Child Protection

The Board of Management of Garrydoolis N.S. recognises that child protection and welfare considerations permeate all aspects of school life and must be reflected in all of the school’s policies, practices and activities. Accordingly, in accordance with the requirements of the Department of Education and Skills’ Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools, the Board of Management has agreed the following child protection policy.

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.

An individual copy of this policy document and a copy of the Department of Education and Science Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures will be made available to all staff.

The Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools are published in an on-line format which can be accessed on the Department’s website at www.education.ie>Child Protection

It is incumbent on all staff to familiarise themselves with Children First and the Department of Education and Science Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures.

Children First-National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2011 was published in July 2011 and is available on the website of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs at www.dcya.ie

This policy addresses the responsibilities of the school in the following areas:

  • Prevention:   Curricular provision
  • Procedures:  Procedures for dealing with concerns/disclosures
  • Practice:        Best practice in child protection.

Principles of Best Practice:

In its policies, practices and activities, Garrydoolis N.S. 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.
  • Fully respect confidentiality requirements in dealing with child protection matters.

Aims

This policy aims to:

  • Create a safe, trusting, responsive and caring environment
  • Provide a personal safety skills education which specifically addresses abuse prevention for all children in the school
  • Develop awareness and responsibility in the area of child protection amongst the whole school community
  • Put in place procedures for good practice to protect all children and staff
  • Ensure that all staff members are aware of and familiar with the “Children First” and the DES guidelines and procedures in relation to reporting concerns and/or disclosures of child abuse
  • Provide for ongoing training in this and related areas for all school staff.

Prevention

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 school’s Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curriculum under the strand of Safety and Protection.

It is taught every second year. Circular 0066/2011 states that all schools must fully implement the Stay Safe programme.  Therefore, parental consents are now no longer required. Other resources used include Prim-Ed resources on Anti-Bullying and Self-Esteem.

An Internet usage policy is in place and the use of mobile phones by pupils is not allowed to ensure that our children are safe around the use of technology.

The lessons are taught formally every second year in accordance with the SPHE two-year cycle plan. Other lessons may be taught in response to particular needs or situations. In the multi-class situation, we teach the lessons to all children but rotate the material every two years so that all children experience all lessons.

The Staff makes every effort to ensure that the messages of the programme are reinforced whenever possible.

Procedures

All staff (teachers, special needs assistants, ancillary, secretarial, caretaking staff, etc.) in this school will follow the recommendations for reporting concerns or disclosures as outlined in Children First and the Department of Education and Science document Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures.

The Board of Management of this school has appointed Heidi Jordan as the Designated Liaison Person (DLP) and Tina Hickey as the deputy DLP.

The staff and management of this school have agreed that:

  • All concerns/disclosures involving child protection/child welfare issues will be reported in the first instance to the DLP (deputy DLP where appropriate)
  • Each report to the DLP will be dated and signed by the person making that report
  • A strict adherence to maintaining confidentiality of information regarding concerns or disclosures of abuse should only be given on a “need to know” basis.
  • The DES Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures must be adopted in their entirety by each school.
  • Disclosures must be reported to the H.S.E.

Practice

The staff and Board of Management of this school have identified the following 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:

  • Recruitment and selection of staff working with children: Current correct procedures must always be followed in relation to advertising, interviewing and the selection of staff.
  • Garda vetting will be sought where necessary
  • Background checks will be carried out on individuals seeking work experience in the school
  • All personnel will be properly supervised and supported in the work they do
  • Guest speakers will not be left alone with children

General Conduct

As a general rule, any physical contact between school personnel and the child should be in response to the needs of the child and not the needs of the adult. While physical contact can be used to comfort, reassure or assist a child it should be acceptable to the child, open and not secretive and appropriate to the age and development of the child.

School personnel should not do things of a personal nature for a child, if the child can do for him/herself.

School personnel should never engage in or allow the use of inappropriate language or behaviour, physical punishment of any kind, sexually provocative games or comments to a child or the use of inappropriate materials

The DLP should be notified promptly of any concerns with regard to the behaviour of a staff member or any allegations of abuse made by a child or an adult.

A disclosure of abuse should never be ignored

Toileting/Intimate Care

Toileting accidents may happen especially in the junior room and in order to minimise upset and discomfort to a child, the other classroom/ support teacher may be called upon to assist. The school may provide a change of clothing if necessary and appropriate. Parents should be informed of such incidents.

A trained SNA will tend to the toileting needs of Special needs children in the school with the parental consents.

Changing for Games

When children are changing for games, the girls change in the girls’ bathroom and the boys change in the spare room. They might have to do so on a rota basis if there are concerns over health and safety issues.

The teachers must exercise vigilance and discretion around changing.

Supervision of Children

  • Both teachers undertake yard supervision at both morning and lunch times to reduce the opportunities for peer abuse, bullying and victimisation which may occur at any time.
  • Any accidents or incidents that take place are recorded.
  • Staff cannot take children alone on car journeys.
  • If first aid is administered, parents are informed and records are kept.
  • In the event of a court order being in place which could prevent someone from having access to a child, a copy of that order should be requested by the school and the Gardaí may be summoned to the school to enforce it if necessary.
  • Children attending learning support in a one-to-one situation with the learning support teacher do so with the written permission of their parents or guardians.
  • The room has glass panels in the door and is clearly visible to passers by.

Internet Safety

An Acceptable Use Policy is in place and every effort will be made to adhere to that policy.

Special Needs

A SNA attends to the needs of Special needs child/children and in the event of her/him being absent, a substitute SNA would be employed.

Links to Other Policy/Planning Areas

  • SPHE- Strand units on safety and protection
  • The School Code of Discipline
  • Anti-Bullying
  • Health and Safety
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Special Needs
  • Pupils Attendance Strategy: Procedures for reporting to the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB)

Review and Monitoring

This policy will be monitored and reviewed by the Board of Management on an annual basis and when the need arises. The Board of Management will ensure that training/information and support will be provided for all staff, parents and board of management members when available.

Policy reviewed and ratified by the BOM on:

Signed: Chairperson of Board of Management

Our Motto: Working Together / Ag obair le chéile