The Board of Management of St. Patrick’s B.N.S., hereby details the enrolment policy of the school as of October 2017, revising the December, 2014 policy. This is in accordance with provisions of the Education Act 1998.
St. Patrick’s B.N.S. is a Catholic primary school, under the Patronage of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. It caters for boys only from Junior Infants to 6th Class.
As a Roman Catholic School, the school aims to promote the full and harmonious development of all aspects of the pupil; intellectual, physical, cultural, moral and spiritual, including a living relationship with God and other people. The school models and promotes a philosophy of life inspired by belief in God and in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Catholic school provides religious education for the pupils in accordance with the doctrines, practices and tradition of the Roman Catholic Church and promotes the formation of the pupils in the Catholic Faith.
Manager: Msgr Dan O’Connor Principal: Mr. Ian Lane
Its Board of Management comprises representatives of parents, teachers, the trustee and the local community.
There are 10 teachers in the school, including the Principal. We have six mainstream teachers and three SEN teachers. We share a Home School Community Liaison Teacher with St. Patrick’s G.N.S. and Ringsend College. We have one SNA.
The school operates under the Dept. of Education and Science (D.E.S.) from which grants and resources are received annually. Regulations are laid down by the D.E.S. The school curriculum followed is the Revised Curriculum for Primary Schools (1999) produced by the NCCA in conjunction with the D.E.S. This is subject to amendments by the D.E.S., in accordance with Section 9 and 30 of the Education Act (1998)
The school supports the principles of
- Inclusivity (particularly with reference to children with disabilities or special educational needs).
- Equality of access and participation in the school.
- Respect for the diversity of values, beliefs, traditions, languages and ways of life in society.
- Parental rights to enrol their children in the school of their choice; this in the context of the existing school community and the rights of the pupils already enrolled.
In the event of the number of children seeking to be enrolled exceeding the space and staffing available, the following priority listings will apply:
- Catholic boys of the parish and siblings/step/half-siblings of children already enrolled in St. Patrick’s B.N.S. and St. Patrick’s G.N.S. – priority to eldest.
- Catholic boys who live outside the parish and who do not have a Catholic school in their parish – priority to eldest.
- Sons of past pupils – priority to eldest.
- All non-Catholic boys who live within the parish boundaries.
- All other boys who apply to the school are entitled to a place in the school if there are vacancies in the school after the groups from (1) to (4) have been allocated places – priority to eldest;
*Explanatory Note on Residency Requirement
The Board of Management will not regard the residency requirement as satisfied unless the parents/guardians have provided proof as required by the Board of Management, of residence in the parish as at the closing date for applications and for a period of three months prior to that date, and intend to continue to reside in the parish up to and after the start of entry to Junior Infants.
The Board of Management reserve the right to withdraw an allocation of a place that has been allocated on the basis of residence in the parish at any time prior to the commencement of the relevant Junior Infant class in the school if the Board is satisfied that the applicant is no longer residing in the parish, regardless of whether the applicant was residing in the parish at any time before then.
Providing false or misleading information or withholding relevant information will invalidate an application.
The Board of Management reserves the right to amend any aspect of the above as may be deemed necessary.
- Junior Infants must be 4 years of age by September 1st in the year of entry.
- Enrolment of children during the school year, who are 4 years of age after September 1st
is not possible and these boys are encouraged to wait until the following September. In exceptional circumstances this decision is at the discretion of the
BOM, which will be mindful of the following:
- The number of classrooms available
- The size of available space in each classroom
- The educational needs of children already enrolled
- Multigrade classes
- DES maximum class average directives
- Parents wishing to enrol their children in this school should, in the first instance, make contact with the Principal. A completed Enrolment Application form must be received within the dates specified by the relevant application form. A letter of acknowledgement of receipt of the application form must be kept as proof of application.
- All applications received by midday, January 15th of the year of entry, will be considered in accordance with the enrolment procedure outlined above and parents will be notified regarding places within 21 days of the closing date. Should the number of applications received exceed the number of places available, a waiting list will apply.
- Applications received after the closing date (midday, January 15th) will be placed on either a Criteria 1 waiting list or a waiting list for Criteria 2-5 applicants. Places will be offered in order of age within these categories.
- Parents will be required to provide details of their child’s name, age and address, religion, previous education, special educational needs and any medical needs. Birth certificate and proof of address must be submitted. Baptismal certificates will be requested from Catholic pupils.
- In the case of a child with specific special educational needs, the B.O.M. may request copies of medical and/or psychological reports in order to assess the school’s ability to appropriately provide for the education of the child. In such cases, a meeting will be held with the child’s parents and all personnel involved in the care of the child. The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss the needs of the child and to profile the support services required. Following this meeting and on receipt of all relevant reports, the B.O.M. will assess how the school can meet the needs identified. Application may be made to the Special Educational Needs Organiser for additional resources if appropriate.
- Pupils may transfer to the school at any time, subject to the above, and in some cases, subject to the prior approval of the D.E.S. As a result of change of address, children will be accepted into the school at any time depending on availability of places.
Assuming that there are places available in the requested classes, an Application Form may be completed at this time. Application forms are available from the school office, by email or by post. Application forms may be completed and submitted at any time during the school year. Completion of an Application Form does not automatically entitle an applicant to a place.
- If transferring from another school, it is school policy that the Principal of St. Patrick’s B.N.S. will make contact with the Principal of that school, prior to the offering of a place.
- Refusal to Enrol: The BOM reserves the right to refuse enrolment in exceptional circumstances if, in the opinion of the BOM, there is evidence of an unacceptable risk to other pupils, school staff or school property.
- Children enrolled in our school are required to co-operate with and support the school’s policies including policies on Code of Behaviour, Curriculum, Organisation and Management. The B.O.M. places responsibility with Parents/Guardians for ensuring that their child/children co-operate with said policies in an age-appropriate way.
- Appeals: Where a Board of Management refuses to enrol a student in a school, the parents has a statutory entitlement under Section 29 of the Education Act to appeal that decision to the Secretary General of the Dept of Education & Skills.
In the event of any dispute, decisions regarding enrolment are the responsibility of the B.O.M. In this, the B.O.M. is bound by the Rules for National Schools (D.E.S.)
Amended and ratified by the Board of Management
Child Protection Policy
This document is formulated in response to recent changes in Guidance and Procedures in relation to Child Protection matters and takes account of the provisions of each of the following important pieces of legislation:
- Freedom of Information Act 1997
- The Education Act 1998
- The Child Welfare Act 2000
- Children First – National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2011.
The new procedures are based on the recently published Children First – National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2011.
- ‘Children First’ (Department of Children and Youth Affairs 2011)
- ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools (Department of Education and Skills 2011)
The Board of Management (BoM) recognises that child protection and welfare considerations permeate all aspects of school life and must be reflected in each school policy, school practices and activities. Accordingly, in accordance with the requirements of the Department of Education and Skills, Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools, the BoM of [Insert School Name] has approved this Child Protection Policy.
The BoM has adopted and will fully implement without modification the Department of Education and Skills Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2011. These procedures will therefore underpin the content of this policy.
The following key personnel have been identified and ratified by the BoM:
The Designated Liaison Person (DLP) is Ian Lane.
The Deputy Designated Liaison Person (Deputy DLP) is Andy O’Rourke.
In its policies, practices and activities, St Patrick’s BNS will adhere to the following principles of best practice in Child Protection and Welfare. Our school recognises that the protection and welfare of children is of paramount importance, regardless of all other considerations and will therefore;
- 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
- Fully respect confidentiality requirements in dealing with child protection matters
- Adhere to the above principles in relation to any adult pupil with a special vulnerability
Specific policies named hereunder are key elements of this overall document and must be referred to in the context of this policy:
- Code of Behaviour
- Health & Safety
- Record Keeping
- Special Ed
- Induction of Staff
- Critical Incidents
This policy will also be considered with reference to the participation by pupils in sporting activities, other extra-curricular activities and school outings. Other practices and activities, where child protection might have particular relevance, will consider the procedures outlined within this policy. The Board has ensured that the necessary policies, protocols or practices as appropriate are in place in respect of each of the above listed items.
This policy is available to all school personnel and the Parent Association and is readily accessible to parents on request. It is also available in hard copy in each classroom. A copy of this policy is available for the attention of the DES and the patron if requested.
Designated Liaison Person (DLP)
In St Patrick’s BNS, Ian Lane, the Principal, appointed by the BoM, is the DLP. Andy O’Rourke acts as Deputy DLP. Both teachers will undertake training from the Child Abuse Prevention Programme at the earliest opportunity. CAPP provides training to the whole school community (staff, parents and Boards of Management) on the stay Safe Programme.
The DLP has specific responsibility for Child Protection Procedures and will represent the school in all correspondence with Health Boards, An Garda Siochana and other parties in connection with allegations of abuse. All matters pertaining to child abuse concerns should be processed through the DLP (DES Procedures 3:2)
The DLP acts appropriately where there are reasonable grounds for suspicion or where an allegation has been made.
All information regarding concerns of possible child abuse should only be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis in the interests of the child. The giving of information to those who need to have that information is not a breach of confidentiality. This procedure exists for the protection of a child who may have been or has been abused. The DLP who is submitting a report to the Health Board or An Garda Siochána should inform a parent/guardian, unless doing so is likely to endanger the child or place that child at further risk. A decision not to inform a parent/guardian should be briefly recorded together with the reasons for not doing so.
In emergency situations, where the Health Board cannot be contacted, and the child appears to be at immediate and serious risk, An Garda Siochána should be contacted. A child should not be left in a dangerous situation where Health Board intervention is not forthcoming.
Protection for Persons Reporting Child Abuse
The protection for persons reporting Child Abuse Act 1998 provides immunity from civil liability to any person who reports a child protection concern ‘reasonably and in good faith’ to designated officers of Health Boards or any member of an Garda Siochána (DES Procedures 1:10)
People making a report to the DLP in good faith have ‘qualified privilege’ under common law. Reports made to Health Boards may be subject to provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, 1997. This act enables members of the public to obtain access to personal information relating to them which is in the possession of public bodies. However, the act also provides that public bodies may refuse access to information obtained by them in confidence (DES Procedures 1:11)
Definition and Recognition of Child Abuse
Child abuse can be categorised into four different types:
- Emotional abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
Each of these categories is defined in full in ‘Children First’ (Dept. of Children & Youth Affairs Chapter 2).
Neglect can be defined in terms of an omission, where the child suffers significant harm or impairment of development by being deprived of food, clothing, warmth, hygiene, intellectual stimulation, supervision and safety, attachment to and affection from adults, medical care.
Guidelines for Recognition of Child Abuse
A list of child neglect indicators is contained in Chapter 2:2 of Children First. This policy draws particular attention to ‘persistent evidence’ of neglect, including indicators such as no lunch, lack of uniform, no homework, poor attendance, persistent health problems, lack of sleep indicating inappropriate television viewing late at night and other evidence that would indicate lack of supervision in the home. All signs and symptoms must be examined in the total context of the child’s situation and family circumstances.
There are commonly three stages in the identification of child abuse:
- Considering the possibility
- Looking out for signs of abuse
- Recording of information
Each of these stages is developed in ‘Children First’ (2:2)
Handling Disclosures from Children
(DES Procedures 3:5) gives comprehensive details of how disclosures should be approached. Staffs are advised to deal with each situation sensitively, reassure the child but not to make promises that cannot be fulfilled.
The adult should not ask leading questions or make suggestions. They should explain that further help may have to be sought. The discussion should then be recorded accurately.
The record should include reference to what was observed with sketches of physical injury where necessary. It should also record when the alleged incident took place. Records should be kept in a secure place. The information should then be conveyed to the school DLP.
If the reporting person and the DLP are satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the suspicion/allegation, the procedures outlined in ‘Children First’ must be adhered to. Standardised reporting forms should be used (DES Procedures Appendix 4). The content of the report should follow the guidelines in ‘Children First’.
Allegations or Suspicions in relation to School Employees (DES Procedures Chapter 5)
The Chairperson and the DLP are concerned with the protection of the children in their care in the first instance. However, employees must be protected against false and malicious claims. Due process must be observed in relation to allegations against employees. Legal Advice should be sought by the BoM in relation to an allegation in relation to an employee. If the allegation is against the DLP, the BoM Chairperson will assume the responsibility for reporting the matter to the Health Board.
When an allegation of abuse is made against a school employee, the DLP should act in accordance with the procedures outlined in Children First. A written statement of the allegation should be sought from the person/agency making the report. A parent/guardian may make a statement on behalf of a child. The DLP should always inform the Chairperson of the BoM and is responsible for liaising with the HSE. The Chairperson assumes responsibility for dealing with the employee.
School employees, other than the DLP, who receive allegations against another school employee, should immediately report the matter to the DLP. School employees who form suspicions regarding conduct of another school employee should consult with the DLP.
The employee should be informed by the Chairperson (Employer) that:
- An allegation has been made against him/her
- The nature of the allegation
- Whether or not the Health Board or Gardaí has been informed.
The employee should be given a copy of the written allegation and any other relevant documentation. The employee should be requested to respond to the allegation in writing to the BoM within a specified period and told that this may be passed to the Gardaí, Health Board and legal advisers.
The Chairperson must take the necessary steps to protect the child and may consult the BoM in this matter. The BoM may direct that the employee take administrative leave with pay and avoid suspension, thus removing any implication of guilt. The DES should be immediately informed.
School Measures Taken to Protect the Children in Our Care
There are a number of areas where common sense in our school should prevail in order to protect the children in the school and the staff who care for them. In relation to this, certain points should be noted:
- St Patrick’s BNS shall fully implement the Stay Safe programme
- A copy of the school’s child protection policy, which includes the names of the Designated Liaison Person (DLP) and Deputy DLP, will be made available to all school personnel and the Parents’ Association and is readily accessible to parents on request
- The name of the DLP and other relevant support services are displayed in a prominent position near the main entrance to the school
- In addition to informing the school authority of those cases where a report involving a child in the school has been submitted to the HSE, the DLP shall also inform the school authority of cases where the DLP sought advice from the HSE and as a result of this advice, no report was made. At each BoM meeting, the Principal’s Report shall include the number of all such cases and this shall be recorded in the minutes of the BOM meeting.
- St Patrick’s BNS will undertake an annual review of its Child Protection Policy and its implementation by the school. A checklist, to be used in undertaking the review (included at Appendix 1). The school has put in place an action plan to address any areas for improvement which might be identified in the annual review. The Board of Management shall make arrangements to inform school personnel that the review has been undertaken. Written notification that the review has been undertaken shall be provided to the Parent Association. A record of the review and its outcome shall be made available, if requested, to the patron and the DES.
- Staff who take classes swimming should make sure that there are two adults in attendance at all times. The dressing rooms and pool area should be well supervised
- Staff should make every effort not be alone in a classroom with one child or detain a child on their own after school. In the case of special needs pupils where resource hours and assistance are sanctioned on an individual basis, it is school policy that staff in such a situation should work with the classroom door open, thus rendering the occupants visible at all times.
- When possible children should work in groups
- Children with physical disabilities who may require assistance in toileting will be aided by a Special Needs Assistant who has met the necessary screening requirements when being employed by the school.
It should be noted that children with disabilities may be more at risk of abuse due to a number of reasons (DES Procedures 2:3). Parents, teachers and all staff involved in services for children with disabilities need to be familiar with the indicators of abuse and to be alert for signs of abuse.
Appendix 1: Checklist for Annual Review of the Child Protection Policy
The Board of Management must undertake an annual review of its Child Protection Policy and the following checklist shall be used for this purpose.
The checklist is designed as an aid to conducting this review and is not intended as an exhaustive list. The BoM may wish to include other items in the checklist that are of particular relevance to St Patrick’s BNS and reserves the right to do so if/when the need occurs.
|1.||As part of the overall review process, Boards of Management should also assess other school policies, practices and activities vis a vis their adherence to the principles of best practice in child protection and welfare as set out in the school’s Child Protection policy||YES||NO|
|2.||Has the Board formally adopted a child protection policy in accordance with the ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools’?||YES||NO|
|3.||As part of the school’s child protection policy, has the Board formally adopted, without modification, the ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools’?||YES||NO|
|4.||Are there both a DLP and a Deputy DLP currently appointed?||YES||NO|
|5.||Are the relevant contact details (HSE and An Garda Síochána) to hand?||YES||NO|
|6.||Has the DLP attended available child protection training?||YES||NO|
|7.||Has the Deputy DLP attended available child protection training?||YES||NO|
|8.||Have any members of the Board attended child protection training?||YES||NO|
|9.||Has the school’s child protection policy identified other school policies, practices and activities that are regarded as having particular child protection relevance?||YES||NO|
|10.||Has the Board ensured that the Department’s ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary
and Post Primary Schools’ are available to all school personnel?
|11.||Does the Board have arrangements in place to communicate the school’s child protection policy to new school personnel?||YES||NO|
|12.||Is the Board satisfied that all school personnel have been made aware of their responsibilities under the ‘Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools’?||YES||NO|
|13.||Since the Board’s last annual review, was the Board informed of any child protection
reports made to the HSE/An Garda Síochána by the DLP?
|14.||Since the Board’s last annual review, was the Board informed of any cases where the DLP sought advice from the HSE and as a result of this advice, no report to the HSE was made?||YES||NO|
|15.||Is the Board satisfied that the child protection procedures in relation to the making of reports to the HSE/ An Garda Síochána were appropriately followed?||YES||NO|
|16.||Were child protection matters reported to the Board appropriately recorded in the Board minutes?||YES||NO|
|17.||Is the Board satisfied that all records relating to child protection are appropriately filed and stored securely?||YES||NO|
|18.||Has the Board ensured that the Parents’ Association has been provided with the school’s child protection policy?||YES||NO|
Ratification of Policy
This policy will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year.
This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on [Insert Date]
Signed: _________________________ Signed: __________________________
Chairperson of Board of Management Principal
Date: __________________________ Date: __________________________
Date of next review: September 2018
The Board further endorses the Principal, Ian Lane as the school DLP and Andrew O’Rourke as Deputy DLP.
On behalf of the Board of Management:
_______________________________ (Chairperson) Date: _____________________
Child Protection Practices
The staff and BoM of this school have identified the following as areas of specific concern in relation to Child Protection. Following discussion and consultation, the staff and BoM have agreed that the following practices be adopted:
- Physical contact between school personnel and the child should always be in response to the needs of the child and not the needs of the adult
While physical contact may be used to comfort, reassure or assist a child, the following should be factors in determining its appropriateness:
- It is acceptable to the child
- It is open and not secretive
- The age and developmental stage of the child
School personnel should avoid doing anything of a personal nature for children that they can do for themselves.
School personnel should never engage in or allow:
- The use of inappropriate language or behaviours
- Physical punishment of any kind
- Sexually provocative games or suggestive comments about or to a child
- The use of sexually explicit or pornagraphic material
All media products (CDs, DVDs etc.) should be checked for their appropriateness with regard to age and suitability.
Appropriately appointed and screened visiting teachers of varying disciplines, engaged by the BoM of [Insert School Name] to perform specific duties, will be left work with a class alone at the Principal’s discretion
Visitors/Guest speakers should never be left alone with pupils. The school (Principal/ teachers) has a responsibility to check out the credentials of the visitor/guest speaker and to ensure that the material in use is appropriate.
Children with specific toileting/intimate care needs
- In all situations where a pupil needs assistance with toileting/intimate care, a meeting will be convened, after enrolment and before the child starts school, between parents/guardians, class teacher, special needs assistant, Principal and if appropriate the pupil. The purpose of the meeting will be to ascertain the specific needs of the child and to determine how the school can best meet those needs
- The staff to be involved in this care will be identified and provision will be made for occasions when the particular staff involved are absent. A written copy of what has been agreed will be made and kept in the child’s file
- Two members of staff will be present when dealing with intimate care/toileting needs. Any deviation from the agreed procedure will be recorded and notified to the DLP and the parents/guardians.
Clean underwear and suitable clothing will be kept in the school so that if a pupil has an ‘accident’ of this nature, they will in the first instance be offered fresh clothing into which they can change.
If the pupil for whatever reason cannot clean or change themselves and the parents/guardians cannot be contacted, the child will be assisted by members of staff familiar to the child. In all such situations, two members of staff should be present. A record of all such incidents will be kept and Principal and parents will be notified.
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.
- It is the policy in this school that one-to-one teaching can sometimes be in the best interest of the child
- Every effort will be made to ensure that this teaching takes place in an open environment
- Parents of children who are to be involved in one-to-one teaching will be informed and their agreement sought
- Work being carried out by Special Needs Assistants will be carried out under the direction of the class teacher in an open environment.
Changing for games/PE/Swimming
Pupils will be expected to dress and undress themselves for Games/PE/Swimming. Where assistance is needed, this will be done in the communal area and with the consent of parents. Under no circumstances will members of staff/volunteers be expected to or allowed to dress/undress a child unsupervised in a cubicle/private area. In such situations where privacy is required, the parents/guardians of the child will be asked to assist the child. St Patrick’s BNS will endeavour to have two male volunteers/member of staff in the male changing area if possible but never one teacher alone.
The BoM has requested that all swimming volunteers apply to be vetted. At all times there must be adequate supervision of pupils. While every effort will be made to adhere to best practice as agreed and outlined above, in the event of an emergency where this is not possible or practicable, a full record of the incident should be made and reported to the Principal and parents.
Our school attendance will be monitored as per our attendance policy. With regards to child protection, we will pay particular attention to trends in non-attendance. We will also monitor non-attendance in correlation with signs of neglect/physical/emotional abuse.
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 behaviour 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.
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 or request a colleague to attend. Further details on communications are found in the school’s Communication Policy.
Induction of Staff
The DLP will be responsible for informing all new teachers and ancillary staff of the Child Protection Procedures (DES, 2011) and Children First Guidelines (2011), but particularly the recently published Children First – National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2011). All new teachers are expected to teach the appropriate SPHE objectives for their class. A member of staff, once trained, will be responsible for the mentoring of new teachers and will be responsible for supporting new teachers as they implement the SPHE objectives.
Induction of 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. RSE, Walk Tall, Stay Safe and SPHE. All new parents will be 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 will be given a copy of the school’s Code of Behaviour and Anti-Bullying policies.
It is the intention of the Principal and Staff to ensure that child protection concerns will be addressed in the school’s Acceptable Use Policy as part of its Information and Communication Technology policy. The Stay Safe lessons in each classroom may be supplemented with appropriate resources. There will also be annual meetings during which parents will be invited to attend a session with an invited speaker to stay abreast of the ever-changing situation regarding internet access.
Teachers will keep records on each child’s reports using Record Keeping Sheets. These records are kept in the drawer of each teacher’s desk. 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 office. Further details on record keeping will be found in the school’s Record Keeping Policy.
The school’s 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 around break-times and procedures around teacher absences.
Teachers will ensure that children are visible in the school playground. Children will not be allowed to spend time in classrooms, toilets or sheds where they would not be under adult supervision. They are not to leave the school playground or to engage with adults who are outside of the school playground.
In recent years, as a society, we have become very aware of the problem of child abuse through neglect, emotional, physical or sexual abuse.
Each one of us has a duty to protect children and Children First, the National Guidelines, for the Protection and Welfare of Children noted that teachers, who are the main care givers to children outside the family, are particularly well placed to observe and monitor children for signs of abuse.
In response to this, the Department of Education and Skills published procedures for all schools in relation to child protection and welfare. These guidelines promote the safety and welfare of all children and are to be welcomed.
The Board of Management of has adopted these guidelines as school policy. Consequently, if school staff suspect or are alerted to possible child abuse, they are obliged to refer this matter to the Health Service Executive (HSE). The HSE will then assess the situation and provide support for the child concerned.
Children First, the National Guidelines for the Protection of Children may be assessed on the website of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.(www.dcya.ie) and the Department of Education and Skills Child Protection Procedures can be read on the Department’s website (www.education.ie). Parents/Guardians are also welcome to look through the guidelines here at the school.
Code of Behaviour/Discipline Policy.
The ethos of our school establishes and supports a strong sense of community within the school between School staff, Board of Management and Parents/Guardians.
A mutual relationship of respect should be cultivated between staff, children and parents/guardians.
As a staff, our aim is to create a happy, secure environment for all our pupils, within which there is a sense of good order, effective teaching and an agreed approach to discipline. We aim to ensure that we accommodate the individuality of each child while at the same time acknowledging the right of each child to education in a relatively disruption free environment.
These sentiments are contained in our General School Rules listed as follows:
- I will be gentle – I will not hurt anyone.
- I will be kind and helpful – I will not hurt people’s feelings.
- I will be honest – I will not hide the truth.
- I will listen – I will not interrupt.
- I will look after property – I will not waste or damage things.
- I will work hard – I will not waste time.
- I will be on time – I will not be late for school.
- I will wear my uniform.
- I will be responsible for my personal hygiene.
- I will always treat people with respect.
The emphasis in our school is always on the positive. Our catch phrase is: Catch them when they’re being good!
Our Code of Discipline aims to achieve the efficient operation of our school and create a stimulating environment for the children in our care. With this in mind the following rules and sanctions have been put in place to cover the areas of:
- Classroom and School Building.
- I will sit on my chair when requested to do so and do my work to the best of my ability.
- I will listen and I will let others speak.
- I will walk and not run.
- I will help keep the room tidy.
- I will use the toilet properly and always wash my hands.
- I will be kind and helpful and not hurt other people’s feelings.
- I will listen to and obey the teacher.
Good behaviour will be rewarded and praised. Unacceptable behaviour will not be tolerated.
The following are the sanctions which may be used to show disapproval of and discourage unacceptable behaviour.
- Verbal warning.
- Gestural warning: a look, nod or whisper.
- Written reprimand: Note home.
- Time out: Removal to another classroom.
- Loss of privileges.
- Written punishment to be done at break-time or at home.
- I will walk quietly in my line to and from yard.
- I will let others join in games.
- I will be gentle. I will not kick, push, or punch.
- I will not use bad language or call people hurtful names.
- I will be fair.
- I will stay in view of the teacher at all times.
- I will not retrieve balls without teacher’s permission.
- I will not climb on walls or basketball hoops.
- I will walk quietly to my line when I hear the bell or when instructed to do so by the teacher on yard.
- I will always walk quietly and never run.
- I will let adults pass.
- I will always hold the railing when walking on the stairs.
- I will not push or shove when in line.
Positive attitudes must be constantly encouraged by all teachers.
- Teachers promote models of good behaviour.
- Remind children of the rules and rationale behind them.
- Reward good behaviour.
- Reward children who have difficulty behaving well when they are good.
- Assemblies to reiterate rules and praise good behaviour.
- Assembly prizes.
- Boy of the week/month.
- Feedback to parents.
- Class privileges such as movie time, extra football, quiz, extra computer time.
- School trips/hikes.
- Continuous talking.
- Pushing in line.
- Telling tales.
- All minor misdemeanours when on a continuous basis.
- Rough play causing injury.
- Serious fighting.
- Lying, dishonesty.
- Refusal to do work.
- Foul and abusive language.
- Uncontrolled behaviour.
- Jeering or hurtful name-calling.
Our ideal is that our pupils acquire the skills of self-discipline.
Sanctions for serious misbehaviour:
- Verbal warning.
- Loss of privileges.
- Note home.
- Circle Time/ Class Assembly to address issues and resolve conflict.
- Child seen by Principal.
- Parents are called in for meeting.
- Relevant assessments may be sought.
- A shortened day may be decided upon.
- Board of Management may be informed.
- Where these steps have been carried out and the problem still remains, the Principal, in consultation with the B.O.M. and Staff, may take a decision to suspend a child. This would be carried out under Rule 130 (5) of the Rules for National Schools. Outside agencies such as NEPS, The Health Board or the Gardai may also be contacted.
- Where there is a serious/grave problem and should the welfare of other children or staff be at issue, placement in another school, more appropriate to his needs, may be sought/recommended.
*This document will be reviewed yearly and is subject to change.
The school enforces a healthy lunch policy. This is in order to promote a healthy lifestyle and to combat childhood obesity and other conditions brought on by the consumption of unhealthy foods. Sandwiches, fruit, water and milk are provided for each child in the school.
- Water, Milk, Some Fruit Juices.
- Yoghurt (excluding chocolate corners)
- Some Granola bars (without chocolate)
- Sugary cereal bars (eg. Rice-Crispie squares)
- Fizzy drinks, cordials and Isotonic drinks
- Chocolate spreads and nutella
- Hot drinks/Soup
One treat is allowed on Fridays:
- A small bag of crisps/popcorn
- A small chocolate bar
- 2 biscuits
Reminder: No food items containing traces of nuts are allowed in school due to allergies.
PROTECTED DISCLOSURES POLICY:
What is a Protected Disclosure?
“A protected disclosure means disclosure of relevant information, which in the reasonable belief of the worker, tends to show one or more relevant wrongdoings and which came to the attention of the worker in connection with his/her employment”.
In making a disclosure a worker must reasonably believe the information disclosed to be substantially true. No worker will be penalised simply by getting it wrong so long as the worker had a reasonable belief that the information disclosed shows, or tends to show, wrongdoing.
The Protected Disclosures (Whistle-blowers) Act 2014:
The above Act came into effect on the 16th of July 2014. Schools are required to put a Protected Disclosure policy in place which meets the requirements of the Act. The Board of Management of XXXXXXX. takes the issue of wrongdoing seriously and as a result has drafted this policy.
What are “Relevant Wrongdoings”?
Relevant Wrongdoings include but are not limited to the following:
- The commission of an offence.
- Non-compliance with a legal obligation
- Danger to Health & Safety of an individual.
- Improper use of public funds.
The relevant wrongdoings may already have taken place, be happening or be likely to happen.
Who is a Worker as far as a school is concerned?
- All current and former employees (including permanent, temporary, fixed-term, casual and substitute);
- Contractors and consultants engaged to carry out work or services for the school;
- Agency workers;
- Individuals on work experience pursuant to a training course and trainees of/with the school.
To whom do you make the Disclosure?
The vast majority of disclosures should be made, orally or in writing, to the school Principal or to the Chairperson of the Board of Management (BOM). Where this is inappropriate or impossible there is provided a list of “Prescribed Persons”. In relation to schools the Prescribed Person is the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills (DES).
What protections are available to whistle blowers (Disclosers)?
Among the protections are:
- Protection from dismissal.
- Up to 5 years’ remuneration for unfair dismissal.
- Protection of identity (subject to certain exceptions)
- Protection from penalisation by the school Board of Management.
What is best practice?
If you as a member of staff have a genuine or reasonable concern that there is wrongdoing in the school you should report it to the Principal. If this is not appropriate or possible you should then report it to the Chairperson of the BOM. Workplace grievances should be reported in the normal manner and are not covered by this policy. It should be noted that while internal reporting is encouraged you have the option to raise concerns outside of the school’s Board of Management and report to the Secretary General of the DES.
St Patrick’s BNS is committed to protecting the identity of the worker making a protected disclosure and ensuring that protected disclosures are treated in confidence. However, there are circumstances, as outlined in the 2014 Act, where confidentiality cannot be maintained, for example, where the Discloser makes it clear that he/ she has no objection to his or her identity being disclosed and/or the identity of the Discloser is critical to an investigation of the matter raised. If it is decided that confidentiality cannot be maintained in the context of an investigation, the school will inform the Discloser in advance that his /her identity will be disclosed.
St. Patrick’s BNS
Data Protection/Record Retention Policy
This policy was recently formulated by Staff and Board of Management of St. Patrick’s BNS. The purpose of the policy is to identify the records required to be retained by the school and to ensure confidentiality and manageable procedures in relation to access to such records by parents and stake holders.
- A policy on data protection and record keeping is necessary to ensure that the school has proper procedures in place in relation to accountability and transparency.
- It is good practice to record pupil progress so as to identify learning needs.
- A policy must be put in place to ensure a school complies with legislation such as;
-Education Act, Section 9g requiring a school to provide access to records to students over 18/parents.
-Education Welfare Act – requiring a school to report school attendance and transfer of pupils.
Relationship to School Ethos:
St. Patrick’s BNS promotes openness and co-operation between staff, parents and pupils as a means towards providing the caring environment through which a child can develop and grow to full potential.
- To ensure the school complies with legislative requirements.
- To clarify the types of records maintained and the procedures relating to making them available to the relevant bodies.
- To put in place a proper recording and reporting framework on the educational progress of pupils.
- To establish clear guidelines on making these records available to parents and pupils over 18.
- To stipulate the length of time records and reports will be retained.
The principal assumes the function of data controller and supervises the application of the Data protection Act within the school. The data under the control of the principal comes under the following headings.
This data relates to personal details of the students such as names, address, date of birth, gender, ethnic origin, nationality, religious belief, medical details, dietary information, PPSN. It does not include parent and guardians details.
Student records depending on their sensitivity are held by each class teacher, the learning support teacher or principal. There is a safe in the office for what is judged to be very sensitive.
Phone numbers are available in the office of course.
- Personal details of the student i.e. Enrolment form in filing cabinet in office.
- School report cards are kept locked in filing cabinet in office.
- Psychological Assessments if any are kept in the safe in the office.
- Standardised Test Results in the learning support teacher’s filing cabinet.
- Attendance Records are kept by the teacher.
- Screening Test such as MIST and NRIT in the learning support teacher’s filing cabinet.
- Teacher – designed tests. Each class teacher designs his/her own test template.
- Diagnostic Test Reports in the learning support teacher’s filing cabinet.
- Individual Education Plans are kept by relevant teacher.
- Learning Support/Resource Data such as records of refusals to allow children access to LS/RT services in the school kept by principal.
- Portfolios of student work e.g. Art kept by teacher.
- Staff Data – name, address, date of birth, contact details, payroll number, pension details, attendance records, qualifications, school records, etc, are kept in safe in the office.
- Attendance Reports, Roll Book, Registers kept in office.
- Accident Report Book kept in office.
- Administration of Medicines Indemnity Form kept in office.
Access to Records:
The following will have access where relevant and appropriate to the data listed above;
- Past Pupils over 18
- Health Service Executive
- Designated School Personnel
- Department of Education and Science
- First and Second level schools (where relevant)
A Parental authorisation form must be completed by parents in the event of data being transferred to outside agencies such as health professionals etc. Outside agencies requesting access to records must do so in writing giving seven days’ notice. Parents/Guardians can make such a request either by phone or in writing.
A standardised school report form is used which is issued in the last week in June.
Records are kept for a minimum of seven years, Standardised tests booklets are shredded after one year but the raw score, stens and percentiles are kept on record until past pupils reach adulthood.
A pupil profile is held by each teacher in his/her individual classroom and passed on to the next teacher as the child moves to the next class.
As children pass to second level their personal records are stored in the school attic for a period of time (7 yrs minimum). All completed school roll books are stored in a similar location in addition to samples of children’s work and pupil profiles. Access to these stored files is restricted to authorised personnel only. For computerised records, systems are password protected.
- Compliance with Data Protection Act and Statue of Limitations Act.
- Easy access to records.
- Framework in place for ease of compliation and reporting.
- Manageable storae of records.
Roles and Responsibilities:
The school staff, under the direction of the Principal will implement and monitor this policy. Individual teachers will design, administer and record all in-class testing. The Principal will ensure records are maintained and stored, particularly the records of students transferring to another school.
This new policy is effective from November 2017. All records held from before that date will continue to be maintained in the school files.
This policy was ratified and communicated in February 2008. It will be reviewed at the beginning of each school year and amended if necessary.
Possible new Data Protection and Record-keeping Policy
This policy was formulated by Staff and Board of Management of _________ School. The purpose of the policy is to identify the records required to be retained by the school and to ensure confidentiality and manageable procedures in relation to access to such records by parents and stake holders.
- A policy on data protection and record keeping is necessary to ensure that the school has proper procedures in place in relation to accountability and transparency
- It is good practice to record pupil progress so as to identify learning needs
- A policy must be put in place to ensure a school complies with legislation such as;
- Education Act, Section 9g requiring a school to provide access to records to students over 18/parents
- Education Welfare Act – requiring a school to report school attendance and transfer of pupils.
Relationship to School Ethos:
Our school promotes openness and co-operation between staff, parents and pupils as a means towards providing the caring environment through which a child can develop and grow to his full potential.
- To ensure the school complies with legislative requirements
- To clarify the types of records maintained and the procedures relating to making them available to the relevant bodies
- To put in place a proper recording and reporting framework on the educational progress of pupils
- To establish clear guidelines on making these records available to parents and past pupils who are over 18
- To stipulate the length of time records and reports will be retained.
The Principal assumes the function of data controller and supervises the application of the Data Protection Act within the school. The data under the control of the Principal comes under the following headings.
- Personal Data:
This data relates to personal details of the students such as name, address, date of birth, gender, ethnic origin, nationality, religious belief, medical details, dietary information, PPSN, contact details and parents’ names. These are kept in a locked filing cabinet.
- Student Records:
Student records are held by each class teacher and a master copy is held in Principal’s office.
Student records may contain:
- Personal details of the student
- Medical sensitive data
- School report cards
- Psychological/Clinical/Occupational Therapy/Speech and Language Assessments
- Standardised Test Results
- Attendance Records
- Screening Test such as MIST and NRIT
- Data Protection
- Teacher – designed tests. Each class teacher designs his/her own test template
- Diagnostic Tests Reports
- Individual Education Plans
- Learning Support/Resource Data such as records of permission/refusal to access LS/RT services in the school,
- Portfolios of student work e.g. Art
- Details of behavioural incidents or accidents.
- Staff Data
This data relates to personal and professional details of the Staff such as name, address, date of birth, contact details, payroll number, attendance records, qualifications, school records, sick leave, CPD, curriculum vitae, school returns, classes taught, seniority and supervision payments.
- Administrative Data:
- Attendance Reports, Roll Book, Registers
- Accident Report Book
- Administration of Medicines Indemnity Form
- HSE files
- Board of Management files
Access to Records:
The following will have access where relevant and appropriate to the data listed above;
- Parents/guardians – see Appendix 1 from CPMSA outlining details of access
- Past pupils over 18
- Health Service Executive
- Designated school personnel
- Department of Education & Skills
- First and second-level schools (where relevant).
A parental authorisation form must be completed by parents in the event of data being transferred to outside agencies such as health professionals etc. Outside agencies requesting access to records must do so in writing giving seven days notice. Parents/Guardians can make such a request either by phone, email or in writing. The right to erasure or rectification is available to change any mistakes or inaccuracies by proper authorisation through the same procedures.
The Annual School Report format and its communication to parents are outlined clearly in our schools Report Form Guidelines Policy. A standardised school report form is used which is issued by post in _______.
All records are stored in the school for a minimum of 7 years until the past pupil reaches the age of 21. These records are stored in office in a locked filing cabinet.
A pupil profile and selection of records are held by each teacher in his/her individual classroom and passed on to the next teacher as the child moves to the next class.
All completed school roll books are stored in a similar location in addition to samples of children’s work and pupil profiles.
Access to these stored files is restricted to authorised personnel only.
Computerised records, systems are password protected.
- Compliance with Data Protection Act and Statute of Limitations Act
- Easy access to records
- Framework in place for ease of compilation and reporting
- Manageable storage of records.
Roles and Responsibilities:
The school staff, under the direction of the Principal will implement and monitor this policy. Individual teachers will design, administer and record all in-class testing. The Principal will ensure records are maintained and stored, particularly the records of students transferring to another school.
This new policy is effective from 2017 November.
All records held from before that date will continue to be maintained in the school.
This policy was ratified in November 2017.
The policy will be available on the school website and through the office.
It will be reviewed every 2 years and amended if necessary.
- Solas (CPSMA) May-June 2001
- Education Act 1998
- Education Welfare Act 2000
- Date Protection Act 2003
- Freedom of Information Act
This anti-bullying policy operates in conjunction with the Code of Behaviour, which is used to address isolated instances of anti-social behaviour.
The school has a central role in the children’s’ social moral development just as it does in their academic development. In school, we work towards standards of behaviour based on the basic principles of honesty, respect, consideration and responsibility. The individuality of each child needs to be accommodated while at the same time acknowledging the right of every child to education in a disruption free environment.
Bullying is defined as repeated aggression, whether verbal, psychological or physical, conducted by an individual or group against others. Examples of bullying include physical aggression, damage to property, intimidation, isolation, name-calling, taunting or ‘slagging’. Child to child bullying, teacher to child, intra staff bullying, parent to staff and parent to child bullying (including a child other than their own) are examples of the areas where bullying may occur.
Isolated instances of aggressive behaviour, which would be dealt with under the Code of Behaviour, would not be described as bullying. However when the behaviour is systematic and ongoing, it is bullying.
The school acknowledges that there are three parties involved in bullying – those who bully, those who are bullied and those who witness the bullying. Staff and teachers bear this in mind when dealing with bullying incidences and try to support and work with all parties involved.
Aims of the Policy
- To foster a school ethos of mutual and self-respect
- To raise awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour
- To outline, promote and raise awareness of preventative approaches that can be used in response to reported incidences of bullying
- To develop a programme of support for those affected by bullying behaviour and for those involved in bullying behaviour
- To outline procedures for noting and reporting instances of bullying behaviour
- To outline procedures for investigating and dealing with incidents of bullying behaviour
Child to Child Bullying
Unless the incident is of a very serious nature, it will be dealt with by the classroom teacher who will talk to the children involved. Teachers respect the need to support the esteem of each party involved in an incident. When a teacher becomes aware that a child is regularly involved in incidents he/she will start a record of such incidents. The purpose of this record is:
- To aid memory by recording details of the incident
- For clarity in assessment of the situation
- For planning and intervention
Prior to a record of incidences being kept, parent(s) will be informed.
Should the action taken at this stage prove not to have resolved the issue, the staff will proceed to stage two.
The Principal will arrange to meet with the parents of the child who is seen to be bullying and separately with the parents of the victim of bullying. The children themselves may be required to attend part or all of these meetings. The child who is bullying will be placed on report. This means that the child’s behaviour in all areas is monitored during the day. The child has three meetings with his teacher and together they decide on what is to be written for that part of the day. All positive behaviour, progress on work etc will be noted. At the end of the day, the teacher writes his own comment. The purpose of this report to focus as much as possible on the positive qualities and efforts of the child, and to motivate the child to move away from negative behaviour. The child should be able to see that parents and school are working together in his interest, so the co-operation of the parents is essential. Initially a review of the reports will be carried out on a weekly basis, in a meeting with the Principal, teacher, parents and child. If progress is being made, longer intervals between meetings may be decided upon. The child who is the victim of bullying will also meet with the Principal and his/her parents. The aim of such a meeting(s) will be to address emotional needs and devise strategies for the child to deal with the bullying. This may involve reinforcing the programme being covered in class, or other strategies.
It is the duty of the school to provide a safe environment for all the children. Should the above interventions fail and the bullying continue, a programme of appropriate sanctions may be implemented by the Principal in consultation with the parents and Board of Management. Sanctions implemented aim to encourage positive behaviour and support the esteem of the child. These sanctions may include a period of suspension during which there will be ongoing consultation with the parents to decide on appropriate action(s) to be taken in the best interests of the child. Suspension for any period of time will be reported in writing by the Principal to the Chair of the Board of Management.
Bullying by Adults
In the case of intra-staff bullying, St. Patrick’s B.N.S. Ringsend will adopt the procedures outlined in Section C (c2) of the INTO booklet: ‘Working Together: Procedures and Policies for Positive Staff Relations’. A copy of this document is available for free download on the INTO website.
In the case of Teacher – Child bullying, a complaint should in the first instance be raised with the teacher in question by the parent/guardian of the child if possible and then if necessary referred to the Principal. Where it has not been possible to agree a framework for resolution, the matter should be referred in writing by both parties to the Board of Management for investigation.
In the case of Parent – Teacher bullying, the Principal should be informed in the first instance, and if deemed necessary the Board of Management should subsequently be informed in writing.
In the case of Parent/Visitor to the school – Child bullying, the complaint should be referred in the first instance to the child’s class teacher and subsequently to the Principal if unresolved.
In the case of Principal – Parent/ Child bullying, the matter should be raised with the Principal if possible, or referred to the Chairperson of the Board of Management.
#The following section has been added to the policy in Autumn 2017 as per IPPN guidelines.
What is bullying?
Bullying can mean many different things. Bullying can take many forms, but its aim is always to make a person feel upset, intimidated or afraid and if this happens again and again it is bullying.
These are some ways children and young people have described bullying:
- being called names
- being teased
- being pushed or pulled about
- being hit or attacked
- having your bag and other possessions taken and thrown around
- having rumours spread about you
- being ignored and left out
- being forced to hand over money or possessions.
Children get bullied
- at school – in the playground, in class or in the toilets
- on their way to and from school
- on the bus
What does it feel like to be bullied?
Bullying hurts. It makes you scared and upset. It can make you feel embarrassed in front of others. It can make you feel that you are all alone and that you have no friends. It can make you so worried that you can’t work well at school. Some children have told us they have skipped school to get away from it. It can make you feel that you are no good, that there is something wrong with you. People who bully you can make you feel that it’s your fault but it is not your fault – it is their fault. (The label ‘bully’ for a bullying child is problematic. The word ‘bully’ as a verb for the action is better, e.g. a child who bullies.)
Why do some people bully?
There are a lot of reasons why some people bully. They may see it as a way of being popular, or making themselves look tough and in charge.
Some bullies do it to get attention or to get something, or to make other people afraid of them. Others might be jealous of the person they are bullying. They may even be getting bullied themselves.
Some people who bully may not even understand how wrong their behaviour is or how it makes the person being bullied feel.
Why are some young people bullied?
Some young people are bullied for no particular reason, but sometimes it’s because they are different in some way – perhaps it’s the way they talk, their size, their looks, their name or just because they are very good at something.
Sometimes young people are bullied because the bullying person thinks they won’t stand up for themselves.
Boys were found to engage in three times as much bullying as girls. Research found that the popular belief that children who bully feel insecure and anxious inside is NOT true. In fact, children who bully have a low level of anxiety. The typical child who bullies has ‘an aggressive personality pattern’ combined, at least in boys, with physical strength.
The factors which were found to help create an aggressive personality problem were: negative emotional attitudes of the primary caretaker characterized by lack of warmth, permissiveness by the primary caretaker for the child’s aggressive behaviour, use of ‘power-assertive’ child rearing methods such as physical punishment and the child’s temperament. (If this document is for pupils as well as teachers I’d simplify the language in this paragraph completely).
If you’re being bullied what can you do?
Always remember – It’s not your fault! It’s the bullying person who has the problem, not you. Don’t put up with bullying. Ask for help.
- Believe in yourself. Don’t believe what the bullying person says of you. You know that’s not true.
- Say ‘no’ emphatically, then walk away
- Check out your body language. Practise walking with confidence, standing straight with head held high and taking deep breaths.
- Practice assertiveness. Stand tall, look the bully in the eye, breathe steadily, speak calmly and firmly. This can help you to feel stronger, and also makes you look more confident.
- Don’t suffer in silence – talk to someone you trust. It always helps to share a problem and to know that you are not alone. In schools and clubs, adults in charge have to pay attention to any complaints you make about being bullied.
- If an adult is bullying you, then look for help from another adult you can trust. You have rights, and you must insist on them. There are rules and procedures to deal with adults who bully at home, in school, in sport clubs and where people work. If you are too nervous, take along a friend.
- Choose when to resist. Sometimes the only sensible thing to do is to give in. Just get away and tell someone.
- Try not to use violence. It never solves anything, and usually just makes the situation worse.
- Keep a diary. Keep a record of details – who, where, when, how – as this will make it easier for you when you tell your story.
- Have an answer ready. Well chosen words can often make a bullying person look foolish, and that’s the last thing they want!
- Try not to show you are upset or angry (even if you are). Reacting to the bullying person is only giving them what they want.
- If there’s a gang involved try to approach each person on their own, rather than when they’re together. If you talk straight to them, you’ll probably find that they’re not so confident without the protection of the group.
- Ask your friends to support you. People who bully don’t like being outnumbered or isolated.
- Try to make new friends if the ones you have at the moment seem to enjoy trying to make you feel bad.
- Change your routine. Try to avoid being on your own in places where you are likely to be picked on.
Do you bully others?
- Have you ever hurt someone on purpose?
- Have you ever used your size or strength to win against someone weaker?
- Do you repeat rumours, even if you’re not sure they’re true?
- Have you ever tried to turn your friends against someone?
- Have you ever watched others bullying someone without doing anything to stop it?
- Have you ever used the excuse ‘I was only messing’ when you knew you weren’t ‘only messing’?
If answering these questions made you feel uneasy, maybe you should look at the way you treat other people.
Talking to someone always helps.
Choose a trusted friend or maybe one of the organisations listed in this booklet.
Remember that bullying is always wrong – feeling good shouldn’t mean having to make someone else feel bad.
Signs of bullying
As an adult, what are the signs I should look out for?
One of the most terrible effects of bullying is that the bullied child will very often deny that it’s happening.
It’s important that you don’t put even more pressure on a child who may be bullied. Forcing someone to tell when they don’t want to can itself be a form of bullying. But there are certain signs to look out for if you have suspicions.
These can include:
- A change in behaviour, such as suffering a lack of concentration and/or becoming withdrawn, excessively clingy, depressed, fearful, emotionally up and down
- Afraid and anxious when going to or coming from school
- Happy at the weekend but not during the week. A drop in performance in school.
- Physical signs: stomach aches, headaches, sleep difficulties, bedwetting, bruising
- Bingeing on food
- Unexplained bruises
- School performance steadily getting worse
- Being generally nervous, tense, unhappy
- Not explaining suspicious incidents
- Signs of being isolated from others of the same age
- Signs of regular interference with personal property, books, etc.
- Frequently asking for (or perhaps stealing) money.
Although these can also indicate problems other than bullying, it’s important that you don’t ignore them. Try to encourage the child to talk about what’s going on, either to you or to another trusted adult.
How to approach the subject
- Broach the subject obliquely, giving the victim the option to talk about it or not
- Let them know that you are willing to listen at any time
- When they start to talk, listen carefully to what they have to say
- Once they begin to discuss the bullying, it may seem to be all they can talk about. Be patient and let them go on – it’s better for them to let it all out than to bottle it up.
What to do next
- Don’t over-react – victims need rational advice and help, not emotional overload
- Believe the victim. No one should have to put up with bullying.
- Ask victims if they have any suggestions about changing the situation
- Contact the school as soon as your satisfied that the allegation is well founded
- Seek advice from an individual or a support group with experience in this area.
What should I do if my child is being bullied?
- Discuss bullying openly and regularly with your children – don’t wait for them to raise the issue.
- Thank the child for disclosing the problem. Confidence is the first casualty of bullying, so let your child know you believe them and will support them. Tell them it’s not their fault.
- Listen carefully. Don’t rush the story. Show you are concerned and sympathetic.
- Get all the details – what, who, when, where, etc.
- Write down the details and check the information with your child. This will be important for any meetings which may come later.
- Take action. Don’t wait to see if it all blows over.
- Make appropriate changes that may help prevent your child being singled out and to build their confidence at the same time (e.g. new clothes, different hairstyle, etc.)
- Seek professional help if necessary (e.g. speech therapy, dental work, etc.)
- Bring your information to the relevant authority, and insist on getting an adequate response.
How do I approach the School?
- Make an appointment
- Speak to an appropriate teacher as soon as possible.
- Think about asking someone to accompany you for support.
- Don’t exaggerate. Be honest and stick to the facts as you understand them.
- Use your notes to make sure you don’t forget to mention any important points.
- Recognise that you may be upset when you speak to the teacher.
- Accept that your child may not have told you all the facts, and that there may be another side to the story.
- Ask for a copy of the school’s policy on bullying.
- Find out what action the school intends to take.
- Arrange for a follow-up meeting with the teacher to measure any improvement in the situation.
- After the meeting, you may wish to make a note of what was agreed and send a copy to the teacher.
- If you are not happy with the teacher’s response, make an appointment to see the principal.
- If you still feel dissatisfied having talked to the principal, contact members of the Board of Management who are there to represent your interests. Remember to keep copies of all letters you send and receive.
- If your child is happy to have you attend, you can request that all interviews with him or her on this issue are conducted in your presence.
- If the problem persists, then you should consider moving your child to another class or even another school if this is possible.
- You should consider carefully whether further aftercare is needed following a move to another class or school.
How can I tell if my child bullies others?
Here are some indicators of bullying behaviour:
- a tendency to bully family members
- being a victim of bullying
- regularly witnessing bullying behaviour in their environment
- being frequently short-tempered and/or aggressive
- having past experiences which can still cause negative feelings
- bringing home items that you know weren’t bought
- speaking of others in a negative way, perhaps on the basis of their appearance or beliefs of social status
- showing an interest in violent behaviour
- showing little sensitivity towards others
- having low self esteem
- being the subject of previous complaints or suggestions of bullying behaviour
Although these can also indicate problems other than bullying, it’s important that you don’t ignore them. Try to encourage the child to talk about what’s going on, either to you or another trusted adult.
Directory of Support Services
Anti-Bullying Centre (01) 6082573
CAB – Campaign Against Bullying (01) 2887976
Childline Freephone 1800 666660
Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (01) 2300061
ISPCC (01) 6794944
The National Association for Parents Support (NAPS) (0502) 20598
Parentline (Parents under Stress) (01) 8733500
Samaritans (Callsave) 1850 609090
Sticks and Stones Theatre Company (01) 2807065
Trinity College Dublin – Anti-Bullying Research Centre (01) 6601011
Victim Support 1800 661771
Some Useful Websites
Bullying @ school information – www.scre.ac.uk/bully
Bullying information on Bullying Child/Parents/Teachers www.lfcc.on.ca/bully
Bullying in schools www.ericeece.org/pubs/digests/1997/banks97
What Parents should know about Bullying – www.accesseric.org/resources/parent/bully
Anti-Bullying Campaign Tools for Teachers – www.antibullyingcampaign.ie
ABC Bullying at School, the Anti-Bullying Research & Resource Centre
Trinity College, Dublin
You Can Beat Bullying – A Guide for Young People, Kidscape
The abc of Bullying, Marie Murray & Colm Keane, 1998 – Mercier Press
What do You know about Bullying, Pete Sanders, 2000 – Aladdin Books Ltd.
Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace, Lucy Costigan, 1998 – Columba Press
Bullying – don’t let them suffer in silence, Save the Children (Resource Pack)
- PATRICK’S B.N.S.
PARENT-TEACHER CONTACT TIME POLICY AND GUILDELINES
Teachers in this school will usually make themselves available for brief consultations or to answer any brief queries from parents without the need for a prior appointment. However, if a parent seeks a more formal or lengthy discussion or wishes to make a complaint or air a grievance, the parent in question should make an appointment with the teacher through the School Principal.
- Informal meetings with teachers at the class door are discouraged for a number of reasons:
- A Teacher cannot adequately supervise his/her class while speaking to a parent at the door.
- It is difficult to be discreet with so many people within earshot.
- It can be embarrassing for a child to see his parent/guardian talking to his teacher at the door of the classroom.
In a case where a teacher feels threatened/frightened/intimidated when dealing with a parent he/she should walk away and immediately report the incident to the Principal.
- If a parents wish to drop in lunch-boxes or sports gear etc. they should not disrupt the class. Instead, the items in question should be left at the Principal’s office.
- A written note may also be used to communicate between parents and teachers.
- Parents/Guardians are responsible for their children until they are collected from their class line at 8.50am by their teacher. Parents/Guardians collecting children at 2.30pm are asked to remain in the yard and leave the space between space for the children leaving the school. This does not apply to the Junior and Senior Infants leaving at 1.30pm.
- Parents/Guardians must not enter the school building prior to 8.50am.
- Unless parents/guardians need to speak to the teacher/principal there is no need to walk the child to classroom. In order to cultivate independence, children should be encouraged to hang up their coats etc. and seat themselves in preparation for the school day.
- Dogs (or other animals) are not allowed inside the school gates.
- Smoking inside the school gate is prohibited by law.
- Parents/Guardians should discuss any disagreements or grievances with Principal. Parents/Guardians should not admonish other parent’s children in the yard or enter into arguments with other parents
- Aggressive behaviour or angry confrontations will not be tolerated. Parents engaging in such behaviour will be asked to leave the premises and sanctions will be put in place if necessary.
- Parents/Guardians should not take their children out of class prior to school closing time unless for a medical appointment or a family emergency.
- Please mark all items of clothing with your son’s name.
Child Protection Contacts
Designated Liaison Person
Local Contact For
‘The Children and Family Social Services of the HSE’
Duty social worker TELEPHONE: 6486500