This document summarises our school policies in relation to promoting positive behaviour in school. Guidance is also given which relates to our Pastoral Care procedures.


As you can see from our Aims and our Creed, we seek to create an environment in school where children become self-disciplined, where they think about the consequences of their actions and where they develop respect for others.

The first section of this document outlines the means by which positive behaviour is promoted both in and outside the classroom. The second part will indicate the means by which pupils are guided towards appropriate behaviour and deterred from poor behaviour.

As with any aspect of school life, the success of our policies and procedures depends on the development of strong links between school and home. One of the ‘secrets of our success’ at Finaghy Primary School has been the exceptionally close and positive partnership that exists between parents and teachers. Such a partnership is of utmost importance in developing our approach towards promoting positive behaviour.

We hope that you find this document useful. If you have any further questions about any aspect of our policies, do not hesitate to contact the Principal for further information.

Mr P Breene MBE
Finaghy Primary School Board of Governors

Promoting Positive Behaviour in the Classroom

All teachers aim to develop a classroom atmosphere that is conducive to positive behaviour. From P1 upwards, children are encouraged to understand the school rules and the classroom rules.

Teachers use a variety of strategies to promote and reward good behaviour. As children move through the school they are given increased opportunities to be involved in the development of such rules and to discuss their own conduct.

Examples of classroom activities designed to promote positive behaviour:

  • Agreed class rules displayed in classrooms.
  • Star charts displayed on walls.
  • Use of encouragement and praise.
  • Use of motivation stickers.
  • Certificates
  • Challenge corners
  • Being appointed ‘class helper’
  • Choosing a group activity
  • Star of the Week (P1-P3)
  • Visit to Ms Mawhinney or Mrs Corbett for praise and sticker
  • Class rewards (choosing their ‘end of day’ activity, extra computer time, choosing the game to be played in PE etc.)

Through the curriculum:

Circle Time

During Circle Time, pupils engage in a variety of activities, some of which will be connected to promoting positive behaviour. Circle Time has a set of rules which develop as the children get older. An object is usually passed around the circle and only the person holding the object is allowed to speak. The topics for discussion can be many and varied: classroom rules; things that are fair and unfair; bullying; ‘staying safe’; showing respect for others etc.

Shared Education

In Finaghy Primary School we value the diversity of our pupils’ backgrounds. Children are taught to respect the views and attitudes of others. They are taught to demonstrate tolerance, to ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’ and to find peaceful means to resolve their conflicts.

English and Drama

Pupils have opportunities to express their thoughts and feelings through role play, creative writing, poetry, discussions, debates and group tasks. In junior classes, a large picture book can often be the stimulus for discussion. In senior classes, pupils may be given a topic to discuss in groups, then be asked to make a presentation to the rest of the class.

Positive behaviour is promoted through all subjects within the Northern Ireland Curriculum as and when appropriate.

Outside the classroom

Almost every visitor to our school comments on the warm and happy atmosphere which they experience. In order to sustain such an atmosphere, we are very clear about our expectations for pupil conduct in and around the school.

We expect pupils to be polite and courteous to each other, to teachers, to other adults working in the school and to all visitors. Simple courtesies such as holding a door open for other to pass through, saying ‘good morning’ or just a smile can make such a positive impression. Teachers and other adults endorse and reward such behaviour.


We expect pupils to wear full school uniform at all times and to respect regulations regarding jewellery and footwear. We strongly believe that pride in personal appearance is conducive to good behaviour, to making a positive identification with the school and to maintaining the school’s excellent reputation.


  • We expect pupils to engage in non-violent, non-aggressive behaviour at all times.
  • We exercise a policy of zero-tolerance towards bullying of any kind.
  • Use of foul or abusive language is unacceptable.
  • Racist remarks, slurs or comments are unacceptable. (‘I was only joking’ is not accepted as a defense.)

Pupils are expected to play in the playgrounds in a non-aggressive, non-threatening manner.

We also expect pupils to behave appropriately on the way to and from school. If an incident occurs during these times, we will follow the procedures outlined in this policy.

* It is explained clearly to children that if someone does hit them or verbally abuse them, they must not retaliate. Rather, they must inform a supervisor, a teacher or other appropriate adult. We are legally and morally obliged to teach children non-violent, non-aggressive means to resolve conflicts. Pupils are informed that retaliation may well lead to a sanction against them, even if they were not the instigator of the problem.

How can pupils get help?

If a pupil is unhappy with how they are being treated by any other individual, they should inform the nearest adult. (Supervisory staff, students and other adults working in the school would inform the child’s teacher.)

Your child’s teacher will make a decision to either deal with the problem in class or to make a further referral.

Referral Structure

If necessary, your child’s teacher may refer the problem to one of the school’s designated Child Protection officers

  • For P1 – P4 pupils: Mrs Adamson
  • For P5 – P7 pupils: Ms Mawhinney
  • A further referral may then be made to the Principal.

Communication with Parents / Guardians

For anything other than minor incidents it is our policy to inform parents / guardians at an early stage. In this way, we can seek your help and support to resolve problems quickly.

Likewise, we are always happy to deal with concerns that you child has expressed to you at home.

* Your child’s class teacher will be happy to speak to you informally about any issue but please be aware that during class time, or when involved in other duties, teachers will have to arrange an appointment for you to discuss your concerns.


The majority of our pupil behaviour problems are of a minor nature. Mostly, they can be dealt with ‘on the spot.’ However, we have a range of strategies for dealing with more serious and/or persistent misdemeanours.

Before applying any consequence, every effort will be made to investigate the issue in a fair and appropriate manner.

For anything other than minor incidents, the class teacher keeps a written record of the problem and any action taken.

Our overall approach is based on encouraging children towards self-disciplined behaviour. This is promoted through the use of the whole school PATHS programme (Promotong Alternative Thinking Skills). Children who behave inappropriately have the consequences of their actions explained to them and are made to consider the impact of their behaviour on others. This is done in discussion with the class teacher or other appropriate adult.

Strategies employed:

  • Verbal reprimand
  • Letter of apology or a personal apology from the pupil or other suitable written task.
  • ‘Time-Out’ in the playground to reflect upon their actions. Time out in a classroom supervised for a short period of time.
  • Exclusion from a ‘class treat’ or a special event.
  • Exclusion from the playground at break or lunch-time.
  • Children may also be asked to stay in at break or lunch time to complete work not done at home or in class.

If a child exhibits persistent behaviour problems, an Individual Education Plan for Behaviour (IEP) is initiated. This is drawn up in consultation with the class teacher, the Special Educational Needs Coordinator, the Principal and the parents.

The outcome of such a plan may be to begin a weekly or daily report sheet (signed by teachers and parents / carers each day,) set targets for improvement and/or draw up a ‘contract’ between the school, the pupil and the parent / carer.

It may also be necessary to enlist the help of outside agencies such as the Educational Psychologist or the Education Authority Behaviour Support Team.

The Principal reserves the right to initiate formal suspension and expulsion procedures as per regulations prescribed by the Education Authority.


The Addressing Bullying in Schools Act 2016 outlined a definition of Bullying.

The Act defines bullying as the following;

“In this Act, bullying includes (but is not limited to) the repeated use of

a) any verbal, written or electronic communication

b) any other act, or

c) any combination of those by a pupil, or group of pupils, against another pupil, or group of pupils, with the intention of causing physical or emotional harm to that pupil or group of pupils”.

It takes different forms which can include:

    • physical assault
    • teasing
    • making threats
    • intimidation
    • name calling
    • cyberbullying – bullying via mobile phone or online (for example email, social networks or texts)
  • We maintain zero-tolerance of bullying behaviour at school.
  • In school we make it clear to all pupils that if they are being ‘picked-on’ or bullied in any way they must tell an adult.
  • If bullying behaviour is identified, the following steps will be taken:
  • Parents / carers of both the pupil displaying bullying behaviour bully and the pupil experiencing bullying behaviour will be informed / involved in any action taken.
  • Consequences (as described above,) will be employed will be used with the pupil displaying bullying behaviour and post incident strategies will be used to help improve the behaviour.
  • The pupil experiencing bullying behaviour will be offered emotional support, reassurance within school, practival strategies and all with the agreement of their parents or carers.

* Please note that the consequences used for bullying (as defined above) will be more severe than those used for incidents of ‘rough horseplay’ or, say, an isolated example of ‘name-calling.’

No school can guarantee parents that their child will not, at any stage of their school career, be the subject of poor behaviour from another pupil. However, we can guarantee that any incidents brought to our attention will be investigated and appropriate action will be taken to deal with the problem.

Please be aware that in certain circumstances it can be difficult to establish the true cause of a problem – particularly in a situation where we are dealing with ‘one child’s word against another.’ In such situations it is very important that we have your support whilst trying to establish a fair and reasonable solution.


Cyberbullying can be defined as an aggressive intentional, hurtful act carried out by a group or an individual using electronic forms of contact,  often repeatedly over time.

Cyber bullying can take place through:

  • Text messages
  • Picture/video clip
  • Mobile phone call
  • E-mail bullying
  • Chat room
  • Instant messaging
  • Online games
  • Apps such as Instagram and Snapchat

The school follows the same procedures when dealing with Cyber bullying as with all other forms of bullying.