Child Protection Policy

Tullamore Educate Together NS School Policy on Child Protection

 

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 Tullamore Educate Together NS has agreed the following child protection policy:

The Board of Management of Tullamore Educate Together National School has adopted and will implement fully and without modification the Department of Education and Skills’ Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools as part of this overall child protection policy. This policy clarifies how our school proposes to implement these guidelines in order to ensure the protection and welfare of all children attending our school.

School Philosophy and Ethos

Children enrolled in Tullamore Educate Together National School will be supported in reaching their full potential: mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally and socially. This support will be differentiated in an atmosphere and environment in which children feel safe, valued and secure and in which respect for self and others is the norm.

Our school operates under the direct patronage of Educate Together. The four underlying principles of our ethos are:

  • Co-educational
  • Child-centred
  • Multi denominational
  • Democratically run

Aims

  1. To raise awareness of the importance of child protection (emotional, physical, sexual and neglect) among all school staff (including teachers, SNAS, secretary, caretaker etc).
  2. To put in place clear procedures for all school personnel dealing with suspicions and allegations of child abuse.
  3. To identify curricular content and resources, that contribute to the prevention of child abuse and to enable children to properly deal with abuse if it occurs.
  4. To promote the welfare of all the pupils in our care.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • The Board of Management has primary responsibility for the care and welfare of all pupils.
  • The DLP has specific responsibility for Child Protection in the school.
  • All staff has a duty of care to ensure that arrangements are in place to protect children from harm.

The Board of Management has appointed the Principal Teacher (Cathy Lyons) as the Designated Liaison Person (DLP) in our school to have specific responsibility for child protection.

The Deputy Principal (Rebecca Quigley) has been appointed as Deputy DLP to take the place of the DLP if unavailable.

 

In its policies, practices and activities, Tullamore Educate Together NS will adhere to the following principles of best practice in child protection and welfare:

  • 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.

Procedures
The procedures for dealing with allegations /suspicions/disclosures of Child Abuse are set down in the Children First- National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2011 and will be followed.

Organisational Implications

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 administration area/staff room.  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.  Children are not permitted to spend break times in the classrooms.

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

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. Our Positive Behaviour Policy clarifies this.

Flight Risk

The services of An Garda Siochána may be engaged if a child absconds and leaves the school premises or the jurisdiction of school staff on school outings.

Toilets
It is school policy that only one child is permitted to enter the toilet area at a time. Children 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.  A playground helper/SNA will supervise the child’s trip to the toilet.

  1. If a child has a wetting accident during the school day and a staff member is required to assist them change into dry clothes the following procedures will be followed:  Before assisting the child the staff member will inform a second staff member and the second person will remain in the room adjoining the toilet area. Alternatively, the child may be taken to the administration area.
  2. 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.

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.

Induction of Teachers and Ancillary Staff
It is the responsibility of the designated Principal to inform all new teachers and ancillary staff of the Children First Guidelines.

Attendance
School attendance is monitored carefully. Attendance Certificates are awarded at the end of each year to children who have missed five days or less. The NEWB will be informed of any concerns relating to a child’s attendance.  We will issue a letter to parents when their child has missed 10 days/20days.  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.  Where possible, children in Learning Support/Resource will be taught in small groups.  In rooms that do not have glass panels in the doors the door to the room will be left open if a teacher is alone with a child.

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.
Curricular Implications

  1. The Stay Safe Programme will be taught in Junior Infants, Second Class, Fourth Class and Sixth Class.
  2. The SPHE programme will be supported by the Walk Tall Programme and the RSE Programme.
  3. Our Learn Together Programme will also enhance the children’s learning regarding Personal safety.

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

 

Review

This policy will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year.