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A code of behaviour is established to ensure that the individuality of each child is accommodated while at the same time acknowledging the right of each child to education in a relatively disruption free environment.



  • In devising the code, consideration has to be given to the particular needs and circumstances of this school.  The aim is to create an ordered and orderly environment in which pupils can, through developing self-discipline, feel secure and make progress in all aspects of their development
  • Every effort will be made by all members of staff to adopt a positive approach to the question of behaviour in the school
  • Children need limits set for them in order to feel secure and develop the skills for co-operation.  Therefore any rules will be age appropriate, with clear agreed consequences and in line with our Studio III Behaviour Management approach and other methodologies carried out in St. Paul’s Special School, such as TEACCH, ABA and Marte Meo.



  • The school recognises the variety of differences that exist between children and the need to tolerate these differences
  • It is agreed that a high standard of behaviour requires a strong sense of community within the school and a high level of co-operation among staff and between staff, parents and pupils
  • Every effort will be made to ensure that the code of behaviour is implemented in a reasonable, fair and consistent manner


School Opening Times:         

  • School Opens at 9.00am
  • Schools closes at 2.40pm


School Rules:  (See Appendix 1)

Unacceptable Behaviour :     (See Appendix 2)

Strategies for dealing with challenging behaviour :  (See Appendix 3)


This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on 10th July 2015


APPENDIX 1 (School Rules)


Safety: For my own safety and that of others;

  • I should be courteous towards others on the school bus
  • I should always walk while in the school building
  • I should always show respect for my fellow pupils
  • Bring a note of explanation following absences
  • Ask permission or indicate to leave the classroom
  • I should never leave the school grounds without the permission of the Prinicpal


Caring for myself:

  • I should respect myself and my property, always keeping my school bag, books and copies in good order
  • I should always aim to be in school on time
  • I should show respect for my school and be proud to wear the complete school uniform every day
  • I should always be aware of my personal cleanliness
  • I should always bring a sensible, nutritional lunch to school.  (Crisps, minerals, sweets or chewing gum are not permitted)
  • I should always do my best in school by listening carefully, working as hard as I can and by completing my homework


Caring for others: 

  • I should be kind and respectful to teachers and fellow pupils by being mannerly and polite, by taking turns and by remaining silent and orderly in my class line
  • I should behave well in class so that my fellow pupils and I can learn
  • I should always keep my school clean by bringing unfinished food and drinks, cartons, wrappers etc., home.  I should show respect for the property of my fellow pupils, the school building and grounds
  • Be truthful and honest at all times



It is the policy of the school to assign homework on a regular basis where appropriate.  Parents are strongly advised to take an active interest in their child’s homework and to sign their homework journal each night (ensuring that it is done).  If homework is not completed due to any reason, parents should write a note in the communication book.


Communication Book:

It is the policy of St. Paul’s Special School to use communication books for all pupils thus facilitating the provision of information regarding the pupils school day and indeed their evening and night.  This is a two way system and all co-operation would be appreciated.

Parents should be encouraged to talk in confidence to teachers about any significant developments in a child’s life, in the past or present, which may affect the child’s behaviour.


APPENDIX 1 (School Rules contd/..)


Class Rules:

At the beginning of each academic year the class teacher will draft a list of class rules with the children.  These reflect and support the school rules, but are presented in a way that is accessible to the children.  Class rules should be kept to a minimum and are devised with regard for the health, safety and welfare of all members of the school community.  They should where possible emphasise positive behaviour, (e.g. “walk” and not “Don’t run”).  Rules will be applied in a fair and consistent manner, with due regard to the age of the pupils and to individual difference.  Where difficulties arise, parents will be contacted at an early stage.


APPENDIX 2 (Unacceptable Behaviour)


Unacceptable Behaviour

Three levels of misbehaviour are recognised: Minor, Serious and Gross.  All everyday instances of a minor nature are dealt with by the class teacher.  In cases of repeated serious misbehaviour or single instances of gross misbehaviour, parents will be involved at an early stage and invited to meet the teacher and/or the Principal to discuss their child’s behaviour.

All children are required to comply with the code of behaviour.  However the school recognises that children with special needs may require assistance in understanding certain rules.

Specialised behaviour plans will be put in place in consultation with parents and the class teacher  and/or Principal will work closely with home to ensure that optimal support is given.


APPENDIX 3 (Strategies for dealing with challenging behaviour)

  1. Key Strategy: Observation (Studio III)
  • Watch for signals of the “oncoming storm”.  Are certain times of the day more likely to bring them about?
  • Could the child be getting hungry or tired
  • Is the child bored because they are too long at task
  • Is the task too difficult
  • Did you talk to others in the group and forget the child
  • Or could it be that you are tired or hungry or bored and the child is picking up the signals
  • Catch the child doing something good before they get bored
  • As far as possible ignore inappropriate behaviour unless it is dangerous for the child or for others
  1. Praise may be given by means of any one of the following:
  • A quiet word or gesture to show approval
  • A comment in a pupil’s exercise book
  • A visit to another member of staff or to the Principal for commendation
  • A word of praise in front of a group or class
  • A system of merit marks
  • Delegating some special responsibility or privilege
  • A mention to parent, written or verbal communication
  • Find appropriate reinforcers for good behaviour


  1. Disapproval of unacceptable behaviour will be dealt with as follows:

(The nature of the behaviour will determine the strategy)

  • Reasoning with pupils
  • Reprimand (including advice on how to improve)
  • Communication with Parents
  • Temporary separation from peers and/or loss of privileges
  • Referral to Principal/Deputy-Principal
  • Note to parents
  • Reduced school hours
  • Suspension/expulsion



The degree of misdemeanours i.e. minor, serious or gross, will be judged by the teachers and/or Principal based on a common sense approach with regard to the gravity/frequency of such misdemeanours, as follows:


  1. Examples of misdemeanours:
  • Discourteous/unmannerly behaviour at any time
  • Scraping
  • Kicking
  • Spitting
  • Biting
  • Damaging School property
  • Assaulting other pupils or staff
  • Self-injurious behaviour
  • Bad Language
  • Threatening Behaviour


APPENDIX 3 (Strategies for dealing with challenging behaviour contd/..)


1a.  Examples of steps to be taken by teachers when dealing with          


  • Temporary separation from peers
  • Noting instance of misbehaviour in incident file
  • Time out from regular class
  • Diversion such as a ‘walk’ or ‘cycle’ etc
  • Teacher sends note in Journal to be signed by parent
  • Send to the Deputy Principal / Principal
  1. Examples of Gross Misdemeanours

Setting fire to school property/deliberately leaving taps on/fire hose turned on/aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards a teacher/pupil/sna


2a. Examples of steps to be taken when dealing with gross misdemeanours:

  • Immediate consultation with Principal and parents regarding appropriate actions for pupils
  • Chairperson/Principal to sanction immediate disciplinary action, for example: reduced school days, removal from school for a number of days (all under the management of the Department of Education & Science)
  • Reduced School Days can be implemented where necessary and the decision to reduce school days will be solely at the discretion of the Principal and School Management.
  • Expulsion will be considered in an extreme case and ratified by the Board of Management


It should be noted that these lists consist of examples only:  It is not meant to be a totally comprehensive list of misdemeanours and procedural steps.


The principal Mr. Adrian Harkin here at St. Paul’s Special School keeps a specific record of the actual attendance or non-attendance on each school day of each student registered at the school in a particular school year.

The children in the main school here in St. Paul’s Special School attend class from 9am until 2.40pm and in the Early Intervention Class attend class from 9am until 1.40pm.  If there is any change to these times or usual days of operation for any reason, parents or guardians will receive prior notice of adjusted times.

Each child’s individual time-table varies.  The time-tables are available from each child’s individual teacher.



Where a child is absent from St. Paul’s Special School whether for a whole day, part of a day or more than a day, the child’s parents must notify the principal of the reasons for the absence.

Where there is an unexplained absence the principal will seek an explanation for the child’s parent.

Failure to attend school regularly may give rise to a number of consequences


School Calendar

The school calendar is drawn up at the beginning of each school year/term, in line with the national standardised school year.  Parents or guardians will be supplied with a copy of the calendar.  If the calendar has to be adjusted for any reason, parents or guardians will be informed.

  1. In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the code of behaviour guidelines issued by the NEWB, the Board of Management of St. Paul’s Special School has adopted the following anti-bullying policy within the framework of the school’s overall code of behaviour. This policy fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools which were published in September 2013.


  1. The Board of Management recognises the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact that it can have on the lives of pupils and is therefore fully committed to the following key principles of best practice in preventing and tackling bullying behaviour:
  • A positive school culture and climate which-
    • is welcoming of difference and diversity and is based on inclusivity;
    • encourages pupils to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour in a non-threatening environment; and
    • promotes respectful relationships across the school community;
  • Effective leadership;
  • A school-wide approach;
  • A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact;
  • Implementation of education and prevention strategies (including awareness raising measures) that-
    • build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils; and
    • explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying
  • Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils;
  • Supports for staff;
  • Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies); and
  • On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.


  1. In accordance with the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools bullying is defined as follows:

Bullying is unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical conducted, by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time.

The following types of bullying behaviour are included in the definition of bullying:

  • deliberate exclusion, malicious gossip and other forms of relational bullying,
  • cyber-bullying and
  • identity-based bullying such as homophobic bullying, racist bullying, bullying based on a person’s membership of the Traveller community and bullying of those with disabilities or special educational needs.

Isolated or once-off incidents of intentional negative behaviour, including a once-off offensive or hurtful text message or other private messaging, do not fall within the definition of bullying and should be dealt with, as appropriate, in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour.

However, in the context of this policy, placing a once-off offensive or hurtful public message, image or statement on a social network site or other public forum where that message, image or statement can be viewed and/or repeated by other people will be regarded as bullying behaviour.

Negative behaviour that does not meet this definition of bullying will be dealt with in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour.

Additional information on different types of bullying is set out in Section 2 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.


  1. The relevant teachers for investigating and dealing with bullying are as follows:
  • Principal : Adrian Harkin
  • Deputy Principal: Mary Therese Forde


  1. The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber- bullying and identity-based bullying as outlined in point 3) that will be used by the school are as follows:
  • Through the SPHE Curriculum, individual to each class
  • Code of Behaviour Policy
  • Girls Group programme (growing up)
  • Boys Group programme (growing up)
  • Buddy Groups
  1. The school’s procedures for investigation, follow-up and recording of bullying behaviour and the established intervention strategies used by the school for dealing with cases of bullying behaviour are in accordance with the guidelines and procedures laid out in the Department of Education and Science Anti-Bullying procedures for Primary and Post Primary schools – September 2013


  1. The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
  • Pastoral Care support given by classteacher or nominated persons
  • Counselling by Psychology Dept., or Psychiatry Dept in St. Paul’s Services
  • Counselling by outside agencies (local social work clinic, e.g Coolock Health Centre)


  1. Supervision and Monitoring of Pupils

The Board of Management confirms that appropriate supervision and monitoring policies and practices are in place to both prevent and deal with bullying behaviour and to facilitate early intervention where possible.


  1. Prevention of Harassment

The Board of Management confirms that the school will, in accordance with its obligations under equality legislation, take all such steps that are reasonably practicable to prevent the sexual harassment or the harassment of pupils on any of the nine grounds specified i.e. gender including transgender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community.


  1. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on 26th February 2014.


  1. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department, Parents, Staff and the patron if requested.


  1. This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year. Written notification that the review has been completed will be made available to school personnel via the school website.  A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the Department, Parents, Staff and the patron

This document is a response to recent changes in legislation and takes account of the provisions of each of the following pieces of legislation and replaces any existing child protection policy.

  • Freedom of Information Act 1997
  • The Education Act 1998
  • The Child Welfare Act 1998
  • Children First – National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2011

The new procedures are based on the recently published Children First – National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2011



  • ‘Children First’ (Department of Health and Children 1999)
  • ‘Our Children Our Church’ (CORI 2005)
  • ‘Child Protection Guidelines an Procedures’ (Department of Education and Science 2001)
  • Tusla Child and Family Agency,

Coolock Health Centre (HSE)

  • ‘Childcare and Protection, Policy and Procedures Document for Mercy Schools
  • Policy sources accessed through internet


The Board of Management (BOM) recognises that child protection and welfare considerations permeate all aspects of school life and must be reflected in all of the school’s policies, practices and activities.  Accordingly, in accordance with the requirements of the Department of Education and Skills, Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools the BOM of St. Paul’s Special School has agreed the following child protection policy.

The BOM has adopted and will implement fully and without modification the Department’s Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools as part of this overall Child Protection Policy.

The Designated Liaison Person (DLP) is Adrian Harkin

The Deputy Designated Liaison Person (Deputy DLP) is Mary Therese Forde

In its policies, practices and activities, St. Paul’s Special School will adhere to the following principles of best practice in child protection and welfare.  The school will recognise that the protection and welfare of children is of paramount importance, regardless of all other considerations:

  • Fully co-operate with the relevant statutory authorities in relation to child protection and welfare matters
  • Adopt safe practices to minimise the possibility of harm or accidents happening to children and protect workers from the necessity to take unnecessary risks that may leave themselves open to accusations of abuse or neglect
  • Develop a practice of openness with parents and encourage parental involvement in the education of their children
  • Fully respect confidentiality requirements in dealing with child protection matters
  • The school will also adhere to the above principles in relation to any adult pupil with a special vulnerability

Certain policies, procedures and general guidelines (as outlined in current Staff Handbook) such as St. Paul’s Special School Code of Behaviour and the Supervision of Pupils Policy, will take particular account of this Child Protection Policy.  This policy will also be considered with reference to the participation by pupils in sporting activities e.g. swimming and stretch & grow and other extracurricular activities such as school trips, social programmes and outings, and work experience programmes.

This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on 26th February 2014.


Appendix 1


Conditions of Acceptance to St. Paul’s Special School

Pupils may  be reviewed by the school and clinical team in the 1st term of your child’s second year in St. Paul’s Special School or sooner if deemed to be necessary. This is to ascertain your child’s continued suitability to the school and the resources available to your child in this setting.

Should your child present such that we have concerns and we see that we can no longer meet the child’s needs or indeed foresee that we cannot meet them in the future, St. Paul’s will recommend another service/school. Such concerns would include ‘care needs’ and ‘challenging behaviours’.  The team will assist the family with this process.

The decision of the school in this matter will be final.

Board of Management of St. Paul’s Special School

Written Assessment of Risk of St. Paul’s Special School

In accordance with section 11 of the Children First Act 2015 and with the requirement of Chapter 8 of the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017, the following is the Written Risk Assessment of St. Paul’s Special School

1. List of school activities

  • Daily arrival and dismissal of pupils
  • Recreation breaks for pupils
  • Classroom teaching
  • One-to-one teaching
  • Outdoor teaching activities
  • Use of toilet/changing/shower areas in schools
  • Use of off-site facilities for school activities
  • School transport arrangements including use of bus escorts
  • Care of children with special educational needs, including intimate care where needed
  • Care of any vulnerable adult students, including intimate care where needed
  • Management of challenging behaviour amongst pupils
  • Administration of Medicine
  • Administration of First Aid
  • Curricular provision in respect of SPHE, RSE, Stay Safe
  • Training of school personnel in child protection matters
  • Recruitment of school personnel including –
  • Teachers/SNA’s
  • Caretaker/Secretary/Cleaners
  • External Tutors/Guest Speakers
  • Visitors/contractors present in school during or after school hours
  • Participation by pupils in religious ceremonies/religious instruction external to the school
  • Application of sanctions under the school’s Code of Behaviour
  • Students participating in work experience in the school
  • Student teachers undertaking training placement in school
  • Use of video/photography/other media to record school events


2. The school has identified the following risk of harm in respect of its activities –

  • Risk of harm not being recognised by school personnel
  • Risk of harm not being reported properly and promptly by school personnel
  • Risk of child being harmed in the school by a member of school personnel
  • Risk of child being harmed in the school by another child
  • Risk of child being harmed in the school by volunteer or visitor to the school
  • Risk of child being harmed by a member of school personnel, a member of staff of another organisation or other person while child participating in out of school activities e.g. school trip, swimming lessons
  • Risk of harm due to bullying of child
  • Risk of harm due to inadequate supervision of children in school
  • Risk of harm due to inadequate supervision of children while attending out of school activities
  • Risk of harm due to inappropriate relationship/communications between child and another child or adult
  • Risk of harm to child while a child is receiving intimate care
  • Risk of harm due to inadequate code of behaviour
  • Risk of harm caused by member of school personnel accessing/ circulating inappropriate material via social media, texting, digital device or other manner

3. The school has the following procedures in place to address the risks of harm identified in this assessment –

  • All school personnel are provided with a copy of the school’s Privacy Confidentiality & Intimate Care Guidelines
  • The Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017 are made available to all school personnel
  • School Personnel are required to adhere to the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017 and all registered teaching staff are required to adhere to the Children First Act 2015
  • The school covers the ‘sensitive areas’ in RSE & SPHE curriculums and Stay Safe Programmes and these are taught at a level appropriate to the needs of each individual student
  • The school has an Anti-Bullying Policy which fully adheres to the requirements of the Department’s Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools
  • The school has ‘Pupil Supervision Guidelines’ which include yard/playground supervision guidelines and ‘Privacy, Confidentiality & Intimate Care Guidelines’ to ensure appropriate supervision of children during, assembly, dismissal and breaks and in respect of specific areas such as toilets, changing rooms etc.
  • The school has a Health , Safety and Welfare policy
  • The school adheres to the requirements of the Garda vetting legislation and relevant DES circulars in relation to recruitment and Garda vetting
  • The school has an ‘Information regarding Employment’ plan for school personnel (teaching and non-teaching staff)
  • The school complies with the agreed disciplinary procedures for teaching staff
  • The administration of medicine and First Aid is covered by St. Paul’s Hospital and the School Nursing Policy
  • The School has provided each member of school staff with a copy of the school’s Privacy Confidentiality & Intimate Care Guidelines
    • Ensures all new staff are provided with a copy of the school’s Privacy, Confidentiality & Intimate Care Guidelines’
    • Encourages staff to avail of relevant training
    • Maintains records of all staff training
  • The school has in place a code of behaviour for pupils
  • The school has in place a Critical Incident Management Plan
  • The school has in place a policy and procedures in respect of student teacher placements
  • The school has in place records of permissions from parents with regard to their child’s photograph/video etc. being recorded or otherwise

The above 3 lists are not exhaustive.  Additions, subtractions and revisions will occur when necessary

To: All Staff, Parents and Visitors

The Board of Management of St Paul’s Special School wishes to inform you that:

  • The Board of Management’s annual Review of the schools Child Safe Guarding Statement was completed at the Board meeting of 27.02.2019
  • This review was conducted in accordance with the “Checklist for Review of the child Safe Guarding Statement” published on the Departments Website education.ie