Mobile Phone Policy (Draft) – Parents…..Any observations/comments?

St. Patrick’s N.S.


Mobile Phone Policy (Draft)

Children should not have mobile phones turned on while on school grounds or while engaged in school activities. The only exception to this is in an emergency or with the approval of a teacher. If a pupil has a mobile phone in their possession it should be handed to the class teacher on arrival at school and collected at the end of the day. Children are discouraged from bringing mobile phones to school.

Pupils who ignore this policy and use a mobile on school premises without permission will be required to hand over their phone to a member of staff and parents may be asked to collect it from the school office.

If a teacher has any suspicion that a mobile phone has unsuitable material stored on it, pupils will be required to hand over the phone to a teacher and parents will be asked to collect it from the school. Where there is a suspicion that the material on the mobile may provide evidence relating to a criminal offence the phone will be handed over to the Gardai for further investigation. Parents will be informed in such circumstances.

The school will incorporate this policy in the school’s discipline policy and will treat breaches as they would treat any other breach of school discipline.

The school accepts no responsibility for replacing lost, stolen or damaged mobile phones. The safety and security of mobile phones is wholly a matter for pupils/parents.

The school accepts no responsibility for pupils who lose or have their mobile phones stolen while travelling to and from school.

Mobile phones which are found in the school and whose owner cannot be located should be handed to a member of staff.

It is strongly advised that pupils use passwords/pin numbers to ensure that un-authorised phone calls cannot be made on their phones (e.g. by other pupils, or if stolen). Pupils must keep their password/pin numbers confidential. Mobile phone and/or passwords should not be shared.

Pupils using mobile phones to bully other pupils or send offensive messages/calls will face disciplinary actions as per the School Code of Behaviour/Anti-Bullying Policy.

It should be noted that it is a criminal offence to use a mobile phone to menace, harass or offend another person. As such, if action as sanctioned by the School in this regard is deemed ineffective, as with all such incidents, the school may consider it appropriate to involve the gardaí.

Ratified by Board of Management on            Date__________________

Signed _________________________________________

Chairperson, Board of Management


Pupils should not bring mobile phones to school or to school related off site activities. The only exception to this is in an emergency or with the prior approval of the Principal.

Pupils who ignore this policy and bring a mobile to school, whether they use it or not, will be required to hand over their phone to a member of staff and parents will be asked to collect it from the school office.

 Ratified by Board of Management on       

Date __________________

 Signed __________________________________________

            Chairperson, Board of Management




Our school has always strived to improve the quality of teaching and learning with a view to providing the best quality education for the children in our care. Following the formal introduction of School Self Evaluation 2012 we examined areas in literacy and numeracy which could be improved. This involved the analysis of data available from standardised testing carried out throughout the school for many years including –

Junior Infants – Belfield Infant Assessment Profile
Senior Infants – Middle Infant Screening Tests (M.I.S.T.)
1st – 6th Class – Micra T and Sigma T

The process also included an attitudinal children’s literacy survey, consultation with staff and parents.


* St. Patrick’s N.S. is an open and inclusive school for children of all abilities.
* Our staff is extremely committed and hard working
* The school is well resourced in the area of literacy
* Considerable effort has been made to provide a wide range of reading material in class libraries.
* Teachers are aware of the importance of providing a print rich environment.
* Teachers collaborate and co-operate on a regular basis.
* Our parents are very supportive and have a high level of confidence in the school.
* Standardised testing indicates a good level of attainment overall.
* Children with S.E.N. are well catered for.

Areas for Development:

* To improve our children’s ability to understand what they read.
* To provide a wider experience for children in the area of numeracy leading to an improvement in children’s confidence and problem solving skills.
* To consolidate and co-ordinate our practices in phonics and to improve the outcomes for children.


To reduce the percentage of children in STEN 1-3 band and increase the percentage of children in the 8 – 10 band using a structured approach to comprehension.


* Upskilling of staff through in-service training at school level (P.D.S.T.) using Croke Park hours.

* The purchase of books recommended for use with the various comprehension strategies:-
making connections
determining importance

* Distribution of resources (lesson plans, word sheets and teacher information) to each teacher.

* Implementation of a read at home scheme to provide greater opportunities for reading and comprehension practice with parental involvement.

* Increased methodologies including shared reading, team teaching in class learning support and differentiated novels.

* Investment in supplementary reading schemes and “comprehension boxes” to support classroom activities.


Standardised test results, teacher observation and parental feedback!


To increase the percentage of children in the STEN 8-10 band through the introduction of team teaching, collaborative learning and a greater use of maths resources. To make maths a more enjoyable and practical experience for children.


* The introduction of team teaching and in-class support from L.S. / R.T. team.
* Major investment in maths resources.
* Increased use of maths resources (hands-on).
* Resources readily available between small numbers of classes e.g. 5th/6th, 3rd/4th, etc.
* Using resources to problem solve.


* Pupil Survey
* Parents Survey
* Standardised test results.
* Teacher observation.


To provide continuity between classes in the use of phonics across the school.


* Upskilling for teachers
* Introduction of a refresher of the fundamentals of “Jolly Phonics” at 3rd / 4th class level.
* Teacher designed tasks e.g. dictation, spelling tests, etc. and use of Schonell Spelling tests to monitor progress.


As above, parental feedback, teacher observation.

School Self-Evaluation Report 2012 -2014

1. Introduction:


A school self-evaluation of teaching and learning in St. Patrick’s N.S. was undertaken during the period 2012-2014.

During the evaluation, teaching and learning in the following areas were evaluated:

* Literacy – Comprehension
* Numeracy – A new experience for children


St. Patrick’s N.S. is a rural/village mixed primary school. There are currently 259 pupils enrolled. The school has increased in size in recent years. A new school was constructed in 2013 and classes transferred in May of that year. There are 10 mainstream class teachers, 2 learning support teachers, 1 resource teacher with additional part-time hours and an administrative principal.

2. Findings:

* Pupil standardised test results indicate that Sten scores in Micra T and Sigma T tests are above national norms. Results in these tests are often not an accurate reflection of the children’s ability.
* Children are positive and enthusiastic about reading.
(96% of children value reading).
* Children underestimate their own reading ability.
(only 60% of children see themselves as very good readers).
* There is a direct link between the number of children who do not value reading and the children who see themselves as poor readers (4%).
* children require strategies in their approach to comprehension.
* In numeracy while teachers across the school reported using a variety of methodologies it was felt that more emphasis was required in relation to “hands-on” teaching of maths.

3. Progress made on previously identified targets:

N/A (This was year one of engaging with the S.S.E. model).

4. Summary of School Self-Evaluation:


Our school has strengths in the following areas:

* Standardised test results are above national norms.
* Classrooms are appropriately laid out, well maintained and orderly.
* Pupils have access to a stimulating environment.
* Pupils at all levels are enabled to engage with their learning and the level of interest and participation is high.
* The management of pupils during learning and other activities is effective. High standards are expected and achieved.
* There is a high level of collaboration and co-operation between staff, parents are engaged and supportive.
* All staff are hard working and committed.


Areas prioritised for improvement:

* Further improvement of comprehension strategies focusing on higher order thinking during class lessons.
* Increased funding for class reading material to support differentiation.
* More collaborative approaches to be developed in the teaching of numeracy.

Enrolment Policy (updated Nov 2013) – Ballylinan N.S.

St. Patrick’s N.S. is a co-educational primary school under the patronage of the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin. The school strives to create a learning environment where every child is encouraged and enabled to develop to their full potential as human beings, made in the image and likeness of God.

There are 13 full time teachers, including Administrative Principal, 3 resource/learning support teachers and 1 part-time resource teacher. There are also 2 special needs assistants on the staff. The school caters for the full range of classes from Junior Infants to Sixth class.

Children enrolled in St. Patrick’s N.S. are required to co-operate with and support the school’s Code of Behaviour as well as all other policies. Parents/Guardians are responsible for ensuring that their child(ren) co-operate with these policies in an age-appropriate way. A copy of the Code of Behaviour will be available to all parents and each parent will be requested to give an undertaking to uphold the School Code of Behaviour and Policy.

St. Patrick’s N.S. operates under the Rules for National Schools and Departmental Circulars and is funded by grants and teachers resourced by the Department of Education and Science. The school is subject to the Education Act (1998), The Education Welfare Act (2000), The Education for Persons with Special Education Needs Act (2004) and all relevant equality legislation. St. Patrick’s N.S. follows the curricular programmes laid down by the Department of Education and Science.

Application Procedures:

The Board of Management will communicate generally to the school community through appropriate channels, e.g., newsletter, parish bulletin, parents letters and school website to outline the application for enrolment procedures.

Parents can provide their child’s (children’s) details at any point and the names (dated) will be kept on file until the January of the year of enrolment. Forms will be issued to these parents to be completed and returned to the school by late January early February. Parents will be informed within 21 days if places are available. Parents of children enrolled in Junior Infants will be invited to a ‘parents’ day in June each year followed by an orientation afternoon for the new junior infants.

No child is refused admission for reasons of ethnicity, special educational needs, disability, language/accent, gender, traveller status, asylum-seeker/refugee status, religious/political beliefs and values, family or social circumstances.

While recognizing the rights of the parents to enrol their child in the school of their choice, the Board of Management is also responsible to respect the rights of the existing school community and in particular, the children already enrolled. This requires balanced judgements which are guided by the principles of natural justice and acting in the best interest of all the children.

The completion of an application form or the placement of your child’s name on a list, however early, does not confer an automatic right to a place in the school.

Decision Making

Decisions in relation to application for enrolment are made by the Board of Management. Parents will be notified of acceptance of their children and as a general principle, children will be enrolled on application provided that there is space available and the child has reached his/her 4th birthday though compulsory attendance does not apply until the child is six years of age.

To assist the school in such circumstances of excessive demand, the Board of Management reserves the right to determine the maximum number of children in each separate classroom bearing in mind Department of Education and Science guidelines in relation to class size and staffing provisions.

Other factors that may be considered are:

* Size of and available space in classrooms.
* Educational needs of children of a particular age.
* Multi-grade classes.
* Presence of children with special educational/behavioural needs.

In the event of the number of children seeking enrolment in any given class/standard exceeding the number of places available the following criteria will be used to prioritise children for enrolment:

A. Brothers and sisters (step-siblings, resident at same address) of children enrolled with priority going to be oldest.

B.  Children living within the parish – priority oldest.

C.  Children of current school staff – priority oldest.

D.  Children whose home address is closest to the school if the child is normally resident   outside of the parish/agreed catchment area.

E. In the event of being unable to enrol a child(ren) from categories A. B, C in a given class at the beginning of the year, or mid-term, such children will receive priority (in order of A, B, C) for the subsequent school year over other children on the class waiting list.

Other pupils may be enrolled during the school year if newly resident in the area. Pupils wishing to transfer from other schools are enrolled subject to the Rules for National Schools, Education Welfare Act and school’s enrolment policy.

Children with Special Needs

Children with special needs enrolling in St. Patrick’s National School will be resourced in accordance with level of resources by the Department of Education and Science to the Board of Management.

The Board of Management may request a copy of the child’s medical and/or psychological report or request that the child be assessed immediately in order to assist the school in establishing the educational needs of the child and to profile the support services required. The Board of Management will endeavour to have all resources and support in place before the child is admitted to the school. This may include visiting teacher service, resource teacher, special needs assistants, etc., specialized equipment or furniture, transport services, etc.

The school will meet with the parents of the special needs child to discuss the school’s suitability for the child. If necessary a full case conference may be called including parents, class teacher, learning support teacher, resource teacher and psychologist or social workers as appropriate.

Notwithstanding the availability of such resources, parents of children who are dissatisfied with the level of educational provision in our school are advised to consider a special school, which is designed and resourced to specifically cater for the needs of children with special educational needs.

Appeals Procedure

Parents who are unhappy with an enrolment decision, may appeal to the Board of Management. It must be addressed, in writing, to the Chairperson of the Board, stating the grounds for the appeal, and lodged within ten days of receiving the refusal. Parents, if unhappy with the result of this appeal, may appeal to the Department of Education and Science under Section 29 of the Education Act on the official form provided by the Department. This appeal must be lodged within 42 days of receipt of the refusal from the school to enrol.

The policy will be reviewed regularly in the light of experience. Any member of the school community can request a review and such a request will be dealt with as quickly as possible.

Ratified by Board of Management on ________________

Signed _______________________________________
Chairperson, Board of Management

Code of Behaviour (Draft) – St. Patrick’s N.S., Ballylinan

The school has a central role in children’s social and moral development just as it does in their academic development. In seeking to define acceptable standards of behaviour it is acknowledged that these are goals to be worked towards rather than expectations that are fulfilled or not.

The children bring to school a wide variety of behaviour. As a community environment, in school we must work towards standards of behaviour based on the basic principles of honesty, respect, consideration and responsibility. It follows that acceptable standards of behaviour are those that reflect these principles.

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.

Parents can co-operate with the school by encouraging their children to understand the need for school rules, by visiting the school and by talking to the members of staff.

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.

Aims of the Code:

* To create a positive learning environment that encourages and reinforces good behaviour.
* To promote self-esteem and positive relationships
* To encourage consistency of response to both positive and negative behaviour
* To foster a sense of responsibility and self-discipline in pupils and to support good behaviour patterns based on consideration and respect for the right of others
* To facilitate the education and development of every child
* To foster caring attitudes to one another and to the environment
* To enable teachers to teach without disruption
* To ensure that the school’s expectations and strategies are widely known and understood
* To encourage the involvement of both home and school in the implementation of this policy

Responsibility of Adults:

The adults encountered by the children at school have an important responsibility to model high standards of behaviour, both in their dealings with the children and with each other, as their example has an important influence on the children.

As adults we should aim to:

* Create a positive climate with realistic expectations
* Promote, through example, honesty and courtesy
* Provide a caring and effective learning environment
* Encourage relationships based on kindness, respect and understanding of the needs of others
* Ensure fair treatment for all regardless of age, gender, race, ability and disability
* Show appreciation of the efforts and contribution of all

School Rules:

* Respect for self and others
* Respect for other’s property
* Respect other students and their learning
* Kindness and willingness to help others
* Follow instructions from staff immediately
* Walk quietly in the school building
* Courtesy and good manners
* Readiness to use respectful ways of resolving difficulties and conflict
* Raise your hand if you wish to speak
* Ask permission to leave the classroom
* Do your best in class
* Take responsibility for your own work
* Attend school in proper uniform/track suit

These can be summed up as 6 main rules;

* Respect/Be nice
* Do your best
* Be tidy
* Be safe
* Walk
* Listen

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. Rules will be applied in a fair and consistent manner, with due regard to the age of the pupils and to individual difference. The use of “classroom contracts” will be encouraged. Where difficulties arise, parents will be contacted at an early stage.


Part of the vision of St. Patrick’s N.S. is to help children achieve their personal best – academically, intellectually and socially. We recognise that there are many different forms of intelligence and that similarly children use a variety of approaches to solve problems. All children deserve encouragement to attain their own “best”. Children will be encouraged, praised and listened to at all times by adults in the school. Praise is earned by the maintenance of good standards as well as by particularly noteworthy personal achievements. Rates of praise for behaviour should be as high as for work.

The following are some samples of how praise might be given;

* A quiet word or gesture to show approval
* A comment to 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 or stickers
* Delegating some special responsibility or privilege
* The use of “gold time” or “homework passes”
* A mention to parent, written or verbal communication

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.

Examples of serious misbehaviour:

* Behaviour that is hurtful (including bullying, harassment, discrimination and victimisation)
* Behaviour that interfered with teaching and learning
* Threats or physical hurt to another person
* Damage to property
* Theft
Examples of gross misbehaviour:

* Assault on a teacher or pupil
* Serious theft
* Serious damage to property
* Serious acts of bullying/victimisation including cyber bullying.


The use of sanctions or consequences should be characterised by certain features;

* It must be clear why the sanction is being applied
* The consequence must relate as closely as possible to the behaviour
* It must be made clear what changes in behaviour are required to avoid future sanctions
* Group punishment should be avoided if possible
* There should be a clear distinction between minor and major offences
* It should be the behaviour rather than the person that is the focus
The following steps will be taken when the children behave inappropriately. They are listed in order of severity with one being for a minor misbehaviour and ten being for serious or gross misbehaviour. The list is by no means exhaustive. Teachers may put in place alternative measures bearing in mind the features by which sanctions should be characterised. The aim of any sanction is to prevent the behaviour occurring again and if necessary to help the pupils devise strategies for this.

1. Reasoning with pupil
2. Verbal reprimand including advice on how to improve
3. Temporary separation from peers within class and / or temporary removal to another class
4. Prescribing extra work/writing out the story of what happened (incident report)
5. Loss of privileges
6. Detention during break
7. Communication with parents
8. Referral to Principal
9. Principal communicating with parents
10. Exclusion (suspension or expulsion) from school (in accordance with Rule 130 of the Rules of National Schools as amended by circular and Education Welfare Act 2000)

However sanctions should relate as closely as possible to the behaviour. Therefore a child, who does not do his work in class or has not completed his homework, may be detained at break time to finish the work.

Pupils will not be deprived of engagement in a Curricular Area, except on the grounds of health and safety.

Suspension and Expulsion:

Before serious sanctions such as suspension or expulsion are used, the normal channels of communication between school and parents will be utilised.

For gross misbehaviour or repeated instance of serious misbehaviour suspension may be considered. Parents concerned will be invited to come to the school to discuss their child’s case. Aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards a teacher or pupil will be regarded as serious or gross misbehaviour.

Where there are repeated instances of serious misbehaviour, the chairperson of the Board of Management will be informed and the parents will be requested in writing to attend at the school to meet the chairperson and the principal. If the parents do not give an undertaking that the pupil will behave in an acceptable manner in the future the pupil may be suspended for a period. Prior to suspension, where possible, the principal may review the case in consultation with teachers and other members of the school community involved, with due regard to records of previous misbehaviours, their pattern and context, sanctions and other interventions used and their outcomes and any relevant medical information. Suspension will be in accordance with the Rules of National Schools and the Education Welfare Act 2000.

In the case of gross misbehaviour, where it is necessary to ensure that order and discipline are maintained and to secure the safety of the pupils, the Board may authorise the chairperson or principal to sanction an immediate suspension for a period not exceeding three school days, pending a discussion of the matter with the parents.

Expulsion may be considered in an extreme case, in accordance with the Rule for National Schools and the Education Welfare Act 2000. Before suspending or expelling a pupil, the Board shall notify the Local Welfare Education Officer in writing in accordance with Section 24 of the Education Welfare Act.

Removal of Suspension (reinstatement):

Following or during a period of suspension, the parent(s) may apply to have the pupil reinstated to the school. The parent(s) must give a satisfactory undertaking that a suspended pupil will behave in accordance with the school code and the principal must be satisfied that the pupil’s reinstatement will not constitute a risk to the pupil’s own safety or that of the other pupils or staff. The principal will facilitate the preparation of a behaviour plan for the pupil if required and will re-admit the pupil formally to the class.

Children with Special Needs:

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 may be put in place in consultation with parents and the class teacher, learning support/resource teacher and or principal will work closely with home to ensure that optimal support is given. Cognitive development will be taken into account at all times. Professional advice form psychological assessments will be invaluable.

The children in the class or school may be taught strategies to assist a pupil with special needs adhere to the rules and thus provide peer support. This will be done in a supportive and safe way, acknowledging and respecting the difference in all individuals.

Methods of Communicating with Parents:

Communicating with parents is central to maintaining a positive approach to dealing with children. Parents and teachers should develop a joint strategy to address specific difficulties, in addition to sharing a broader philosophy which can be implemented at home and in school.

A high level of co-operation and open communication is seen as an important factor encouraging positive behaviour in the school. Structures and channels designed to maintain a high level of communication among staff and between staff, pupils and parents have been established and are being reviewed regularly.

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.

The following methods are to be used at all levels within the school:

* Informal parent/teacher meetings and formal parent/teacher meetings
* Through children’s homework journal (infants do not have a homework journal – check bags)
* Letters/notes from school to home and from home to school
* School website
* Regular newsletter

Ratified by Board of Management ______________

Signed: _______________________________
Chairperson, Board of Management

Reminder Letter to Parents re Code of Behaviour:

Dear Parent(s)/ Guardian(s),

Please talk to your child and remind him/her of the importance of keeping the following rule/rules:

* Behaving in class
* Behaving in yard
* Rough play
* Listening and paying attention
* Having respect for all members of the school community
* Having respect for school property, their won belongings and others
* School uniform/track suit
Teacher’s comments:
Signed: _______________________ Date: _________________
I have talked to my child about the above rules and he/she promises to try harder.

Signed: ______________________________ (Parent/Guardian)