Our Policies

St. Colmcille’s National School has a central role in the 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 either 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 cooperation. 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 rights 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 through the parent’s handbook, availability of policies and an ethos of open communication

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 other
  • Ensure fair treatment for all regardless of age, gender, race, ability and disability
  • Show appreciation of the efforts and contribution of all.

To discourage physical aggression and encourage ‘Kind Hands, Kind Words, Kind Feet’.

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
  • Ask permission to leave the classroom
  • Do your best in class
  • Take responsibility for your own work

These can be summed up in our school motto:

“Treat others as you would like them to treat you’ and Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Kind, Be Honest and Be Your Best.”

Class Rules

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

Promoting Inclusion In School Yard

As part of our Code of Behaviour we are putting in three systems in place to promote inclusion in the school yard.

Buddy System : On a rota basis a boy and girl from 5th /6th class spend both break times in the front yard with the junior classes helping children who are on their own to find a friend to play with, promoting good behaviour through their example and helping with games etc. This is done under the supervision of those adults on supervision duty in this yard.

Buddy Bench : Children who are not having a great day, or need a friend to play with or talk to can sit on a ‘Buddy Bench’, which the children will be encouraged to respond to.

Playground Games – Staff in conjunction with the children in the older classes will devised a programme of team games to promote inclusion of all, to encourage teamwork and foster self confidence. Senior class pupils will be responsible for teaching playground games to groups of younger children.

How we treat each other and speak to each other

As part of becoming a ‘Mindful School‘, we place a huge emphasis and importance on the way we all speak to each other. Whether it be in the classroom, on the school yard or on the sports field, we will strive to promote an exemplary behaviour in how we treat each other and how we look out for one another. We will strive to be sensitive to others feelings, to greet them politely, to learn to lose with dignity, to learn to not always put ourselves first regardless of the rest. We will encourage respect for the children, their classmates, the staff, their parents , the wider school community and their environment. We will also reward children for this time of behaviour and try to ‘catch a child behaving respectfully’


Part of the vision of St. Colmcille’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. Reward systems which are based on academic merit or particular extrinsic goals continuously apply to only a limited number of children and undermine the individuality of children. 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 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
  • A mention to parent, written or verbal communication.

Positive Behaviour Reward System :

Our school runs a stamp reward system in each class. Rewards are given for good behaviour, neat work in class and out of class, and any other area the class teacher may include. Having consulted the children and teachers the following reward systems and prizes have been drawn up. Teachers will use these reward systems as best to suit their environment. Rewards can be at individual, class or whole school level

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 interferes 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


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
  • 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
  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 for 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, if deemed necessary, 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 & safety.

Suspension and Expulsion

Before serious sanctions such as detention, suspension or expulsion are used, the normal channels of communication between school and parents will be utilised. Where it is proposed to detain a pupil after school hours, the parents or guardians will be notified. Communication with parents may be verbal or by letter depending on the circumstances.

For gross misbehaviour or repeated instances 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 for 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 will 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 from 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 notice board
  • Monthly News Letter

Parents: Roles and Responsibilities

  • Equip pupils with appropriate school materials, a sufficient healthy lunch and full uniform.
  • Be courteous towards all pupils and staff
  • Make an appointment to meet with a teacher/Principal through the school.
  • Respect school property and encourage their children to do the same.
  • Label pupils coats, uniforms, tracksuits and other property.
  • Supervise their young children on school premises when collecting other pupils or visiting the school.
  • As the Board of Management is responsible for the health and safety of all staff and students, parents are requested not to approach or reprimand another person’s child on the school premises.

The aim of this Acceptable Use Policy is to ensure that pupils will benefit from learning opportunities offered by the school’s Internet resources in a safe and effective manner. Internet use and access is considered a school resource and privilege. Therefore, if the school AUP is not adhered to this privilege will be withdrawn and appropriate sanctions – as outlined in the AUP – will be imposed.

It is envisaged that school and parent representatives will revise the AUP regularly. Before enrolling, the AUP should be read carefully to ensure that the conditions of use are accepted and understood.   The first version of the AUP was created between October 2011 & January 2012. It is now revised to take account of new technologies and advances in and usage of social media.

School’s Strategy

The school employs a number of strategies in order to maximise learning opportunities and reduce risks associated with the Internet. These strategies are as follows:


  • Internet sessions will always be supervised by a teacher.
  • Filtering software is used in order to minimise the risk of exposure to inappropriate material.
  • The school will regularly monitor pupils’ Internet usage.
  • Students and teachers will be provided with training in the area of Internet safety.
  • Uploading and downloading of non-approved software will not be permitted.
  • Virus protection software will be used and updated on a regular basis.
  • The use of personal memory sticks and other digital storage media in school requires a teacher’s permission.
  • Students will treat others with respect at all times and observe good “netiquette’’ (etiquette on the internet) at all times and will not undertake any actions that may bring the school into disrepute. (cf Anti-Bullying Procedures)

World Wide Web

  • Students will not intentionally visit Internet sites that contain obscene, illegal, hateful or otherwise objectionable materials.
  • Students will report accidental accessing of inappropriate materials in accordance with school procedures.
  • Students will use the Internet for educational purposes only during class time.  During Golden Time, they may be allowed to use the Internet for entertainment purposes.  However, all web sites will be vetted by the class teacher.
  • Students will not copy information into assignments and fail to acknowledge the source (plagiarism and copyright infringement).
  • Students will never disclose or publicise personal information.
  • Accessing or downloading materials or images not relevant to their studies, is in direct breach of the school’s acceptable use policy.
  • Students will be aware that any usage, including distributing or receiving information, school-related or personal, may be monitored for unusual activity, security and/or network management reasons.

Email / Internet Chat

If pupils are allowed to use email, the following rules will apply:

  • Students will use approved class email accounts under supervision by or permission from a teacher.
  • Students will not send or receive any material that is illegal, obscene, defamatory or that is intended to annoy or intimidate another person.
  • Students will not send text messages to or from school email
  • Students will not reveal their own or other people’s personal details, such as addresses or telephone numbers or pictures.
  • Students will never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they only know through emails or the internet.
  • Students will note that sending and receiving email attachments is subject to permission from their teacher.
  • Students will not have access to chat rooms, discussion forums, messaging or other electronic communication fora.

School Website

  • Please note that the following points apply to the school’s web site and social media profiles, including but not limited to Twitter, Scribd, Google+, etc.
  • Pupils will be given the opportunity to publish projects, artwork or school work on the World Wide Web in accordance with clear policies and approval processes regarding the content that can be loaded to the school’s website
  • The website will be regularly checked to ensure that there is no content that compromises the safety of pupils or staff.
  • Website using facilities such as guestbooks, noticeboards or weblogs will be checked frequently to ensure that they do not contain personal details
  • The publication of student work will be co-ordinated by a teacher.
  • Pupils’ work will appear in an educational context on Web pages
  • The school will endeavour to use digital photographs, audio or video clips focusing on group activities. Photographs, audio and video clips will be used. Video clips may be password protected.
  • Personal pupil information including home address and contact details will be omitted from school web pages.
  • The school website will avoid publishing the first name and last name of individuals in a photograph.
  • The school will ensure that the image files are appropriately named – will not use pupils’ names in image file names or ALT tags if published on the web.
  • Pupils will continue to own the copyright on any work published.

Web 2.0

With the advent of Web 2.0, the Internet has become a two way communication system for the school and the wider community. Services such as Mathletics, ClassDojo, Scribd, WordPress, Twitter and other social media may be used by the school to communicate with parents and also for parents to communicate with the school. These services, although not owned by St. Colmcille’s N.S., form part of our web services and all content that is placed on these services falls under this policy. For example, any content on the school’s Twitter account follows the same safety rules, e.g. the showing of photographs, video, etc.

The safety of our children on the web is of utmost importance so the following rules apply to the school and parents. Web 2.0 is open to potential dangers when used inappropriately. We would ask:

  • Many social media sites have minimum age requirements. While the school will not monitor this, we would advise parents to not allow their children to have personal accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. until they are the appropriate age.  Many social media sites will be used by teachers in class, for example, Twitter. However, all interactions will be under the supervision of the teacher. Children will not be allowed to use their own personal accounts for social media.
  • Please do not “tag” photographs or any other content which would identify any children or staff in the school.
  • If you are uploading a photograph, please ensure that it does not identify the child in any way.  Please make sure photograph size is kept as small as possible.
  • Please ensure that online messages and comments to the school are respectful. Any messages written on social media are treated in the same way as written messages to the school.
  • Avoid any negative conversations about children, staff or parents on social media accounts. If you have an issue with something in the school, social media is not the place to raise it. Comments of this nature will be deleted.
  • Please do not request to “friend” a member of staff in the school.  The staff would like to keep their personal lives personal.  It may be awkward for a staff member to be asked to ignore a Facebook or other social network request.
  • Failure to keep the above rules will result in a permanent ban to our social media accounts.


‘Filtering’ is a term used to describe a way of limiting the content of web pages, emails, chat rooms and other electronic data to which users may be exposed. No filter is 100% accurate. The most effective filtering tool is adult vigilance.

Many browsers have their own built in filtering tool e.g. Google. Google’s search engine has a built-in “Safe Search”. “Safe Search” is enabled on all computers in St. Colmcille’s N.S. It is easily applied by clicking on the Preferences link on any Google page. Unfortunately it is also easily removed.

St. Colmcille’s N.S. receives its Internet Service through the free Schools Broadband Service. The Schools Broadband Programme provides an integrated set of services to schools which includes broadband connectivity, and hosted services including content filtering, webhosting-blogging and security services including anti-virus control and a centralised firewall. These services are managed by the Schools Broadband Team which includes PDST Technology in Education working closely with the Department of Education and Skills and HEAnet. The access to websites from all school computers is monitored and regularly reviewed by the Schools Broadband Team. Websites are only allowed through following a verification of their suitability.

St. Colmcille’s N.S. also has recently invested in further filtering software, supplied & maintained by NIS, Tullamore.

Personal Devices

Pupils using their own technology in school, such as using a mobile phone or using it in class, sending nuisance text messages, or the unauthorized taking of images with a mobile phone camera, still or moving are in direct breach of the school’s acceptable use policy. See also ‘Mobile Phones and Hand Held Devices Policy’

Resources that may be used to implement Internet Safety include

  • NCTE Internet Safety Awareness Video
  • Use of the ‘Kids’ section on the webwise.ie website
  • Members of An Garda Síochana Community Liaison Officers
  • Other recognised outside agencies


The school will provide information on the following legislation relating to use of the Internet which teachers, students and parents should familiarise themselves with:

  • Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003
  • Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998
  • Interception Act 1993
  • Video Recordings Act 1989
  • The Data Protection Act 1988

Support Structures

The school will inform students and parents of key support structures and organisations that deal with illegal material or harmful use of the Internet.


Misuse of the Internet may result in disciplinary action, including written warnings, withdrawal of access privileges and, in extreme cases, suspension or expulsion. The school also reserves the right to report any illegal activities to the appropriate authorities.

Roles and Responsibilities

All Parents & staff share in the co-ordination and implementation of this policy.


This policy is monitored on an ongoing basis and amendments added as new technology comes on stream.


This policy has been sanctioned by the Board of Management of St. Colmcille’s N.S.

In accordance with the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, it is the policy of the Board of Management to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health and welfare at work of all staff and to protect students, visitors, contractors and other persons at the school from injury and ill health arising from any work activity. The successful implementation of this policy requires the full support and active co-operation of all staff, students, contractors and visitors to the school.

It is recognised that hazard identification, risk assessment and control measures are legislative requirements which must be carried out by the employer to ensure the safety, health and welfare of all staff. The Board of Management, as employer, undertakes in so far as is reasonably practicable to:

  • A: promote standards of safety, health and welfare that comply with the provisions and requirements of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and other relevant legislation, standards and codes of practice;
  • B: provide information, training, instruction and supervision where necessary, to enable staff to perform their work safely and effectively;
  • C: maintain a constant and continuing interest in safety, health and welfare matters pertinent to the activities of the school;
  • D: continually improve the system in place for the management of occupational safety, health and welfare and review it periodically to ensure it remains relevant, appropriate and effective;
  • E: consult with staff on matters related to safety, health and welfare at work;
  • F: provide the necessary resources to ensure the safety, health and welfare of all those to whom it owes a duty of care, including staff, students, contractors and visitors.


The Board of Management of St Colmcille’s N.S. has drawn up this policy in an effort to minimise the significant cost to Parents of purchasing school books.


The Board of Management, in this policy addresses the requirements of Circular 35/91 regarding the provision of a loan/rental scheme for school books.


  • significant savings in cost of textbooks
  • availability of books from the beginning of the school year
  • greater access to a wider range of textbooks
  • avoiding travelling and queuing for books in shops


  • The scheme will operate annually.
  • A fee per child is charged to each family in September annually.
  • Books have been researched, identified and listed by the teaching staff for inclusion in the scheme.
  • The Books are then ordered and arrive in the school, covered to prolong their use.
  • Old, existing books are checked, repaired or discarded in late June to determine the numbers required for ordering.
  • When the new books arrive, they are stamped with the school stamp and labelled with the relevant child’s name. The books are then distributed to the appropriate classrooms in time for the beginning of the new school year.
  • Each teacher takes responsibility for the collection of books at the end of the school year and in ensuring that the correct amount of books is identified for ordering for the following year.
  • Books that are no longer required by the school are sent for recycling in accordance with our Green School Policy.

Responsibility for Books

The responsibility for the care and keep of the books lies with the child and parents. If a Book is lost during the year or damaged beyond use, it must be replaced by the parent.

Communication with Parents:

The school will inform all parents of the cost for the new school year in June.


The success of the Book Rental Policy is measured through:

  • significant savings in cost of textbooks
  • availability of books from the beginning of the school year
  • greater access to a wider range of textbooks

 Implementation/Ratification and Review:

This policy will be implemented immediately. It will be reviewed again in 2017 or as deemed necessary.

This policy was ratified by the Board of Management on 24th September 2014



Ballinahown N.S. is co-educational primary school. It is an ‘ordinary’ mainstream primary school, catering for a full cross section of children. In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the code of behaviour guidelines issued by the NEWB, the Board of Management of St. Colmcille’s National School has adopted the following anti-bullying policy within the framework of the school’s overall code of behaviour. This policy fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools which were published in September 2013.


The Board of Management recognises the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact that it can have on the lives of pupils. The school community believes strongly that respect for all at all times must be promoted and become intrinsic in the ethos of society.

The children are taught that society is made up of a variety of different people, all of whom deserve our respect, all of whom have the right to be treated equally and to have the fundamental right to be allowed to exist in society and be content in their lives.   No bullying can therefore be tolerated and no discrimination based on the nine stated grounds included in equality legislation, i.e. gender including transgender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community, can be allowed.

Guiding principles:

The Board of Management and the staff of St. Colmcille’s are therefore fully committed to the following key principles of best practice in preventing and tackling bullying behaviour.

A positive school culture and climate which:

  • Is welcoming of difference and diversity and is based on inclusivity;
  • Encourages pupils to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour in a non-threatening environment; and
  • Promotes respectful relationships across the school community;
  • Has effective leadership;
  • A school-wide approach;
  • A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact;
  • Implementation of education and prevention strategies (including awareness raising measures).

Aims of anti-Bullying Policy:

Through the implementation of this policy we strive to:

  • build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils; and
  • explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and trans phobic bullying.
  • Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils;
  • Supports for staff;
  • Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies); and
  • On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional information on different types of bullying is set out in Appendix A of this policy.

Who will deal with accusations of bullying:

As with all instances of misbehaviour in school, if there is an accusation of bullying in school, the class teacher (or the teacher on yard, if the incident occurs on yard) will investigate and deal with the incident in the first instance. The teacher on yard will discuss the incident with the child(ren)’s class teacher. The principal is then informed of the incident and the sanctions imposed.

If there is an acceptance that the behaviour constituted bullying, or the behaviour is repeated, the matter is brought to the attention of the principal. The principal will speak to all the children involved and the incident will be recorded on the ‘Template for recording bullying behaviour.

The principal will also contact the parents of all parties involved and address the issue with them and the class teacher.


Sanctions will be imposed in line with the school’s behaviour policy but there may be some variation on the sanctions imposed depending on where the incident took place.

Stage 1:  Verbal reprimand including advice on how to improve

Stage 2: On the third reprimand the child should be separated from peers using a “time out” zone e.g. table or chair. The time period will depend on class level. The following is suggested:

  • Infants – not more than 5 minutes
  • 1st/2nd – not more than 7 minutes
  • 3rd/4th – not more than 10 minutes
  • 5th/6th – not more than 15 minutes

In the case of more serious misbehaviour stages 1 & 2 may be skipped.

Stage 3: Loss of privileges e.g. Golden Time, Activities, yard time, curricular areas under certain circumstances.

For a short period of time the child may be removed from their classroom and supervised by a neighbouring teacher during which time, written work may be given.

However, as bullying is considered a very serious offence in this school, time may also be spent in the principal’s office.

Prevention Strategies:

The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber- bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying) that will be used by the school are:

  • The Stay Safe Programme
  • SPHE
  • RSE Programme
  • Walk Tall Programme
  • Circle of Friends (NEPs programme)
  • Anti-Bullying website (to be set up by the DES in conjunction with this initiative)
  • Posters and books addressing cyber-bullying which are in the classrooms

The school’s procedures for investigation, follow-up and recording of bullying behaviour and the established intervention strategies used by the school for dealing with cases of bullying behaviour are:

  • The Stay Safe Programme
  • SPHE
  • RSE Programme
  • Walk Tall Programme
  • Anti-Bullying website (to be set up by the DES in conjunction with this initiative)

The school will also work with the alleged bullies and their victims in revising the programmes above, and with one-to-one support in resolving the issues raised.

The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying involves discussing the incidents with the pupils, reassuring them that they were right to bring the events to the attention of staff, that they were not telling tales and their actions will help others, they will be reminded that they should tell again if they have any new concerns. The teacher(s) involved and the principal will check from time to time with the child that everything is ok.

Supervision and Monitoring of Pupils:

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

Prevention of Harassment:

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


This policy has been sanctioned by the Board of Management of St. Colmcille’s N.S. on 2nd April 2014 & will become effective immediately.


This policy will be communicated to the Parents through the School website & flagged on the School Newsletter. It will also be available in the school office & may be viewed at the school by appointment with the Principal.


Types of bullying

The following are some of the types of bullying behaviour that can occur amongst pupils:

  • Physical aggression: This behaviour includes pushing, shoving, punching, kicking, poking and tripping people. It may also take the form of severe physical assault. While pupils often engage in ‘mess fights’, they can sometimes be used as a disguise for physical harassment or inflicting pain.
  • Intimidation: Some bullying behaviour takes the form of intimidation: it may be based on the use of very aggressive body language with the voice being used as a weapon. Particularly upsetting can be a facial expression which conveys aggression and/or dislike.
  • Isolation/exclusion and other relational bullying: This occurs where a certain person is deliberately isolated, excluded or ignored by some or all of the class group. This practice is usually initiated by the person engaged in bullying behaviour and can be difficult to detect. It may be accompanied by writing insulting remarks about the pupil in public places, by passing around notes about or drawings of the pupil or by whispering insults about them loud enough to be heard. Relational bullying occurs when a person’s attempts to socialise and form relationships with peers are repeatedly rejected or undermined. One of the most common forms includes control: “Do this or I won’t be your friend anymore”(implied or stated); a group ganging up against one person (girl or boy); non-verbal gesturing; malicious gossip; spreading rumours about a person or giving them the “silent treatment”.
  • Cyber-bullying: This type of bullying is increasingly common and is continuously evolving. It is bullying carried out through the use of information and communication technologies such as text, social network sites, e-mail, instant messaging (IM), apps, gaming sites, chat-rooms and other online technologies. Being the target of inappropriate or hurtful messages is the most common form of online bullying. As cyber-bullying uses technology to perpetrate bullying behaviour and does not require face to face contact, cyber-bullying can occur at any time (day or night). Many forms of bullying can be facilitated through cyber-bullying. For example, a target may be sent homophobic text messages or pictures may be posted with negative comments about a person’s sexuality, appearance etc.
  • Name calling: Persistent name-calling directed at the same individual(s) which hurts, insults or humiliates should be regarded as a form of bullying behaviour. Often name-calling of this type refers to physical appearance, e.g., size or clothes worn. Accent or distinctive voice characteristics may attract negative attention. Academic ability can also provoke name calling. This tends to operate at two extremes. There are those who are singled out for attention because they are perceived to be weak academically. At the other extreme there are those who, because they are perceived as high achievers, are also targeted.
  • Damage to property: Personal property can be the focus of attention for bullying behaviour. This may result in damage to clothing, mobile phone or other devices, school books and other learning material or interference with a pupil’s belongings. The contents of school bags and pencil cases may be scattered on the floor. Items of personal property may be defaced, broken, stolen or hidden.
  • Extortion: Demands for money may be made, often accompanied by threats (sometimes carried out in the event of the targeted pupil not delivering on the demand). A pupil may also be forced into theft of property for delivery to another who is engaged in bullying behaviour.


Changing social habits and patterns necessitated a schools attendance policy. This drafting was a collaborative school process involving staff and Board of Management.


The main factors contributing to the formulation of this policy can be summarised as follows:

  • To promote and encourage regular attendance as an essential factor in our pupils’ learning
  • Legislative requirements such as the Education Welfare Act 2000 and the Education Act, 1998
  • The role of the NEWB

Compliance with School Ethos

This policy complements the school ethos of nurturing potential in a caring environment where the welfare of children is paramount.

Aims and Objectives:

The revised policy is geared towards:

  • ensuring that pupils are registered accurately and efficiently
  • ensuring that pupil attendance is recorded daily
  • encouraging full attendance where possible
  • identifying pupils at risk
  • promoting a positive learning environment
  • enabling learning opportunities to be availed of
  • raising awareness of the importance of school attendance
  • fostering an appreciation of learning
  • identify pupils at risk of leaving school early
  • ensuring compliance with the requirements of the relevant legislation
  • developing, subject to available resources, links between the school and the families of children who may be at risk of developing attendance problems
  • identifying and removing, insofar as is practicable, obstacles to school attendance.


School begins at 9.20 am. All pupils and teachers are expected to be on time. The school will contact parents/guardians in the event of pupils being consistently late. The Principal is obliged under the Education Welfare Act, to report children who are persistently late, to the Education Welfare Board.

Recording and Reporting Attendance:

The school attendance of individual pupils is recorded in the Leabhar Rolla (Roll Book) of each class on a daily basis. Class attendance data is recorded daily in the Leabhar Tinrimh (Attendance Book). The annual attendance of each individual pupil is recorded in the Clár Leabhar (Register), together with information provided in enrolment forms (Pupil’s Name, Date of Birth, Address, Religion, Parents’ Names and Parents’ Occupations).

If a pupil does not attend on a day when the school is open for instruction, his/her non-attendance will be recorded by the class teacher. The roll call is taken at 9.50 am each morning. Any pupil not present will be marked absent for the day. The roll book may not be altered once it has been filled in. A note from parents/guardians is required to explain each absence. Such notes will be retained by the class teacher. Parents/guardians must also provide a note if a child departs early during the school day. These notes are dated and kept in a central location (administration office). Late arrivals and early departures are recorded by the class teacher.

Parents/guardians are made aware of the requirements of the NEWB particularly the by-law relating to absences of more than 20 days per school year. They are notified in writing on the end of year report of the total number of absences during the school year. Pupils whose non-attendance is a concern are invited to meet with the Principal during Parent/Teacher meetings and are informed of the school’s concerns.

The school must inform the Education Welfare Officer in writing, where a child has missed 20 or more days in a school year, where attendance is irregular, where a pupil is removed from the school register and where a child is suspended or expelled for 6 days or more.

Promoting Attendance:

The school promotes good attendance by:

  • creating a safe and welcoming environment
  • ensuring children are happy
  • displaying kindness, compassion and understanding
  • being vigilant so that risks to good attendance such as disadvantage, bullying etc. are identified early

National Education Welfare Board:

The Education Welfare Officer is informed if:

  • A child is expelled
  • A child is suspended
  • A child has missed more than 20 days.

The NEWB is furnished with the total attendances in the school year through the Annual Report Form which is completed on-line.

Whole School Strategies to Promote Attendance:

St. Colmcille’s NS endeavours to create a safe, welcoming environment for our pupils and their parents/guardians. Parents/guardians are consulted in drafting and reviewing policies with the aim of promoting a high-level of co-operation among the school community. The teaching staff collaborate in the planning and implementation of the primary school curriculum, so as to provide a stimulating learning environment for all pupils. Traditionally, school attendance is strong in our school. However, staff remain vigilant so that ‘risk’ students are identified early. Risk students can be categorised as those who miss more than 5 days in a 20-day period without an accompanying note of explanation from parents/guardians. Appropriate contact takes place between the school and parents/guardians either via a letter or a note in the homework diary when this occurs. A meeting between parents and the Principal may be set up if deemed necessary. Absences of more than 20 days are automatically referred to the Education Welfare Officer.

New entrants and their parents/guardians are invited to engage in an induction process, through which the school’s policies and procedures in relation to attendance are explained. There is a focus on the value of regular attendance and on the importance of developing good attendance habits from Junior Infants onwards.

Our homework policy, drawn up in consultation with parents/guardians, clearly outlines the school’s expectations in terms of the quantity of homework assigned and in the quality of homework presented. There is a consistent approach to homework throughout the school.

The calendar for the coming school year is published annually in September. It is hoped that this approach will enable parents/guardians to plan family events around school closures, thus minimising the chances of non-attendance related to family holidays during the school term.

Pupils are expected to wear the correct school uniform. Parents/guardians are informed if a child has no lunch, and if one cannot be provided for him/her, the school will provide a lunch.

Strategies in the Event of Non-Attendance:

Section 17 of the Education (Welfare) Act (2000), states that ‘the parent of a child shall cause the child concerned to attend a recognised school on each school day’.

Section 21 of the Act obliges schools to inform the Education Welfare Officer if a child is absent on more than 20 days in any school year, or if a child does not attend school on a regular basis.

In such cases the Education Welfare Officer (following all reasonable efforts by the Education Board to consult with the child’s parents and the Principal of the school) may serve a ‘School Attendance Notice’ on any parent who he/she concludes is failing or neglecting to cause the child to attend the school. A successful case taken against the parent may result in a fine and/or imprisonment.

Reasons for absence are recorded and reported to the NEWB five times during the school year through an online system. An annual report is submitted – not more than six weeks following the end of the school year – detailing the overall level of attendance at the school during that school year.

Transfer to another School:

Under Section 20 of the Education (Welfare) Act (2000), the Principal of a child’s current school must notify the Principal of the child’s previous school that the child is now registered in their school.

When a Principal receives notification that a child has been registered elsewhere he/she must notify the Principal of the pupil’s new school of any problems in relation to attendance at the pupil’s former school and of such matters relating to the child’s educational progress as he or she considers appropriate. This applies to pupils who transfer between primary schools and to pupils who transfer from primary to second-level education.


The school works with the local groups, the local sports partnership and other bodies in developing programmes to promote school attendance. These programmes aim to minimise the risks of irregular or non-attendance and to maximise the opportunities provided to all pupils.

The school maintains communication with local pre-schools and second-level schools in order to make the transition for pupils as easy as possible.

Communication with other Schools:

  • When a child transfers from St. Colmcille’s NS to another school, the schools records on attendance, academic progress etc will be forwarded on receipt of written notification of the transfer.
  • When a child transfers into St. Colmcille’s NS confirmation of transfer will be communicated to the child’s previous school, and appropriate records sought.
  • Pupils transferring from St. Colmcille’s NS to a post primary school will have their records forwarded on receipt of confirmation of enrolment.

Communication with Parents:

The school informs all parents of the implications of non-attendance as per the Education Welfare Act 2000. This information is disseminated by regular school newsletters. Parents of new children are informed on enrolment.

 Parents/guardians can promote good school attendance by:

  • ensuring regular and punctual school attendance.
  • notifying the School if their children cannot attend for any reason.
  • working with the School and education welfare service to resolve any attendance problems;
  • making sure their children understand that parents support good school attendance;
  • discussing planned absences with the school.
  • refraining, if at all possible, from taking holidays during school time
  • showing an interest in their children’s school day and their children’s homework.
  • encouraging them to participate in school activities.
  • praising and encouraging their children’s achievements.
  • instilling in their children a positive self-concept and a positive sense of self-worth.
  • informing the school in writing of the reasons for absence from school.
  • ensuring, insofar as is possible, that children’s appointments (with dentists etc), are arranged for times outside of school hours.
  • contacting the school immediately, if they have concerns about absence or other related school matters.
  • notifying, in writing, the school if their child/children, particularly children in junior classes, are to be collected by someone not known to the teacher.

Roles and Responsibilities:

All staff have an input into the implementation of the policy. Class teachers record individual patterns of attendance and the Deputy Principal makes returns to NEWB. The Deputy Principal has responsibility for maintaining the Leabhair Tinreamh and Leabhar Rolla.

It is the responsibility of the Principal and staff to implement this policy under the guidance of the school’s Board of Management.


The success of any Attendance Policy is measured through:

  • Improved attendance levels as measured through Leabhar rolla records and statistical returns
  • Happy confident well adjusted children
  • Positive parental feedback
  • Teacher vigilance.

Implementation/Ratification and Review:

This policy will be implemented immediately. It will be reviewed again in 2018 or as deemed necessary.


This policy was drawn up in response to technological advances which have seen a significant increase in hand held electronic ‘gadgets’ amongst the school population over recent years.

Mindful of the duties and responsibilities assigned to staff in working with children, it is vital that staff be engaged with children at all working times. In this context, access to phones should be limited to urgency only.

 Policy Rationale

  • I-Pods, mobile phones, Nintendo DS, PSP’s, Ipads, Tablets etc. in an uncontrolled & unsupervised setting are intrusive and distracting in a school environment.
  • Strategies must be put in place to reduce the intrusiveness of unauthorized technology in a school situation.
  • Mobile phones & other devices may be used to conduct bullying campaigns.
  • To cultivate an e-learning environment where Ipads/Tablets or other electronic devices are used in a supervised setting & under the direction / instruction of the class teacher.

Relationship to School Ethos

The use of mobile phones and other electronic games which are uncontrolled & unsupervised contravenes the provision of a safe and secure school environment conducive to learning, a provision which is central to the mission statement and ethos of St. Colmcille’s N.S.

Aims and Objectives

  • To give clear guidance on the appropriate use of Mobile Phones & Hand Held Technology.
  • To ensure a school environment where the use of technology is conducive to learning.
  • To lessen intrusions on and distractions to children’s learning.

Policy Content

Internal School Procedures

Work Calls

  • Calls to parents/guardians should be kept as short as possible. Where a lengthy conversation with parents/guardians is required, appointments should be made to meet parents.
  • Calls to other professionals and organisations should be made in consultation with the Principal and classroom supervision will be arranged where appropriate

Personal Calls

  • In general, personal calls should be carried out during break time
  • In cases of urgency, a staff member should use discretion in making calls
  • Incoming personal calls should be reserved for urgent matters

Mobile Phones

  • Mobile phones may be turned on during lunch time
  • In cases of urgency, staff should use discretion in making calls
  • Texting should follow the rules in relation to calls

The following are the guidelines for mobile phone / electronic games usage in the school.

  • As with the use of computers, Ipads/Tablets or other electronic devices are only allowed in a supervised setting & under the direction / instruction of the class teacher.
  • Pupils are not allowed bring mobile phones or electronic devices into school.
  • Pupils are not allowed to have in their possession or to use mobile phones/electronic devices while at school.
  • All communication which teachers deem necessary will be dealt with via the school landline.
  • The school will purchase a School mobile which will be used on school trips.
  • While on organised school trips teachers will have access to this mobile phone which will be used in the event of an emergency or if a parent/guardian is to be contacted. All teachers will have with them a list of parents/guardians of the children in their care.
  • Parents will be issued with the school mobile phone number if they need to contact the teacher or child while on organised school trips.
  • Under no circumstances are children permitted to have mobile phones.
  • It will be considered to be a serious breach of this policy if parents or children contravene this directive.
  • Parents who need to contact their child during school hours may do so by ringing the school secretary and leaving a message, which will be conveyed to the child. Children may not leave the class to receive a phone call.
  • Children who need to contact home during school hours may do so by using the school landline phone.
  • Staff have access to the school landline if calls need to be made to parents.
  • Staff personal calls are normally confined to break times except in emergencies.
  • Staff are permitted mobile phones in case of emergency.
  • Pupils who ignore this policy and are found with phones will be dealt with according to the Code of Behaviour / Anti-Bullying Policy.
  • If a teacher or staff member has a suspicion that a pupil has a mobile phone the pupil will be asked to hand over the phone to the teacher or the school principal. The pupil’s parents will be contacted and will have to collect the phone from the school.
  • If a teacher or staff member has a suspicion that a pupil has a mobile phone which has unsuitable material stored on it, the pupil will be asked to hand over the phone to the teacher or the school principal. The pupil’s parents will be contacted and will have to collect the phone from the school.
  • Where there is evidence that the material on the phone may provide evidence relating to a criminal offence, the phone will be handed over to the Gardaí for further investigation and the parents will be informed.
  • The school accepts no responsibility for replacing lost, stolen or damaged mobile phones or other electronic devices.
  • Pupils who use mobile phones / electronic devices to bully other pupils or to send offensive messages or to make offensive calls will face disciplinary actions as per the school’s Code of Behaviour / Anti-Bullying Policy.The same applies to pupils who take unauthorised photos or recordings of other students or staff members.
  • It is a criminal offence to use a mobile phone to menace or harass another person. As such, if action as sanctioned by the school / Board of Management in this regard is

Roles and Responsibilities

All Parents & staff share in the co-ordination and implementation of this policy.


This policy has been sanctioned by the Board of Management of St Colmcille’s N.S.

Ratification & Communication

This policy was ratified by the Board of Management on 2nd April 2014 and may be viewed at the school by appointment with the Principal.

Review Timetable

This policy will be reviewed in 3 years time and/or amended as necessary.


This policy is monitored on an ongoing basis.


This school fire drill & evacuation policy has been formulated through whole staff consultation in response to the need to ensure the safe evacuation of all pupils, staff & visitors in the event of a fire in the school building. This policy aims to:


  • enable the school to provide for the immediate needs of pupils, staff and visitors in the event of a fire.
  • have in place appropriate safety procedures which comply with the Health, Safety and Welfare at Work Act.
  • ensure a safe school environment for all.

School Ethos:

The school is committed to the care of the whole school community and the provision of a safe and secure environment for learning. This policy is in keeping with those ideals.


  • To utilize outside agencies (local fire station, fire officer, Fire Prevention companies etc.) for training and staff development, so as to enhance safety procedures.
  • To develop a tried and trusted framework which will ensure the safety of all school personnel in the event of a fire.

Internal Procedures:

The school hosts a visit from the local fire station every year. The fire officers speak to the children about fire safety, the dangers of fire and demonstrate the workings of the fire alarm. Individual classes may visit the fire station & meet the crew & see the fire engine. Fire extinguishers, fire blankets, fire doors & fire alarm are checked on a yearly basis by a local firm.

In the event of a fire the following steps must be taken.

  1. The fire alarm activates.
  2. In all classroom / resource areas, the children all stand up, push their chairs back under their tables, and calmly walk to the door in single file.
  3. Teachers take up position at the main doors and open them.
  4. The class teacher / SNA assist the Junior classes in evacuating their classrooms.
  5. The fire assembly point at the front of the school is to the right of the main gate. Each class has an allocated station adjacent to the roadside garden.
  6. Each teacher takes the roll call of their own individual class with them.
  7. All teachers must check the class toilets before vacating their room.
  8. Principal will check staff toilets.
  9. Each teacher calls the Roll for their own class on reaching the fire assembly point.
  10. Pupils return to the school premises only when the all clear has been given.
  11. Fire drill is carried out once a term.

Role and Responsibilities:

All teachers are responsible for the safety and well being of the pupils in their care. The Principal has overall responsibility for ensuring proper procedures are in place. Fire drill schedules are part of the post of responsibility within the In-School management structure of Ballinahown N.S.

Success Criteria:

  • Positive feedback from all stakeholders.
  • Maintaining safety standards
  • Achieving a coordinated and orderly evacuation in the shortest time possible.
  • Yearly reviews.


This policy is monitored on an ongoing basis.


This policy is effective immediately when sanctioned by the Board of Management of Ballinahown N.S.


The policy was ratified by the Board of Management on 2nd April 2014.


  • Fire safety in the home – National Safety Council
  • Fire safety in the school – National Safety Council.


Homework is an integral link in the chain of communication between school and home. Parents can monitor the progress of their children through continual reference to Homework diaries and liaison with teachers. This policy, a redraft of a 2008 model, attempts to further strengthen positive home-school links through streamlining the processes involved.

The homework policy of Ballinahown N.S. has been formulated by staff in consultation with parents, and endorsed by the Board of Management.


The need to redraft and amend the homework policy of the school can be attributed to the following –

  • Further strengthening of home-school links
  • Reinforcing the learning experienced by the child during the school day
  • Ensuring clarity as to the recommended time to be spent on homework

Relationship to School Ethos

It is the policy of the school to, as far as is possible, identify all the needs of the pupil and put in place measures to adequately cater for their needs.

The school also encourages the active involvement of parents in enabling their child to take responsibility and work independently. The homework policy of the school facilitates these ideals.

Aims and Objectives

The primary objectives of the policy are –

  • To consolidate learning through reinforcement of class work
  • To enable the children develop a sense of responsibility and independence
  • To enhance self-esteem through the provision of a work menu that is doable
  • To foster self-discipline and study skills
  • To promote consistency and a uniform approach to homework across all classes
  • To further develop links between home and school
  • Homework Diary
  • Whiteboard Work sheets, textbooks, folders, exercise copies etc.
  • I.C.T.

Policy Content

It is school policy to assign appropriate class-related levels of homework as an important reinforcement in the learning process. Good study habits are fostered, independent learning is promoted and self-discipline is developed. Homework is normally given at the end of the school day. The following are the allocations for our school –

 Junior Infants: – A small amount of writing, reading, maths and phonics will be given.

Senior Infants: – 0 – 15 minutes

Reading and/or occasional worksheets. The school attempts to maintain a balance between oral, reading and written work. Paired reading is encouraged in infant classes.

Rang a hAon/First Class: – 0 – 20 minutes

Reading, maths, oral wok, spellings.

Rang a Dó/Second Class: – 20 – 30 minutes

Maths, English, Gaeilge, Oral work, topical work

Rang a Trí/Third Class: – 30 – 40 minutes

Maths, English, Gaeilge, Oral work, topical work.

Rang a Ceathar/Fourth Class: – 40 – 50 minutes + ongoing ICT work

Maths, English, Gaeilge, Oral work, topical work.

Rang a Cuíg/Fifth Class: – 50 – 60 minutes + ongoing ICT work

Maths, English, Gaeilge, Oral work, topical work.

Rang a Sé/Sixth Class: – 60 minutes + ongoing ICT work

Maths, English, Gaeilge, Oral work, topical work

  • Homework is generally based on class related work or work already covered in class. It should contain a balance between reading, learning and writing. Time devoted to reading and learning is as important as written work.
  • The assigned homework is explained to children in advance. The different levels of the pupils are also taken into account.
  • Homework is given from Mondays to Thursdays and generally is not given at weekends unless it has been neglected during the week, or unless exceptional circumstances such as projects or book weeks occur.
  • Homework is not linked to behaviour but occasionally child/ren are rewarded with reduced homework if they have worked /behaved well.
  • It is not school policy to issue homework as an exercise in isolation. It will in most instances be an integral part of the subject being taught and be consistent.
  • The Learning Support Teacher / Resource Teacher will occasionally give homework to their allocated pupils but only as a reinforcement of class work. Reading is routinely given as homework and should be accorded priority consideration.
  • If homework cannot be completed on a particular night, parents are asked to forward a written note.
  • Ideally teachers like to check homework on a daily basis. However with large class numbers it is not always possible to check each child’s homework journal every day
  • As children get older and learn to work independently, some items of homework are checked less often e.g. every second day or once per week
  • Some items of homework (and class work) may be checked by children themselves under the direction of the teacher. This can be a useful part of the learning process for children.
  • Children who do not complete homework satisfactorily may be required to re-do this work during lunch break. Parents are advised to supervise and check homework nightly.
  • All children have a homework diary which parents are required to sign. The homework diary acts as a means of communication between class teacher and parent.
  • “Homework off” may be given at a teachers discretion. In general, all school homework will encompass a wide spectrum of learning experiences such as reading, writing, tables, spelling, learning ‘by heart’, drawing, collecting information, colouring and finishing class work.
  • If your child has difficulties, it is good that the parents offer to help. However if the parent has given the child a reasonable amount of help, and s/he still cannot complete the task, the parent might best help by writing a note to the teacher informing of the child’s difficulties. Alternatively make an appointment to talk to the class teacher.

Homework should not be an occasion of stress, trauma or tension within the family.

Procedures for Parents

  1. Provide suitable comfortable facilities.
  2. Remove distractions – T.V. younger siblings etc.
  3. Help child overcome difficulties through explanation.
  4. Parents should not do the homework for their children.
  5. Send a note to the class teacher if a problem arises. This can be done through the homework diary.
  6. Check and sign homework diaries.
  7. Notify the class teacher if time spent on homework exceeds the recommended time.
  8. As children tire towards late evening, encourage the completion of homework as early as possible.
  9. Discourage morning homework.
  10. Parents should have a stock of rulers, pencils, rubbers, table books etc. available should the need arise.


  • In-class corrections
  • Checking homework diaries
  • Parent – Teacher meetings
  • Teacher designated tests
  • Pupil profiling
  • Teacher observation
  • Feedback from parents and pupils
  • General air of satisfaction

Roles and Responsibilities / Implementation

All stakeholders have a role to play in the implementation of this policy from pupils / parents right up to Board of Management.

This policy has been in operation in the school since September 2003.

Ratification / Communication / Implementation

The policy was ratified by the Board of Management on September 20th 2012 and communicated to all parents in School Newsletter.

Review / Evaluation

This policy will be reviewed and, if necessary, amended in September 2014.


The aim of this policy is to ensure children eat a healthy, well-balanced lunch, thus promoting a healthy lifestyle. By encouraging healthy eating patterns we educate children for later life.

What is a healthy lunch ?

  • A healthy lunch fills you up
  • A healthy lunch gives you energy for the body and mind
  • A healthy lunch will not damage your teeth
  • A healthy lunch enables children to concentrate
  • A healthy lunch helps prevent sickness
  • A healthy lunch helps you to grow

Healthy Lunch Options:

We encourage children to choose from the following foods regularly

  • Bread/scones
  • Pitta bread
  • Fruit
  • Raw vegetables
  • Cheese, lean meat, eggs, fish, peanut butter, salad
  • Fruit Juice
  • Yoghurt Drinks
  • Milk
  • Water
  • Soup (in flask)

 Treat Foods

We recommend foods such as:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Raisins
  • Yogurt or Yogurt drinks
  • Wholegrain/ Digestive biscuits

The 4 Cs are not allowed : Chewing Gum, Crisps, Chocolate bars, Candy

Roles and Responsibilities:

 Role of Parents:
  • Provide a healthy well-balanced lunch for children
  • Encourage healthy eating
  • Inform the school of any child’s special dietary needs
  • To implement school policy by not allowing their children to bring chewing gum, crisps, chocolate bars or candy to school
  • To consider the implications of their child’s lunch for the other parents and children who are abiding by our healthy eating policy.
 Role of Children:
  • To eat their lunch
  • To bring home any uneaten lunch
  • To help make their lunches and remind parents of the Healthy Lunch Policy
  • Not to bring chewing gum, crisps, chocolate bars or candy to school
  • To consider others who are obeying the healthy eating policy.
  • To wash out yoghurt containers in the classroom sink (Seniors)
 Role of School:
  • To promote and encourage healthy eating.
  • If children bring chewing gum, crisps, chocolate bars or candy to school they will not be allowed to eat them while in school. If children have these foods and no other food for their lunch, a lunch will be provided by the school for these children. 



This policy will be implemented from  Monday 28th January 2013

A copy of The Healthy Food Pyramid will be on display in every classroom and will be referred to regularly.

As part of the Social Personal and Health Education Curriculum reasons for healthy eating will be discussed with the children regularly by staff.

Teachers will continue to give children a sweet treat on occasions in recognition of work done, improvements in work or behaviour and in an effort to promote positive behaviour. Sweet treats used prudently by teachers will not interfere with the health of the children.


This policy has been sanctioned by the Board of Management of St. Colmcille’s N.S. on Monday 28th January 2013.



This policy was formulated by Board of Management, Staff & Parents of St. Colmcille’s N.S.St Colmcille’s NS is a co-educational, Catholic, primary school which strives to provide a well ordered, caring, happy & secure atmosphere where the intellectual, spiritual, moral & cultural needs of the pupils are identified & nurtured.

Parents are recognized as the primary educators of their children. Teachers are recognized as professionals in in education & work in partnership with parents.


  • Good communication is essential to the smooth running of an efficient school.
  • It is school policy that regular, orderly parent-teacher communication takes place throughout the duration of the pupil’s education at the school & home-school links are actively encouraged.
  • Members of the B.OM., teaching staff, classroom support staff & administrative staff etc. strive to create an open & welcoming atmosphere where good communications are fostered & developed.

Aims of Communication Policy

  • To build a school community which is supportive of pupils, staff & all members of the school community & the Board of Management who serve the school.
  • To establish procedures for the sharing of information in relation to pupil progress, needs & attainment.
  • To enrich & optimize the educational opportunity provided for our pupils by accessing the skills & talents of all the school community.
  • To promote a culture of partnership in the education of our children.
  • To establish procedures for information sharing via B.O.M., Patron & school community.

Types of Parent-Teacher / home-school Communication

  • Informal parent-teacher contact
  • Formal parent-teacher contact
  • Specially convened parent-teacher meetings
  • Junior Infant Information meetings
  • Newsletters
  • School Website
  • Information meetings
  • Board of management
  • Parent’s Association
  • Text-a-Parent


Teachers carry out informal meetings on a daily basis. Regular staff meetings are held & minutes are recorded.


Teachers are communicating with children daily while teaching. On occasion it is necessary to provide information, this can be verbal or written. Best practice would be to write in homework notebooks or provide written notices.

Board of Management

The Board of Management holds regular meetings. The agenda is set and notice given to all board members via email. Minutes are recorded by the Secretary of the Board. All communication to the Board is kept by the Secretary and dealt with at every meeting. Copies of the school newsletter are available to each board member.The agreed report of the Board of Management Meeting is communicated to the parent body / school community via the School Newsletter.

It is the policy of the BOM to report on a regular basis to the School Patron, either on a formal / informal basis.


There is regular contact with parents as individuals both informally and formally & parental status & access to school communication, as per the CPSMA Newsletter Issue 8, is adhered to. Parent Teacher meetings are held in November each year. Parents receive the School Newsletter & are invited regularly to participate in the life of the school. Special events & school achievements appear on the School website, which is regularly updated.

When notes are sent out with children or when parents need to be reminded of upcoming events e.g. after long weekend, text messages are sent to nominated parent mobiles to ensure that all parents receive notification.

Parents’ Association

There is regular contact, both formal and informally between the school and the Parents’ Association. The Principal receives feedback from the meetings of the Parents’ Association about issues concerning the parent body. Communication between the BOM & the Parents Association shall be via the respective chairpersons.

Department of Education and Science

Generally speaking, communication to the school is addressed to the Chairperson of the Board or the Principal or both. Circulars no longer come in hard copy &are posted on DES website.

The Inspectorate

The Principal or Chairperson communicates with the Inspectorate by phone call, email or in writing.


The CPSMA Newsletter, “Solas” is posted on their website.

Other Agencies ( directly or indirectly which the School interacts with)

There is regular two-way communication with other agencies such as theHealth Service Executive, Social Services, Gardaí, Neps, Local Authority, Community Organisations etc. All communication will be kept on file in office.

Professional Development

As a process of Continuing Professional Development (CPD), teachers communicate on a regular basis with Education Centres, Colleges of Education etc. & are encouraged to partake in CPD opportunities. Board Members are also encouraged to avail of CPD opportunities, when available.

Roles and Responsibilities

All of the School Community share in the co-ordination and implementation of this policy.


This policy is monitored on an ongoing basis.


This policy has been sanctioned by the Board of Management of Ballinahown N.S. on 29th November 2017