The school staff drafted the child protection policy in September 2007. The policy was ratified in October 2007 by the Board of Management having consulted with the parents association. Our school strategic plan 2010-2012 has prioritised the child protection policy for review in 2011.
This policy is an outline of how Holy Trinity NS proposes to implement the Child Protection Policy Guidelines issued by the Department of Education and Skills as well as the ‘Children First Guidelines. We propose to implement these guidelines in order to ensure the protection and welfare of all children attending our school.
Relationship to Characteristic Spirit of the school
Holy Trinity National School strives to help the children to grow and develop into healthy, confident, mature adults, capable of realising their full potential as human beings. 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.
The Guidelines are laid out as follows;
Appointment of a Designated Liaison Person (DLP)
Roles and Responsibilities
Role of the Board of Management
Specifically the board of management will
Procedures for BOM in cases of allegations or suspicions of child abuse by a school employee:
In the event of receiving a complaint or suspicions re an employee:
At this meeting
Role of the Staff Member (to include Teachers, SNA’s, Caretaker, Secretary etc.)
Guidelines for teachers and staff members in handling:
Where a child discloses alleged abuse to staff member, the person receiving that information should listen carefully and supportively. Great care must be taken not to abuse the child’s trust. This should not be a formal interview. The following Advice is offered:
- Listen to the child.
- Do not ask leading questions or make suggestions to the child.
- Offer reassurances but do not make promises.
- Do not stop a child recalling significant events.
- Do not over react
- Confidentiality should not be assured – explain that further help may have to be sought.
- Record the discussion accurately noting:
Suspicion of Abuse
Staff members who suspect abuse should refer to Children First Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children, especially Chapter 3: Definition and Recognition of Child Abuse. Chapter 4. Basis for Reporting & Standard Reporting Procedures. & Appendix 1. Signs and Symptoms of Child Abuse.
Staff members should observe and record over time the dates/ signs/ symptoms/ behaviour causing them concern. They should inform the DLP and pass on all records.
Role of DLP
The DLP acts as a liaison with outside agencies, HSE, Gardaí and other parties with child protection concerns.
The DLP will inform all school personnel of the availability of the Children First Guidelines in the school. He will photocopy and circulate to all staff Chapter 3, & 4 & Appendix 1. Of these guidelines and advise on good practice.
The DLP will be available to staff for consultation regarding suspicions or disclosures of abuse. He will keep records of these consultations. The DLP will seek advice from the HSE. The DLP will report suspicions and allegations of child abuse to the HSE and/or Gardaí Síochána based on this advice. The DLP will maintain proper records in a secure confidential manner and in a secure location. The DLP will keep up to date and briefed on current developments regarding child protection.
Guidelines for DLP in handling reported concerns and disclosures. Where the DLP /DDLP have concerns about a child, but are not sure whether to report the matter to the Health Board, they should seek appropriate advice. To do this the DLP/ DDLP should make informal contact with the assigned on duty social worker.
The DLP/DDLP in this case should be explicit that he is requesting advice and not making a report. If advised to report the matter, the DLP will act on this advice. A report will then be made to the Health Board by the DLP/ DDLP in person, by telephone or in writing.
In the event of an emergency or non-availability of HSE personnel, the report should be made to the Gardaí. The DLP should also report to the chairperson of the BoM, who should then follow the procedures in Chapter 4 ( section 4.3) of Children First Guidelines.
A standard reporting form is completed by the DLP/DDLP as comprehensively as possible.
Parents / guardians will normally be informed that a report is being made. It may be decided that informing the parent/ carer is likely to endanger the child or place the child at further risk. The decision not to inform the parent/ carer should be briefly recorded together with the reasons for not doing so.
When the allegation is against the DLP, the chairperson then assumes responsibility of reporting the matter to the HSE and filling in the standard reporting form.
Where there are allegations or suspicions of Peer Abuse the DLP will follow the same procedures.
Parents of all parties will be notified and the DLP will inform the chairperson.
Principal and class teachers will make arrangements to meet with all parents to resolve the matter.
The school will make arrangements to minimise the possibility of the abusive behaviour recurring.
Child Protection Meetings ( Case Conferences)
A request is made from the HSE through the DLP who should consult with the chairperson of the BoM of the school. The chairperson may seek clarification through the DLP as to why the attendances of the school employee is necessary and ascertain who else will be present. The school employee will be advised if children/ parents/ guardians are going to be present. The school employee may contact the chairperson of the Child Protection Meeting for advice.
The school employee may keep a child’s behaviour under close observation, if requested to do so. This may include observing the child’s behaviour, peer interactions, school progress or informal conversations.
In all cases, individuals who refer or discuss their concerns about the care and protection of children with the HSE staff, should be informed of the likely steps to be taken by the professionals involved. Where appropriate and within the normal limits of confidentiality, reporting staff will be kept informed about the outcomes of any enquiry or investigation following on from their report. Teachers attending a child protection meeting should familiarise themselves with protocol outlines on pgs 149-155 of Children First Guidelines.
School procedures already in place and the new procedures being put in place will be examined with reference to the Children First Guidelines and any Child Protection issues that may arise will be addressed.
The following policies have been addressed in this review;
- Supervision Policy
- Behaviour Policy
- Anti Bullying
- Induction Communication
- Record Keeping.
School supervision policy will be followed by all staff to ensure that there is comprehensive supervision of children at all breaks. The supervision roster is displayed in staffroom and in office.
Children are to be encouraged at all times to play cooperatively and inappropriate behaviour will be addressed under the Code of Behaviour. If an incident occurs which we consider to be of a sexualised nature we will notify the DLP who will record it and respond to it appropriately.
Visibility and Security
Teachers on supervision duty will be aware of any visitors entering the school yard and will ascertain their intentions. They will be supervised in the discharge of their business. Children will be at all times visible to teacher on duty.
If a child needs to use the toilet during yard-break, two buddies are assigned to bring the child into classroom and back to yard.
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, then the matter will be referred to the DLP.
Children will be brought by bus to the swimming pool. Children will be the responsibility of teaching staff and assisted by snas. Any accident should be noted in the accident report book. Teachers should not enter the changing room area, except in the event of a serious incident or accident. Any staff member must never be alone with a child in the changing area.
Induction of New Staff.
The DLP will be responsible for informing all new staff of the Children First Guidelines. All new teachers are expected to teach the objectives in the SPHE programme. The principal is responsible for the mentoring of new teachers and will be responsible for supporting new teachers as they implement the SPHE objectives. The principal is also responsible for ensuring that new teachers of all record keeping procedures within the school.
Induction of Pupils.
All parents are made aware of attendance rules and their implications as laid down in the Education Welfare Act(2000).
All parents will be informed of the programmes in place in the school that deal with personal safety and personal development. Parents are made aware at the beginning of each year at induction meeting, how to contact the school if there are absences or concerns of an educational/ personal/ family matter. Parents are encouraged to make an appointment with the class teacher/ principal if they wish to discuss their child’s progress. All parents are given a copy of the school’s Code of Behaviour and Anti-Bullying policies.
Every effort will be made to enhance pupil-teacher communication. If pupils have concerns they will be listened to sympathetically. The SPHE/ Oral English/ RE programmes allow for open pupil/teacher communication which is hoped will aid the pupil teacher relationship. If teachers have to communicate with pupils on a one-to-one basis, they will always leave the classroom door open.
Our school attendance will be monitored closely. With regards to child protection we will pay particular attention to trends in non-attendance. We will also monitor non-attendance in correlation with signs of neglect/ physical/ emotional/ sexual abuse.
In Holy Trinity NS all children will be cherished and in fulfilling the general aims of the Primary School Curriculum.
In endeavouring to realise these aims we will create a positive school climate which is open, inclusive, respectful, fair and tolerant and which seeks to support the holistic development of all children and all adults working with our children. The strategies we will use to create this environment are detailed in our SPHE plan and will involve:
- Creating a health-promoting physical environment
- Enhancing self-esteem
-Fostering respect for diversity
- Building effective communication within the school
- Developing appropriate home-school communication
- Catering for individual needs
- Fostering inclusive and respectful language.
We strive to ensure that our school will be physically and emotionally safe and we will deliver the curricular content of our SPHE programme with a view to giving our children the protective skills of self-esteem and assertiveness. The circle-time methodology will be used on a whole school basis. Our anti-bullying policy operates on the ‘restorative process. ’Cooperative interpersonal skills will be developed through working in pairs and working in groups. Older children will be encouraged to work positively with conflict and negotiation and consensus building skills developed.
We will evaluate the success of this policy using the following criteria:
Delivery and participation by all staff in training.
Delivery of the SPHE Curriculum Resources to support the delivery of SPHE
Delivery and participation by children in the Stay Safe programme
Assessment of the procedures by participants following a child protection case.
Feedback from all staff.
Timeframe for implementation.
These procedures will be discussed with the parent association and will be implemented following ratification by the BoM
Timeframe for Review
At the first staff meeting every year, the DLP will remind all teacher and ancillary staff of the guidelines and copies of Chapter 3 & 4 & Appendix 1 will be given to those who require them. A review will be conducted based on the criteria above, following any an all incidents when the guidelines are used.
Responsibility for Review
Ratification and Communication.
This policy was ratified by the Board of Management on ____________ 2010.Parents were notified of its existence and were invited to look and comment on the policy, which is displayed on the Parent Noticeboard on October 1st 2010.
Junior & Senior Infants SPHE and Stay Safe Programme
Myself and Others Myself and the Wider World
Holy Trinity National School Social Personal and Health Education and Stay Safe Programme
First & Second Class.
Myself Myself and Others Myself and the Wider World Identifying ‘yes’ and ‘no’ feelings Touches I like/ dislike Unsafe Touches and inappropriate touches Touches and Secrecy If someone makes me feel unsafe, it’s not my fault
Friendship Bullying Safety Rules The Rule is never bully anyone- being considerate What to do if others are being bullied My Helpers- adults I can trust telling
Strangers- Who are they? The rules about strangersOther Safety Rules Answering the Door and Telephone How to make a telephone Call
Social, Personal and Health Education & Stay Safe Programme
Third and Fourth Class
The following core Stay Safe concepts are incorporated into the SPHE programme.
Myself & Others Myself & the Wider World Feelings and Emotions with specific reference to safety. My Right to Privacy- personal boundaries. Unsafe Touches, Inappropriate touches. My Right to be safe- If someone touches me in a way that makes me feel unsafe it is not my fault Treating Others with Respect- their right to privacy What to do about Bullying. Telling – Asking for Help- Who? When? Where? How? Safety Strategies to deal with Unsafe or inappropriate touches. At Home Alone _ Answering door/ telephone.How to contact emergency services.Rules for being out and aboutRules if in a large gathering. Strangers –Safety Strategies
Threats and Bribes and what to do
Social, Personal and Health Education & Stay Safe Programme
Fifth & Sixth Class
The following core Stay Safe concepts are incopporated into the SPHE programme
Myself Myself & Others Myself & the wider world My feelings if I don’t feel safe I can…My right and that of others to personal boundaries and body space. My Safety Strategies
Friends and different groups Making and Changing Friends- Friends confiding in one-another Bullying understanding and dealing with it as the injured party, the onlooker, the perpetrator. Difficult secrets- It is ok to ask for help.
Choosing the appropriate time to talk, the best person to help.
Dilemmas about telling- feeling culpable, won’t be believed, it’s disloyal, adults not listening, telling and nothing happens.