Code of Discipline Policy

Code of Discipline Policy.


The policy is the result of a process of collaboration between staff, support teachers, Board of Management, pupils and parents. The policy was originally drafted in 2007 and revised in 2009, 2015 and 2018


The Code of Positive Relationship has been developed under the direction of the Board of Management of Divine Mercy S.N.S. The Board of Management recognises its legal responsibilities under the terms of The Education Act (1998) and the Education Welfare Act (2000) to devise a Code of Discipline. The Board also recognises the importance of the collaborative approach in drawing up the Code of Behaviour and has involved board members, teachers and parents in revising and developing the code. In revising the code, consideration has to be given to the emerging particular needs and changing circumstances of a modern school. The aim is to maintain an ordered and happy environment in which pupils can feel secure and make progress in all aspects of their development.

Mission Statement.

We would like to create an environment where children will acquire and develop the necessary knowledge and skill to emerge as independent, confident learners where they will develop their self-esteem to enable them to express and ultimately achieve their full potential. We will endeavour to broaden each child’s experience to help them become spiritual, well balanced and tolerant individuals with a respect for themselves and for others.


  1. The school recognises the variety of differences that exist between children and the need to tolerate these differences in an environment of mutual respect.
  2. It is agreed that a high standard of behaviour requires a strong sense of relationship and community within the school and a high level of co-operation. Among staff and between staff, parents and pupils.
  3. The principles which underpin our school code of behaviour are the principles of Discipline for Learning. Discipline for Learning emphasises the positive aspects of promoting a code of behaviour based on praise, encouragement and reward while following a set of clearly defined and easily understood rules.
  4. The Code of Behaviour recognises the positive behaviour modelled by the majority of pupils and the happy atmosphere which prevails throughout the school.

School Rules concerning Attendance and Punctuality.

  1. Pupils are expected to be in school each day and parents are obliged to provide an explanation if pupils are absent from school. The school is required to report absence of twenty days or more in the course of the school year to the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB).
  2. Pupils are expected to be in on time for school. However, pupils should not be in the schoolyard before 8.45am as the school authorities are not in a position to provide supervision before that time. Pupils who attend Breakfast Club may attend at the appointed time only and only on days when the Breakfast Club is in operation. On wet mornings the pupils may be allowed to enter the school only if it is deemed by the Principal or, in her absence, the Deputy Principal that adequate supervision is available.
  3. Pupils must remain in the schoolyard once they arrive at school in the morning.

School Rules regarding Uniform and Mobile Phones.

  1. Parents and pupils should follow the guidelines on wearing the school uniform as laid out in the agreed School Uniform Policy.
  2. In the interests of health and safety, pupils are only permitted to wear a minimum amount of jewellery. This is at the discretion of the Principal and staff.
  3. In the interest of safety and security, pupils should not have a mobile phone in school. If, having sought from the Principal and parents have signed the relevant note, a pupil brings a phone to school, the phone should be switched off and given to the class teacher for safe keeping and will be returned at the end of the day. Pupils who wish to contact home for genuine reasons are all owed to use the school phone.

School Rules regarding Behaviour in the Classroom.

  1. Follow instruction straight away
  2. Line up quietly and in order
  3. Put your hand up if you wish to speak
  4. Do your work as quietly and as best you can
  5. Ask permission to leave your seat
  6. Always show good manners

Pupils who follow these rules can expect the following recognition:

  • Praise and words of encouragement to show approval by class teacher and others
  • A stamp in pupils stamp book
  • Favourable mention to other staff member or Principal
  • Favourable mention to parents
  • Certificates of merit
  • Lucky Dip
  • Principal’s Prize
  • Pupil of the Week Award
  • Hardest Worker Award
  • Most Improved Worker Award
  • Mention on the school app
  • Photograph on school Notice Board
  • Favourable mention in intercom
  • Favourable mention at school assembly

In the event that pupils choose not to follow these rules the following sanctions will apply within a step by step context:

  1. Oral warning
  2. Written warning
  3. Sit in isolation within a classroom for a period of 10-15 minutes
  4. Sent out to partner teacher. A green note is sent home to parents if this stage is reached. This note should be signed by parents/guardian.
  5. Sent to Principal. Parents are generally contacted immediately. Arrangements are made where practicable to have the pupil sent home for the remainder of the day. The pupil is allowed return to school the following day unless otherwise stated, following a meeting with parents/guardian.

In cases of serious breaches of behaviour pupils are put directly onto Step 5.

School Rules regarding Lunches.

  1. Pupils are expected to bring healthy food to school in the best interest of health and wellbeing.
  2. Fizzy drinks, sweet, crisps and chocolate coated toffee bars are not considered to be healthy food and should not be brought to school.
  3. Chewing gum is forbidden in the school and in the playground at all times for health and hygiene reasons.

School rules regarding Behaviour in the Corridors.

  1. Keep to the left.
  2. Walk at all times.
  3. Coats are hung on the hooks, not on the floor.

School Rules regarding Behaviour in the Playground.

  1. Follow instruction straight away.
  2. Be prepared for the playground.
  3. Be in the right place at the right time.
  4. Line up quietly and in order.
  5. Play preferred games in the preferred area.

Pupils who follow these rules can expect the following recognition:

  • Individual line stamps, leading to homework pass
  • Class stamps leading to a class reward
  • Fair Play Award leading to a class homework pass

In the event that pupils choose not to follow these rules the following sanctions apply:

  1. Oral warning
  2. Wall for 5/10 minutes
  3. Wall for rest of break
  4. Line warnings are given for pupils who choose not to line up correctly. Three line offences in a calendar months warrants detention.

In the case of serious misbehaviour a Red Card will be issued.

In all cases of misbehaviour in the playground pupils are encouraged to tell the teacher on duty. In cases of alleged serious misbehaviour pupils should tell the Deputy Principal, who is on duty at small break or the Principal, who is on duty at big break.

Examples of serious misbehaviour include:

  • Kicking, punching and lifting feet or hands in an aggressive way.
  • Showing aggressive verbal disrespect towards a pupil.
  • Showing disrespect to a teacher.
  • Consistently choosing not to follow the playground rules.

A pupil who receives a red card must stand at the wall for the rest of the break.

The offence is recorded on the yard clipboard, recording the name of the pupil, his/her class, reason for red card and the teachers name.

Pupils with red cards have their names entered into the detention book.

Parents are generally informed if their child gets a red card.

A red card warrants detention on a date when sufficient numbers have accumulated.

Pupils who present regular difficulties in following the Code of Discipline/ Positive Behaviour.

Pupils who present difficulties in following the Code of Discipline may present a danger to the welfare of themselves and others. As a result, these pupils behaviour may be monitored and supported by a number of initiatives. These initiatives include:

  • Behaviour Modification Programmes.
  • Referral to NEPS.
  • Referral to the EWO.
  • Referral to CAHMS.
  • Referral to the SENO.
  • Involvement in outreach groups such as Dochas.

The Board recognises that it is very dependent on parental consent, support and goodwill in these interventions mentioned above.

School Rules regarding Behaviour on the way to and from the School.

The Board of Management, Staff and Parents recognise the importance of ensuring that pupils maintain high standards of behaviour on the way to and from school. These high standards of behaviour are expected so as not to allow situations develop which may interfere with the smooth day to day running of the school. While the Board recognise that it can be very difficult to enforce high standards of behaviour on the way to and from the school the following rules apply in the vicinity of the school:

  1. Pupils are expected to maintain high standards of behaviour on the way to and from school.
  2. Where an incident is reported to the school, the Principal will endeavour to investigate the incident and to take appropriate action.
  3. The Principal may refer incidents to the Board of Management or to other statutory agencies of deemed necessary.


Suspension is defined as requiring the student to absent himself/herself from school for a specified, limited period of school days.

The Board of Management has the authority to suspend a student and, in the case of Divine Mercy S.N.S., this authority has been delegated to the Principal.

In all cases, the grounds for suspension are a proportionate response to the behaviour that is causing concern. Normally other interventions will have been tried before suspension and staff will have reviewed the reasons why these have not worked. The decision to suspend a student requires serious grounds such as that:

  • The student’s behaviour has had a serious detrimental effect on the education of other students.
  • The student’s continued presence in the school at the time constitutes a threat to safety.
  • The student is responsible for serious damage to the property.

In all cases, due process and fair procedures will form the basis of the suspension process. Parents and students will be informed of the complaint and will be given an opportunity to respond before any sanction is imposed. In the case of immediate suspension, parents will be notified and arrangements will be made with them to have the student collected.

A student may not be suspended for more than three days, except in exceptional circumstances where the principal considers that a period of suspension longer than three days is required.

A pupil may be suspended from school as a last resort when the normal sanctions have been exhausted. When a pupil has been suspended he/she will be re-admitted to the school only when accompanied by his/her parent(s)/guardian at the end of the period of suspension. In the case of suspension, the suspension will be reported to the NEWB, as required, under the terms of the Educational Welfare Act 2000. Instances of serious or gross misbehaviour will warrant suspension.

Examples of Serious Misbehaviour.

Telling lies which may lead to serious consequences/stealing/damaging and vandalising other pupil’s property/ damaging school property/damaging property belonging to the school or the staff/bullying/defiance/leaving school premises during school day without appropriate permission/deliberately injuring a fellow pupil.

Examples of Gross Misbehaviour.

Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards a teacher/pupil. Behaviour likely to cause injury to self or to others/possession of implements or substances that might cause a threat to the health and safety of pupils, parents, staff or other personnel attached to the school.

Expulsion (permanent exclusion)

Under the Education Welfare Act, 2000, “a student shall not be expelled from a school before the passing of twenty school days following receipt of a notification under this section by an Educational Welfare Officer” [Section 24 94)]. It is the right of the Board of Management to take “other reasonable measures as it considers appropriate to ensure that good order and discipline are maintained in the school concerned and that the safety of students is secured” [Section 25 (5)].


Under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998, parents (or pupils who have reached the age of 18) are entitled to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills against some decisions of the Board of Management, including, (1) permanent exclusion from a school, and, (2) suspension for a period which would bring the cumulative period of suspension to 20 days or longer in any one school year. Accordingly, schools should advise parents of this right of appeal and associated timeframe, if it has been decided to suspend or permanently exclude a pupil. Appeals must generally be made with 42 calendar days from the date the decision of the school was notified to the parent/guardian or student. (See Circular 22/02)

  • Parents are informed of the entitlement to appeal a decision of the Board of Management in relation to suspension or exclusion by the Chairperson of the Board. Parents to be given a copy of Circular 22/02 and any related forms.
  • The Chairperson of the Board of Management will prepare a response if and when an appeal is being investigated by the Department of Education and Skills. (Section 12, Circular 22/02 – Processing an Appeal)

Implementation Date.

This policy was initially drawn up in March 2006. It has been reviewed on an annual basis and adapted to meet the changing needs of the school as deemed appropriate by the Board of Management.

This policy was further amended in February 2015 to take into account the name change of the school in September 2013.

__________________________________          ____________________________________

                              Principal Chairperson Board of Management


Date: ____________________________        Date: _____________________________


Date Amended: ______________________________________________


Date to be reviewed: __________________________________________