Code of Conduct
SECTION 1 – INTRODUCTION
This Code of Conduct has been developed in accordance with the South African Schools Act, 1996.It promotes the Mission Statement of HeronBridge College and works towards a well-balanced, broad education for pupils, a professional environment for teachers and an atmosphere for the extension of generally accepted family principles. It applies to all aspects of school life and incorporates both behavioural goals and disciplinary codes. The code defines the standard behaviour expected of and required from all stakeholders.
It is accepted that this code is a dynamic document, requiring frequent deliberation, and possible revision, in order to always satisfy the needs of the HeronBridge College community. To this end, you are invited to submit any suggestions that may be reviewed from time to time.
If all parties adhere to both the spirit and the letter of the code, healthy working relationships will be created between parents, teachers and pupils, these relationships being the essential foundation for the creation of a constructive teaching, learning and growing environment. The disciplinary codes are intended to promote the maintenance of discipline and order at HeronBridge College (hereafter referred to as “HeronBridge”).
The Code of Conduct is to be presented to all parties concerned on first acceptance to HeronBridge. Signature by parents/guardians of the Contract of Enrolment indicates an acceptance of the Code, as does the employment contract for teachers.
SECTION 2 – CODE OF CONDUCT
The Code of Conduct applies to all within the ambit of HeronBridge College. It promotes the good of pupils, teachers and parents. Regardless of specific age or role, all associated with HeronBridge will conduct themselves appropriately at all times to ensure optimum accomplishment.
2.1 Code of Conduct - Pupils
By attending HeronBridge pupils will endeavour to:
• mature through their adolescent years;
• develop their intellectual, sporting, cultural abilities;
• develop thinking and problem solving skills;
• gain knowledge about the world in which they live;
• improve social and friendship skills;
• explore career opportunities and follow related educational programmes;
• care for others less fortunate than themselves.
Pupils are to understand that they each, through their own response to the Code of Conduct and subsequent daily behaviour, either encourage or prevent the attainment of the College’s objectives. The purpose of this Code of Conduct is to ensure that the opportunities presented at HeronBridge are fully utilised. The code thus identifies what behaviour is required and expected. This follows from 2.1.1 – 2.1.3 and in the associated discipline codes in Sections 3, 4, 6.
2.1.1 As regards teachers
Pupils will respect the right of teachers to teach, to co-ordinate learning activities and to facilitate the full school programme. Pupils will show respect to teachers by:
• being punctual to class;
• following all teacher instructions;
• being attentive in class;
• applying themselves to the work set;
• not being disruptive in any way;
• not talking in class until invited to do so;
• not moving from desks without permission;
• acquiring permission to participate in lessons;
• doing tasks, as set by teachers, to the best of their abilities.
2.1.2 As regards other pupils
Pupils will respect the rights of others to learn. This will be shown by:
• not distracting other pupils from their tasks;
• giving others opportunities to make contributions in class and in tasks;
• not interrupting others while they contribute;
• respecting others’ points of view;
• not ridiculing others.
2.1.3 As regards personal application
Each pupil will make the most of every opportunity to achieve well in College. This will be accomplished by:
• attending school every term day, unless incapacitated and authorised to stay away by a parent or guardian;
• devoting time and effort to academic studies, as per the timetable and the demands of self-study;
• taking part willingly and enthusiastically in class activities;
• working independently and doing more than the minimum required;
• doing homework and project work as set;
• presenting assignments well and on time;
• preparing well for tests and examinations;
• working neatly;
• showing commitment to academic achievement;
• participation in the extramural programme.
2.2 Code of Conduct – Teachers
Through their acceptance of employment at HeronBridge teachers will commit to:
• provide service to HeronBridge;
• utilise their professional skills for the purpose of educating the pupils;
• contribute holistically to the programme of the College;
• advance their own career opportunities and those of others;
• maintain contact with parents as individuals and as a body;
• provide care in whatever circumstances and for whomever requires it within the College.
While every teacher can expect the respect, support and co-operation of the College, parents and pupils in his or her efforts to create a healthy learning environment inside and outside the classroom, it is important that teachers acknowledge their responsibilities. Teachers at HeronBridge thus undertake to:
• maintain a professional bearing and manner and by so doing set a positive example to the pupils;
• be well prepared;
• be fully conversant with the demands of the syllabi taught;
• be punctual;
• mark and return assignments, tests and examinations within a reasonable period of time;
• praise, encourage and motivate pupils;
• help create a concept of team work or partnership with pupils in the education process;
• help establish and communicate realistic, clear and meaningful goals each year;
• confront pupils who transgress the accepted code, administering punishments when necessary;
• discipline with dignity and follow the principles outlined in the discipline code;
• report serious misconduct to senior executive staff;
• be sensitive to the individual needs and problems of pupils.
Parents of pupils who think a teacher has failed to conform to this code should approach the relevant Head or Deputy. The College undertakes to treat such approaches sensitively and confidentially in an effort to improve the situation.
2.3 Code of Conduct – Parents
In their association with HeronBridge through their children, parents will undertake to:
• provide their children with the necessities for effective school careers;
• support their children in their studies and various school activities;
• uphold the discipline structures of the College;
• serve on parent committees, as able;
• attend College functions, sport and cultural activities, parent meetings, as able;
• extend their own professional expertise to the College, when required;
• uphold and promote the good name of HeronBridge.
HeronBridge prides itself on the good relations it enjoys with parents. While parents can expect the College to provide their children with the best possible education according to the resources available to it, parents must also accept certain responsibilities in achieving the goals set. Parents should:
• support teachers in their efforts to teach their children, i.e. monitor homework, check test results, help set goals, regularly consult their diary for teachers’ comments;
• communicate with Head or Deputy timeously regarding areas of concern before they become major issues;
• make suggestions or provide assistance to improve the educational process and environment;
• encourage their children to participate fully in the College’s programme;
• endeavour to uphold moral and legal behaviour in their children as regards alcohol, cigarettes, substance abuse and sexual activity;
• be aware at all times of the whereabouts of their children and set parameters as far as time lines, transport arrangements, dress codes and appropriate behaviour is concerned;
• communicate with the parents of their children’s friends to verify information and to hereby avoid manipulation.
SECTION 3 – DISCIPLINE CODE
3.1 Discipline Code – Preparatory School
• The underlying Biblical principle of the Preparatory School Discipline Code is to glorify God through every aspect of our behaviour.
• "Self-control is the goal" is the discipline motto, as the pupils are encouraged to accept responsibility for their own behaviour.
• The Discipline Code is built around the Code of Conduct laid out to pupils.
• Consequences for breaking the Code of Conduct are predetermined across the Preparatory school.
• The consequences for transgressing the expected conduct are transparent to all and are presented in language that is accessible to every pupil.
• The Junior Preparatory School follows an age appropriate version of the Preparatory Discipline Code. (Refer to the Junior Preparatory Discipline Policy).
• While there are consequences for deviant behaviour, the emphasis will always remain on positive reinforcement, building up learners and not breaking them down. Equal attention will be placed on commendations as on warnings.
3.1.2 Positive Reinforcement
• House merits can be awarded to the children for:
- right values and good attitudes;
- recycling efforts and community service;
- academic performance;
- Head’s discretion.
• The emphasis is on Esprit de Corps and the team and not the individual.
• Merits will be collected in a box in the front office and totaled each Thursday for learner feedback in the Friday assembly.
Good Work Stamps
• These should be issued as a reward for a concerted and positive work ethic.
• Good work stamps could be issued by the Head or Deputy Head.
• In the Foundation Phase, the teacher should consciously seek to allow every child opportunity to get a good work stamp in the term.
• Each Teacher will be at liberty to implement their own positive reward system in the classroom.
• Silver Stars Tea – The Silver Stars Tea is a prestigious tea with the Head to reward those children who have been commended for excellent values, manners and conduct. The PA to the Prep School will be advised when a child is nominated by a Grade Head for the tea. The tea will occur termly.
3.1.2 Consequences of actions – Building a Responsibility of Self
• This chart will be transparent to all learners. It should be mounted in each classroom, not just home rooms.
• The chart clearly outlines the reporting line when children contravene the Code of Conduct.
• It is written in age and offence appropriate language.
• It places responsibility on the teacher as first line of discipline, but clearly indicates where matters need to be referred to the Deputy and Head.
• Each class teacher will discuss the chart with the children and refer them back to it as need arises.
• In the Foundation Phase, warnings will be communicated with/ to the parent regularly.
• In the Intermediate Phase, warnings will be written up in the class discipline file.
• Warnings for behaviour offences and work ethic issues should be kept separate.
• Teachers should be cautious to issue warnings for acts of commission and not omission. Children are to be disciplined for issues of defiance rather than occasional irresponsibility. Staff will consciously guard against punitive and petty policing.
• This file contains warning sheets for each individual learner.
• It should remain in the home room where it may be fetched and updated by other teachers. A system will also be in place where other specialist teachers are able to comment on the children’s behavior.
• On the third offence, the parents should receive a ‘Progress Report’ enlisting their help and support concerning the issues of concern. This demands the collection of a reply slip, acknowledging the receipt of our communication. Continued transgressions will be referred to the Deputy Head who will issue a warning of detention.
• One transgression further will lead to a detention and thereafter, every second offence for the same misdemeanour.
• Discipline sheets will be filed to Learner Profiles at the end of the year should there be a significant record of deviant behaviour.
Head and Deputy Based Discipline
At this level, the discipline will take a formal approach with a disciplinary hearing. The hearing will follow set procedures.
TBD – Teacher Based Discipline
DBD – Deputy Based Discipline
HBD – Head Based Discipline
3 warnings – letter to parent
4 warnings – final advice to parents
5 warnings – detention< >• The warnings can be for any misdemeanours and may not necessarily be about the same issue.
• The Deputy Head or Head may issue a detention without warnings.
• It is also important to note that a disciplinary hearing could result in the ultimate removal of the child from HeronBridge.
In all disciplinary procedures, HeronBridge will endeavour to be fair, consistent, impartial and will treat the pupils with dignity. Moreover, in cases of serious misconduct (when a disciplinary hearing is necessary) parents will be invited to be present with their children.
SECTION 4 – DRUG AND ALCOHOL POLICY
Substance abuse is defined for the purpose of this policy as:
“being under the influence of or the unauthorised, excessive or wrongful use of drugs (whether legal or illegal) or alcohol by any member of the College community whenever that person can be associated with the College; a positive identification of drug use by test of an agency recognised by the College for the purpose.”
4.2.1 The Head will bear responsibility to ensure the property of HeronBridge College remains a drug free zone.
4.2.2 Suitable education, guidance and monitoring programmes will be conducted at the College.
4.2.3 Appropriate actions will be taken in cases of infringements of this policy.
4.2.4 The best interests of the College as a whole will be considered paramount.
4.3.1 This policy will be applied consistently in all cases.
4.3.2 A distinction in culpability will be made between instances of those seeking assistance voluntarily and those discovered.
4.3.3 Anyone associated with the College will be given every assistance should it be requested, regardless of any disciplinary actions taken.
4.3.4 All assistance given will respect the dignity of those concerned and will be according to generally accepted codes of confidentiality and dignity.
4.4.1 The executive staff will be responsible for providing suitable guidance and educational programmes regarding substance abuse on an ongoing basis.
4.4.2 The Directors will be responsible for providing the Head with resources required: e.g. skilled monitoring services.
4.4.3 Whenever possible, the Head’s requests for assistance in these matters will be acceded to and whatever reasonable support is deemed necessary at any time will be given.
4.4.4 Parent responsibility will be recognised and emphasised throughout.
4.4.5 Outside agencies will be contacted for assistance in both educational and monitoring matters.
4.5.1 All instances of substance abuse will be investigated and actions taken consistent with this policy.
4.5.2 The Head and staff will be responsible for all necessary investigations.
4.5.3 HeronBridge College reserves the right to:
• exert control at all times, as deemed fit by the Head;
• arrange urine and/or other drug tests by an outside agency selected by the College for any persons identified by the Head/Deputy as possibly being involved (these tests will be at the expense of the College if negative, for the parents’ account if positive);
• use agencies and/or staff teams to monitor persons, belongings, grounds at any time, to identify any possession or usage of drugs or alcohol;
• establish and insist upon adherence to contracts of behaviour to regulate future conduct.
4.5.4 In cases of possession, usage, abuse or distribution, discipline will be meted out, as seen fit by the Head or disciplinary hearing at the time. Discipline may take the form of:
• withdrawals from College activities;
• community service;
• written or verbal warnings;
• final warnings;
• regular monitoring;
• contracts regulating behaviour;
• referral to the SAPS;
• or any other action deemed suitable at the time.
4.5.5 Serious and second infractions will be considered expellable offences.
4.5.6 In every case, parents must be informed of their children’s involvement and of what actions have been and will be taken.
4.5.7 Expulsions and suspensions will be according to the South African Schools Act, 1996, or other relevant legislation.
1 In every instance, regardless of whether or not the pupil/s concerned are removed from HeronBridge, counselling will be offered and the College’s facilities or advice made available.
4.6.2 To ensure that HeronBridge’s property is maintained as a drug free zone, the strictest measures must be taken in cases where inappropriate substances are:
• transported to school or to any activity associated with the College;
• passed on to others at school or at any activity associated with the College.
4.6.3 The degree of involvement of any pupil must be assessed thoroughly and actions taken must be commensurate with the severity of the case, the past disciplinary record of the individual concerned, any coercion or intimidation which may have taken place, as well as the reaction of the individual to being involved.
4.6.4 Pupils may be guilty by association: those in company of others at the time they are guilty of infringements to this policy can be deemed similarly culpable and may be subjected to the same or other disciplinary action.
4.6.5 The Head has the right to search any pupil, in accordance with the prescriptions of the Government Gazette, Notice 776 of 1998.
4.7 Police action
4.7.1 In cases of possession or of the distribution of illegal substances at school, or in activities associated with the College, referral will be made to the SAPS for further investigation.
4.7.2 The College will render to the police whatever assistance is required.
4.7.3 Referral to the police will in no way delay or prevent the implementation of the College’s drug policy.
4.8.1 Parent/Guardian acceptance of the Admission Policy of the College provides prior permission to the Head to arrange tests at his discretion, but only if there is due cause or sufficient evidence to warrant this.
4.8.2 Liaison will take place with parents prior to testing, unless it can be shown that contact was not possible.
SECTION 5 - CO-CURRICULAR CODE
Each activity has its own specific code, to which all participants are expected to adhere. Nevertheless, the following hold as general principles.
Co-curricular activities are presented to:
• contribute to a balanced College programme;
• foster healthy lifestyles;
• develop interest in sporting and cultural activities;
• develop skills;
• teach respect for the rules of sport;
• teach respect for coaches and officials;
• teach good attitudes towards winning and losing;
• enhance school spirit;
• develop camaraderie and team spirit.
Participants are expected to:
• behave appropriately on and off the sports field;
• play in the spirit of the game always;
• respect opponents;
• show due courtesy;
• attend scheduled practices and matches;
• adhere to the dress code.
SECTION 6 - DRESS CODE
No variation to the uniform as specified in the uniform policy document will be permitted. Any item that is not listed may be confiscated if worn by a pupil.
Any sloppy or untidy appearance will not be tolerated.
Serious or repeated infringements of the dress/uniform code will result in removal from the class until the pupil’s appearance is satisfactory.
THE SECURITY OF BOUNDARIES (Dr James Dobson)
Children feel more secure, and therefore tend to flourish, when they know where the boundaries are. Let me illustrate that principle.
Imagine you’re driving a car over the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado, which is suspended hundreds of feet above the canyon floor. As a first-time traveller, you’re pretty tense as you drive across. It is a scary experience. I know one little fellow who was so awed by the view over the side of the bridge that he said, “Wow Daddy! If you fell off of here, it’d kill you constantly!”
Now suppose there were no guardrails on the side of the bridge. Where would you steer the car? Right down the middle of the road. Even though you don’t plan to hit those protective railings along the side, you just feel more secure knowing that they’re there.
It’s the same way with children. There is security in defined limits. They need to know precisely what the rules are and who’s available to enforce them. When these clear boundaries exist at home, the child lives in utter safety. He never gets in trouble unless he deliberately asks for it. And as long as he stays within those reasonable, well-marked guardrails, there’s mirth and freedom and acceptance.
Your children need the security of defined limits, too. They may not admit that they want you to be the boss, but they breathe easier when you are.