Pupil Conduct Policy
The Governors of Ysgol Friars believe that the school is a community and that for it to flourish it must be civilised and orderly and enable pupils to enjoy and profit from their education. The following policy has been framed with a view to promoting an ethos which is in keeping with the preceding statement. The Governors further believe that pupils' achievement will be enhanced if there are clearly understood minimum standards of acceptable conduct, together with incentives for and recognition of exemplary conduct and attitude.
The Governors do not believe that the jurisdiction of the school should begin and end at the school gate, nor should it be confined solely to school hours. It is recognised that problems can occur on the way to and from school and that such difficulties can have a detrimental impact on pupils' educational development. Furthermore, when pupils wear the uniform of the school, their actions can have a bearing on its reputation. Thus the school may on occasions exercise its jurisdiction from the moment pupils leave home in the morning to the time that they are received at home by their parents at the end of the school afternoon.
The following rules concerning pupil conduct are designed to promote positive attitudes and to indicate forms of conduct which are unacceptable:
- make the most of the opportunities which the school will give them;
- co-operate with the requests and instructions of staff;
- respect all other members of the school community and treat them with courtesy and understanding;
- respect the property of others and the property and fabric of the school;
- strive to achieve the highest possible level of attendance;
- arrive punctually for school sessions and for each individual lesson;
- conform to the school's dress code.
Pupils should not:
- behave in a way which causes discomfort, distress or injury to others;
- behave in a manner which is detrimental to their own or others’ health and safety;
- hinder the work or learning of others.
The school aims to promote positive attitudes among pupils by:
- certificating regular attendance;
- certificating outstanding effort;
- presenting certificates and prizes for the above in presentation evenings;
- recognising such achievements by giving prizes to pupils in years 7-11;
- encouraging departments to recognise and certificate effort;
- promoting the discussion and recognition of pupils meriting commendation in departmental meetings;
- recognising achievements on notice board displays;
- making presentations in assemblies;
- promoting the Prichard prizes;
- promoting the Progress File from years 9-11.
The Governors are aware, however, that there will be instances where sanctions have to be imposed on those pupils who do not conform to the reasonable standards which the school is entitled to expect.
The Governors and Senior Management Team believe that good discipline and the promotion of acceptable standards of behaviour largely begin in the classroom and to that end each teacher should take responsibility for the conduct of his or her lesson. The teacher should use his or her professional judgement as to the sanctions to be adopted in cases where pupils do not behave in an acceptable manner. The Headteacher will expect to see that such steps have been taken before a referral is made under the following procedures. However, it is acknowledged that there will be instances where all the strategies employed by a teacher to promote good conduct in his or her lesson will not have the desired outcome with some individual pupils. In cases where the teacher’s efforts have failed or the pupil has been unco-operative, the pupil should be referred to the Head of Department or Year Team Leader. In exceptional circumstances the referral should be directly to the Headteacher or, if he/she is unavailable, to the Deputy Headteacher.
In some circumstances a pupil may have to be removed from a lesson for a short period, possibly to allow him or her to cool off, or to allow others in the class to commence their work prior to the teacher dealing with the disruptive pupil. However, disruptive pupils should not be sent to another location without the agreement of another member of staff who would then assume responsibility for them. The child remains the responsibility of the class teacher until another member of staff formally assumes that responsibility.
The parents should be invited in when a pupil is placed on a points report. Targets for future conduct should be agreed and the pupil encouraged to set his or her own targets on a daily and weekly basis. A maximum number of lessons (according to the report) in which behaviour has been unacceptable and which would therefore lead to temporary exclusion should be agreed with the parents. When this total is reached, the pupil will be excluded for a fixed period of three days for persistent disruptive behaviour.
The points report will be monitored by the Year Team Leader. Sanctions will be applied where the report indicates that behaviour has been unacceptable and the parent will be warned in writing if the child is approaching the previously determined maximum. If the report indicates that all the disruption is in one subject, the matter will be referred back to the Head of Department.
In cases of persistent misconduct, none or not all of which arise directly from lessons, the Year Team Leader will monitor the situation and impose sanctions as appropriate. The Year Team Leader will advise the Headteacher if he or she feels the pupil is not responding to the sanctions and the situation is not improving. The Headteacher will at this time consider a temporary exclusion and the provision of a pastoral support plan. The Headteacher will expect the parents to have been invited to school and to have received written communication from the Year Team Leader outlining the problems which have arisen prior to this referral. Year Team Leaders will have put in place a pastoral support plan for any pupil who has been excluded on two occasions.
If a child who has been excluded on one or more occasions completes two full terms without further temporary exclusions, the first exclusion on his or her record will be discounted when considering future sanctions. When a child has three current temporary exclusions on his or her record (or an internal exclusion from lessons and two temporary exclusions) the Headteacher, having regard to paragraph 1.3 of National Assembly Circular 1/2004, must decide whether all available strategies are in danger of being exhausted and the parents be issued with a final written warning about future conduct and a recommendation to consult the Education Welfare Officer about the possibility of a managed move to another school. In reaching his decision, the Headteacher may not conclude that all strategies have been tried without success unless:
- the child has received a pastoral support plan after an internal exclusion from lessons;
- a referral has been made to an outside agency, with the agency or agencies in question being determined by the Year Team Leader according to the needs of the child;
- documented attempts have been made to secure parental co-operation to improve conduct at an early stage;
- the child has received appropriate support from the Year Team Leader through the use of learning support interviews.
Both the parent and the child are informed of the reasons for any exclusion. The school will always attempt to contact the parent by phone on the day of the exclusion and the pupil is given reasons for it at the time. A letter is given to the pupil which confirms the reasons for the exclusion and is instructed to take it home to the parent. The parent is informed that the letter has been issued and made aware of its contents during the telephone call.
Parents will be invited to school after each exclusion and will be interviewed by the Year Team Leader. Parents and the pupil concerned may also be asked to attend an interview with members of the Governors’ First Committee after a second exclusion in order that they may fully understand that they are placing their education at Friars in jeopardy. The Chair and one other member of the Committee (not a Teacher Governor) will usually attend. Pupils may be interviewed in the absence of their parents.
A pupil may be permanently excluded for serious misconduct following a final written warning, or in exceptional circumstances which, in the view of the Headteacher, constitute gross misconduct. The Governors and Headteacher deem serious or gross misconduct to include, but not be limited to the following:
- Violent conduct or the threat of violent conduct
- Abusive language directed at or deliberately used in the presence of members of staff or the public
- Theft of school property or property belonging to staff of the school, or the property of pupils which has been legitimately brought to school
- Malicious damage, particularly to school property or the property of staff of the school
- Provoking a confrontation with or a deliberate refusal to co-operate with a reasonable instruction of a member of staff
- Bringing an offensive weapon on to school premises*
- Bringing (or use of) a prohibited substance such as controlled drugs or alcohol on to school premises
- Repeated non- co-operation with sanctions or punishment imposed by staff of the school
- Serious, repeated disruptive behaviour in class.
Some incidents which fall within the school’s definition of exceptional circumstances may of themselves be so serious as to merit permanent exclusion. In these circumstances the Headteacher will not be required to demonstrate that a range of alternative strategies to exclusion has been tried and failed. The incident could be a first or one-off offence.
Exclusion in any of the above cases could be temporary or permanent at the discretion of the Headteacher according to the severity of the incident and the previous record of the pupil.
The school seldom uses lunch time exclusion. However, when the Headteacher deems it an appropriate sanction, it will be a short-term measure only, with regular reviews of whether it continues to be an appropriate approach. Lunchtime exclusion is treated as equivalent to a quarter of a school day. If these quarter days add up to more than 5 school days in a school term, including when they are added to other fixed-period exclusions, this will then entitle the parent or guardian to make representations to the First Committee of the Governing Body. Where a pupil is kept in the school during lunchtime, but away from other pupils, this will not count as a formal exclusion but as an `internal exclusion’. Arrangements should be made for pupils who are entitled to free school meals. This may mean providing a packed lunch.
Pupils’ behaviour outside school on school business, for example on school trips, away school sports fixtures or work experience placements, is subject to the school’s behaviour policy. Bad behaviour in these circumstances will be dealt with as if it had taken place in school. For behaviour outside school, but not on school business, the Headteacher may exclude a pupil if there is a clear link between that behaviour and maintaining good behaviour and discipline among the pupil body as a whole. For example, abusing or harassing staff outside of school hours and off school premises will be dealt with as if it had happened in school.
*Where an offensive or potentially offensive weapon is brought to school, the item must not be returned to the pupil concerned. It will be retained by the Headteacher and returned to either the parent on personal application or to the police according to its nature and the Headteacher’s discretion.
Punishment and Sanctions
A variety of punishments and sanctions is used by the school. It is expected that teachers take responsibility for the conduct of their own lessons and that they use their professional discretion as to the sanctions which support the good management of lessons. These may involve extra work, being kept in at lunch or break time or not being given privileges available to other pupils. However, if these fail, staff often impose after school detentions. Such detentions are also used by senior staff, including the Headteacher and Year Team Leaders. Senior staff set a range of tasks during detention with the intention of making the punishment meaningful and useful to the school. These may include collecting litter, tidying etc. as recommended in National Assembly consultation documents. Pupils will be given confirmation in writing with at least one clear day between the issuing of the detention letter and the date of the detention when it will be served after school hours. It is the pupil’s responsibility to pass this on to the parent. Parental permission is not required in law for the detention to take place. Repeated non-compliance with punishments can lead to exclusion from school (see above).
Pupils may not be permitted to participate in school trips and activities where their behaviour leads the supervising staff to believe that their presence may be prejudicial to the safety and good order of the activity. Pupils who have been excluded from school will forfeit the right to participate in certain extra-curricular activities.
On rare occasions at the end of the school day a pupil may be removed from a school bus where his/her behaviour is prejudicial to the safety and good order of the pupils travelling on the bus. The school will make every effort to inform parents when this occurs.
Physical Restraint of Pupils
Section 550A of the 1996 Education Act gives any members of staff who have control of pupils on or off the site if they have been so authorised by the Headteacher the right to exercise reasonable force to prevent a pupil from:
- Committing a criminal offence
- Injuring themselves or others
- Causing damage to property including their own
- Engaging in any activity prejudicial to the maintenance of good order and discipline
The Headteacher has authorised all members of the teaching and support staff and any other member of staff paid as a lunchtime supervisor to physically restrain pupils in any of the above circumstances, provided that their actions shall be reasonable.
Examples of situations in which it may be reasonable or appropriate to control or restrain a pupil are:
- To stop pupils fighting
- To prevent deliberate damage or vandalism
- To prevent injury through rough play or misuse of dangerous materials
- To prevent accident or injury from irresponsible behaviour such as running on a stairway
- To remove a pupil persistently refusing to obey an instruction or causing serious disruption in a lesson
- To prevent a pupil absconding if to do so would place him or her at risk
Staff should not use any of the following to restrain pupils:
- Holding a pupil in any way as to restrict the ability to breathe
- Striking, tripping or kicking
- Twisting or forcing limbs against a joint
- Holding or pulling hair
Staff should always try to use other strategies to resolve a situation and should only resort to physical restraint in cases of urgency or danger or where other methods of control have failed. Staff should not physically intervene if doing so would put them at risk. Other pupils should be removed from the scene and assistance sought in such circumstances.
Any member of staff using physical restraint should as soon as possible after the incident produce a written report for the Headteacher which details:
- The name of the pupil(s) involved
- Where the incident took place
- Names of witnesses (where possible)
- The reason force was used
- A description of the incident itself, particularly that point at which the teacher deemed physical intervention to be necessary
- The pupil’s response and the outcome of the incident
- Details of any injury or damage
The teacher should give a copy of the report to the representative of their trade union or association. The Headteacher will inform the parent in writing of the details of the incident.
Admission of Pupils who have been Temporarily Excluded from other Schools
The school will consider requests from the educational welfare service to admit pupils who have been temporarily excluded from other schools provided the school has not reached the relevant admission number agreed with the LEA for that year group. When such a pupil is admitted, it will normally be on the basis of a behaviour agreement signed by the parents, the pupil and the Headteacher which will outline the school's expectations of the pupil’s conduct. Any temporary exclusions from a previous school will count as a temporary exclusion in this policy. Admission will not normally take place until the full curricular and pastoral records of the pupil have been received from the previous school.
The school seeks to promote regular attendance by awarding prizes and certificates to those who achieve maximum attendance, by phoning home to check the pupil's whereabouts on the first day of an absence, by writing to the parents following an absence of three school days and by insisting on a note signed by a parent, explaining the reasons for the absence, to be handed in on the pupil’s return. The school appreciates the co-operation of the educational welfare service which often assists in dealing with cases of truancy and whose support is invaluable to the school.
School Dress Code
The school has a dress code which is published in the prospectus for parents. Parents are deemed to have accepted it by taking up the offer of a place at the school. Pupils are expected to conform to the requirements of the code and to present themselves smartly.
Behaviour on School Transport
The school believes that the maintenance of safety and good order on school transport is important. The school will punish pupils who misbehave on school or public transport. Regular or serious misbehaviour may lead to the matter being referred to the County Planning Department who may temporarily or permanently ban a pupil from travelling on school transport.
The school has a separate policy relating to bullying.