Scartleigh National School Child Protection Policy

Child Protection Policy

Introductory Statement:

The staff, parents and management of Scartleigh National School have developed and agreed this policy in line with the current recommendations and guidelines relating to child abuse prevention and child protection guidelines -Children First :National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare Of Children.
This policy addresses the responsibilities of the school in the followings 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 and the appended section from the Department of Education and Science Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures will be made available to all staff.
It is incumbent on all staff to familiarize themselves with ‘Children First’ and the DES child protection 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 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.
• Provide for ongoing training in this and related areas for all school staff.


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. 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’ provided.

The formal lessons of the programme will be taught in their entirety every second year in accordance with the SPHE two-year cycle plan. The specific lessons on Touches will be taught every year. Stay Safe is taught as part of the SPHE curriculum in the third term .

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

A differentiated approach will be adopted to cater for the needs of the children in An Cuan, our centre for children with autism and for individual children in the mainstream identified with special educational needs. To this end the school will refer to the Stay Safe Pack for children with learning difficulties and where necessary and in consultation with the parents target areas of personal safety as part of the child’s IEP. The Stay Safe programme is taught every year and on an ongoing basis to help reinforce the messages within.


All staff(Teachers, SNAs, ancillary, secretarial, caretaking etc.) in this school 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 Board of Management of this school has appointed Denise O’ Donovan (Principal) as the Designated Liaison Person (DLP) and Niamh Fitzgerald (Deputy Principal) as the deputy DLP.

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.


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 board of management have agreed that the following practices be adopted.

a) 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. Children with special needs, particularly children enrolled in An Cuan often seek physical contact from adults. Staff must ensure that this contact is at all times appropriate. While physical contact may be used to comfort, reassure or assist a child the following should be factors in determining 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. Staff are advised to avoid inappropriate approaches or excessive physical contact, for example hugging, kissing.

b) Visitors / Guest Speakers/Students :
Visitors/guest speakers/students should never be left alone with pupils. The school (principal/teachers) 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. Any concerns regarding the content or behaviour of a visitor to the school/classroom must be recorded referred to the Principal.

c) Children with specific toileting/intimate care needs: In all situations where a pupil needs assistance with toileting /intimate care 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. 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.
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.

d) Toileting accidents: 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. A record of all such incidents will be kept and principal and parents will be notified.

e) One- to One teaching: 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. 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.

f) 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 areas and with the consent of parents. Under no circumstances will members of staff/ volunteers be expected to or allowed to dress/undress a child in a cubicle/private area.

Children with special education needs who have self-care difficulties may be assisted by identified staff members with the full consent of the child’s parents.

At all times there must be adequate supervision of pupils.

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 policy / planning areas:

Prevention: SPHE curriculum, Strand Unit on ‘Safety and Protection’, The School Code of Discipline

Procedures: Anti-Bullying Policy . Health and Safety Statement.

Practice: Swimming Policy School Tours / Outings

Review and Monitoring:

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