The following policies are displayed on this page:
- Code of Behaviour
- Anti-bullying Policy
- Restorative Practices Policy
- Complaints Policy
- Child Safeguarding Statement
- Data Protection Policy
CODE OF BEHAVIOUR
This code of behaviour has been developed for the following reasons:
To facilitate delivery of the curriculum to the students
To put in place structures to enable staff to deal with incidents of misbehaviour and indiscipline that may arise
To deal with students who may be disruptive of the work of the school, are uncooperative with their teachers and who may interfere with the delivery of the education that other students have a right to receive
To conform to the statutory obligation in section 23 of the Education(welfare) Act 2000 which obliges schools to prepare, for the information of students and their parents, a code of behaviour in respect of students registered at the school
To inform students and their parents of the procedures used by the school to address issues of discipline in the school, to define standards of behaviour for students, to inform students and their parents of the measures that the school may take to address student misbehaviour, to inform parents of school procedures that will be followed before a student is suspended or expelled, to explain the grounds and conditions under which a suspension may be lifted and to inform parents of their legal responsibilities relating to occasions when their child is absent from school.
To ensure the safety of all members of the school community both on the school premises and on school activities
To help students acquire good habits of discipline and behaviour
To create structures to ensure safety and to facilitate efficient learning in the school.
STATEMENT OF ETHOS
St. Mary’s is an mixed, vertical primary school . We operate with catholic ethos, under the patronage of the bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise. We operate within the guidelines of the Department of Education and Science.
This policy, has been constructed to conform to relevant legislation. Such legislation includes:
The Constitution of Ireland
The European convention on human rights 1950
The UN convention on the rights of the child 1989
The Education act of 1998
Education (Welfare) act of 2000
Education (Miscellaneous provisions) act 2007
Equal status acts 2000-2004
Disability act 2005
Non-fatal offences against the person act 1997
Recent health and safety legislation
Data protection act 1988
Data protection amendment act 2003
STATEMENT OF ADOPTION
This statement has been born of a thorough consultative process which included input from the following:
Board of Management
Students of the school (represented by a focus group from the senior classes)
Special needs assistants
STATEMENT OF STANDARDS
The following standards of behaviour are expected in St Mary’s NS
Students will follow the direction of Teachers and others adults charged with their care. Reason:to ensure delivery of curriculum, to ensure safety of all
Children must be respectful in speech and demeanour at all times to Teachers and other adults charged with their care. reason:to help children develop good habits of discipline and behaviour
Children must play in their designated play areas and with their own class mates. reason: to ensure safety of all
Bullying or intimidation of any type will not be tolerated. Reason: to ensure the safety of students
Any item or instruments deemed to be a danger to pupils will not be allowed and shall be confiscated. Such items may include elastic bands, penknives and sharp instruments. Reason: health and safety
Children must move quietly through the school at all times, in single file and this procedure must also be followed on the corridors. Reason: health and safety
Children will be given access to the toilet facilities at all break times and as needs must.
Chewing gum is not permitted in the school. Reason: litter and associated problems
Children should not bring items of value to school. The school authorities cannot be responsible for items of value which are lost or mislaid. Reason: to prevent theft and to ensure safety of items
Children will not be permitted to leave the school grounds at any time without permission. Reason: The school’s duty of care to the child
Uniform needs to worn at all times, in good condition. Reason: to alleviate peer pressure and to further a sense of positive identity
Threatening, aggressive, violent or offensive behaviour, including name calling will not be allowed. Reason: to ensure the safety of all
Students should make a reasonable attempt to complete assigned homework. Reason: to enable the student to progress academically
School Rules can be summarised as follows:
• I keep my hands and feet to myself
• I am polite
• I walk in the classroom
• I call you by your first name
• I follow the instruction the first time given
SCHOOL DISCIPLINARY STRUCTURE
Overall responsibility for school discipline rests with the school Principal.
In the absence of the Principal, responsibility will lie with the Deputy Principal.
However, we recognise that all Teachers have a disciplinary role.
Our Special Needs assistant may also refer matters of concern of a disciplinary nature to the relevant class Teacher, who may take appropriate action.
Should a Teacher wish, they may refer matters of a disciplinary nature to the Principal and/or Deputy Principal.
The relevant class Teacher will be kept informed of disciplinary matters pertaining to pupils in their class.
APPLICATION OF SCHOOL RULES AND STANDARDS
We envisage that the standards outlined above pertain to school hours, currently 9.20-3.00p.m.
However, we also envisage that these standards will apply in the following situations:
On any school excursions
On any extra-curricular activities
On school busses (if applicable)
Whilst wearing the school uniform-en route to or from school.
RELATED SCHOOL POLICIES
We recommend that this policy be read in conjunction with the following policies:
St Mary’s Health and safety statement
St Mary’s Anti-bullying policy
St. Mary’s Substance use policy.
REWARDS AND SANCTIONS
The following is a list of sanctions available to the school in instances of failure to adhere to the code of behaviour.
Reasoning with the child.
Meeting with parents.
∗ This policy is required to assist the school in devising school-based measures to prevent and deal with bullying behaviour and to increase awareness of bullying behaviour in the school community as a whole, e.g. school management, teaching and non-teaching staff, pupils and parents, as well as those from the local community who interface with the school.
∗ Involving and encouraging all members of the school community in developing, formulating and reviewing this policy on bullying promotes partnership, ownership and implementation of a ‘living policy’, one which is actively implemented/promoted in the whole school community.
∗The school climate and atmosphere are created by the actions of everyone in the school. The behaviour of the adults in a child’s life, including parents and teachers, is a significant influence on how a child acts.
∗ The Department of Education and Skills requires schools to have a written policy on bullying.
What we hope to do:
We strive to nurture the full potential of both staff and pupils in a secure, friendly and stimulating environment.
At St Mary's National School we aim to create a school which:
- Values each child as an individual and helps develop a sense of self-worth, through developing self-confidence and self-expression.
- Nurtures each child in all aspects of her/her life; spiritual, moral, emotional, intellectual, physical and social.
- Creates a sense of responsibility, respect and caring for self, others and the wider community.
- Encourages involvement of parents through home/school contacts and through their involvement in the Parents’ Association and other initiatives.
- To encourage and develop respectful relationships between children and between staff and children.
- To create a school ethos which encourages children to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour so that the school is a ‘telling school’. The school aims to empower children to tell or report incidents of bullying.
- To raise awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour with school management, staff, pupils, parents/guardians.
- To develop procedures for noting and reporting incidents of bullying behaviour.
- To develop procedures for dealing with incidents of bullying behaviour.
- To develop a programme of support for those affected by bullying behaviour and for those involved in bullying behaviour.
- To work with and through various agencies/organisations/individuals in countering all forms of bullying and anti-social behaviour, e.g. community garda, guest speakers, National Educational Psychological Service.
- To evaluate the effectiveness of school policy on bullying behaviour.
We aspire to fulfil the above aims by fostering an atmosphere of respect, understanding and encouragement between all who teach, work and learn in the school, so that the development and contribution of every individual can be acknowledged and that all can work together to benefit personal growth and the common good.
- In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the Code of Behaviour guidelines issued by the NEWB, the Board of Management of St. Mary’s National School has adopted the following anti-bullying policy within the framework of the school’s overall Code of Good Behaviour. This policy fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools which were published in September 2013.
- The Board of Management recognises the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact that it can have on the lives of pupils and is therefore fully committed to the following key principles of best practice in preventing and tackling bullying behaviour:
(a) A positive school culture and climate which
- is welcoming of difference and diversity and is based on inclusivity;
- encourages pupils to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour in a non-threatening environment; and
- promotes respectful relationships across the school community.
(b) Effective leadership
(c) A school-wide approach
(d) A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact
(e) Implementation of education and prevention strategies (including awareness-raising measures) that:
- build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils
- explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying including homophobic and transphobic bullying
(f) Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils
(g) Supports for staff
(h) Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies)
(i) On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.
In accordance with the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools, bullying is defined as follows:
Bullying is unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical conducted, by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time.
The following types of bullying behaviour are included in the definition of bullying:
- deliberate exclusion, malicious gossip and other forms of relational bullying,
- identity-based bullying such as homophobic bullying, racist bullying, bullying based on a person’s membership of the Traveller community and bullying of those with disabilities or special educational needs.
Isolated or once-off incidents of intentional negative behaviour, including a once-off offensive or hurtful text message or other private messaging, do not fall within the definition of bullying and should be dealt with, as appropriate, in accordance with the school’s Code of Behaviour.
However, in the context of this policy, placing a once-off offensive or hurtful public message, image or statement on a social network site or other public forum where that message, image or statement can be viewed and/or repeated by other people, will be regarded as bullying behaviour.
Negative behaviour that does not meet this definition of bullying will be dealt with in accordance with the school’s Code of Behaviour.
Additional information on different types of bullying is set out in Appendix 1. Also refer to PDST Information Booklet for schools in Anti-bullying folders located in the main office and staff room. Also available on http://www.pdst.ie/sites/default/files/Information%20Booklet%20for%20Schools%20Primary_0.pdf
The relevant teachers for investigating and dealing with bullying in this school are as follows:
- All class teachers
- Deputy Principal
- Any teacher may act as a relevant teacher if circumstances warrant it.
The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber-
bullying, homophobic and transphobic bullying) that will be used by the school are as follows:
Primary prevention includes a school-wide anti-bullying policy that includes all students, all parents/guardians, and all staff including teachers, administrators, support staff, and the Board of Management.
What do we do at St. Mary’s National School?
Annual/ Termly/ Monthly/ Weekly activities which encourage friendship, respect and promotion of Anti-Bullying are as follows:
- Friendship Week (Annual)
- Kindness Week (Annual)
- Yard buddies (Daily)
- Reading buddies (Daily)
- Aistear (Daily)
- Class contracts (Annual)
- Halloween party (Annual)
- First Holy Communion Party (Annual)
- Graduation Ceremony (Annual)
- Code of Good Behaviour details the approaches taken by the school to foster respect, kindness and appropriate behaviours. (Ongoing)
- Golden Time (Ongoing)
- Mindfulness (Ongoing)
- Green Flag (Ongoing)
- Green School Committee (Monthly)
- School Garden (Ongoing)
- Football training (Weekly)
- Sports Day (Annual)
- Noticeboards (Ongoing)
- Poster display of the Key Elements of a positive school culture and climate (Ongoing) See
- Dignity of Work Policy (Ongoing)
- Wellbeing Guidelines for Schools (Ongoing)
- Religious Education (Daily)
- Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) Curriculum (Annual)
- Stay Safe(Annual)
- Walk Tall(Annual)
- Webwise(Annual) – the school internet is password protected and filtered by the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE)
- Relationships and Sexual Education (RSE) Programme (Annual)
- Fun Friends (Biennial)
- Friends for Life(Biennial)
- Zippy’s Friends(Biennial)
- Parent workshops and information seminars provided by the National Parents Council (Termly)
- Continuous Professional Development for staff (Ongoing)
- The Principal attended Anti-Bullying Procedures workshop on 7th November 2014 in Athlone Education Centre
- Whole staff training and workshop on Anti-Bullying Procedures, provided by the PDST on 14th September 2016. Present were Valerie Daly, Eithne Gannon, Iseult Egan, Nicola Kilmartin and Mairéad Flannery.
- INTO publication- Respect: Creating a Welcoming and Positive School Climate to Prevent Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying
- Staff social events (Termly)
The school ensures the following takes place:
- A consistent, school-wide approach to the fostering of respect for all members of the school community. This is evident throughout the school campus and is reflected in the everyday interactions among the school community.
- The promotion of the value of diversity to address issues of prejudice and stereotyping, and highlight the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.
- The fostering and enhancing of the self-esteem of all our pupils through both curricular and extra-curricular activities. Pupils will be provided with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self-worth through formal and informal interactions.
- School-wide awareness raising and access to training on various aspects of bullying. This may include staff, pupils, parents/guardians, Parents’ Association, Board of Management and the wider school community. A wide variety of agencies may be accessed to provide support and information in this area e.g. National Parents Council, An Garda Síochána, Local Education Centres, etc.
- Close supervision and monitoring of classrooms, corridors, school grounds, school tours and extra-curricular activities. Non-teaching and ancillary staff will be encouraged to be vigilant and report issues to relevant teachers. Supervision will also apply to monitoring student use of communication technology within the school.
- The school’s Anti-Bullying policy, in conjunction with The Code of Good Behaviour, is discussed with pupils and all parent(s)/guardian(s) upon enrolment and with parent(s)/guardian(s) at the meeting at the New Parents Meeting in June. Copies of each are available to all parents and guardians at the school office.
- Encourage a culture of telling, with particular emphasis on the importance of bystanders. In that way pupils will gain confidence in ‘reporting’. An awareness will be taught to the children about the difference between “telling tales” and “reporting”. This will be taught at a whole school/ class and individual level. This confidence factor is of vital importance. It should be made clear to all pupils that when they report incidents of bullying or unsafe behaviour they are not considered to be telling tales but are behaving responsibly and keeping themselves, and others, safe.
- The development of an Acceptable Use Policy in the school, to include the necessary steps to ensure that access to technology within the school is strictly monitored, as is the pupils’ use of mobile phones.
- Ensuring that pupils know who to tell and how to tell, e.g.:
- Direct approach to teacher at an appropriate time, for example, after class.
- “Worry Box” in each classroom
- Get a parent/guardian or friend to tell on your behalf.
- Ensure bystanders understand the importance of reporting if they witness or know that bullying is taking place. Suggested novels to be used with classes:
“Who is afraid of the Big Bag Bunny” (Junior Classes)
“Jake Drake, Bully Buster” (Middle Classes)
“Bridge to Terabithia” Novel/DVD and “First Look at Bullying: Stop Picking on M” (Senior Classes)
- Clear protocols are in place, which encourage parent(s)/guardian(s) to approach the school if they suspect that their child is being bullied. In consultation with parents, staff and management, all parents and guardians are advised to follow this line of communication: class teacher-principal- BOM. This will be outlined at our New Parents’ Meeting in June. The Complaints Policy is available online at stmarysnscloghan.ie and from the office, upon request.
- Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) Curriculum
- Stay Safe
- Walk Tall
- Relationships and Sexual Education (RSE) Programme
- Alive-O programme and Grow in Love programme
- Circle Time by Jenny Mosley
- Fun Friends
- Friends for Life
- Zippy’s Friends
- Yellow Flag Diversity Programme
- INTO Respect Guidelines
- GARDA Schools programme
Links to other policies
- Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) Policy- Stay Safe Programme, Walk Tall, Relationships and Sexuality Education
- Code of Good Behaviour
- Child Protection Policy
- AUP ( Internet Acceptable Use Policy)
- Mobile Phone Policy
- Dignity at work policy
- Complaints Procedure Policy
- INTO CPSMA Grievance Procedures
What do we teach in class?
- Stay Safe lessons
- Walk Tall lessons
- My Selfie and Webwise lessons
- Relationship and Sexual Education lessons
- Our whole-school Code of Good Behaviour teaches and encourages the children to behave in a respectful, safe and friendly manner.
- Children will be taught the STOP, THINK, DO approach (Appendix 3). This approach will then be taught at an individual level for those children who have SEN or may need added reinforcement in this area. School staff will reinforce this strategy with children and model the approach in all their interactions during the school day.
- Lessons about the difference between “telling tales” v “reporting” will be taught.
What do we teach individual children?
- The Buddy System Programme is in place. 5th and 6th class accompany Junior and Senior Infant children to the toilet at break times. They also assist younger children if they are injured and get ice packs and basic first aid items for the teacher to apply to the injured child.
- The school’s procedures for investigation, follow-up and recording of bullying behaviour and the established intervention strategies used by the school for dealing with cases of bullying behaviour are as follows:
The primary aim in investigating and dealing with bullying is to resolve any issues and to restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved (rather than to apportion blame);
Every effort will be made to ensure that all involved (including pupils, parents/guardians) understand this approach from the outset. An outline of this approach will be highlighted to any parent/ guardian/ pupil or staff member who may become involved in a suspected incident of bullying.
Reporting bullying behaviour
- Any pupil, parent or guardian may bring a bullying incident to any teacher in the school.
- All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying, will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher.
- Teaching and non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs), cleaners must report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher.
Investigating and dealing with incidents: Style of approach
In investigating and dealing with bullying, the relevant teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved. In the initial stage of witnessing a possible bullying incident the staff will use the Stop, Think, Do approach when dealing with possible bullying situations. During all stages of investigation the teachers will take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach.
- Parent(s)/guardian(s) and pupils are required to co-operate with any investigation and assist the school in resolving any issues and restoring, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved as quickly as possible.
- Where possible, incidents will be investigated outside the classroom setting and away from whole class group, to ensure the privacy of all involved.
- All interviews will be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all pupils concerned. Pupils who are not directly involved can also provide very useful information in this way.
- When analysing incidents of bullying behaviour, the relevant teacher will endeavour to seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why. (Appendix 3a, Think Sheet). This should be done in a calm manner, setting an example in dealing effectively with a conflict in a non-aggressive manner.
- If a group is involved, it is aimed that each member will be interviewed individually at first. Thereafter, all those involved should be met as a group. At the group meeting, each member should be asked for his/her account of what happened to ensure that everyone in the group is clear about each other’s statements.
- Each member of a group should be supported through the possible pressures that may face them from the other members of the group after the interview by the teacher. It may also be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident(s).
- In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred, the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the parties involved should be contacted at an early stage to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken (by reference to the school policy). The school should give parent(s)/guardian(s) an opportunity to discuss ways in which they can reinforce or support the actions being taken by the school and the supports provided to the pupils.
- Where the relevant teacher has determined that a pupil has been engaged in bullying behaviour, it should be made clear to him/her how he/she is in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy and efforts should be made to try to get him/her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being
- It must also be made clear to all involved (each set of pupils and parent(s)/guardian(s)) that in any situation where disciplinary sanctions are required, this is a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, his or her parent(s)/guardian(s) and the school.
Follow-up and recording
- In determining whether a bullying case has been adequately and appropriately addressed, the relevant teacher must, as part of his/her professional judgement, take the following factors into account:
-Whether the bullying behaviour has ceased
-Whether any issues between the parties have been resolved, as far as is practicable
-Whether the relationships between the parties have been restored, as far as is practicable
-Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parent(s)/guardian(s) or the school Principal or Deputy Principal
- Follow-up meetings with the relevant parties involved should be arranged separately with a view to possibly bringing them together at a later date if the pupil who has been bullied is ready and agreeable.
- Where a parent(s)/guardian(s) is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parent(s)/guardian(s) must be referred, as appropriate, to the school’s complaints procedures.
- In the event that a parent(s)/guardian(s) has exhausted the school's complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school must advise the parent(s)/guardian(s) of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.
Recording of bullying behaviour
It is imperative that all recording of bullying incidents must be done in an objective and factual manner.
The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour are as follows:
Informal: Pre-determination that bullying has occurred
All incidents witnessed by a staff member must be verbally reported to the relevant teacher.
Where deemed appropriate:
- All staff must keep a written record of any incidents witnessed by them or notified to them which they deem as a bullying-type incident, (Appendix 5). All allegations of bullying should be recorded on this form and forwarded to the relevant teacher.
- While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher, the relevant teacher must keep a written record of the reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same.
- The relevant teacher must inform the principal of all incidents being investigated.
- A follow-up record must be completed and filed with the original records, (Appendix 5a).
Formal: Stage 1-Determination that bullying has occurred
- If it is established by the relevant teacher that bullying has occurred, the relevant teacher must keep appropriate written records which will assist his/her efforts to resolve the issues and restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved.
- The relevant teacher will retain the written records until the end of the year, when they will be passed on to the principal.
Formal: Stage 2 - Appendix 6
The relevant teacher will use the recording template at Appendix 6 to record the bullying behaviour in the following circumstances:
- a) In cases where he/she considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour occurred.
- b) In all cases where bullying behaviour has been reported, investigated, identified and resolved. The relevant teacher will complete the formal recording template, give a copy to the principal and keep the record with their files until the end of the school year. At this stage, all bullying-related files will be handed over to the principal.
Established intervention strategies
- Teacher interviews with all pupils
- Negotiating agreements between pupils and following these up by monitoring progress. This can be on an informal basis or implemented through a more structured mediation process.
- Working with parent(s)/guardian(s)s to support school interventions
- No Blame Approach
- Circle Time
- Think Sheet to promote reflection
The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
- All in-school supports and opportunities will be provided for the pupils affected by bullying to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem, to develop friendships and social skills and build resilience.
- Pastoral care system- class teacher, support teacher, school counsellor, other relevant personnel.
- Buddy / Peer mentoring system e.g. buddy system in the yard
- Group work such as Circle Time.
- If pupils require counselling or further supports the school will endeavour to liaise with parents to organise support from our school counsellor or outside agencies. This may be for the pupil affected by bullying or involved in the bullying behaviour.
- Pupils should understand that there are no innocent bystanders and that all incidents of bullying behaviour must be reported to a teacher.
Supervision and Monitoring of Pupils
The Board of Management confirms that appropriate supervision and monitoring of policies and
practices are in place to both prevent and deal with bullying behaviour and to facilitate early intervention where possible.
Adult bullying of Pupils/Adult bullying
All complaints against a teacher are handled under the agreed INTO/CPSMA Complains Procedure. A hard copy may be obtained from the school office at any time. Any complaints of adult bullying will be handled under the agreed INTO/CPSMA grievance procedures. Appendix 2 Key elements of a Positive School culture and climate
Prevention of Harassment
The Board of Management confirms that the school will, in accordance with its obligations under equality legislation, take all such steps that are reasonably practicable to prevent the sexual harassment of pupils or staff or the harassment of pupils or staff on any of the nine grounds specified i.e. Gender including transgender, Civil Status, Family Status, Sexual Orientation, Religion, Age, Disability, Race and Membership of the Traveller Community.
- This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on 29th September 2016
- This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website and provided to the Parents’ Association. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department of Education and Skills and the Patron, if requested. Hard copies of this, and all school policies, are available at the school on request. They are also available to read in the office and staff room.
- This policy, and its implementation, will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year (September) .Written notification that the review has been completed will be made available to school personnel, published on the school website and provided to the Parents’ Association. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.
Restorative Practices Policy
This policy has been formulated by St. Mary’s National School to promote a positive atmosphere throughout the school by focusing on the positive aspects of behaviour and developing skills, rather than on punishments or sanctions. We promote the notion of a school community where everything we do is based on mutual respect.
‘We sail our ship together”.
Rationale for using Restorative Practices
The Restorative Practice approach is about early intervention and prevention work that strengthens relationships and provides people with skills for the constructive resolution of conflict and a better understanding of how to avoid conflict in the future. It is a whole school approach, which will support any situation where negative behaviour occurs, and in the long term should help reduce the incidents of challenging behaviour. It involves the use of a set of prompts/questions in a safe environment and goes hand in hand with the regular use of circle time.
When harm has been caused by inappropriate, sometimes thoughtless, negative behaviour then all sides need and restorative practice gives:
- A chance to tell their side of the story and feel heard
- To understand better how the situation happened
- To understand how it can be avoided another time
- To feel understood by the others involved
- To find a way to move on and feel better about themselves
- Creates an ethos of respect, inclusion, accountability and taking responsibility
- Creates a commitment to relationships, impartiality, being non-judgemental
- Encourages collaboration, empowerment and emotional articulacy
By implementing this policy we are empowering the children to talk through any conflict, with regard to their thoughts, how they might have acted differently and to suggest a solution to put things right. This process gives a voice to every child and the teacher acts as a facilitator. Children take responsibility for their actions. An important element of all this is that the intervention is voluntary. The success of the process depends largely on the willingness of people to take part and engage in the process.
Key Skills of Restorative Discipline are:
- Active listening
- Facilitating dialogue and problem-solving
- Listening to and expressing emotion
- Supporting others in taking ownership of problems
What is involved for us?
- Use of Restorative language when dealing with issues on a day to day basis
- Regular use of circle time to encourage children to talk about feelings , actions and the consequences of our actions on others, and how we can move forward when we are involved in wrongdoing on either side.
- Check in, check out to see how children are feeling and to give every child a voice.
- Restorative Conversations: A set of questions/prompts will be given to each member of staff to use when dealing with any incident where harm has been caused by inappropriate, thoughtless, negative behaviour. By concentrating on the speaker’s key points, we are able to help him/her shift towards a constructive focus
- Restorative Conferences/ Meetings: Conferencing/Meeting using restorative structure to deal with serious issues
An important element in Restorative Practice is Fair Process:
Expectations - everyone knows what is expected of them
Engagement - involves individuals in decisions/listens to views
Explanation - clarify how decisions are reached
Roles and responsibilities
Responsibility for the implementation of this policy rests, in varying ways as outlined below, with all the partners in our school’s education task, i.e. the Board of Management, Principal and Teaching Staff, Pupils and their Parents or Guardians, Parents Association.
Board of Management
Ratify the Code
Support the Principal and Staff in implementing Restorative Practice
Ensure that the Code of Restorative Practices is implemented in a fair and consistent manner
Provide support for colleagues
Encourage/support training for teacher where necessary in restorative practices
Promote a positive climate in the school
Arrange for review of the Code, as required
Support and implement the school’s Code of Restorative Practices
The promotion of positive behaviour through effective teaching, an inclusive and engaging curriculum and well managed classrooms
The use of positive classroom management techniques, such as circle time, to sustain pupil participation and motivation, and to maximise restorative behaviour.
Be courteous, consistent and fair and model same
Deal appropriately with misbehaviour using the restorative script and appropriate circles.
Provide support for colleagues
Communicate with parents when necessary and provide reports on matters of mutual concern
Engaging with in-school reviews of restorative practices
Pupils are encouraged to:
Participate with the class circles
Adopt a restorative approach when dealing with conflict
Listen to teachers and act on instructions / advice
Show respect for all members of the school community
Respect all school property and the property of other pupils
Be courteous and mannered
Parents and Guardians are encouraged to:
Be familiar with the Code of Restorative Practices and support its implementation
Be interested in, support and encourage their children’s ethos
Cooperate with teachers if their child’s behaviour is causing difficulties for others
Communicate with the school regarding any problems that may affect their child’s progress or behaviour
Timeframe for Review
This policy will be reviewed every two years, or earlier if deemed necessary.
Complaints Procedure Policy
Only those complaints about teachers which are written and signed by parents/guardians of pupils may be investigated formally by the Board of Management, except where those complaints are deemed by the Board to be:
- on matters of professional competence and which are to be referred to the Department of Education and Skills;
- frivolous or vexatious complaints and complaints which do not impinge on the work of a teacher in a school;
- complaints in which either party has recourse to law or to another existing procedure.
Unwritten complaints not in the above categories may be processed informally as set out in Stage 1 of this procedure.
- A parent/guardian who wishes to make a complaint should, unless there are local arrangements to the contrary, approach the class teacher with a view to resolving the complaint.
- Where the parent/guardian is unable to resolve the complaint with the class teacher she/he should approach the Principal Teacher with a view to resolving it.
- If the complaint is still unresolved the parent/guardian should raise the matter with the Chairperson of the Board of Management with a view to resolving it.
- If the complaint is still unresolved and the parent/guardian wishes to pursue the matter further she/he should lodge the complaint in writing with the Chairperson of the Board of Management.
- The Chairperson should bring the precise nature of the written complaint to the notice of the teacher and seek to resolve the matter between the parties within 5 days of receipt of the written complaint.
- If the complaint is not resolved informally, the Chairperson should, subject to the general authorisation of the Board and except in those cases where the chairperson deems the particular authorisation of the Board to be required:
a) supply the teacher with a copy of the written complaint; and
b) arrange a meeting with the teacher and, where applicable, the Principal Teacher with a view to resolving the complaint. Such a meeting should take place within 10 days of receipt of the written complaint.
- If the complaint is still not resolved the Chairperson should make a formal report to the Board within 10 days of the meeting referred to in 3.i (b).
- If the Board considers that the complaint is not substantiated the teacher and the complainant should be so informed within 3 days of the Board meeting.
- If the Board considers that the complaint is substantiated or that it warrants further investigation it proceeds as follows:
a) The teacher should be informed that the investigation is proceeding to the next stage;
b) The teacher should be supplied with a copy of any written evidence in support of the complaint;
c) The teacher should be requested to supply a written statement to the Board in response to the complaint;
d) The teacher should be afforded an opportunity to make a presentation of case to the Board. The teacher would be entitled to be accompanied and assisted by a friend at any such meeting;
e) The Board may arrange a meeting with the complainant if it considers such to be required. The complainant would be entitled to be accompanied and assisted by a friend at any such meeting;
f) The meeting of the Board of Management referred to in (d) and (e) will take place within 10 days of the meeting referred to in 3.i (b).
- When the Board has completed its investigation, the Chairperson should convey the decision of the Board in writing to the teacher and the complainant within 5 days of the meeting of the Board.
- The decision of the Board shall be final.
- This Complaints Procedure shall be reviewed after three years;
- CPSMA or INTO may withdraw from this agreement having given the other party 3 month’s notice of intention to do so. In this agreement ‘days’ means school days.
Child Safeguarding Statement
St. Mary’s National School 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 St. Mary’s National School has agreed the Child Safeguarding Statement set out in this document.
- 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 StatementThe
- Designated Liaison Person (DLP) is Valerie Daly
- The Deputy Designated Liaison Person (Deputy DLP) is Nicola Kilmartin
- 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 Board of Management members to avail of relevant training
- The Board of Management 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 the s 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 Board 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.
Note: The above is not intended as an exhaustive list. Individual Boards of Management shall also include in this section such other procedures/measures that are of relevance to the school in question.
- This statement has been published on the school’s website and has been provided to all members of school personnel, the Parents’ Association (if any) 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 04/12/2018.
Signed: Pat Walsh Signed: Valerie Daly
Chairperson of Board of Management Secretary to the Board of Management
Date: 16/12/2019 Date: 16/12/2019
Child Safeguarding Risk Assessment
Written Assessment of Risk of St. Mary’s National School
In accordance with section 11 of the Children First Act 2015 and with the requirement of Section 8.8 of the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017, the following is the Written Risk Assessment of St. Mary’s National School.
1. List of school activities
- Not recognising signs of harm
- Failure to report harm.
- Entering and leaving playground.
- Buddies escorting children to and from the playground to toilets or to assist if injured.
- Injury during break times.
- Any activities involving staff/volunteers/coaches/work experience students/Homework Club Assistant etc.
- Inappropriate behaviour during toilet breaks.
- Unannounced visitors entering the school grounds.
- Child leaving the school playground unaccompanied.
- External contractors working in the school grounds.
- Inappropriate use of ICT.
- Challenging behaviour.
- Inappropriate use of digital media to record school events.
- Movement between the mainstream classroom and SET classroom.
2. The school has identified the following risk of harm in respect of its activities
- Risk of Harm to pupils/children Adults in school not recognising signs of abuse
- Risk of Harm to pupils/children due to non reporting of signs of abuse
- Risk of injury /harm to children while moving to and from the yard due to non adherence to policies.
- Risk of harm/injury to child engaged in Buddy System(5th /6th class pupil accompanying infants to toilets or injured/sick child to the office).
- Risk of Harm to pupils/children during play time.
- Risk to adults (Staff/volunteers/coaches/work experience students/Homework Club Assistant etc ) of allegation of inappropriate behaviour by pupil when helping an injured child or carrying out intimate care for SEN pupils.
- Risk of harm or injury to child due to inappropriate behaviour during toilet breaks: outside classroom and within classroom.
- Risk of harm to pupils or staff due to unannounced visitors getting access to school
- Risk of harm or injury to child due to child being dismissed from school yard
- Risk of harm or injury to children due to external contractors working on school premises.
- Risk of harm to child due to gaining access to inappropriate material while using school ICT or internet while unsupervised.
- Risk of harm to child/staff/public due to challenging behaviour of a child, staff member or the public
- Risk of harm to children due to inappropriate use of digital media to record school events.
- Risk of harm to children while going from classroom to SET classroom.
3. The school has the following procedures in place to address the risks of harm identified in this assessment:
- Child Safeguarding Statement & DES procedures in place. DLP and DDLP have attended face to face training provided by PDST. DLP and DDLP have completed online training provided by PDST. Staff have completed Tusla online training on the Children First Guidelines. BoM maintains all records of staff and board training. Whole staff, in school, Child Protection Training 24/04/2018. DLP and DDLP CPSMA training 14/03/2018. DDLP training 26/09/2018 DLP Child Protection Safeguarding Inspections seminar 24/01/2019
- Policies and procedures the same as point 1.
- A Teacher is on supervision duty in the yard at all times when children are in it. Supervision Policy. Health and Safety Policy. Code of Behaviour. Supervision Policy reviewed, updated and ratified 04/12/2018.
- One buddy escorts two children at a given time. Pupils must ask permission to leave the yard and must report back to the teacher when he/she returns to the yard. Boys accompany boys and girls accompany girls. Supervision Policy. Accident/Injury Policy.
- The play areas are divided into two sections for each classroom. One section is for football/basketball, the other section is for non-ball games. Only one ball allowed per classroom. Code of Behaviour and Supervision Policy.
- Adult never attends to a child alone. Child removes own clothing on injured area in the company of another child. Open-door policy. Accident/Injury Policy. Supervision policy. Teacher present at all times during coaching sessions. Garda Vetting in place for all staff & volunteers. Development of Intimate Care Policy by 31st May 2019.
- Child must ask permission to use toilet. One child only may use toilet at a time. Infants must be accompanied by a pupil from the “Buddy System” during break times only. Supervision Policy. Requirement for toilets in all class rooms.
- Child safeguarding statement and DES procedures in place. Supervision Policy. Controlled access system put in place, funded by the Parents Association. Additional secretarial hours in place to manage access during school hours. Sign-in book required for everyone who enters the school.
- Supervision Policy. Teachers escort their class to and from the playground. Controlled access system put in place, funded by the Parents Association. Additional secretarial hours in place to manage access during school hours. Sign-in book required for everyone who enters the school.
- Child Safeguarding Statement & DES procedures in place. If urgent repairs required during the school day supervision will be carried out by Principal or Classroom teacher or Caretaker. Supervision Policy.
- Supervision Policy, Acceptable Use Policy, Child Safeguarding Statement, Anti-Bullying Policy, Code of Behaviour, SPHE Policy.
- Child Safeguarding Statement & DES procedures. Anti-Bullying policy. Code of Behaviour. Supervision Policy. Dignity at Work Policy. Complaints Procedure. Health & Safety Policy.Review Policy for Physical Intervention by June 2019. Consider Specific Training in Managing challenging Behaviour for staff by December 2019.
- Child Safeguarding Statement & DES procedures. Anti-Bullying policy. Code of Behaviour in Place. Internet Acceptable Use Policy. Parental consent required for inclusion in use of images online or in the media. Mobile Phone Policy. Data Protection Policy. Written Third Party Service Agreement. School Website Privacy Statement.
- Supervision Policy.
Data Protection Policy
The school’s Data Protection Policy applies to the personal data held by the school’s Board of Management, which is protected by the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2018 and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This policy replaces the school’s original Data Protection Policy, which has been in place since 2011.
The policy applies to all school staff, the Board of Management, parents/guardians, students and others (including prospective or potential students and their parents/guardians and applicants for staff positions within the school) insofar as the measures under the policy relate to them. Data will be stored securely, so that confidential information is protected in compliance with relevant legislation. This policy sets out the manner in which personal data and special categories of personal data will be protected by the school.
St. Mary’s National School operates a “Privacy by Design” method in relation to Data Protection. This means we plan carefully when gathering personal data so that we build in the data protection principles as integral elements of all data operations in advance. We audit the personal data we hold in order to
- be able to provide access to individuals to their data
- ensure it is held securely
- document our data protection procedures
- enhance accountability and transparency
Data Protection Principles
The school Board of Management is a data controller of personal data relating to its past, present and future staff, students, parents/guardians and other members of the school community. As such, the Board of Management is obliged to comply with the principles of data protection set out in the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation, which can be summarised as follows:
- Obtain and process Personal Data fairly.
Information on students is gathered with the help of parents/guardians and staff. Information is also transferred from their previous schools. In relation to information the school holds on other individuals (members of staff, individuals applying for positions within the School, parents/guardians of students, etc.), the information is generally furnished by the individuals themselves with full and informed consent and compiled during the course of their employment or contact with the School. All such data is treated in accordance with the Data Protection legislation and the terms of this Data Protection Policy. The information will be obtained and processed fairly.
Where consent is the basis for provision of personal data, (e.g. data required to join sports team/ after-school activity or any other optional school activity) the consent must be a freely-given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes. St. Mary’s National School will require a clear, affirmative action e.g. ticking of a box/signing a document to indicate consent. Consent can be withdrawn by data subjects in these situations.
- Keep it only for one or more specified and explicit lawful purposes.
The Board of Management will inform individuals of the reasons they collect their data and the uses to which their data will be put. All information is kept with the best interest of the individual in mind at all times.
- Process it only in ways compatible with the purposes for which it was given initially.
Data relating to individuals will only be processed in a manner consistent with the purposes for which it was gathered. Information will only be disclosed on a ‘need to know’ basis, and access to it will be strictly controlled.
- Keep Personal Data safe and secure.
Only those with a genuine reason for doing so may gain access to the information. Personal Data is securely stored under lock and key in the case of manual records and protected with computer software and password protection in the case of electronically stored data. (Aladdin, our Student Management System; and G Suite for Education, our cloud based collaborative tool for teachers, students and the Board of Management are General Data Protection Regulation compliant.) Portable devices storing personal data (such as laptops) are encrypted and password-protected.
- Keep Personal Data accurate, complete and up-to-date.
Students, parents/guardians, and/or staff should inform the school of any change which the school should make to their personal data and/or sensitive personal data to ensure that the individual’s data is accurate, complete and up-to-date. Once informed, the school will make all necessary changes to the relevant records. Records must not be altered or destroyed without proper authorisation. If alteration/correction is required, then a note of the fact of such authorisation and the alteration(s) to be made to any original record/documentation should be dated and signed by the person making that change.
- Ensure that it is adequate, relevant and not excessive.
Only the necessary amount of information required to provide an adequate service will be gathered and stored.
- Retain it no longer than is necessary for the specified purpose or purposes for which it was given.
As a general rule, the information will be kept for the duration of the individual’s time in the school. Thereafter, the school will comply with DES guidelines on the storage of Personal Data relating to a student. In the case of members of staff, the school will comply with both DES guidelines and the requirements of the Revenue Commissioners with regard to the retention of records relating to employees. The school may also retain the data relating to an individual for a longer length of time for the purposes of complying with relevant provisions of law and or/defending a claim under employment legislation and/or contract and/or civil law. See School Record Retention table.
- Provide a copy of their personal data to any individual on request.
Individuals have a right to know and have access to a copy of personal data held about them, by whom, and the purpose for which it is held.
The Data Protection legislation applies to the keeping and processing of Personal Data. The purpose of this policy is to assist the school to meet its statutory obligations, to explain those obligations to School staff, and to inform staff, students and their parents/guardians how their data will be treated. The policy applies to all school staff, the Board of Management, parents/guardians, students and others (including prospective or potential students and their parents/guardians, and applicants for staff positions within the school) insofar as the school handles or processes their Personal Data in the course of their dealings with the school.
Definition of Data Protection Terms
In order to properly understand the school’s obligations, there are some key terms, which should be understood by all relevant school staff:
Personal Data means any data relating to an identified or identifiable natural person i.e. a living individual who is or can be identified either from the data or from the data in conjunction with other information that is in, or is likely to come into, the possession of the Data Controller (Board of Management).
Data Controller is the Board of Management of the school.
Data Subject – is an individual who is the subject of personal data.
Data Processing – performing any operation or set of operations on data, including:
- Obtaining, recording or keeping the data,
- Collecting, organising, storing, altering or adapting the data
- Retrieving, consulting or using the data
- Disclosing the data by transmitting, disseminating or otherwise making it available
- Aligning, combining, blocking, erasing or destroying the data
Data Processor – a person who processes personal information on behalf of a data controller, but does not include an employee of a data controller who processes such data in the course of their employment, for example, this might mean an employee of an organisation to which the data controller out-sources work. The Data Protection legislation places responsibilities on such entities in relation to their processing of the data. The school uses a number of services where student and staff data is collected: Aladdin (staff and pupils), G Suite for Education (staff, pupils and Board of Management), Inmotion Hosting (web hosting), all social networks that the school uses.
Special categories of Personal Data refers to Personal Data regarding a person’s
- racial or ethnic origin
- political opinions or religious or philosophical beliefs
- physical or mental health
- sexual life and sexual orientation
- genetic and biometric data
- criminal convictions or the alleged commission of an offence
- trade union membership
Personal Data Breach – a breach of security leading to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to personal data transmitted, stored or otherwise processed. This means any compromise or loss of personal data, no matter how or where it occurs.
In addition to its legal obligations under the broad remit of educational legislation, the school has a legal responsibility to comply with the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation.
This policy explains what sort of data is collected, why it is collected, for how long it will be stored and with whom it will be shared. The school takes its responsibilities under data protection law very seriously and wishes to put in place safe practices to safeguard individual’s personal data. It is also recognised that recording factual information accurately and storing it safely facilitates an evaluation of the information, enabling the Principal and Board of Management to make decisions in respect of the efficient running of the School. The efficient handling of data is also essential to ensure that there is consistency and continuity where there are changes of personnel within the school and Board of Management.
Other Legal Obligations
Implementation of this policy takes into account the school’s other legal obligations and responsibilities. Some of these are directly relevant to data protection. For example:
Under Section 9(g) of the Education Act, 1998, the parents of a student, or a student who has reached the age of 18 years, must be given access to records kept by the school relating to the progress of the student in their education.
Under Section 20 of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, the school must maintain a register of all students attending the School.
Under Section 20(5) of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, a Principal is obliged to notify certain information relating to the child’s attendance in school and other matters relating to the child’s educational progress to the Principal of another school to which a student is transferring. St. Mary’s National School sends, by post or email, a copy of a child’s Passport, as provided by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, to the Principal of the Post-Primary School in which the pupil has been enrolled.
Where reports on pupils which have been completed by professionals, apart from St. Mary’s National School staff, are included in current pupil files, such reports are only passed to the Post-Primary school following express written permission having been sought and received from the parents of the said pupils.
Under Section 21 of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, the school must record the attendance or non-attendance of students registered at the school on each school day.
Under Section 28 of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, the School may supply Personal Data kept by it to certain prescribed bodies (the Department of Education and Skills, Tusla, the National Council for Special Education and other schools). The Board of Management must be satisfied that it will be used for a ‘relevant purpose’ (which includes recording a person’s educational or training history or monitoring their educational or training progress; or for carrying out research into examinations, participation in education and the general effectiveness of education or training).
Under Section 14 of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act, 2004, the school is required to furnish to the National Council for Special Education (and its employees, which would include Special Educational Needs Organisers) such information as the Council may from time to time reasonably request.
The Freedom of Information Act 1997 provides a qualified right to access to information held by public bodies which does not necessarily have to be “personal data”, as with data protection legislation. While most schools are not currently subject to freedom of information legislation, (with the exception of schools under the direction of Education and Training Boards), if a school has furnished information to a body covered by the Freedom of Information Act (such as the Department of Education and Skills, etc.) these records could be disclosed by that body if a request is made to that body.
Under Section 26(4) of the Health Act, 1947 a School shall cause all reasonable facilities (including facilities for obtaining names and addresses of pupils attending the school) to be given to a health authority who has served a notice on it of medical inspection, e.g. vision screening, vaccinations and immunisations, etc.
Under Children First Act 2015, mandated persons in schools have responsibilities to report child welfare concerns to TUSLA- Child and Family Agency (or in the event of an emergency and the unavailability of TUSLA, to An Garda Síochána).
Relationship to characteristic spirit of the School
St. Mary’s National School seeks to provide a safe, happy environment in which all children can develop a positive awareness of self, and sensitivity for the feelings, rights and views of others. This will enable them to live happy, fruitful lives and to achieve their full potential as pupils of the school and, in later life, as mature, responsible adults.
We aim to achieve these goals while respecting the privacy and data protection rights of students, staff, parents/guardians and others who interact with us. The school wishes to achieve these aims/missions while fully respecting individuals’ rights to privacy and rights under the Data Protection legislation.
The Personal Data records held by the school may include:
1. Staff records:
Categories of staff data:
As well as existing members of staff (and former members of staff), these records may also relate to applicants applying for positions within the school, trainee teachers and teachers under probation. These staff records may include:
- Name, address and contact details, PPS number, Teaching Council number.
- Name and contact details of next-of-kin in case of emergency.
- Original records of application and appointment to promotion posts
- Details of approved absences (career breaks, parental leave, study leave, etc.)
- Details of work record (qualifications, classes taught, subjects, etc.)
- Details of any accidents/injuries sustained on school property or in connection with the staff member carrying out their school duties
- Records of any reports the school (or its employees) have made in respect of the staff member to State departments and/or other agencies under Children First Act 2015
- Forms of Undertaking/Statutory Declarations.
- Garda Vetting
Staff records are kept for the purposes of:
- the management and administration of school business (now and in the future)
- to facilitate the payment of staff, and calculate other benefits/entitlements (including reckonable service for the purpose of calculation of pension payments, entitlements and/or redundancy payments where relevant)
- to facilitate pension payments in the future
- human resources management
- recording promotions made (documentation relating to promotions applied for) and changes in responsibilities, etc.
- to enable the school to comply with its obligations as an employer, including the preservation of a safe, efficient working and teaching environment (including complying with its responsibilities under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005)
- to enable the school to comply with requirements set down by the Department of Education and Skills, the Revenue Commissioners, the National Council for Special Education, TUSLA, the HSE, and any other governmental, statutory and/or regulatory departments and/or agencies
- and for compliance with legislation relevant to the school.
Location and Security procedures of St. Mary’s National School:
- Manual records are kept in a secure, locked filing cabinet in a locked administration office only accessible to personnel who are authorised to use the data. Employees are required to maintain the confidentiality of any data to which they have access.
- Digital records are stored on password-protected computer/laptops with adequate encryption and firewall software in locked offices/classrooms. The school has the burglar alarm activated during out-of-school hours.
2. Student records:
Categories of student data:
These may include:
- Information which may be sought and recorded at enrolment and may be collated and compiled during the course of the student’s time in the school. These records may include:
- name, address and contact details, PPS number
- date and place of birth
- names and addresses of parents/guardians and their contact details (including any special arrangements with regard to guardianship, custody or access)
- religious belief
- racial or ethnic origin
- membership of the Traveller community, where relevant
- whether they (or their parents) are medical card holders
- whether English is the student’s first language and/or whether the student requires English language support
- any relevant special conditions (e.g. special educational needs, health issues, ) which may apply
- Information on previous academic record (including reports, references, assessments and other records from any previous school(s) attended by the student
- Psychological, psychiatric and/or medical assessments
- Attendance records
- Photographs and recorded images of students (including at school events and noting achievements) are managed in line with the accompanying policy on school photography.
- Academic record – subjects studied, class assignments, examination results as recorded on official School reports
- Records of significant achievements
- Whether the student is exempt from studying Irish
- Records of disciplinary issues/investigations and/or sanctions imposed
- Other records e.g. records of any serious injuries/accidents, (Note: it is advisable to inform parents that a particular incident is being recorded).
- Consent forms.
- Records of any reports the school (or its employees) have made in respect of the student to State Departments and/or other agencies under Children First Act 2015.
Purposes: The purposes for keeping student records include:
- to enable each student to develop to his/her full potential
- to comply with legislative or administrative requirements
- to ensure that eligible students can benefit from the relevant additional teaching or financial supports
- to support the provision of religious instruction
- to enable parents/guardians to be contacted in the case of emergency or in the case of school closure, or to inform parents of their child’s educational progress or to inform parents of school events, etc.
- to meet the educational, social, physical and emotional requirements of the student
- photographs and recorded images of students are taken to celebrate school achievements, e.g. compile yearbooks, establish a school website, record school events, and to keep a record of the history of the school. Such records are taken and used in accordance with the ‘School Photography Policy’and ‘School Website Privacy Statement’.
- to ensure that the student meets the school’s admission criteria
- to ensure that students meet the minimum age requirement for attendance at Primary School.
- to ensure that any student seeking an exemption from Irish meets the criteria in order to obtain such an exemption from the authorities
- to furnish documentation/information about the student to the Department of Education and Skills, the National Council for Special Education, TUSLA, and other schools, etc. in compliance with law and directions issued by government departments
- to furnish, when requested by the student (or their parents/guardians in the case of a student under 18 years) documentation/information/references to second-level educational institutions.
(Location and Security procedures as above):
3. Board of Management records:
Categories of Board of Management data:
- Name, address and contact details of each member of the Board of Management (including former members of the Board of Management)
- Records in relation to appointments to the Board
- Minutes of Board of Management meetings and correspondence to the Board which may include references to individuals.
To enable the Board of Management to operate in accordance with the Education Act 1998 and other applicable legislation and to maintain a record of Board appointments and decisions.
(Location and Security procedures as above):
4. Other Records: Creditors
Categories of Board of Management data:
The school may hold some or all of the following information about creditors (some of whom are self-employed individuals):
- contact details
- PPS number
- tax details
- bank details and
- amount paid
Purposes: The purposes for keeping creditor records are:
This information is required for routine management and administration of the school’s financial affairs, including the payment of invoices, the compiling of annual financial accounts and complying with audits and investigations by the Revenue Commissioners.
(Location and Security procedures as above):
5. Other Records: Charity Tax-back Forms
Categories of Board of Management data:
The school may hold the following data in relation to donors who have made charitable donations to the school:
- telephone number
- PPS number
- tax rate
- signature and
- the gross amount of the donation.
Purposes: The purposes for keeping creditor records are:
Schools are entitled to avail of the scheme of tax relief for donations of money they receive. To claim the relief, the donor must complete a certificate (CHY2) and forward it to the school to allow it to claim the grossed up amount of tax associated with the donation. The information requested on the appropriate certificate is the parents’ name, address, PPS number, tax rate, telephone number, signature and the gross amount of the donation. This is retained by the School in the event of audit by the Revenue Commissioners.
(Location and Security procedures as above):
The school will hold data comprising examination results in respect of its students. These include class, mid-term, annual and continuous assessment results and the results of Standardised Tests.
The main purpose for which these examination results are held is to monitor a student’s progress and to provide a sound basis for advising them and their parents or guardian about educational attainment levels and recommendations for the future. The data may also be aggregated for statistical/reporting purposes, such as to compile results tables. The data may be transferred to the Department of Education and Skills, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and other schools to which pupils move.
(Location and Security procedures are as outlined above):
Links to other policies and to curriculum delivery
Our school policies need to be consistent with one another, within the framework of the overall School Plan. Relevant school policies already in place or being developed or reviewed, shall be examined with reference to the Data Protection Policy and any implications which it has for them shall be addressed.
The following policies may be among those considered:
- Pupil Online Database (POD): Collection of the data for the purposes of complying with the Department of Education and Skills’ pupil online database.
- Child Protection Procedures
- Anti-Bullying Procedures
- Code of Behaviour
- Enrolment Policy
- ICT Acceptable Usage Policy
- Assessment Policy
- Special Educational Needs Policy
- Critical Incident Policy
- Attendance Policy
Processing in line with a data subject’s rights
Data in this school will be processed in line with the data subject’s rights. Data subjects have a right to:
- Know what personal data the school is keeping on them
- Request access to any data held about them by a data controller
- Prevent the processing of their data for direct-marketing purposes
- Ask to have inaccurate data amended
- Ask to have data erased once it is no longer necessary or irrelevant.
Where the school outsources to a data processor off-site, it is required by law to have a written contract in place (Written Third party service agreement).St. Mary’s National School’s third party agreement specifies the conditions under which the data may be processed, the security conditions attaching to the processing of the data and that the data must be deleted or returned upon completion or termination of the contract.
Personal Data Breaches
All incidents in which personal data has been put at risk must be reported to the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner within 72 hours
When the personal data breach is likely to result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons, the Board of Management must communicate the personal data breach to the data subject without undue delay
If a data processor becomes aware of a personal data breach, it must bring this to the attention of the data controller (Board of Management) without undue delay.
Dealing with a data access request
Individuals are entitled to a copy of their personal data on written request.
The individual is entitled to a copy of their personal data.
Request must be responded to within one month. An extension may be required e.g. over holiday periods. Data can only be guaranteed to be recovered during term time. Requests can be made from August 25th to June 30th each year. Any request outside of this time will not be guaranteed their data within one month of the request.
No fee may be charged except in exceptional circumstances where the requests are repetitive or manifestly unfounded or excessive.
No personal data can be supplied relating to another individual apart from the data subject.
Providing information over the phone
An employee dealing with telephone enquiries should be careful about disclosing any personal information held by the school over the phone. In particular, the employee should:
- Ask that the caller put their request in writing
- Refer the request to the Principal for assistance in difficult situations
- Not feel forced into disclosing personal information
Implementation arrangements, roles and responsibilities
The Board of Management is the data controller and the Principal implements the Data Protection Policy, ensuring that staff who handle or have access to Personal Data are familiar with their data protection responsibilities.
The following personnel have responsibility for implementing the Data Protection Policy:
Board of Management: Data Controller
Principal: Implementation of Policy
Monitoring the implementation of the policy
The implementation of the policy shall be monitored by the Principal, staff and the Board of Management.
Reviewing and evaluating the policy
The policy will be reviewed and evaluated after 2 years. On-going review and evaluation will take cognisance of changing information or guidelines (e.g. from the Data Protection Commissioner, Department of Education and Skills or TUSLA), legislation and feedback from parents/guardians, students, school staff and others. The policy will be revised as necessary in the light of such review and evaluation and within the framework of school planning.
Ratification of Policy
This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on 16/12/2019
Website of St. Mary’s National School:
St. Mary’s National School is committed to preserving the privacy of all visitors to www.stmarysnscloghan.ie (“our website”). This privacy statement relates to our practices in connection with our website and is designed to assist you in understanding how we collect, use and safeguard the personal information you provide to us and to assist you in making informed decisions when using our site and our services. St. Mary’s National School fully respects your right to privacy. We will not collect personal information/personal data about you when you visit our website unless you choose to provide that information using the “Contact us” form.
By using this site, you consent to the collection and use of your information under the terms of this privacy statement which is in accordance with the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2018, the European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) (Privacy and Electronic Communications) Regulations 2011 and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Please read the following privacy statement to understand how we use and protect the information that you choose to provide to us.
What Information Do We Collect?
When you visit our website you may provide us with two types of information:
- Personal information you knowingly choose to disclose that is collected on an individual basis, and
- Statistical web site use information collected on an aggregate basis as you and others browse through our website
Information, Personal and Non-Personal, You Choose to Provide
When you visit our website you may wish to provide certain information about yourself, such as when you complete our “Contact Us” form. St. Mary’s National School does not collect any personal data about you on this website, apart from the information which you volunteer to send us in the “Contact Us” form
Web Site Use Information
Where you visit our website, certain non-personal data is available to us through our internet service provider. This non-personal data is collected on a statistical, aggregate, non-individual basis. This information may include the IP address from which you access our website, the type of internet browser used to access our website, the type of operating system used to access our website, the “top-level” domain name used (ie, .com, .org, etc.), the date and time of your visit to our website and the number of pages you visited on our website
How Do We Use the Information That You Provide to Us?
Any information, which you provide using the “Contact Us” form, is not made available to any third parties and is only used by St. Mary’s National School in line with the purposes for which you provided it (e.g. to contact you and answer any queries which you have raised in the “Contact Us” form or to address any other feedback which you send us in the “Contact Us” form)
Disclosure to Other People:
We do not disclose, sell or distribute any personal information which you send to us to any third parties. We may pass aggregate information on the usage of our site to third parties, but this will not include information that can be used to identify you. Your personal data may also be anonymised and used for statistical purposes. Unless required to do so by law, we will not otherwise share, sell or distribute any of the information you provide to us without your consent.
An IP address is a number that is assigned to your computer automatically when you use the internet. When you visit any web page in our website, our servers log your IP address. We may use your IP address to help diagnose problems with our server and to administer our website. Your IP address is also used to help identify you and to gather broad demographic information.
What Are Cookies?
Cookies are a feature of web browser software that allows web servers to recognise the computer used to access a website. Cookies are small pieces of data that are stored by a user's web browser on the user's hard drive
Cookies can remember what information a user accesses on one web page to simplify subsequent interactions with that web site by the same user or to use the information to streamline the web page and to complete commercial transactions over the Internet. Cookies should make your online experience easier and more personalized
We employ security measures to protect your information from access by unauthorised persons and to guard against unlawful processing, accidental loss, destruction and damage and we will do our best to ensure that all records we hold remain secure in line with our obligations under Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2018. We take our security responsibilities seriously, employing appropriate physical and technical measures. We review our security procedures regularly
We do not retain your personal data for longer than it is necessary for us to comply with the purpose for which you gave it to us. Any personal data which you provide to us using this website will be used in line with the purposes for which you provided it (e.g. to contact you and answer any queries which you have raised in the “Contact Us” form or to address any other feedback which you send us in the “Contact Us” form) and after this purpose has been completed, we will delete your personal data.
Accessing Your Information
You are entitled to see the information we hold about you. On written request, we supply copies of your personal data, which you may have supplied to us using our website. If you wish to obtain copies of this personal data, you should write to the Board of Management of St. Mary’s National School at Castle Street, Cloghan, Birr, Co. Offaly and ask that it provides you with an Access Request Form. Your request will be dealt with as soon as possible and will not take more than a month to process. If you discover that St. Mary’s National School holds inaccurate information about you, you can request that we correct/delete that information.
Websites Linked to Our Website
Our website may, from time to time, contain links to and from third party websites. We are not responsible for the practices employed by websites linked to or from our website nor the information or content contained therein. Often links to other websites are provided solely as pointers to information on topics that may be useful to the users of our website.
If you are concerned about how your personal data is processed by our website, please bring your concerns to our attention using the contact details below:
The Board of Management,
St. Mary’s National School,
or by email to email@example.com