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St Vincent De Paul Infant School, Marino, Dublin 9

Child Protection Policy


St. Vincent de Paul Infant School,

Griffith Ave,

Dublin 9.

Roll No: 16754R

Telephone: 01 8334538

Principal: Mrs. Leanne Drought


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 school policies, practices and activities.   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. Vincent de Paul Convent Infant School, Griffith Ave, Dublin 9 has agreed the following child protection policy:


  1. 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:- 

(a) Procedures -  procedures for dealing with concerns/disclosures. 

(b) Prevention -  curriculum provision 

(c) Practice -  best practice in child protection. 


An individual copy of this policy document 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


  • 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. 

  1. The Designated Liaison Person (DLP) is Mrs. Leanne Drought.


  1. The Deputy Designated Liaison Person (Deputy DLP) is Mrs. Caroline



  1. In its policies, practices and activities, St. Vincent de Paul Convent Infant 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.


  1. School policies, practices and activities that are particularly relevant to child protection.
  • Procedures:


All staff in the school will follow the recommendations for reporting concerns or disclosures as outlined in the DES ‘Child Protection Procedures’ 2011. (See Appendix 1) 


Maintaining Records 

When child abuse is suspected, it is essential to have a record of all the information available. 

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, as soon as possible after the comment has been made. 

All records so created should be regarded as highly confidential and retained in a secure location by the Designated Liaison Person. 


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 where information regarding concerns or disclosures of abuse should only be given on a ‘need to know’ basis.


5.2  Prevention  

The Stay Safe programme is the primary resource used in this school to provide education for children on abuse prevention. Our school adopts a whole school approach when teaching The Stay Safe programme. The programme is taught as part of the school’s SPHE curriculum under the strand unit Safety and Protection. 


The programme is taught in Junior Infants, Senior Infants and First Class every year in accordance with our SPHE plan. A copy of the Stay Safe “A Parents’ Guide” is available to view online and on our school website. 


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: 

(a)     Physical contact 

Physical contact between school personnel and the child should always be in response to the needs of the child. 

While physical contact may be used to comfort, reassure or assist a child the following factors will determine its appropriateness: 

  • It is acceptable to the child.
  • It is open and not secretive.
  • The age and developmental stage of the child.


The following principles will apply when using a restrictive physical


  • Best interests of the child.
  • Maximum care, minimum force.
  • Reasonable, proportionate and necessary.
  • Part of an agreed plan with parents when necessary. 


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


(b)     Visitor/Guest Speakers 

Visitors/guest speakers should 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 in use by guests is appropriate. 


(c) Toileting General: 

Each class teacher brings his/her class to the toilet several times a day. At these times, in the interest of supervision and child safety, the teacher may enter both the boys’ and girls’ toilets. If a child needs to go to the toilet at an extra, unsupervised time, we endeavour to ensure that all exit doors will be closed and locked. 


(d) Toileting Accidents – Wetting: 

If a child wets him/herself dry clothing will be provided from a central school store. If the child is unable to change him/herself, he/she will be assisted by a member of staff familiar to him/her.  


(e) Toileting Accidents – Soiling  

If a child soils him/herself every effort will be made to contact the parents so that they may come to school to change their child. In the unlikely event of not being able to contact the parents the child will be helped to clean and change by a member of staff familiar to them. 


(f) 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 and 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. Should it be expected that only one member of staff will be available to deal with intimate care/toileting needs, parental consent will be obtained.


(g) Vomiting Incidents:  

The same procedure outlined under Toileting Accidents -Soiling 5.3 (e) will apply.    


(i)  One-to-One teaching: 

It is the policy in this school that one-to-one teaching is at times 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. 


(j) Use of Information and Communication Technology by pupils and teachers during and outside of school: 

Any use of ICT during and outside of school for the purpose of teaching and learning is agreed upon by staff after careful consideration. All use of ICT including devices, apps, emails and other communication forms must be guided by the following: 

  • the safety of pupils and staff
  • agreement and supervision by parents where necessary 
  • comply with GDPR legislation
    • adhere to our Code of Behaviour, Acceptable Use and ICT policies
    • follow our Child Safety Statement and Child Safeguarding Risk Assessment for reporting any concerning behaviour or disclosures


5.4  Photography 

Parents give or with-hold their permission for their child to be included in class photographs/videos for display in school and/or on the school websites. At no time will individual children will be named. Parents are not permitted to video or photograph their children within the school in accordance with Child Safety Guidelines. A professional photographer takes individual photographs and class photographs for the school calendar and for school display. 


5.5 Every effort will be made to ensure that access doors are locked, taking cognisance of the fact that the entrances are shared between the two schools. 



5.6 Other relevant Policies, Protocols and Practices 


  • Attendance Strategy
  • School tours and outings
  • Substance Use
  • Administering of medicine
  • Anti-Bullying Policy
  • Code of Behaviour
  • RSE Policy
  • Acceptable Use Policy
  • Early Collection of pupils
  • Health and Safety
  • SPHE Policy


The Board has ensured that the necessary policies, protocols or practices as appropriate are in place in respect of the above listed items. These will be reviewed as appropriate.  


  1. This policy has been made available to school personnel and Parents’ Association and is readily accessible to parents on request. A copy of this policy will be made available to the DES and the patron if requested.



  1. Review and Monitoring


This policy will be reviewed by the Board of Management on an annual basis in line with the DES procedures. 

Ratified by the Board of Management 

Stuart Thompson 

Chairperson, Board of Management  




The guiding principles in regard to reporting child abuse or neglect may be summarised as follows:  


(a) the safety and well-being of the child must take priority:  

(b) reports should be made without delay to the Children and  

Family Services of the HSE.  


Any reasonable concern or suspicion of abuse or neglect must elicit a  

response. Ignoring signals or failing to intervene may result in ongoing or  

further harm to the child. Section 2.6 of Children First includes guidelines  

for recognising child neglect and abuse.  


Section 176 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 introduced the criminal  

charge of reckless endangerment of children. It states: 


‘A person, having authority or control over a child or abuser, who  

intentionally or recklessly endangers a child by –  


(a) causing or permitting any child to be placed or left in a situation which  

creates a substantial risk to the child of being a victim of serious harm or  

sexual abuse, or  

(b) failing to take reasonable steps to protect a child from such a risk  

while knowing that the child is in such a situation, is guilty of an offence.’  

The penalty for a person found guilty of this offence is a fine (no upper  

limit) and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years.  


Dealing with disclosures from children  


An abused child is likely to be under severe emotional stress and a member of staff may be the only adult whom the child is prepared to trust. Great care shall be taken not to damage that trust. 


When information is offered in confidence, the member of staff will need tact and sensitivity in responding to the disclosure. The member of staff will need to reassure the child, and endeavour to retain his or her trust, while explaining the need for action which will necessarily involve other adults being informed. It is important to tell the child that everything possible will be done to protect and support him/her, but not to make promises that cannot be kept e.g. promising not to tell anyone else.  


It is important to deal with any allegation of abuse or neglect in a sensitive and competent way through listening to and facilitating the child to tell about the problem, rather than interviewing the child about details of what happened.  


While the basis for concern must be established as comprehensively as possible, the following advice is offered to school personnel to whom a child makes a disclosure of abuse.  


(a) It is important to stay calm and not to show any extreme reaction to  

what the child is saying. Listen compassionately and take what the  

child is saying seriously;  


(b) It should be understood that the child has decided to tell about  

something very important and has taken a risk to do so. The  

experience of telling should be a positive one so that the child will  

not mind talking to those involved;  


(c) The child should understand that it is not possible that any  

information will be kept a secret;  


(d) No judgmental statement should be made about the person against  

whom the allegation is made;  


(e) The child should not be questioned unless the nature of what he/she  

is saying is unclear. Leading questions should be avoided. Open,  

non-specific questions should be used such as “Can you explain to  

me what you mean by that?” 


(f) The child should be given some indication of what would happen  

next, such as informing the Designated Liaison Person,  

parents/carers, HSE or possibly An Garda Síochána. It should be kept  

in mind that the child may have been threatened and may feel  

vulnerable at this stage;  


(g) Record the disclosure immediately afterwards using, as far as  

possible, the child’s own words. 


The duty of the recipient of such information is to report it to the Designated Liaison Person. It must always be remembered that school personnel have a supportive, not an investigative role.  

Record Keeping  


When child abuse or neglect is suspected, it is essential to have a written record of all the information available. School personnel shall note carefully what they have observed and when they observed it. Signs of physical injury shall be described in detail and, if appropriate, sketched. Any comment by the child concerned, or by any other person, about how an injury occurred shall be recorded, preferably quoting words actually used, as soon as possible after the comment has been made. The record of the discussion shall be signed, dated and given to the DLP who shall retain it.  


All records created shall be regarded as highly confidential and placed in a secure location by the DLP (note section 1.13 of these procedures with regard to the Data Protection Acts).  


It is possible that school personnel may subsequently be invited by the HSE to attend a child protection conference. Please consult section 5.8 of Children First and section 4.5 of these procedures for further information on child protection conferences.  


Following advice from the H.S.E, in the event that the DLP/DDLP meets with the parent/parents of a pupil regarding a disclosure, the DLP/DDLP shall be supported at said meeting by a member of the Board of Management.