(Date this policy was last reviewed: May 2017)
NOTE: The disciplinary policy will be reviewed and updated before the start of 2018.
Excellent discipline helps create the sort of environment where teachers and learners can flourish. A disciplined culture needs to be maintained in the school leadership team, amongst staff members and amongst learners. The school must be known for its disciplined culture that should immediately strike learners so that they desire to work hard to be part of it.
It is recognised that, despite the school’s positive ethos, offences and misconduct will still occur. Therefore, disciplinary procedures need to be clear and organised so that learners know that misconduct has consequences. A clear, organised disciplinary policy also empowers staff members to act against misconduct that they observe.
This policy is subject to regular, permanent updates. The school will not be held to a former version of the disciplinary policy when updates occur. It should also be noted that this policy is merely a guideline and may be departed from, if appropriate, at the discretion of the headmaster.
If appropriate, the school has the right to act against learners who are guilty of misconduct, even if the misconduct does not take place on the school grounds or the learner did not represent the school when the incident occurred.
VALUES AND ETHOS
The culture of discipline is rooted in the school’s values and Christian ethos. Learners should be recognised as individuals with unique abilities and be treated in a positive manner. However, a values-based education should not be void of consequences for transgressions. The disciplinary system should allow for the positive values to be emphasised while transgressions are met with the necessary consequences.
Good record-keeping is essential to an effective disciplinary system. Staff members are expected to use the school’s chosen method of record-keeping to record learner transgressions so that patterns of behaviour can be monitored.
Staff should be competent and equipped to deal with transgressions and impose consequences for minor offences without referring matters to other members of staff. Staff should also be competent in preventing transgressions through the excellent level of teaching that they offer in the classroom. This “positive discipline” approach is expected of all staff – highly engaging lessons prevent, to a degree, learner transgressions.
While each transgression may be treated according to merit, transgressions are loosely grouped into three categories: Minor, Serious and Very Serious. Members of staff are to use their sound judgement to interpret the categories and guidelines below.
Minor offences typically do not warrant referring the matter to the Grade Head or the Headmaster. These offences still need to be documented by members of staff as the repetition of a minor offence may constitute a serious offence.
Consequences for minor offences must include:
- Brief conversation or corrective comment
- Documentation of misconduct
Consequences for minor offences may include:
- Kept in during break
- Extra homework
- Essay about the specific misconduct
- Help with cleaning and gardening
Minor offences include, but are not limited to:
- Classroom offences like talking inappropriately or disruption
- Disrupting assemblies in any way
- Forgetting books or documentation
- Lateness for class or meetings
- Poor use of language
- Failing to abide by dress code rules
- Pushing or shoving fellow learners
- Use of mobile phone when its use is prohibited
- Any other conduct deemed by a staff member to be a minor offence
Serious offences need to be documented and reported to the Grade Head. Parents or guardians need to be informed by the Grade Head of the incident.
Consequences for serious offences must include:
- Documentation of offence
- Referral to Grade Head
- Verbal warning
- Parents/Guardians informed
- Supportive conversation with learner
Consequences for serious misconduct may include:
- Kept in during break or repeated break detention
- After school detention
- Help with gardening or cleaning
- Essay regarding misconduct
- Removal of privileges, e.g. studying at home in exam time or representing the school
- Written warning
These offences include, but are not limited to:
- Repetition of minor offences after warnings
- Deliberate, malicious dishonesty
- Extremely disruptive behaviour
- Smoking or possession of cigarettes or e-cigarettes on the school grounds
- Smoking cigarettes or e-cigarettes while wearing any school uniform or clothing
- Improper conduct, threats or aggression towards a member of staff
- Aggression or threats towards fellow learners
- Viewing pornography
- Racist comments
- Bullying – physical or emotional
- Social media misconduct
- Bringing the school into public disrepute
- Failing to show up for detention or another punitive measure
VERY SERIOUS OFFENCES
Very serious offences place a learner at risk of expulsion or suspension. The headmaster needs to lead the way in dealing with these offences.
Consequences for very serious offences must include:
- Informing parents or guardians
- Informing headmaster
- Disciplinary hearing
- Supportive conversation with learner
Consequences for very serious offences may include:
- Written warning
- Any consequence as listed under serious offences or minor offences
- Any other consequence that the disciplinary committee sees fits
Very serious offences include, but are not limited to:
- Repetition of serious offences
- Possessing, using or distributing drugs or alcohol
- Possessing, using or distributing a dangerous weapon
- Serious social media misconduct
- Any unlawful or criminal conduct
Verbal warning should include:
- A statement that a verbal warning is given
- A clear consequence for repetition of the misconduct
Written warnings are considered the final level of disciplinary intervention before a disciplinary hearing may be called. The written warning should be clear in the consequences that it links to specified behaviours. Parents/Guardians need to be clearly informed of the seriousness of a written warning. All written warnings need to be signed by the headmaster.
Disciplinary hearings may result in suspension or expulsion. These hearings are reserved for very serious offences.
Parents/Guardians and the learner involved must be informed in writing of the disciplinary hearing to take place. Enough time should be allowed for parents/guardians to prepare for the meeting. The possibility of suspension or expulsion needs to be mentioned in the letter.
Parties present at these meetings must include:
- Learner(s) involved in the incident
- Parents/Guardians of affected learners
- Grade Head
- Another member of the school’s senior management team
- A parent member of the governing body
No legal representation for learners are allowed. Learners may be represented by their parents or by a willing member of staff. No verbal transcript of the meeting will be kept, but minutes of the hearing has to be issued by the chairperson.