Title: Child Protection Policy (2003-2017)

 

Dromore N.S.

 

 

 

Child Safeguarding Statement

Dromore N.S. January 2018

 

Dromore N.S. is a primary school providing primary education to pupils from Junior Infants to Sixth Class.

In accordance with the requirements of the Children First Act 2015, Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017, the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools 2017 and Tusla Guidance on the preparation of Child Safeguarding Statements, the Board of Management of Dromore National School has agreed the Child Safeguarding Statement set out in this document.

  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 2017 as part of this overall Child Safeguarding Statement.
  2. The Designated Liaison Person (DLP) is:  Ms. Mary Mc Granaghan
  3. The Deputy Designated Liaison Person (Deputy DLP) is: Ms. Catriona Brennan
     

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, procedures, practices and activities. In its policies, procedures, practices and activities, the 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 comply with its statutory obligations under the Children First Act 2015 and other relevant legislation relating to the protection and welfare of children
  • 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 in relation to any adult pupil with a special vulnerability.

The following procedures/measures are in place:

 

  • In relation to any member of staff who is the subject of any investigation (howsoever described) in respect of any act, omission or circumstance in respect of a child attending the school, the school adheres to the relevant procedures set out in Chapter 7 of the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017 and to the relevant agreed disciplinary procedures for school staff which are published on the DES website.

 

  • In relation to the selection or recruitment of staff and their suitability to work with children, the school adheres to the statutory vetting requirements of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 and to the wider duty of care guidance set out in relevant Garda vetting and recruitment circulars published by the DES and available on the DES website.

 

  • In relation to the provision of information and, where necessary, instruction and training, to staff in respect of the identification of the occurrence of harm (as defined in the 2015 Act) the school:

 

    • has provided each member of staff with a copy of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement
    • ensures all new staff  are provided with a copy of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement
    • encourages staff to avail of relevant training
    • encourages BoM members to avail of relevant training
    • The BoM maintains records of all staff and Board member training

 

  • In relation to reporting of child protection concerns to Tusla, all school personnel are required to adhere to the procedures set out in the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017, including in the case of registered teachers, those in relation to mandated reporting under the Children First Act 2015.

 

  • In this school the Board has appointed the above named DLP as the ‘relevant person’ (as defined in the Children First Act 2015) to be the first point of contact in respect of this child safeguarding statement.

 

  • All registered teachers employed by the school are mandated persons under the Children First Act 2015.

 

  • In accordance with the Children First Act 2015, the BoM has carried out an assessment of any potential for harm to a child while attending the school or participating in school activities. A written assessment setting out the areas of risk identified and the school’s procedures for managing those risks is attached as an appendix to these procedures.

 

  • The various procedures referred to in this statement can be accessed via the school’s website, the DES website or will be made available on request by the school.

         

This statement has been published on the school’s website, displayed on the school noticeboard and has been provided to all members of school personnel, the Parents’ Association and the patron.  It is readily accessible to parents and guardians on request. A copy of this statement will be made available to Tusla and the Department if requested. 

 

This Child Safeguarding Statement will be reviewed annually or as soon as practicable after there has been a material change in any matter to which this statement refers.

 

This Child Safeguarding Statement was adopted by the Board of Management on

Signed: _________________________       Chairperson of BoM   Date:

 

Signed: _________________________     Principal/Secretary to the BoM Date:

 

 

 

 

Title:                Child Protection Policy  (2003-2017)

Reviewed September 2017

 

Introductory Statement

This policy was formulated by the whole staff in conjunction with the Board of Management.

Rationale

Under the Education Act 1998 and the Child Welfare Act 2000, we are legally bound to have a policy on Child Protection. 

 

Relationship to Characteristic Spirit of the School

Dromore N.S. aims to provide its pupils with the highest standards of care and protection, in order to promote each child’s well-being and safeguard him/her from harm while in the school. The Board of Management of Dromore N.S. has adopted the “Children First” guidelines of the Department of Health & Children 1999  and 2011and the “Child Protection” Procedures of the DES

Aims

The aim of the policy is to give direction and guidance to staff, management authorities and all school personnel in dealing with allegations or suspicions of child abuse so that appropriate action can be taken without delay. 

 

  1. Guidelines (content of policy)

 

This document has been drawn up as a response in keeping with legislation.  It further develops previous policy in this area and takes account of the provisions of the following pieces of legislation.

 

            The Education Act 1998

            The Child Welfare Act 2000

            Freedom of Information Act 1997 & 2003

            Data Protection Act 1988 & 2013

References

In all instances of suspicion or allegations of abuse or neglect, the following two resource books will be referenced.

            "Children First- National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children"      

              Department of Health & Children 1999 & 2011

            "Child Protection- Procedures for Primary Schools"– Department of Education &    

              Science 2001 & 2011

Designated Liaison Person (DLP)

The Principal will act as DLP, following ratification by the Board of Management.  Should circumstances warrant it, the Deputy Principal shall act as DLP.  The DLP has specific responsibility for child protection and will represent the school in all dealings with Health Boards, An Garda Síochána and other parties in connection with allegations of abuse.  All matters pertaining to the processing or investigation of child abuse should be processed through the DLP.  Further information on the responsibilities of the DLP is included in 'Child Protection DES' – Chapter 3 – Section 3.2.  Action to be taken the DLP in cases where there are reasonable grounds for suspicion or where an allegation has been made are in 'Child Protection DES' Chapter 4 – Section 4.2

Confidentiality

All information regarding concerns of possible child abuse should only be shared on a need to know basis in the interests of the child.  The test is whether or not the person has any legitimate involvement or role in dealing with the issue.

 

Giving information to those who need to have that information for the protection of a child who may have been or has been abused, is not a breach of confidentiality.

 

The DLP who is submitting a report to the Health Board or An Garda Síochána should inform a parent/guardian unless doing so is likely to endanger the child or place that child at further risk.  A decision not to inform a parent/guardian should be briefly recorded together with the reasons for not doing so.

In emergency situations, where the Health Board cannot be contacted, and the child appears to be at immediate and serious risk, An Garda Síochána should be contacted immediately.

A child should not be left in a dangerous situation pending Health Board intervention.

 

Protection for Persons Reporting Child Abuse

The Protection for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act 1998, provides immunity from civil liability to any person who reports child abuse 'reasonably and in good faith' to designated officers of Health Boards or any member of An Garda Síochána.

This means that even if a reported suspicion of child abuse proves unfounded, a plaintiff who took an action would have to prove that the reporter had not acted reasonably and in good faith making the report.

The act provides significant protection for employees who report child abuse.  These protections cover all employees and all forms of discrimination up to and including dismissal. (Child Protection DES Chapter 1 Secion 1.10)

Qualified Privilege

While the legal protection outlined above only applies to reports made to the appropriate authorities (i.e. The Health Boards and An Garda Síochána), Common Law qualified privilege continues to apply as heretofore.  Consequently, should a Board of Management member or school personnel furnish information with regard to suspicions of child abuse to the DLP or the Board of Management chairman, such communication would be regarded under common law as having qualified privilege.

A further definition of qualified privilege is outlined in Chapter 1, Section 1.11 Child Protection – Guidelines & Procedures.

Freedom of Information Act 1997 & 2003

Reports made to Health Boards may be subject to provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 1997 & 2003, which enables members of the public to obtain access to personal information relating to them which is in the possession of public bodies.  However, the act also provides that public bodies may refuse access to information obtained by them in confidence.

 

Definition and Recognition of Child Abuse

Child abuse can be categorised into four different types.

  • neglect
  • emotional abuse
  • physical abuse
  • sexual abuse

 

A child may be subjected to more than one form of abuse at any given time.  Definitions for each for of abuse are detailed in 'Children First' – (Dept of Health & Children)) Chapter 2 Sections 2.1 – 2.6 pgs 8-9.

 

Guidelines for Recognition of Child Abuse

A list of child abuse indicators is contained in 'Children First' Chapter 2 Section 2.7–2.10 Pg 11-14.  It is important to stress that, no one indicator should be seen as conclusive in itself of abuse; it may indicate conditions other than child abuse.  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.

These are: -

  1. Considering the possibility
  2. Looking out for signs of abuse
  3. Recording of information

Each of these stages is developed in 'Children First' Pg 13 Section 2.7.

Handling Disclosures From Children

'Child Protection' – Chapter 4, Section 4.1 gives comprehensive details of how disclosures should be approached.

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 retain his/her trust, while explaining the need for action and the possible consequences, 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.

 

The following advice is offered to school personnel to whom a child makes a disclosure of abuse.

 

  • Listen to the child
  • Take all disclosures seriously
  • Do not ask leading questions or make suggestions to the child
  • Offer reassurance but do not make promises.
  • Do not stop a child recalling significant events
  • Do not over react
  • Explain that further help may have to be sought
  • Record the discussion accurately and retain the record

 

This information should then be passed onto the DLP.

If the reporting person or member of the school staff and the DLP are satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the suspicion/allegation, the procedures for reporting as laid out in 'Children First' – Section 3.4 pg 14 will be adhered to.  Standardised reporting forms may be photocopied from 'Children First' Appendix 3 – Pg 78.

The Chairman of the Board of Management will be informed before the DLP makes contact with the relevant authorities unless the situation demands that more immediate action to be taken for the safety of the child in which case the Chairman may be informed after the report has been submitted.  Details of what should be included in the report are outlined in 'Children First' – Section 3.5 – Pg 14.

Any Professional who suspects child abuse should inform parents/carers if a report is to be submitted to the health Board or An Garda Síochána unless doing so is likely to endanger the child.

In cases of emergency, where a child appears to be at immediate and serious risk, and a duty social worker is unavailable, Garda Siochána should be contacted.  Under no circumstances should a child be left in a dangerous situation pending Health Board intervention.

 

Allegations or Suspicions Re: School Employees

The most important consideration for the Chairperson, Board of Management or the DLP is the safety and protection of the child.  However, Employees also have a right to protection against claims, which are false or malicious. 

As employers, the Board of Management should always seek legal advice as the circumstances can vary from one case to another.

There are two procedures to be followed (Chapter 5, sections 5.1-5.6 ‘Child Protection')

  1. The reporting Procedure
  2. The Procedure for dealing with the Employee.

The DLP has responsibility for reporting the matter to the Health Board.  The Chairperson, Board of Management has responsibility, acting in consultation with his/her board, for addressing the employment issues.

If the allegation is against the DLP, the Board of Management Chairperson will assume the responsibility for reporting the matter to the Health Board.

 

Reporting

When an allegation of abuse is made against a school employee, the DLP should immediately act in accordance with the procedures outlined in Ch 5, Section 5.4– Child Protection.

 

A written statement of the allegation should be sought from the person/agency making the report.  The DLP should always inform the Chairperson of the Board of Management.

 

School employees, other than the DLP who receive allegations against another school employee, should immediately report the matter to the DLP.  School employees who form suspicions regarding conduct of another school employee should consult with the DLP.  The procedures outlined in Section 5.6 – 'Child Protection' will then be followed.

 

The employee, the chairperson and DLP should make the employee aware privately

 

  1. An allegation has been made against him/her
  2. The nature of the allegation
  3. Whether or not the Health Board or Gardaí has been/will be/must be/should be informed.

 

The employee should be given a copy of the written allegation and any other relevant documentation.  The employee should be requested to respond to the allegation in writing to the Board of Management within a specified period and told that this may be passed to the Gardaí, Health Board, and legal advisers.

The priority in all cases is that no child be exposed to unnecessary risk.  Therefore, as a matter of urgency, the Chairman should take any necessary protective measures.  These measure should be proportionate to the level of risk and should not unreasonably penalise the employee in any way unless to protect the child.

 

If the nature of the allegations warrant immediate action in the Chairperson’s opinion, the Board of Management should be convened to consider the matter.  This may result in the Board of Management directing that the employee absent him/herself from the school forthwith while the matter is being investigated (administrative leave).

 

When the Board of Management is unsure as to whether this should occur, advice should be sought from the Gardaí and/or the Child Care Manager of the Health Board and the legal advisers to the Board of Management and regard be had to this advice.

 

Administrative Leave

 

Should the Board of Management direct that the employee absent him/herself as above, such absence of the employee would be regarded as administrative leave of absence with pay and not suspension and would not imply any degree of guilt.  The DES should be immediately informed. (Children First – Chapter 5 Section 5.2).

 

Board of Management

 

The Chairperson should inform the Board of Management of all the details and remind the members of their serious responsibility to maintain strict confidentiality on all matters relating to the issue and the principles of due process and natural justice.

Success Criteria

 

  • Pupils will receive the highest standards of care and protection while in school
  • Pupils’ well-being  will be safeguarded
  • Pupils will be empowered to discuss issues of abuse in a confidential setting.

 

 Roles ad Responsibility

 

Designated Liaison Person                      Mary Mc Granaghan (Principal)

Substitute Designated Liaison Person    Catríona Brennan (Deputy Principal)

The whole Staff will be alerted and inform the Designated Liaison Person, who will consult with parents, Garda Siochana or Health Boards, where necessary.

Timeframe for Implementation

Septmeber 2017-June 2018

 

Timeframe for Review

 

September 2018

Responsibility for Review

 

Catríona Brennan

 

Ratification and Communication

 

The children Protection Policy was ratified by the Board of Management and will be communicated to the Board of Management and staff.

 

Rev Fr. P. Arkinson    

Chairperson of Board of Management

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Info

Dromore National School, Donegal
Address: An Droim Mor, Killygordon, Co Donegal, Donegal F93A275

Email: dromorekillygordon@gmail.com
Phone: 074-9149455