bully others.
  • That you use the litter bins.
  • That you respect school property and the property of other people.
  • That you have respect for other cultures, religions and differences.
  • That you will not bring mobile phones to school as they are not allowed.
  • Everyone is entitled to good manners and respect.
  • Bullying causes fear, hurt and misery.
  • Offensive or abusive language shows disrespect and can cause hurt.
  • Keeping the school environment pleasant and litter free is everyone’s responsibility.
  • You would expect the same respect for your property.
  • Everyone has the right to be treated with respect.

2. Be ready

This means:

  • That you attend school every day unless it is absolutely unavoidable.
  • That if you miss school you bring in a note in your journal.
  • That you behave yourself on your way to and from school.
  • That you have the proper stationary, books and copies required for class.
  • That you will be careful with library books, your own books, pencils, markers, crayons.


  • Time missed is hard to make up.
  • The school is entitled to an explanation for your absences.
  • The school is responsible for you during the day.
  • The school expects that all students can come to and go home from school safely.
  • It wastes time if you have not got your pens, copies, and books.
  • Having items not needed for class causes distraction and wastes time.
  • Most of our books are rented and will need to be passed on to another student at the end of the year.  If we don’t keep our belongings in good condition they won’t last for the year.

3. Be ready to learn

This means:

  • That you work to the best of your ability, and allow others to do the same.
  • That you listen to your teachers.
  • That you do not disturb the class.
  • That you sit with the four legs of your chair on the floor at all times.
  • That you always have your journal with you.
  • That you put your chair up on the desk at the end of the day and help tidy the room.
  • That you will put a quiet hand up to speak if the teacher is speaking. 


  • Everybody has a right to learn in a caring, safe and respectful environment.
  • The teacher is trying to help you.
  • Disturbing the class is unfair to others who wish to learn.
  • It is dangerous to swing back on the two legs of your chair.
  • Your journal helps you remember what you have to do and is a means of communication between school and home.
  • It is important to take responsibility for tidying up after ourselves.

Appendix C

Procedures for Suspension

Suspension is defined as a temporary, complete exclusion from school and activities.

The Board of Management has the authority to suspend a student. The authority to suspend a student for up to 4 consecutive school days has been delegated by the Board of Management in writing to the principal.   The Principal is accountable to the BOM for the use of that authority.

A single incident of serious misconduct is grounds for immediate suspension.


The Principal has been authorised in writing to impose an automatic suspension. The following behaviours will result in immediate suspension: 

  • Verbal abuse or threat of a staff member (1 day suspension).
  • Initiating a physical fight (2 day suspension).
  • Participating in a physical fight (1 day suspension).
  • Persistent Insubordination i.e. refusing to follow the instructions of a staff member repeatedly during the school day (1 day suspension).
  • Gross Insubordination i.e. refusing to follow the instructions of a staff member during an incident of violence or aggression (2 day suspension). 
  • Absconding (3 day suspension) for first incidence.
  • Physical violence to a staff member (5 day suspension).

Other serious misbehaviours may warrant an immediate suspension if they put the health and safety of students or staff at risk. 

When a assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour that warrants suspension, the Principal will:

  • Remove the student from the class.
  • Inform the student of the suspension.
  • Inform the parents of the suspension and need to collect the student from school.
  • Arrange for a meeting with the parents on arrival to outline the behaviour and suspension.

Period of Suspension

A student will not be suspended for more than 4 days, except in exceptional circumstances where the principal recommends to the board of management that a period of suspension longer than 4 days is needed to achieve a particular objective.  

The Board of Management considers the following circumstances are ones where the principal would consider recommending more than 4 days as an appropriate suspension.  Any one of the following on its own may be considered appropriate to warrant a recommendation of a longer suspension:

  • when the student fails to recognise or acknowledge the seriousness of the events leading to a proposed suspension.
  • where injury has been inflicted on another person to such a degree of severity as to warrant medical attention and/or a visit to a doctor.
  • where the student continues to display belligerence, hostility or aggression.

If a suspension longer than 4 days is being recommended by the principal the matter will be referred to the Board of Management for consideration and approval, giving the circumstances and the expected outcomes.  

The Board of Management has authorised the principal in writing, with the approval of the Chairman of the Board of Management, to impose a suspension of up to 5 days in circumstances where a meeting of the board of management cannot be convened in a timely fashion, subject to the guidance already provided to the principal concerning such suspensions. 

The Board of Management will formally review any proposal to suspend a student, where the suspension would bring the number of days for which a student has been suspended in the current school year to 20 days or more.


The Board of Management will offer an opportunity to appeal a principal’s decision to suspend a student for 3 or more days. If an appeal is to be considered before a suspension is to take place, then the student will be removed from class until the appeal is complete and the appeal decision is relayed to parents. 

If the appeal against the decision to suspend is not upheld or if the period of suspension is altered but not set aside, then the suspension will begin as soon as practicable after the decision on the appeal is relayed to parents, normally starting the next school day.   

Section 29 Appeal

Where the total number of days for which a student has been suspended in the current school year reaches 20 days, the parents may appeal the suspension under section 29 of the Education Act 1998 as amended by the Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007.

Parents will be notified of this right at the time when they are being formally notified of such a suspension. Information on how to appeal will also be provided.

Suspension as part of a Behaviour Management Plan

Suspension if implemented will be part of an agreed plan to address a students’ behaviour .  The suspension should:

  • enable the school to set behavioural goals for the student and their parents
  • give school staff an opportunity to plan other interventions
  • impress on a student and their parents the seriousness of the behaviour

Removing a Suspension

A suspension may be removed or altered either immediately or retrospectively if the Board of Management decides, or, if the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science directs it to be removed under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 as amended by the Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007 

Reintegrating the student

Parents will meet members of the behaviour committee for a re-entry meeting. The principal will arrange for a member of staff to provide support for the student during the reintegration process.  The student will be given the opportunity and support for a fresh start. 

The school will then expect the same behaviour of this student as of all other students.

Recording and Reporting

A record of the behaviour and sanction imposed will be kept which will include:

  • The incident report.
  • The notes from the meeting with the parents and student. 
  • The duration of the suspension and any conditions attached to the suspension.

Report to the Board of Management

The principal, if acting on the written delegated authority to suspend, will report all suspensions to the Board of Management.

Report to NEWB

The principal will report suspensions of 6 or more cumulative days in a year to the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) in accordance with NEWB reporting guidelines (Education (Welfare) Act 2000, section 21(4)(a)

Review of the use of Suspension

The Board of Management will review the use of suspension in the school at regular intervals to ensure that its use is consistent with school policies and to ensure that use of suspension is appropriate and effective.

Appendix D

Expulsion Procedures

Expulsion is defined as the removal or banning of a student from a school due to persistent violation of that school’s rules, or in extreme cases, for a single offense of marked severity.

The Board of Management has the authority to expel a student. This authority is a reserved function of the Board of Management and is not delegated to the Principal.

Before expelling a student, the school will have taken significant steps to address the misbehaviour and to avoid expulsion of a student including, as appropriate:

  1. Meeting with parents and the student to try to find ways of helping the student to change their behaviour.
  2. Making sure that the student understands the possible consequences of the behaviour, if it should persist.
  3. Ensuring that all other possible options have been tried.
  4. Seeking the assistance of support agencies, if appropriate 

A proposal by the Board of Management to expel a student requires serious grounds, such that:

  1. The student’s behaviour is a persistent cause of significant disruption to the learning of others or to the teaching process.
  2. The student’s continued presence in the school constitutes a real and significant threat to safety.
  3. The student is responsible for serious damage to property
  4. While the grounds for expulsion may be similar to those of suspension, where expulsion is considered, the school authorities are satisfied that they have tried a series of other interventions and are satisfied that they have exhausted all possibilities for changing the students behaviour. 

Expulsion for a First offence

The Board of Management reserves the right to expel students for a first offence for the following behaviours:

  1. A serious threat of violence against another student or member of staff.
  2. Actual violence or physical assault.
  3. The supply of illegal drugs to other students in the school.
  4. Sexual assault.


Where a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant expulsion, the following procedural steps will apply:

  1. A detailed investigation carried out under the direction of the Principal.
  2. A recommendation to the Board of Management by the Principal.
  3. Consideration by the Board of Management of the Principal’s recommendation and the holding of a hearing.
  4. Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing
  5. Consultations arranged by an Education Welfare Officer of the National Educational Welfare Board
  6. Confirmation of the decision to expel.
Step 1: A detailed investigation carried out under the direction of the Principal

In investigating an allegation the principal will:

  • Inform the student and parents about the details of the alleged misbehaviour, how it will be investigated and that it could lead to expulsion.
  • Give the parents and student every opportunity to respond to the complaint before a decision is made and a sanction imposed.

Parents will be informed in writing of the alleged misbehaviour and the proposed investigation in order to have a permanent record of having let them know.

Step 2: A recommendation to the board by the Principal

Where the principal forms the view, based on the investigation that expulsion may be warranted, the principal makes a recommendation to the Board of management to consider expulsion. The principal will

  • inform the parents and the student that the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion
  • ensure that parents have records of: the allegations against the student; the investigation; and written notice of the grounds on which the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion
  • provide the Board of Management with the same comprehensive records as are given to parents
  • notify the parents of the date of the hearing by the Board of Management and invite them to that hearing
  • advise the parents that they can make a written and oral submission to the Board of Management
  • ensure that parents have enough notice to allow them to prepare for the hearing.
Step 3: Consideration by the Board and the holding of a hearing

The Board will review the initial investigation and satisfy itself that the investigation was properly conducted in line with fair procedures. It will ensure that no party who has had any involvement with the circumstances of the case is part of the Board’s deliberations.

Where a Board of Management decides to consider expelling a student, it will hold a hearing. 

At the hearing: 

  • The Principal and the parents will put their case to the Board in each other’s presence. 
  • Each party will be allowed to question the evidence of the other party directly. 
  • The meeting may also be an opportunity for parents to make their case for lessening the sanction.
  • Parents may wish to be accompanied at hearings and the Board will facilitate this.
  • After both sides have been heard, the Board will ensure that the Principal and parents are not present for the Board’s deliberations.
Step 4: Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing

Where the Board of Management, having considered all the facts of the case, is of the opinion that the student should be expelled, the Board will notify the Educational Welfare Officer in writing of its opinion, and the reasons for this opinion. (Education (Welfare) Act 2000, s24(1)).

The student will not be expelled before the passage of twenty school days from the date on which the EWO receives this written notification (Education (Welfare) Act 2000, s24(1)). 

The Board will inform the parents in writing about its conclusions and the next steps in the process. Where expulsion is proposed, the parents will be told that the Board of Management will now inform the Educational Welfare Officer.

Step 5: Consultations arranged by the Educational Welfare Officer

To ensure that arrangements are made for the student to continue in education the Educational Welfare Officer will: 

  • make all reasonable efforts to hold individual consultations with the Principal, the parents and the student, and anyone else who may be of assistance.
  • convene a meeting of those parties who agree to attend (Education (Welfare) Act 2000, section 24).

Pending these consultations, the Board of Management may take steps to ensure that good order is maintained and that the safety of students is secured (Education (Welfare) Act 2000, s24(5)). 

The Board may consider it appropriate to suspend a student during this time. 

Suspension will be considered where there is a likelihood that the continued presence of the student during this time will seriously disrupt the learning of others, or represent a threat to the safety of other students or staff.

Step 6: Confirmation of the decision to expel

Where the twenty-day period following notification to the Educational Welfare Officer has elapsed, and where the Board of Management remains of the view that the student should be expelled, the Board of Management will formally confirm the decision to expel (this task might be delegated to the Chairperson and the Principal). 

Parents will be notified immediately that the expulsion will now proceed. Parents and the student will be told about the right to appeal and supplied with the standard form on which to lodge an appeal. A formal record will be made of the decision to expel the student.

Review of use of expulsion

The Board of Management will review the use of expulsion in the school at regular intervals to ensure that its use is consistent with school policies and to ensure that expulsion is used appropriately.

Appendix D

Behaviours of Concern Policy

What are Behaviours of Concern?  

Behaviours of concern can be defined as “behaviours that indicate a risk to the safety or  wellbeing of the people who exhibit them or to others”. 

What is a crisis situation?  

A crisis situation can occur when behaviours of concern present serious risk of imminent  physical harm to the student concerned and/or others within the school environment.  

Our Rationale  

A number of pupils have such highly complex and challenging behaviour, social or education  needs that they need extra help and support. This policy aims to support the pupil exhibiting  Behaviours of Concern, other pupils, staff and the relevant parents. This policy is  complimentary to the school Child Safeguarding Statement, Code of Behaviour, and Health & Safety Statement.  

Code of Behaviour  

Our school Code of Behaviour aims to positively support pupils in the first instance but  reserves the right to impose sanctions particularly when the health and safety of pupils and  staff are a concern.  

Child Safeguarding Statement  

Our school Child Safeguarding Statement places a statutory responsibility on registered  teachers to report child protection concerns that are at or above a threshold of harm. An  accompanying Risk Assessment identifies possible situations where pupils may be at risk  and the control measures that our school puts in place to address such concerns.  

Health & Safety Statement  

Our school Health & Safety Statement underpins the entitlement of all pupils and staff to  coexist in a safe environment.  


Traning received from Mason, Hayes & Curran on Tuesday, 8th March, 2022. 

How we react to a Behaviour of Concern Incident?  

  • Make sure everyone is safe 
  • Prevent the situation deteriorating further  
  • Aftercare for staff and pupils
  • Put an immediate plan in place that will link to an effective and sustained behaviour plan  

Aftercare (immediately after crisis)

Support response to child(ren) involved, including witnesses who may be upset

  1. Give child(ren) a space to relax and don’t introduce demands.
  2. Offer child(ren) a preferred activity to support continued regulation.
  3. Administrate first aid if necessary.
  4. Verbally reassure individual that everything is ok.

Support response to staff involved

  1. Offer a break from the room/class for a short period to allow staff member(s) to process the incident, where possible. 
  2. Support/check in from a member of the leadership team.

Support Services  

Here is a list of State Agencies (not exhaustive) that we consult for advice, assistance and  additional supports.  

• Túsla  

• CAMHS: Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service  

• Department of Education  

• Education Welfare Officer: (Attached to EWS)  

• Education Welfare Service (Now part of Túsla)  

• NCSE National Council for Special Education  

• National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)  

• National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB now part of Túsla)  

• Special Schools National Behaviour Support Service (SESS now part of NCSE)  

• Special Education Needs Organiser (member of NCSE staff)  

We may also contact our relevant Management Body and or Principal’s Association for  advice and guidance. 

Possible underlying causes of behaviours of concern

There is always a reason for, or purpose to, behaviours of concern, such as:  

Anxiety and Stress: Pupils may become anxious for a myriad of reasons. Worries about  friendships, home situations etc. can be overwhelming for a pupil, leading to stress. While  most children are able to identify the cause and put in place strategies to reduce their stress  levels, some need additional support to do so.  

Communication difficulties: These can range from not yet speaking, shyness, social inhibition to being very articulate but struggling with social variations and conventions in a conversation. Behaviours of Concern are often a substitute means of communication.  

Sensory issues: Some pupils can be over- or under-sensitive to any of their senses. This is  often referred to in the literature as hyper (over) or hypo (under) sensitivity.  

Social understanding: Not all pupils have the same understanding of social rules and social interaction. 

Difficulty adapting to change: We all enjoy routines and can find them comforting. Some children  struggle with changes in routine.  

Recording of Behaviours of Concern  

Where behaviours of concern arise, we ensure that the parents are aware of the  school’s policy and procedures on recording such behaviours. Parents should understand that the school seeks to record and analyse these behaviours to understand what the triggers are and to put in place a plan to support the pupils. Parents should be assured that they will be fully included in this process. Our recording documents are attached as Appendix to this policy. 

Examples of Behaviours of Concern (not exhaustive):  

  • Student with a weapon and intent on using violence  
  • Physically attacking another or about to  
  • Throwing furniture or breaking glass close to others  
  • Putting themselves in danger, running onto a road or trying to self-harm  

When will our school use restraint?  

We will only use restraint when there is a crisis.  

A physical intervention: is the use of a physical act or restraint to prevent, restrict or  subdue the movement of a pupil’s body or part of a pupil’s body.  

Examples of physical intervention:  

  1. Presence  

 Standing in front of a pupil  

  1. Touching  

Lead, guide, usher, block-door handle  

  Pupil retains a lot of mobility  

  1. Holding  

  Pupil’s hand held by one adult but retains a level of mobility  

  1. Restraint  

Completely restrict mobility -2 adults holding legs & arms, with the minimum amount of force for the minimum amount of time.


  • Cannot be used in schools except in the case of a crisis where there is a  serious risk of imminent physical harm to the pupils concerned/others 
  • Should not be the first option and if used should be timely, measured and  proportionate  
  • It should be carried out by appropriately trained persons if at all possible
  • If used should be documented, reported to the board of management