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School Development Planning Initiative

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1 School Development Planning Initiative
Regional Seminar NEWB Guidelines for Developing A Code of Behaviour Incorporating NEWB and SDPI materials

2 Purpose of this session
Highlight key features of the Guidelines as a context for Audit and Review of a school’s Code of Behaviour Share good practice in relation to key issues identified by Guidelines and Audit instrument Outline a planning process

3 Education (Welfare) Act 2000
Section 23 (2) : A code of behaviour shall specify the standards of behaviour that shall be observed by each student attending the school (b) the measures that may be taken when a student fails or refuses to observe those standards (c) the procedures to be followed before a student may be suspended or expelled from the school concerned Schools operate in a complex legal environment. The code of behaviour must comply with the provisions of several laws, as well as a range of Constitutional provisions and International Conventions that have been adopted by Ireland. The Guidelines aim to assist Boards of Management and Principals to act in accordance with their legal obligations when drawing up and operating the code of behaviour. With this in mind, the Guidelines have integrated information about the most relevant current legal and constitutional provisions. There is a list of relevant legislation and legal instruments on pages 7-9. The Guidelines recognise that the exercise of professional judgement by all who work in the school is the foundation of effective practice. That judgement must be exercised in a manner that is consistent with good practice and in line with the legal obligations of Boards of Management, and accompanied by a process of accountability. Education Act 1998 Key provisions relevant to the code of behaviour provide for: Access to records: section 9(g) Publication of policies: section 15(2) Responsibilities of the Board of Management: sections 14-21 Principal’s responsibilities for setting objectives: sections 22 & 23 Information for students and Student Councils and student involvement: section 27 Provision for appeals: section 29 (amended by Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2007 Education (Welfare) Act 2000 General duties of NEWB towards schools: sections 10 & 11 Provisions relating to notification by parents of reasons for a student’s non-attendance at school: section 18 Provisions for school codes of behaviour: section 23 Provisions relating to expulsion of a student: section 24 Provisions relating to appeals: section 26


5 Why Now? Change: society, culture & school practice
Inclusion agenda…national policy Partnership….parents & students Research re promotion of good behaviour Fair procedures Whole school ethos…adult leadership Effective Planning Process

6 NEWB Guidelines contain
Legal Obligations Good practice guidance

7 Approach Preventive Inclusive Whole child approach
Whole school approach Assist and support existing school work Professional judgement and responsibility

8 Structure of NEWB Guidelines
Chapter 1 Introduction 2 Auditing and reviewing existing code 3, 4 Foundations of an effective code 5–9 Developing a code that will enable a school to manage behaviour effectively: setting standards, responding to inappropriate behaviour, promoting positive behaviour. Suspensions and expulsions

9 Basic principles In groups:
What are the basic principles underpinning an effective code of behaviour?

10 Foundations of an Effective Code Ch. 3: Basic Principles
Providing clarity Affirming that everyone’s behaviour matters Focusing on promoting good behaviour Balancing needs Recognising that relationships are crucial Focusing on personal responsibility Ensuring fairness and equity Promoting equality Recognising educational vulnerability Attending to the welfare of students Attending to the welfare of staff Promoting safety and freedom from threat p. 22, NEWB Guidelines

11 Foundations of an effective code
Ch. 4. Learning, relationships and behaviour are linked 5. A whole-school approach to behaviour Behaviour has meaning. It is not random. It serves a purpose and has goals, though these goals may not be easy to recognise. Behaviour can be learned. This means it can change. Behaviour takes place within a particular context and in relation to other people. Understanding the context is central to understanding the behaviour. What teachers, other adults and other students do in response to a student’s behaviour is critical in influencing the choices students make about how they behave. Effective teaching and learning are closely linked to good behaviour. Positive acknowledgement is a very effective way of influencing and promoting good learning behaviour. The quality of relationships affects behaviour

12 Ch. 6: Setting standards of behaviour
Developing a set of standards for behaviour in the school Involving the school community in discussions about standards Involving the students in developing school and classroom rules Modelling the standards Teaching students about the standards and how to live up to them Having ways of ensuring that students with special needs understand what is expected of them pp.36-39, NEWB Guidelines

13 Ch. 7: Promoting good behaviour
A whole school approach Strategies for strengthening student and parental involvement Having ways to communicate high expectations for students Having ways to review the quality of relationships between students and staff p. 44, NEWB Guidelines

14 Ch. 8: Responding to inappropriate behaviour
Developing a policy on how sanctions will be used to help students change inappropriate behaviour Having an agreed set of strategies for intervening positively to help students to change inappropriate behaviour Having clearly defined roles and responsibilities for members of staff in relation to behaviour and communicating these roles widely Agreeing a standardised way of recording matters to do with students’ behaviour p.55, NEWB Guidelines

15 Ch. 9: Implementing the Code of Behaviour
Template for a Code of Behaviour p.59 Teaching the Code Records Dealing with concerns and complaints pp. 57–64, NEWB Guidelines

16 Ch. 10: Suspensions and Expulsions
Ensuring the school policy and procedures on suspension and expulsion that are in line with the NEWB Guidelines and approved by the Board and the Patron Ensuring the policy in widely communicated Developing and documenting good practice Having fair procedures for investigation and decision making Having procedures informing parents and students about their right to appeal Having a system for regular review by the Board of the use of suspensions / expulsions pp. 66 – 87, NEWB Guidelines

17 Fair Procedures for Serious Sanctions The way in which fair procedures are applied will take account of the seriousness of the alleged misbehaviour and what is reasonable in the context of the school The right to be heard – parents and pupil fully informed and given an opportunity to respond before the decision is made Absence of bias in the decision maker – e.g. parent rep on Board not present when deciding on sanction for their child Impartiality in decision making – where possible staff member investigates and reports, Principal then free to take impartial decision Natural justice

18 Auditing and Reviewing the Code of Behaviour

19 2. Auditing and reviewing the code of behaviour
Auditing an existing code of behaviour: “As a first step in implementing these guidelines, Boards of Management are required to arrange for an audit of the existing code of behaviour. The audit will enable the school to identify how well its current code reflects good practice and meets relevant legal obligations.” Reviewing an existing code of behaviour: “When the audit identifies aspects of the code that need to be reviewed, the Board of Management, together with the Principal, should prioritise areas for review.” Key Requirements: Auditing and reviewing the code of behaviour. Refer to pp Guidelines. Audit checklist on NEWB website Undertaking an audit of the code Preparing an action plan, with a timeframe, for reviewing and updating the code Implementing the action plan Providing staff with time and opportunities to engage in work on the code of behaviour Ensuring that staff, students, parents and other members of the school community are involved in the review and revision of the code

20 Auditing your Code An audit is an examination of every area of the content and operation of the code of behaviour to check for completeness and compliance with legal requirements and good practice as set out in the Guidelines. What is an audit? (p.12). Audit checklist available on NEWB website. An audit of the existing code is the starting point for every school that already has a code of behaviour. An audit is an examination of every area of the content and operation of the code of behaviour to check for completeness and compliance with legal requirements and good practice as set out in these Guidelines. The Principal and staff, or a small group representing staff, parents and the Board of Management, will usually conduct the audit, having familiarised themselves with the Guidelines. Ideally the audit should be done in advance of planning day/staff meeting The audit will identify those aspects of the code that are working well, and will reveal any differences between the practice suggested by the Guidelines and the operation of the code. The audit will also identify areas that the Guidelines suggest should be covered but that are not addressed by the existing code. Where the audit identifies aspects of the school code that need to be reviewed or addressed, the Board of Management, together with the Principal, should prioritise these areas and develop an action plan for doing this work. Following the audit the school community should have identified the gaps between its current code/practice and the guidelines They should have…. Confirmation of areas of the operation of the Code that are working well A short list of areas on which work is required Priorities for action And a plan for doing the work

21 Follow up REVIEW of specific aspects of the code identified in the Audit
Describe current practice Evaluate its effectiveness List options for improvement Devise action plans for improvement and implementation

22 Workshop Examine the ‘Audit Checklist’:
Setting Standards of Behaviour (second page) or Implementing the School Code of Behaviour (third page) Identify the responses which most schools might be likely to give to each question - ‘Yes’ - ‘Maybe’ ‘No’ In the case of any one area, share school experiences: What is working well in your own school? What might be the focus of your follow up review? What next steps might a school take in revising the Code and its implementation?

23 Sample of Questions from the Audit Setting Standards of Behaviour
Does the school have clear standards of behaviour for everyone? Does the school have a range of ways of communicating these standards to students, staff and parents? Were students involved in developing the school rules?

24 Sample Questions Setting Standards of Behaviour
Are students involved in developing classroom rules? Does the school have ways of ensuring that students with special needs understand what is expected of them?

25 Sample of Questions from the Audit Implementing the School Code of Behaviour
Does the school have a range of ways of communicating the Code of Behaviour to staff, students and parents? Does the school have a written Code? Apart from giving parents the written code, does the school do anything else to help parents to understand and support the code? Are there lesson plans and programmes to help students to learn the skills and knowledge they need in order to behave well?

26 Sample of Questions from the Audit Implementing the School Code of Behaviour
Does the school monitor patterns of behaviour in the school? Is there a standard system in the school for keeping records about behaviour? Are there recognised ways for staff, students and parents to raise concerns about behaviour or to make complaints? Has the school advised parents about how they should notify a child’s absence from school?

27 Review Sample Issues Does the school have a range of ways of communicating these standards to students, staff and parents? Are students involved in developing the school rules? Are there recognised ways for staff, students and parents to raise concerns about behaviour and raise complaints?

28 Review - Discussion How would you proceed to review?
Use a sample issue from the checklist: ‘Are students involved in developing the school rules?’

29 CoB Task Group Establish Current Practice
Consult staff: Are there ways in which staff members consult / discuss rules with students? Has the school any practice of consulting students about issues? Have students given any feedback about rules? Are these practices effective? How do you know? Consider the rationale for consultation (next slide)

30 CoB Task Group Rationale for action
What might consultation of students about school rules achieve? What concerns might arise about doing so? Are there safeguards that would ensure that it is was a positive exercise?

31 CoB Task Group Proposals for Action
How might the students be consulted? Should a variety of ways be employed? How will representativeness be ensured? Who will manage consultation? What questions would focus the exercise?

32 CoB Task Group Action Plan – Approved by BoM
What How Who When Aims – success criteria Monitoring of implementation Evaluation of results Evaluation of consultation (See SDPI website for sample templates)

33 Suggested Next Steps Board of Management decision to initiate Audit
Establish an ‘Audit Team’ – Principal, staff members, Parents’ Association, Student Council….? Involve and engage partners throughout audit process Staff briefing on key issues in Guidelines, use Audit Checklist to focus on selected areas, generate ideas for follow up. Similar appropriate briefing for Parents’ Association, Student Council Audit Team prepares report on Staff, Parent, Pupil consultations

34 Audit Team conducts thorough audit to examine whether the current code complies with legislation and good practice as specified in Guidelines Identify the changes needed Where necessary conduct specific review of areas identified Develop draft Action Plan in relation to proposed changes Seek Board approval for Action Plan and proposed changes to Code Communicate changes to school community and implement revised Code Evaluate effectiveness of revised Code

35 Conclusion Has your Board delegated to the principal the authority to suspend in accordance with NEWB Guidelines?

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