School Policies

The following policies are displayed on this page:

  • Code of Behaviour
  • Anti-bullying Policy
  • Complaints Policy
  • Child Protection Policy

CODE OF BEHAVIOUR

RATIONALE
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.
RELEVANT LEGISLATION

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
Parent representatives
Students of the school (represented by a focus group from the senior classes)
Principal
Teaching staff
Special needs assistants
Other staff
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.
Reprimand.
Meeting with parents.

  Anti-Bullying Policy

 Rationale.

∗ 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.

Policy Aims.

  1. To encourage and develop respectful relationships between children and between staff and children.
  2. 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.
  3. To raise awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour with school management, staff, pupils, parents/guardians.
  4. To develop procedures for noting and reporting incidents of bullying behaviour.
  5. To develop procedures for dealing with incidents of bullying behaviour.
  6. To develop a programme of support for those affected by bullying behaviour and for those involved in bullying behaviour.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

 

  1. 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.
  2. 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,
  • cyber-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
  • Principal
  • 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:

School-Based

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:

  1. Friendship Week (Annual)
  2. Kindness Week (Annual)
  3. Yard buddies (Daily)
  4. Reading buddies (Daily)
  5. Aistear (Daily)
  6. Class contracts (Annual)
  7. Halloween party (Annual)
  8. First Holy Communion Party (Annual)
  9. Graduation Ceremony (Annual)
  10. Code of Good Behaviour details the approaches taken by the school to foster respect, kindness and appropriate behaviours. (Ongoing)
  11. Golden Time (Ongoing)
  12. Mindfulness (Ongoing)
  13. Green Flag (Ongoing)
  14. Green School Committee (Monthly)
  15. School Garden (Ongoing)
  16. Football training (Weekly)
  17. Sports Day (Annual)
  18. Noticeboards (Ongoing)
  19. Poster display of the Key Elements of a positive school culture and climate (Ongoing) See

            Appendix 2

  1. Dignity of Work Policy (Ongoing)
  2. Wellbeing Guidelines for Schools (Ongoing)
  3. Religious Education (Daily)
  4. Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) Curriculum (Annual)
  5. Stay Safe(Annual)
  6. Walk Tall(Annual)
  7. Webwise(Annual) – the school internet is password protected and filtered by the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE)
  8. Relationships and Sexual Education (RSE) Programme (Annual)
  9. Fun Friends (Biennial)
  10. Friends for Life(Biennial)
  11. Zippy’s Friends(Biennial)
  12. Parent workshops and information seminars provided by the National Parents Council (Termly)
  13. 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.
  1. INTO
  2. INTO publication- Respect: Creating a Welcoming and Positive School Climate to Prevent Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying
  1. 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.

 

Curricular Programmes:

  • Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) Curriculum
  • Stay Safe
  • Walk Tall
  • Webwise
  • 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

  Class-Based

What do we teach in class?

  1. Stay Safe lessons
  2. Walk Tall lessons
  3. My Selfie and Webwise lessons
  4. 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.
  • Individual-Based

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.
  1. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

 

  1. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on 29th September 2016
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

 Complaints Procedure Policy

 Introduction

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:

  1. on matters of professional competence and which are to be referred to the Department of Education and Skills;
  2. frivolous or vexatious complaints and complaints which do not impinge on the work of a teacher in a school;
  3. 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.

Stage 1

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

 Stage 2

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

 Stage 3

  1. 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.

Stage 4

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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).

 Stage 5

  1. 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.
  2. The decision of the Board shall be final.
  3. This Complaints Procedure shall be reviewed after three years;
  4. 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 Protection Policy

Introductory Statement:

The staff, parents and management of St. Mary’s National School, Cloghan developed and agreed this policy on 2nd June 2006 in line with the recommendations and guidelines relating to child abuse prevention and child protection guidelines. Additional Child Protection Training took place in 2010 leading to this revised policy. This policy has been amended to comply with ‘Child Protection procedures for Primary and Post-primary schools 2011’.Additional . The following teachers participated in Child Protection training, facilitated by the PDST on 18th November 2015: Valerie Daly, Eithne Gannon, Iseult Egan, Geraldine White and Mary McEvoy.

Rationale

The Board of Management has adopted the Department of Education and Skills Guidelines and procedures for schools in relation to child protection and welfare. This policy is an outline of how St Mary’s National School proposes to implement these guidelines in order to ensure the protection and welfare of all children attending our school.

Relationship to Characteristic Spirit of the School

Aims:

  • To raise awareness of child abuse namely emotional, physical sexual abuse and neglect, among all members of our school community including Board of Management, teachers, pupils, parents, Special Needs Assistants, secretary and caretaker.

 

  • To put in place clear procedures for all school personal dealing with suspicions and allegations of child abuse

 

  • To identify other policy areas which need to be amended

 

  • To identify curricular content and resources eg. Stay \Safe and Relationships and Sexual Education programmes.

 

Prevention:

The Stay Safe Programme is the primary resource used in this school to provide education for children on abuse prevention.  The programme is taught as part of the school’s Social, Personal and Health Education curriculum under the strand unit Safety and Protection (Personal Safety).

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 Social, Personal and Health Education two-year cycle plan.

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

 

Issues that will be considered:

  • Addressing the teaching of Stay Safe in a multi-class/multicultural situation.
  • What extra provision do we need to make for special needs pupils?
  • What role will the learning support teacher, home school community liaison co-ordinator, resource teacher, special needs assistant have in relation to the teaching/support of a programme of prevention.
  • Information meetings for parents.
  • How will pupils who are withdrawn be dealt with?

 

Guidelines:

THE GUIDELINES ARE LAID OUT AS FOLLOWS:

  1. Appointment of a Designated Liaison Person (DLP)
  • The Board of Management has appointed Valerie Daly (Principal) as the DLP in St. Mary's N.S. to have specific responsibility for child protection.
  • Iseult Egan   has been appointed as Deputy DLP to take the place of the DLP if Valerie Daly is unavailable for whatever reason.
  • The position of the DLP will be addressed at the first meeting of each new Board of Management until such time as he is replaced by the Board of Management for whatever reason.

 

  1. Roles and Responsibilities:
  • Role of the B.O.M.:

The Board of Management has primary responsibility for the care and welfare of their pupils. (pages 16/17 Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures (D.E.S.)

  • Planning and implementing a Child Protection Programme.
  • Staff Development and training.
  • Appointment of DLP.
  • Dealing with allegations or suspicions of child abuse.
  • Children at risk.
  • Curriculum provision.
  • Prevention of child abuse.
  • Dealing with allegations of child abuse by a School Employee.
  • Teacher Attendance at Child Protection Meetings.

 

  • Role of the Staff Members:
  • All staff have a general duty of care to ensure that arrangements are in place to protect children from harm.
  • It is the responsibility of all teachers and staff members to familiarize themselves with The Children First National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children (1999), and Child protection procedures for Primary and Post Primary schools (2011)

 

2.3 Role of the designated Liaison Person (DLP): (Chapters 3,4,5, of Child Protection (D.E.S.)

  • The DLP will liaise with outside agencies, Tusla, Gardaí and other parties with child protection concerns.
  • The DLP will liaise with school pe
  • The DLP will be responsible for the maintenance of proper records and will be responsible for what procedures they will follow in handling reported concerns and disclosures.
  • In relation to an allegation of Child abuse, the DLP will follow procedures as outlined in ‘Child protection for Primary and Post Primary schools 2011’ on each occasion.

 

  1. Child Protection Meetings:
  • The DLP will follow procedure for school employees involved in Child Protection Meetings. (Pages 13/14 Child Protection: Guidelines and Procedures- DES)
  • A request is made from Tusla through the DLP who should consult with the Chairperson of the Board of Management of the school.
  • The school employees may complete a report for the meeting. (Appendix 3, Child protection Guidelines and Procedures - DES)
  • The school employee should be advised if children/parents/guardians are going to be present. The school employee may contact the Chairperson of the Child Protection Meeting for advice.
  • In all cases, individuals who refer or discuss their concerns about the care and protection of children to the DLP, should be informed of the likely steps to be taken by the professionals involved. Where appropriate and within the normal limits of confidentiality, reporting staff will be kept informed about the outcomes of any enquiry or investigation following on from their report.
  • Teachers attending a Child Protection Meeting should familiarize themselves with the protocol outlined on pages 149 - 155 of Children First National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children (1999).

 

4 Organisational Implications:

The following policies have been addressed in this review:

  • Accidents
  • Attendance
  • Behaviour
  • Bullying
  • Children travelling in staff cars
  • Communication
  • Induction of all new staff
  • Induction of Pupils
  • Record keeping
  • Supervision
  • Swimming
  • Visibility
  • Visitors

 Accidents:

While every precaution will be taken under our Health and Safety Statement to ensure the safety of children, we realise that accidents will happen.  Accidents will be noted in our Incident Book and will be addressed under our accident policy as part of Health and Safety. All staff has a duty of care, and will minimize the possibility of accidents through appropriate precaution.

Attendance:

Our school attendance will be monitored as per our attendance policy.  With regards to child protection we will pay particular attention in correlation with signs of neglect/physical/emotional abuse.

Behaviour:

Children are encouraged at all times to play co-operatively and inappropriate behaviour will be addressed under our Code of Behaviour.  If an incident occurs which we consider to be of a sexualised nature we will notify the DLP who will record it and respond to it appropriately.

Bullying:

Bullying will be addressed under our Anti-Bullying Policy.  If the behaviour involved is of a sexualised nature or regarded as being particularly abusive then the matter will be referred to the DLP.

Children travelling in staff cars:

Members of the school staff will not carry children alone in their cars at any time.

Communication:

Every effort will be made to enhance pupil-teacher communication.  If pupils have concerns they will be listened to sympathetically.  The SPHE/Oral Language/RE programmes allow for open pupil-teacher communication, which is hoped will aid the pupil-teacher relationship.  If teachers have to communicate with pupils on a one-to-one basis, they are requested to leave the classroom door open.  Further details on communications are found in our school's Communications Policy.

Induction of Teachers and Ancillary Staff:

The DLP will be responsible for informing all new teachers and ancillary staff of the Children First Guidelines (1999).  The DLP will give a copy of Chapters 3 & 4 and Appendix 1 and this Child Protection Policy to all new staff.  All new teachers are expected to teach the objectives in the SPHE programme.  The Principal is responsible for the mentoring of new teachers and will be responsible for supporting new teachers as they implement the SPHE objectives.  The Principal is also responsible for ensuring that new teachers know how to fill in the roll book correctly and informing the teacher of record keeping procedures within the school.

 

Induction of all pupils:

All parents and children will be made aware of attendance rules and their implications as laid down in the Education Welfare Act (2000).  All parents will be informed of the programmes in place in the school that deal with personal development e.g. Relationships and Sexual Education, Walk Tall and Social, Personal and Health Education . All new parents are given a copy of the school's enrolment policy, which outlines the procedures parents and children should use when contacting the school if there are absences or concerns of an educational/personal/family matter.  Parents are encouraged to make an appointment with the class teacher/Principal if they wish to discuss their child's progress.  All parents are given a copy of the school's Code of Behaviour and Anti-Bullying Policy.

Record Keeping:

Teachers will keep each child's file updated with results of assessments carried out, dates and details of meetings with parents and notes from parents.  The records are kept in the classroom at all times.  Roll Books will be updated daily.  Sensitive information regarding children will be shared on a need-to-know basis.  All educational files of pupils who no longer attend this school are kept in the filing cabinet in the vacant classroom for 5 years.

Supervision:

School Supervision Policy will be followed by all staff to ensure that there is comprehensive supervision of children at all breaks.  A rota will be displayed to cover 11 o'clock and lunchtime breaks.

(See Supervision Policy for agreed rules at break-times and procedures around teacher absences.)

Swimming:

Children will be brought by bus to the swimming pool.  Children will line up in an orderly manner for the bus as stated in our Dismissal Policy in the School's Health and Safety Statement.

Visibility:

Teachers will ensure that children are visible in the schoolyard.  Children will not be allowed to spend time in the classroom, toilets or sheds where they would not be under adult supervision.  They are not to leave the schoolyard or to engage with adults who are outside of the schoolyard.

Visitors:

Teachers on yard duty will be aware of visitors entering the schoolyard and will ascertain their intentions.  They will be supervised in the discharge of their business.

5.0 Curriculum Implications:

 Introduction:

In St. Mary’s National School all children will be cherished and in fulfilling the general aims of the Primary Curriculum we will:

  • Enable the child to live a full life as a child and to realise his/her potential.
  • Enable the child to develop as a social being through living and co-operating with others and so contribute to the good of society.
  • Prepare the child for further education and lifelong learning.

 

In endeavouring to realise these aims we will create a positive school climate which is open, inclusive, respectful, fair, democratic and tolerant and which seeks to support the holistic development of all children and all adults working with our children.  The strategies we will use to create this environment are detailed in our Social, Personal and Health Education Plan and will involve:

  • Creating a health-promoting physical environment.
  • Enhancing self-esteem.
  • Fostering respect for diversity.
  • Building effective communication within the school.
  • Developing appropriate home-school communication.
  • Catering for individual needs.
  • Developing democratic process.
  • Fostering inclusive and respectful language.

 

We strive to ensure that our school will be physically and emotionally safe and we will deliver the curricular content of our Social, Personal and Health Education programme with a view to giving our children the protective skills of self-esteem and assertiveness.  The No-Blame approach will be adopted in our Anti-Bullying Policy.  Co-operative interpersonal skills will be developed through working in pairs and working in groups.  Older children will be encouraged to work positively with conflict, negotiation and consensus building skills developed.

Junior & Senior Infants.

Infant teachers will teach content objectives as laid out under the 10 strand units in our Social, Personal and Health Education Programme.  They are:

  • Self Identity
  • Taking care of my body
  • Growing and Changing
  • Safety & Protection
  • Making decisions
  • Myself & my family
  • My friends and other people
  • Relating to others
  • Developing citizenship

 

After discussion teachers felt that these strand units would enable:

Children to develop assertiveness, body integrity, skills relating to self-care, respect for others, identification of feelings and skills necessary to recognise and tell of abuse.

The Social, Personal and Health Education Programme would be supported, using the Walk Tall resources, our Alive-O programme, Grow in Love programme and Stay Safe resources.

1st& 2nd Classes:

Again teachers agreed that implementing our Social, Personal and Health Education programme as laid out under the 10 strand units named above would enable the children to develop skills, knowledge and attitudes pertaining to self-esteem, esteem for others an the environment and skills pertaining to self-care and disclosure.  Healthy eating, positive attitudes to drug use an anti-bullying awareness will be introduced.

The Social, Personal and Health Education programme will be supported by using the Walk Tall resources, our Alive-O programme, HSE materials and the Stay Safe programme.

3rd& 4th Classes:

Our Social, Personal and Health Education programme will again be implemented according to the 10 strand units.  Knowledge, skills and attitudes developed in previous classes will be built on.  Children will be enabled to develop intra-personal skills and inter-personal skills.  As children mature they will be challenged to develop their decision-making skills.  They will be encouraged to develop self-protection skills pertaining to smoking and alcohol.  Peer pressure and the influence of the media will also be examined.  The development of self-esteem, esteem for others, assertiveness, awareness of feelings, and skills around self-protection and disclosure will underpin our teaching.

Our Social, Personal and Health Education programme will be supported by the use of Walk Tall resources, Prim-Ed anti-bullying materials, Relationships and Sexual Education materials and the Stay Safe programme.

5th& 6th Classes:

Our Social, Personal and Health Education programme will be implemented according to the curricular objectives as laid out under the 10 strands in the Social, Personal and Health Education Revised Primary Curriculum.  Skills, knowledge and attitudes developed in earlier classes will be enhanced.  Children will continue to develop self-awareness and positive attitudes to themselves, others, their environment and the wider world in which they live.  Self-protection and respect for others will be fostered, decision-making skills developed, peer influence and media bias examined.  Knowledge of drugs and positive attitudes to drug use will be further developed.  Children will be enabled to develop good group-building skills, anti-bullying awareness and conflict resolution skills.  Self-protection will be emphasised and protection of younger, less able people.  Positive attitudes to sexuality will be developed and respect for self and others fostered (See Relationships and Sexual Education policy)

The Social, Personal and Health Education programme will be supported by the use of Walk Tall materials, Relationships and Sexual Education resources, Stay Safe resources and BíFolláin.

 

Success Criteria

We will evaluate the success of this policy using the following criteria:

  • Delivery and participation by all staff in training.
  • Delivery of the Social, Personal and Health Education curriculum.
  • Resources to support the delivery of Social, Personal and Health Education.
  • Delivery and participation by children in the Stay Safe Programme.
  • Assessment of these procedures by participants following a child protection case.
  • Feedback from all staff.

 

Timeframe for Implementation:

These procedures will be implemented following ratification by the Board of Management.

Timeframe for Review:

At the first staff meeting of every year the Designated Liaison Person will remind all teachers of the guidelines and copies of Chapters 3 & 4 & Appendix 1 of the Children First Guidelines will be given to those who require them.

An annual review will be conducted based on the criteria above, following any and all incidents when the guidelines are used.

 

Review due September 2017