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Child Protection

Child Protection Policy & Safety Statement 2019-20

This document is formulated in response to recent changes in Guidance and Procedures in relation to Child Protection matters and takes account of the provisions of each of the following important pieces of legislation:

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    • Freedom of Information Act 1997
    • The Education Act 1998
    • The Child Welfare Act 2000
    • Children First – National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017
    • Children First Act 2017.

    The new procedures are based on the recently published Children First – National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017.

    References

    • Children First’ (Department of Children and Youth Affairs 2011)
    • Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools (Department of Education and Skills 2011)

    The Board of Management (BoM) recognises that child protection and welfare considerations permeate all aspects of school life and must be reflected in each school policy, school 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 BoM of St. Colman’s N.S has approved this Child Protection Policy.

    The BoM has adopted and will fully implement without modification the Department of Education and Skills Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2011.  These procedures will therefore underpin the content of this policy.

    The following key personnel, who are Mandated Persons under the Children First Act 2015  have been identified and ratified by the BoM:

    The Designated Mandated Liaison Person (DLP) is Mr. Niall Kinnarney.

    The Deputy Designated Mandated Liaison Person (Deputy DLP) is Mrs Maria Geraghty.

    In its policies, practices and activities, St. Colman’s N.S will adhere to the following principles of best practice in Child Protection and Welfare. Our school recognises that the protection and welfare of children is of paramount importance, regardless of all other considerations and will therefore;

    • 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
    • Adhere to the above principles in relation to any adult pupil with a special vulnerability

    Specific policies named hereunder are key elements of this overall document and must be referred to in the context of this policy:

    • Attendance
    • Enrolment
    • Code of Behaviour
    • Bullying
    • Health & Safety
    • Record Keeping
    • ICT
    • Supervision
    • Special Ed
    • Induction of Staff
    • Tours/Trips
    • Critical Incidents

    This policy will also be considered with reference to the participation by pupils in sporting activities, other extra-curricular activities and school outings. Other practices and activities, where child protection might have particular relevance, will consider the procedures outlined within this policy.  The Board has ensured that the necessary policies, protocols or practices as appropriate are in place in respect of each of the above listed items.

    This policy is available to all school personnel and the Parent Association and is readily accessible to parents on request. It is also available in hard copy in each classroom.  A copy of this policy is available for the attention of the DES and the patron if requested.

     

    Designated Liaison Person (DLP)

    In St. Colman’s N.S, the Principal, appointed by the BoM, is the DLP. Mrs Maria Geraghty acts as Deputy DLP. Both teachers will undertake Child Protection & Welfare training from Tusla.

    Tusla provides training to the whole school community (staff, parents and Boards of Management) on the stay Safe Programme and issues of child protection and welfare.

    The DLP has specific responsibility for Child Protection Procedures and will represent the school in all correspondence with Tusla, An Garda Siochana and other parties in connection with allegations of abuse. All matters pertaining to child abuse concerns should be processed through the DLP (DES Procedures 3:2)

    The DLP acts appropriately where there are reasonable grounds for suspicion or where an allegation has been made.

    Definition and Recognition of Child Abuse

    Child abuse can be categorised into four different types:

    • Neglect
    • Emotional abuse
    • Physical abuse
    • Sexual abuse

    Each of these categories is defined in full in ‘Children First’ (Dept. of Children & Youth Affairs Chapter 2).

     

    Neglect can be defined in terms of an omission, where the child suffers significant harm or impairment of development by being deprived of food, clothing, warmth, hygiene, intellectual stimulation, supervision and safety, attachment to and affection from adults, medical care.

    Guidelines for Recognition of Child Abuse

    A list of child neglect indicators is contained in Chapter 2:2 of Children First. This policy draws particular attention to ‘persistent evidence’ of neglect, including indicators such as no lunch, lack of uniform, no homework, poor attendance, persistent health problems, lack of sleep indicating inappropriate television viewing late at night and other evidence that would indicate lack of supervision in the home. 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:

    1. Considering the possibility
    2. Looking out for signs of abuse
    3. Recording of information

    Each of these stages is developed in ‘Children First’ (2:2)

    Handling Disclosures from Children

    (DES Procedures 3:5) gives comprehensive details of how disclosures should be approached. Staffs are advised to deal with each situation sensitively, reassure the child but not to make promises that cannot be fulfilled.  The adult should not ask leading questions or make suggestions. They should explain that further help may have to be sought. The discussion should then be recorded accurately.

    The record should include reference to what was observed with sketches of physical injury where necessary. It should also record when the alleged incident took place. Records should be kept in a secure place. The information should then be conveyed to the school DLP.

    If the reporting person and the DLP are satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the suspicion/allegation, the procedures outlined in ‘Children First’ must be adhered to. Standardised reporting forms should be used (DES Procedures Appendix 4). The content of the report should follow the guidelines in ‘Children First’.

    Recognising Child Protection & Welfare Concerns:

    • All staff and volunteers have a responsibility to safeguard children and to report child protection and welfare concerns in line with this policy.
    • Any reasonable concern or suspicion of abuse or neglect must elicit a response.  Ignoring the signals or failing to intervene may result in ongoing or further harm to the child.
    • All staff and volunteers should be familiar with the definitions of abuse as outlined in Children First, National Guidance, 2017 (see appendix 1).
    • Under the Children First Act 2015 Mandated Persons have a statutory obligation to report concerns which reach a particular threshold (as defined in Section 2 of the Children First Act 2015) to Tusla.  Mandated Persons should be familiar with the threshold of harm for each form of abuse as outlined in Children First, National Guidance 2017.  (See Appendix 2 & 3).
    • All child protection concerns should be brought to the attention of the DLP without delay.

     

    Reasonable Grounds for Concern:

    Children First: National Guidance, 2017 states that “Tusla should always be informed when a person has reasonable grounds for concern that a child may have been, is being or is at risk of being abused or neglected.  (Pg. 6).

    Reasonable grounds for a child protection or welfare concern include:

    • Evidence, for example an injury or behaviour, that is consistent with abuse and is unlikely to have been caused in any other way.
    • Any concern about possible sexual abuse.
    • Consistent signs that a child is suffering from emotional or physical neglect.
    • A child saying or indicating by other means that he/she has been abused.
    • Admission or indication by an adult or a child of an alleged abuse they committed.
    • An account from a person who saw the child being abused.

    All staff and volunteers are expected to bring any child protection concern which meets reasonable grounds for concern to the attention of the DLP and to seek their advise and guidance if unsure.

    Allegations or Suspicions in relation to School Employees (DES Procedures Chapter 5)

    The Chairperson and the DLP are concerned with the protection of the children in their care in the first instance. However, employees must be protected against false and malicious claims. Due process must be observed in relation to allegations against employees.  Legal Advice should be sought by the BoM in relation to an allegation in relation to an employee.  If the allegation is against the DLP, the BoM Chairperson will assume the responsibility for reporting the matter to Tusla.

    Reporting

    When an allegation of abuse is made against a school employee, the DLP should act in accordance with the procedures outlined in Children First and with the reporting procedures as outlined in this policy. A written statement of the allegation should be sought from the person/agency making the report. A parent/guardian may make a statement on behalf of a child.  The DLP should always inform the Chairperson of the BoM and is responsible for liaising with Tusla. The Chairperson assumes responsibility for dealing with the employee.

    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 employee should be informed by the Chairperson (Employer) that:

    1. An allegation has been made against him/her
    2. The nature of the allegation
    3. Whether a mandated or un-mandated report has been submitted to Tusla or Gardaí has been 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 BoM within a specified period and told that this may be passed to the Gardaí, Tusla and legal advisers.

    The Chairperson must take the necessary steps as outlined in this policy to protect the child and may consult the BoM in this matter. The BoM may direct that the employee take administrative leave with pay and avoid suspension, thus removing any implication of guilt.  The DES should be immediately informed.

    Reporting Procedures – all staff and Volunteers (including Mandated Persons);

    All staff and volunteers (including Mandated Persons) should follow the procedures in this section when they have a concern that a child has been, is being, or at risk of being abused, harmed or neglected.  Mandated Persons should also consult Reporting Procedures – Mandated Persons only in this Policy.

    • When a staff member or volunteer (including a Mandated Person) has a child protection or welfare concern they should speak to the Designated Liaison Person for Child Protection (DLP) without delay.  This includes concerns which reach the threshold for a mandated report under the Children First Act 2015.  (See Appendices 2 & 3).
    • The DLP will report the following child protection and welfare concerns using the Child Protection and Welfare Report Form (Available on www.tusla.ie) to Tusla.
    • Child protection and welfare concerns that meet reasonable grounds for concern but do not meet the threshold for mandated reporting.
    • Child protection and welfare concerns that meet reasonable grounds for concern and have been passed to them by persons who are not Mandated Persons.
    • If the DLP is unsure if a child protection concern meets the reasonable grounds for concern they should contact Tusla Duty Social Worker for advise and guidance using the informal consultation process.
    • Under no circumstances should a child be left in a situation that exposes him/her to harm or risk pending intervention from Tusla.  In the event of an emergency and the unavailability of a Tusla Duty Social Worker, the DLP will contact the Garda Síichána.
    Contact Details:
    Duty Social Worker: 057 86 92567
    An Garda Síochána, Tullamore 057 93 21305
    • In addition to a report to Tusla, if there is a criminal or suspected criminal aspect to the child protection concern, An Garda Síochána will be notified by the Mandated Person or DLP as appropriate.
    • The Chairperson of the B.O.M./owner of service will be informed when a report is made to Tusla under this policy.  In accordance with the Confidentiality Policy identifying information about the child and family is only shared with them on a need to know basis.

    Reporting Procedures – Mandated Persons only:

    • Under the Children First Act 2015 Mandated Persons are legally required to report any knowledge, belief or reasonable suspicion that a child has been harmed, is being harmed, or is at risk of being harmed to Tusla. (See Appendix 2.)
    • Mandated Persons should bring any child protection concerns to the attention of the DLP without delay – refer to Reporting Procedures – all staff & Volunteers.
    • If the child protection concern reaches the threshold for harm as defined in the Children First Act 2015 it is a mandated report. (See appendix 2)  The Mandated Person may seek advice and guidance from the DLP in relation to the child protection concern and the threshold of harm.
    • Mandated reports will be made jointly by the Mandated Person (who raised the concern) and the DLP, using the Child Protection and Welfare form (available on tusla.ie)  The form must clearly indicate that the person is a Mandated report.
    • If the child protection concern requires a more urgent intervention to make the child safe, the Children First Act 2015 allows Mandated Persons to alert Tusla of the concern, by telephone or in person, in advance of submitting a written report. The Mandated report must then be submitted to Tusla using the Child Protection and Welfare Report form within 3 days.
    • The statutory obligation of Mandated Persons to report under the Children First Act 2015 must be discharged by the Mandated Person and cannot be discharged by the DLP on their behalf.  Mandated Persons can however, report jointly with another person.
    • Where the Mandated Person or DLP is unsure if the report meets the threshold of harm as outlined in the Children First Act 2015 advice and guidance should be sought through informal consultation with Tusla Duty Social Worker.
    • If a child protection concern does not meet the criteria for a mandated report, it may meet “reasonable grounds for concern” for a report to Tusla and this possibility must be considered. If “reasonable grounds for concern” exist a report to Tusla will be made by the DLP.  For more information on “reasonable grounds” see Reasonable Grounds for Concern in this policy.
    • The Mandated Person may submit the report to Tusla solely, however, the DLP must be informed that the report has been made and be given a copy of the Child Protection and Welfare Report Form.
    • If a child protection concern has come to the attention of a number of Mandated Persons, the report may be submitted jointly by a number of Mandated Persons.
    • Mandated Persons are not required to make a report to Tusla where the sole basis of their knowledge, belief or suspicion of harm is of a result of becoming aware that another Mandated Person has made a report to Tusla.

    Informing Parents about Child Protection and Welfare Concerns:

    • Communication with parents is very important in ensuring best outcomes for children and any concerns about the health & well-being of a child will always be discussed with parents from the outset.
    • Parents will always be informed if a report is to be made to Tusla, by the DLP unless doing so would further endanger the child, impair Tusla’s ability to carry out a risk assessment or put the reporter at risk of harm.  The DLP may seek guidance from the Tusla Duty Social Worker in relation to this.

    Responding to a Retrospective Disclosure from an Adult about abuse as a child:

    • a retrospective disclosure is a disclosure from an adult about abuse that happened while they were a child. It is imperative that all child protection and welfare concerns are examined and addressed when a retrospective disclosure is made.
    • If a staff member or volunteer becomes aware of a retrospective child protection concern they should follow the reporting procedures as outlined in this policy.
    • If any risk is deemed to exist to a child who may be in contact with an alleged abuser, the service should report the concern to Tusla without delay using the Retrospective Abuse Form (available on tusla.ie).

     

     

     

     

    Child Protection Concerns that are not Reported to Tusla:

    If, the DLP decides not to report a concern to Tusla, the following steps will be taken:

    • The reasons for not reporting should be recorded.
    • Any actions taken as a result of the concern should be recorded.
    • The staff member/volunteer who raised the concern should be given a clear written explanation of the reasons why the concern is not being reported to Tusla.
    • The staff member/volunteer should be advised that if they remain concerned about the situation, they are free to make a report to Tusla or an Garda Síochána.

     

    The Protections for Persons Reporting Abuse Act 1998 will apply to any staff member who wishes to make a report to Tusla.

     

    Protection for Persons Reporting Child Abuse

    The protection for persons reporting Child Abuse Act 1998 provides immunity from civil liability to any person who reports a child protection concern ‘reasonably and in good faith’ to designated officers of Tusla or any member of an Garda Siochána (DES Procedures 1:10)

    Qualified Privilege

    People making a report to the DLP in good faith have ‘qualified privilege’ under common law.  Reports made to Tusla may be subject to provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, 1997. This act enables members of the public to obtain access to personal information relating to them which is in the possession of public bodies. However, the act also provides that public bodies may refuse access to information obtained by them in confidence (DES Procedures 1:11)

    Recording Child Protection Concerns:

    • Written records will be kept of all child protection concerns (including those not reported to Tusla) and these will be managed by the DLP.  Information will include:
    • Details of concern,
    • Who raised it,
    • Who was contacted,
    • Details re: informal consultation,
    • Any action taken,
    • Details re: informing parents.

    See Child Protection Concern Record Template Pg. 7.

    • If a child has made a disclosure of abuse, a written record will be made.  If there are other grounds for concern that the child has been abused or neglected, a written record will be made.
    • Records relating to child protection and welfare issues will be kept indefinitely.
    • Records will be stored securely in line with the Service Record Policy and the Childcare Act 1991.  (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016.

     

    Confidentiality

    All information regarding concerns of possible child abuse should only be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis in the interests of the child. The giving of information to those who need to have that information is not a breach of confidentiality. This procedure exists for the protection of a child who may have been or has been abused. The DLP who is submitting a report to Tusla or An Garda Siochána should inform a parent/guardian, unless doing so is likely to endanger the child or place that child at further risk. A decision not to inform a parent/guardian should be briefly recorded together with the reasons for not doing so.

    In emergency situations, where Tusla’s Duty Social Worker cannot be contacted, and the child appears to be at immediate and serious risk, An Garda Siochána should be contacted. A child should not be left in a dangerous situation where Tusla intervention is not forthcoming.

     

    School Measures Taken to Protect the Children in Our Care

    There are a number of areas where common sense in our school should prevail in order to protect the children in the school and the staff who care for them.  In relation to this, certain points should be noted:

    1. St. Colman’s N.S, shall fully implement the Stay Safe programme
    2. A copy of the school’s child protection policy, which includes the names of the Designated Liaison Person (DLP) and Deputy DLP, will be made available to all school personnel and the Parents’ Association and is readily accessible to parents on request
    3. The name of the DLP and other relevant support services are displayed in a prominent position near the main entrance to the school
    4. In addition to informing the school authority of those cases where a report involving a child in the school has been submitted to Tusla, the DLP shall also inform the school authority of cases where the DLP sought advice from the Duty Social worker and as a result of this advice, no report was made. At each BoM meeting, the Principal’s Report shall include the number of all such cases and this shall be recorded in the minutes of the BOM meeting.
    5. St .Colman’s N.S will undertake an annual review of its Child Protection Policy and its implementation by the school. A checklist, to be used in undertaking the review (included at Appendix 1). The school has put in place an action plan to address any areas for improvement which might be identified in the annual review. The Board of Management shall make arrangements to inform school personnel that the review has been undertaken. Written notification that the review has been undertaken shall be provided to the Parent Association. A record of the review and its outcome shall be made available, if requested, to the patron and the DES.
    • Staff who take classes swimming should make sure that there are two adults in attendance at all times. The dressing rooms and pool area should be well supervised
    • Staff should make every effort not be alone in a classroom with one child or detain a child on their own after school. In the case of special needs pupils where resource hours and assistance are sanctioned on an individual basis, it is school policy that staff in such a situation should work with the classroom door open, thus rendering the occupants visible at all times.
    • When possible children should work in groups
    • Children with physical disabilities who may require assistance in toileting will be aided by a Special Needs Assistant who has met the necessary screening requirements when being employed by the school.

    It should be noted that children with disabilities may be more at risk of abuse due to a number of reasons (DES Procedures 2:3).  Parents, teachers and all staff involved in services for children with disabilities need to be familiar with the indicators of abuse and to be alert for signs of abuse.

    Child Safeguarding Statement Cappagh NS

    St.Colman’s N.S. is a primary school providing primary education to pupils from Junior Infants to Sixth Class.

    In accordance with the requirements of the Children First Act 2015, Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017, the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools 2017 and Tusla Guidance on the preparation of Child Safeguarding Statements, the Board of Management of St. Colman’s N.S. Cappagh has agreed the Child Safeguarding Statement set out in this document.

     

    • 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 2017 as part of this overall Child Safeguarding Statement
    • The Designated Liaison Person (DLP) is           Niall Kinnarney
    • The Deputy Designated Liaison Person (Deputy DLP is Maria Geraghty
    • 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, procedures, practices and activities In its policies, procedures, practices and activities, the 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 comply with its statutory obligations under the Children First Act 2015 and other relevant legislation relating to the protection and welfare of children;
    • 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.

    • The following procedures/measures are in place:
    • In relation to any member of staff who is the subject of any investigation (howsoever described) in respect of any act, omission or circumstance in respect of a child attending the school, the school adheres to the relevant procedures set out in Chapter 7 of the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017 and to the relevant agreed disciplinary procedures for school staff which are published on the DES website.
    • In relation to the selection or recruitment of staff and their suitability to work with children, the school adheres to the statutory vetting requirements of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 and to the wider duty of care guidance set out in relevant Garda vetting and recruitment circulars published by the DES and available on the DES website.
    • In relation to the provision of information and, where necessary, instruction and training, to staff in respect of the identification of the occurrence of harm (as defined in the 2015 Act) the school-
    • Has provided each member of staff with a copy of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement
    • Ensures all new staff are provided with a copy of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement
    • Encourages staff to avail of relevant training
    • Encourages Board of Management members to avail of relevant training
    • The Board of Management maintains records of all staff and Board member training
    • In relation to reporting of child protection concerns to Tusla, all school personnel are required to adhere to the procedures set out in the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017, including in the case of registered teachers, those in relation to mandated reporting under the Children First Act 2015.
    • In this school the Board has appointed the abovenamed DLP as the “relevant person” (as defined in the Children First Act 2015) to be the first point of contact in respect of the child safeguarding statement.
    • All registered teachers employed by the school are mandated persons under the Children First Act 2015.
    • In accordance with the Children First Act 2015, the Board has carried out an assessment of any potential for harm to a child while attending the school or participating in school activities. A written assessment setting out the areas of risk identified and the school’s procedures for managing those risks is attached as an appendix to this statement.
    • The various procedures referred to in this Statement can be accessed via the school’s website, the DES website or will be made available on request by the school.

    Note:  The above is not intended as an exhaustive list. Individual Boards of Management shallalso include in this section such other procedures/measures that are of relevance to the school in question.

    • This statement has been published on the school’s website and has been provided to all members of school personnel, the Parents’ Association (if any) and the patron. It is readily accessible to parents and guardians on request. A copy of this Statement will be made available to Tusla and the Department if requested.
    • This Child Safeguarding Statement will be reviewed annually or as soon as practicable after there has been a material change in any matter to which this statement refers.

     

    This Child Safeguarding Statement was adopted by the Board of Management on _________________ [date].

    Signed: _________________________         Signed: ____________________________

    Chairperson of Board of Management             Principal/Secretary to the Board of Management


    Appendix 4: 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. The BoM may wish to include other items in the checklist that are of particular relevance to St.Colman’s NS and reserves the right to do so if/when the need occurs.

    The Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017 require the Board of Management must undertake a review of its Child Safeguarding Statement and that the following checklist shall be used for this purpose. The review must be completed every year or as soon as practicable after there has been a material change in any matter to which the Child Safeguarding Statement refers.  Undertaking an annual review will also ensure that a school also meets its statutory obligation under section 11(8) of the Children First Act 2015, to review its Child Safeguarding Statement every two years.

    The checklist is designed as an aid to conducting this review and is not intended as an exhaustive list of the issues to be considered. Individual Boards of Management shall include other items in the checklist that are of relevance to the school in question.

    As part of the overall review process, Boards of Management should also assess relevant school policies, procedures, 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 Safeguarding Statement, the Children First Act 2015 and the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017.

     

     

    Yes/No
    1. Has the Board formally adopted a Child Safeguarding Statement in accordance with the ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools 2017’?
    1. As part of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement, has the Board formally adopted, without modification, the ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools 2017’’?
    1. Does the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement include a written assessment of risk as required under the Children First Act 2015?
    1. Has the Board reviewed and updated where necessary the written assessment of risk as part of this overall review?
    1. Has the DLP attended available child protection training?
    1. Has the Deputy DLP attended available child protection training?
    1. Have any members of the Board attended child protection training?
    1. Are there both a DLP and a Deputy DLP currently appointed?
    1. Are the relevant contact details (Tusla and An Garda Síochána) to hand?
    1. Has the Board arrangements in place to communicate the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement to new school personnel?
    1. 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 2017’ and the Children First Act 2015?
    1. Has the Board received a Principal’s Child Protection Oversight Report at each Board meeting held since the last review was undertaken?
    1. Since the Board’s last review, was the Board informed of any child protection reports made to Tusla/An Garda Síochána by the DLP?
    1. Since the Board’s last review, was the Board informed of any cases where the DLP sought advice from Tusla/and as a result of this advice, no report to the HSE was made?
    1. Since the Board’s last review, was the Board informed of any cases where an allegation of abuse or neglect was made against any member of school personnel?
    1. Has the Board been provided with and reviewed all documents relevant to the Principal’s Child Protection Oversight Report?
    1. Is the Board satisfied that the child protection procedures in relation to the making of reports to Tusla/An Garda Síochána were appropriately followed in each case reviewed?
    1. Is the Board satisfied that, since the last review, all appropriate actions are being or have been taken in respect of any member of school personnel against whom an allegation of abuse or neglect has been made?*
    1. Were child protection matters reported to the Board appropriately recorded in the Board minutes?
    1. Is the Board satisfied that all records relating to child protection are appropriately filed and stored securely?
    1. Has the Board been notified by any parent in relation to that parent not receiving the standard notification required under section 5.6  of the ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools 2017’
    1. In relation to any cases identified at question 21above, has the Board ensured that any notifications required section 5.6 of the ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools 2017’ were subsequently issued by the DLP?
    1. Has the Board ensured that the Parents’ Association (if any), has been provided with the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement?
    1. Has the Board ensured that the patron has been provided with the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement?
    1. Has the Board ensured that the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement is available to parents on request?
    1. Has the Board ensured that the Stay Safe programme is implemented in full in the school? (applies to primary schools)
    1. Has the Board ensured that the Wellbeing Programme for Junior Cycle students is implemented in full in the school? (applies to post- primary schools)
    1. Has the Board ensured that the SPHE curriculum is implemented in full in the school?
    1. Is the Board satisfied that the statutory requirements for Garda Vetting have been met in respect of all school personnel (employees and volunteers)? *
    1. 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?*
    1. 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)?*
    1. Has the Board considered and addressed any complaints or suggestions for improvements regarding the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement?
    1. Has the Board sought the feedback of parents in relation to the school’s compliance with the requirements of the child safeguarding requirements of the ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools 2017’
    1. Has the Board sought the feedback of pupils in relation to the school’s child safeguarding arrangements?
    1. Is the Board satisfied that the ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools 2017’ are being fully and adequately implemented by the school?
    1. Has the Board identified any aspects of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement and/or its implementation that require further improvement?
    1. Has the Board put in place an action plan containing appropriate timelines to address those aspects of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement and/or its implementation that have been identified as requiring further improvement ?
    1. Has the Board ensured that any areas for improvement that that were identified in any previous review of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement have been adequately addressed?

     

     

     

     

    The Board further endorses the Principal, Niall Kinnarney as the school Mandated DLP and Maria Geraghty as Mandated Deputy DLP.

     

    Notification regarding the Board of Management’s review of the Child Safeguarding Statement

     

    To:_____________________________________

    The Board of Management of ____________________ wishes to inform you that:

    • The Board of Management’s annual review of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement was completed at the Board meeting of _______________ [date].
    • This review was conducted in accordance with the “Checklist for Review of the Child Safeguarding Statement” published on the Department’s ‘website www.education.ie

    Signed _____________________________________ Date ________________

    Chairperson, Board of Management

    Signed _____________________________________ Date ________________

    Principal/Secretary to the Board of Management 

      

    APPENDIX A

    Child Protection Practices

    The staff and BoM of this school have identified the following as areas of specific concern in relation to Child Protection. Following discussion and consultation, the staff and BoM have agreed that the following practices be adopted:

    • 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 its 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.

    School personnel should never engage in or allow:

    • The use of inappropriate language or behaviours
    • Physical punishment of any kind
    • Sexually provocative games or suggestive comments about or to a child
    • The use of sexually explicit or pornagraphic material

    All media products (CDs, DVDs etc.) should be checked for their appropriateness with regard to age and suitability.

     

    Visitors/Guest Speakers

    Appropriately appointed and screened visiting teachers of varying disciplines, engaged by the BoM of St.Colman’s to perform specific duties, will be left work with a class alone at the Principal’s discretion.

    The staff of St.Colamn’s participated in “Child First Training” as part of Croke Park. This training lasted from 3.15 – 5pm. All staff attended.

    Staff have completeed an online course and certificates are available on the drive.

    New folder created for Tusla and is avilable under lock and key in the filing cabinet.

    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 is appropriate.

    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
    • Two members of staff will be present when dealing with intimate care/toileting needs. Any deviation from the agreed procedure will be recorded and notified to the DLP and the parents/guardians.

    Toileting accidents

    Clean underwear and suitable clothing will be kept in the school so that if a pupil has an ‘accident’ of this nature, they will in the first instance be offered fresh clothing 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. In all such situations, two members of staff should be present.  A record of all such incidents will be kept and Principal and parents will be notified.

     

    Accidents

    While every precaution will be taken under our Health and Safety Statement 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 Policy as part of Health and Safety.

     

    One-to-one teaching

    • It is the policy in this school that one-to-one teaching can sometimes be in the best interest of the child
    • Every effort will be made to ensure that this teaching takes place in an open environment
    • Parents of children who are to be involved in one-to-one teaching 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 Games/PE/Swimming.  Where assistance is needed, this will be done in the communal area and with the consent of parents. Under no circumstances will members of staff/volunteers be expected to or allowed to dress/undress a child unsupervised in a cubicle/private area.  In such situations where privacy is required, the parents/guardians of the child will be asked to assist the child. St. Colman’s N.S will endeavour to have two male volunteers/member of staff in the male changing area and two female members of staff/ volunteers in the female changing area when possible.

    The BoM of St. Colman’s N.S has requested that all swimming volunteers apply to be vetted.  In the interim, a Volunteer Form approved by the CPSMA will be in use.  At all times there must be adequate supervision of pupils.  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 the Principal and parents.

    Attendance

    Our school attendance will be monitored as per our attendance policy. 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 abuse.

    Behaviour

    Children are encouraged at all times to play co-operatively and inappropriate behaviour will be addressed under our 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.

    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, then the matter will be referred to the DLP.

    Children travelling in staff cars

    Members of the school staff will not carry children alone in their cars at any time.

     

    Communication

    Every effort will be made to enhance pupil-teacher communication. If pupils have concerns they will be listened to sympathetically. The SPHE/Oral Language/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 are requested to leave the classroom door open or request a colleague to attend. Further details on communications are found in the school’s Communication Policy.

     

    Induction of Staff

    The DLP will be responsible for informing all new teachers and ancillary staff of the Child Protection Procedures (DES, 2011) and Children First Guidelines (2011), but particularly the recently published Children First – National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2011).  All new teachers are expected to teach the appropriate SPHE objectives for their class. A member of staff, once trained, will be responsible for the mentoring of new teachers and will be responsible for supporting new teachers as they implement the SPHE objectives.

     

    Induction of Pupils

    All parents and children will be 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 development e.g. RSE, Walk Tall, Stay Safe and SPHE. All new parents will be given a copy of the school’s enrolment policy, which outlines the procedures parents and children should use when contacting 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 will be given a copy of the school’s Code of Behaviour and Anti-Bullying policies.

     

    Internet Safety

    It is the intention of the Principal and Staff at St. Colman’s N.S to ensure that child protection concerns will be addressed in the school’s Acceptable Use Policy as part of its Information and Communication Technology policy. The Stay Safe lessons in each classroom may be supplemented with appropriate resources. There will also be annual meetings during which parents will be invited to attend a session with an invited speaker to stay abreast of the ever-changing situation regarding internet access.

     

    Record Keeping

    Teachers will keep records on each child’s reports. Sensitive information regarding children will be shared on a need-to-know basis. All educational files of pupils who no longer attend this school are kept in the filing cabinet in the office.

     

    Supervision

    The school’s supervision policy will be followed by all staff to ensure that there is comprehensive supervision of children at all breaks. A rota will be displayed to cover 11 o’clock and lunchtime breaks. See Supervision Policy for agreed rules around break-times and procedures around teacher absences.

     

    Visibility

    Teachers will ensure that children are visible in the school playground. Children will not be allowed to spend time in classrooms, toilets or sheds where they would not be under adult supervision. They are not to leave the school playground or to engage with adults who are outside of the school playground.

     

    Examples of activities, risks and procedures

     

    The examples listed in this document are provided to assist schools in undertaking their risk assessment under the Children First Act, 2015.  Schools should note that this list of examples is not intended to be exhaustive. It is the responsibility of each school to ensure, as far as possible, that any other risks and procedures that are relevant to its own particular circumstances are identified and specified in the written risk assessment and that adequate procedures are in place to address all risks identified.

    It is acknowledged that schools already have in place a range of policies, practices and procedures to mitigate the risk of harm to children while they are participating in the activities of the school and that some school activities will carry low or minimal risks of harm compared to others.  In the context of the risk assessment that must be undertaken by schools, the Children First Act, 2015 refers to risk as “any potential for harm”.  Therefore, it is important that, as part of its risk assessment process, each school lists and reviews all of its various activities (which shall include identifying those that may carry low risk of harm as well as those that carry higher risks of harm).  Doing so will help the school to (1) identify, as required under the Children First Act, 2015, any risks of harm that may exist in respect of the school’s activities, (2) identify and assess the adequacy of the various procedures already in place to manage those risks of harm and (3) identify and put in place any such additional procedures as are considered necessary to manage any risk identified.

    Important Note:  It should be noted that risk in the context of this risk assessment is the risk of “harm” as defined in the Children First Act, 2015 and not general health and safety risk.  The definition of harm is set out in chapter 4 of the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017.

    Examples of School Activities

     

    • Daily arrival and dismissal of pupils
    • Recreation breaks for pupils
    • Classroom teaching
    • One-to-one teaching
    • One-to-one counselling
    • Outdoor teaching activities
    • Sporting Activities
    • School outings
    • School trips involving overnight stay
    • School trips involving foreign travel
    • Use of toilet/changing/shower areas in schools
    • Provision of residential facilities for boarders
    • Annual Sports Day
    • Fundraising events involving pupils
    • Use of off-site facilities for school activities
    • School transport arrangements including use of bus escorts
    • Care of children with special educational needs, including intimate care where needed,
    • Care of any vulnerable adult students, including intimate care where needed
    • Management of challenging behaviour amongst pupils, including appropriate use of restraint where required
    • Administration of Medicine
    • Administration of First Aid
    • Curricular provision in respect of SPHE, RSE, Stay Safe
    • Prevention and dealing with bullying amongst pupils
    • Training of school personnel in child protection matters
    • Use of external personnel to supplement curriculum
    • Use of external personnel to support sports and other extra-curricular activities
    • Care of pupils with specific vulnerabilities/ needs such as
    • Pupils from ethnic minorities/migrants
    • Members of the Traveller community
    • Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) children
    • Pupils perceived to be LGBT
    • Pupils of minority religious faiths
    • Children in care
    • Children on CPNS
    • Recruitment of school personnel including –
    • Teachers/SNA’s
    • Caretaker/Secretary/Cleaners
    • Sports coaches
    • External Tutors/Guest Speakers
    • Volunteers/Parents in school activities
    • Visitors/contractors present in school during school hours
    • Visitors/contractors present during after school activities
    • Participation by pupils in religious ceremonies/religious instruction external to the school
    • Use of Information and Communication Technology by pupils in school
    • Application of sanctions under the school’s Code of Behaviour including detention of pupils, confiscation of phones etc.
    • Students participating in work experience in the school
    • Students from the school participating in work experience elsewhere
    • Student teachers undertaking training placement in school
    • Use of video/photography/other media to record school events
    • After school use of school premises by other organisations
    • Use of school premises by other organisation during school day
    • Breakfast club
    • Homework club/evening study

    Examples of Risks of Harm

     

    • Risk of harm not being recognised by school personnel
    • Risk of harm not being reported properly and promptly by school personnel
    • Risk of child being harmed in the school by a member of school personnel
    • Risk of child being harmed in the school by another child
    • Risk of child being harmed in the school by volunteer or visitor to the school
    • Risk of child being harmed by a member of school personnel, a member of staff of another organisation or other person while child participating in out of school activities e.g. school trip, swimming lessons
    • Risk of harm due to bullying of child
    • Risk of harm due to inadequate supervision of children in school
    • Risk of harm due to inadequate supervision of children while attending out of school activities
    • Risk of harm due to inappropriate relationship/communications between child and another child or adult
    • Risk of harm due to children inappropriately accessing/using computers, social media, phones and other devices while at school
    • Risk of harm to children with SEN who have particular vulnerabilities
    • Risk of harm to child while a child is receiving intimate care
    • Risk of harm due to inadequate code of behaviour
    • Risk of harm in one-to-one teaching, counselling, coaching situation
    • Risk of harm caused by member of school personnel communicating with pupils in appropriate manner via social media, texting, digital device or other manner
    • Risk of harm caused by member of school personnel accessing/circulating inappropriate material via social media, texting, digital device or other manner

    Examples of Procedures to address risks of harm

     

    • All school personnel are provided with a copy of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement
    • The Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017 are made available to all school personnel
    • School Personnel are required to adhere to the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017 and all registered teaching staff are required to adhere to the Children First Act 2015
    • The school implements in full the Stay Safe Programme
    • The school implements in full the SPHE curriculum
    • The school implements in full the Wellbeing Programme at Junior Cycle
    • The school has an Anti-Bullying Policy which fully adheres to the requirements of the Department’s Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools
    • The school has a yard/playground supervision policy to ensure appropriate supervision of children during, assembly, dismissal and breaks and in respect of specific areas such as toilets, changing rooms etc.
    • The school has in place a policy and clear procedures in respect of school outings
    • The school has a Health and safety policy
    • The school adheres to the requirements of the Garda vetting legislation and relevant DES circulars in relation to recruitment and Garda vetting
    • The school has a codes of conduct for school personnel (teaching and non-teaching staff)
    • The school complies with the agreed disciplinary procedures for teaching staff
    • The school has a Special Educational Needs policy
    • The school has an intimate care policy/plan in respect of students who require such care
    • The school has in place a policy and procedures for the administration of medication to pupils
    • The school –
      • Has provided each member of school staff with a copy of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement
      • Ensures all new staff are provided with a copy of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement
      • Encourages staff to avail of relevant training
      • Encourages board of management members to avail of relevant training
      • Maintains records of all staff and board member training
    • The school has in place a policy and procedures for the administration of First Aid
    • The school has in place a code of behaviour for pupils
    • The school has in place an ICT policy in respect of usage of ICT by pupils
    • The school has in place a mobile phone policy in respect of usage of mobile phones by pupils
    • The school has in place a Critical Incident Management Plan
    • The school has in place a Home School Liaison policy and related procedures
    • The school has in place a policy and procedures for the use of external persons to supplement delivery of the curriculum
    • The school has in place a policy and procedures for the use of external sports coaches
    • The school has in place a policy and clear procedures for one-to-one teaching activities
    • The school has in place a policy and procedures for one-to-one counselling
    • The school has in place a policy and procedures in respect of student teacher placements
    • The school has in place a policy and procedures in respect of students undertaking work experience in the school
    • The school has in place a policy and procedures in respect of pupils of the school undertaking work experience in external organisations



    Dear Parents/Guardians,

    In recent years, as a society, we have become very aware of the problem of child abuse through neglect, emotional, physical or sexual abuse.

    Each one of us has a duty to protect children and Children First, the National Guidelines, for the Protection and Welfare of Children noted that teachers, who are the main care givers to children outside the family, are particularly well placed to observe and monitor children for signs of abuse.

    In response to this, the Department of Education and Skills published procedures for all schools in relation to child protection and welfare. These guidelines promote the safety and welfare of all children and are to be welcomed.

    The Board of Management of St. Colman’s N.S has adopted these guidelines as school policy. Consequently, if school staff suspect or are alerted to possible child abuse, they are obliged to refer this matter to the Health Service Executive (HSE). The HSE will then assess the situation and provide support for the child concerned.

    Children First, the National Guidelines for the Protection of Children may be assessed on the website of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.(www.dcya.ie) and the Department of Education and Skills Child Protection Procedures can be read on the Department’s website (www.education.ie).  Parents/Guardians are also welcome to look through the guidelines here at the school.

    Yours sincerely,

    Mr. Niall Kinnarney

    Principal


    Child Protection Contacts:

     

     Designated Liaison Person

    Niall Kinnarney

     

      

    Deputy DLP

    Maria Geraghty

     

     

    Garda Station
    Telephone:

     

     

    Local Contact For ‘The Children and Family Social Services of the HSE’:
    TELEPHONE:
    Address:

Additional Legislation:

Tusla Child Protection and Welfare Practice Handbook

Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children

Child First : Frequently Asked Questions

Circular 46.2007 – Child Protection Procedures for Persons Employed by the Department of Education & Science

Circular 65.2011 – Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary schools