Child Protection Policy
Our over-riding concern is to ensure that all pupils are happy, safe and achieving their full potential, academically and socially, during their time at the College. We subscribe fully to the provisions contained in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and in particular the right to protection from violence and harmful treatment – “that children have the right to be protected from all forms of violence; that they must be kept safe from harm; and that they must be given proper care by those looking after them” (Article 19).
The co-operation of the College and home is essential for the personal safety of children. To be able to talk and listen is an essential part of our pastoral care system.
While most children and young people are happy and safe throughout their time at College, some children may, from time to time, encounter difficulties which adversely affect their learning and welfare. External school influences may also impact adversely on the young person in school.
1) To implement best practice in terms of Child Protection.
2) To be aware of the needs and rights of children and young people in our care.
3) To encourage children and young people to communicate their problems.
4) To provide children and young people with the skills to cope with difficulties they may encounter in every-day life.
SCHOOL POLICY ON CHILD PROTECTION
The school recognises its obligations to protect children from abuse or the risk of abuse. In seeking to provide this protection the Board of Governors, Principal and staff have regard to the following principles;
* the welfare of the child is paramount
* responsibility for Child Protection rests with the Health & Social Services Board to
whose officials our concerns will be referred
* the right to confidentiality for children, parents and staff must be respected
* information will only be shared in the interest of the child’s welfare.
Abuse may take a number of forms;
* physical injury
* sexual abuse
* emotional abuse
Children may be abused by a family member, carer, acquaintance or a stranger who may be an adult or young child. The abuse may be as a result of a deliberate act or of a failure on the part of those with a duty of care to provide same. We recognise that abuse may originate within school.
All staff are required to be alert to the needs of the students they encounter during their work. They should be;
* alert to signs of abuse
* be familiar with the procedures to be followed in cases where
they are concerned that abuse is taking or has taken place and
* recognise the importance of creating and maintaining an atmosphere in which
students can express their concerns about abuse.
The school shall designate a teacher with responsibility for Child Protection matters and a deputy. The school shall include in its Pastoral Education Programme a module dealing with personal protection measures for young people.
Role of Board of Governors
* be aware of Child Protection issues and the implications for schools
* to ensure that the school has a Child Protection Policy and that staff implement
* be aware of the need for confidentiality in matters relating to Child Protection
Role of Staff Members
* be able to recognise signs of abuse and to be receptive to information about abuse
* to know when to refer their concerns to the designated teacher
* to make a written record of what has led to the concern/suspicion
Role of Designated Teacher
* ensure that all staff are aware of the procedures to be followed when abuse is
* report cases of suspected abuse to the relevant agencies
* maintain records of all cases of suspected abuse
* maintain confidentiality about all matters relating to abuse
* ensure that teachers are aware of those students whose names are on the Child Protection Register held by Social Services.
From time to time, however, it is prudent for all staff to reappraise their teaching styles, relationships with children and their manner and approach to individual children, to ensure that they give no grounds for doubt about their intentions, in the minds of colleagues, of children or of their parents/guardians.
The Designated Teacher is Mrs Fiona Brown.
The Deputy Designated Teachers is Mr D Rees (Principal)
Code of Conduct for Staff
All actions concerning children and young people must uphold the best interests and welfare of our pupils. Staff must always be mindful of the fact that they hold a position of trust, and that their behaviour relating to young people in their charge must be above reproach. This Code of Conduct is not intended to detract from the enriching experiences children and young people gain from positive interaction with teaching and non-teaching staff. It is intended to assist staff in respect of the complex issue of child abuse, by drawing attention to the areas of risk for staff and by offering guidance on prudent conduct.
Private Meetings with Pupils
Staff should be aware of the dangers which may arise from private 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.
Where such conditions cannot apply, staff are advised to ensure that another adult knows that the interview is taking place. It may be necessary to use a sign indicating that the room is in use, but is not advisable to use signs prohibiting entry to the room.
Where possible another pupil or (preferably) another adult should be present or nearby during the interview, and the school should take active measures to facilitate this.
Physical Contact with Pupils
As a general principle, staff are advised not to make unnecessary physical contact with pupils.
Staff should never touch a pupil who has clearly indicated that he/she is, or would be, uncomfortable with such contact, unless it is necessary to protect the child, others or property from harm.
Physical punishment is illegal, as is any form of physical response to misbehaviour, unless it is by way of necessary restraint.
Staff, who have to administer first-aid to a pupil should ensure wherever possible that this is done in the presence of other children or another adult. However, no member of staff should hesitate to provide first-aid in an emergency simply because another person is not present.
Any physical contact which would be likely to be misinterpreted by the pupil, parent or other casual observer should be avoided.
Following any incident where a member of staff feels that his/her actions have been, or may be, misconstrued, a written report of the incident should be submitted immediately to the Principal.
Staff should be particularly careful when supervising pupils in a residential setting, or in approved out of schools activities, where more informal relationships tend to be usual and where staff may be in proximity with pupils in circumstances very different from the normal school/work environment.
Choice and Use of Teaching Materials
Teachers should avoid teaching materials, the choice of which might be misinterpreted and reflect upon the motives for the choice.
When using teaching materials of a sensitive nature a teacher should be aware of the danger that their application, either by pupils or by the teacher, might after the event be criticised. Schools have already received advice on the value of consulting parents and Governors when proposing to use materials such as the AIDS education for schools and in connection with sex education programmes.
If in doubt about the appropriateness of a particular teaching material, the teacher should consult with the Principal before using it.
Relationships and Attitudes
Within the Pastoral Care Policies of the school and the employing authority, staff should ensure that their relationships with pupils are appropriate to the age, maturity and gender of the pupils, taking care that their conduct does not give rise to comment or speculation. Attitudes, demeanour and language all require care and thought.
It is not possible, or appropriate, to establish hard and fast rules to cover all the circumstances in which staff interrelate with young people, or where opportunities for their conduct to be misconstrued might occur.
In all circumstances, employees’ professional judgement will be exercised and for the vast majority of employees this Code of Conduct will serve only to confirm what has always been their practice. If employees have any doubts about points in this policy, or how they should act in particular circumstances, they should consult the Principal.
COMPLAINTS AGAINST A MEMBER OF STAFF
In cases where abuse by a member of staff is reported, the member of staff receiving such a report must immediately report the matter to the Principal or in the absence of the Principal the Vice Principal in charge of the school.
Where a member of staff is concerned that abuse of a student by another member of staff is taking place he/she must relay those concerns immediately to the Principal. Should those concerns relate to the behaviour of the Principal they should be relayed to the Chair of the Board of Governors, who in turn will contact the Statutory Agencies.
Role of Principal (or Senior Teacher acting in his/her absence)
On receipt of an allegation of abuse against a member of staff the Principal must;
* immediately inform the Chair of the Board of Governors
* investigate the allegation in accordance with guidelines contained in the teacher’s Statement of Main Terms and Conditions of Employment.