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School Policies

 Enrolment and Transferring Procedures

The Enrolment / Admission Policy of St Mary’s National School, Thomastown, is in accordance with the provisions of the Education Act 1998.  The Board of Management, through the Chairperson, and the Principal Teacher will be happy to clarify any matters arising from the policy.

Mission Statement

St. Mary’s National School is co-educational.  We are a Catholic Primary School, which provides a well ordered, caring, happy and secure atmosphere where the intellectual, spiritual, emotional, physical, moral and cultural needs of the pupils are identified and addressed.

 General information regarding our school

  • St. Mary’s National School is a school with a Catholic ethos. It holds due recognition for all other religions and none, while upholding its Catholic ethos.
  • St. Mary’s National School strives to promote, both individually and collectively, the professional and personal development of teachers through personal development programmes.
  • St. Mary’s National School encourages the involvement of parents through home/school contacts and through their involvement in the school’s Parents’ Association.
  • St. Mary’s National School endeavours to enhance the self-esteem of everyone in the school community, to imbue in the pupils respect for people and for property, and to encourage in them the idea of being responsible.
  • St. Mary’s National School will promote gender equality amongst the staff and pupils.
  • Déanfaimid iarracht Gaeilge a labhairt.
  • St. Mary’s National School is a Catholic Primary School, under the patronage of Bishop Seamus Freeman, Bishop of Ossory.
  • There are 21 full – time teachers in the school, 16 mainstream, 4 full- time Special Education Teachers and 1 part- time Resource teacher, and an Administrative Principal.
  • We  have 3 Special Needs Assistants in the school, one of whom is part time.
  • The school is co-educational.
  • The school depends on grants and teaching resources provided by the Department of Education and Skills and it operates within Department regulations.
  • The school follows the Curricular programmes prescribed by the Department of Education and Skills.
  • Within the context and parameters of Department regulations and programmes, the rights of the Patron as set out in the Education Act, and the funding and resources available, the school supports the principles of
  • Inclusiveness, particularly with reference to children with a disability or other special educational needs.
  • Equality of access and participation in the school.
  • Parental choice in relation to enrolment.
  • Respect for the diversity of values,beliefs, cultures, traditions, languages and ways of life in society.
  • The school day runs from 9.30am to 3.10pm, with the Junior and Senior Infant classes finishing at 2.10pm.  For the first 3 weeks of the school year the Junior Infants finish their school day at 12.15pm.

Procedures

  • Equality of access is the key value that determines the enrolment of children to our school.
  • The school is bound by the Department of Education and Skill’s Enrolment Rules for National Schools
  •             Parents who wish to enroll their children in Junior Infants may do so by contacting the school by phone, and then in person, at any time before the end of February in the year that the child will commence.  We hold an Enrolment Week during the month of February every year.  The Board generally communicates this message through the Parish Bulletin, by letter through the local playschools and through the school website.  Only children who have reached their 4th birthday by September 30th, are eligible for enrolment.  Acceptance of a child into Junior Infants is at the discretion of the Board in conjunction with the Principal, taking into account the age and level of maturity of the child.
  • An enrolment form must be filled out, and the school provided with the enrolling child’s Birth Certificate and P.P.S. number, and Baptismal Certificate where relevant.
  • Junior Infants will only be enrolled at the beginning of the school year.
  • Children transferring from other schools must state the reason for the transfer.  The school must be provided with information regarding the child’s attendance and educational progress from the previous school.  Transferring pupils will be accepted at any time during the year at the discretion of the Board and the Principal, and providing there is space.
  • An Enrolment Form, the Rules of the School, the Code of Behaviour and Discipline, and our booklet for parents of children starting school will then be sent to parents enrolling children in the school.  Our Admissions/Enrolment Policy is posted on the school notice board during Enrolment week, and a copy is available on request.
  • The school holds an information afternoon in June, when incoming infants and their parents have an opportunity tospend some time in the Junior Infant Classrooms.

 Enrolment of Children with Special Needs

  • The school welcomes the enrolment of children with special needs.
  • The school will meet with the parents of the child to discuss the child’s needs and the school’s suitability or capability in meeting those needs.  If necessary, a full case conference involving all parties will be held, which will include parents, principal teacher, class teacher, special education teacher and/or psychologist, as appropriate.
  • The Board of Management may request a copy of the child’s medical or psychological report, and if such a report is not available, may request that the child be assessed immediately.  The purpose of this report is to assist the school in establishing the needs of the child relevant to his / her special needs.  The Board will then assess how the school could meet the needs specified.  Where the Board deems that further resources such as visiting teacher service, special education teacher, special needs assistant, specialized equipment or furniture, are required, it will, prior to enrolment, request the Department of Education and Skills to provide these resources.
  • It may be necessary for the Board of Management to decide to defer enrolment of a particular child, pending the receipt of an assessment report; and/or the provision of appropriate resources by the Department of Education and Skills to meet the needs specified in the Psychological and/or Medical Report.

The Board of Management of St. Mary’s National School, Thomastown, sanctioned the Admission/Enrolment Policy on the 20th October 2014.

 Guidelines for Parents

Friendship

Parents/Guardians have a huge role to play in their children’s education. Parents/Guardians should value education highly and should strive to generate a positive attitude to learning and to school. By showing interest in their school activities and by praising their efforts, parents/guardians can instil a positive attitude which will stand to their child in education for years to come.

1. The school day is from 9:30 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. Infants finish at 2:10 p.m. For the first two weeks of the school year Junior Infants go home at 12.15 pm. The school authorities will be responsible for the safety and welfare of pupils, while on school property, during school hours only. The full co-operation of parents/guardians is expected.

2. Telephone calls or visits to the school, on school business, should be made during school hours. The school telephone numbers are 056-7724290 or

056 – 7724633

3. A written explanation of absence from school is required by teachers from parents/guardians on the child’s return to school.

4. Parents / Guardians should notify the class teacher of any medical condition, new or existing that the school needs to be aware of, at the start of every school year.

5. It is important that parents/guardians assist the teacher by ensuring that their child understands the expected behaviour within the school.

6. Parents/Guardians are asked to acquaint themselves with each child’s work and study requirements, so that the child gains maximum benefit. Pupils are expected to work to the best of their ability. Homework, written and/or verbal is given four days a week, Friday is usually excluded. The approximate time spent doing homework should be as follows:

Junior Infants: Up to 10 minutes

Senior Infants: Up to 15 minutes

First Class: Up to 30 minutes

Second Class: Up to 30 minutes

Third Class: Up to 40 minutes

Fourth Class: Up to 40 minutes

Fifth Class: Up to 50 minutes

Sixth Class: Up to 50 minutes

7. Parents/Guardians will be informed by the school of a child’s continuous misbehaviour, and will be expected to help improve their behaviour.

8. Damage to school property, and /or that of other children, is the responsibility of the parents/guardians of the child.

9. Parents/Guardians, if informed by the school of unacceptable unsociable behaviour by their child, are requested to make every effort to explain to their child that such behaviour is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated in school.

10. In line with the school’s Healthy Lunch Policy, Parents/Guardians are encouraged to provide healthy lunches, e.g. sandwiches, fruit, etc., for their children, as a healthy diet is of vital importance to growing children.

11. Messages from parents/guardians to the teacher should be conveyed through the child’s homework journal or notebook.

12. Appointments to meet with the teacher should be made through the child’s homework journal or notebook, or by telephoning the school office.

13. The following procedure must be followed by any parent/guardian who wishes to make a complaint

a) Make an appointment to speak with the teacher concerned.

b) Make an appointment to speak with the principal in the presence of the teacher concerned if unhappy with the first meeting.

c) If still unhappy with the outcome parents/guardians may write to the secretary of the Board of Management, giving details of the complaint.

 Staff

Teacher Class Grouping
Mr. Delahunty/ Ms Stapleton
Fifth
Mr. Roberts Sixth
Ms Egan
Sixth
Ms. Murphy Third
Ms. O’ Connor/ Ms Hogan
Fourth
Ms. Tyrrell
Third
Mr Reade
Second
Ms. Moore Second
Ms O’ Shea
First
Ms Power
First
Ms. Lanigan Senior Infants
Ms Kelly
Senior Infants
Ms. A. Stapleton
Junior Infants
Ms. Behan
Junior Infants
Ms. S. Stapleton
Junior Infants
   
Ms Muldowney/ Ms Brennan
Resource Teacher
Ms Cummins
Resource Teacher
Ms. H. Brennan Resource Teacher
   
Ms. O Neill
                            Part -Time Learning Support Teacher
Ms. O’ Donohue
                            Part -Time Learning Support Teacher
   

 School Rules

While the proper functioning of the school is based on mutual respect among all who work in and attend the school, it is necessary to have rules to help people to work together, and to be as successful as possible in what they are doing. The absence of rules or their disregard can result in confusion, poor work rates and unhappiness. This is as true of games and work as it is of school. Our School Rules were drawn up to help provide an orderly, happy environment, which is essential for the development of children’s skills and talents. Parents/Guardians have a vital role to play in ensuring that their children observe the rules of the school.

  1. Children should be on time for school.
  1. The school uniform of grey shirt, grey trousers for boys and grey skirt or pinafore of appropriate length, for girls (trousers optional for girls), school tie (not elasticated type) and blue jumper with school crest, should be worn by all pupils. A track suit may be worn with runners on P. E. days and other designated days.Junior and Senior Infants wear a track suit comprising a blue sweat shirt with school crest, navy pants and white polo shirt.
  1. Flat shoes, (not runners), are part of the uniform, and should be neat and tidy at all times.
  1. Children are not allowed to wear make up to school.
  1. All items of children’s property should have the owner’s name on them. The school will accept no responsibility for loss of coats, books, etc.
  1. Staff and pupils have a right to work in an atmosphere conducive to learning. Pupils cannot be allowed to inhibit the progress of others by misbehaviour, such as persistent ‘chatting’. The children, guided by the teacher, devise and learn a set of classroom and playground rules. Rewards and, if necessary, sanctions are given based on adhering to the rules.

7. Children are expected to do a reasonable amount of homework.

8. Children are not allowed to leave the school grounds during school hours, except in exceptional circumstances, when the school must receive permission (written or in person) from parents/guardians. The child must be collected by an authorised person.

9. Chewing gum, lollipops, etc. are not allowed in school.

10. Children must throw litter in the bins provided and bring home any left over food.

11. In the interest of safety, children must not run in the classrooms, on the stairs or on the corridors. Children must walk on the right hand side of the stairs and hold the handrail.

12. All children attending this school are expected to be mannerly and respectful, and to work to the best of their ability. It is important that parents assist the teacher by ensuring that their child understands what is expected of them in school. They are required to respect all staff.

13. Disruptive behaviour causes problems to children themselves and their fellow pupils. A pupil may be referred to the Principal for serious breaches of discipline or for repeated minor incidents. In certain circumstances the pupil’s parents/guardians will be informed. A meeting between parents/guardians, teacher and principal may be arranged. Where there are repeated incidents, the matter will be brought to the attention of the Board of Management and the parents/guardians may be asked to attend a board meeting to discuss the matter. Continuous misbehaviour may be punished by suspension.

14. Unsociable behaviour, e.g. bullying, is considered seriously and will be dealt with according to the bullying policy. Serious bullying may be punished by suspension.

15. All visitors to the school must report to the school office.

16. Parents / Guardians wishing to collect their children during school hours are asked to do so through the school office.

17. Parents / Guardians collecting their children after school are asked to be on time and respect the Traffic Management Plan for the school. Parents/Guardians are requested to use both pedestrian crossings on the school site at all times.

18. Parents / Guardians may not enter classrooms without the teacher’s consent.

19. An assault on a pupil or employee in the school grounds will be reported to the Board of Management, and where appropriate, the civil authorities.

20.  Any breach of current school policies may be treated as a breach of school rules.

Breach of Rules

While the emphasis will first of all be on guiding pupils gently and rewards for compliance, if necessary, sanctions will be given in the following order:

a) Reasoning with the pupil.

b) Reprimand (including advice on how to improve).

c) Temporary separation from peers and friends.

d) Loss of privileges.

e) Detention during a break.

f) Prescribing additional work.

g) Referral to Principal Teacher.

h) Communication with parents.

i) Suspension (temporary).

Before resorting to serious sanctions, eg. suspension, the normal channels of communication between school and parents/guardians will be utilized. Parents/Guardians will be involved at an early stage rather than as a last resort.

 Code of Behaviour and Decipline

 

 Bullying policy

Mission Statement

St. Mary’s National School is co-educational. We are a Catholic Primary School, which provides a well ordered, caring, happy and secure atmosphere where the intellectual, spiritual, emotional, physical, moral and cultural needs of the pupils are identified and addressed.

1. In devising the code, consideration has been given to the particular needs and circumstances of this school. The aim is to ensure that the individuality of each child is accommodated while acknowledging the right of each child to education in a relatively disruption-free environment.

2. Every effort will be made by all members of staff to adopt a positive approach to the question of behaviour in the school. The code offers a framework within which positive techniques of motivation and encouragement are utilised by teachers.

3. The school places greater emphasis on rewards than on sanction in the belief that this will, in the long term, give the best results.

4. The school recognizes the variety of differences that exist between children and the need to accommodate these differences.

5. It is agreed that a high standard of behaviour requires a strong sense of community within the school, and a high level of co-operation among staff, and between staff, pupils and parents.

6. The school rules are being kept to a minimum and are positively stated in terms of what pupils should do.

7. All efforts are made to match the curriculum to the abilities, aptitudes and interests of each pupil.

8. The overall responsibility for discipline within the school rests with the Principal Teacher. Each teacher has responsibility for the maintenance of discipline within his/her classroom while sharing a common responsibility for good order within the school premises. A pupil will be referred to the Principal Teacher for serious breaches of discipline and for repeated incidents of minor misbehavior. Acceptable standards of behaviour have been outlined in the School Rules.

9. The following strategies may be used to show disapproval of unacceptable behaviour:

a) Reasoning with the pupil.

b) Reprimand (including advice on how to improve).

c) Temporary separation from peers and friends.

d) Loss of privileges.

e) Detention during a break.

f) Prescribing additional work.

g) Referral to Principal Teacher.

h) Communication with parents.

i) Suspension (temporary).

Before resorting to serious sanctions, eg. suspension, the normal channels of communication between school and parents/guardians will be utilized. Parents/Guardians will be involved at an early stage rather than as a last resort.

10. Where there are repeated instances of serious misbehaviour, the Chairperson of the Board of Management will be informed and the Parents / Guardians will be requested in writing to attend at the school to meet the Chairperson and Principal Teacher. If the parents/guardians do not give an undertaking that the pupil will behave in an acceptable manner in the future the pupil may have to be suspended for a temporary period. Suspension will be in accordance with the terms of Rule 130 (5) of the Rules of National Schools. In the case of gross misbehaviour the Board of Management will authorise the Chairperson or Principal Teacher to sanction an immediate suspension, pending a discussion of the matter with the Parents / Guardians.

11. Every effort will be made to have an emotionally disturbed child referred for psychological assessment and counseling.

In formulating this code, all partners had input – Staff, Parents’ Association and the Board of Management. The Board of Management sanctions the finalized document and a copy of this code has been made available to all parents/guardians.

In the belief that the most effective schools tend to be those with the best relationships with parents, every effort will be made by the Principal Teacher and staff to ensure that parents are kept well informed, that the school provides a welcoming atmosphere towards parents, and that parents are told not only when their children are in trouble, but when they have behaved particularly well.

The code will be reviewed at agreed intervals.

The Board of Management of St. Mary’s National School, Thomastown, sanctioned the Code of Behaviour and Discipline on the 22nd May 2012.

 Mobile Phone Policy

Phone

Pupils are not allowed to have mobile phones in school, except where parents/guardians deem it necessary.

In this event the phone is to remain switched off in the pupil’s school bag all day.

If a pupil is found in possession of a phone under any other circumstances it will be confiscated and retained by the Principal at her discretion.

Pupils are responsible for their own mobile phones.

The school will not be held responsible for any phone that is lost, misplaced or stolen.

Reviewed by staff on November 29th, 2010.

Sanctioned by the Board of Management on June 23rd , 2014.

 Child Safeguarding Statement

Rationale

FriendshipMARY’S NS, THOMASTOWN is a Catholic primary school providing primary education to pupils from Junior Infants to Sixth Class.

In accordance with the requirements of the Children First Act 2015, Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017, the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools 2017 and Túsla Guidance on the preparation of Child Safeguarding Statements, the Board of Management of ST. MARY’S NS, THOMASTOWN has agreed the Child Safeguarding Statement set out in this document.

  • The Board of Management has adopted and will implement fully and without modification the Department’s Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools 2017 as part of this overall Child Safeguarding Statement
  • The Designated Liaison Person (DLP) is Pádhraic Moran.
  • The Deputy Designated Liaison Person is Patricia Dowling.
  • The Board of Management recognises that child protection and welfare considerations permeate all aspects of school life and must be reflected in all of the school’s policies, procedures, practices and activities. In its policies, procedures, practices and activities, the school will adhere to the following principles of best practice in child protection and welfare:

The school will:

  • recognise that the protection and welfare of children is of paramount importance, regardless of all other considerations
  • fully comply with its statutory obligations under the Children First Act 2015 and other relevant legislation relating to the protection and welfare of children;
  • fully co-operate with the relevant statutory authorities in relation to child protection and welfare matters
  • adopt safe practices to minimise the possibility of harm or accidents happening to children and protect workers from the necessity to take unnecessary risks that may leave themselves open to accusations of abuse or neglect;
  • develop a practice of openness with parents and encourage parental involvement in the education of their children; and
  • fully respect confidentiality requirements in dealing with child protection matters.

The school will also adhere to the above principles in relation to any adult pupil/employee with a special vulnerability.

  • The following procedures/measures are in place:
  • In relation to any member of staff who is the subject of any investigation (howsoever described) in respect of any act, omission or circumstance in respect of a child attending the school, the school adheres to the relevant procedures set out in Chapter 7 of the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017 and to the relevant agreed disciplinary procedures for school staff which are published on the DES website.
  • In relation to the selection or recruitment of staff and their suitability to work with children, the school adheres to the statutory vetting requirements of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 and to the wider duty of care guidance set out in relevant Garda vetting and recruitment circulars published by the DES and available on the DES website.
  • In relation to the provision of information and, where necessary, instruction and training, to staff in respect of the identification of the occurrence of harm (as defined in the 2015 Act) the school-
  • Has provided each member of staff with a copy of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement.
  • Ensures all new staff are provided with a copy of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement.
  • Encourages staff to avail of relevant training.
  • Encourages Board of Management members to avail of relevant training.
  • The Board of Management maintains records of all staff and Board member training.
  • In relation to reporting of child protection concerns to Túsla, all school personnel are required to adhere to the procedures set out in the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017, including in the case of registered teachers, those in relation to mandated reporting under the Children First Act 2015.
  • In this school the Board has appointed the above named DLP as the “relevant person” (as defined in the Children First Act 2015) to be the first point of contact in respect of the Child Safeguarding statement.
  • All registered teachers employed by the school are mandated persons under the Children First Act 2015.
  • In accordance with the Children First Act 2015, the Board has carried out an assessment of any potential for harm to a child while attending the school or participating in school activities. A written assessment setting out the areas of risk identified and the school’s procedures for managing those risks is attached as an appendix to these procedures.
  • The various procedures referred to in this Statement can be accessed via the school’s website, the DES website or will be made available on request by the school.
  • This statement has been published on the school’s website and has been provided to all members of school personnel, the Parents’ Association and the patron. It is readily accessible to parents and guardians on request. A copy of this Statement will be made available to Túsla and the Department if requested.
  • This policy will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year.

________________________________________________________

The Board of management of St. Mary’s N.S. 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 N.S. 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

 St. Mary’s N.S. seeks to help the children to grow and develop into healthy, confident, mature adults, capable of realising their full potential as human beings. We strive to create a happy, safe environment for the children where they feel secure, knowing that if they have concerns, they will be listened to with understanding and respect and their concerns will be addressed.

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, SNAs, secretary and ancillary staff.
  • To put in place clear procedures for all school personnel dealing with suspicions and allegations of child abuse.
  • To identify other policy areas which need to be amended.
  • To identify curricular content and resources that contribute to the prevention of child abuse and to enable children to properly deal with abuse if it occurs

Guidelines for school personnel

1.0       Appointment of a Designated Liaison Person (DLP)

2.0       Roles, Responsibilities and Guidelines

2.1       Role of the Board of Management

2.2      Role of the Staff Members (Teachers, SNAs, Ancillary Staff, Secretary)

2.3       Role of the Designated Liaison Person

3.0      Child Protection meetings / Case Conferences

4.0      Organisational Implications

5.0      Curriculum Implications

1.0     Appointment of a Designated Liaison Person (DLP)

  • The Board of Management has appointed Pádhraic, School Principal, as the Designated Liaison Person (DLP) in St. Mary’s N.S. to have specific responsibility for child protection.
  • Patricia Dowling has been appointed as Deputy DLP to take the place of the DLP if she is unavailable for whatever reason.
  • The position of DLP will be addressed at the first meeting of each new Board of Management. The DLP will continue to act as such until such time as he/she is replaced by the BOM for whatever reason.

2.0     Roles and Responsibilities

  • The Board of Management has primary responsibility for the care and welfare of their pupils.
  • The DLP has specific responsibility for child protection in the school.
  • All staff have a general duty of care to ensure that arrangements are in place to protect children from harm

2.1    Role of the Board of Management

  • To arrange for the planning, development and implementation of an effective child protection programme.
  • To monitor and evaluate its effectiveness.
  • To provide appropriate staff development and training

Specifically they will

  • Appoint a DLP and deputy DLP.
  • Have clear procedures for dealing with allegations or suspicions of child abuse (See below)
  • Monitor the progress of children at risk.
  • Ensure that curricular provision is in place for the prevention of child abuse.
  • Investigate and respond to allegations of child abuse against one of the school’s employees, which have been reported to the Health Service Executive (HSE) or Gardaí.
  • To decide on teachers’ attendance at child protection meetings/case conferences and to advise teachers before attending such meetings/conferences.

2.2 Role of the Staff Members (Teachers, SNA’s, Caretaker, Secretary, cleaners)

  • Staff are provided with copies of the following guidelines and it is the responsibility of all staff to familiarise themselves with the guidelines.
  • Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures, DES, 2001
  • Children First National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children, 1999, especially
    • Chapter 3        Definition & Recognition of Child Abuse
    • Chapter 4        Basis for Reporting & Standard Reporting Procedures
    • Appendix 1      Signs and Symptoms Of Child Abuse
Guidelines for teachers and staff members in handling Disclosures from children

Where a child discloses alleged abuse to a staff member, the person receiving that information should listen carefully and supportively. Great care must be taken not to abuse the child’s trust. This should not be a formal interview.

The following advice is offered:
  • Listen to the child.
  • Do not ask leading questions or make suggestions to the child.
  • Offer reassurance but do not make promises.
  • Do not stop a child recalling significant events.
  • Do not over-react.
  • Confidentiality should not be assured – explain that further help may have to be sought.
  • Record the discussion accurately noting
  •  Retain the record securely.
  • The staff member should obtain only necessary relevant facts. It is not the responsibility of school personnel to investigate allegations of abuse.
  • The DLP should then be informed and be given relevant records.
  • If the suspected abuser is the DLP then the suspicion and any records will be passed on to the Chairperson who will proceed as per guidelines. 
  • What, where and when?
  • Descriptions and possible sketches of physical injuries.
  • Explanations of injuries using direct quotations if appropriate.
Suspicions of Abuse
  • Staff members who suspect abuse should refer to Children First National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children, 1999, especially
  • Staff members should observe and record over time, the dates, signs, symptoms, behaviour causing them concern.
  • They should inform the DLP and pass on all records.
  • Chapter 3 : Definition and Recognition of Child Abuse
  • Chapter 4: Basis for Reporting and Standard  Reporting Procedures
  • Appendix 1:Signs and Symptoms Of Child Abuse

 2.3 Role of the Designated Liaison Person (DLP)

  • The DLP acts as a liaison with outside agencies, HSE, Gardaí and other parties with child protection concerns
  • A copy of St. Mary’s School Policy Booklet for Social, Personal and Health Education is in every classroom.  This booklet contains the Curriculum overview for S.P.H.E., St. Mary’s Child Protection Policy, Children First – National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children and Child protection Guidelines and Procedures.
  • The DLP will be available to staff for consultation regarding suspicions or disclosures of abuse. S/he will keep records of these consultations.
  • The DLP will seek advice from the HSE.
  • The DLP will report suspicions and allegations of child abuse to the HSE or/and An Garda Síochána based on this advice.
  • The DLP will maintain proper records in a secure, confidential manner and in a secure location.
  • The DLP will keep up to date on current developments regarding child protection.
Guidelines for the DLP in handling reported concerns and disclosures
  • Where the DLP/Deputy DLP have concerns about a child, but are not sure whether to report the matter to the HSE, they should seek appropriate advice. To do this the DLP/Deputy should make informal contact with the assigned (on duty) Social Worker. The DLP/Deputy in this case, should be explicit that s/he is requesting advice and not making a report. If advised to report the matter, the DLP will act on that advice.
  • A report will then be made to the HSE by the DLP/Deputy in person, by telephone or in writing. In the event of an emergency or non-availability of HSE staff, the report should be made to the Gardaí. The DLP should also report the matter to the Chairperson of the BOM, who should then follow the procedures as outlined in Chapter 4 (Section 4.3) of Children First National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children, 1999.
  • A standard reporting form is completed by the DLP/Deputy as comprehensively as possible (See Appendix 1, Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures, DES).
  • Parents/guardians will normally be informed that a report is being made. It may be decided that informing the parent/carer is likely to endanger the child or place the child at further risk. The decision not to inform the parent/carer should be briefly recorded together with the reasons for not doing so.
  • When the allegation is against the DLP, the chairperson then assumes responsibility for reporting the matter to the HSE and filling in the standard reporting form.
  • Where there are allegations or suspicions of Peer Abuse the DLP will follow the same procedures.
  • Parents of all parties will be notified and the DLP will inform the Chairperson.
  • Principal and class teachers will make arrangements to meet separately with all parents, to resolve the matter.
  • The school will make arrangements to minimise the possibility of the abusive behaviour recurring.

3.0      Child Protection Meetings / Case Conferences

  • A request is made from the HSE through the DLP who should consult with the Chairperson of the B.O.M. of the school. The Chairperson may seek clarification through the DLP as to why the attendance of the school employee is necessary and ascertain who else will be present.
  • The school employee may complete a report for the meeting/conference. (See Appendix 3, Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures, DES).
  • The school employee will 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.
  • The school employee may keep a child’s behaviour under closer observation, if requested to do so. This may include observing the child’s behaviour, peer interactions, school progress or informal conversations.
  • In all cases, individuals who refer or discuss their concerns about the care and protection of children with HSE staff, 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/case conference should familiarise themselves with the protocol outlined on pgs. 149 – 155 of Children First Guidelines, 1999; pgs. 13-14 Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures, DES.
Procedures in cases of allegations or suspicions of child abuse by a school employee:

A. Reporting

In the event of receiving a complaint or suspicion re an employee:

  • The DLP will immediately inform the chairperson.
  • S/He will seek a written statement of the allegation from the person/agency making the allegation. Parents/Guardians may make a statement on behalf of a child.
  • The DLP will seek advice from the relevant HSE and will take responsibility for reporting, based on this advice.
  • If the DLP, following consultation with the HSE, decides that this matter is not for reporting, s/he must inform the Chairperson. They must then inform, in writing, the person or agency making the allegation, of the reasons for this decision. If this person or agency still has concerns, they are free to consult with or report to the relevant HSE or Gardaí on an individual basis. The provisions of the Protection for Persons reporting Child Abuse Act 1998 apply, once they report reasonably and in good faith.
  • If the DLP, following consultation with the HSE, decides that this matter is for reporting s/he should inform the Chairperson, who should proceed in accordance with the procedures in the Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures, DES, 2001.
  • The DLP/Deputy DLP completes a standard reporting form as comprehensively as is possible.
  • When the Chairperson becomes aware of an allegation of abuse s/he will always seek legal advice and base his/her response on this advice.
  • S/he will privately inform the employee of the fact and nature of the allegation and whether or not it has been reported by the DLP to the HSE. (Refer to 4.2 – 4.3, p.16 of Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures, DES, 2001. The chairperson has a duty to afford the employee fairness and due process – s/he is entitled to details and a copy of the written allegation, to advice and representation and an opportunity to respond to the Board within a week.

B.  Responding

  • When the Chairperson becomes aware of an allegation of abuse s/he will always seek legal advice and base his/her response on this advice, in line with Child First Policy.
  • The Chairperson will consider whether there is any risk to pupils’ safety. If the Chairperson considers that there is a risk – s/he may require the employee to take immediate administrative leave. If unsure the chairperson will consult with the HSE/Gardaí.
  • If administrative leave has been invoked, the chairperson will inform the DES. The HSE (in some cases the Gardaí) may also be notified in accordance with legal advice received.
  • Once it is deemed necessary by the DLP and Chairperson to make a report (after receiving advice from the HSE) the Chairperson will convene and inform a meeting of the BOM as soon as possible.
  • Where the alleged abuse has taken place within the school, or relates to the abuse of pupils of the school, by school employees outside of school time, the BOM will investigate the matter. They will convene a further meeting, once the relevant information has been gathered. At this meeting the BOM will consider in detail
  • the allegations made and their source
  • the advice given by relevant authorities
  • the written responses of the employee.

At this meeting also

  • the person/agency who is alleging abuse by the school employee should be offered an opportunity to present his/her case to the BOM and may be accompanied by another person
  • Parents/guardians may act on behalf of child
  • The employee should also be afforded an opportunity to present his/her case and may also be accompanied.
  • The BOM must deal with the matter sensitively and the employee must be fairly treated.
  • The BOM will make a decision on action, if any, based on their investigation and will inform the employee of this in writing. They will also inform the DES of the outcome, if the employee has been absent on administrative leave.
  • Where it is not possible for the BOM to conduct an enquiry into allegations (e.g. where abuse has occurred in past employment, or where the employee is undergoing investigation by relevant authorities), the Chairperson will act on advice of authorities. The Chairperson will maintain close contact with the HSE and receive reports and records from them where appropriate.

4.0  Organisational Implications

School procedures already in place and new procedures being put in place will be examined with reference to the Children First Guidelines and any Child Protection issues that may arise will be addressed.

The following policies have been addressed in this review:

  • Accidents
  • Attendance
  • Behaviour
  • Bullying
  • Children travelling in staff cars                    
  • Communication          
  • Induction of 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.

 Attendance

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.

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 behaviour will be addressed under our policy on the Prevention of Bullying. 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 traveling in staff cars

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

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.

Induction of Staff

The DLP will be responsible for informing all new teachers and ancillary staff of the Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures, DES, 2001 and Children First Guidelines, 1999. The DLP will give a copy of the Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures, Chapters 3 & 4 and Appendix 1 of Children First and this Child Protection Policy to all new staff. All new teachers are expected to teach the designated SPHE objectives for their class. The Special Duties Teacher is responsible for the mentoring of new teachers and will be responsible for supporting new teachers as they implement the SPHE objectives. The Special Duties Teacher 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 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 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 if they wish to discuss their child’s progress. All parents are given a copy of the school’s Code of Behaviour and Prevention of  Bullying policies.

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 securely. 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 school office until each child reaches 21 years. Further details on record keeping are found in the school’s Data Protection Policy

Supervision

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, procedures around teacher absences.

Visibility

Teachers will ensure that children are visible in the school playground and playing field.  Children will not be allowed to spend time in classrooms or toilets where they would not be under adult supervision. They are not allowed to leave the school playground.

Visitors

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

 5.0 Appendix (curriculum implications)

Introduction

In St. Mary’s N.S. 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 or her potential through learning.
  • 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 SPHE 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 SPHE programme with a view to giving our children the protective skills of self-esteem and assertiveness.  Circle time will be used. Co-operative interpersonal skills will be developed through working in pairs and working in groups. Older children will be encouraged to work positively and skills in negotiation, building consensus and managing conflict will be developed.

Junior and Senior Infants

Infant teachers will teach content objectives as laid out under the 10 strand units in our SPHE programme. They are

  • Self Identity
  • Taking care of my body
  • Growing and changing
  • Safety and protection
  • Making decisions
  • Myself and 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 SPHE programme would be supported, using the Walk Tall resources, our Alive-O programme, Stay Safe resources and other appropriate resources.

1st & 2nd classes

Implementing our SPHE 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 and the environment and skills pertaining to self-care and disclosure. Healthy eating, information on substance abuse and anti-bullying awareness will be introduced.

The SPHE programme will be supported by using the Walk Tall resources, our Alive-O programme, the Stay Safe programme and other appropriate resources.

3rd and 4th classes

Our SPHE 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 SPHE programme will be supported by the use of Walk Tall resources, RSE materials, the Stay Safe programme and other appropriate resources.

5th and 6th classes

Our SPHE programme will be implemented according to the curricular objectives as laid out under the 10 strands in the SPHE 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 in relation to legal and illegal drugs and the prevention of substance misuse 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 RSE policy).

The SPHE programme will be supported by the use of the Walk Tall materials, RSE resources, Stay Safe resources and other appropriate resources. 

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 SPHE curriculum
  • Resources to support the delivery of SPHE
  • 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 BOM.

Timeframe for Review

At the first staff meeting of every year the DLP will remind all teachers of the guidelines and copies of Chapter 3 & 4 & Appendix 1 of The Children First Guidelines and Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures, DES will be given to those who require them.

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

Responsibility for Review

  • DLP, principal, all Staff

Ratification and Communication

This policy was amended and sanctioned by the Board of Management on February 28th 2012, and is available.

 Policy on children leaving the school grounds during school time

No child is allowed to leave the school grounds during the school day without the written permission of their parents/guardians, unless attending a school based activity with an accompanying teacher.

Parents/guardians may collect their children in person from the classroom.

 Policy on children who are altar servers leaving the school grounds during school time to serve weddings or funerals

 Any child leaving the school grounds during the school day to serve a wedding or a funeral will be allowed to leave the school premises with the permission of their parents/guardians.

 Anti-Bullying Policy

Friendship         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 behaviour. This policy fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools which were published in September 201

  1. The Board of Management recognises the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact that it can have on the lives of all members of the school community, and is therefore fully committed to the following key principles of best practice in preventing and tackling bullying behaviour.
  • 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, involves collaboration among and between staff and pupils and promotes respectful relationships across the school community.
  • Effective leadership.
  • A school-wide approach
  • A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impac
  • Implementation of education and prevention strategies (including awareness raising measures) that build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils; and explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, and not limited to, homophobic and transphobic bullying
  • Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils.
  • Supports for staff.
  • Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies); and on-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying polic
  1. 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 and not limited to, 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 do not fall within the definition of bullying and will be dealt with in accordance with the school’s code of 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 Section 2 of the Anti – Bullying procedures for Primary and Post – Primary Schools.

  1. The relevant teacher for investigating and dealing with bullying is the class teacher initially, and the principal teacher thereafter if necessary.
  2. The following education and prevention strategies, at the appropriate and relevant level for each class will be used by the school:
  • Prevention and awareness raising measures across all aspects of bullying and involving strategies to engage pupils in addressing problems when they arise. In particular, such strategies need to build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils.
  • Provide pupils with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self-worth.
  • Prevention and awareness raising measures focusing on cyber-bullying, by educating pupils on appropriate online behaviour and how to stay safe while online.
  • Teachers can influence attitudes to bullying behaviour in a positive manner.
  • There are a number of curriculum components and programmes which are particularly relevant to the prevention of bullying and the promotion of respect for diversity and inclusiveness. The SPHE curriculum makes specific provision for exploring bullying as well as the inter-related areas of belonging and integrating, communication, conflict, friendship, personal safety and relationships. The Stay Safe & RSE programmes at primary level are personal safety skills programmes which seek to enhance children’s self-protection skills including their ability to recognise and cope with bullying. Various other social, health and media education programmes can further help to address the problem of bullying behaviour.
  • The work will be extended into many other areas such as Art, Drama, Religious Education and Physical Education.  Co-operation and group enterprise can be promoted through team sports.  Sporting activities in particular can provide excellent opportunities for channelling and learning how to control aggression.  We have a strong emphasis on sport in St. Mary’s, with lunchtime leagues in Autumn and Spring, coaching in Hurling, Football, Tag Rugby, Basketball, Gymnastics and Swimming and taking part in many sporting leagues and competitions throughout the school year.
  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 include but are not limited to:

 

  • It is very important that all involved, parents and pupils, understand the following approach from the outset.
  • In investigating and dealing with bullying, the teacher (s) will exercise his/her/their professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred, what type of bullying and how best the situation might be resolved.
  • All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher(s). In this way, pupils will gain confidence in telling.  This confidence factor is of vital importance.  It will be made clear to pupils that when they report incidents of bullying, they are not telling tales but are behaving responsibly.
  • Special needs Assistants must report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher.
  • School secretary, caretaker and cleaners will be encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher.
  • Parents/Guardians 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.
  • Teachers will take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying behaviour reported by pupils, staff or parents.
  • Initial investigations of bullying will be done in class where possible but some incidents might be best investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved.
  • All interviews should 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(s) will seek answers to questions including, but not limited to, of what, where, when, who and why. This will 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, each member will be interviewed individually at first. Thereafter, all those involved will be met as a group. At the group meeting, each member will 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 will be supported through the possible pressures that may face them from the other members of the group after 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 parents of the parties involved will 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 will give parents an opportunity of discussing ways in which they can reinforce or support the actions being taken by the school and the supports for their pupils.
  • Where the relevant teacher has determined that a pupil has been engaged in bullying behaviour, it will be made clear to him/her how he/she is in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy and efforts will be made to try to get him/her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied.
  • It will also be made clear to all involved (each set of pupils and parents) that in any situation where disciplinary sanctions are required, this is a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, his or her parents and the school.
  • Follow-up meetings with the relevant parties involved may 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. This can have a therapeutic effect.
  • 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, but not limited to, 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; and
  • Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parents or the school principal or deputy principal.
  • An additional follow-up meeting with parents of the children involved may take place after an appropriate time to ensure that the matter has been resolved satisfactorily.
  • Where a parent is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parents will be referred, as appropriate, to the school’s complaints procedures.
  • In the event that a parent/guardian has exhausted the school’s complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school will advise the parents of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.

Recording: Noting and reporting of bullying behaviour will be documented using the template for recording bullying behaviour (Appendix 3).  All records will be maintained in accordance with relevant data protection legislation.  The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour will adhere to the following:

(i) While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher(s), the relevant teacher(s) will use his/her/their professional judgement in relation to the records to be kept of these reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same.

(ii) If it is established by the relevant teacher(s) that bullying has occurred, the relevant teacher(s) will 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.

(iii) The relevant teacher(s) will use the recording template at Appendix 3 to record the bullying behaviour in the following circumstances:

a) in cases where he/she considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour occurred; and

b) where the school has decided as part of its anti-bullying policy that in serious circumstances bullying behaviour must be recorded and reported immediately to the Principal or Deputy Principal as application.

In each of the circumstances at (a) and (b) above, the recording template at Appendix 3 must be completed in full and retained by the teacher in question and a copy provided to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable.   It should also be noted that the timeline for recording bullying behaviour in the recording template at  Appendix 3 does not in any way preclude the relevant teacher from consulting the Principal or Deputy Principal at an earlier stage in relation to a case.

 

  1. The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying involves a whole school approach.  Given the complexity of bullying behaviour, no one intervention / support programme works in all situations.  Therefore, various approaches and intervention strategies may be used, including suggesting that parents seek referrals to appropriate outside agencies in order to receive further support for the pupils and their families, if needed.
  1. Supervision and Monitoring of Pupils

The Board of Management confirms that appropriate supervision and monitoring policies and practices are in place to both prevent and deal with bullying behaviour and to facilitate early intervention where possible.

  1. 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.

10) This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on the 9th December 2016

11) 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 and the patron if requested.

12) This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year. 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.

Appendix 2 Practical tips for building a positive school culture and climate

The following are some practical tips for immediate actions that can be taken to help build a positive school culture and climate and to help prevent and tackle bullying behaviour.

 

  • Model respectful behaviour to all members of the school community at all time

 

  • Explicitly teach pupils what respectful language and respectful behaviour looks like, acts like, sounds like and feels like in class and around the school.

 

  • Display key respect messages in classrooms, in assembly areas and around the school. Involve pupils in the development of these messages.

 

  • Catch them being good – notice and acknowledge desired respectful behaviour by providing positive attenti

 

  • Consistently tackle the use of discriminatory and derogatory language in the school – this includes homophobic and racist language and language that is belittling of pupils with a disability or SEN.

 

  • Give constructive feedback to pupils when respectful behaviour and respectful language are  ignored.

 

  • Have a system of encouragement and rewards to promote desired behaviour and compliance with the school rules and routine

 

  • Explicitly teach pupils about the appropriate use of social media

 

  • Positively encourage pupils to comply with the school rules on mobile phone and internet us

 

  • Follow up and follow through with pupils who ignore the rules.

 

  • Actively involve parents and/or the Parents’ Association in awareness raising campaigns around social medi

 

  • Actively promote the right of every member of the school community to be safe and secure in school.

 

  • Highlight and explicitly teach school rules in pupil friendly language in the classroom and in common area

 

  • All staff can actively watch out for signs of bullying behaviour.

 

  • Ensure there is adequate playground/school yard/outdoor supervisi

 

  • School staff can get pupils to help them to identify bullying “hot spots” and “hot times” for bullying in the school.

o   Hot spots tend to be in the playground/school yard/outdoor areas, changing rooms, corridors and other areas of unstructured supervision.

o   Hot times again tend to be times where there is less structured supervision such as when pupils are in the playground/school yard or moving classrooms.

 Healthy Lunch Policy

It is the policy of the school that all children bring a healthy school lunch.

Every family receives the Munch and Crunch leaflet from the H.S.E. at the start of every school year.

As part of our school policy to encourage children to eat healthy school lunches, parents/guardians are encouraged to include fruit and vegetables in their child’s lunch.

Fizzy drinks, pop-corn, crisps, lollipops and hard sweets are not allowed in school lunch boxes.

Chewing gum is completely banned from the school premises.

Children are requested to bring home left over food and litter from their lunch.

Click here for tips on healthy lunches..

 Homework Policy

homework

1) Why give homework?
– To re-inforce what the child learns during the day.
– To provide a link between teacher and parent
– To develop a child’s concentration skills and develop a work ethic
– Homework is meant to be achievable by a child, i.e. it provides an opportunity to practise work already done. It is normally prepared by the teacher in class. However, sometimes with senior classes, some homework is designed to challenge children’s ability and provide opportunities for creativity.
– Children are expected to do their homework to the best of their individual ability – no more, no less.

2) How often is homework given?
– Homework is not given to Infant classes every day.
– Homework is given on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays but not on Fridays. There are two exceptions:
a)If homework has been neglected during the week
b)In senior classes some project work is undertaken at weekends
– Sometimes at the discretion of the class teacher or the principal, children are given “homework off ” as a treat or as acknowledgment of some special occasion.
– Please note extra homework may sometimes be given during the week or at the weekend if a child has not done homework, made a suitable effort or presented untidy work.


3) What is the content of homework?
– Ideally homework will contain a balance between reading tasks, learning tasks and written tasks.
– This balance is not always possible and can vary considerably from day to day. However, it should be noted that homework time devoted to reading and learning is as important as written work.
– Homework will regularly contain reading, spellings, tables, written work, pieces to be “learned by heart”, drawing/colouring, collecting information/items and finishing work started in class.
– Children often feel that reading and “learning by heart” is not real homework. Parents can play an important role in listening to reading and items to be learned ensuring this work is done well.


4) How much time should children spend doing homework?
– The following are guidelines for time spent at homework. Different children will complete the same homework in different lengths of time. Time spent will vary from day to day and also from the beginning to the end of the school year.

- It is important to remember that it is the quality and not the quantity of homework that matters.

Junior Infants Up to 10 minutes
Senior Infants Up to 15 minutes
Rang 1 Up to 30 minutes
Rang 2 Up to 30 minutes
Rang 3 Up to 40 minutes
Rang 4 Up to 40 minutes
Rang 5 Up to 50 minutes
Rang 6 Up to 50 minutes

- Homework may take longer than the specified periods if children have to redo work that was not satisfactorily completed during class time.

5) How much help should parents give?
– Parents should try to help their children with homework by:
– providing them with a suitable place and time to do their homework
– preventing interruptions or distractions, like T.V. or other children
– Children should do written homework themselves and parents should only help when the child has any difficulty.
– If a child has difficulty with homework, the parents should help the child to overcome the difficulty with further explanation or examples, but not by actually doing the homework for the child. In this case the parent should write a note to the teacher explaining the problem.
– Shared reading is not homework in the regular sense and it is simply meant to be an enjoyable exercise between parent and child. If it’s not enjoyable, shared reading should not be done.

6) How often should parents monitor homework?
– Parents should check and sign a child’s homework journal every evening. Infant classes do not have a homework journal.
– The pupil’s journal is an important record of the child’s homework. It is also a valuable means of communication between parents and teachers.
– If possible, all messages to your child’s teacher should be written in the homework journal. Please check that your child records his / her homework neatly in the correct page and ticks each item of homework when completed.
– Letters to parents are folded and placed in the current day of the homework journal. Please check your child’s journal for such notes on a regular basis


7) How often do teachers monitor homework?
– Ideally teachers like to check homework on a daily basis. However with large class numbers it is not always possible to check each child’s homework journal every day.
– As children get older and learn to work independently, some items of homework are checked less often e.g. every second day or once per week.
– Some items of homework (and class work) may be checked by children themselves, under the direction of the teacher. This can be a useful part of the learning process for children

8) When should parents communicate with the teachers about homework?
– When your child cannot do homework due to family circumstances
– When your child cannot do homework because she/he cannot understand some aspect.
– If the time being spent at homework is often longer than the recommended amount of time.

9) When should homework be done?
a. Each family situation is different – both parents working, child minders, etc. Ideally, homework should be done before any television is watched, soon after school, while your child is still fresh. However, some children need a break before starting homework.
b. Homework should never be left until morning time before school

 Sanctions if homework is not complete
After the third offence teacher sends home a note informing parents/guardians.  The note must be signed and kept on file.  The school principal is informed and a fresh start is made every term.

- Remember
If homework is a stressful experience between parent and child, something is wrong! This leads to poor learning and defeats the whole purpose. Should this happen on a regular basis, please contact the class teacher.

 Guidelines for Adults on Appropriate Behaviour in Relation to Children in our School

 

 

 

Responsibilities

School personnel have a responsibility to promote and protect each child’s well-being and welfare while exercising their duty of care as follows:

* Promoting a relationship where pupils are treated with dignity, sensitivity and respect, are enabled to express their opinions and concerns and to take responsibility for their behaviour and decisions.

* Avoiding at all times favouritism or forming a close relationship with one student over another.

* Responding to any complaint or allegation made by a pupil seriously and without delay in an informed, impartial, consistent and fair manner.

* Modelling standards of behaviour which are consistent with good practice and care at all times.

* Remaining sensitive to the fact that some students may be more vulnerable than others and have special needs.

Physical Boundaries Guidance is provided in the following section on what are acceptable standards of behaviour between school personnel and pupils; it is aimed at avoiding the possibility of misunderstanding or potential for any allegation of misconduct.

a. As a general principle, school personnel should be sensitive to the risks involved in any activity, which involves physical contact, such as sports or other activities.

b. It is unrealistic and unnecessary, however, to suggest that physical contact should occur only in emergencies. In particular, a distressed pupil may need reassurance involving physical comforting, as a caring parent would provide. Such contact should only take place

▪ when it is acceptable to all persons concerned ▪ when it is open and not secret ▪ when it is appropriate to the age and developmental stage of the child

c. Physical punishment is illegal, as is any form of physical response to misbehaviour, unless it is by way of necessary restraint.

d. All members of the school community should respect the personal space, safety and privacy of individuals.

e. Staff who have to administer first aid to a student should ensure, wherever possible, that this is done in the presence of other students or another adult. However, no member of staff should hesitate to provide first aid in an emergency simply because another person is not present.

f. Visitors/Guest Speakers will never be left alone with pupils. The school will check out

their credentials, and will ensure that their presentations are appropriate.

g. Where a pupil needs assistance with toileting a meeting will be convened, before the child starts school, between parents, class teacher, special needs assistant and principal, to ascertain the specific needs of the child and to determine how the school can best meet these needs. Two members of staff will be present when dealing with toileting needs.

h. In the event of toileting accidents, clean underwear and suitable clothing will be kept in the school. If a pupil has an accident they will be offered fresh clothes to change into. If a pupil is unable to change him/her self, the child will be assisted by an older family member or, ideally, two staff members. When it is necessary for a staff member to look after a child alone, the principal will be informed as soon as possible.

One to one Meetings with pupils

1. Staff should be aware of the risks, which may arise from one to one interviews with individual pupils. It is recognised that there will be occasions when confidential interviews must take place. As far as possible, staff should conduct such interviews in a room with visual access, or with the door open.

2. Where such conditions cannot apply, staff members are advised to ensure that another adult knows that the interview is taking place.

3. Where possible, another adult should be present or nearby during the interview.

4. Any one to one meeting should take place on the school premises only.

5. It is not recommended that a pupil be given a lift alone in a staff member’s car. In the event that it is necessary, reasonable precautions should be taken by being accompanied by another adult or two other students.

Referral and networking Please refer to the school policies on: Child Care & Protection, Bullying, Sexual Harassment – Adult Bullying Policy, Substance Use Policy, Code of Behaviour and Discipline.

Harassment

Our school is committed to a school environment free from harassment, intimidation or offensive behaviour in any form, verbal or non-verbal and requires all staff and pupils to treat each other with respect and dignity. This need not restrict normal banter and interaction as long as it is not offensive or intimidating. The school is equally committed to the prevention and elimination of discrimination on the grounds of gender, age, marital status, race, colour, nationality or disability.

· Harassment is defined as unwanted conduct that is offensive to the recipient. It is not the intention of the perpetrator, but the deed itself and the impact on the recipient that constitutes harassment and unwanted conduct.

· It is the duty of each individual to be sensitive with regard to the impact they have on people around them.

· The following key factors should be understood by school personnel

* Harassment might be one incident or incidents occurring on a number of occasions.

* Most recipients of harassment simply want it to stop.

* Harassment causes stress and requires a sensitive response and a degree of flexibility appropriate to individuals.

Out of School Activities

School personnel have a duty to take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety and protection of pupils when supervising them in the context of out of school activities-.

· Trips and outings of any nature, other than in the event of an emergency, require the signing of a standard consent form by parents / guardians for each individual trip. Children on school teams are not required to sign consent forms for every match.

· Any information about a student which may be deemed relevant such as allergies, medical problems or special needs should be provided by parents/carers in respect of all students and potential problems and responsibilities highlighted in advance of any school activity away from the locality.

· Parents / Guardians will be provided with appropriate information about any activity centres to ensure the safety of the pupils concerned.

· Information/briefing, including clarity around procedures, will take place in preparation for out of school activities with pupils, parents as appropriate, staff and host agencies in advance of any trip away from school.

· Pupils should participate, relative to their ability, in the activity schedule when away on a school trip.

· School Management and personnel will ensure that students are under the supervision of responsible adults and consideration given to the appropriate adult/pupil ratio in relation to age, gender, and activity will be put in place in advance of the trip.

· Our school takes its ‘duty of care’ while acting in ‘loco parentis’ extremely seriously and makes adequate provision to ensure that it is discharged at all times in the best interest of both the pupils and school personnel.

· The school policy on Child Protection will be complied with in the event of a pupil protection matter arising.

· The inclusion of pupils with disabilities in any such trip will be promoted.

· Pupils are obliged to treat the organisers of an event and carers with respect.

· The Code of Behaviour will apply at all times throughout any such out of school activity.

· Consideration will be given to ensuring, as far as is reasonable, that safe methods of transport are available and that all relevant insurance cover is in place prior to taking pupils out of school.

Investigation and Confidentiality

School personnel and pupils are jointly responsible for maintaining standards of behaviour and conduct where respect, integrity and openness are promoted.

· It is primarily the responsibility of the individual member of staff to ensure that her/his behaviour is appropriate and professional.

· In the event of disciplinary action being taken the individual involved will have the following rights in accordance with principles of natural justice and procedures on discipline

* a right to be informed of the details of the complaint

* a right to reply

* a right of appeal

* a right to an independent assessment

 Board of Management

The newly elected Board of Management members are:

PJ Whelan ( Chairperson) – Patron’s nominee

Very Rev Dan Bollard P.P. – Patron’s nominee

Maeve Magnier – Community Representative

Ger Kirwan – Community Representative

Sarah Rice – Parent Representative

Steve Van Rooyen – Parent Representative

Enda Roberts – Staff Representative

Pádhraic Moran – Principal Teacher

 Traffic Management Policy

Introduction

The main entrance to the school passes through a residential area.  Very strict traffic management rules apply in the school.  It is very important that parents/guardians obey these rules in the interest of safety and free traffic flow.

 Practice

  • The school caretaker is on traffic duty on the school premises at school opening and closing times.
  • The main entrance is a set down entrance, where parents drop off children and do not leave their cars.  There are very limited parking spaces. 
  • Car parking for school staff and visitors only on the school site.
  • Parents / guardians wishing to park must use the church car park, the car park at the old girls’ site or park at the end of the pedestrian lane outside the main church gate.
  • Parents / Guardians are requested never to park in any part of Maudlin Court Estate, in the cul de sacs, or on the access road to the school from Maudlin Street, out of courtesy to the residents and in the interest of safety.
  • Parents / Guardians are requested not to enter the premises before 2.55pm in the afternoon when picking up children from school to allow the buses time to park safely.  Gates are kept closed until 15 minutes prior to collection time for junior and senior classes
  • Parents / Guardians are asked to consider car sharing for school trips.  This will alleviate traffic congestion, reduce pollution and improve the environment, develop the children’s social skills and reduce travel costs.
  • Parents/ Guardians are requested to use the pedestrian crossing near the bike rack on the school site at all times.

 Communication

Details of the school’s Traffic Management Policy will be communicated to parents / guardians at the start of each school year.  This will be done more often if necessary.

 Guidelines for Adults on Appropriate Behaviour in Relation to Children in our School

Introductory statement

This policy was developed by the staff of St. Mary’s National School in consultation with the Board of Management. 

Its purpose is to provide information and guidelines to parents and staff on parent/teacher meetings and parent/teacher communication in St. Mary’s. The family and home are central to the social and intellectual development of the child and the nurturing of Christian values. The school and the family strive to be mutually supportive and respectful of each other so that the child’s education can be effective

Parents are encouraged to:

  • Develop close links with the school
  • Participate in meetings in a positive and respectful manner
  • Collaborate with the school in developing the full potential of their children
  • Share the responsibility of seeing that the school remains true to its ethos values and distinctive character
  • Become actively involved in the school’s parent association
  • Participate in policy and decision-making processes affecting them

Structures in place to facilitate open communication & consultation with Parents

  • Enrolment week in February every year for prospective new entrants
  • Open day for new Junior Infants in mid June
  • The school calendar is sent to families in June every year for the following school year.
  • Parent/teacher meetings in January / February
  • School reports are sent to parents/guardians at the end of each school year
  • Meetings with parents whose children have special needs
  • Consultation throughout the year
  • Written notes and texts. 
  • Regular newsletters keep parents up-to-date with school events, holidays and school concerns.
  • Home work diary 1st – 6th class, used to relay messages which are signed between parents and teachers. Parents are requested to sign diary each night to certify that homework has been completed
  • Parents are invited to school liturgies, such as Beginning and End of Year Masses, Christmas Carol Service and class concerts.
  • Involvement of parents in the ‘Religion Alive O Programme’ section for parents.
  • Participating in paired reading project

It is vital that the school is immediately informed if family events/situations occur that cause anxiety to your child and therefore may adversely affect his/her education

In all matters pertaining to the wellbeing and education of pupils, only the parents/legal guardians named on the enrolment form will be consulted by the teachers.

Formal Parent/teacher meetings

 Formal timetabled parent/teacher meetings take place in January / February.

 The aim of Parent/Teacher meetings is:

  • To let parents know how their children are progressing in school
  • To identify ways in which parents can help their children
  • To inform teachers on how children are coping outside school
  • To establish an ongoing relationship and communication with parents
  • To help teachers/parents get to know the children better as individuals
  • To help children realise that home and school are working together
  • To negotiate jointly decisions about the child’s education
  • To inform the parents of standardised test results where applicable, according to school policy.

Formal Meetings – IEPs

Formal timetabled meetings re Individual Education Plans with parents/guardians will take place during September / October.

 Informal Parent/Teacher Meetings

 The school encourages communication between parents and teachers.

Parents are requested to make an appointment to speak to their child’s teacher through the child’s homework journal, or by phoning the school office.

If parents wish to drop in lunch boxes, sports gear etc, this can be done through the secretary’s office as it is important to keep class interruptions to a minimum.

Parents are strongly discouraged from taking pupils out of school during term time in order to facilitate family holidays.

  • All communication sent from the school will be sent to the child’s home address as given on the enrolment form, unless otherwise requested by parents
  • In the case of separated parents, requests can be made by both parents to meet their child’s teacher(s) individually for parent/teacher meetings.

Complaints Procedure

The following is the agreed complaints procedure to be followed in primary schools

Stage 1

  1. A parent/guardian who wishes to make a complaint should, firstly 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 he/she 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, he/she should lodge the complaint in writing with the Chairperson of the Board of Management

 

  1. The Chairperson will 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                   authorization of the Board:
    1. supply the teacher with a copy of the written complaint and
    2. arrange a meeting with the teacher, and where applicable, the Principal with a view to resolving the complaint. Such a meeting should take place within 10 days of receipt of the written complaint.
    3. 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
  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, the following steps should be followed:

 

    1. The teacher should be supplied with copies of any written evidence in support of the complaint
    2. He/she should be requested to supply a written response to the complaint to the Board and should be afforded an opportunity to make a presentation to the Board and to be accompanied by another person to that meeting
    3. The Board may arrange a meeting with the complainant, who may be accompanied by another person to this meeting.

Stage 5

  1. Following the Board’s investigations, the Chairperson shall convey the decision of the Board in writing to the teacher and the complainant within 5 days of the meeting of the Board. The decision of the Board shall be final.

 Behaviour of all Stakeholders in the School

Positive and respectful communication is of high importance to our school. This not only extends to the children but to all of the stakeholders e.g. the staff, parents and the wider community.  Anyone entering our building should feel safe to do so. While the behaviour of children in our school is of vital importance, adults in the school community also have a responsibility to ensure their own behaviour models the types of behaviour expected of children.  

It is important that all stakeholders are responsible for their own behaviours in the school.  Examples include:

  • All stakeholders are expected to speak to each other with respect.  Shouting or other aggressive tones are not acceptable.  If a stakeholder displays anger or aggression to another member of the school community, they may be asked to remove themselves from the building.  In certain cases, the Gardaí may be called.

  Policy on extra – curricular activities

Teachers in charge of school teams representing the school in inter school competitions have full responsibility for the management of the team.  Lunch time leagues and training sessions allow for participation by every child who wishes to be involved.

Adults transporting children to and from matches in their car should

  • Ensure that there is adequate insurance cover
  • Not carry more than the permitted number of passengers
  • Ensure the use of safety belts
  • Obey the rules of the road
  • Avoid being alone with one child; if with one child put the passenger in the back seat. Drop off at central locations and clearly state times of pick up and drop off.

 Parents are expected to be on time when collecting children from after school training      sessions and from pick up points after away matches.

 Children are expected to attend regularly, and parents / guardians should be on time to pick up their children after all activities.

  Policy on the Induction of new teachers

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Introduction

St. Mary’s National School welcomes new teachers to the school. We have a policy of doing our utmost to make a new member of staff feel welcome and valued.

 

Policy

The Special Duties Teacher is responsible for informing newly appointed staff and substitute teachers to the school on basic routines – plean scoile, supervision, first aid, timetables, completing the Leabhar Rolla etc.

In addition, teachers at the same class level act as mentor to the new teacher, and share resources, ideas and expertise with them.

All members of staff help and support new staff in every way they can.

  Guidelines for Students in the School on Work Experience

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  • Guidelines for Students in the School on Work Experience
  • Students should report to the school office on the first morning.
    • Classroom business should remain confidential.
    • Students should be familiar with the School Policy on the Protection of Pupils and adhere stringently to the ‘Best Practice Guidelines’ set down.
    • Students are expected to be on time.
    • Students should contact the school office on days when unable to attend.
    • Transition Year students coming to St. Mary’s should have a genuine interest in pursuing Primary teaching as a career.
    • Students will be required to spend the full day in the school.
    • Students will be expected to help out under the instruction of the class teacher.
    • Students should interact with the pupils in the school in a professional manner.
    • Students should not get involved in any activity that involves lifting children or any other inappropriate physical contact.
    • Students should not be alone with a child in an unsupervised area.
    • Students must switch off mobile phones when on the school premises.

  Accident Policy

In the Classroom

The class teacher will deal with an accident in the classroom immediately.  She / he will assess the situation and decide what action needs to be taken.

 1.      The accident is of a minor nature and the child just needs a little care.

 2.      The accident is more serious and the Principal will be informed and the parents contacted immediately.  Every effort will be made to contact a parent/guardian.  Failing that the school will then contact the person whose number was given to the school in case of emergency.  In the case of a very serious accident, if neither parent/guardian or emergency contact is available, the Principal and the class teacher will decide on a course of action depending on the seriousness of the accident. 

  • The child will be kept in school under close supervision, 
  • Child will be taken to the local doctor
  • Child will be taken to the Casualty Department of St. Luke’s Hospital.

In the Playground

The same procedure will be carried out as for an accident in the classroom except that the teachers on supervision will take the place of the classroom teacher.

All serious accidents will be recorded and signed by the teacher on yard duty, in the School Accident Book.

The class teacher will also record the incident.

The School Accident Book is kept in the school office.

 Data Protection Privacy Statement for Parents, Guardians and Pupils

Effective from the 25th May, 2018

Individuals have a number of rights in relation to their personal information – i.e. personal data – and these rights have been enhanced by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This Data Protection Statement describes how we at St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown collect and process personal data, in accordance with the GDPR and the school’s legal obligations generally in relation to the provision of education.  Processing is the legal term used to describe various acts including – the collection, recording, organisation, structuring, storage, alteration, use of, retrieval, disclosure or transmission of information.

 This Statement applies to pupils, parents and guardians. By enrolling your child in and/or by attending St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown you acknowledge and agree to the collection and processing of personal information by the school.  

 For your information this Statement outlines:

  • Who we are and how to contact us;
  • What information we collect, process and retain;
  • How information is collected and processed and the purpose and legal basis for so doing;
  • Sharing information with third parties;
  • Individual legal rights.
  1. WHO WE ARE AND HOW TO CONTACT US

St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown is a data controller responsible for personal data – i.e. information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person. St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown processes personal data, i.e. the school collects, records, stores, retains and uses personal data. St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown will respond to your questions in relation to this data protection statement and our approach to privacy. 

If you have any questions about this data protection statement, including any request to exercise your legal rights, please contact us using the details below:

stmarys1ttown@eircom.net

  1. INFORMATION COLLECTED

 St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown may collect the following personal information on pupils and parents/guardians:

  • Pupil Information
  • Personal details such as name, address, date of birth, gender, PPS number, nationality, emergency contact information and information in relation to the pupil’s family as may be required,
  • Any Special Education Needs (SEN),
  • Any Child Protection information,
  • Academic records, school reports, pupil learning needs, pupil behaviour needs, permission for access to educational reports, individual education and learning support plans,
  • Personal pupil profiles (including whether English is the pupil’s first language or if exempt from any subjects e.g. Irish or religion),
  • Psychological referral/assessment documentation and permission for access to psychological reports,
  • Information for the Primary Online Database (POD),
  • Information for Special Educational Needs Organiser (SENO),
  • Information for TUSLA (the Child and Family Agency) and/or the Health Service Executive (HSE),
  • Attendance records and explanatory notes in relation to absences,
  • Disciplinary records including notes that may be held by the teacher(s), incident and accident reports, investigations and sanctions if imposed,
  • Permission notes in respect of school activities e.g. school tours/trips and outings, extra-curricular activities, (including Curricular, RSE/Stay Safe Programme(s)),
  • Photographs and recorded images of pupil(s) (including at school events),
  • School Transport information,
  • CCTV footage and other information obtained through electronic means
  • Sensitive Personal Information – Pupils

St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown may collect and process the following special categories of more sensitive personal information such as:

  • Information about pupil’s health, medical certificates, medical needs, allergies and consent for administration of medicine,
  • Religious belief and confirmation of engagement or not in Religious Sacraments,
  • Membership of the Traveller Community,
  • Racial or Ethnic origin.
  • Parent / Guardian Information

St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown may collect and process the following personal information from parents/guardians such as:

  • Contact details of parent / guardian e.g. name, address, email address, telephone number(s)
  • Information regarding legal orders in respect of any family law disputes in respect of guardianship, custody or access,
  • Occupation and nationality,
  • Number of children, position of pupil(s) in family,
  • Consent in respect of medical/other emergencies,
  • Consent in respect of school activities e.g. school tours/trips and outings, extra-curricular activities,
  • Consent to publish photographs and schoolwork of pupils on school website / print media etc,
  • Records, correspondence or notes arising from interaction with Parents / Guardians
  1. PURPOSE & LEGAL BASIS FOR COLLECTING & PROCESSING INFORMATION

St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown collects and processes personal information (as listed above) about pupils and parents / guardians for a variety of purposes and relies on a number of legal grounds to do so. St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown requires this information to perform our duties and responsibilities and to comply with our legal and statutory obligations.  In addition, St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown requires this personal information to pursue the legitimate interests of the school and our dealings with relevant third parties (see below). The legitimate interests upon which we rely are the effective operation and management of St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown, and managing the education and welfare needs of our pupils. St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown processes personal data on the basis of the following lawful purposes:

  1. Legal Obligation

St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown collects and process personal information to comply with our legal and statutory obligations, including, but not limited to those under the Education Act 1998 (as Amended), the Education (Welfare) Act 2000, the Education for Persons with Special Needs (EPSEN) Act 2004, the Health Act 1947, the Children First Act 2015, the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017, the Teaching Council Acts 2001-2015 and Safety Health and Welfare at Work legislation

  1. Legitimate Interests

St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown may also process personal information to:

  • Enable Pupils to develop to their full potential and meet the educational, social, physical and emotional requirements of the pupil,
  • Enable Parents and Guardians to be contacted in the case of emergency, school closures and to inform Parents and Guardians of their child’s educational progress,
  • Secure and benefit from the support and services of relevant third parties.
  1. Consent

St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown sometimes process some of pupils’ personal information with consent e.g. photograph which may be displayed on the school’s website or on social media platforms or in the print media. Please note that consent can be withdrawn at any time by contacting the school.

  1. HOW PERSONAL INFORMATION IS COLLECTED
  • Pupils

St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown collect personal information about pupils through the enrolment process and/or through expressions of interest in relation to enrolment. Additional information is collected from third parties, including former schools and through school activities and general interaction(s) during the course of the pupil’s time at St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown

  • Parents and Guardians

St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown collect personal information about parents and guardians through the enrolment process or expressions of interest for enrolment. We collect additional personal information through general interaction during the course of the pupil’s time at St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown  

  1. INFORMATION AND THIRD PARTIES

St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown may receive from, share and/or transfer information to a range of third parties such as the following:

  • The Department of Education and Skills
  • TUSLA / the Child and Family Agency
  • The National Council for Special Education
  • National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)
  • Department of Social Protection and/or other state benefit providers
  • An Garda Síochána
  • School Insurance Provider
  • Third Party Service Providers: We may share personal information with third party service providers that perform services and functions at our direction and on our behalf such as our accountants, IT service providers including, printers, lawyers and other advisors, and providers of security and administrative services, including data processing / cloud storage service providers e.g. Aladdin, G Suite for Education.

6 DATA RETENTION

We will only retain personal information for as long as it is necessary to fulfil the purposes the information was collected for, including any legal, accounting or reporting requirements.

  1. TRANSFER OF PERSONAL INFORMATION OUTSIDE THE EUROPEAN UNION

 St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown may transfer the personal information we collect to countries outside the EU.  Where there is no adequacy decision by the European Commission in respect of any such country that means that that country is deemed not to provide an adequate level of protection for your data.  However, to ensure personal information does receive an adequate level of protection we will in such circumstances put in place appropriate measures such as the use of model contractual clauses as approved by the European Commission to ensure personal information is treated by those third parties in ways that are consistent with respect to EU and Irish Laws on Data Protection. 

  1. INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS

Individuals have several rights under GDPR which in certain circumstances are limited and/or constrained. These individual rights include the right – free of charge and subject to any limitations as may apply – to:

  1. Request a copy of the personal information held about the individual;
  2. Rectify any inaccurate personal data held about the individual;
  3. Erase personal information held about the individual;
  4. Restrict the processing of individual personal information;
  5. Object to the use of individual personal information for our legitimate interests;
  6. Receive individual personal information in a structured commonly used and machine-readable format and to have that data transmitted to another data controller.

If you wish to exercise any of these rights please contact us at the school at stmarysttown@eircom.net

St. Mary’s NS, Thomastown will endeavour to respond to your request within a month.  If we are unable to deal with your request within a month we may extend this period by a further two months and we will explain why.

You also have the right to lodge a complaint to the office of the Data Protection Commission.

  1. UPDATES

We will update this data protection statement from time to time. Any updates will be made available and, where appropriate notified to you.

 Data Protection Policy 2018

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Introductory Statement

 The school’s Data Protection Policy applies to the personal data held by the school’s Board of Management (BoM), which is protected by the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2018 and the EU General Data Personal Regulation (GDPR).

The policy applies to all school staff, the Board of Management, parents/guardians, students and others (including prospective or potential students and their parents/guardians and applicants for staff positions within the school) insofar as the measures under the policy relate to them. Data will be stored securely, so that confidential information is protected in compliance with relevant legislation. This policy sets out the manner in which personal data and special categories of personal data will be protected by the school.

St. Mary’s NS operates a “Privacy by Design” method in relation to Data Protection. This means we plan carefully when gathering personal data so that we build in the data protection principles as integral elements of all data operations in advance. We audit the personal data we hold in order to

  1. be able to provide access to individuals to their data
  2. ensure it is held securely
  3. document our data protection procedures
  4. enhance accountability and transparency

Data Protection Principles

 The school BoM is a data controller of personal data relating to its past, present and future staff, students, parents/guardians and other members of the school community. As such, the BoM is obliged to comply with the principles of data protection set out in the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2018 and GDPR, which can be summarised as follows:

  1. Obtain and process Personal Data fairly

Information on students is gathered with the help of parents/guardians and staff. Information is also transferred from their previous schools. In relation to information the school holds on other individuals (members of staff, individuals applying for positions within the School, parents/guardians of students, etc.), the information is generally furnished by the individuals themselves with full and informed consent and compiled during the course of their employment or contact with the School. All such data is treated in accordance with the Data Protection legislation and the terms of this Data Protection Policy. The information will be obtained and processed fairly.

  1. Consent

Where consent is the basis for provision of personal data, (e.g. data required to join sports team/ after-school activity or any other optional school activity) the consent must be a freely-given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes. St. Mary’s NS will require a clear, affirmative action e.g. ticking of a box/signing a document to indicate consent. Consent can be withdrawn by data subjects in these situations

  1. Keep it only for one or more specified and explicit lawful purposes

The BoM will inform individuals of the reasons they collect their data and the uses to which their data will be put.  All information is kept with the best interest of the individual in mind at all times 

  1. Process it only in ways compatible with the purposes for which it was given initially

Data relating to individuals will only be processed in a manner consistent with the purposes for which it was gathered. Information will only be disclosed on a ‘need to know’ basis, and access to it will be strictly controlled

  1. Keep Personal Data safe and secure

Only those with a genuine reason for doing so may gain access to the information. Personal Data is securely stored under lock and key in the case of manual records and protected with computer software and password protection in the case of electronically stored data. Portable devices storing personal data (such as laptops) are encrypted and password-protected

  1. Keep Personal Data accurate, complete and up-to-date

Students, parents/guardians, and/or staff should inform the school of any change which the school should make to their personal data and/or sensitive personal data to ensure that the individual’s data is accurate, complete and up-to-date. Once informed, the school will make all necessary changes to the relevant records. Records must not be altered or destroyed without proper authorisation. If alteration/correction is required, then a note of the fact of such authorisation and the alteration(s) to be made to any original record/documentation should be dated and signed by the person making that change

  1. Ensure that it is adequate, relevant and not excessive

Only the necessary amount of information required to provide an adequate service will be gathered and stored

  1. Retain it no longer than is necessary for the specified purpose or purposes for which it was given

As a general rule, the information will be kept for the duration of the individual’s time in the school. Thereafter, the school will comply with DES guidelines on the storage of Personal Data relating to a student.  In the case of members of staff, the school will comply with both DES guidelines and the requirements of the Revenue Commissioners with regard to the retention of records relating to employees.  The school may also retain the data relating to an individual for a longer length of time for the purposes of complying with relevant provisions of law and or/defending a claim under employment legislation and/or contract and/or civil law.  See School Record Retention table

  1. Provide a copy of their personal data to any individual on request

Individuals have a right to know and have access to a copy of personal data held about them, by whom, and the purpose for which it is held

Scope 

The Data Protection legislation applies to the keeping and processing of Personal Data. The purpose of this policy is to assist the school to meet its statutory obligations, to explain those obligations to School staff, and to inform staff, students and their parents/guardians how their data will be treated.

The policy applies to all school staff, the Board of Management, parents/guardians, students and others (including prospective or potential students and their parents/guardians, and applicants for staff positions within the school) insofar as the school handles or processes their Personal Data in the course of their dealings with the school.

Definition of Data Protection Terms

In order to properly understand the school’s obligations, there are some key terms, which should be understood by all relevant school staff:

Personal Data means any data relating to an identified or identifiable natural person i.e. a living individual who is or can be identified either from the data or from the data in conjunction with other information that is in, or is likely to come into, the possession of the Data Controller (BoM)

Data Controller is the Board of Management of the school

Data Subjectis an individual who is the subject of personal data

Data Processing – performing any operation or set of operations on data, including:

  • Obtaining, recording or keeping the data,
  • Collecting, organising, storing, altering or adapting the data
  • Retrieving, consulting or using the data
  • Disclosing the data by transmitting, disseminating or otherwise making it available
  • Aligning, combining, blocking, erasing or destroying the data

Data Processor – a person who processes personal information on behalf of a data controller, but does not include an employee of a data controller who processes such data in the course of their employment, for example, this might mean an employee of an organisation to which the data controller out-sources work.  The Data Protection legislation places responsibilities on such entities in relation to their processing of the data. St. Mary’s NS uses Aladdin and IPPN Text a Parent for storing data and communicating with parents.

Special categories of Personal Data refers to Personal Data regarding a person’s

  • racial or ethnic origin
  • political opinions or religious or philosophical beliefs
  • physical or mental health
  • sexual life and sexual orientation
  • genetic and biometric data
  • criminal convictions or the alleged commission of an offence
  • trade union membership

Personal Data Breacha breach of security leading to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to personal data transmitted, stored or otherwise processed.  This means any compromise or loss of personal data, no matter how or where it occurs

Rationale

 In addition to its legal obligations under the broad remit of educational legislation, the school has a legal responsibility to comply with the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2018 and the GDPR.

This policy explains what sort of data is collected, why it is collected, for how long it will be stored and with whom it will be shared.  The school takes its responsibilities under data protection law very seriously and wishes to put in place safe practices to safeguard individual’s personal data. It is also recognised that recording factual information accurately and storing it safely facilitates an evaluation of the information, enabling the Principal and Board of Management to make decisions in respect of the efficient running of the School. The efficient handling of data is also essential to ensure that there is consistency and continuity where there are changes of personnel within the school and Board of Management.

Other Legal Obligations

 Under Section 9(g) of the Education Act, 1998, the parents of a student, or a student who has reached the age of 18 years, must be given access to records kept by the school relating to the progress of the student in their education

Under Section 20 of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, the school must maintain a register of all students attending the School

Under Section 20(5) of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, a Principal is obliged to notify certain information relating to the child’s attendance in school and other matters relating to the child’s educational progress to the Principal of another school to which a student is transferring. St. Mary’s NS sends, by post, a copy of a child’s Passport, as provided by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, to the Principal of the Post-Primary School in which the pupil has been enrolled

Where reports on pupils which have been completed by professionals, apart from St. Mary’s NS staff, are included in current pupil files, such reports are only passed to the Post-Primary school following express written permission having been sought and received from the parents of the said pupils 

Under Section 21 of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, the school must record the attendance or non-attendance of students registered at the school on each school day

Under Section 28 of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, the School may supply Personal Data kept by it to certain prescribed bodies (the Department of Education and Skills, Tusla, the National Council for Special Education and other schools). The BoM must be satisfied that it will be used for a ‘relevant purpose’ (which includes recording a person’s educational or training history or monitoring their educational or training progress; or for carrying out research into examinations, participation in education and the general effectiveness of education or training)

Under Section 14 of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act, 2004, the school is required to furnish to the National Council for Special Education (and its employees, which would include Special Educational Needs Organisers) such information as the Council may from time to time reasonably request 

The Freedom of Information Act 1997 provides a qualified right to access to information held by public bodies which does not necessarily have to be “personal data”, as with data protection legislation. While most schools are not currently subject to freedom of information legislation, (with the exception of schools under the direction of Education and Training Boards), if a school has furnished information to a body covered by the Freedom of Information Act (such as the Department of Education and Skills, etc.) these records could be disclosed by that body if a request is made to that body

Under Section 26(4) of the Health Act, 1947 a School shall cause all reasonable facilities (including facilities for obtaining names and addresses of pupils attending the school) to be given to a health authority who has served a notice on it of medical inspection, e.g. a dental inspection 

Under Children First Act 2015, mandated persons in schools have responsibilities to report child welfare concerns to TUSLA- Child and Family Agency (or in the event of an emergency and the unavailability of TUSLA, to An Garda Síochána)

Relationship to characteristic spirit of the School:

 St. Mary’s NS seeks to:

  • enable students to develop their full potential
  • provide a safe and secure environment for learning
  • promote respect for the diversity of values, beliefs, traditions, languages and ways of life in society

We aim to achieve these goals while respecting the privacy and data protection rights of students, staff, parents/guardians and others who interact with us. The school wishes to achieve these aims/missions while fully respecting individuals’ rights to privacy and rights under the Data Protection legislation.

Personal Data

 The Personal Data records held by the school may include:

1.         Staff records:

  1. Categories of staff data:

As well as existing members of staff (and former members of staff), these records may also relate to applicants applying for positions within the school, trainee teachers and teachers under probation. These staff records may include:

  • Name, address and contact details, PPS number.
  • Name and contact details of next-of-kin in case of emergency.
  • Original records of application and appointment to promotion posts
  • Details of approved absences (career breaks, parental leave, study leave, etc.)
  • Details of work record (qualifications, classes taught, subjects, etc.)
  • Details of any accidents/injuries sustained on school property or in connection with the staff member carrying out their school duties
  • Records of any reports the school (or its employees) have made in respect of the staff member to State departments and/or other agencies under Children First Act 2015
  1. Purposes:

Staff records are kept for the purposes of:

  • the management and administration of school business (now and in the future)
  • to facilitate the payment of staff, and calculate other benefits/entitlements (including reckonable service for the purpose of calculation of pension payments, entitlements and/or redundancy payments where relevant)
  • to facilitate pension payments in the future
  • human resources management
  • recording promotions made (documentation relating to promotions applied for) and changes in responsibilities, etc.
  • to enable the school to comply with its obligations as an employer, including the preservation of a safe, efficient working and teaching environment (including complying with its responsibilities under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005)
  • to enable the school to comply with requirements set down by the Department of Education and Skills, the Revenue Commissioners, the National Council for Special Education, TUSLA, the HSE, and any other governmental, statutory and/or regulatory departments and/or agencies
  • and for compliance with legislation relevant to the school.
  1. Location and Security procedures of St. Mary’s NS:
    1. Manual records are kept in a secure, locked filing cabinet in a locked administration office only accessible to personnel who are authorised to use the data. Employees are required to maintain the confidentiality of any data to which they have access.
    2. Digital records are stored on password-protected computer with adequate encryption and firewall software in a locked office. The school has the burglar alarm activated during out-of-school hours.

2.         Student records: 

  1. Categories of student data:

These may include:

  • Information which may be sought and recorded at enrolment and may be collated and compiled during the course of the student’s time in the school. These records may include:
    • name, address and contact details, PPS number
    • date and place of birth
    • names and addresses of parents/guardians and their contact details (including any special arrangements with regard to guardianship, custody or access)
    • religious belief
    • racial or ethnic origin
    • membership of the Traveller community, where relevant
    • whether they (or their parents) are medical card holders
    • whether English is the student’s first language and/or whether the student requires English language support
    • any relevant special conditions (e.g. special educational needs, health issues, ) which may apply
  • Information on previous academic record (including reports, references, assessments and other records from any previous school(s) attended by the student
  • Psychological, psychiatric and/or medical assessments
  • Attendance records
  • Photographs and recorded images of students (including at school events and noting achievements) are managed in line with the accompanying policy on school photography.
  • Academic record – subjects studied, class assignments, examination results as recorded on official School reports
  • Records of significant achievements
  • Whether the student is exempt from studying Irish
  • Records of disciplinary issues/investigations and/or sanctions imposed
  • Other records e.g. records of any serious injuries/accidents, (Note: it is advisable to inform parents that a particular incident is being recorded).
  • Records of any reports the school (or its employees) have made in respect of the student to State Departments and/or other agencies under Children First Act 2015.
  1. Purposes: The purposes for keeping student records include:
  • to enable each student to develop to his/her full potential
  • to comply with legislative or administrative requirements
  • to ensure that eligible students can benefit from the relevant additional teaching or financial supports
  • to support the provision of religious instruction
  • to enable parents/guardians to be contacted in the case of emergency or in the case of school closure, or to inform parents of their child’s educational progress or to inform parents of school events, etc.
  • to meet the educational, social, physical and emotional requirements of the student
  • photographs and recorded images of students are taken to celebrate school achievements, e.g. compile yearbooks, establish a school website, record school events, and to keep a record of the history of the school. Such records are taken and used in accordance with the ‘School Photography Policy’ and ‘School Website Privacy Statement’.
  • to ensure that the student meets the school’s admission criteria
  • to ensure that students meet the minimum age requirement for attendance at Primary School.
  • to ensure that any student seeking an exemption from Irish meets the criteria in order to obtain such an exemption from the authorities
  • to furnish documentation/information about the student to the Department of Education and Skills, the National Council for Special Education, TUSLA, and other schools, etc. in compliance with law and directions issued by government departments
  • to furnish, when requested by the student (or their parents/guardians in the case of a student under 18 years) documentation/information/references to second-level educational institutions.
  1. (Location and Security procedures as above):

3.         Board of Management records:

  1. Categories of Board of Management data:
  • Name, address and contact details of each member of the Board of Management (including former members of the Board of Management)
  • Records in relation to appointments to the Board
  • Minutes of Board of Management meetings and correspondence to the Board which may include references to individuals.
  1. Purposes:

To enable the Board of Management to operate in accordance with the Education Act 1998 and other applicable legislation and to maintain a record of Board appointments and decisions.

  1. (Location and Security procedures as above):

4.         Other Records: Creditors

  1. Categories of Board of Management data:

The school may hold some or all of the following information about creditors (some of whom are self-employed individuals):

  • name
  • address
  • contact details
  • PPS number
  • tax details
  • bank details and
  • amount paid
  1. Purposes: The purposes for keeping creditor records are:

This information is required for routine management and administration of the school’s financial affairs, including the payment of invoices, the compiling of annual financial accounts and complying with audits and investigations by the Revenue Commissioners.

  1. (Location and Security procedures as above):

5.         Other Records: Charity Tax-back Forms

  1. Categories of Board of Management data:

The school may hold the following data in relation to donors who have made charitable donations to the school:

  • name
  • address
  • telephone number
  • PPS number
  • tax rate
  • signature and
  • the gross amount of the donation.
  1. Purposes: The purposes for keeping creditor records are:

Schools are entitled to avail of the scheme of tax relief for donations of money they receive. To claim the relief, the donor must complete a certificate (CHY2) and forward it to the school to allow it to claim the grossed up amount of tax associated with the donation. The information requested on the appropriate certificate is the parents’ name, address, PPS number, tax rate, telephone number, signature and the gross amount of the donation. This is retained by the School in the event of audit by the Revenue Commissioners. 

  1. (Location and Security procedures as above):

CCTV images/recordings 

CCTV is installed in St. Mary’s NS. 

—- cameras are installed externally [Describe location(s)] e.g. perimeter walls/fencing on each side of the school building. 

—- cameras are installed internally; [Describe location(s)] e.g. In the foyer covering the main entrance to the school 

These CCTV systems may record images of staff, students and members of the public who visit the premises.

The viewing station is in the main school administration office

Purposes:

Safety and security of staff, students and visitors and to safeguard school property and equipment.

Security:

Access to images/recordings is restricted to the Principal and Deputy Principal of the school.  Recordings are retained for 28 days, except if required for the investigation of an incident. Images/recordings may be viewed or made available to An Garda Síochána pursuant to Data Protection Acts legislation.

Examination results

The school will hold data comprising examination results in respect of its students.  These include class, mid-term, annual and continuous assessment results and the results of Standardised Tests

Purposes:

The main purpose for which these examination results are held is to monitor a student’s progress and to provide a sound basis for advising them and their parents or guardian about educational attainment levels and recommendations for the future. The data may also be aggregated for statistical/reporting purposes, such as to compile results tables.  The data may be transferred to the Department of Education and Skills, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and other schools to which pupils move.

Location and Security procedures

As above

Links to other policies and to curriculum delivery

Our school policies need to be consistent with one another, within the framework of the overall School Plan. Relevant school policies already in place or being developed or reviewed, shall be examined with reference to the Data Protection Policy and any implications which it has for them shall be addressed.

The following policies may be among those considered:

  • Pupil Online Database (POD): Collection of the data for the purposes of complying with the Department of Education and Skills’ pupil online database.
  • Child Protection Procedures
  • Anti-Bullying Procedures
  • Code of Behaviour
  • Enrolment Policy
  • ICT Acceptable Usage Policy
  • Assessment Policy
  • Special Educational Needs Policy
  • Library Policy
  • Book-Rental Policy
  • Critical Incident Policy
  • Student Council Policy
  • Attendance Policy

Processing in line with a data subject’s rights

Data in this school will be processed in line with the data subject’s rights. Data subjects have a right to:

  • Know what personal data the school is keeping on them
  • Request access to any data held about them by a data controller
  • Prevent the processing of their data for direct-marketing purposes
  • Ask to have inaccurate data amended
  • Ask to have data erased once it is no longer necessary or irrelevant.

Data Processors

Where the school outsources to a data processor off-site, it is required by law to have a written contract in place.  St. Mary’s NS third party agreement specifies the conditions under which the data may be processed, the security conditions attaching to the processing of the data and that the data must be deleted or returned upon completion or termination of the contract.  This contract is with Aladdin.

Personal Data Breaches

All incidents in which personal data has been put at risk must be reported to the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner within 72 hours.

When the personal data breach is likely to result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons, the BoM must communicate the personal data breach to the data subject without undue delay

If a data processor becomes aware of a personal data breach, it must bring this to the attention of the data controller (BoM) without undue delay.

Dealing with a data access request

  • Individuals are entitled to a copy of their personal data on written request
  • The individual is entitled to a copy of their personal data
  • Request must be responded to within one month. An extension may be required e.g. over holiday periods
  • No fee may be charged except in exceptional circumstances where the requests are repetitive or manifestly unfounded or excessive
  • No personal data can be supplied relating to another individual apart from the data subject

Providing information over the phone

An employee dealing with telephone enquiries should be careful about disclosing any personal information held by the school over the phone. In particular, the employee should:

  • Ask that the caller put their request in writing
  • Refer the request to the Principal for assistance in difficult situations
  • Not feel forced into disclosing personal information

Implementation arrangements, roles and responsibilities 

The BoM is the data controller and the Principal implements the Data Protection Policy, ensuring that staff who handle or have access to Personal Data are familiar with their data protection responsibilities.

The following personnel have responsibility for implementing the Data Protection Policy:

Name                                                    Responsibility

Board of Management:                 Data Controller

Principal:                                              Implementation of Policy

Ratification & communication

Ratified at the BoM meeting on 30th May 2018 and signed by Chairperson. Secretary recorded the ratification in the Minutes of the meeting

Monitoring the implementation of the policy

The implementation of the policy shall be monitored by the Principal, staff and the Board of Management

 Reviewing and evaluating the policy

The policy will be reviewed and evaluated after 2 years. On-going review and evaluation will take cognisance of changing information or guidelines (e.g. from the Data Protection Commissioner, Department of Education and Skills or TUSLA), legislation and feedback from parents/guardians, students, school staff and others. The policy will be revised as necessary in the light of such review and evaluation and within the framework of school planning

 

 Policy on Use of the Internet and E-mail in School

The Rationale for Internet Safety

The Internet is a popular research and communication tool at home and in school. Due to the fact that it has the capacity to host any type of information from online communities all over the world, the need for information and resources on Internet safety and related issues is essential. We are aware of the risks and the need to equip our pupils with the necessary information and skills to navigate safely on the Internet. Teachers of older classes educate the children in the dangers of internet use.

Minimising the Risks

Internet provision for schools is regulated by the NCT and websites are filtered. All P.C. use is under supervision and every effort is made to ensure that children are not exposed to harmful material.

Guidelines for Safe Use of the Internet

The World Wide Web is a virtual library of information; as a result, many schools use it to locate information published by other schools, governments and teacher organisations

Benefits

* Exposure to a wide variety of educational material in multimedia form

* The ability to broaden information research skills.

* The facilitation of group or individual projects, collaboration and idea sharing between geographically dispersed pupils, teachers and schools.

Risks

* Exposure to illegal or harmful material

* The validity of information available may sometimes be questionable. Pupils need to be taught the necessary literacy skills to be able to discern the validity of content on web pages.

Guidelines

Setting up Content

* Preview or evaluate websites before providing pupil access. Alternately, use an education web portal such as scoilnet as a means of sourcing websites that have been previewed and approved by educators.

* Ensure on-line learning is directed and task oriented.

Administration

* All computer use is under teacher supervision.

* Websites are filtered by the National Centre for Technology in Education.

* Time limits are set for Internet use.

Student Awareness

* Lessons on internet safety advising children about the risks associated with internet use.

> Media education

> Social, Personal and Health Education

> Risks around social network sites

> Cyber bullying

* Pupils will tell the teacher/parent immediately if they come across any unsuitable information that makes them uncomfortable.

School Rules for Online Safety

  • Every computer is set up so that the screen is always visible to the teacher and the class.
  • Pupils will never give out any information about themselves, such as their address, telephone number, name or location of the school, etc., without the express permission of the teacher.
  • Pupils will never send a picture of themselves, or any other picture, without the permission of the teacher and their parents.
  • Pupils will tell the teacher immediately if they come across any unsuitable information that makes them uncomfortable.
  • Pupils are not allowed to access any sites that have not been approved by the teacher.
  • Each class will decide how long a pupil can spend online at any one time.
  • Every pupil will behave responsibly online, and will not do anything that hurts other people, or is against the law.
  • Children’s names will not accompany their photographs on the school website.
  • Parental permission is sought for each child to use the internet.

 Policy on Parental Involvement

  • Our school is a community where pupils, parents and teachers collaborate and work in partnership for our children.
  • Respect for the professional role of the teacher and the statutory responsibilities of the Principal, Patron and the Board of Management is always an important consideration.
  • Parents/Guardians are invited to become involved in the school and to instill a positive attitude to education and learning in many ways and at many levels, for example:

-   Serving on school bodies (Board of Management, Parents’ Association,)

-   Fundraising

-   Prayer and Faith Formation especially in preparation for the sacraments.

-   Celebration of Christmas and Easter

-   Help out on School Tours

-   Parents/Guardians encourage their children to obey school rules; they sign a declaration of their support at the start of each school year.

-   Parents/Guardians help by driving children to school matches, concerts and other school events.

-   Oversee homework

-   Sign pupils’ homework journal where appropriate

-   Encourage their children to read by taking them to the local library, by reading aloud to them and by attendance at school book fairs.

-   Parents/Guardians are encouraged to make themselves familiar with the curriculum studied by their children.

-   Parents/Guardians are invited to formal Parent/Teacher meetings once every year, usually in the month of February.

-   Informal meetings with parents are welcomed.  Teachers are happy to meet with parents.  An appointment can be made through the school office or by writing a note in the pupil’s homework journal.

-   The school Code of Behaviour and Discipline outlines parental involvement in ensuring that there is a high standard of behaviour in our school.  The aim of our Code of Behaviour and Discipline is to ensure that the individuality of each child is accommodated while acknowledging the right of each child to education in a relatively disruption-free environment.

-   The school staff works closely with parents of children who need assessment for special education.

-   Parents are involved in drawing up Individual Education Plans for children who need them.

  Policy on the use of computers  in the school

Policy on the use of computers  in the school

The importance of ICT as a cross-curricular tool is recognised. The school aims to expose the pupils to the diversity, influence and uses of ICT. All curriculum areas are identified as having the possibility for pupils to make use of ICT within the subject areas.

To enable progression and continuity we must have suitable machines; this includes the upgrading of the hardware and the software where needed and when manageable. The manageability is determined by available finance, and realistic demands on staff time.

Pupils are given basic skills through time spent working on the computer. Pupils are encouraged to use ICT in a variety of situations and contexts and especially cross curricular.

  • to gain experience in the following areas of ICT: communicating and handling information, using graphics, charts and CDs.
  • to support the progression of skills for the pupils we endeavour to expose pupils to the use of ICT in as many subject areas and contexts as possible.
  • to use as wide and expanding a range of software and ICT equipment as is appropriate, manageable and affordable.
  • to teach pupils to become discerning in their use of ICT, select information, sources and media for their suitability of purpose and to assess the value of ICT in their work practices.

We believe guidance is important as pupils begin to learn to take responsibility for their work and progress. Work must meet the needs of all individuals and provide a balance between teacher-directed and self-directed work. Teacher confidence is critical within the realm of ICT for them to feel confident enough to allow the pupils to develop at their own rate.

We keep in mind the need for pupils of all abilities to have access to satisfying, rewarding ICT that is able to support and enhance their learning across the curriculum. The mode of delivery must remain flexible so as to address the various needs of the pupils in the classroom. Where appropriate, a variety of ICT facilities are made available to encourage pupils of all abilities to experiment and progress.

Strategies for ensuring the achievement of our ICT policy:

  • to provide on going suitable training for teachers to enhance their competence and confidence as an educational tool.
  • to make available sufficient computers in each classroom.
  • to provide suitable resources to support ICT plan.  Laptop trolleys are available for use by all classes.  We have two trolleys, each containing 15 laptops, with internet and printer connections.
  • ICT will be used as a tool to maximise the effectiveness of the use of library and learning resources in the school.

 Activities designed to develop computing abilities

Text handling:

Use of word processors to compose, edit and revise text.

Information handling:

Use of word processors, graph plotting and power point presentations, to store, analyse and display information.

 Mimio

Use of simulation software and consideration of the benefits and limitations of this method of learning.

Sound and graphics

Use of computer systems to compose and play music, use of drawing and design packages in the visual arts.

Impact and value of ICT

Learning about and discussing the applications of compute software from their own uses and by considering uses outside school.

 Language

Generation of text, editing and revising text, composition of pages, booklets, news sheets and reports, sending and retrieving e mail, developing awareness of use of new technologies.

  School Policy on Relationships and Sexuality Education

Introductory Statement:

The school has a responsibility to put in place an RSE policy as part of the wider social, personal and health education strand of the curriculum.

Rationale:

The need for this policy arises from our school’s obligation to provide for all the needs of the pupils in our school and to respond appropriately to sensitive and emotive issues relating to emerging sexuality.

Aims:

* To enhance the personal development, well being and self-esteem of each child

* To enable each child to gain an understanding of and respect for human love, reproduction and sexual activity in a sensitive and measured way

* To enable the child develop healthy friendships and relationships

Relationships to School Ethos:

The school ethos affirms and supports close links between school and home. To this end parents / guardians are encouraged to play a meaningful role in the RSE provision in the school. Parents also have the right to withhold their children from participating in RSE classes.

School Provision

Social, Personal, Health Education Programme:

The strand unit entitled ‘Myself, Growing and Changing’ is covered in Junior Infants, First Class, Third Class and Fifth Class.

Strand Units:

Myself – Self identity, taking care of my body, growing and changing, safety and protection

Myself and Others – Myself and family, friends and relating to other people

Taking Care of My Body – Naming parts of the male and female body using appropriate terminology (Junior and Lower Middle classes). Identifying physical changes, understanding puberty and the reproductive system (Senior Classes)

Growing and Changing – The stages of development of a child. (Middle Classes). Understanding sexual relations within the context of a committed loving relationship (Sixth Class).

Methodology

Circle time is used in Junior Classes to build confidence and address fears. Boys and girls are taught together in all classes. Senior pupils are treated in a mature way and are encouraged to discuss issues that arise with their parents. The Alive O 8 resource materials are used in senior classes.

The Stay Safe and Walk Tall programmes:

The Stay Safe programme is taught in 2nd and in 5th class. Aspects of the programme such as bullying are revised in all classes. A suitably qualified guest speaker delivers a programme to sixth class every year, where issues such as physical and emotional development, bodily changes and sexual awakening are explored. The cost of the lectures is borne by the B. O. M.

Topics covered up to 2nd class include;

* Keeping safe

* Naming body parts using appropriate terminology

* Body changes during growth and development

* Making and keeping friends

* Making age appropriate choices

* Appreciating family life

* Recognizing and expressing feelings

* Self care, hygiene, diet, exercise and sleep (link with P.E. Healthy Eating Policy and S.P.H.E.)

* Expressing opinions and listening to others

Topics covered from 3rd to 6th Classes include;

* Body changes

* Healthy eating, personal hygiene, exercise

* Keeping safe

* Expressing feelings

* Family relationships

* Making healthy and responsible decisions

* Forming friendships

* Reproduction, conception (6th Class)

Every year Sixth class pupils attend a formal day on Sexual Education.

Parents/guardians are informed in writing and are invited to a meeting the previous evening

The day is facilitated by a trained facilitator.

Guidelines for Management:

Parents have the primary responsibility for educating their children in sexual matters. The school R.S.E. programme acts as a support only to parents, and parents retain the right to withdraw their children from classes. The programme is taught within the ethos of the school and contemporary issues/topics are dealt with by the teacher at a level appropriate to the age and stage of development of pupils within a moral and spiritual framework.

Child Protection:

The school follows the DES child protection guidelines and has a Child Protection Policy with the Principal as Designated Liaison Person. In cases of disclosure; the DLP will follow the procedures as set out in “Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post – Primary Schools”.

The staff have availed of training in;

* The Stay Safe Programme

* Relationships and Sexuality Programme (RSE)

The whole school plan is available. Each teacher is responsible for his/her long term and short term planning.

School/Community Links:

The school is involved in;

* Cumann na mBunscoil – football, hurling camogie and handball

* Choir for First Communion and choir for Confirmation

* Christmas Carol service

* Class Christmas Concerts

* Choir and orchestra involved in a concert every last term

Evaluation:

* Teacher observation

* Inventory of what needs to be changed

* Ensuring all strands are covered

* Teacher designed tasks and tests and self-evaluation

* Community feedback

Roles and Responsibilities:

The school community of BOM, staff, pupils and parents play a key role in the formulation and implementation of the plan.

  School Attendance Policy

Roles and Responsibilities:

All staff have an input into the implementation of the policy.  Class teachers record individual patterns of attendance and the school secretary makes returns to the National Education Welfare Board.  The Deputy Principal has responsibility for maintaining the Leabhair Tinreamh.

There is a very strong tradition of good attendance in St. Mary’s National School.  We are anxious that parents be aware of the absolute necessity for regular punctual attendance at school. Quite simply, children cannot learn if they are not in school.

Promoting Attendance:

The school promotes good attendance by;

  • Creating a safe and welcoming environment
  • Ensuring children are happy
  • Displaying kindness, compassion and understanding
  • Being vigilant so that risks to good attendance such as disadvantage, bullying etc. are identified early
  • Sometimes rewarding good attendance.
  • As stated in the Code of Behaviour, parents are expected to write a note/letter notifying the teacher of the reason for a child’s absence.
  • The teacher notes the reason for the pupil’s absence, especially those who are at risk of developing school attendance problems
  • Appropriate contact will take place between the school and parents/guardians of these children.

Recording:

  • Individual school attendance is recorded in the Leabhar Rolla of each class and pupil data is recorded in the Leabhair Tinreamh.  All pupils and parental details are recorded in the school register.
  • Records of children who transfer to another primary school will be forwarded to the Principal of the school by post as soon as written confirmation of this transfer is received.
  • Records of children who transfer to St. Mary’s N.S. will be sought directly from the previous school.

Evaluation:

The success of any Attendance Policy is measured through;

  • Satisfactory attendance levels
  • Happy, confident, well-adjusted children
  • Positive parental feedback
  • Teacher vigilance

Reporting on Attendance

In compliance with the Education Act 2000, it is school policy to report children to the National Education Welfare Board once they have been absent for 20 days in the school year.  We are required to make reports on October 30th, December 31st, March 31st and May 21st.  We are obliged to report children who are 6 years of age and older.

Punctuality

Punctuality is essential.  If a child misses the start of the school day he / she misses teaching time and social interaction. The day begins with play for the younger children.  It is a very important time in the school day.

Children arriving late also disrupt the class; it can be embarrassing for the child and can also encourage absence.

Good time keeping is a vital skill which will help children as they progress through their school life and out into the wider world.

School begins at 9.30am.  All pupils and staff are expected to be on time.  All children are expected to line up in their class line when the bell rings.

The school will write to parents / guardians in the event of pupils being consistently late. A copy of the letter will be kept on file.

  School policy on Substance Abuse

Introduction

 A drug can be defined as a chemical, which causes changes in the way the human body functions mentally, physically or emotionally.  For the purpose of this policy we are concerned with drugs which have the power to change a previous mood and the way a person thinks about things and drugs on which the taker may become physically or more often psychologically dependent.

The school sees itself as having a role in the process of enabling students to increase control over and improve their health.  We endeavour to promote the wellbeing of students by: 

  1. Providing a safe and healthy environment.
  2. Promoting positive health behaviours.
  3. Increasing knowledge about health.
  4. Promoting the self-esteem and self-awareness of students.
  5. Working in partnership with the parents /guardians and pupils.

 To this end, in response to the encroaching drug culture in our society we feel the need to implement a comprehensive policy to address the problem of substance misuse.

 The Policy will focus on: -

  1. Strategies for prevention of substance misuse problems
  2. Procedures for dealing with drug incidences in the school.

by: 

  1. Providing a safe and healthy environment.
  2. Promoting positive health behaviours.
  3. Increasing knowledge about health.
  4. Promoting the self-esteem and self-awareness of students.
  5. Working in partnership with the parents /guardians and pupils.

 To this end, in response to the encroaching drug culture in our society we feel the need to implement a comprehensive policy to address the problem of substance misuse.

 The Policy will focus on: -

  1. Strategies for prevention of substance misuse problems
  2. Procedures for dealing with drug incidences in the school.
  3. Guidelines and information for teachers to improve their response to the problem of substance misuse.
 The school wishes to make clear that the primary role of substance misuse prevention rests with parents / guardians.
Education:

It is accepted amongst educationalists that education about alcohol, tobacco and drugs is best carried out by teachers through the inclusion of S.P.H.E. in the curriculum.  This S.P.H.E. Programme would also draw on the expertise available from the community i.e. Parents, Gardaí, and Health Service Executive.

Smoking and Vaping

School Policy

-The school is a no smoking and vaping area.

-Pupils are not permitted to smoke or vape, or possess cigarettes or e-cigarettes on the school premises

-Visitors will comply with the no smoking and vaping policy.

-Pupils found smoking or vaping on school premises will be reported to the Principal and parents will be informed.

Alcohol

School Policy:

-The school is an alcohol free area.

-Pupils will not be allowed to bring alcohol into the school or to consume alcohol in school or during any school activities.

-If a teacher is of the opinion that a pupil is under the influence of alcohol, s/he will immediately inform the Principal and consult on what action should be taken.

-Where a pupil comes to school under the influence of alcohol, their parents / guardians will be called in to take them home.

-Pupils breaking these rules will be dealt with according to the school’s disciplinary procedure.

Illicit Drugs And Solvents

School Policy:

-No-one is allowed to be in possession of or to use illicit drugs or solvents on the school premises.

-Illicit drugs found on school premises will be locked away and the Gardaí contacted to dispose of them.

-If a teacher is of the opinion that a pupil is under the influence of illicit drugs or solvents, s/he will immediately inform the Principal and consult on what action should be taken.

-Where the school suspects trafficking of illicit drugs, an investigation will be carried out. Parents / Guardians of any pupil involved will be informed. The advice and assistance of the Garda Juvenile Liaison Officer will be sought.

-The school B.O.M. will expect parents to inform the Principal or teacher if they suspect their child of drug taking.

 Policy on School Tours

bus

Introduction

The annual school tour is considered to be an important part of each year’s work, affording the children valuable opportunities of exploring new places and new topics.  Interacting with each other and with tour guides etc. will also be an important part of the day.

Class teachers will decide on age appropriate tours.  Every child in the class is encouraged to participate.  Every effort will be made to ensure a variety of tours.  A list of tours for classes is available and a record of tours is always kept.

Tour Content

Tours will be of educational value.  A variety of activities will be included.  The fun element of the day is considered very important.

A limit will be put on spending money.  Each teacher will decide on the appropriate amount for his/her class.

 Conduct on Tours

Pupil’s behaviour on school tours will comply with the standard set out in the school’s Code of Behaviour and Discipline.  Where it is felt by the school that a child’s behaviour would pose a safety risk or inhibit the educational benefit for self or others, the child in question may be refused permission to travel.  Parents/Guardians will be advised of the school’s decision in advance.

Children will be advised by their teacher of suitable clothing for the day.

 Safety and Supervision

Teachers will be extra vigilant when taking children out of the school.  Special attention will be paid to road safety, behaviour on the bus and risks posed by particular venues.

Each venue will be specifically asked if they have insurance at the time of booking.

Adult help will be sought according to the age and number of children travelling.  All in charge will take every precaution that health and safety are a priority.

Informing Parents/Guardians

Teachers will ensure that parents are given sufficient notice of

Itinerary and timetable

  • Cost
  • Special clothing necessary
  • Packed lunch if necessary
  • Spending money allowed

Parents/Guardians will be required to sign a permission slip before any child is allowed to go on the school tour.

 Disadvantaged Pupils

No pupil will be deprived of the opportunity to participate in his/ her class tour because of financial difficulties.  The school will help out any pupil who has difficulty affording the tour.  Any help will be given discreetly and sensitively.

 Administering Medicine while on school tour

In the event of a child needing medicine during a school tour, a medical consent form will be filled out by parents/guardians prior to the tour.

 The Board of Management will be informed of all school tours.

 Administering of Medicine in School

Teachers will not administer medicine to any child in the school, except in exceptional circumstances.   Provision will be made for a parent to come into the school to administer medicine to his / her child.

 The S.N.A. appointed to a specific child who needs medication, is automatically authorised to administer. 

 It is vital that the teacher concerned is made aware in writing, of any medical condition suffered by any child in her / his class.  This should be done at the start of every school year.

   Administering Medicine while on School Tour

medicine

Teachers will not administer medicine to any child in the school, except in exceptional circumstances.   Provision will be made for a parent to come into the school to administer medicine to his / her child.

The S.N.A. appointed to a specific child who needs medication, is automatically authorised to administer.

It is vital that the teacher concerned is made aware in writing, of any medical condition suffered by any child in her / his class. This should be done at the start of every school year.

  Supervision Policy

policy4

The Staff of St. Mary’s National School undertake the supervision of all children during school hours, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:10 p.m.

A supervision rota for the 11:00 a.m. Break and lunch Break is drawn up by the Special Duties Teacher. Four teachers are appointed for all break-time supervision, one in each of the three play areas, and one inside. The Special Needs Assistants are also on yard duty at play times.

On dry days the infants play on the tarmac yard, supervised by 1 teacher and 1 S.N.A., and all other classes play in the field or on the Basketball courts, supervised by 2 teachers and 2 S.N.A.s.

On days when the field is not in use the children play on hard core areas or remain in their classrooms.

  Schedule of a Catholic School

A Roman Catholic School (which is established in connection with the Minister for Education] aims at promoting the full and harmonious development of all aspects of the person of the pupil: intellectual, physical, cultural, moral and spiritual, including a living relationship with God and with 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.

 Complaints Procedure 

INTO / Management Complaints Procedure

The INTO and Primary School Management reached agreement in 1993 on a procedure for dealing with complaints by parents against teachers. The purpose of this procedure is to facilitate the resolution of difficulties where they may arise in an agreed and fair manner. The agreement lays out in five stages the process to be followed in progressing a complaint and the specific timescale to be followed at each stage. Please note this is a non-statutory procedure.

Only those complaints about teachers which are written and signed by parents/guardians of pupils may be investigated formally by the board of management, except where those complaints are deemed by the board to be:

  • on matters of professional competence and which are to be referred to the Department of Education and Skills;
  • frivolous or vexatious complaints and complaints which do not impinge on the work of a teacher in a school; or
  • 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 s/he should approach the principal 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 s/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 five 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:
  1. 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(b).
  2. If the board considers that the complaint is not substantiated the teacher and the complainant should be so informed within three 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:
  1. 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;
    c) 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;
    d) 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; and
    e) 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(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 five days of the meeting of the board.
  2. The decision of the board shall be final.
  3. The Complaints procedure shall be reviewed after three years
  4. Primary School Management or INTO may withdraw from this agreement having given the other party three months’ notice of its intention to do so.

In this agreement ‘days’ means school days.

Note: The vast majority of complaints are resolved locally and informally. However, in certain circumstances, for example, where a complaint is considered to be serious in nature, or where the teacher is required to submit a written response to his/her board of management, the teacher should contact his/her INTO District Representative or INTO Head Office for advice and assistance.
In advising a teacher, the INTO will be anxious to ensure that there is due process and fair procedures applied, which generally include:

  • that the teacher is fully appraised of all matters being considered by the board of management, including being provided with copies of all relevant documentation;
  • the right to respond and adequate time to prepare a response;
  • entitlement to be represented by the INTO, if necessary.

Where a teacher contacts the INTO in relation to a complaint(s) made against him/her, the officials involved will generally meet with the teacher and require him/her to provide detailed written information and documentation on the matter. The officials will assess the case and decide if additional specific legal advice or a legal consultation is required. Specific legal advice is obtained for members in accordance with the Rules of the INTO and the conditions prescribed by the CEC.

 Policy on Assessment and Record Keeping

policy4

Introduction

This policy was formulated by the teaching staff of St. Mary’s National School in order to clarify school practice in relation to assessment and to ensure compliance with guidelines provided by the Department of Education and Skills (DES) and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA).

Rationale

It is our belief that all children should experience success at school. Through the implementation of this policy, we will endeavour to identify, at the earliest possible opportunity, children who may have learning difficulties and will put in place a school response to their needs. An array of assessment techniques will be employed in order to cater for the different learning styles of pupils in the school.

 Relationship to School Ethos

The school adopts a holistic approach to the education and development of each child and seeks to create an environment in which all pupils can grow and learn. An effective assessment policy identifies early interventions that need to be put in place to ensure the enhancement of pupils’ learning as well as increasing levels of confidence and raised self – esteem.

Aims and Objectives

The primary aims / objectives of the policy are :

  • To facilitate improved pupil learning
  • To create a procedure for monitoring pupil achievement
  • To involve all relevant parties in identifying and managing learning strengths and / or difficulties
  • To cater for all pupils’ different learning styles
  • To coordinate assessment procedures on a whole school basis
  • To assist teachers’ long and short term planning

 Policy content

This policy is geared towards using assessment to inform planning and to identify the needs of all the pupils, so that adequate strategies are put in place early enough to facilitate remediation, and also to cater for pupils who are exceptionally gifted. These strategies may include pupil self – assessment, pupil profiling, communication between parents and teachers, modifications of teaching programmes and the drawing up and implementation of individual education plans (IEP).

 Definition of Assessment

The NCCA Guidelines define classroom assessment as ‘the process of gathering, recording, interpreting, using and reporting information about a child’s progress and achievement in developing knowledge, skills and attitudes’. (NCCA 2007)

Assessment includes more than testing. It is an ongoing process that encompasses many formal and informal activities designed to monitor and improve teaching and learning in all areas of the curriculum.

Purposes of Assessment

The purpose of assessment is

  • To inform planning for all areas of the curriculum
  • To gather and interpret data at class and whole – school level and in relation to national norms
  • To identify the particular learning needs of individual pupils / groups of pupils including the exceptionally able
  • To contribute to the school’s strategy for management of learning difficulties
  • To monitor pupil progress and attainment
  • To facilitate communication between parents and teachers about pupils’ development, progress and learning needs
  • To enable teachers to monitor their own approaches and methodologies, and to modify their programmes in order to ensure that the particular learning needs for individual pupils are being addressed
  • To facilitate the involvement of pupils in the evaluation of their own work

Classroom Assessment Methods

The assessment methods used by teachers in this school to make judgements about pupil achievement / progress include:

  • Teacher observation
  • Teacher questioning
  • Teacher – designed tasks and tests
  • Work samples, portfolios and tests
  • Conferencing
  • Concept mapping
  • Self – assessment
  • Peer – assessment
  • Standardised testing
  • Diagnostic testing

Types of Assessment

The two principal approaches to assessment undertaken in this school are:

 Assessment for Learning (AfL)

This involves teachers using evidence on an ongoing basis to inform teaching and learning. AFL emphasises the child’s active role in his / her own learning.

Assessment of Learning (AoL)

This focuses on medium and long – term assessment and generally takes place at the end of a learning phase or unit of instruction. It usually involves an external evaluative instrument e.g. a teacher – designed test, a criterion referenced test or a standardised test.

Assessment for Learning

Teachers are aware of the importance of constantly monitoring their pupils’ progress and of adapting their teaching methodologies and organisational strategies in order to make learning more successful for the children. This involves focussing on three key questions:

  • Where are the pupils now in their learning?
  • Where are the pupils going in their learning?
  • How will they get to the next point in their learning?

Teachers may record informally any significant information about pupils’ learning noticed during lessons. This information may be used later to evaluate lessons and to inform planning of subsequent lessons, and as an indication of which pupils may need further support.

Pupils are encouraged to become involved in the assessment of their own work and progress. Methods such as Thumbs, Traffic Lights, Two Stars and a Wish, KWL sheets, Rubrics may be used. Thumbs and other methods are described in detail in ‘Assessment in the Primary School Curriculum Guidelines’ .(NCCA 2007)

Assessment of Learning

  1. Assessment of Curricular Areas

Assessment of curricular areas includes both formal methods such as teacher – designed tests / tasks and informal methods such as the keeping of work samples. Teachers use the resulting information to assess their pupils’ progress in the various subjects and may keep a record of formal assessment in an assessment folder. Monitoring pupils’ written work in copybooks and workbooks is another important aspect of assessment and is undertaken regularly by teachers.

  1. Standardised Testing
  • The school uses the Micra –T and the Sigma – T in classes 1st to 5th every year.
  • The school uses the Drumcondra Primary Reading Test and the Sigma – T in 6th class every year.
  • Testing is coordinated by the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Team
  • The tests are administered by the class teacher in all classes from 1st class upwards during May each year.
  • The SEN team assist with the administration of tests to pupils who are absent on the day the test is given to their class.
  • ESL pupils and students with learning difficulties and / or special educational needs may be exempted from taking one or both standardised tests.
  • The class teachers correct their own class tests and record the raw score for each.
  • Test results for Micra – T from 1st to 5th and Sigma – T from 1st to 6th are entered on the Scorz system.
  • Test results for the Drumcondra Primary Reading Test for 6th class are recorded on a spread sheet
  • The results from each class are analysed by the SEN team to assist in the determination of the allocation of supplementary teaching in the next school year.
  • The relevant Sten scores in both Literacy and Maths are reported to parents of children in 2nd , 4th and 6th class, as required by Circular 0056 / 2011
  • The relevant Sten scores of the pupils in 6th class, in both Literacy and Maths, are reported to the pupils’ chosen Secondary schools as required by Circular 0045 / 2014.
  • Aggregated results are submitted to the Board of Management and to the DES as required by Circular 0018 / 2012.
  1. Screening Tests

The screening tests used in this school are

  • Micra – T
  • Sigma – T
  • Drumcondra Primary Reading Test
  • Middle Infant Screening Test
  • Non-Reading Intelligence Test
  • Schonell Word Reading Test
  • Schonell Word Spelling Test

These tests are administered individually or on a class basis. The results of these tests are used to help identify pupils who may have learning difficulties and who need to progress to the 2nd stage of the staged approach as outlined in Circular 0022 / 2005.

  1. Diagnostic Assessment

Diagnostic tests are administered by members of the SEN team following referral by class teachers and with the permission of parents / guardians. The results of these tests are used in designing subsequent learning plans for the pupil. If necessary, supplementary teaching will be arranged following consultation with the parents / guardians. Diagnostic assessments may be administered again following a period of supplementary teaching in order to monitor the pupil’s progress.

The diagnostic tests used in the school include:

  • Schonell Word Reading Test
  • Schonell Word Spelling Test
  • Jackson Phonics Test
  • Quest
  • Maths Tracker
  1. Psychological Assessment

If stages 1 and 2 fail to deliver adequate intervention for a pupil, his / her parents will be contacted to discuss the possibility of having the child assessed by a psychologist, either a member of the National Educational Psychology Service (NEPS) or a private psychologist. An assessment will determine the level of intervention required. Psychological reports are stored securely in the pupil’s file in a locked filing cabinet.

Record Keeping

Each pupil has a file which is stored in a filing cabinet in the locked office. Members of the SEN team keep files on individual pupils or groups of pupil, containing relevant information, in locked cabinets in their rooms. These records are kept until the pupil is 21 years of age.

Assessment information in each file in the office includes:

  • A copy of the pupil’s annual report card
  • Standardised Test scores for each child from 1st class up.
  • Psychological assessments.

Success Criteria

This policy is considered successful if:

  • Assessment is an integral part of teaching and learning throughout the school.
  • A range of informal and formal assessment methods is being used.
  • Early identification of learning difficulties is achieved and appropriate intervention is put in place.
  • Procedures run smoothly and efficiently because there is clarity about what is expected and who is responsible for different aspects.
  • There is efficient transfer of information between teachers.

Roles and Responsibilities

Mainstream teachers, the SEN team and the Principal assume shared responsibility for assessment. It is the responsibility of the class teacher to set in train staged interventions at class level (Stage 1). At Stage 2 the responsibilities are shared with the SEN teacher assigned to the class. The principal assumes a primary role at Stage 3 when an assessment may be required and when liaising with other outside agencies. Open communications with parents / guardians will help them to fulfil their obligations and responsibilities at all stages.

Implementation

The procedures outlined in this policy are implemented.