Child Protection

CASTLEKNOCK  NATIONAL  SCHOOL

 

Child Protection Policy

 

Introductory Statement

The staff, parents and BOM of Castleknock National School has

developed and agreed this policy in line with the Department of

Education and Science Guidelines and Procedures for schools in relation to Child Protection and Welfare.

This policy addresses the responsibilities of the school in the following

areas:

Prevention – Curriculum Provision

Procedures – procedures dealing with concerns/disclosures

Practice – best practice in child protection

 

Relationship to Characteristic Spirit of the school

Castleknock National School seeks to help our pupils to grow and develop into healthy, confident, mature adults, capable of realising their full potential as human beings. In line with our school’s mission statement , which in  part states, our school is a safe and trusting place to be ,we strive to  create a responsive, happy and caring environment where children feel  secure ,knowing that if they have concerns, they will be listened to with  understanding and respect and that those concerns will be acted on.

 

Aims

This policy aims to:

  • ensure that all the school community ( including teachers, parents, S.N.A.’s, secretary, caretaker etc.) are aware of and familiar with the “ Children’s First “ and theDESguidelines and procedures in relation to reporting concerns and or disclosures of child abuse in all its forms – emotional, physical, sexual and neglect.
  • Develop awareness and responsibility in the area of child

protection amongst the whole school community

  • Provide a personal safety skills education which specifically

addresses abuse prevention for all children in the school.

  • Put in place clear procedures for good practice to protect all

children and school personnel

  • To enable children to properly deal with abuse if it occurs.
  • Provide for ongoing training in this and related areas for all school staff.

 

 

 

Prevention

In Castleknock School we work to ensure that our school is physically and emotionally safe.

The Stay Safe Programme is the primary resource used to provide

education for children on abuse prevention. The programme is taught as part of the school’s SPHE curriculum under the strand unit Safety and Protection. The formal lessons of the programme will be taught in their entirety every second year in accordance with the SPHE two year cycle plan.

Our SPHE programme promotes the protective skills of self esteem and assertiveness. Circle time methodology is used on a whole school basis.

Our anti bullying policy is implemented in all classes. Co-operative

interpersonal skills are developed through working in pairs and in groups.

Older pupils are encouraged to positively with conflict and negotiation.

Consensus building is also developed.

On enrolment of their child, parents will be informed that the Stay Safe programme is in use in the school and a copy of the Stay Safe “A parent’s guide” will be provided. For overview of programme see appendix  attached.

Staff will make every effort to ensure that the messages of the programme are reinforced whenever possible.

 

Procedures

All staff ( teachers, S.N.A.’s, ancillary, secretarial, caretaking etc.) will

follow the recommendations for reporting concerns or disclosures as

outlined in Children First and the Department of Education and Science document Child Protection, Guidelines and Procedures.

The procedures/guidelines are laid our as follows:

 

  1. Appointment of a designated liaison person (DLP)
  2. Roles, Responsibilities and Guidelines

2.1              Role of BOM

2.2              Role of staff members (teachers, S.N.A.’s , Caretaker Secretary etc.)

2.3              Role of D.L.P.

  1. Case Conferences
  2. Organisational implications

 

1.0         Appointment of a Designated Liaison Person (DLP)

 

The BOM of this school has appointed Sandra Moloney to have specific responsibility for child protection and Sharon Reid has been appointed as DeputyDLPto take the place of theDLPif she is unavailable for whatever reason.

2.0             Roles and Responsibilities

 

 

 

The staff and BOM of this school have agreed:

 

  • The BOM has primary responsibility for the welfare of all pupils
  • TheDLPhas specific responsibility for child protection in the school
  • All staff have a general duty of care t ensure that all arrangements are in place to protect children fro harm.

 

The BOM will arrange for:

 

v  The planning, development and implementation of an effective child protection programme.

v  The monitoring and evaluation of its effectiveness

v  The provision of appropriate staff development and training

 

Specifically they will

 

  • Appoint aDLPand deputyDLP
  • Have clear procedures for dealing with allegations or suspicions of child abuse
  • Monitor the progress of children at risk
  • Ensure that curricular provision is in place for the prevention of child abuse
  • Investigate and respond to allegations against a school employee if he/she has been reported to the Health Board or Gardaí
  • Decide on teachers attendance at child protection meetings/case conferences and to advise teachers before attending such meetings/conferences

 

Procedures for BOM in cases of allegations or suspicions of child ause by a school employee:

 

  1. A.           Reporting

In the event of receiving a complaint or suspicion re. an employee:

TheDLPwill immediately inform the chairperson

She will seek a written statement of the allegation from the person/agency making the allegation.  Parents/Guardians may make a statement on behalf of a child.

TheDLPwill seek advice from the relevant Health Board and will take responsibility for reporting, based on this advice.

If theDLP, following consultation with the Health Board, decides that the matter is not for reporting she must inform the Chairperson.  They must then inform, in writing, the person or agency making the allegation, of the reasons for this decision.  If this person or agency still has concerns, they are free to consult with or report to the relevant health Board or Gardaí on an individual basis.

 

The provisions of the Protection for persons reporting Child Abuse Act 1998 apply, once they report reasonably and in good faith.

 

If theDLP, following consultations with the Health Board, decides that this matter is for reporting she will inform the Chairperson, who will proceed in accordance with the Protection guidelines (1999 pg.16).

 

TheDLP/DeputyDLPcompletes a standard reporting form as comprehensively as is possible.

 

When the Chairperson becomes aware of an allegation of abuse he/she will seek legal advise and base his/her response on this advise.

 

She/he will privately inform the employee of the fact and nature of the allegation and whether or not it has been reported by theDLPto the Health Board.  (Refer to 4.2-4.3 pg.16 of Child protection Guidelines and proceduresDES2001.

 

The Chairperson has a duty to afford the employee fairness and due process-he/she is entitled to details and a copy of the written allegation, to advice and representation and an opportunity to respond to the Board within a week.

 

 

  1. B.            Responding

 

When the Chairperson becomes aware of an aggregation of abuse he/she will always seek legal advice and base his/her response on this advice.

 

The Chairperson will consider whether there is a risk to pupils’ safety.  If the Chairperson considers that thee is a risk-he/she may require the employee to take immediate administrative leave.  If unsure the Chairperson will consult with the Health Board/Gardaí.

 

If administrative leave has been invoked, the Chairperson will inform theDES.  The Health Board (in some cases the Gardaí) may also be notified in accordance with legal advice received.

 

Once it is deemed necessary by theDLPand Chairperson to make a report (after receiving advice from the Health Board) the Chairperson will convene and inform a meeting of the BOM as soon as possible.

 

Where the alleged abuse has taken place within the school, or relates to the abuse of pupils of the school by school employees outside of school time, the BOM will investigate the matter.  They will convene a further meeting, once the relevant information has been gathered.  At the meeting the BOM will consider in detail.

 

The allegation made and their source

The advice given by relevant authorities

The written responses of the employee

 

 

At this meeting also

 

The person/agency who is alleging abuse by the school employee should be offered an opportunity to present his/her case.  They may also be accompanied.

The BOM must deal with the matter sensitively and the employee must be fairly treated.

The BOM will make a decision on action, if any, based on their investigation and will inform the employee of this in writing.  They will inform theDESof the outcome, if the employee has been absent on administrative leave.

 

Where it is not possible for the BOM to conduct an enquiry into allegations (e.g. where abuse has occurred in post employment, or where the employee is undergoing investigation by relevant authorities), the Chairperson will act on advice of authorities. The Chairperson will maintain close contact with the health Board and receive reports and records from them where appropriate.

 

2. Role of the staff member (to include teachers, S.N.A.’s, caretaker, secretary etc.,

 

It is the responsibility of all teachers and staff members to familiarize themselves with the Children First National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children (1999) especially.

 

Chapter 3      Definition and Recognition of Child Abuse

Chapter 4      Basis for reporting and Standard Reporting procedures

                        Signs and Symptoms of Child Abuse (see attached)

 

The staff and management of this school have agreed:

 

  • All concerns/disclosures involving child protection/child welfare issues 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 of abuse should only be given on a need to know basis.

 

Guidelines for teachers and staff in handling

 

1. Disclosures from children

When a child discloses alleged abuse to a 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. Follow this procedure:

 

Listen to the child.

Do not ask leading questions or make suggestions to the child.

Offer reassurance but do not make promises.

 

Do not stop a child recalling significantevents.

Do not over-react.

Confidentiality should not be assured—explain that further help may be sought.

Record the discussion accurately noting

What, where and when

Descriptions and possible sketches of physical injuries.

Explanations of injuries using direct quotations if appropriate.

 

Retain the record securely

 

The staff member should obtain only necessary relevant facts. It is not the responsibility of school personnel to investigate allegations of abuse.

TheDLPshould then be informed and given relevant records.

 

If the suspected abuser is theDLPthen the suspicion and any records will  be passed on to the Chairperson who will proceed as per guidelines.

 

2. Suspicious of abuse:

 

a   Staff members who suspect abuse should refer to:

 

Children First Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children

(1999) especially

  • Chapter 3 Definition and Recognition of Child Abuse
  • Chapter 4 Basis for Reporting and standard Reporting

Procedures

  • Appendix 2 Signs and Symptoms of Child Abuse

b. Staff members should observe and record over time the

dates/signs/symptoms/behaviour causing them concern.

c. They should inform theDLPand pass on all records.

d. Staff members will note any marks or bruises and will record

child’s explanation.

 

2.3. Role of the Designated Liaison Person (DLP)

TheDLPacts as a liaison with outside agencies, Health Boards,

Gardaí and other parties with child protection concerns.

TheDLPwill inform all school personnel of the availability of the

Children First Guidelines in the school.

She will photocopy and circulate to all staff Chapters 3 &4&

 

 

Appendix1 of these guidelines and advise on good practice. The

DLPwill be available to staff for consultation regarding suspicions

or disclosures of abuse. She will keep records of these

consultations.

TheDLPwill seek advice from the Health Board.

TheDLPwill report suspicions and allegations of child abuse to

the Health Board or / and Gardaí Síochána based on this          advice.

TheDLPwill maintain proper records in a secure, confidential

manner and in a secure location.

TheDLPwill keep up to date on current developments regarding

child protection.

 

Guidelines for the DLP in handling reported concerns and disclosures

Where theDLP/DeputyDLPhave 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 theDLP/Deputy should

make informal contact with the assigned (on duty) Social Worker.

TheDLP/Deputy in this case, should be explicit that she is

requesting advice and not making a report. If advised to report the

matter, theDLPwill act on that advice.

 

A report will then be made to the Health Board by theDLP/Deputy

in person, by telephone or in writing. In the event of an emergency

or non-availability of Health Board staff, the report should be made

to the Gardaí. TheDLPshould also report the matter to the

Chairperson of the BOM, who should then follow the procedures

as outlined in Chapter 4 ( Section 4.3)of Children First National

Guidelines (1999)

 

A standard reporting form is completed by theDLP/Deputy as

comprehensively as possible ( See Appendix )

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 there are allegations or suspicions of Peer Abuse theDLP

will follow the same procedure.

Parents of all parties will be notified and theDLPwill inform the

Chairperson.

Principal and class teachers will make arrangements to meet

separately with all parents to resolve the matter.

The school will make arrangements to minimise the possibility of

the abusive behaviour recurring.

 

 

 

3. Child Protection Meetings ( Case Conferences)

A request is made from the Health Board through theDLPwho

should consult with the Chairperson of the BOM of the school.

The Chairperson may seek clarification through theDLPas to why the attendance of the school employee is necessary and ascertain who else will be present.

The school employee may complete a report for the

meeting/conference. (See Appendix 3)

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 closer

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 Health Board 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/case conference should familiarise themselves with the protocol outlined on pgs. 149-155 ofChildren First National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children (1999)

 

4. Organisational Implications

Induction of Teachers& Ancillary Staff.

TheDLPwill be responsible for informing all new teachers and ancillary staff of the Children’s First Guidelines (1999). TheDLPwill give a copy of chapters 3&4 and Appendices and this Child Protection policy to all new staff.

 

Practices

The following areas have been considered by the staff and board of

management of this school 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

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 it’s appropriateness:-

is it acceptable to the child

is it open and not secretive

the age and development of the child

School personnel should avoid doing anything of a personal nature for children that they can do for themselves.

 

Inappropriate Physical Contact by pupils

Children in the school setting can at times be overly emotionally

attached to their teacher especially where small group or one to one teaching is taking place. This attachment can manifest itself

sometimes in wanting to show affection to their teacher which can

appear inappropriate to an onlooker.

Such behaviour is also not in the best interest of either pupil/teacher.

The pupil becomes clingy and dependent and the teacher leaves

himself/herself open to allegations of misconduct.

Should a teacher have any concerns, a meeting will be arranged with the pupil’s parents and the matter discussed. A written copy of what has been agreed will be made and kept in the child’s file. This is for the protection of all parties.

 

Visitors / Guest speakers

Visitors / Guest speakers/ should never be left alone with pupils. The

school (principal / teachers) has a responsibility to check out the

credentials of all such personnel and to ensure that the material in use by same is appropriate.

 

After school activities/classes

Classes / training etc. that take place after school are never given to pupils on their own.

Transport/escort of pupils

Teachers/ancillary staff are directed not to give lifts or escort sick

pupils home on their own. In the event of an emergency where this

directive cannot be implemented a full record of event is reported to principal and parents.

 

 


One-to one teaching

One to one teaching may at times 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 permission sought. Work being carried out by special needs assistants will be carried out under the direction of the class teacher in an open environment.

 

Life Skills coaching

CastleknockNationalSchoolis very fortunate to be able to offer guidance re. life skills to pupils. This guidance is given in an open environment.

Written parental consent is sought before a pupil can attend such

sessions.

 

Intimate care/toileting needs

Prior to the pupil coming to school,a meeting between parents, class teacher, S.N.A. and if appropriate the pupil will take place. 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 involved in this care will be identified and provision will be made for occasions when the particular staff are absent. A written copy of what has been agreed will be made and kept in the pupil’s file.

Two members of staff will be present when dealing with intimate care toileting needs. Any deviation from the agreed procedures will be recorded and notified to theDLPand the parents.

 

 

Toileting accidents

Clean underwear will be kept in the school so that if a pupil has a

toilet accident they can change. If a pupil for whatever reason cannot clean or change themselves and the parents cannot be contacted ,the  child will be assisted by members of staff familiar to the child. In such situations 2 members of staff should be present.

A record of all incidents will be kept and principal and parents

notified.

A supply of sanitary towels will also be kept in the school.

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 principal and parents.

 

Links to other policies/planning areas

Prevention: SPHE curriculum, Strand Unit on Safety and Protection

Code of Behaviour

Procedures: Anti Bullying Policy

Health and Safety statement

PracticeSchoolTours / Outings

 

Review and Monitoring

 

This policy will be monitored and reviewed by the BOM on an annual basis and when the need arises. The BOM will ensure that adequate training and support is provided for all staff.

At the first staff meeting of every school year theDLPwill remind all

teachers of the guidelines and copies of Chapter 3&4& Appendix 1 of the Children First Guidelines will be given to those who require them.

 

Ratification and Communication

This policy was ratified by the B.O.M. on 26th of April 2004 and

reviewed May 2009.

Parents were notified of its existence through the school newsletter. A copy of the policy, which is kept in the Principal’s office, may be

assessed by parents at any time.

 

Curricular Content

2nd class

Implementation of the SPHE programme as laid out under the 10 strand  units will enable our pupils to develop the skills, knowledge and attitudes pertaining to self-esteem, esteem for others and the environment and  skills pertaining to self-care and disclosure. Healthy eating, positive attitudes to drug use and anti-bullying awareness will be introduced.

The SPHE programme will be supported by using the Walk Tall

resources, Follow Me and Stay Safe programmes.

3rd & 4th

Our SPHE programme will be implemented according to the 10 strand units. Knowledge, skills and attitudes developed in previous classes will be built on. Children will be enabled to develop intra- personal skills and inter-personal skills. As children mature they will be challenged to develop their decision-making skills. They will be encouraged to develop self-protection skills pertaining to smoking and alcohol. Peer pressure and the influence of the media will also be examined. The development of self-esteem, esteem for others, assertiveness, awareness of feelings and skills around self -protection and disclosure will underpin our teaching.

Our SPHE programme will be supported by the use of Walk Tall

resources, anti-bullying materials,RSEmaterials and the Stay Safe

programme.

 

5th&6th Classes

Our SPHE programme will be implemented according to the curricular objectives as laid out under the 10 strands in the SPHE Curriculum.

Skills, knowledge and attitudes developed in earlier classes will be  enhanced.

Children will continue to develop self-awareness and positive attitudes to themselves, others, their environment and wider world in which they live.

Self protection and respect for others will be fostered, decision making  skills developed, peer influence and media bias examined. Knowledge of drugs and positive attitudes to drug use will be further developed.

Children will be enabled to develop good group-building skills, antibullying awareness and conflict resolution skills. Self protection will be emphasised and protection of younger, less-able people.

Positive attitudes to sexuality will be developed and respect for self and others fostered.

The SPHE programme will be supported by the use of the Walk Tall

materials,RSEand Stay Safe resources.

 

 

 

 

Approved by the Board of Management February 2009