POLICIES
-Child Protection Policy

Child Protection Policy
 

Reviewed September 2016

The Board of Management 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 of Realt na Mara BNS has agreed the following child protection policy:


1. 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.

2. The Designated Liaison Person (DLP) is An t‐Uasal Seán Ó Conghaile (Principal)
3. The Deputy Designated Liaison Person (Deputy DLP) is Mrs Jacinta Duffy( Deputy Principal)


The name of the DLP is on display in the foyer of the school.
4. In its policies, practices and activities, Bunscoil Buachaillí Réalt na Mara 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.

The school will also adhere to the above principles in relation to any adult pupil with a special vulnerability. Bunscoil Buachaillí Réalt na Mara 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 while in the school. The Board of Management of Bunscoil Buachaillí Réalt na Mara has adopted the “Children First" Guidelines of the Department of Health & Children 1999 and the "Child Protection" Procedures of the Department ofEducation & Science 2001.

Designated Liaison Person (DLP)
The DLP has specific responsibility for child protection and will represent the school in all dealings with Health Boards, An Garda Síochána and other parties in connection with allegations of abuse. All matters pertaining to the processing or investigation of child abuse should be processed through the DLP. In the absence of the designated Liaison
Person the Deputy Principal will take over this role

Guidelines for Recognition of Child Abuse
All signs and symptoms must be examined in the total context of the child's situation and family circumstances. There are commonly three stages in the identification of child abuse.


These are: ‐
 Considering the possibility
 Looking out for signs of abuse
 Recording of information

Handling Disclosures from Children
When information is offered in confidence the member of staff will need to act with sensitivity in responding to the disclosure. The member of staff will need to reassure the child, and retain his/her trust, while explaining the need for action and the possible consequences, which will necessarily involve other adults being informed. It is important to tell the child that everything possible will be done to protect and support him/her but not to make promises that cannot be kept e.g. promising not to tell anyone else. The welfare of the child is regarded as the first and paramount consideration. In so
far as is practicable, due consideration will be given, having regard to age and understanding, the wishes of the child.
The following advice is offered to school personnel to whom a child makes a disclosure of abuse.

Remain calm.

Listen to the child with sensitivity and openness.
Take all disclosures seriously
Do not ask leading questions or make suggestions to the child
Offer reassurance but do not make promises.
Do not stop a child recalling significant events
Do not over react
Explain that further help may have to be sought
Record the discussion accurately and retain the record of dates, times, names, locations, context and factual details of conversation.

This information should then be passed onto the DLP and a record will be retained in the school. If the reporting person or member of the school staff and the DLP is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the suspicion/allegation, the procedures for reporting as laid out in 'Children First' – Section 4.4 pg 38 (Appendix 10) will be adhered to.
The Chairperson of the Board of Management will be informed before the DLP makes contact with the relevant authorities unless the situation demands that more immediate action to be taken for the safety of the child in which case the Chairman may be informed after the report has been submitted.
 

Any Professional who suspects child abuse should inform parents/carers if a report is to be submitted to the Health Board or An Garda Síochána unless doing so is likely to endanger the child. In cases of emergency, where a child appears to be at immediate and serious risk, and a duty social worker is unavailable, an Garda Siochána should be contacted. Under no
circumstances should a child be left in a dangerous situation pending Health Board intervention.

ORGANISATIONAL IMPLICATIONS

Child Protection Procedures for Primary and PostPrimary Schools are available on http://www.pdst.ie/sites/default/files/CP_procedures_primary_post_primary_2011_0.pdf

Our most up to date Child Protection Policy must be openly displayed in each classroom.

Supervision Every effort will be made to ensure that there is comprehensive supervision of children throughout the school day. A roster of staff on duty will be drawn up and displayed in the principal’s office, and also in the staffroom. Teachers will ensure that the children are visible in the schoolyard. Children will not leave the schoolyard or engage with adults outside of the schoolyard.

Visitors All unscheduled visitors to the school are expected to report the reception on arrival. Staff on yard duty will be aware of visitors entering the schoolyard and direct them to the school reception. The drop‐off/pick‐up of children throughout the teaching day will be processed through the school reception.

Bullying Bullying behaviour will be addressed under our Anti‐Bullying Policy. If the behaviour involved is of a sexualised nature or regarded as being particularly abusive, the matter will be referred to the DLP.

Behaviour Children are to be encouraged at all times to play co‐operatively and to show respect for themselves and others.

Toilets It is school policy that only one child is permitted to enter the toilet area at a time. Children from Junior Infants to Third Class who need to use the toilet during yard time must seek the permission of the teacher on yard. During yard time, the toilet area closest to the yard will be used.

If a teacher notice that a child has a wetting accident during the school day, parents will be notified.

It is school policy to call a Parent/Guardian if a child soils themselves in school and requires intimate care. In the unlikely event of failing to make contact staff will follow the procedures as for (1) above. All accidents of this nature will be reported to Parents/Guardians.

Staff Cars In rare instances where a staff car must be used to transport a child, children will never be taken alone. Staff will not assist in the dressing of the child.

School Tours/Trips School staff accompanying children on school tours/trips (including after school sporting events) will deliver a duty of care commensurate with the trip/venue. The higher the risk factor the higher the number of
teachers/responsible adults involved. As per School Tour Policy, hired buses/vehicles must provide safe transportation and a functioning seatbelt for every child/adult.

Swimming Lessons


In line with the policy of our local swimming pool, parents who need to assist their children in changing before/after a lesson will be required to be identified by a member of the school staff to the swimming pool staff and must sign in before entering the changing area.


Parents who assist their children in dressing will use the individual cubicles in the pool, not the group changing room.
Lead teacher must identify the parent to the swimming staff in advance of each lesson. Teachers will not assist in the dressing of children before or after the swimming lesson

Attendance School attendance is monitored carefully.. The NEWB will be informed of any concerns relating to a child’s attendance. Children who miss 20 days or more will be reported to the NEWB in accordance with legislation.

One to One Teaching Parents will be made aware when one‐to‐one teaching is in the best interests of the child. Written consent is required for all one‐to‐one teaching. Where possible, children in Learning Support/Resource will be taught in small groups. The door to the room will be left open if a teacher is alone with a child, or the teacher will not be visible through the glass panel of the door. No member of school staff will ever be alone with a child where the room door is closed, or the teacher is not visible through the glass panel of the door.

Intimate Care If any child in our school requires intimate care the procedures involved with such care will be agreed in consultation with the pupil, their Parents/Guardians and any other personnel involved in the care of the pupil. This is in keeping with best practice, keeps the best interests of the child to the fore and maintains the child’s personal dignity. Such procedures, when agreed will be communicated to all parties involved and recorded.

Stay Safe Programme:
The Stay Safe Programme is taught throughout the school from Senior Infants to Sixth Class inclusively. The main objectives are:


 To help the child identity feelings that are safe and unsafe
 To help the child deal with common unsafe situations
 To help the child with the process of making and keeping friends
 To help the child understand and deal with bullying
 The central message for the child in unsafe situations is to say “No” Move away and tell.


The following policies and procedures bear particular relevance to our Child Protection policy. They have been put in place by the staff of Realt na Mara BNS, in conjunction with parent representatives, and have been ratified by our Board of Management:


 Administration of Medication Policy
 Anti Bullying Policy
 Code of Behaviour
 Critical Incident policy
 Data Protection policy
 Health & Safety statement, including assessment and procedures
 Internet Acceptable Usage Policy
 Work Experience Policy

Duties of the Board of Management
Review Child Protection Policy annually
Formally adopt the child protection policy in accordance with the “Child
Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools”
Ensure that every employee of Bunscoil Buachaillí Réalt na Mara has “Child
Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools” available to them. 

Has arrangements in place to communicate the school`s child protection policy to new school personnel. This will be in the form of a hardcopy of the schools

Child Protection Policy and also one by email to each new member of staff. 

Ensure that there is a copy of the Child Protection Policy on clear display in each classroom.
Ensure that in relation to the reporting of any cases involving the protection of children from the school, that correct child protection procedures are followed in the reporting of such matters to the HSE/An Garda Síochána
Ensure that such matters are appropriately recorded in the Board minutes.
Ensure that the Parents` Association has been provided with a copy of the school`s protection policy.
Ensure that correct procedure is followed, as outlined below, in the case of allegations being made against a school employee.

Allegations Against School Employees
The most important consideration for the Chairperson, Board of Management or the DLP is the safety and protection of the child. However, employees also have a right to protection against claims which are false or malicious.
As employers, the Board of Management should always seek legal advice as the circumstances can vary from one case to another.


There are two procedures to be followed:
i. The reporting Procedure
ii. The Procedure for dealing with the Employee.
The DLP has responsibility for reporting the matter to the Health Board. The Chairperson, Board of Management has responsibility, acting in consultation with his/her Board, for addressing the employment issues. If the allegation is against the DLP, the Chairperson of the Board of Management will assume the responsibility for reporting the matter to the Health Board.

Reporting


When an allegation of abuse is made against a school employee, the DLP should immediately act in accordance with the procedures outlined in “Child Protection.”
A written statement of the allegation should be sought from the person/agency making the report. The DLP should always inform the Chairperson of the Board of Management.


School employees, other than the DLP who receive allegations against another school employee, should immediately report the matter to the DLP. School employees who form suspicions regarding conduct of another school employee should consult with the DLP. The procedures outlined in will then be followed.


The chairperson of the Board and DLP should make the employee aware privately
a) That an allegation has been made against him/her
b) The nature of the allegation
c) Whether or not the Health Board or Gardaí has been/will be/must be/should be informed.

The employee should be given a copy of the written allegation and any other relevant documentation. The employee should be requested to respond to the allegation in writing to the Board of Management within a specified period and told that this may be passed to the Gardaí, Health Board, and legal advisers.
 

The priority in all cases is that no child be exposed to unnecessary risk. Therefore, as a matter of urgency, the Chairperson should take any necessary protective measures. These measure should be proportionate to the level of risk and should not unreasonably penalise the employee in any way unless to protect the child. If the nature of the allegations warrant immediate action in the Chairperson’s opinion, the Board of Management should be convened to consider the matter. The Board will consider feedback if any has been received from the Health Board, Gardai or relevant source. This may result in the Board of Management directing that the employee absent him/herself from the school forthwith while the matter is being investigated (Administrative Leave). When the Board of Management is unsure as to whether this should occur, advice should be sought from the Gardaí and/or the Child Care Manager of the Health Board and the legal advisers to the Board of Management.

Administrative Leave


Should the Board of Management direct that the employee absent him/herself as above, such absence of the employee would be regarded as administrative leave of absence with pay and not suspension and would not imply any degree of guilt. The DES should be immediately informed.

Board of Management
The Chairperson should inform the Board of Management of all the details and remind the members of their serious responsibility to maintain strict confidentiality on all matters relating to the issue and the principles of due process and natural justice.
 

This policy has been made available to school personnel and the Parents’ Association and is readily accessible to parents on request and on the school website. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.
 

This policy will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year. This current policy has been subject to review by school management, parent representatives, BOM representatives and staff of Bunscoil Buachaillí Réalt na Mara in September 2016 and will be reviewed again in the first term of the 2017 school year.


This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on _________________


Signed: _________________________ (Chairman BOM) Date:________________


Signed: __________________________(Principal) Date:


Date of next review:_______________________________

Ratified by Board of Management on __________________  Date


Signed __________________________________________


Chairperson, Board of Management