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St Vincent De Paul Infant School, Marino, Dublin 9

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. Vincent de Paul Convent Infant School, Griffith Ave, Dublin 9 has agreed on 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)     Prevention  -  curriculum provision

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

          (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.

 

AIMS

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.

 

  1. The Designated Liaison Person (DLP) is Mrs Catherine Kennedy

 

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

 

  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.

 

 5.1            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 A)

 

 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.  The programme is taught as part of the schools’  SPHE curriculum under the strand unit Safety and Protection.

Some of the formal lessons will be taught in Senior Infants and all the lessons in First Class every year in accordance with our SPHE plan. A copy of the Stay Safe “A Parents Guide” is available to view online.

 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 it’s appropriateness:-

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

 

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.

 

 (g)     Vomiting Incidents:

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

 

(h)     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.

         

5.4     Photography

 

Parents give or withhold their permission for their child to be included in class photographs/videos for display in school and/or on the school websites. However, individual children will not 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

            School tours and outings

            Substance Use

            Administering of medicine

            Anti Bullying behaviour

            Code of behaviour

            RSE

            Acceptable Use Policy

            Early Collection of pupils

            Health and Safety

 

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.

 

 

Policy adopted by the BOM on _________________________

 

 

Signed: _____________________________               Date:_________________

 

             Chairperson Board of Management

 

Signed:_____________________________                          Date:_________________

 

            Principal

 

Date of next review:____________________________________

           

APPENDIX A

 

3.4.3 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.

 

3.4.4 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.

 

3.4.5 Section 176 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 introduced the criminal

charge of reckless endangerment of children.16

 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.

 

3.5 Dealing with disclosures from children

3.5.1 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.

3.5.2 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.

3.5.3 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.

 

 

 

16

 Children First – section 3.2.7  21

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 as outlined in Chapter 4 of these procedures. It must always be

remembered that school personnel have a supportive, not an investigative role.

 

3.6 Record Keeping

3.6.1 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.

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3.6.2 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).

3.6.3 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.