Scartleigh National School Suspension Policy

Suspension School Policy

1.1 Suspension:
Suspension is defined as requiring the child to absent himself/herself from the school for a specified, limited period of school days or part of a school day.

1.2 Appropriateness of Suspension:
Suspension can provide respite for staff and the child, give the student time to reflect on the link between their action and its consequences and give staff and parents time to plan ways of helping the child to change unacceptable behaviour.

1.3 Authority to Suspend:
The Board of Management has the authority to suspend a child. This authority is delegated to the Principal for suspension periods of no longer than three days. A decision to suspend a child for a specified period in excess of three days will require approval from the Board of Management.

1.4 Grounds for Suspension:
Suspension is a proportionate response to a behaviour that is causing concern. A decision to suspend will be considered if:
• The pupils behaviour has had a seriously detrimental effect on the education of other students
• The child’s continued presence in the school at this time constitutes threat to safety
• The child is responsible for serious damage to property
• The child is responsible for a serious act of serious misconduct

1.5 Factors to consider before suspending a child:
(a) The nature and seriousness of the behaviour
What is the precise description of the behaviour?
How persistent has the unacceptable behaviour been? Has the problem behaviour escalated in spite of interventions tried? (b) The context of the behaviour
What are the circumstances of the incidents of serious misbehaviour (e.g. in class, in the yard, in a particular teacher’s class, in a group)? What factors may have triggered incidents of serious behaviour (e.g. bullying, cultural, family factors)? What is the age, stage of development and cognitive ability of the child? Are there any factors that may be associated with the behaviour (e.g. home circumstances, special needs)? (c) The impact of the behaviour
How are the other students affected by the student’s behaviour? What is the impact of the behaviour on the teaching and learning of the class? Does the behaviour have a particular or greater impact on some students or teachers? Does the student understand the impact of their behaviour on others? (d) The interventions tried to date
What interventions have been tried? Over what period? How have the interventions been recorded and monitored? Have the parents been involved in finding a solution to the problem behaviour? Has the intervention of NEPS or other such psychological assessment or counselling been sought where appropriate Are any other interventions such as peer mediation, restorative justice approaches or family conferencing available? Is the student or parent involved with any support service and has this agency or support service been asked for help in solving this problem? Has any other agency been asked for assistance? (e) Whether the suspension is proportionate?
Does the behaviour warrant suspension? Is the standard being applied to judging the behaviour the same as the standard applied to the behaviour of any other student? (f) The possible impact Will suspension allow additional or alternative interventions to be made? Will suspension help the student to change the inappropriate behaviour? How will suspension help teachers or other students affected by the behaviour? Will suspension exacerbate any educational vulnerability of the student?

1.6 Behaviour Management Plan:
Suspension allows the school:
• To set behavioural goals for the child’s re-integration
• The opportunity to plan other interventions
• To impress on the child and his/her parents the seriousness of his/her behaviour

2.1 Forms of Suspension:
Informal: The child is sent home for part of or during the school day.
Immediate: The Principal sends the child home for a specified time. The Principal is authorised by the Board to implement an immediate suspension for up to three days.
Suspensions in excess of three days: Suspension for a period in excess of three days will be implemented in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the Board.
Automatic Suspension: The student will face automatic suspension for incidents of:
• Serious assault causing injury
• Sexual assault
• Serious damage to property
• Gross misconduct as determined by the Principal
The above named incidents
Rolling suspensions:
A child may be suspended again if he/she:
• Engages in serious misbehaviour that warrants suspension
• Fair procedures are followed
• The standard applied to judging the behaviour is the same as the standard applied to the behaviour of any other child

2.2.Procedures in respect of suspension
The school will always follow fair procedures when proposing to suspend a child. The factors outlined in 1.5 will be considered. The reason for the suspension as in 1.4 will be documented and communicated to the parents.

(a) by telephone when the Principal is implementing an informal, part day/during the day suspension

(b) both by telephone and in writing when implementing an immediate or a suspension in excess of three days.

2.3 Communication with Parents
Parents will be given the opportunity to respond when informed that a suspension period is to be imposed. The Board will offer parents the opportunity to appeal a Principal’s decision to suspend a child. Where the Board implements an immediate suspension in excess of three days, the parents may appeal to the Patron. Parents will be invited to meet with the Principal to discuss both the suspension and the plan to re-integrate the child following the period of suspension as outlined in 1.6.

3.1 Appeals
The Board will formally review any proposal to suspend a child, where the suspension would bring the number of days for which the child has been suspended to twenty days or more. Any such suspension is subject to appeal under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998.

3.2 Section 29
Where the total number of suspended days for which a child has been suspended reaches twenty days, the parents may appeal the suspension under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 as amended by the Education Act 2007. At the time of being informed of any such suspension, the parents will be told of their right to appeal to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998. Parents will be given information about how to appeal.

3.3. Implementing the suspension.

The Principal will conduct a preliminary investigation to establish the grounds on which an immediate suspension is to be implemented.
A formal investigation will follow immediately and a record kept.

Written Notification.
The Principal will notify the parents in writing of the decision to suspend outlining:
• The period of the suspension and the dates on which the suspension will begin and end
• The reason for the suspension (see 1.5)
• Study programme to be followed
• Appeals procedure (see 3.1 and 3.2)
• Section 29 appeal procedure where relevant
• Arrangements for reintegration

Click here for Standard letters for Suspension Policy.

3.4 Grounds for removing a suspension
The Board of Management may remove a suspension for any reason. The Secretary General of the Department may direct that a suspension be removed following an appeal under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998.

3.5 Records and reports
Formal written records will be kept of:
• the investigation
• the decision and rationale for decision
• the duration of the suspension and any conditions attached to the decision