CODE OF EXCELLENCE 2021
Our code has been developed in partnership with the Board of Management, Staff, Students and Parents. It is hoped that adherence to this code will allow each student to achieve to their full potential during their time in St Finian’s College.
This is in keeping with Section 23 (2) of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, and is in accordance with the Guidelines issued by the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB).
We, in St Finian’s, would like each student to be happy at school and to benefit fully from their post-primary education. High standards of behaviour are expected to protect the values we seek to uphold. Each student can make a positive contribution towards maintaining those high standards in line with our Christian ethos.
St Finian’s College Code of Excellence is a set of standards, practices and procedures designed to encourage and reinforce positive behaviour, and maintain an orderly and effective learning environment for all students and members of staff.
Admission to the College is on the understanding that parents and students accept the Code of Excellence- code of behaviour of the College.
Our code applies at the following times:
- During the school day, including before and after class, and at break times.
- While wearing the school uniform.
- While travelling to and from school.
- While using school transport.
- While on school field trips, tours or exchanges.
- While involved with or supporting teams or any extra-curricular activity.
The school reserves the right to apply its code of behaviour in respect of negative behaviour that occurs outside of school and is not school related, if in the opinion of the principal and/or the BOM, the alleged negative behaviour has created a hostile environment at school for a member of the school community, or has infringed on the rights of a member of the school community and/or has materially or substantially disrupted the education process of the orderly operation of the school.
Our Code of Behaviour includes the following:
· Promotion of positive behaviour - Homework - Computer User Policy
· Class rules/Class conduct - Uniform - Sanctions
· Attendance/Punctuality - Lockers
· Journal - Mobile Phone
The Catholic ethos is extremely important to us in St. Finian’s. We seek to develop a sense of community that attempts to live out the teaching of Christ, especially in our treatment of others. All of our students are required to attend Religious Education classes. We expect our students to participate in the liturgical and religious services appropriate to their religious denominations. The Junior Certificate Religious Education Examination is mandatory for all our students.
Promotion of positive behaviour
We, in St. Finian’s College, endeavour to:
- promote a respectful atmosphere that encourages good behaviour, which creates a positive and safe environment for teaching and learning.
- encourage students to take personal responsibility for their learning and behaviour.
- develop positive relationships between students, staff and parents.
This is established by:
- easing the transition from primary to secondary school for our pupils and parents.
- having a Pastoral Care Team comprised of Principal, Deputy Principals, Year Heads, Class Tutors, Guidance Counsellors, School Chaplain, School Prefects, and Mentors who monitor and support our students during their time in the college.
- our staff modelling respectful behaviour.
- involving our Student Council in the decision making process.
- affirming positive behaviour, e.g. through our House System.
- rewarding groups within the school for positive contributions to school life.
- acknowledging academic and extra-curricular achievement in our annual awards ceremony
- highlighting achievement and positive behaviour in the daily announcements.
- reinforcing positive behaviour at class and year group assemblies.
- Students & Parents signing up to and adhering to our Anti Bullying Policy
- Students taking ownership of our code of behaviour by reading and signing it before they enrol in the school and at the beginning of each year.
- Recognising the importance of the Dignity in the Workplace Charter for our school community
Class rules/ Class conduct
Co-operation with staff and fellow students is essential in creating a positive classroom environment.
Respecting others includes:
- Recognising the teachers’ right to teach and the students’ right to learn
- Dealing respectfully with my teachers at all times.
- Following the teachers’ instructions.
- Treating my friends and members of my class well.
- Being punctual to class.
- Participating in class to the best of my ability.
- having the necessary text-books and materials for class.
- Being mindful of school property, public property and other students’ property.
- Acknowledging the importance of the Dignity in the Workplace Charter
However, behaviour which is disrespectful and un-cooperative will not be tolerated.
In the event of a student causing difficulties in class, the student will be spoken to by the class teacher.
If the unacceptable behaviour continues, the student will be seen by class Tutor, Year Head, Guidance Counsellors, Deputy Principals or Principal, as appropriate.
Google Classroom & Remote Learning
St Finian’s College is a Google School. Every pupil has been furnished with a school email address: email@example.com. This is the official email address for accessing their Google classroom for Learning. The school domain @stfinianscollege.ie will not recognise email addresses from outside this domain and access to Google Classrooms will be denied.
Every teacher has a school email address in this domain, eg firstname.lastname@example.org
Teachers may be contacted using email during school term during school hours, 9am – 4pm, Monday – Friday.
Every teacher has established a Google classroom for each of their classes. This is accessed through a code which has been given to each student. It is the responsibility of each student to ensure that they have their up to date access codes for every subject area that they are studying.
Code of Excellence for St Finian’s College applies online in Google Classroom in the same way as it applies in the actual physical classroom. All breaches of the code will be dealt with according to the school rules and regulations.
Online work and assignments should be submitted on time. Department of Education deadlines must be observed. Extensions cannot be granted. Issues with WiFi/ Broadband should be reported to the teacher/and /or school office as soon as possible.
Exams and assessments must be completed within the school day at the time alloted by the teacher. Individual timetables are not possible to accommodate.
Parents can view their child’s progress through the VSWare system. Every parent has a username and a password. Parents should contact the school office if they do not have access to VSWare.
Online Classes Rules/ Conduct
Regular attendance is essential. Full and half day absences should be explained to the school secretary by a note from the parent in the Student Journal.
Attendance is recorded each morning. Each student is responsible for swiping their attendance. Failure to swipe attendance will result in detention. A student card is mandatory for all students. Parents are required to notify the school office by 10am if their child is absent or going to be late. Parents will receive a text message where no explanation has been offered for a student’s absence. Please ensure that contact details are up to date.
The National Education Welfare Board – TUSLA must be informed of any student who has missed 20 days or more. This must always be complied with even if there is a genuine reason for the absence, for example, illness. Parents will also be notified by letter should this arise.
Punctuality is essential. Late-comers are required to sign the Late-comers’ register in the office where they will be issued with a note before proceeding to class. Appropriate sanctions will be imposed on students whose punctuality is unsatisfactory.
Students who present late to class without a valid reason will have their lateness recorded on VSWare and a detention may be issued.
A student who absents himself/herself from class and/or leaves the college without permission is liable to be suspended.
Students Leaving School Early
Students who have any of the Covid symptoms must not come to school. They are:
Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
Loss of taste or smell
- If a student falls ill during the day, Covid 19 measures and procedures will be adopted for the academic year 2020-2021
- If a student is very unwell they must follow the Covid 19 protocols. The student will be placed in the isolation area.
- The student’s parent/guardian will then be contacted and it will be arranged for the student to be collected where possible.
- Parents must leave a contact number with the school for this purpose or any other emergency
- We encourage parents to inform the school of instances of Infectious Illness (we assure all parents of absolute confidentiality regarding disclosure of sensitive health information). Parents will be informed of any outbreak of serious infections within the school.
Contact tracing logs will be maintained by staff and students during the school day.
Students should not contact home without permission of Principal/Deputy Principal.
All medical and dental appointments should be arranged, if possible, outside of school hours as the school office is closed to parents and visitors without appointment.
- Where a student wishes to leave the school premises, the parent must contact the school office by telephone to arrange sign out and furnish a note to the school office.
- All students under 18 years of age must be signed out by a parent/guardian (or by an adult with parental consent) when leaving school early.
- Students over 18 years may sign themselves out for appointments (with parental knowledge).
- A register of early leavers and late arrivals is maintained in the school office.
Students may not leave the school grounds during school hours without permission.
Parents have access to our Information System VSware. On VSWare each student has a profile page showing Term Reports, Attendance, Punctuality, Behaviour.
Each parent has a username and password. It is very important that parents’ /guardians’ details are up to date on our systems. It is only possible to give one user name & password to parents / guardians.
It is the responsibility of parents to share this information with each other.
- End of term and other reports as well as the annual Parent/Teacher meeting inform parents of general progress. We are waiting for guidelines re Parent Meetings
- Parents are welcome to visit the school by appointment only to discuss their son’s/daughter’s progress or to notify the school of any changes in their family circumstances.
- Our new website will notify parents / guardians of any upcoming school events under Calendar. Parents will be notified by text or in writing of some upcoming school events and/or changes to school calendar caused by inclement weather, etc.
The School Journal is an important source of communication between school and
home. Parents/guardians are asked to check and sign the journal on a weekly basis, particularly for Junior Cycle students.
Parents should use the journal to explain student absences, lateness and requests for a student to leave school during school hours.
It is the responsibility of each student to ensure their journal is maintained well and without graffiti.
The Journal is designed to:
- Record homework given on a daily basis
- Record students’ progress and behaviour
Each student must have their St. Finian’s College Journal with them in every class and it is essential that students bring the journal home each evening.
Students are requested to report the loss of a journal to the school office and a replacement must be sought within 24 hours.
Homework is key to success.
- Homework assignments should be recorded in the journal at the end of each class.
- Students should complete their class work and homework, both oral and written to the best of their ability.
- Parents/Guardians will be contacted by letter if a student is not considered to be working to their potential. This is our Homework Notification Form (HNF). (Pending Survey of Staff & Parents)
- Students are expected to adhere to the guidelines for the completion of projects, classroom assignments and work assigned by the teacher. Deadlines are set by the Department of Education and must be met.
- Where difficulties continue to arise, our Parent Notification Form (PNF) will be issued and a formal meeting with parents may be sought.
Parental support of our Homework policy is greatly appreciated.
Uniform/ Personal Appearance
In the interest of all students, full school uniform is to be worn:
- on school premises
- when coming to and leaving school each day
- during in-house and state examinations
- on school excursions or at school functions
and when requested by school staff and/or management.
Essential items of school uniform include:
The government has now implemented mandatory wearing of face coverings for all teachers and secondary school students, similar to those worn in shops or on public transport, when a physical distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained.
Pupils therefore will need to bring a reusable, cotton face mask everyday which will be worn in places where it is difficult to maintain a 2 metre distance. Face masks/coverings should not have any inappropriate writing or graphics. The school authorities will have the final say on what is deemed appropriate. These masks must be washed daily.
If it is the case that your son/daughter has a current medical reason for not wearing a face mask, a medical letter will be required in advance of the school year beginning. Please post to the school office before Friday 21st August. Parents have received a letter with this information.
A visor is the alternative where a face mask cannot be worn.
- Senior Cycle students:
- Crested navy jumper, crested navy polo shirt with navy trousers or check skirt. (The school skirt must be at or below the knee)
- School Jacket with Crest
- Junior Cycle students:
- Crested green jumper, crested navy polo shirt with navy trousers or check skirt. (The school skirt must be at or below knee)
- School Jacket with Crest
Essential items for all students
- Shoes for boys & girls have been identified for 1st years 2020-2021. Swarbrigg Shoes are the stockists. For all other years: Black leather shoes with no insignia. (Canvas shoes, Ballet pumps or high heel style shoes are not permissible under Health and Safety)
- Black or Navy plain socks should be worn
- P.E. Uniform consists of navy tracksuit bottoms, blue T- shirt with school crest and supportive runners. Shorts may be worn.
- Students are required to pay particular attention to personal appearance and cleanliness and to the neatness of their uniform, books, lockers and schoolbags.
- If a pupil comes to school without his/her correct uniform parents will be contacted and asked to provide the correct uniform.
- Items of uniform must be replaced when outgrown or worn out.
- Items of clothing which do not form part of the uniform will be confiscated and returned to parents, e.g. non-uniform jackets, non-uniform shoes, etc.
Infringement of the uniform policy will result in a warning on the first occasion. Any student who has three infringements will receive a detention.
Please note that students should ensure their name is on all items of uniform e.g. jumper & jacket.
The school uniform is available from Tot’s Paradise, Mullingar and Arnott’s in Dublin.
Pupils are asked to minimise the wearing of jewellery:
- Girls & Boys are allowed to wear one pair of earrings. Only small stud style earrings are allowed. No loop/or hanging earrings are allowed.
- No loud, colourful items allowed.
- No expensive jewellery should be worn to school as students will be asked to remove items of jewellery for P.E. and Home Economics for Health and Safety reasons.
Make-up / Nail polish/ Hair
Students are expected to be neat and well-groomed in appearance.
- The wearing of excessive / inappropriate make-up and fake tan is not permissible while in school uniform/ or in school.
- The wearing of fake / artificial acrylic nails is not permissible while in school uniform (Health & Safety)
- Students will be asked by staff members to remove excessive / inappropriate make-up and acrylic nails or nail polish by the following school day.
- Hairstyles should be neat and tidy and of natural colour.
- Extreme hairstyles are forbidden. This includes shaved hairstyles and loud or garish hair colouring. School management reserves the right to decide whether a particular hairstyle is acceptable or not. Home will be notified in the event of breach of this rule.
- Students are expected to be clean shaven, i.e. no beards
- Head coverings on religious grounds must be plain navy blue or black.
- Hair accessories must be discreet.
The school expects full co-operation from parents/guardians in ensuring their son/daughter is in correct uniform at all times.
Please note that the school is the final arbiter with regard to personal appearance
The following guidelines were drawn up in order to ensure the quality of teaching and learning in St Finian’s is not interfered with by the use of mobile phones and other electronic devices.
- Where a student is in possession of a phone during the school day, the phone must be switched off.
- may only be used at morning break and lunchtime outside of the school building.
- cannot be used to take photographs without permission.
- cannot be used to take videos without permission.
Mobile phones found in class, in study, or being used on the corridors between classes will automatically be confiscated with SIM card and kept for one month in the school office. They can then be reclaimed upon payment of a €6 fine. All monies collected go to charity at the end of the academic year.
Parents should be aware of advice issued to education authorities regarding the risks to young people from overuse of mobile phones. Parents should also be warned that any student with a mobile phone which has internet access can easily download inappropriate pictures, jokes and ring tones.
St Finian’s College cannot accept responsibility for the loss or theft of mobile phones or personal audio devices.
Parents who need to contact students in the case of emergency must do so through the school office at 044 9348313
Students who wish to contact their parents in the course of the school day may do so from the school office.
For the academic year 2020-2021 there are no lockers available due to Covid 19
Fire Drill/ School Evacuation Procedures.
Evacuation routes and assembly points are illustrated on ‘Fire Exit Map’ in each classroom. It is important that you are aware of these and follow the correct procedure as follows:
Fire Siren activates for FIRST time:
Fire Siren activates for SECOND time:
Breach of expected standards
If a student disregards school regulations, the school will impose “In-house” sanctions. These include:
- Detention normally takes place during lunchtime on Wednesdays and after class on Friday afternoons. However, detention may be scheduled at other times at the discretion of the Principal/Deputy Principals. Students are given 24-hour notice of detention for Friday afternoons. Students’ who are unable to attend for a valid reason, must present a note signed by their parents to the Principal/Deputy Principals. They must attend detention the following week without fail. Students are responsible for informing their parents regarding detention so that suitable arrangements can be put in place re collection etc.
- Confiscation: Items that can damage school property or harm other students such as knives, penknives, laser pointers, aerosol sprays, etc. are prohibited. If found they will be confiscated and not returned to the student and parents will be informed.
- The school reserves the right to withdraw school privileges from any student with a poor disciplinary record i.e. school tours, school concerts, sports competitions etc.
Procedures for Suspensions and Expulsions.
- If a student continues to breach standards, he or she will be advised that an extra-ordinary sanction will be imposed if the conduct does not improve. Extra-ordinary sanctions include severe detention, internal suspension, suspension, indefinite suspension and expulsion.
- Where an issue arises with a student which may involve suspension/expulsion, the parents/guardians together with the student involved, may be required to attend a meeting with the school authorities and will be entitled to a full impartial hearing and a right of reply.
- All negotiations in such matters will be conducted only between the College authorities and the parents/guardians of the student involved.
The following actions may merit a suspension:
The possession and/or consumption of alcohol and the possession and/or use of drugs or other substances by students on the school premises, in school uniform or while representing the school is absolutely forbidden. Breach of this regulation will normally be referred to the Board of Management and/or Gardaí and may lead to expulsion from the school.
This list is not comprehensive and the school reserves the right to impose sanctions for other violations which it considers serious.
Suspension is always a very serious matter and will only be used for persistent misconduct or a serious once-off incident. Where suspension is being considered, the following procedures will apply:
Note: Parents/Guardians and students are asked to note that it is not possible to detail every regulation governing one’s behaviour at school. Each student is accepted into the school on the understanding that he/she comply with the school regulations as detailed in the journal and school policies.
By sending your son/daughter to St Finian’s College, your son/daughter, and you as parent(s)/legal guardian(s) automatically accept the schools’ ethos and with implicit agreement to observe the rules and regulations as set out in the schools Code of Excellence.
The Board of Management has approved this expulsion policy and its procedures having consulted with students, staff and parents. The policy has been developed in line with the guidelines issued by the National Education Welfare Board pertaining to expulsions.
The Board of Management will consider expulsion only in extreme cases of unacceptable behaviour. Such consideration will normally only occur following the failure of all other possible interventions to address the misbehaviour. These interventions will include following the code of behaviour and using all the counselling, psychological and appropriate psychiatric services available to the school.
A decision to exclude a student will require serious grounds such as:
- A student’s behaviour is a persistent cause of significant disruption to the learning of others or to the teaching process.
- The student’s continued presence in the school constitutes a real and significant threat to health and safety.
- The student is responsible for serious damage to property.
- The student being uncontrollable or grossly insubordinate to school management or other staff members and not amenable to any form of school discipline or authority.
- Parents/Guardians being unable or refusing to exercise their responsibility for the student’s behaviour
- The student’s behaviour being a danger to himself / herself or to others
- When guarantees of reasonable behaviour following repeated suspensions are not forthcoming or are not being met
- The student’s conduct acting as a source of serious bad example and having an adverse influence on other students in the school.
Expulsion for first offence
There may be exceptional circumstances where the Board of Management forms the opinion that a student should be expelled for a first offence. The kinds of behaviour that will result in a proposal to expel on the basis of a single breach of the Code of Excellence include but are not limited to:
Where expulsion is being considered the following procedure will apply:
Step 1. A detailed investigation will be carried out.
- The parents/guardians of the student involved will be informed in writing about the details of the alleged serious misconduct and the proposed investigation.
- The parents/guardians and student will be given every opportunity, including meeting with Principal and/or appropriate discipline committee, to respond to the complaint.
- If parents/guardians fail to meet the Principal when requested to do so, they will be invited to a further meeting and advised that if they fail to meet with the Principal the school will be regrettably be still obliged to make a decision in the matter and respond to the alleged misconduct.
Step 2. A recommendation to the Board of Management by the Principal.
The Principal will:
- Inform the parents/guardians and the student that the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion.
- Ensure that the parents/guardians have all the records of the allegations against the student, and written notice of the grounds on which the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion.
- Provide the Board of Management with the same records as those given to the parents/guardians.
- Notify the parents/guardians of the date of the hearing by the Board of Management and invite them to the hearing.
- Advise the parents/guardians that they can make a written and oral submission to the Board of Management and also that they can be accompanied at the hearing.
- Ensure that the parents/guardians are given adequate notice of the date of the hearing in order to allow them to prepare for same.
Step 3. Consideration by the Board of Management of the Principal’s recommendations and the holding of a hearing.
It is the responsibility of the Board of Management to ensure that the investigation has been properly conducted. When the Board of Management decides to consider expulsion it will:
- Hold a hearing.
- At the hearing the Principal, parents/guardians or a student over the age of 18 will put their case to the Board of Management in each other’s presence. Each party will be allowed to question the evidence of the other party directly. The parents/guardians or student over the age of 18 can make a case for the lessening of the sanction. In the conduct of the hearing, the Board of Management will take care to ensure that they are, and are seen to be, impartial as between the Principal and the student. After both sides have been heard, the Board of Management will ensure that the Principal and the parents/guardians or student are not present for the Board of Management’s deliberations on the matter.
Step 4. The Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing.
- Having heard from all the parties, it is the responsibility of the Board of Management to decide whether or the alleged misconduct is substantiated and, if so, whether or not expulsion is the appropriate sanction. If the Board of Management decides to exclude the student, the following will apply:
- The Board of Management will notify the Education and Welfare Office (EWO) in writing of its opinion, and the reasons for this opinion.
- The student cannot be excluded for twenty days from the date on which the Education Welfare Officer receives written notification from the Board of Management of its proposed expulsion.
- The Board of Management will inform the parents/guardians in writing about its conclusions and will also inform them that the Education Welfare Officer has been so informed.
Step 5. Consultations arranged by the Education Welfare Officer.
Within twenty days of receipt of a notification from the Board of Management of its opinion that a student should be excluded, the Education Welfare Officer will:
- Make all reasonable effort to meet with the Principal, parents/guardians and the student, and anyone else who may be of assistance.
- Convene a meeting of those parties who agree to attend. The discussions may result in an agreement that avoids expulsion, or it may focus on alternative educational possibilities.
- While these discussions and consultations are ongoing, the Board of Management may suspend the student, if his/her presence in the school could pose a threat to the health and safety of other students or would interfere with the teaching and learning of other students.
Step 6. Confirmation of the decision to exclude.
When the twenty-day period following notification to the Education Welfare Officer has elapsed, and where the Board of Management is still of the view that the student should be excluded, the Board of Management will formally confirm the decision in writing to the parents/guardians or student aged over 18.
- The parents/guardians will be notified immediately that the expulsion will now proceed.
- The parents/guardians and the student will be told of their right to appeal and will be supplied with the standard form on which to lodge an appeal.
- A formal record will be made of the decision to exclude the student.
Right to Appeal.
A parent, or a student aged over 18 years, may appeal a decision to exclude to the Trustees and/or to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills under section 29 of the Education Act 1998. The National Education and Welfare Board may also lodge an appeal on behalf of the student.
ACCEPTANCE OF THE RULES
We have read the rules and regulations of the College and are willing to abide by them.
Signed:………………………………………………… ( Parent/Guardian)
I have read the rules and regulations of the College and am willing to abide by them.
Signed:………………………………………………… ( Pupil )