Child Safeguarding Statement

Child Safeguarding Statement and Risk Assessment

Child Safeguarding Statement

St. Columba’s Comprehensive School is a post-primary school providing post-primary education to pupils from First Year to Leaving Certificate Year.

In accordance with the requirements of the Children First Act 2015, Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017, the Addendum to Children First (2019), the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools 2017 and Tusla Guidance on the preparation of Child Safeguarding Statements, the Board of Management of St. Columba’s Comprehensive School has agreed the Child Safeguarding Statement set out in this document.

  1. 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    Mrs. Frances Boner, (Principal).
  • The Deputy Designated Liaison Person (Deputy DLP) is   Mr.Brendan O Mahony, (Deputy Principal).
  • The Board of Management recognises that child protection and welfare considerations permeate all aspects of school life and must be reflected in all of the school’s policies, procedures, practices and activities. In its policies, procedures, practices and activities, the school will adhere to the following principles of best practice in child protection and welfare:

The school will:

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

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

  • The following procedures/measures are in place:
  • In relation to any member of staff who is the subject of any investigation (howsoever described) in respect of any act, omission or circumstance in respect of a child attending the school, the school adheres to the relevant procedures set out in Chapter 7 of the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017 and to the relevant agreed disciplinary procedures for school staff which are published on the DE 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 Department of Education and available on the DE website.
  • In relation to the provision of information and, where necessary, instruction and training, to staff in respect of the identification of the occurrence of harm (as defined in the 2015 Act) the school-
  • Has provided each member of staff with a copy of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement
  • Ensures all new staff are provided with a copy of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement
  • Encourages staff to avail of relevant training
  • Encourages Board of Management members to avail of relevant training
  • The Board of Management maintains records of all staff and Board member training
  • In relation to reporting of child protection concerns to Tusla, all school personnel are required to adhere to the procedures set out in the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017, including in the case of registered teachers, those in relation to mandated reporting under the Children First Act 2015.
  • In this school the Board has appointed the abovenamed DLP as the “relevant person” (as defined in the Children First Act 2015) to be the first point of contact in respect of the school’s child safeguarding statement.
  • All registered teachers employed by the school are mandated persons under the Children First Act 2015.
  • In accordance with the Children First Act 2015 and the Addendum to Children First (2019), 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 included with the Child Safeguarding Statement. 
  • The various procedures referred to in this Statement can be accessed via the school’s website, the DE website or will be made available on request by the school.

Note:  The above is not intended as an exhaustive list. Individual Boards of Management shall also include in this section such other procedures/measures that are of relevance to the school in question. 

  • This statement has been published on the school’s website and has been provided to all members of school personnel, the Parents’ Association (if any) and the patron.  It is readily accessible to parents and guardians on request. A copy of this Statement will be made available to Tusla and the Department if requested. 
  • This Child Safeguarding Statement will be reviewed annually or as soon as practicable after there has been a material change in any matter to which this statement refers.

This Child Safeguarding Statement was adopted by the Board of Management on 1st March 2022.

This Child Safeguarding Statement will be reviewed by the Board of Management on 1st March 2023.

Signed: _________________________               Signed: ____________________________

Chairperson of Board of Management                 Secretary to the Board of Management

Date:    01/03/2022                                              Date:   01/03/2022­

Child Safeguarding Risk Assessment

Written Assessment of Risk of St. Columba’s Comprehensive School

In accordance with section 11 of the Children First Act 2015 and with the requirements of Chapter 8 of the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017, the following is the Written Risk Assessment of St. Columba’s Comprehensive School

  1. List of school activities
  Daily arrival and dismissal of pupilsRecreation breaks for pupils Classroom teaching One-to-one teaching One-to-one learning supportOne-to-one counselling Outdoor teaching activities Online teaching and learning remotelySporting ActivitiesSchool outingsSchool trips involving overnight staySchool trips involving foreign travelUse of toilet/changing/shower areas in schoolsAnnual Sports DayFundraising events involving pupils Use of off-site facilities for school activities School transport arrangements including use of bus escortsCare of children with special educational needs, including intimate care where needed, Care of any vulnerable adult students, including intimate care where neededManagement of challenging behaviour amongst pupils, including appropriate use of restraint where requiredManagement of provision of food and drinkAdministration of MedicineAdministration of First Aid Curricular provision in respect of SPHE, RSEPrevention and dealing with bullying amongst pupilsTraining of school personnel in child protection mattersUse of external personnel to supplement curriculum Use of external personnel to support sports and other extra-curricular activities Care of pupils with specific vulnerabilities/ needs such as  Pupils from ethnic minorities/migrantsMembers of the Traveller community Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) childrenPupils perceived to be LGBTPupils of minority religious faithsChildren in careChildren on CPNSChildren with medical needsRecruitment of school personnel including -Teachers/SNA’sCaretaker/Secretary/CleanersSports coachesExternal Tutors/Guest Speakers Volunteers/Parents in school activitiesVisitors/contractors present in school during school hours Visitors/contractors present during after school activities Participation by pupils in religious ceremonies/religious instruction external to the schoolUse of Information and Communication Technology by pupils in school, including social mediaApplication of sanctions under the school’s Code of Behaviour including detention of pupils, confiscation of phones etc.Students from the school participating in work experience elsewhereStudent teachers undertaking training placement in schoolUse of video/photography/other media to record school events After school use of school premises by other organisations  
 
  • The school has identified the following risk of harm in respect of its activities –
  Risk of harm not being recognised by school personnelRisk of harm not being reported properly and promptly by school personnelRisk of child being harmed in the school by a member of school personnel Risk of child being harmed in the school by another childRisk of child being harmed in the school by volunteer or visitor to the schoolRisk of child being harmed by a member of school personnel, a member of staff of another organisation or other person while child participating in out of school activities e.g. school trip, swimming lessons  Risk of harm due to inappropriate use of online remote teaching and learning communication platform such as an uninvited person accessing the lesson link, students being left unsupervised for long periods of time in breakout rooms Risk of harm due to bullying of child Risk of harm due to racismRisk of harm due to inadequate supervision of children in schoolRisk of harm due to inadequate supervision of children while attending out of school activities Risk of harm due to inappropriate relationship/communications between child and another child or adultRisk of harm due to children inappropriately accessing/using computers, social media, phones and other devices while at schoolRisk of harm to children with SEN who have particular vulnerabilities, including medical vulnerabilitiesRisk of harm to child while a child is receiving intimate careRisk of harm due to inadequate code of behaviourRisk of harm in one-to-one teaching, counselling, coaching situationRisk of harm caused by member of school personnel communicating with pupils in an inappropriate manner via social media, texting, digital device or other mannerRisk of harm caused by member of school personnel accessing/circulating inappropriate material via social media, texting, digital device or other manner .    
  • The school has the following procedures in place to address the risks of harm identified in this assessment –
 All school personnel are provided with a copy of the school’s Child Safeguarding StatementThe Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017 are made available to all school personnel School Personnel are required to adhere to the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017 and all registered teaching staff are required to adhere to the Children First Act 2015 and its Addendum (2019)The school implements in full the SPHE curriculumThe school implements in full the Wellbeing Programme at Junior CycleThe school has an Anti-Bullying Policy which fully adheres to the requirements of the Department’s Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary SchoolsThe school has a supervision system to ensure appropriate supervision of children during, assembly, dismissal and breaks and in respect of specific areas such as toilets, changing rooms etc.The school has in place a policy and clear procedures in respect of school outings  The school has a Health and safety policy  The school adheres to the requirements of the Garda vetting legislation and relevant DE circulars in relation to recruitment and Garda vetting The school has a codes of conduct for school personnel (teaching and non-teaching staff)The school complies with the agreed disciplinary procedures for teaching staff The school has a Special Educational Needs policyThe school has in place a policy and procedures for the administration of medication to pupilsThe school –Has provided each member of school 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 trainingMaintains records of all staff and board member training The school has in place a policy and procedures for the administration of First Aid The school has in place a code of behaviour for pupilsThe school has an Acceptable Use Policy in place, to include provision for online teaching and learning remotely, and has communicated this policy to parentsThe school has in place a policy governing the use of smart phones and tablet devices in the school by pupils as per circular 38/2018 The school has in place a Critical Incident Management PlanThe school has in place a policy and procedures for the use of external persons to supplement delivery of the curriculum The school has in place a policy and clear procedures for one-to-one teaching activitiesThe school has in place a policy and procedures for  one-to-one counselling The school has in place a policy and procedures in respect of student teacher placementsThe school has in place a policy and procedures in respect of pupils of the school undertaking work experience in external organisations
Important Note:  It should be noted that risk in the context of this risk assessment is the risk of “harm” as defined in the Children First Act 2015 and not general health and safety risk.  The definition  of harm is set out in Chapter 4 of the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post- Primary  Schools 2017

In undertaking this risk assessment, the Board of Management has endeavoured to identify as far as possible the risks of harm that are relevant to this school and to ensure that adequate procedures are in place to manage all risks identified.  While it is not possible to foresee and remove all risk of harm, the school has in place the procedures listed in this risk assessment to manage and reduce risk to the greatest possible extent.