The Board of Management of St Audoen’s NS recognise 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.
The BOM 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.
The Designated Liaison Person (DLP) is Ms Eilish Meagher.
The Deputy Designated Liaison Person (Deputy DLP) is Mr Adrian Harkin.
In its policies, practices and activities, St Audoens 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
- 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
Certain policies such as St Audoens’ Code of Behaviour/Anti-bullying Policy, Pupil Attendance Policy and the Supervision of Pupils Policy will take particular account of this Child Protection Policy.
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 take due consideration of the procedures outlined within this policy.
This policy has been made available to school personnel and is readily accessible to parents on request.
Definition and Recognition of Child Abuse
Child abuse can be categorised into four different types:
- Emotional abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
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 abuse indicators is contained in Appendix 1 ‘Children First’ (DHC 1999, pages 31-33). This policy draws particular attention to ‘persistent evidence’ of neglect, including indicators such as lack of uniform, no homework, poor attendance, persistent health problems, lack of sleep, indicating inappropriate television viewing 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
Child Protection Practices
The following practices should 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 will 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
Guest speakers and visiting teachers of varying disciplines, employed by the BoM of St Audoens NS to perform specific duties, will not be left work with a class alone.
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.
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 and parents will be notified.
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 parents notified.
- It is the policy in this school that one-to-one teaching is often in the best interest of the child
- Every effort will be made to ensure that this teaching takes place in an open environment.
- 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.
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.
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.
Children are encouraged at all times to play co-operatively and inappropriate behaviour will be addressed under our Code of Behaviour.
Bullying behaviour will be addressed under our Anti-Bullying Policy and our Code of Behaviour.
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.
The school’s Supervision Policy will be followed by all staff to ensure that there is comprehensive supervision of children at all breaks and outings etc.
If school staff suspect or are alerted to possible child abuse, they are obliged to refer this matter to the school DLP/DDLP who will contact TUSLA (Child & Family Agency) who will then assess the situation and provide support for the child concerned.
Child Protection Contacts:
Designated Liaison Person: Eilish Meagher
Deputy Liaison Person: Adrian Harkin
Kevin Street Garda Station: Telephone: 01 6669400
Local Contact For: Children and Family Social Services/Child Protection Services of the HSE:Telephone: 01 6486500 (Lord Edward Street, Dublin 8)
(This is an abbreviated version of our Child Protection Policy for the purpose of our school website, full policy available from the school)