Code of Behaviour, Rules & Discipline Procedure
To download a copy of our Code of Discipline Click here
This Code of Behaviour has been developed using the principles, recommendations and best practices as outlined in the following documents/guideline documents: -
- Developing a Code of Behaviour - Guidelines for Schools – National Education Welfare Board (NEWB)
- Safeguarding Guidance for Children and Young People in Sport – Sport Ireland
- Rialacháin faoina dTugtar Airtheantas do Choláistí Gaeilge – An Roinn Cultúr, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta
The success of a Code of Behaviour depends on:
- Having a written code
- Having an effective programme for communicating the code of behaviour
- Ensuring that the written code is part of a programme to help parents to support the code
- Developing lesson plans and programmes to teach the skills and knowledge students need in order to behave well
- Paying particular attention to students who may be vulnerable
- Monitoring and analysing patterns of behaviour in the school
Coláiste UISCE encourages a positive Irish learning atmosphere. We respect each other’s rights and place emphasis on creating a safe learning environment for all. We therefore expect all students to conduct themselves in a positive, well mannered and co-operative manner. To maintain a positive safe learning environment, as outlined in our policy statement, we have developed the following code of behaviour, course rules and discipline procedure.
The code of behaviour, rules and discipline system are communicated to parents and students at various times during the booking process and the course as follows: -
The code of behaviour, rules and discipline system are openly available on our website under our booking terms and conditions.
At the time of booking, prior to payment, parents are advised to read the Code of Behaviour and are required to accept the Code of behaviour, rules and discipline system. Each students’ continued placement at Coláiste Uisce is subject to and dependent on each parents’ acceptance and agreement to adhere to (on behalf of their child) and to uphold the Code of Behaviour.
E-mail to validate e-mail address and accept booking terms
Parents are sent an e-mail immediately after their application form is accepted. They are advised to click a link to validate their e-mail address and are reminded that this step also re-confirms acceptance of our Code of Behaviour, Rules and Discipline Procedure.
E-mail prior to the course with travel arrangements
Parents are reminded to discuss the Code of Behaviour, rules and discipline system with their children before the course start day. It is important that each parent takes responsibility for explaining the implications of non-adherence to the Code of Behaviour with their respective child.
Day 1 of the course
Coláiste Uisce’s rules are displayed in all classrooms and in various communal areas within the centre. Teachers are required to explain the rules of the Coláiste in both Irish and English on day one. This mandatory class is conducted through the use of practical exercises, pictures and role play. Students are then asked to sign a copy of the rules as a classroom behaviour contract.
In the case of misconduct and/or non adherence to Coláiste Uisce rules and/or a breach of the Code of Behaviour the following warning system applies:
On each incident of misconduct/rule breaking the student will receive a red disciplinary card from the relevant member of staff.
When a student receives a red card they will receive a verbal warning from the principal/vice-principal. Additionally, they must then attend a detention class where, based on the restorative approach, they will be asked to reflect on the reason for their misbehaviour and the rule that was broken.
On the 2nd red card parents/guardians will be phoned and asked to speak to their child and assist in a joint approach in addressing the misconduct and/or non adherence to Coláiste Uisce rules and/or a breach of the Code of Behaviour.
In the event that a student receives a 3rd red card parents/guardians will be contacted and advised that their child is on their last warning and further misconduct and/or non adherence to Coláiste Uisce rules and/or a breach of the Code of Behaviour will result in suspension or permanent exclusion from the course.
In the case of serious/gross misconduct permanent exclusion from the Coláiste is the recommended sanction.
The “Serious Misconduct” rules are clearly indicated in the course rules section.
The parents of any student being permanently excluded from the course due to serious misconduct will be expected to cover the full cost of the journey including the cost of the accompanying teacher.
In our role of acting in loco parentis, it may be necessary to question a child while investigating alleged incidents of misconduct and/or breach of the Code of Behaviour and/or breach of rules. Any such investigation will be carried out in accordance with the guidelines outlined in our Disciplinary Process below.
UISCE encourages a positive Irish learning atmosphere. We respect each other’s rights and place emphasis on creating a safe learning environment. We therefore expect all students to conduct themselves in a positive, well-mannered and co-operative manner. To maintain a positive safe learning environment, the following rules are necessary.
5.1 Irish Language Rule
Students are not permitted to speak English during the course. Students must make a determined effort to speak Irish at all times. **Repetitive non-compliance of this rule is deemed serious misconduct and will result in permanent exclusion from Coláiste UISCE.
5.2 Serious Misconduct
Breaking the following highlighted rules (**) are considered serious misconduct. In the case of serious misconduct the recommended sanction is permanent exclusion from the Coláiste.
5.2.1 **PERSONAL SAFETY AND THE SAFETY OF OTHERS
**You are not allowed to take part in anything that puts yourself or anyone else in danger. A dangerous activity is one which you and/or another person’s safety is placed at risk.
- **Students are not allowed to leave the house/college grounds after supper or before 8:30 a.m. in the morning.
- **Students are not allowed to leave the grounds of the college during the day without permission.
- **Students are not allowed to go on the beach or go swimming without adult supervision.
5.2.2 **ALCOHOL, DRUGS AND PROHIBITED SUBSTANCES
- **Students are not allowed to be in possession of any alcoholic drinks or drugs or substances which have a physiological effect which is not prescribed by your GP for a medical illness).
- **Students are not allowed to enter any licenced premises
- **Students are not allowed to be in the possession of any tobacco or vapour cigarette products/vaping products.
- **Smoking (including vaping) is not permitted during the course
5.2.3 **PROHIBITED ITEMS
· Any type of knife or sharp object, pellet guns, potential weapons or hazardous appliances are strictly forbidden
- Matches, lighters or any item which would constitute a fire safety hazard are strictly forbidden
It is requested that parents specifically remind their child of this rule in advance of packing luggage for the course.
Spot/Random checks will be undertaken on the first day of the course to ensure compliance. Thereafter, searches may be conducted under the Bag Search Policy at 6.0
Please note that prohibited items will be confiscated and may not be returned to owners.
- **Students are not allowed to participate in any type of bullying behaviour, physical or non-physical.
- **Any form of physical fighting is strictly forbidden
5.2.5 **CHILD PROTECTION
- **Students are not allowed to participate in any sexual behavior or games which have sexual conotations.
- **Students are not allowed to participate in any inappropriate contact with any other student
- **Students are not permitted to be in possession of/nor to access any form of pornographic material
5.2.6 ADDITIONAL RULES
Repetition of the following behaviour is also considered serious misconduct and may result in suspension or permanent exclusion.
- Any behaviour or conversation that intentionally makes another person feel uncomfortable is prohibited
- Students are not allowed to participate in any inappropriate games
- Name calling, or “slagging” of any sort is prohibited
- Physically isolating a student or making them feel isolated is prohibited
- Students are not permitted to take photos in the changing room or bedroom areas
- Uploading any pictures to the internet and/or social media taken on site in UISCE without prior permission from the Course Principal is not permitted – this includes but it not limited to sites such as facebook, instagram, snapchat, youtube and twitter
- Students are not permitted to engage in physical behaviour of a sexual nature(this includes kissing and holding hands)
- Students are not allowed to enter other student’s bedrooms
- Students are not permitted to cut each others hair or make any other such alterations to their personal appearance or that of another student during the course (e.g. piercing ears, shaving eye brows etc)
- Intentional damage to property is prohibited
- Theft of money or personal possessions is prohibited
Please note 5.2; Serious Misconduct; Breaking the highlighted rules (**) are considered serious misconduct. In the case of serious misconduct permanent exclusion from the Coláiste will result.
In addition to random/spot searches on the first day of the course to ensure compliance with the “Prohibited Items” rule, the management of Coláiste UISCE reserves the right to conduct searches of student’s bags, personal belongings or bedrooms in the following circumstances:
• If there are reasonable grounds, such as concern for physical safety.
• If there is a reasonable belief that the student is in possession of prohibited items, stolen goods, illegal substances or weapons.
In the event of a search the guidelines outlined in our bag search procedure will be adhered to. They are as follows:
- Parents will be informed of the circumstances leading to the need for a bag search and offered the opportunity to speak to their child
- The student will be asked to empty the contents of their bags in front of the course principal, viceprincipal or nominated responsible adult
- A second responsible adult will be present as an impartial witness
- Parents/Guardians will be immediately informed of the outcome of the bagsearch
Following the outcome of the bag search a decision will be made by the course principal in relation to the need for disciplinary action (or not).
It is not the intention of Coláiste UISCE to send any child home for poor conduct as we understand that this is a last resort. However, we recognise that sometimes suspension and permanent exclusion is necessary as an appropriate consequence to serious misconduct and repetitive non-compliance of our rules.
It is expected that course principals will examine alternatives and trial a positive mentoring plan with students before a recommendation to send them home will be considered by the Board of Management.
There are a number of steps prior to the permanent exclusion of a student. These are as follows:
- First red card for rule breaking or misconduct and/or non-adherence to Coláiste Uisce rules and/or a breach of the Code of Behaviour.
- Detention class 1 and restorative approach.
- Second red card for rule breaking or misconduct
- Detention class 2 and restorative approach
- Phone call to parents asking for assistance and joint approach to the problem. An email is sent to parents confirming the phone conversation and the fact that their child has received two red cards.
- If appropriate, a personal mentoring plan is agreed between all stakeholders (student in question, parents, course principal, Irish teacher, bean an tí, prefect). The use of green cards is encouraged for specific daily goals.
- Third red card for rule breaking or misconduct and/or non-adherence to Coláiste Uisce rules and/or a breach of the Code of Behaviour.
- Detention class 3 and restorative approach
- A second phone call home is made to parents. Parents are advised that their child has been placed on their final warning and why. If appropriate, a review of the mentoring plan will take place. An email is sent to parents confirming the phone conversation and the fact that their child is on a final warning.
- Fourth red card for rule breaking or misconduct and/or non-adherence to Coláiste Uisce rules and/or a breach of the Code of Behaviour.
- 3rd Phone call to parents informing them of the fact that a review and/or an investigation will take place to formally decide the appropriate action/consequences ar a result of the alleged misbehaviour. Parents and student will be given an opportunity to be heard in relation to the alleged misbehaviour.
- Report from principal (based on the investigation) to the Education Manager. The Education manager will review the record of incidents and checklist to ensure fairness and the right to impartiality for the student and parents and to ensure correct procedures have been followed.
- It is envisaged that the parents will be provided (emailed) with a copy of the Report at the same time as the Education Manager. Reports will only be available by email. Parents will be afforded an opportunity to respond in writing to the report (within 3 hours of the report being emailed to them). The parents’ written response will be provided to the Course Principal for his/her consideration.
- Once parents have had an opportunity to respond to and clarify any details in the report the Course Principal will make a decision on the appropriate diciplinary action based on Paragraph 9 - Scale of consequences/disciplinary action. Thereafter, a phone call or E mail to parents by the Course Principal to inform them of the decision and their right to appeal if they so wish.
- Appeal procedure if requested (See paragraph 12.0).
8.1 Green Cards
Green cards are issued to students who display positive behaviour. Each student who receives a green card is presented with a green “MEAS” wristband during the céilí each night.
8.2 Positive Behaviour we expect from students: -
- Speak Irish at all times.
- Following the instruction from the Principal, Vice Principal, Teachers, Leaders, the house owners or any member of staff.
- Keep yourself safe at all times. Following the rules of the road; walking on the right side of the road in a single line.
- Being well-mannered and respectful to other students and staff members.
- Being punctual for your classes and activities.
- Participating fully in activities and classes.
- Following the rules of the course
8.3 Personal mentoring plans
Principals and vice-principals are advised to draw up personal mentoring plans for any students who are involved in repetitive mis-behaviour/rule-breaking.
8.4 Restorative and No-Blame approach
Principals and vice-principals are advised to use the restorative and no-blame approach for dealing with minor disciplinary issues
The following table attempts to give guidelines to Course Principals as to a scale of consequences/disciplinary action that should be considered after an investigation has taken place.
In the event of Level 4 and 5 the Education Manager is assisted by a member of senior management to review the case and a detailed report from the course principal prior to formalising the decision to ensure impartiality and fairness.
|Level 1||Use of Restorative approach- (No Blame for bullying behaviour)||Incident is deemed minor. Students show genuine regret & misunderstanding. It is unlikely to re occur and the Course Principal feels there is no further danger to any students or staff.|
|Level 2||Issue red cards & and restorative approach||Incident deemed relatively serious. Students show genuine regret and may or may not have understood the effect or consequenses of their behaviour. The Course Principal feels there is no further danger to any students or staff|
|Level 3||Issue final warning||The incident is deemed as serious misconduct. However, the student shows genuine regret. The Course Principal is not concerned for the safety of the student in question or the safety of other students or staff. There may be a need to put a mentoring plan in place for students involved.|
|Level 4||Suspension for 3 days||This option is used at the discretion of the Course Principal, if the incident is deemed as serious misconduct. The Course Principal is concerned for the safety of the student in question or other students or staff or the principal may feel that consequences are required. There may a need to put a mentoring and protection plan in place for the victim. However, the student shows genuine regret and understanding, and the course principal is relatively satisfied that the student will not re-offend upon return to the Coláiste.|
|Level 5||Permanent Exclusion||Incident is deemed as serious misconduct. The Course Principal is concerned for the safety of the student Iinquestion or other students or staff. The course principal may concerned that the student may re-offend upon return or may believe that consequences are necessary to ensure the seriousness of the situation is understood.|
In our role as acting in loco parentis, it may be necessary to interview/question a child while investigating events or alleged incidents. Any such investigation will be carried out in accordance with our Code of Behaviour and Discipline Procedure as follows;-.
- In the case of serious incidents/if any sensitive information has come to light, parents of all children interviewed should be contacted as soon as possible to inform them of the reason for the interview and any information that has come to light. They should be given an opportunity to attend and/or participate if they so wish. If a parent is unable to attend and an interview must be conducted as a matter of urgency, the Principal may decide that the parents’ participation in the interview by telephone (speakerphone) is sufficient.
- Two members of staff must be present during any interview with a child
- A member of staff must be present as an impartial party acting in Loco Parentis
- One member of staff will be designated as the primary note taker
- The child will be put at ease prior to and during the interview
10.3 The interview
- Explain in detail what you’re doing, and why you want to talk to them.
- The child will be asked to give their version of the events
- Let them set the pace and tell their story in their own time. The child will not be interrupted while they are speaking
- No form of intimidation or threats may be used during the interview
- Ask the easy questions first – e.g. their name, age, where they live. Keep using their name when addressing them.
- Beware of using labels (e.g. bully, victim), which they may not use or like.
- Ask open questions and only use closed questions such as ‘do you?’ which call for a yes or no answer- when necessary
- No leading questions are permitted
- Be aware of when the child is uncomfortable, and don’t push them on sensitive issues. Be prepared to finish the interview or move on to a less sensitive topic if they become upset.
- Record the details of the conversation accurately including date and time of each interview
- Take breaks if interview is going to be of a long duration
- Once concluded, contact parents immediately and offer them the opportunity to speak to their child
In keeping with NEWB and Roinn na Gaeltachta guidelines temporary suspension as a discipline measure is available to the course principal and the board of management of Colaiste UISCE.
It is accepted by Coláiste UISCE management that permanent exclusion for disciplinary matters is an extremely serious matter and should only be considered as a last resort.
Temporary suspension is regarded as a more sympathethic method for dealing with disciplinary matters. The duration of the suspension is a matter of the couse Principal, the Education Manager and the Board of Management. However, 3 days is regarded as the standard period for suspension. This gives the student time at home with their parents to reflect on and discuss the implications of their behaviour. It also gives the student an opportunity to rectify their behaviour. It also allows for other students involved in the incident to get back to normal while attending the course.
As the management of Coláiste UISCE are fully in favour of promoting a positive Irish learning atmosphere suspension should be considered as an option prior to permanent exclusion.
Good communication is recommended with the parents to ensure that they understand the reasons for the suspension.
While it is the responsibility of parents to organise travel arrangements where a suspension has occurred, Coláiste UISCE will assist where possible.
11.1 Suspension and Permanent Exclusion Procedure & Checklist
Coláiste Uisce seeks to uphold fair procedures when proposing to suspend or permanently exclude a student.
Fair procedures have two essential parts:
- the right to be heard
- the right to impartiality.
In so far as is reasonably practicable, Coláiste Uisce will seek to uphold fair procedures. Therefore, if suspension or permanent exclusion is being considered for a student it is essential that the Course Principal and the Education Manager use the checklist at the end of this chapter to ensure that the fair procedures based on the principles of natural justice have been followed.
11.2 The right to be heard means:
The right to be heard means that a student and their parents are fully informed about an allegation and the processes that will be used to investigate and decide the matter; and that they must be given an opportunity to respond to an allegation before a decision is made and before a serious sanction is imposed.
- that the student and their parents have the right to know that the alleged misbehaviour is being investigated
- that the student and their parents have the right to know the details of the allegations being made and any other information that will be taken into account
- the right to know how the issue will be decided
- the right to respond to the allegations including the right to ask questions where there is a dispute about the facts prior to a decision being made. If a parent (and/or the emergency contact person) is uncontactable or is unable to participate in an interview and/or unable to respond to a written report (if provided), the Principal will decide (on a case by case basis) whether the circumstances are such that the interview with the child must proceed in the parents’ absence/without the parents’ involvement. See above re parental involvement in interview via telephone.
11.3 The right to impartiality means:
- the right to an absence of bias in the decision-maker
- the right to impartiality in the investigation and the decision-making
Freedom from bias entails ensuring that a person with an interest in the matter is not involved in the investigation or decision-making. If a person has pre-conceived opinions, a vested interest or personal involvement in the matter, they should not attempt to settle that matter.
An impartial process is one that allows a decision to be made based on an unbiased evaluation of information and evidence. Generally, impartiality requires that the investigation is separated from the process of making a decision so that the decision-maker comes to the task with an open mind.
Absence of bias in the decision-maker would mean, for example that if a teacher was directly involved in the misconduct that might warrant suspension or permanent exclusion, the teacher in question would not be involved in the decision.
The principle of impartiality in decision-making means it is preferable that, the principal or another member of staff conducts the investigation and presents a full report on the facts of the case and any other relevant information to the Education Manager.
The Education Manager is then free to take a view about whether the student did engage in the behaviour and about the sanction, based on the report of the investigation.
The Education Manager must not only act fairly but be seen to act fairly. It is incumbent upon the Education Manager to review the investigation to ensure that it has been fully and fairly conducted. It should be evident to the student, parents, staff and other students that the Principal and Education Manager, as decision-makers, are basing their decision, in an objective way, on the findings of the investigation.
The person alleging the misbehaviour, or who is a victim, or a witness should not usually conduct the investigation.
Thoughtful application of professional judgement and knowledge of the requirements of fair procedures will generally guide decision-making about suspension and permanent exclusion. However, in circumstances of particular complexity, school authorities may need to seek legal advice to support their decision-making.
Fair procedures apply to:
- the investigation of alleged misbehaviour that may lead to suspension or permanent exclusion and
- the process of decision-making as to (a) whether the student did engage in the misbehaviour and (b) what sanction to impose
The way in which fair procedures are applied will take account of the seriousness of the alleged misbehaviour and will have regard to what is reasonable in the context of Coláiste UISCE rules and/or Code of Behaviour.
The principles of fair procedures always apply, but the degree of formality required in implementing fair procedures will depend on the gravity of the alleged misbehaviour and on the seriousness of the possible sanction. The level of formality required, for example for a suspension of fewer than three days, would be less than that required in the case of a longer suspension or in circumstances that might lead to a permanent exclusion.
Even informal processes, however, must be fair and be seen to be fair. The principles of ensuring the right to be heard and the right to impartiality apply in all cases.
11.4 Time and timeliness
The Education Manager and Principal have a duty to ensure that there are no undue delays in an investigation and in making decisions about the imposition of suspension or permanent exclusion.
Great care should be taken to ensure that all matters to do with an investigation of alleged misbehaviour are dealt with in confidence.
11.6 Checklist of factors to consider before suspending/permanently excluding a student
|The nature and seriousness of the behaviour|
|What is the precise description of the behaviour?|
|How persistent has the unacceptable behaviour been?|
|Has the problem behaviour escalated, in spite of the interventions tried?|
|The context of the behaviour|
|What are the circumstances of the incidents of serious misbehaviour (e.g. in class, in a particular teacher’s class, in the yard, in a group)?|
|What factors may have triggered incidents of serious misbehaviour (e.g. bullying, cultural or family factors)?|
|What is the age, stage of development and cognitive ability of the student?|
|Are there any factors that may be associated with the behaviour (e.g. particular home circumstances, special educational needs)?|
|The impact of the behaviour|
|How are other students and staff affected by the student’s behaviour?|
|What is the impact of the behaviour on the teaching and learning of the class?|
|Does the behaviour have a particular or greater impact on some students or teachers?|
|Does the student understand the impact of their behaviour on others?|
|The interventions tried to date|
|What interventions have been tried? Over what period?|
|How have the interventions been recorded and monitored?|
|What has been the result of those interventions?|
|Have the parents been involved in finding a solution to the problem behaviour?|
|Are any other interventions such as peer mediation, restorative justice approaches, mentoring or family conferencing available?|
|Whether suspension or permanent exclusion is a proportionate response|
|Does the student’s behaviour warrant suspension/permanent exclusion?|
|Is the standard being applied to judging the behaviour the same as the standard applied to the behaviour of any other student?|
|The possible impact of suspension|
|Will suspension/permanent exclusion help teachers or other students affected by the behaviour?|
Parents are entitled to ask for an appeal of the decision. In this case the appeals procedure is for two independent members of management to review the case and the decision made by the Course Principal to ensure that the principal of fair procedure and natural justice was followed and that the Code of Discipline and anti bullying proceedures were adhered to.
The grounds of appeal should be set out in writing (sent by email) by the parents and/or child and submitted to Coláiste Uisce within 24 hours of the decision.
The appeals board should make a decision and respond to the parents within 24hrs.
Where allegations of criminal behaviour are made against a student, referral to the Gardaí will be necessary. It is our responsibility to report any behaviour which constitutes the investigation of criminal matters.
14.1 General introduction – Why are they treated differently?
Prefect play a key role in the effective running of the course. It is a position of responsibility and students follow the example set out by their prefect. All prefects must complete a 5-day training course before being accepted on a course. The prefects are subject to the Code of Behaviour & Rules of the Coláiste.
Management has found over the years that if a prefect does not follow the rules themselves, they quickly lose the respect of the students in their care and can no longer manage them. Therefore, it is not possible to keep prefects who break the rules of the college
However, as per NEWB guideline it is expected that fair procedures will be followed. Fair procedure has two essential parts:
- the right to be heard • the right to impartiality.
14.2 Discipline Procedure for Prefects
- Prior to the course prefects attend a training course and receive a class outlining the job description and the terms of the position and the discipline procedure.
- On the first night course every prefect signs the job description the rules and their code of discipline.
- If a prefect breaks a rule, he/she gets a written warning in the form of a red card from the course Principal
- The Principal calls the parents/guardians to explain what happened and asks for assistance and a joint approach to the problem. The principal also informs the parents that the prefect is on their final warning and that they will be sent home if he/she breaks the rules again.
- If the prefect breaks another rule or does not perform their duties as agreed, the parents/guardians will be notified.
- A 2nd phone call is made to parents informing them of the fact that a review and/or an investigation will take place to formally decide the appropriate action/consequences ar a result of the poor conduct or alleged misbehaviour. Parents and the student will be given an opportunity to be heard in relation to the alleged misbehaviour.
- A report from principal to the Education Manager recommending disciplinary action
- A review of the record of incidents and checklist by the Education Manager and Duty Manager to ensure the right to impartiality for the student and parents and to ensure correct procedures have been followed.
- Decision by the Education Manager and the Duty Manager in relation to permanent exclusion or Suspension.
- Phone call to parents by the Education manager to inform them of the decision in relation to suspension or permanent exclusion and their right to appeal if they so wish.
- Appeal procedure or student is sent home.
- In the event of serious misconduct (e.g. bullying) the Principal will follow the procedure for permanent exclusion.