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Edmund Rice College, Glengormley

Child Protection

Child Protection Policy

Children have the right to be protected from all forms of violence; they must be kept safe from harm; and they must be given proper care by those looking after them. When adults or organisations make decisions that affect children, they must always think first what would be best for the child.

Extract from United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1991)

The welfare of the pupils in our care is paramount. The pastoral care dimension of the College has been praised in our General Inspection reports and the Edmund Rice College Child Protection Policy is designed to help protect all pupils from harm.

When abuse is suspected or when a pupil makes an allegation that he is suffering or has suffered abuse, this College has a statutory obligation, under the Children (N.I.) Order 1995, to make a referral to the social services of the local Health and Social Services Trust, or to the Police.

The designated teacher for child protection is Mr P. McMeekin and the Deputy designated teacher is Mrs G. Davey. All members of staff, both teaching and non-teaching have been made fully aware of the procedures to be followed.

Enclosed with this information bulletin are procedures for parents to follow if they wish to contact the school on issues concerning Child Protection. A copy of the College’s policy on Child Protection may be inspected at the College by appointment.
Child Protection Procedures

How a parent can make a complaint

If a parent has concerns or complaints about his or her own sons or another pupil’s safety they may take the following action.

Parent is concerned about son’s/other pupil’s safety.

May contact the Head of Year or Form Tutor

If still concerned, contact the College’s Designated Teacher for Child Protection.

If still concerned, contact the Principal or the Chairman of the Board of Governors.
Parents may contact Social Workers at their local Health and Social Services Trust eg. North and West HSST Tel. No. 90327156. Glengormley Community Service Tel. No. 90849142. Social Services have after hours Duty Social Workers available for help on child protection matters.

Parents may want to contact their local Police Child Care Unit e.g. Antrim/Newtownabbey Tel. No. 90650222 or any Police Care Unit.
(The complete Policy is available in the school).

Child Protection Procedures

How a member of staff can make a complaint

Arrangements for Reporting of Suspected Abuse

It is vital that all staff are familiar with and adhere to the following arrangements when reporting suspected cases.

RECORD all information on the ‘Child Protection Disclosure Form’
(see policy document)

Report to the Designated Teacher – Mr McMeekin. If not available report to Mrs Davey.

The Designated Teacher will liaise with the Principal concerning the case.

NOTE
The Designated Teacher has the responsibility for activating the co-ordinating arrangements by notifying the local social services offices and a designated officer of the Education and Library Board.

In addition:-
The Diocesan Administrator
The Diocesan Administrator will undertake a role equivalent to that of the Board designated office in ensuring that reporting arrangements are in place in Catholic maintained schools in their area.

The attached procedure sheet indicates the action to be undertaken in order to activate a case. It must be emphasised again that individual teachers must not undertake this task, the lines of action and responsibility must be adhered to.

CHILD PROTECTION DISCLOSURE FORM

Name of Child

Address

Date of Birth
Class

Details of disclosure

Name of person who made disclosure
Date of disclosure

Action taken
Principal’s signature Date
Role of the school

Once children attend nursery/primary/secondary school and further education colleges, teachers/lecturers and many other staff are in contact with them on a regular basis. They are well placed to notice outward signs of abuse, behavioural and/or emotional change or failure to develop.

1. Where a teacher or other member of staff suspects that a child has been abused, or is at risk of abuse, the Designated Teacher for Child Protection and the School Principal/Head of the establishment should be consulted immediately.
2. The Principal/Head of the establishment and the Designated Teacher for Child Protection will agree who will take responsibility for subsequent actions. This will normally be the Designated Teacher for Child Protection.
3. The Designated Teacher for Child Protection may wish to discuss the concern with the School Medical Officer, School Nurse, Education Welfare Officer, Educational Psychologist. The Board’s Designated Officer.
4. The Designated Teacher will inform the relevant Designated Officer of the Education and Library Board and where appropriate, the Designated Officer of Catholic Council for Maintained Schools.
5. Where concern remains the Designated Teacher for Child Protection should consult with the Team Leader for Social Work (Children’s Services) for advice and guidance on the way forward (See Section 7)
6. The parent/carer should be involved as early as possible and informed by the Designated Teacher for Child Protection/School Principal of actions to be taken or already taken.
7. Once the concern is clarified the Designated Teacher for Child Protections should make a referral to Social Services as appropriate and follow up in writing.
8. The Designated Teacher for Child Protection/School Principal should attend all Case Conferences as appropriate.
9. The Designated Teacher for Child Protection/School Principal should construct a written report which should be made available to the Chair of the Case Conference prior to the Case Conference being held.
10. The Designated Teacher for Child Protection/School Principal should make a record of all discussions held and actions taken within 24hours.

Guidance notes in the event of cases coming To the Notice of Teachers

The focus of attention should be the child and where appropriate, having regard to child’s age and understanding, the process should be:

a) Explained to him.
b) Detailed enquiries into the circumstances of the case MUST be left to investigating agencies. This is not the responsibility of Schools and indeed may be counterproductive. However, when abuse is suspected, it is essential to have a record of all information available. Staff should note carefully what they have observed and when observed. Signs of physical injury observed should be described in detail or sketched, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should a child’s clothing be removed. Any comment from the child or any person who might be the abuser should be written down, quoting words actually used, as soon as possible afterwards. A note should also be taken of any subsequent conversations or contacts.

If you think there is a possibility of abuse or neglect but have some doubts also it is important to contact the Social Services Department and discuss concerns. It is not appropriate to raise with parents your worries about abuse or neglect without first consulting the Social Services Department.

Disclosure of Information

It is important to remember that delay in drawing attention to worries or concerns about possible neglect can be highly dangerous for the child. Deciding to give parents the benefit of the doubt without sharing suspicions and properly investigating them can be dangerous.

Child abuse is a criminal offence and the legal advice from CCMS is that ANY CASE OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE MUST BE REPORTED, irrespective of the source of the information.

Liability for Teachers

Any teacher who complies with the procedures stated in making a report of suspected child abuse will not be held personally liable either legally or financially. In other words any such teacher will be indemnified by CCMS.
(CCMS Document on Child Protection)

Reference Materials

NEELB Circular KJC/AG ‘Dealing with Child Abuse’
DENI Circular 1989/41 ‘Dealing with Child Abuse’
‘Guide for Education Sector’

Conclusion

Edmund Rice Colleges Child Protection Policy was revised in December 2006. All staff and volunteers were briefed on all aspects of the policy document.

All issues relating to:

a) vetting procedures
b) code of conduct
c) handling of concerns
d) handling of complaints
The policy and hand-out documents were distributed to all relevant bodies. The school prospectus was also up-dated.

Child protection training for Designated Teacher and Deputy Designated teacher took place in April 04.