CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
Barntown N.S. aims to provide its pupils with the highest standards of care and protection; in order to promote each child’s well – being and safeguard him/her from harm. The Board of Management of the school is committed to the maintenance of an environment where children feel secure, are encouraged to express themselves and are listened to. The Board of Management recognises that child protection and welfare considerations permeate all aspects of school life.
In its policies, practices and activities, our school will adhere to the following principles of best practice in child protection and welfare. The school will
- recognise that the protection and welfare of children is of paramount importance, regardless of all other considerations;
- fully co-operate with the relevant statutory authorities in relation to child protection and welfare matters
- adopt safe practices to minimise the possibility of harm or accidents happening to children and protect workers from the necessity to take unnecessary risks that may leave themselves open to accusations of abuse or neglect;
- develop a practice of openness with parents and encourage parental involvement in the education of their children; and
- fully respect confidentiality requirements in dealing with child protection matters.
In accordance with the requirements of the Department of Education and Skills’ Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools (2011) and ‘Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children’ (2011) the Board of Management of the school, in consultation with the school community in Barntown, has agreed the following Child Protection policy. It addresses the responsibilities of the school in the followings areas:
- The Board of Management
- Prevention – curriculum provision
- Procedures – procedures for dealing with concerns / disclosures
- Practice - best practice in child protection
- Allegations against a school employee
- Links to other policy/planning areas
- Communication of the policy
- Ratification and review
- The Board of Management
- The Board of Management has adopted and will implement fully and without modification the Department’s Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools as part of this overall child protection policy.
- The Board nominates Ms. Louisa O’Brien as the designated liaison person (DLP) to act as a liaison with outside agencies such as HSE and as a resource person to any staff having child protection concerns.
- In the absence of Ms. O’Brien, Ms. Claire Byrne will act as Deputy Designated Liaison Person.
- The Board of Management fully endorses arrangements for the vetting of teaching and non-teaching staff as outlined in Circular 0094/2006, June 2006, for the Department of Education & Science. The Board when employing new staff or substitute staff will ensure that the requirements of Circular 0063/2010 are met.
- The Board will ensure that in so far as is possible adequate training and support is provided to all staff.
- Recognising that the safety and wellbeing of children attending the school is a priority, the Board includes Safeguarding Children as an item on the agenda of all Board meetings.
The Stay Safe programme is the primary resource used in this school to provide education for children on abuse prevention. The programme is taught as part of the schools’ SPHE curriculum under the strand unit Safety and Protection.
On enrolment of their child parents will be informed that the Stay Safe programme is in use in the school and a link to the Stay Safe website will be provided on the school’s website.
The formal lessons of the programme will be taught in their entirety every second year in accordance with the SPHE two-year cycle plan (i.e. in Senior Infants, 2nd, 4th and 6th classes). The programme will be taught in the first term.
Staff will make every effort to ensure that the messages of the programme are reinforced whenever possible.
- Procedures :
- All staff (Teachers, SNAs, ancillary, secretarial, caretaking etc.) in this school will follow the procedures for reporting concerns or disclosures as outlined in Chapter 3 sections 3.5 and 3.6 and Chapter 4 section 4.1 of the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post -Primary schools 2011.
- Each staff member will be provided with a folder containing a standard recording sheet, a Child Protection checklist for employees, copies of Appendix 3: Signs and Symptoms of Child Abuse and the relevant sections of Chapters 3 and 4 mentioned above.
- All concerns/ disclosures involving child protection/child welfare issues will be reported to the DLP (deputy DLP where appropriate).
- Each report to the DLP will be dated and signed by the person making that report.
- There will be a strict adherence to maintaining confidentiality – information regarding concerns or disclosures of abuse will only be given on a ‘need to know’ basis.
- Only the child’s school registration number will be used in recording.
- The staff and management of this school have agreed to monitor each child’s welfare on a regular basis and to report any concerns or incidents to the DLP. All such reports are dealt with in accordance with Child Protection Procedures.
- Child Protection will be an agenda item at each staff meeting. At the beginning of each school year the procedures will be revisited.
- The Principal will be responsible for informing all new personnel/ volunteers etc. of this policy and the procedures to be followed.
The following areas have been considered by the staff and board of management of this school as areas of specific concern in relation to child protection. Following discussion and consultation the staff and board of management have agreed that the following practices be adopted.
- Physical contact
Physical contact between school personnel and the child should always be
In response to the needs of the child and not the needs of the adult.
While physical contact may be used to comfort, reassure or assist a child the following should be factors in determining it’s appropriateness:-
- It is acceptable to the child
- It is open and not secretive
- The age and developmental stage of the child
School personnel should avoid doing anything of a personal nature for children that they can do for themselves.
- Visitors / Guest Speakers:
Visitors/guest speakers should never be left alone with pupils. The school (principal/teachers) has a responsibility to check out the credentials of the visitor/guest speaker and to ensure that the material in use by guests is appropriate.
- All media products, cds, DVDs, computer software etc. to be checked with regard to age and suitability. Where a doubt exists with regard to suitability of material Principal/ deputy Principal should be consulted.
- Children with specific toileting/intimate care needs:
In all situations where a pupil needs assistance with toileting /intimate care a meeting will be convened, after enrolment and before the child starts school, between parents/guardians, class teacher, special needs assistant, principal and if appropriate the pupil . The purpose of the meeting will be to ascertain the specific needs of the child and to determine how the school can best meet those needs. The staff to be involved in this care will be identified and provision will be made for occasions when the particular staff involved are absent. A written copy of what has been agreed will be made and kept in the child’s file.
- Toileting accidents:
In the event that a child has a toileting accident the parent/ guardian will be contacted to inform them of the accident. If they are unable to come to the school and can confirm that their child can change themselves unassisted, clean clothing will be offered to the child into which they can change.
If the pupil for whatever reason cannot clean or change themselves and the parents/guardians cannot be contacted the child will be assisted by members of staff familiar to the child.
A record of all such incidents will be kept and principal and parents will be notified.
- One- to One teaching
It is the policy in this school that one-to-one teaching is often in the best interest of the child or may occur when other pupils are absent. Every effort will be made to ensure that this teaching takes place where feasible in an open environment. Parents of children who are to be involved in one-to-one teaching on an ongoing basis will be informed and their agreement sought.
Work being carried out by special needs assistants will be carried out under the direction of the class teacher in an open environment.
- Changing for Games/ PE/ Swimming
Pupils will be expected to dress and undress themselves for PE classes and other sporting activities.
For PE pupils should wear their school tracksuit to school. They will not be required to change. However as the school places great emphasis on developing healthy lifestyles senior pupils receive many opportunities over the school year to engage in a wide variety of sporting activities. Some of these activities will require the pupils to change into suitable clothing. Pupils are expected to be capable of changing themselves. If pupils are unable to change themselves an arrangement will be reached with parents where they wear their school tracksuit on the day of the sporting event. When pupils need to change clothing the boys should change in the boys’ toilets and the girls should change in the girls’ toilets.
See swimming protocol in place for all swimming lessons.
- Supervision – the school’s supervision policy will be followed by all staff to ensure that there is comprehensive supervision of children at all breaks during the school day. A rota will be displayed in the staffroom to cover morning (11am) and lunchtime breaks. Children will be discouraged from spending time in toilets where they are not under adult supervision. They are not to leave the yard without the permission of the adult on duty. Teachers on yard should be aware of visitors entering the school yard and should ascertain their intentions. Visitors should be directed to the school office.
- Children travelling in staff cars
School personnel should not travel alone with a child in their car at any time. (In an emergency situation, if this procedure is not followed, the teacher (staff member) should inform another teacher or staff member of what is happening.)
- Collection of pupils- Junior Infant and Senior Infant pupils are collected at the designated school door by parents/ guardians or a designated person. If not collected they remain with the class teacher. If the designated person is not collecting the school must be informed of change by the parents/ guardians. Pupils who wish to leave school for any reason must be collected from the school reception by parent/guardian or designated person where a withdrawal from school form is filled by that person.
- First Aid will be administered in a public place, or in the presence of other adults/ children.
While every effort will be made to adhere to best practice as agreed and outlined above, in the event of an emergency where this is not possible or practicable a full record of the incident should be made and reported to principal and parents.
- CCTV cameras: material recorded on CCTV cameras is for security purposes only. The hard drive is located in a secure area and access is restricted to authorised personnel. Material is automatically deleted after 30 days. Recorded material may be made available to Gardaí to deal with security matters.
Allegations against school employees
- The Board recognises that its paramount duty is the protection, safety and welfare of the children attending Barntown N.S. The Board as an employer also has duties and responsibilities towards its employees.
- The Board notes that school employees may be subject to erroneous or malicious allegations. The Board accepts that the principles of natural justice and fair procedures must be adhered to.
- As an employer, the Board will seek legal advice if an allegation of abuse is made against a school employee. It will also consult the statutory authorities and endeavour to show due regard to the reputations of all involved.
- The Board will adhere to the protocols outlined in Chapter. 5 of the ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary schools 2011’ in dealing with allegations or suspicions of child abuse regarding school employees’, and to authorise any actions required to protect the children in its care.
- It is important to note that there are two procedures to be followed –
- the reporting procedure in respect of an allegation/suspicion
- The procedure for dealing with an employee.
- The DLP has responsibility for reporting the matter to the appropriate HSE area (Section 4.2. of the procedures) while the Chairperson of the Board of Management has responsibility for addressing the employment issues. However where the allegation /suspicion relate to the DLP the Chairperson shall assume responsibility for seeking advice from and /or reporting the matter to the HSE as appropriate.
- Links to other policy / planning areas:
- SPHE curriculum, Strand Unit on ‘Safety and Protection’
- The School Code of Behaviour
- Attendance Policy
- Anti-Bullying Policy.
- Health and Safety Statement
- Mobile Phone policy
- AUP ( Acceptable User Policy )
- Supervision Policy
- Swimming Protocol
- Data protection policy
- Communication of this policy:
This Policy has been made available to all school personnel and the Parents’ Association and is readily available to parents on request. It is also available on the school website. A copy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested
Review and Monitoring
A review of the school’s child protection policy will be conducted annually by the Board of Management using the checklist contained in Appendix 2 of the Child Protection procedures for Primary and Post primary schools. (Copy attached).
This policy was adopted by the Board of Management of Barntown N.S. on 13th December 2011. It was reviewed by the Board on 4th December 2012, on 3rd December 2013, on 27th November 2014 and on 9th December 2015.
An addition was made to the policy on 26th February 2013 at to deal with the matter of CCTV cameras.
Date of next review: December 2016
Checklist for Annual Review of the Child Protection Policy
The Board of Management must undertake an annual review of its child protection policy and the following checklist shall be used for this purpose.
The checklist is designed as an aid to conducting this review and is not intended as an exhaustive list. Individual Boards of Management may wish to include other items in the checklist that are of particular relevance to the school in question.
As part of the overall review process, Boards of Management should also assess other school policies, practices and activities vis a vis their adherence to the principles of best practice in child protection and welfare as set out in the school’s child protection policy.
Has the Board formally adopted a child protection policy in accordance with the ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools’?
As part of the school’s child protection policy, has the Board formally adopted, without modification, the ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools’?
Are there both a DLP and a Deputy DLP currently appointed?
Are the relevant contact details (HSE and An Garda Síochána) to hand?
Has the DLP attended available child protection training?
Has the Deputy DLP attended available child protection training?
Have any members of the Board attended child protection training?
Has the school’s child protection policy identified other school policies, practices and activities that are regarded as having particular child protection relevance?
Has the Board ensured that the Department’s “Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools” are available to all school personnel?
Has the Board arrangements in place to communicate the school’s child protection policy to new school personnel?
Is the Board satisfied that all school personnel have been made aware of their responsibilities under the ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools’?
Since the Board’s last annual review, was the Board informed of any child protection reports made to the HSE/An Garda Síochána by the DLP?
Since the Board’s last annual review, was the Board informed of any cases where the DLP sought advice from the HSE and as a result of this advice, no report to the HSE was made?
Is the Board satisfied that the child protection procedures in relation to the making of reports to the HSE/ An Garda Síochána were appropriately followed?
Were child protection matters reported to the Board appropriately recorded in the Board minutes?
Is the Board satisfied that all records relating to child protection are appropriately filed and stored
Has the Board ensured that the Parents’ Association (if any), has been provided with the school’s child protection policy?
Has the Board ensured that the school’s child protection policy is available to parents on request?
Has the Board ensured that the Stay Safe programme is implemented in full in the school?
(applies to primary schools)
Has the Board ensured that the SPHE curriculum is implemented in full in the school?
Is the Board satisfied that the Department’s requirements for Garda Vetting have been met in respect of all school personnel (employees and volunteers)? *
Is the Board satisfied that the Department’s requirements in relation to the provision of a child protection related statutory declaration and associated form of undertaking have been met in respect of persons appointed to teaching and non-teaching positions?*
Is the Board satisfied that, from a child protection perspective, thorough recruitment and selection procedures are applied by the school in relation to all school personnel (employees and volunteers)?*
Is the Board satisfied that the ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools’ are being fully and adequately implemented by the school?
Has the Board identified any aspects of the school’s child protection policy and/or its implementation that require further improvement?
Has the Board put in place an action plan containing appropriate timelines to address those aspects of the school’s child protection policy and/or its implementation that have been identified as requiring further improvement ?
Has the Board ensured that any areas for improvement that that were identified in any previous review of the school’s child protection policy have been adequately addressed?
*In schools where the VEC is the employer the responsibility for meeting these requirements rests with the VEC concerned. In such cases, this question should be completed following consultation with the VEC.
Signed _____________________________________ Date ________________
Chairperson, Board of Management
Signed _____________________________________ Date ______________
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Notification regarding the Board of Management’s annual review of the child protection policy
The Board of Management of ____________________ wishes to inform you that:
- The Board of Management’s annual review of the school’s child protection policy was completed at
the Board meeting of _______________ [date].
- This review was conducted in accordance with the checklist set out in Appendix 2 of the Department’s ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools’
Signed _____________________________________ Date ________________
Chairperson, Board of Management