Code Of Behaviour Policy


Download Code of Behaviour Policy here

This policy applies to students of St. Joseph’s College, Garbally Park and relates to all school activities both during and outside of normal school hours.  This policy was drawn up in consultation with all school partners, including Board of Management, Staff, Parents and Students.

Relationship to schools mission, vision, aims

This policy has been developed in line with the mission of our Trustees and the Governors of St. Joseph’s College whose ethos and philosophy has at its core, care of the student.  The school strives to provide a safe secure learning environment for the development of our students.  Our school code of discipline is based on respect for oneself, for others and for our environment, so that a positive and co-operative school atmosphere prevails.

Regulations are necessary for the smooth functioning of a community involving a large number of people.  The qualities of respect, justice and compassion permeate all school policies.  The basic purpose is to provide an atmosphere in which teachers can teach and pupils can learn.  The school should be a pleasant place for learning and teaching and it is with that objective in mind that the following rules are laid down.  The school context is defined as the timetabled school day as well as travelling to and from matches, school tours and excursions of any kind, work experience or student visitations to companies and centres.  We recognise that each student entrusted to us is unique and has different gifts as well as different needs.


Many  people work together in our school each day and therefore a high level of courtesy and consideration for others is necessary.  Behaviour which is ill-mannered, annoying, dangerous or disruptive cannot be allowed.  Our code is one that is based on the recognition of the students as individuals and yet creates an environment in which the welfare of all is protected.

Our code aims to build positive relationships.  Relationships are damaged by bullying, confrontation, disrupting teaching and learning.  Our code aims to prevent behaviour which damages realationships.


The aims of our code of behaviour are:

  • To create a safe, secure learning environment for all students by promoting a sense of mutual respect among all members of the school community.
  • To have effective procedures in place which will allow for the day-to-day running of the school, and which  meet the demands of current legislation.
  • To promote good behaviour and self-discipline.
  • To allow for the appropriate involvement of all school personnel.
  • To ensure understanding by the parents, students, staff and management of the Code of Behaviour and the reasons for it.
  • To emphasise the promotion and acknowledgement of good behaviour.
  • To outline the strategies to be used to prevent poor behaviour and the ways in which positive behaviour is acknowledged.
  • To outline the structure of fair, consistent and agreed sanctions that will be used in response to negative behaviour.
  • To outline the interventions to be used when a student repeatedly misbehaves.

Roles and Responsibilities

Our school acknowledges the contribution of all members of the school community.  Each  member has responsibility for the promotion of good behaviour and a role in dealing with (minimizing) negative behaviour.


The school expects that students will at all times do their best to uphold the code of behaviour of our school.


The school acknowledges the role of parents in the development and operation of the code of behaviour and expects them to support the code and encourage their sons to uphold it.


The school acknowledges the role of teachers in the development and operation of the code of behaviour.  The school recognises that a teacher’s main focus is in the area of teaching and learning, but that they also have a pivotal role to play in behaviour management.  That pivotal role forms a core element of this code.  We have teachers assigned to each class and year group with special responsibilities for operating the code:

  • Tutors
  • YearHeads
  • Assistant Year Heads
  • Guidance Counsellor
  • Pastoral Care Team
  • Learning Support Teachers
  • Psychological Services
  • Chaplain
  • Other Agencies
  • Deputy Principal
  • Principal

Other Staff

The school acknowledges the contribution of ancillary staff in the day to day running of the school.  They too have a part of play in the successful implementation of our code of behaviour.  In particular they have a responsibility to report incidents of misbehaviour and examples of positive behaviour they witness.

Board of Management (BOM)

The BOM is the decision making body of the school.  The school acknowledges the role of the BOM in the development and operation of our code of behaviour.  All policies are developed in consultation with the BOM and must be approved by it before becoming official school policy.  While it is not involved in the day-to-day procedures, it is the body to whom parents and students over 18 can appeal in cases of suspension or expulsion (Appendix 1).


The school expects that students will:

Allow teachers to teach and their fellow students to learn.  This a core rule because it goes to the heart of what we hope to achieve in our school community.

Attend school regularly and remain for the full day.

This is a rule of our school because missing class adversely affects progress.
Students are expected to be present in school during the school day and at all timetabled classes, school functions and school retreats [Sanction A/B].

During school hours, no student may leave the school without permission from the Principal or Deputy Principal.  [Sanction A/B]

Students wishing to leave the school during lunchtime or at any other time must have written permission from a parent or guardian.  [Sanction A/B]

If a student is absent the school must be informed by parent/guardian before 10 a.m. on that day and a note must be brought in to the school to explain that absence on the first day the student returns [Sanction A/B].

If for any reason a student needs to be taken out of school directly by his parents/guardian during the school day, a note must be produced in advance to explain his absence [Sanction A/B].

Be on time for every class
This is rule of our school because not being on time causes disruption for the teacher and the class.  Also, as our school is concerned with the development of the whole child we see the importance of encouraging students to develop good punctuality which will be expected of them in the workplace.
Students must be in time for all timetabled classes and timetabled events.  [Sanction  B for three lates]

Students delayed by a teacher /Principal/Deputy Principal must take a note with them to their next teacher.

Show respect for yourself and others
This is a rule of our school because having respect for oneself and for others, promotes a respectful, caring atmosphere where the rights of all, students and teachers, are upheld.  This applies both inside and outside the school.

Show respect for school property
This is a rule of our school because defacing/damaging school property is destructive and shows a lack of respect for the school community of which the student is a member.

Before the commencement of first, fourth and seventh classes, students are required to bring with them whatever books and equipment they will require for the following blocks of three classes.  [Sanction B]

Eating, drinking, or the chewing of gum in the classroom, study hall, corridors or library is forbidden.  All food with the exception of sweets, bars and drink must be consumed in the Canteen [Sanction B or C]

The possession and use of radios, tape or CD players, Walkmans, iPods, Mobile phones are strictly forbidden for use in class or study hall or in an exam context.  These will be confiscated and will be returned to students at the end of the term.  When a mobile phone is confiscated, the mobile phone and SIM Card must be given to the teacher.

Lasers are strictly forbidden because they constitute a health hazard.  These will be confiscated and will not be returned
Newspapers and magazines not of an educational nature will be confiscated [Sanction C]

All homework must be completed in the time and in the manner required by the teacher.  [Sanction B]

Students must respect the Rules of the Canteen [Sanction B/C].
We aim to create a pleasant, convivial atmosphere to enable all to enjoy their break.

Move quietly around the school in an orderly manner
This a rule of our school for the health and safety of students and staff and so that the business of teaching and learning can take place without unnecessary disturbance.

Listen to messages given and do as required
This is a rule of our school so that instructions given to assist the smooth running of our school are carried out in the interests of all.

Unacceptable Behaviour

The following behaviour is unacceptable:

  • Disobedience
  • writing graffiti
  • sexist or racist comments
  • sexual harassment
  • biting
  • spitting
  • hitting
  • kicking
  • foul language
  • smoking
  • stealing
  • bullying
  • substance misuse
  • rudeness

Damaging property, truancy and violence. The possession of bangers or fireworks, firing of stones/conkers  that endanger the safety of members of school community.

Dress Code

Students are expected to be clean and tidy in dress and appearance and to wear the full and correct school uniform during school hours, at school functions, on outings and during house and state examinations or as directed by the Principal [Sanction A, B or C]

The uniform for first, second and third years will consist of a navy pullover, school tie in grey and blue, a mid to dark grey shirt with collar, a simple dark grey cloth pants (jeans, denims, cords, canvas, leather or plastic not acceptable) and black shoes or boots.

The uniform for Transition, fifth and sixth years will consist of a black pullover, school tie in grey and blue, a mid to dark grey shirt with collar, a simple dark grey cloth pants (jeans, denims, cords, canvas, leather or plastic not acceptable) and black shoes or boots.

  • Runners are strictly forbidden
  • Full uniform must be worn at all times
  • Neat hairstyle is essential
  • Wearing of earrings, other body piercing jewellery or any body embellishments to the skin is forbidden
  • The hoodie is forbidden and will be confiscated.
  • No sports jerseys may be worn underneath the school shirt.  If there is a need to wear additional clothing underneath the school shirt, a cotton round shirt may be worn.
  • The wearing of denim clothes is forbidden.
  • Trousers should not be ripped or slit.
  • The taking or damaging of another students uniform/gear will warrant replacement costs to be covered.

Parents must ensure that their son presents himself in a neat and tidy manner each day.

Computer Room

Students will be assigned a permanent seating arrangement in the computer rooms for the year and students will be requested to use their P.P.S. number as an access code.  They are permitted use of the rooms when the rooms are supervised by a teacher.  Under no circumstances can a student bring disks or CDs into the room.  Abuse of the Internet, abuse of the facility to send or receive e-mails or introduction of viruses is also forbidden. Contravention of the above will lead to permanent exclusion from the rooms for that particular academic year. [Sanction A, B or C as appropriate).


If a student does not present himself for exams the following applies –

  1. The relevant exam papers are sent to him and completed
  2. His parent/guardians attend a meeting with the Principal guaranteeing future attendance at all in-house school exams
  3. Completed exams to be presented at this meeting and
  4. That commitment to his guarantee is monitored by the school authorities at the end of each term. 

Health & Safety

In addition to the general school rules, teachers in charge of laboratories and specialised classrooms will have additional regulations concerning the correct and safe use of equipment and apparatus.  Students must obey these additional regulations.  [Sanction  A/B]

Climbing onto the roof of the sports complex or any building within the school boundary is forbidden.  [Sanction A]

Students wishing to play hurling must wear a helmet and visor during training and matches [Sanction B].

Where students are attending matches or other school excursions they must at all times obey the directions given by the teacher/s and or parent/s who are in a supervisory capacity [Sanction A/B].

In accordance with the Public Health (Tobacco Amendment 2004) smoking in the workplace is illegal.  Smoking is absolutely forbidden in any part of the school, indoor, outdoor or in a school context [Sanction A and C].

Consumption or possession of alcohol in the school, or any part of the school grounds, or in a school context is absolutely forbidden.  [Sanction A]

The possession, use, offering to others or the sale of drugs of any form  (hard or soft) inside or outside the school grounds is absolutely forbidden. The sniffing of glue, solvents and similar substances is considered a form of drug abuse.  Therefore,  ‘Tipp-Ex’ and similar substances are absolutely forbidden.  [Sanction A]

Administration of Medicine

  1. If a student is on medication - parent/guardians of the student will inform the school authorities and sign our school policy on "Administration of Medicines" - provision for the taking of this medicine will be made by the school.
  2. The student may require medicine in emergency circumstances, to be administered by the student's classroom teacher/and or such other member of staff of the College.
  3. The Principal and staff of the school will be indemnified from and against all claims, both present and future, arising from the administration or failure to administer the said medicines.

Preventative Measures

Students will be encouraged in their endeavours to uphold the code of behaviour by use of the following measures:
(a) The Code of Behaviour is circulated to the parents/guardians of all entrants into the school and they are asked to read them and sign their agreement with the content and their support and co-operation with it. This is to ensure that parents and students understand what our rules are, why they must be adhered to and what procedures will be followed if the rules are not upheld.

(b) At the start of Term One each year, as part of our induction process, each class is brought through the code of behaviour and any amendments to it are highlighted. This is done so as to remind students of the content and to take account of the fact that they have been out of our school environment for three months.

(c) If a student is in breach of a rule, he is asked to explain (orally or in writing) the rule he has breached, to describe what effect this breach has had on members of the school community, and how he could act differently in the future to avoid being in breach of the rule. This is done to develop the student’s sensitivity and consideration for others and to assist in upholding school rules in future.  Only after this is a sanction given.

(d) School rules and the reason for them are discussed as part of the schools pastoral care programme or as part of RSE.  The notion of tolerance for others, self-control, a sense of fairness and the principles of natural justice are discussed as part of the Religious Education programme in the school.

(e) Issues such as Bullying, Racism, Sexism, Sexual Harassment, Violence, Substance mis-use  etc. are discussed with the students during their time in our school, with reference to current legislation, current affairs and/with help of outside speakers. This is done to help the students better understand these issues so that they can base their thinking, understanding and action on factual information and in the light of the Christian values espoused in our school.

(f) Reduced curriculum and restricted access.  If a student persistently prevents teaching and learning in mainstream classes and fails to respond to the remediation facilitated by the Pastoral Care Team the school may decide, following sanction by the Board of Management to offer this student a reduced curriculum and restrict his access to the school.  This policy is subject to review and the student can return to the mainstream class if the school feels his behaviour warrants it.  The decision to recommend this course of action will follow a meeting of the Principal, the Year Head, Deputy Principal and the teachers in whose classes the student is misbehaving. The student and his parents will be invited to attend this meeting and will have the opportunity to respond to the case as outlined by the Principal.  The decision to restrict a student access to the school can be appealed to the next meeting of the Board of Management.


Encouragement is vital to success and achievement in all aspects of our students’ lives.  With this in mind, recognition of genuine effort is given through praise and encouragement in class or at assembly.
Examples of awards in Garbally College are as follows: 

Individual Awards/Rewards Class Awards/Rewards
Positive written comment in homework journal  Reduced homework on an agreed night
Specially designed letters/Certificates Subject related games
Verbal praise from teacher Positive comment to Form Teacher/Year Tutor/Deputy Principal/Principal
Positive comment to Form Teacher/Year Tutor Educational trips and outdoor activities
Credit System – positive stickers/stamps in journal Class prizes
Record of achievement  Work Exhibited
Student of the Month – best academic/most improved D.V.D.’s
Overall contribution/Student of the Year Reward Assemblies
Photographs of award winners taken and displayed

School Awards Night

Leadership role given to student e.g. Mentor Display of student’s work
Membership of Policy Committee School trips etc. 

St Joseph’s Day Awards



The following sanctions are used so that our students experience the consequences of their misbehaviour.  They are scaled so as to take account of the nature of the incident, the situation leading up to the incident and are imposed by the staff or our school in accordance with our ‘Ladder of Referral’.

  • A firm reprimand from a member of staff is expected to be sufficient to correct inappropriate behaviour.
  • Time out – removal of the student from the scene of the incident e.g. the student is put working in a different place within the classroom, or the student is put working in another classroom by arrangement with the teacher.
  • A note home to parents in the homework journal.
  • A referral of the incident on to the Year Head/Assistant Year Head

Sanctions for more serious misdemeanors or for consistent breaches of our code of conduct include:

  • Referral to the Year Head in line with our ‘ladder of referral’
  • Detention in school only after a minimum of 24 hours notice has been given to the students and parents.
  • A community task such a picking up litter, removal of graffiti or tidying a classroom or equipment room.
  • A verbal disciplining from a member of senior management e.g. Principal or Deputy Principal.
  • A phone call to parents by Year Head/Deputy Principal or Principal
  • A meeting with parents
  • Exclusion from a favourite activity
  • Student put on conduct report
  • Suspension from school (in accordance with the school policy on Suspension and Expulsion)
  • Exclusion from school (in accordance with the schools policy on Suspension and  Expulsion) - First suspension will be a short suspension (1 to 2 days).  Second and subsequent suspensions (3 days)

All suspensions can be appealed to the Board of Management at its next meeting
Expulsion - If a student continues to break school rules or is guilty of gross  misconduct then this student is referred to the Board of Management.  Both student and Parents/Guardians to meet with Board. The Board may decide the following (a) student stays in school  (b) student suspended (c)  student expelled and (d)  student refused admittance at the end of the academic year.
 Should the Board of Management decide to expel the pupil or to give the pupil a suspension which would bring the cumulative period of suspension to 20 school days or more in a school year, the parents must be informed of their right to appeal under Section 29 of the Education Act.  The National Education Welfare Board (NEWB) must also be informed of this decision.

Before a decision is made to suspend or expel a student the student shall have an opportunity to explain his behaviour before the Disciplinary Council (consisting of the Principal, Deputy Principal and the student's Year Head).  Any of the following sanctions may be imposed at the discretion of the Disciplinary Council (a, b or c).

SANCTION A Suspension (internal or external) or ultimate expulsion.
When a student is being suspended he must get schemes of work from all his subject teachers so as to keep him up to date with his classes.  These schemes of work must be shown to the Principal before beginning the suspension and on return the completed schemes of work must be shown to the Principal and Declaration guaranteeing future good behaviour must be signed before returning to class.  Parents/Guardians will be informed when a student is suspended.  Parents/Guardians can appeal a suspension to the Board of Management.
When suspended he is also excluded from all school related activities.

SANCTION B. Detention  imposed by Deputy Principal or Principal
Attendance at Review Committee (consisting of the  
Principal, Deputy Principal and Year Head).
and/or Parents contacted.
and/or Parents called in.

SANCTION C. Interview with Year Head.  
and/or Warning by  Deputy Principal.
and/or Sending Home by Deputy Principal for adjustment to uniform.

The  Deputy Principal will inform parents of all boys on detention by letter.
The Deputy Principal will post the names of all students on detention on the notice board
Detention will take place on a specified day and parents will be informed in advance.

Card system as follows will apply:
First Detention - Yellow 1
Second Detention - Yellow II
Third Detention - Red I
Fourth Detention - Red II Card = Automatic suspension

Failure to attend detention will warrant suspension until detention is done. 


  1. Breaches of the rules will be dealt with in the first instance by the teacher concerned, then the Year Head/Assistant Year Head, then the Deputy Principal, Principal or Disciplinary Council.
  2. Corporal punishment is not allowed and consequently there will be more frequent recourse to parents and suspension.
  3. As Parents/Guardians you have the right to appeal to the B.O.M. or to write to the Minister for Education & Science.
  4. Counselling will be provided with the agreement of Parents/Guardians and the school in cases where there are serious ongoing breaches of the above code.

The rules will be administered in a spirit of fairness.  Harshness or excessive severity will not be part of school discipline and students may complain to the Principal if they feel that they are being dealt with unjustly.  Such complaints will be fully investigated.


In our school the interventions we use to prevent students reoffending and to give specific help to those students who find it particularly difficult to uphold the code of behaviour are:
Interview between the student and a member of staff, usually the Year Head/Assistant Year Head initially.
The purpose of this interview is to establish an understanding in the student of the rule/rules he has broken.
To bring the student to an understanding of the effects of the breach on himself as well as on other members of the school community.
To bring the student to an understanding of how to act/react differently so as not to be in breach of the rule/rules.
To administer a sanction,if one is required and to get the student to see the need for one.
Often this process is sanction enough, especially in the case of a new/young student or a student who has genuine behavioural difficulties.

Giving the student a piece of written work to do in which they have to outline in writing the rule/rules they breached, the effects this breach has on themselves and on other members of the school community and how they can avoid a repeat of this behaviour.

Referral to the Guidance Counsellor.

Referral to the School Chaplain.

Referral to member of Pastoral Care Team.

Referral by the school to an outside agency for assistance in behaviour modification.

Referral to the schools psychologist for testing and/or helping in behaviour modification.

Procedures and Record Keeping
The procedures for dealing with incidents of unacceptable behaviour/breach of school rules are referred to as our ‘ladder of referral’.

The basic principle of this ladder of referral system is that the higher up the ladder an incident is dealt with, the more serious it is viewed.

Ladder of Referral

Step 1  The Subject Teacher
Each teacher has responsibility for implementing discipline in his/her own classroom
Subject teachers may use some of the school agreed sanctions for minor offences.  More serious offences should be dealt with under Step 2 of the ladder of referral.

Step 2  Year Head/Assistant Year Head
(a)  Each class will have a class tutor. This is a voluntary position. The tutor will develop a close relationship with the class  
and implement rewards as detailed. The tutor’s role is pastoral with the emphasis on positive re-inforcement.

(b) Each class is assigned a teacher with special responsibility for them. This teacher has a pastoral and disciplinary role to play with this class group. A serious offence or a number of minor offences will warrant reporting to the Year Head.

Step 3  Deputy Principal
Students whose behaviour has not modified despite the school’s best efforts will be referred by the Year Head to the Deputy Principal.

Step 4  The Principal
If the student’s behaviour has still not improved he will be referred to the Principal who may decided that a suspension is warranted. If the Principal decides that a suspension is warranted (the procedures of our policy on suspension and expulsion will be implemented) the parents must be notified orally and in writing of the reason for and the length of time of the suspension.

Gross Misconduct

In extraordinary circumstances a student may be referred directly to the Principal e.g. verbal abuse, gross disrespect.

The Principal will inform the Board of Management of all suspensions.

The Principal recommends expulsion to the Board of Management if warranted.

The Board of Management considers the recommendation and having given an opportunity to the parents/student if over 18 years, to make put their case, makes it’s decision whether to expel or  not.

Success Criteria/Monitoring

This Code of Behaviour was drawn up in consultation with the parents, students, staff and management of our school, was ratified by the Board of Management and will be reviewed one year after its implementation initially.

Any amendments which need to be made will be in keeping with the general philosophy of our Code of Behaviour and will be communicated to the members of our school community in writing.

A major review will be carried out no later than five years after the date of implementation and will involve consultation with the parents, staff, management and Board of Management of our school.


This Code of Behaviour was devised in consultation with the students, parents, staff, management and Board of Management of our school.  The process was begun in October 2006 and the resulting code of behaviour was piloted in the period from February to June 2007.  The Code of Behaviour was ratified by our Board of Management and became official school policy on September 1st 2007.  It will be reviewed at the last meeting of the Board of Management each academic year.


As the official Code of Behaviour of our school, all registered students of our school will receive a copy of it by hand and parents/guardians, or students over 18 years will be required to sign an acknowledgement of receipt of it.

The Code of Behaviour is also available from the school upon request.

Amendments to the Code of Behaviour will be communicated to the stakeholders in writing.

When the major review is carried out, the resulting amended Code of Behaviour will be circulated to all the stakeholders in writing.
Partnership Charter
The successful education of all pupils depends on an active three-way partnership between pupils, parents and the school.  Each has rights, responsibilities and expectations.
The School
It agrees to meet the expectations of parents and pupils by providing:

  • An education based on high expectation
  • Work which is appropriate to the student’s age and ability
  • A high standard of teaching, academic support and personal guidance
  • A secure, healthy and well disciplined working environment
  • Regular homework
  • Regular marking of work
  • Written reports home twice each year
  • A Parent/Teacher Meeting once a year
  • The chance to participate in a wide range of additional activities outside the classroom.