Scoil Mhuire Cailíní, Allenwood,
Policy on Child Protection.
(Reviewed in October 2016)
As part of a review of all aspects of safety in the school it was felt that it was necessary to put in place a policy that would draw together existing safety policies and procedures and make them more accessible to all school staff.
It was felt that current good practice needs to be formalised and procedures laid out clearly for the benefit of all staff members and especially for new staff members. The Board of Management has adopted, and will implement fully, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs publication ‘Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2011)’ and this policy is an outline of how our school proposes to implement these guidelines in order to ensure the protection and welfare of all children attending the school.
Our school is committed to providing a safe environment for its pupils and enabling them to grow and develop to their full potential. We strive to create a happy, safe environment for the children where they feel secure, knowing that if they have concerns, they will be listened to with understanding and respect and they will be acted on. To achieve this all staff members must be sensitive to issues which may affect their safety or welfare
The policy aims to examine the implications of child protection guidelines on existing policies and procedures and to create new procedures for areas of school life where child protection issues might arise.
The guidelines are laid out as follows:
1.0 Appointment of a Designated Liaison Person
2.0 Roles, Responsibilities and Guidelines
2.1 Role of the Board of Management
2.2 Role of the Staff Members (Teachers, SNAs, Caretaker, Secretary)
2.2 Role of the Designated Liaison Person (DLP)
3.0 Child Protection Meetings/Case Conferences
3.1 Organisational Implications
4.0 Curriculum Implications
1.0 APPOINTMENT OF A DESIGNATED LIAISON PERSON (DLP)
1.a Patricia Keely has been appointed by the Board of Management as designated Liason Person ( DLP) to have specific responsibility for child protection.
1.b The Board of Management has appointed Geraldine Rafferty as Deputy DLP to take the place of the DLP if she is unavailable for whatever reason.
1.c At the first meeting of each new Board, members will be informed of the position of DLP and its implications.
2.0 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
2.2 Role of the Designated Liaison Person (DLP)
On receiving a report of suspicions of child abuse or reports of a disclosure the DLP will proceed according to the guidelines. In the first instance general advice may be sought from the duty social worker in relation to the circumstances without identifying the family involved. Wherever possible the DLP will inform parents /guardians when a report is to be made.
2.3 Role of the Staff Member (to include Teachers, SNAs, Caretaker, Secretary etc.)
All staff members have a general duty of care to ensure that arrangements are in place to protect children from harm.
Chapter 2 Definition & Recognition of Child Abuse
Chapter 3 Basis for Reporting Concerns & Standard Reporting Procedure
Appendix 1 Signs and Symptoms Of Child Abuse
All staff will be vigilant in their dealings with children. Ancillary staff members, who have concerns in relation to the welfare of a child, will convey their concerns to the DLP.
Teaching staff will maintain a secure record of all information, incidents, interview notes etc. pertaining to a child about whom they have concerns. Where suspicions are aroused or a disclosure is made the DLP should be informed immediately.
5.0 CHILD PROTECTION MEETINGS/CASE CONFERENCES
Where a school employee is summoned to a case conference she will proceed as per the guidelines. (See p. 33-34 Child Protection: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2011.).
6.0 ORGANISATIONAL IMPLICATIONS
A copy of the school’s child protection policy which includes the names of the DLP and the Deputy DLP shall be made available to all school personnel and the Parents Association and will be readily accessible to parents on request. The name of the DLP will be displayed in the school hall near the front entrance. At each Board of Management meeting the principal’s report shall include the number of cases where the HSE has been consulted and this shall be recorded in the minutes of the board meeting,
While every precaution will be taken under our ‘Health and Safety Policy’ to ensure the safety of children, we realise that accidents will happen. Accidents will be noted in our Incident Book and will be addressed under our accident procedures as part of Health and Safety.
The current system for tracking attendances gives accurate information in respect of attendance patterns. Staff will use this information, collected for the completion of Education Welfare Returns, in conjunction with other information to inform their decision making in relation to suspicions of child abuse. Particular attention should be paid to absences marked in the “other” category particularly where notes are not supplied.
Code of Behaviour/Anti-Bullying:
The school’s Code of Behaviour will identify children who have difficulty around punctuality, uniform, homework, etc. These are often indicators of other problems. Our Anti-bullying Policy is strongly supported by our Contract for Belonging and our Policy on Yard Supervision and records of investigations into cases of bullying can be reviewed where there are child protection concerns.
Induction of Teachers and Ancillary Staff
The content of this policy will be brought to the attention of all staff members at the beginning of each school year. All new staff members will be given copies of this policy and will be made aware of the relevant sections of the Child Protection Guidelines.
Induction of Pupils
On enrolment all parents/guardians are informed of the existence of this policy and it is available for inspection in the school. They are also informed that RSE is taught as part of the SPHE programme and that the Stay Safe Programme is also used. Any parents/guardians who have queries on these matters are invited to contact the school.
Transportation of Children
For after school activities parents are asked to arrange transport to and from these activities for their own children.
Should a child need to be collected from school for any reason contact will be made with the people listed on the ‘contacts form’ who will arrange for the child to be signed out and collected. In exceptional circumstances, where it may be necessary to carry a child in a staff member’s car, contact will first be made with parents/guardians.
For curriculum related activities, where it is necessary to carry a group of children in a staff member’s car or a parent’s car, parental consent will be sought and no child will be carried alone in the car. We recommend that parents check with their own insurance company if they are covered to carry children on school related activities. Children who travel to school related activities in parent or staff cars must be insured in the ‘Brennan’s Personal Accident Insurance for School Students Scheme’.
As part of Parent Teacher relationships an individual pupil profile is kept by each teacher. This profile should record all serious accidents and injuries as well as all important communication with parents, difficulties being experienced and actions being taken. This information, in conjunction with information gathered in relation to attendance, behaviour, bullying investigations etc. will be examined if there are concerns in relation to child welfare. Where a report is made all relevant material is kept in a confidential file which identifies the child by her registration number. These files are stored in Confidential Records and are retained indefinitely
Volunteers will be required to fill a Garda vetting form which will be processed through C.P.S.M.A. All volunteers who give their services in the school are required to sign an undertaking that they accept the school’s policy with regard to this area. This policy clearly states that volunteers should not be involved physically with the children in any way. First Aid, toileting problems, dressing and undressing for swimming will be dealt with by school staff, according to school procedures.
The implications of this policy in relation to children with special needs will be assessed on an individual basis according to the nature of the special needs. Procedures will be agreed between school and parents and all staff instructed accordingly.
One to one Teaching
In general support teaching will be ‘in class’ or in small groups. Should the occasion arise where ‘one to one’ teaching is necessary, staff will endeavour to make the teaching environment as visible and as accessible as possible
If a child has a toileting accident parents will be notified. If a parent is not available to assist the child the school will provide a change of clothes for the child to change themselves.
Supervision of Swimming
Supervision of dressing rooms will be undertaken by at least one staff member and one other adult. Children travel to swimming lessons by bus.
Our supervision policy aims to identify children who are experiencing difficulty in their lives. While supervising, staff members are looking for signs of poor socialisation, aggressive behaviour, bullying, victimisation etc.
7.0 CURRICULUM IMPLICATIONS
The following areas of the curriculum will, it is hoped, help to identify children and families at risk.
The ‘Stay Safe Programme’ will be fully implemented.
SPHE (including RSE and Stay Safe)
Oral Language Activities
It would be the hope of the school authorities that problems identified early can be dealt with in a co-operative manner and additional supports accessed as required.
The Child Protection Guidelines were adopted as policy a number of years ago. Following a 2-day seminar in May 2006, attended by the DLP, this policy was drafted. It serves to clarify the implications of the Guidelines in the day-to-day activities of the school.
This policy was reviewed with the assistance of a member of the P.D.S.T. team in May 2010.
The provisions of the policy are already in place.
The school must undertake an annual review of this policy and its implementation by the school according to Circular 0065/2011. The circular checklist will be used for this purpose. Written notification, that the review has been undertaken shall be provided to the Parent’s Association. A record of the review and its outcome shall be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.
The review will be initiated by the D..LP. and in consultation with staff and B.O.M. the policy will be reviewed at the first meeting of the Board of Management in each school year.