Thursday, May 17, 2018

Child Protection Policy

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 St. Patrick’s Junior National School has agreed the following child protection policy:

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.

This policy has been developed and agreed in line with the current recommendations and guidelines relating to child abuse prevention and child protection guidelines.  This policy addresses the responsibilities of the school in the following areas:
·         Prevention-curriculum provision
·         Procedures-procedures for dealing with concerns/disclosures
·         Practice-best practice in child protection.
An individual copy of this policy will be made available to all staff.  It is incumbent on all staff to familiarise themselves with “Children First” and the DES guidelines and procedures.

This policy aims to:
·         Create a safe, trusting, responsive and caring environment.
·         Provide a personal safety skills education which specifically addresses abuse prevention for all children in the school.
·         Develop awareness and responsibility in the area of child protection amongst the whole school community.
·         Put in place procedures for good practice to protect all children and staff
·         Ensure that all staff members are aware of and familiar with the “Children First” and the DES guidelines and procedures in relation to reporting concerns and/or disclosures of child abuse.
·         Provide for ongoing training in this and related areas for all school staff.

1.      The Designated Liaison Person (DLP) is Áine Kirwan.
2.      The Deputy Designated Liaison Person is Ciara Lavelle.
3.      In its policies, practices and activities, St. Patrick’s Junior National 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 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 with regard to any adult pupil with a special vulnerability.

4.      School policies, practices and activities that are particularly relevant to child protection
All staff and volunteers will follow the recommendations for reporting concerns or disclosures as outlined in the DES Child Protection Procedures 2011.
Maintaining Records
When child abuse is suspected, it is essential to have a record of all available information.  Personnel should note carefully what they have observed and when they observed it.  Signs of physical injury should be described in detail and, if appropriate, sketched.  Any comment by the child concerned, or by any other person, about how an injury occurred, should be recorded, preferably quoting exact words used, as soon as possible after the comment has been made.
All records so created will be regarded as highly confidential and retained in a secure location by the Designate Liaison Person.

The staff and management of this school have agreed:
·         All concerns involving child protection/child welfare will be reported in the first instance to the DLP (deputy DLP where appropriate)
·         Each report to the DLP will be dated and signed by the person making that report.
·         A strict adherence to maintaining confidentiality – information regarding concerns or disclosures should only be given on a “need to know” basis.

5.2 Prevention
The “Stay Safe” programme is the primary resource in this school to provide education for children on child abuse prevention.  The programme is taught as part of the school SPHE curriculum under the strand unit Safety and Protection.
The formal lessons will be taught in Senior Infants and Second Class in their entirety every year in accordance with our SPHE plan. A meeting of parents of the relevant classes will be held every year and a copy of the Stay Safe “A Parent’s Guide” provided.
Staff will make every effort to ensure that the messages of the programme are reinforced whenever possible.

5.3 Practice:
The following are areas of specific concern in relation to child protection in this school.
a)      Physical Contact. Physical contact between school personnel and children will always be in response to the needs of the child.  While physical contact may be used to comfort, reassure or assist a child the factors will determine its appropriateness:
·         It is acceptable to the child
·         It is open and not secretive
·         The age and development stage of the child.
School will not do anything of a personal nature for children that they can do for themselves.
b)      Visitors/Guest Speakers
Visitors/guest speakers will never be left alone with pupils.  The school has a responsibility to check out the credentials of the visitor/guest speaker and to ensure that the material used by guests is appropriate.
c)      Toileting Accidents
If the child is capable of changing him/herself the necessary clothing will be provided . In cases where the child is not capable of changing him/herself the parents/guardians will be contacted by the school.  If, for whatever reason parents/guardians cannot be contacted, clean clothing will be provided to the child.  If a pupil cannot clean or change themselves, the child will be assisted by members of staff familiar to the child.  Two members of staff will be present.  A record of all such events will be kept and parents will be informed.
d)      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.
5.4             Protocol authorising immediate action
The following protocol authorises immediate action under section 5.2 of the ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools’.

In the context of these procedures, where circumstances warrant it, as a precautionary measure in order to protect the children in the school and in accordance with the principles of natural justice and the presumption of innocence, the chairperson of the Board of Management is authorised by the school authority to direct an employee to immediately absent himself/herself from the school without loss of pay until the matter has been considered by the employer.
The employee will be invited to a meeting with the chairperson, the purpose of which is to inform the employee of the allegation and the action being taken.  The employee may be accompanied by an appropriate person of his or her choice and will be so advised.
In any event, the employee will also be advised of the matter, in writing.
Other Relevant Policies, Protocols and Practices
·         Attendance
·         School Tours and Outings
·         Use of mobile phones
·         Parents and Teachers Working Together – Home School Policy
·         Substance Use
·         Administering of Medicine
·         Countering Bullying Behaviour
·         Code of Behaviour
·         RSE
·         Internet Acceptable Use
·         Early Collection of Pupils
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.  These will be reviewed as appropriate..

5.      This policy has been made available to school personnel and to the Parent’s Association 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.
6.      This policy will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year.
This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on  ____________________

Signed:______________________                Signed: ___________________________
Chairperson Board of Management              Principal

Date: _______________________                Date: ________________________

Date of next review:______________________