St. Brigids N.S. Policies


 

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St. Brigid's & St. Patrick's National School

Bóthar Brugar, Drogheda, Co. Louth





St. Brigid's & St. Patrick's N.S. Anti-Bullying Policy


  1. Rationale
  2. 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. Brigid's & St. Patrick's N.S. 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 2013.


  3. Key Principles
  4. The Board of Management recognises the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact that it can have on the lives of pupils 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; and
      • promotes respectful relationships across the school community;
    • Effective leadership;
    • A school-wide approach;
    • A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact;
    • 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, 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 policy.

  5. Definition of Bullying
  6. 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 in the definition of bullying:

    • deliberate exclusion, malicious gossip and other forms of relational bullying,
    • cyber-bullying and
    • 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 of intentional negative behaviour, including a once-off offensive or hurtful text message or other private messaging, do not fall within the definition of bullying and should be dealt with, as appropriate, in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour. However, in the context of this policy, placing a once-off offensive or hurtful public message, image or statement on a social network site or other public forum where that message, image or statement can be viewed and/or repeated by other people will be regarded as bullying 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.


  7. Members of staff with responsibility for investigating and dealing with bullying
  8. The relevant teachers for investigating and dealing with bullying will be the class teachers. The principal will also be informed of the incident.


  9. Education and Prevention Strategies
  10. The education and prevention strategies that will be used by the school are as follows:

    • Model respectful behaviour to all members of the school community at all times.
    • 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 attention.
    • 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 absent.
    • Have a system of encouragement and rewards to promote desired behaviour and compliance with the school rules and routines.
    • Positively encourage pupils to comply with the school rules on mobile phone and internet use. Follow up and follow through with pupils who ignore the rules.
    • 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 areas.
    • All staff can actively watch out for signs of bullying behaviour.
    • Ensure there is adequate playground/school yard/outdoor supervision.
    • All teachers are trained in classroom management strategies according to the Incredible Years Programme. This supports teachers in developing the social competence and emotional wellbeing of the children. It also instructs teachers how to create individualized programmes for children with specific social and emotional needs who are at particular risk. It shows teachers how to integrate these individualized interventions into the classroom
    • A number of staff are trained in The Dinosaur Social Skills and Problem Solving curriculum. This child training curriculum can be used as an intervention or prevention programme with a small group of children.
    • The Resource programme includes Smart Kids Board games
    • Programmes that are part of the formal school curriculum to educate all children against bullying are as follows:
      • The Alive-O Programme
      • Grow in love
      • Social Personal and Health Programme
      • The Stay Safe Programme
      • The Drama Programme
    • Policies that will be used by the school to help prevent bullying are as follows:
      • Acceptable Use of Technology Policy
      • Code of Behaviour
      • Child Protection Policy

  11. Procedures for Investigation, Follow-up and Recording of Bullying Behaviour
  12. 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 are as follows:

    • The primary aim for the relevant teacher in investigating and dealing with bullying is to resolve any issues and to restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved (rather than to apportion blame);
    • In investigating and dealing with bullying, the teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved;
    • All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher. In that way pupils will gain confidence in 'telling'. This confidence factor is of vital importance. It should be made clear to all pupils that when they report incidents of bullying they are not considered to be telling tales but are behaving responsibly;
    • Non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs), bus escorts, caretakers, cleaners must be encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher;
    • Parents 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;
    • It is very important that all involved (including each set of pupils and parents) understand the above approach from the outset;
    • Teachers should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying behaviour reported by pupils, staff or parents;
    • Incidents are generally 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 should seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why. This should 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 should be interviewed individually at first. Thereafter, all those involved should be met as a group. At the group meeting, each member should 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 the group should be supported through the possible pressures that they 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 should 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 should 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 should be made clear to him/her how he/she is in breach of the school's anti-bullying policy and efforts should be made to try to get him/her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied;
    • It must 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 should 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 cases where the relevant teacher considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour has occurred, it must be recorded by the relevant teacher in the recording template at Appendix 1;
    • 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 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;
    • Where a parent is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parents must be referred, as appropriate, to the school's complaints procedures;
    • In the event that a parent has exhausted the school's complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school must advise the parents of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.

  13. Supports for pupils affected by bullying
  14. A programme of support for working with pupils who have been affected by bullying is as follows:

    Pupils who have been bullied may need counselling and/or opportunities to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem, to develop their friendship and social skills and thereby build resilience whenever this is needed.

    A programme of support for those pupils involved in bullying behaviour will also be part of the school's intervention process. Pupils involved in bullying behaviour need assistance on an ongoing basis. For those with low self-esteem, opportunities will be developed to increase feelings of self-worth. The learning strategies applied within the school will allow for the enhancement of the pupil's self-worth. Pupils who engage in bullying behaviour may be encouraged to attend counselling to help them learn other ways of meeting their needs without violating the rights of others.

    Pupils who observe incidents of bullying behaviour will be supported and encouraged to discuss them with teachers.

    Our programme of support is intrinsically linked to our Prevention and Education Strategies (refer to section 5).


  15. Supervision and monitoring of pupils
  16. 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.


  17. Prevention of Harassment
  18. 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.


  19. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on ________________ [date].

  20. 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.

  21. 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.


  22. Signed: _______________________________Signed:___________________________

              (Chairperson of Board of Management)               (Principal)



    Date: ______________                                     Date: __________________



    Date of next review: _______________

    These policies are reviewed periodically

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Code of Behaviour


Introductory Statement

The following Code of Behaviour was drawn up by the staff of St Brigid's & St. Patrick's N.S. Primary, Bóthar Brugha, Drogheda, Co. Louth. It was presented to the Parents Council in draft form in November 2018. Their observations and comments were presented along with the draft policy to the Board of Management in November 2018 when it was ratified. It was circulated to all parents in November 2018.

Rationale

This Code of Behaviour was drawn up to ensure that the individuality of each child is accommodated while acknowledging the right of all children to education in a disruption-free environment.

The staff will make every effort to adopt a positive approach to the question of behaviour in the school and ensure that the code is implemented in a fair, reasonable and consistent manner.

This code offers a framework within which positive techniques of motivation and encouragement are used by teachers. In St. Brigid's school greater emphasis is placed on the affirmation of good behaviour rather than focussing on sanctions in the belief that this will give the best results.

The Code of Behaviour was reviewed to ensure a continued orderly climate for learning in the school in compliance with legal requirements and good practice as set out in Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools, NWEB, 2008. This policy was formulated in accordance with The Education Act 1998, Section 15,(1),(2); Section 21 (1),(3),(4); Section 23 (2),(3):Education Welfare Act 2000, Section 23 (1); Section 23(2): The Equality Act 2004; Circular 20/90: Rule 130 Section (3) of the "Rules for National Schools".

Relationship to Characteristic Ethos of the School

This policy is closely linked to our school's philosophy and spirit where we strive to create and nurture an inclusive child-focused environment. Our Mission Statement inspires all staff to celebrate individuality and encourage all children to reach their potential as lifelong learners. This hope shall be realised in a safe, respectful and trusting environment where diverse opinions are valued and a strong commitment to our Catholic ethos is developed.

Aims

The aims of the Code of Behaviour are;
  • To allow for the smooth and harmonious running of the school.
  • To promote the safety and happiness of all children and staff in the school.
  • To facilitate the development and education of all children.
  • To promote good behaviour and self-discipline among the children.
  • To promote equality and fairness among all.
  • To enhance the learning environment of the school by promoting a sense of mutual respect among all members of the school community.
  • To increase the co-operation between home and school.
  • To ensure consistency in the application of rules and sanctions.
  • To outline the structure of fair and agreed sanctions that will be available to teachers in response to negative behaviour.

Code of Behaviour

Rather than listing all the possible behaviours that might be unacceptable, there are instead clear definitions of the differing roles and expectations of the people involved in the everyday life of the school.

What is expected from the pupils

The school expects that you will:
  • Attend school regularly and not miss days without good reason.
  • Arrive on time.
  • Respect all school property.
  • Wear the school uniform.
  • Show respect for yourself and others.
  • Do your homework neatly and on time.
  • Listen to messages given and do as requested.
  • Participate in school activities.
  • Be well behaved on all school excursions and tours.
  • Move quietly around the school and avoid causing disturbance.
  • Keep the school tidy and litter-free.
Your teacher expects that you will:
  • Show them courtesy and respect.
  • Accept their authority and responsibility and their right to teach and impose sanctions on those who behave badly.
  • Come to school on time and have all the necessary materials.
  • Do your homework carefully and completely.
  • Listen when others are talking.
  • Avoid distracting behaviour.
  • Participate in all class activities.
  • Follow the rules drawn up by your class.
The other children expect that you will:
  • Be kind and considerate at all times.
  • Listen to them and acknowledge them.
  • Speak to them with courtesy and respect.
  • Allow them to be part of the group.
  • Share equipment and resources with them.

What is expected from the school environment

Children expect that the school will be:
  • Safe.
  • Happy.
  • Suited to their learning needs.
  • Encouraging and supportive.
  • Affirming of all children and of all abilities.
  • Able to deal with inappropriate behaviour.
Parents expects that there will be:
  • A safe and happy environment for their child.
  • Recognition and provision for the individual differences of pupils.
  • Support for children who need it.
  • Fairness and consistency in the way children are dealt with.
  • An atmosphere of support and inclusion rather than criticism.
  • Contact at an early stage to inform them of any problems.
  • A willingness to listen to their viewpoint.
  • Suggestions and support about problems in school.
Teachers expect that there will be:
  • Mutual support and encouragement.
  • Co-operation to achieve the schools aims and objectives.
  • A fair and consistent implementation of the school discipline policy.
  • A consistent approach from other staff members when responding to inappropriate behaviour.
  • An atmosphere that encourages professional development and a willingness to learn and change.

What the school expects from parents

The school expects that you will:
  • Be familiar with the various policies and codes of the school and the expectation of pupils.
  • Show support for teachers in their implementation of the schools behaviour policy.
  • Support your child in his/her work.
  • Ensure the punctuality and regular attendance of your child.
  • Inform the school in writing for reasons of absence.
  • Ensure that she has he necessary materials.
  • Ensure that your child has a positive attitude to and abides by the school and class rules.
  • Work in partnership with the teachers and principal.
  • Promote respect all members of the school community.
  • Give a contact number where you can be reached in an emergency.
  • Be available to discuss a problem.
Your child expects that you will:
  • Look after his/her basic needs.
  • Be interested in, support, praise and encourage his/her work in school.
  • Show fairness.
Other parents expect that you will:
  • Support the school in implementing its Code of Behaviour.
  • Co-operate with teachers and staff if your child’s behaviour is having a negative impact on

The School Yard


  • While it is acknowledged that the Recreation time allocated during the school day is a period of socialisation and friendly interaction between pupils, they are expected to act in a safe and appropriate manner and afford the same level of respect and care to all members of the school community as they would within the school building.

  • The school yards are always supervised during breaks. The teacher in charge will deal with any problems that arise during Break Time.

  • If a child's actions are deemed inappropriate by the teacher, the child will be reminded of the expected behaviour in the yard.

  • For a more serious misbehaviour, the teacher on duty will request that the child withdraw from play and take no longer than a ten minute "Time Out". The child's class teacher will be informed of the incident and further action will be taken if necessary in accordance with the Code of Behaviour. However, if there is insufficient time in which the child can participate in the "Time Out" then the child's name is recorded in the Yard Book and the sanction is postponed until the next appropriate Break Time.

  • OR

  • For a more serious misbehaviour, the teacher on duty will request that the child withdraw from play and walk with the teacher for no longer than 10 minutes. The child's class teacher will be informed of the incident and further action will be taken if necessary in accordance with the Code of Behaviour.

School Rules


School uniform

School uniform to be worn every day except on P.E days.

School tracksuit and runners are necessary for P.E.

Pupils hair should be tied neatly

Please put your child's name on all school items including clothing and school bag.


Health and Safety


School commences at 8.50am. In the interest of safety children should be punctual but not arrive too early for school. If there is any change to your child's routine, please inform the school.


For Health and Safety reasons we do not allow the following;

  1. Children to leave the school grounds unaccompanied unless their parents request this by letter or in person.
  2. High heels, slip on shoes.
  3. Beading in the hair.
  4. Jewellery (except stud earrings).
  5. Trolley bags.
  6. Glass bottles.
  7. Mobile phones.
  8. Running in the corridors.
  9. Pupils in the Staffroom.

As part of our Healthy Eating Policy, we do not allow sweets (including cough sweets), crisps, chocolate or chewing gum.


Responses and Sanctions available to teachers and the school


The following sections outline the different strategies that may be used to deal with unacceptable behaviour. It is the responsibility of the teacher using their professional judgement, in consultation with the principal where necessary, to decide which strategy is appropriate at a particular time. The strategies are not listed in any particular order and they are not intended to be chosen in sequence.


In-Class

  • Positive behaviour management
  • Quiet word.
  • Reminder of school or class rules.
  • Longer interview away from class group.
  • Change position in class.
  • A period of “Time Out” where the child will sit apart from the class or not take part in an activity.
  • Loss of minor privileges.
  • Chat with parents

Wider Involvement

  • "Time Out" in another class.
  • Referral to principal.
  • Parents invited to meet with class teacher to discuss the situation.
  • Home School Liaison Co-ordinator is requested to visit the home.

Final Phase

  • 2nd interview between parents and School Disciplinary Committee comprising of any of the following personnel-Class teacher, Chairperson, Principal or Deputy Principal.
  • The Board of Management may seek the assistance of Support agencies e.g. NEPS, HSE, National Behavioural Support Services, NEWB.
  • If behaviour continues, the Board of Management may agree either to suspend a pupil or implement a reduced day for that pupil. In cases of suspension, the following procedures are followed;
    1. Parents are notified of date and duration of suspension.
    2. Parents are requested to take responsibility to obtain and ensure the completion of any homework during the period of suspension.
    3. Child returns with parent following suspension and a behavioural contract is agreed.
    4. If behaviour continues then a 2nd (and longer) suspension is imposed.

Occasionally a child need not proceed through the various stages listed above dealing with suspension issues. The following appropriate action may be taken by the Principal or by the Board of Management.

  • For serious confrontational behaviour the Principal may choose to either contact the parents immediately or to leave a child home.
  • The child will return with a parent the next school day and a behavioural contract will be agreed.

Expulsion


Where the school and the Board of Management have exhausted all interventions it may as a last resort expel a pupil.


Grounds for Expulsion


  • The student's behaviour is a persistent cause of significant disruption to the learning of others or to the teaching process.
  • The students continued presence in the school constitutes a real or significant threat to others.
  • The student is responsible for serious damage to school property.

Procedures in respect of expulsion


In the process of expelling a student the school will follow procedures prescribed under the Education Welfare Act 2000. Where a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious misbehaviour that could warrant expulsion, the procedural steps will include:

  1. A detailed investigation carried out under the direction of the Principal.
  2. A recommendation to the Board of Management by the Principal.
  3. Consideration by the Board of Management of the Principal's recommendation; and the holding of a hearing.
  4. Board of Management deliberations and actions following the hearing.
  5. Consultations arranged by the Educational Welfare Officer.
  6. Confirmation of the decision to expel.

Parents and students are informed at all times about their right to appeal the decisions of the Board under Section 29 of the Education Act.


Review of Code of Discipline


The Board of Management will review the school's Code of Discipline and also procedures concerning the use of suspension/ expulsion in the school at regular intervals.

These policies are reviewed each year

Appendix A:

Positive Strategies in the Classroom:

  • In the classroom, teachers use and implement a variety of proactive strategies with the view to minimising negative behaviours and increasing positive behaviours at all times.
  • Praise is used regularly and in addition descriptive commenting draws the attention of the children to the behaviours expected.
  • Simple incentive systems such as Golden Time or other tangible rewards (such as a phone call home, extra yard, homework pass etc) are employed to encourage positive behaviour.
  • Where minor misbehaviours occur, they are ignored for the most part, unless they are posing a direct threat to the safety or well-being of a child or the children around them. Instead, proximal praise and descriptive commenting is used to try to redirect the child away from the negative behaviour. In the case where misbehaviour continues, each teacher has a clear hierarchy of consequences so that children are aware of the sanctions for misbehaviour. These consequences are clear, simple, direct and consistent. (Ref: Strategies for Dealing with Unacceptable Behaviour Page 5-6)
  • Each teacher comes up with a set of simple, direct and clear rules with their class. Rules are few in number and always use positive terminology. There is less emphasis on "don’ts". Instead, the rules are phrased using positive "so" language.
  • Simple non-verbal signals are employed by teachers to gain students’ attention.
  • Give me 5 - hands on lap, feet on floor, eyes on teacher, voice off and ears open- is used by all teachers as a means of developing good concentration habits among the children.
  • Teachers use interesting and stimulating ways to deal with "transition" periods in theclassroom and employ simple organisational approaches to ensure order in the class.
  • Teachers timetable their subjects in such a way as to minimise disruptive behaviours e.g. Art is timetabled to be delivered so that a lunch time does not disrupt the lesson.
  • Routines are established so that children know what to expect and can deal with minor changes if the occur.
  • Where misbehaviour is regularly displayed in the classroom, the child may be asked to spend 'time in with teacher', so as to build a positive relationship between the child and the teacher.

Other positive Strategies:

  • When children are going about their daily school routine they are encouraged at all times to be polite and courteous to teachers and to fellow pupils
  • Teachers use positive reinforcing statements to highlight behaviours expected. A culture of complimenting is fostered in the school where children receive attention and praise for specific expected behaviours such as "lovely walking feet", "very patient in their line", "these boys are using their inside voices" etc. Thus proximal praise is used as a proactive strategy to decrease any problem behaviours.

Rewards and Sanctions:

  • Rewards and acknowledgement of good behaviour:
  • Good behaviour is acknowledged on a daily basis by all staff members through praise and complimenting.
  • Each teacher recognises andacknowledges good behaviour in their own class by developing systems of rewarding individuals/groups of children on a regular basis.
  • Children receive a reward when line up time routing is adhered to in the yard (star system).
  • The Principal regularly acknowledges children for improvements in behaviour or exceptionally good behaviour.
  • Classes receive awards for good attendance on an ongoing monthly basis.
  • Environmentally responsible behaviour is rewarded and addressed via the Green Schools Programme.
  • Managing aggressive or violent behaviour:
  • Where a child displays aggressive or violent behaviour there is a definite consequence for this. In such cases the child will be encouraged to go to Time Out or to have a Cool Off period before the incident is dealt with in line with the Incredible Years Programme.
  • If a child persistently displays such aggressive or violent behaviour, their parents will be contacted and a behaviour plan will be drawn up collaboratively to seek to eliminate problem behaviours. If there is seen to be a need, the child may be referred to other support services.

Strategies for dealing with unacceptable behaviour:

  • As stated above, each teacher has their own definite and consistent hierarchy of discipline in their own class. This hierarchy follows a defined pattern where the child can predict what will happen if they behave in a certain way. "If …..then" sentences are used regularly to encourage children to become responsible for the consequences of their actions.
  • A sample hierarchy would be the following: Verbal warning, Pupil / teacher talk, Time-out, Referral to Principal, Call/note to parent, Meeting with parents.

The Guidelines for Behaviour in School:

  • We take pride in the high standard of behaviour and in the good manners which are to be found in our school, and we know that this depends on the example set by us all. We treat everyone as an individual. Each member of our school family can expect to give and receive respect. Good manners are usually caught not taught. However there is a whole school specific programme "Garden of Manners" which supports the development of good manners.
  • We believe that relationships are vital – relationships between everyone and at every level. Each member of our school family must be prepared to take the initiative: Greet and be greeted... Speak and be spoken to... Smile and relate... Communicate.
  • At all times, we, as teachers, aspire to model the behaviours we expect from our students. We feel that if children see and are surrounded by a positive atmosphere, then they will be more likely to adopt positive behavioural habits.
  • Children are expected to do their best in both school and homework.
  • Children are expected to attend school on a regular basis and to be punctual.

Whole school approach to promoting positive behaviour:

Every member of the school community has a role to play in the implementation of the code of behaviour.

Positive strategies for managing behaviour:

We have implemented many strategies for managing behaviour within our school. In accordance with Incredible Years ideology, the school believes that the key to achieving good behaviour standards is to prevent opportunities for unsatisfactory behaviours occurring. Such proactive strategies are essential to the running of our school. The strategies that we use are to be found in Appendix A.

The strategies in question, however, are whole-school based. The entire school community are responsible for their implementation.


The Role of the Staff:

  • As a staff, we model good behaviour and positive self-talk to children at all times. We work together to devise reward/sanction programmes and we undergo any professional development necessary to ensure that there is a united front in dealing with behavioural matters. This behaviour policy is circulated to all teachers, all temporary and all new staff, who are also made aware of the policy and its contents. Through regular staff meetings and good communication, the policy is reviewed and updated on an on-going basis.
  • All teachers have been trained in The Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management Programme.
  • All other staff in the school is appropriately informed of The Incredible Years Programme to ensure consistency across the school in behaviour management.
  • As part of The Incredible Years Programme, Dina in the Classroom is delivered to all the Junior and Senior Infant classes. This is a programme which aims to give children the language and strategies for social and emotional development. Small group Dina school is delivered to a group of 6 children (with greater needs) on a weekly basis for approximately 22 weeks each year. These children are carefully selected for their suitability and many members of staff collaborate in the selection process.
  • The SPHE curriculum also supports our code of behaviour. The SPHE plan is circulated each year to class teachers. This curriculum helps children to develop communication and problem-solving skills while fostering self-esteem.
  • Teachers use varied methodologies such as “Circle Time” to deliver the above curriculum.
  • For children with Special Educational Needs, who may present with behavioural difficulties arising from their needs, learning support and class teachers liaise regularly to develop behavioural targets for such children, in keeping with the approaches outlined in The Incredible Years Programme.

The Role of the Board of Management:

  • Members of the Board of Management were involved in drafting and redrafting this policy and the board will be involved in any future review of the policy.
  • The Board of Management supports the code of behaviour in the school on an on-going basis.
  • The Board of Management supports the staff in implementing the code of behaviour by providing continuous professional development in behaviour management, education and training.
  • The Board of Management give authorisation for particular sanctions in the case of serious breaches of behaviour.

The Role of the Parents:

  • Positive relationships are built from the start with parents and they are encouraged to take an active role in the development of their child. Teachers work in collaboration with parents to develop any specific behaviour plans needed for their child.
  • There are clear channels through which parents can communicate any concerns they may have about their child. See Appendix B.
  • On the enrolment day, parents are made aware of the Code of Behaviour ( hard copy on request and on website http://stbrigidsnsdrogheda.com ) .The expectations of pupils are discussed, along with the role of parents in helping pupils to meet these expectations. Parents are encouraged to share information about anything that might affect a pupil's behaviour in school, and are informed how to go about doing this.
  • The HSCL co-ordinator provides support to parents and acts as a link between parents, teachers and pupils.
  • Parents are notified early if there is a concern about a pupil's behaviour, so that ways of helping the pupil can be discussed and agreed.
  • The school has a Parents Association. Parents are encouraged to get involved in this association as a structure through which they can work together for the best possible education for their children. Information is often offered through the Parents Association, such as talks, workshops or courses on behavioural matters and aspects of child and adolescent development.

The Role of the Pupils:

  • Children are involved in devising simple classroom rules.
  • The children have opportunities to engage regularly with the principal with a focus on building trust and a good relationship.
  • Keeping records:
  • Each class teacher records any notable behavioural incidents, whether positive or negative. This is invaluable in getting an accurate picture of the child's strengths and difficulties and in determining the best course of action going forward

Appendix B:


Involving parents in management of problem behaviour:

It is important at the start of the year to develop a positive relationship with as many parents as possible so that the first point of contact is not in relation to a problem and so that a level of trust is built between teacher and parent. If, however, a child is presenting with persistent problem behaviour, every effort will be made by the class teacher to devise a simple behaviour plan for that child in collaboration with the child's parent. Particular behaviours will be pin-pointed by the teacher and worked on consistently with the child. Reports of progress will be given frequently to the child's parent and they can be encouraged to develop similar behaviour plans at home.


Appendix C:

  • For further information on The Incredible Years Programme, go to www.genesis.ie, further information is also available on request from the school.
  • Visit www.newb.ie for further information on policy re: suspension/expulsion or absence procedures.
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St. Brigid's & St. Patrick's National School

Bóthar Brugar, Drogheda, Co. Louth





Intimate Care and Toileting Policy

Children with Specific Toileting/Intimate Care Needs:

  • In all situations where a pupil needs assistance with Toileting/intimate care, a meeting will be convened, after enrolment and before the child starts school
  • Parents, Guardians, Principal, Class Teacher, SNA, and if appropriate, the pupil, will attend
  • The specific care needs of the child, and how the school will meet them, will be clarified
  • Personnel involved in this care will be identified
  • Provision for occasions when staffs are absent will be outlined (e.g. Substitute SNA's will not generally be involved in intimate care. Any change of personnel will be discussed with the pupil, if appropriate
  • Two members of staff will be present when dealing with intimate care needs
  • Any changes will be discussed with parent/guardian and pupil and noted in writing to the pupil's file
  • As far as possible the pupil will be involved in identification of his/her personal requirements, wishes, changes etc
  • A written copy of the agreement will be kept on the pupils file
  • Parents will be notified of any changes from agreed procedures
  • At all times the dignity and privacy of the pupil will be paramount in addressing intimate care needs
  • Staff will wear protective gloves

Toileting Accidents:

  • At the junior infant induction meetings, the school procedures will be outlined to parents, and they will be asked to submit in writing any specific wishes regarding toileting accidents
  • A supply of clean underwear, wipes, track-suit bottoms etc will be kept in the school
  • In the first instance, the pupil will be offered fresh clothing to clean and change themselves
  • If, for any reason, the child is unable to clean or change themselves, the procedure outlined by parents will be followed
  • If staff must clean /change the child, two members of staff, familiar to the child will attend to him/her
  • Parents will be notified of these accidents
  • A record of the incident should be kept

Communication, Monitoring and Review:
This policy will be communicated to staff and school community as appropriate, and will be subject to review every three years, unless there is a compelling reason to review it earlier.

Signed:

Date:

Chairperson, Board of Management


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St. Brigid's & St. Patrick's National School

Bóthar Brugar, Drogheda, Co. Louth





Safety Statement

The Board of Management brings to the attention of its staff the following arrangements for safeguarding the safety, health and welfare of those employed and working in the school.

This policy requires the co-operation of all employees. It shall be reviewed annually or more frequently if necessary, in the light of experience, changes in legal requirements and operational changes. A safety audit shall be carried out annually by the Board of Management Safety Officers and a report made to staff. All records of accidents and ill-health will be monitored in order to ensure that any safety measures required can be put in place to minimise the recurrence of such accidents and ill-health.

The Board of Management of St Brigid's & St. Patrick's N.S wishes to ensure that as far as is reasonably practical:

  • The design, provision and maintenance of all places in the school shall be safe and without risk to health.
  • There shall be safe access to and from places of work.
  • Plant and Machinery may be opened safely in so far as is possible.
  • Work systems shall be planned, organised, performed and maintained so as to be safe and without risk to health.
  • Staff shall be instructed and supervised in so far as is reasonably possible so as to ensure the health and safety at work of its employees.
  • Protective clothing or equivalent shall be provided as is necessary to ensure the safety and health at work of its employees.
  • Plans for emergencies shall be complied with and revised as necessary.
  • This statement will be continually revised by the Board of Management as necessity arises, and shall be re-examined by the Board on at least an annual basis.
  • Employees shall be consulted on matters of health and safety.
  • Provisions shall be made for the election by the employees of a safety representative.

The Board of Management of St Brigid's & St. Patrick's N.S recognises that its statutory obligations under legislation extends to employees, students, to any person legitimately conducting school business, and to the public.

The Board of Management of St Brigid's & St. Patrick's N.S undertakes to ensure that the provisions of the safety, Health and welfare at Work Act 1989 are adhered to:

Duties of Employees
It is the duty of every employee while at work:

  • (a) To take reasonable care for his/her own safety, health and welfare, and that of any person who may be affected by his/her acts or omissions while at work.
  • (b) To co-operate with his/her employer and any other person to such extent as will enable his/her employer or the other person to comply with any of the relevant statutory provisions.
  • (c) To use in such manner so as to provide the protection intended, any suitable appliance, protective clothing, convenience, equipment or thing provided (whether for his/her lone use or for use by him/her in common with others) for securing his/her safety, health or welfare at work.
  • (d) To report to the Board of Management without unreasonable delay, any defects in plant, equipment, place or work, or system of work, which might endanger safety, health or welfare of which he/she becomes aware.

No person will intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse any appliance, protective clothing, convenience or other means or thing provided in pursuance or any of the relevant statutory provisions or other wise, for securing safety, health or welfare or persons arising out of work activities.

Employees using available facilities and equipment provided should ensure that work practices are performed in the safest manner possible (see section 9 of safety, health and welfare at Work Act 1989).

Consultation and Information
It is the policy of the Board of Management of St Brigid's & St. Patrick's N.S to consult with staff in preparation and completion of hazard control forms, to give a copy of the safety statement to all present and future staff, and to convey any additional information or instructions regarding health, safety and welfare at work to all staff as it becomes available. Health, safety and welfare at work will be considered in any future staff training and development plans.

Hazards
Hazards shall be divided into two categories. Those which can be rectified will be dealt with as a matter of urgency. Those that cannot will be clearly indicated and appropriate procedures listed beside them. All hazards shall be eliminated in so far as resources and circumstances allow.

Fire
It is the policy of the Board of Management of St Brigid's & St. Patrick's N.S that:

  • (i) The Board of Management will ensure that an adequate supply of fire extinguishers, suitable for the type of fires likely to occur in each area, is available, identified and regularly serviced by authorised and qualified persons. Each fire extinguisher shall have instructions for its use.
  • (ii) The principal will ensure that fire drills shall take place at least once a term.
  • (iii) Fire alarms shall be clearly marked. (Responsibility of Board of Management Safety Officer)
  • (iv) Signs shall be clearly visible to ensure that visitors are aware of exit doors and routes.(Staff Safety Officers)
  • (v) All doors, corridors, and entries shall be kept clear of obstruction and shall be able to be opened at all times from within the building. Each teacher who has an exit in her classroom must ensure it is kept clear. P.E. hall and main door - Principal will see they are free of obstruction.
  • (vi) A plan of the school shows assembly points outside the school.
  • (vii) Assembly areas are designated outside each building, and the locations specified.
  • (viii) Exit signs shall be clearly marked.
  • (ix) All electrical equipment shall be left unplugged when unattended for lengthy periods and when the building is empty. Teachers are responsible for their own classroom. The secretary/Principal, as appropriate, is responsible for the office. Staff room is every teacher's responsibility. Cleaner to check when cleaning.
  • (x) Bottled gas shall be stored in a secure place in such a manner as to minimise the danger of explosion in the case of fire.
  • (xi) Principal shall be responsible for fire drills and evacuation procedures.
  • (xii) All recommendations made by a Fire Officer in addition to these provisions shall be implemented.

The following hazards (in so much as can be identified) are considered by the Board of Management to be a source of potential danger and are brought to the attention of all concerned.

  1. Wet corridors
  2. Climbing frames
  3. Gas tanks
  4. Trailing leads
  5. Typewriters, Computers
  6. Guillotine
  7. Projectors
  8. Fuse Board
  9. Electric kettles
  10. Boiler house
  11. Ladders
  12. Excess Gravel on school yard
  13. Protruding units and fittings
  14. Flat roof of hall and flat roof of school
  15. External store to be kept locked
  16. Lawnmower
  17. Slabs around perimeter of school
  18. Garden stores
  19. Icy surfaces on a cold day
  20. Mats in hall
  21. Windows opening out

To minimise these dangers the following safety/ protective measures must be adhered to (see duties of employee pages 1-2 of this document):

  • (a) Access to and operation of plant/equipment is restricted to qualified members of the staff, whose job function is that of running, maintaining, cleaning and monitoring particular items of plant in the course of their normal duties. Copies of this Safety Statement will be sent to all contractors prior to contract by the Principal/Board of Management. Any other contractors entering the school must be shown a copy of the schools Safety Statement and shall adhere to its provisions.
  • (b) In addition all such plant and machinery is to be used in strict accordance with the manufactures instructions and recommendations.
  • (c) Where applicable Board of Management will ensure that members of the staff will have been instructed in the correct use of plant, machinery and equipment.
  • (d) All machinery and electrical equipment are fitted with adequate safeguards.
  • (e) Precautionary notices, in respect of safety matters are displayed at relevant points.
  • (f) Ladders must be used with another person’s assistance.
  • (g) Avoid use of glass bottles where possible by pupils. Remove broken glass immediately on discovery
  • (h) Board of Management will check that floors are clean, even, non-slip and splinter-proof.
  • (i) Principal will check that PE equipment is stacked securely and in positioned so as not to cause a hazard.
  • (j) Check that all PE and other mats are in good condition.
  • (k) An annual routine for inspecting furniture, floors, apparatus, equipment and fittings. Board of Management Safety Officer and Staff Safety Representative.
  • (l) Check that wooden beams, benches etc. Are free from splinters and generally sound.
  • (m) Check that vaulting horses, beams and benches are stable and do not wobble when in use.
  • (n) Check that there are no uneven/broken/cracked paving slabs. Caretaker under Board of Management.
  • (o) Will check that roofs, guttering, drain pipes etc as far as can be seen are sound and well maintained. Board of Management Safety Officer.
  • (p) Teachers check that manholes are safe.
  • (q) Check that all play areas, especially sand pits, are kept clean and free from glass before use.
  • (r) Check that outside lighting works and is sufficient. Board of Management.
  • (s) Check that all builder’s materials, caretakers’ maintenance equipment, external stores etc are stored securely. Principal and Board of Management Safety Officer.
  • (t) Check that refuse is removed from building each day and is carefully stored outside. Caretaker.
  • (u) All video display units should have a screen in front of the computer.

Constant Hazards
Machinery, Kitchen equipment, Electrical appliances.

It is the policy of the Board of Management of St Brigid's & St. Patrick's N.S that machinery, kitchen equipment and electrical appliances are to be used only by competent and authorised persons. Such appliances and equipment will be subject to regular maintenance checks.

Electrical Appliances
Arrangements will be made for all appliances to be checked on a regular basis at least annually by a competent person (i.e.) maintenance person, the supplier or his agent. Before using any appliance the user should check that:

  • All safety guards which are a normal part of the appliance are in working order
  • Power supply cables/leads are in tact and free of cuts or abrasions.
  • Unplug leads of appliances when not in use.
  • Suitable undamaged fused plug tops are used and fitted with the correct fuse.
  • Follow official guidelines issued by the Health and Safety Authority.

Chemicals
It is the policy of the Board of Management of St Brigid's & St. Patrick's N.S that all chemicals, photocopier toner, detergents etc be stored in clearly identifiable containers bearing instructions and precautions for their use and shall be kept in a locked area, and protection provided to be used when handling them. (Secretary/Cleaner/Principal where appropriate).

Drugs And Medication
It is the policy of the Board of Management of St. Brigid's & St. Patrick's National School that all drugs, medications, etc be kept in a secure cabinet, locked at all times and the key kept in a separate and secure place and used only by trained and authorised personnel.

Welfare
To ensure the continued welfare of the staff and children, toilet areas are provided. A Staffroom separate from the work area is provided, where tea and lunch breaks may be taken. Staff must co-operate in maintaining a high standard of hygiene in this area.

A high standard of hygiene must be achieved at all times. Adequate facilities for waste disposal must be available. An adequate supply of hot and cold water, towels and soap and sanitary disposal facilities must be available.

Members of staff and students are reminded:

  • (a) A person who is under medical supervision or on prescribed medication and who has been certified fit for work, should notify the school of any known side effect or temporary physical disabilities which could hinder their work performance and which may be a danger to either themselves or their fellow workers. The school will arrange or assign appropriate tasks for the person to carry out in the Interim.
  • (b) Staff and students are not allowed to attend the premises or carry out duties whilst under the influence of illicit drugs or alcohol. Any person found breaking this rule will be liable to disciplinary action.

Highly Polished Floors
It is the policy of the Board of Management of St Brigid's & St. Patrick's N.S that every attempt will be made to avoid the creation of slippery surfaces. The washing of floors shall be conducted, as far as is possible, after school hours to eliminate as far as possible, the danger of slipping. Where floors are wet, warning signs regarding wet floors shall be used. Attention is drawn to the possibility of outside floors and surfaces being affected by frost in cold weather, and staff and pupils shall be told to use handrails when going up or down stairs. Step edges shall be fitted with clearly marked edges of a non-slip nature wherever practical.

Smoking
It is the policy of the Board of Management of St Brigid's & St. Patrick's N.S that the school shall be a non-smoking area to avoid hazard to staff and pupils of passive smoking.

Broken Glass
The Board of Management shall minimise the danger arising from broken glass. Staffs are asked to report broken glass to the Principal so that it may be immediately removed.

Visual Display Units
It is the policy of the Board of Management of St Brigid's & St. Patrick's N.S that the advice contained in the guidelines on the safe operation of visual display units, issued by the Health and Safety Authority be carefully followed. Any up-to-date information regarding hazards relating to the use of VDU's will be studied and recommendations and directives implement

Infectious Diseases
It is the policy of the Board of Management of St Brigid's & St. Patrick's N.S that all infectious diseases shall be notified and steps taken to ensure the safety of staff and students against all such diseases. The Board of Management will endeavour to minimise the risk by adherence to sound principals of cleanliness, hygiene and disinfection and have provided disposable gloves for use in all First Aid applications, cleaning tasks, etc. Toilets and washrooms shall be provided at all times with an adequate supply of water, soap, towels and a facility for the safe disposal of waste.

First Aid
It is the policy of the Board of Management of St. Brigid's & St. Patrick's N.S. that a member of staff shall be trained to provide First Aid to staff and pupils.

  • (1) Notices are posted in office detailing:
    • Arrangements for giving first aid,
    • Location of first aid boxes,
    • Procedure of calling ambulances etc...,
    • Telephone numbers of local Doctor, Gardaí, Hospital.
  • (2) All incidents, no matter how trivial and whether to employees or to students or to members of the public must be reported immediately to the person responsible for the hazard identified in the Statement or in the event that the accident/incident occurs in any other place to which that paragraph dealing with hazards does not relate to the Safety Officer. This is necessary to monitor the progress of safety standards and to ensure that the proper medical attention is given where required. An Accident Report File is to be maintained for the recording of all accidents and incidents by the Safety Officer.

Safety Officer will see that there will be maintained in the school a properly equipped First Aid Box available to staff at all times containing:

  • Sticking plasters
  • Tape
  • Cotton Bandage
  • Antiseptic Wipes
  • Scissors
  • First Aid Chart

Disposable gloves must be used at all times in administering First Aid

Access To School
In as much as is compatible with the practical layout of the school premises, anyone entering the school premises shall be required to identify themselves to the Principal or the Secretary as relevant before gaining admittance to the school. Any contractor must make direct contact with the Principal before initiating any work on the premises and shall be shown a copy of the safety statement applying to the school and shall agree to its provisions.

While work is in progress, any noise shall be avoided wherever possible during school hours and shall at all times be reduced to the minimum necessary. The contractor and his workmen shall not create any hazard, permanent or temporary, without informing the principal or his nominated agent and shall mark such hazard with warning signs or other suitable protection.

Collecting Children

  • (1) All parent/guardians/carers in the interest of safety must obey all signs upon entering the school grounds.
  • (2) Cars are advised to drive slowly on entering school grounds when collecting children.
  • (3) Those parking outside the school grounds are advised to accompany children to and from the school premises

Revision of This Safety Statement
This statement shall be regularly revised by the Board Of Management of St Brigid's & St. Patrick's N.S in accordance with experience and the requirements of the Health and Safety Act and the Health and Safety Authority.

Signed on behalf of the Board of Management:

Chairman:

Date:

Principal:

Date:

Safety Officer:

Date:

Nominee of BOM

Safety Officer:

Date:

Nominee of Staff

Members of the Board of Management:

Chairman: Niamh Black

Board Members:
Fr. Paul Murphy,
Lorraine White,
Anne Phillips,
Peter Kierans,
Mandy Hoey,
Aaron Pundol

Safety Officer: TBA

Staff Nominee: Niamh Redden

Prepared by representatives of the Board of Management, in consultation with parents and teachers in accordance with the safety, Health and Welfare Act at Work Act 1989


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St. Brigid's & St. Patrick's National School

Bóthar Brugar, Drogheda, Co. Louth





Whistleblowing (Protected Disclosures in the Workplace) Policy

What is Whistleblowing?

Whistleblowing is the term used when a worker raises a concern about a relevant wrongdoing such as possible fraud, crime, danger or failure to comply with any legal obligation which came to the worker's attention in connection with the worker's employment. Relevant wrong doings are broadly defined in the relevant Act and include the following:

  • Commission of an offence - has happened, is happening, or is likely to happen;
  • Failure to comply with any legal obligation (other than one arising under the worker's contract of employment);
  • Miscarriage of justice;
  • Health and safety of any individual;
  • Misuse of public money;
  • Gross mismanagement by public body;
  • Damage to the environment;
  • Destruction or concealment of information relating to any of the above.

It is important to note that a matter is not regarded as a relevant wrongdoing if it is a matter which it is the function of the worker or the worker's employer to detect, investigate or prosecute and does not consist of or involve an act or omission on the part of the employer.

In St. Brigid's & St. Patrick's N.S, whistleblowing may occur when a staff member raises a concern or discloses information which relates to wrongdoing, illegal practices or unethical conduct which has come to his/her attention through work.

Our school's whistleblowing policy is intended to encourage and enable staff members to raise concerns within our school rather than overlooking a problem or “blowing the whistle” externally. Under this policy a staff member is entitled to raise concerns or disclose information without fear of penalisation or threat of less favourable treatment, discrimination or disadvantage.

Our Commitment

St. Brigid's & St. Patrick's N.S., in accordance with our school vision and ethos, is committed to maintaining an open culture with the highest standards of honesty and accountability where our staff members can report any concerns in confidence.

Who does the policy apply to?

This policy applies to all staff members.

It is important to note that if a staff member has a concern in relation to his/her own employment or personal circumstances in the workplace it should be dealt with by way of the relevant Grievance Procedure (i.e. INTO grievance procedure for teachers; IMPACT grievance procedure for relevant staff members and his/her contractual grievance procedure for contracted staff members). Likewise, concerns arising in regard to workplace relationships should generally be dealt with through our Adult Bullying, Harassment and Sexual Harassment policy and / or the Working Together: Procedures and Policies for Positive Staff Relations document agreed by INTO and school management bodies.

It is also important to note that this whistleblowing policy does not replace any legal reporting or disclosure requirements. Where statutory reporting requirements and procedures exist, these must be complied with fully.

Aims of the Policy

  • To encourage staff to feel confident and safe in raising concerns and disclosing information;
  • To provide avenues for staff to raise concerns in confidence and receive feedback on any action taken;
  • To ensure that staff receive a response where possible to their concerns and information disclosed;
  • To reassure staff that they will be protected from penalisation or any threat of penalisation.

What types of concerns can be raised?

A concern or disclosure should relate to a relevant wrongdoing such as possible fraud, crime, danger or failure to comply with any legal obligation which has come to a staff member's attention in connection with his/her employment and about which he/she has a reasonable belief of wrongdoing.

What types of concerns should not be raised under this Procedure?

A personal concern, for example a grievance around a staff member's own contract of employment, would not be regarded as a whistleblowing concern and would be more appropriately processed through the relevant Grievance Procedure

Safeguards and Penalisation

A worker who makes a disclosure and has a reasonable belief of wrongdoing will not be penalised by the school, even if the concerns or disclosure turn out to be unfounded.

Penalisation includes suspension/dismissal, disciplinary action, demotion, discrimination, threats or other unfavourable treatment arising from raising a concern or making a disclosure on the basis of reasonable belief for doing so. If a staff member believes that he/she is being subjected to penalisation as a result of making a disclosure under this procedure, he/she should inform the Principal or Chairperson of the Board of Management immediately.

Staff members who penalise or retaliate against those who have raised concerns under this policy will be subject to disciplinary action

Staff members are not expected to prove the truth of an allegation. However, they must have a reasonable belief that there are grounds for their concern. It should be noted that appropriate disciplinary action may be taken against any staff member who is found to have raised a concern or raised a disclosure with malicious intent.

Confidentiality

This school is committed to protecting the identity of the staff member raising a concern and ensures that relevant disclosures are treated in confidence. The focus will be on the wrongdoing rather than the person making the disclosure. However, there are circumstances, as outlined in the Act, where confidentiality cannot be maintained, particularly in a situation where the staff member is participating in an investigation into the matter being disclosed. Should such a situation arise, the school will make every effort to inform the staff member that his/her identity may be disclosed.

Raising a Concern Anonymously

A concern may be raised anonymously. However, on a practical level, it may be difficult to investigate such a concern. The school would encourage staff members to put their names to allegations, with an assurance of confidentiality where possible, in order to facilitate appropriate follow-up. This will make it easier for the school to assess the disclosure and take appropriate action including an investigation if necessary.

Procedure

Raising a Concern

Who should you raise your concern with?

As a first step, appropriate concerns should be raised with the Principal or Deputy Principal. However should a staff member not wish to use this route, for example given the seriousness and sensitivity of the issues involved, he/she should approach the Chairperson of the Board of Management.

How to raise a concern

Concerns may be raised verbally or in writing. Should a staff member raise a concern verbally, a discussion will take place between him/her and the Principal/Deputy Principal/Chairperson of Board of Management, and the staff member may be advised to put the concern in writing, if it is decided between both parties that there is merit to the concern or disclosure. The written concern/disclosure should give the background and history of the concern, giving relevant details, insofar as is possible, such as dates, sequence of events and description of circumstances.

The earlier the concern is expressed, the easier it will be for the school to deal with the matter quickly.

Having received the written concern, representatives from the Board of Management will arrange a meeting to discuss the matter with the staff member on a strictly confidential basis. It will need to be clarified at this point if the concern is appropriate to this procedure or is a matter more appropriate to other procedures, for example the Grievance or Adult Bullying procedures. The staff member can choose whether or not he/she wants to be accompanied by a colleague or a trade union representative. In regard to confidentiality, it is important that there should be an awareness of respecting sensitive school information, which, while unrelated to the disclosure, may be disclosed in the course of a consultation or investigation process.

Dealing with the disclosure

Having met with the staff member in regard to his/her concern and clarified that the matter is in fact appropriate to this procedure, the Board of Management or its representatives will carry out an initial assessment to examine what actions are needed to be taken to deal with the matter. This may involve simply clarifying certain matters, clearing up misunderstandings or resolving the matter by agreed action without the need for an investigation.

If, on foot of the initial assessment, it is concluded that there are grounds for concern that cannot be dealt with at this point, an investigation will be conducted which will be carried out fairly and objectively. The form and scope of the investigation will depend on the subject matter of the disclosure.

Disclosures may, in the light of the seriousness of the matters raised, be referred immediately to the appropriate authorities. Likewise, if urgent action is required (for example to remove a health and safety hazard), this action will be taken.

It is important that staff members feel assured that a disclosure made under this policy is taken seriously and that the staff member is kept informed of steps being taken in response to the disclosure. In this regard the school undertakes to communicate with the relevant staff member as follows:

  • Acknowledge receipt of the disclosure and arrange to meet with the relevant staff member as outlined above;
  • Inform the staff member of how it is proposed to investigate the matter and keep him/her informed of actions, where possible, including the outcome of any investigation, and, should it be the case, why no further investigation will take place. However it is important to note that sometimes the need for confidentiality and legal considerations may prevent the school from giving the staff member specific details of an investigation.
  • Inform the staff member of the likely time scales in regard to each of the steps being taken, but in any event, commit to dealing with the matter as quickly as practicable.

It is possible that in the course of an investigation the staff member may be asked to clarify certain matters. To maximise confidentiality, such a meeting can take place outside of the school and he/she can choose whether or not to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative.

Where a concern is raised or a disclosure is made in accordance with this policy, but the allegation is subsequently not upheld by an investigation, no action will be taken against the staff member making the disclosure and the staff member will be protected against any penalisation. It is important to note that if an unfounded allegation is found to have been with malicious intent, then disciplinary action may be taken.

How the matter can be taken further

The aim of this Policy is to provide an avenue within this school to deal with concerns or disclosures in regard to wrongdoing. The Board of Management is confident that most issues can be dealt with at school level and strongly encourages staff members to report such concerns internally.

It is acknowledged that there may be circumstances where a staff member wants to make a disclosure externally and the legislation governing disclosures - The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 - provides for a number of avenues in this regard.

It is important to note, however, that while a staff member needs only have a reasonable belief as to wrongdoing to make a disclosure internally, if he/she is considering an external disclosure, different and potentially more onerous obligations apply depending on to whom the disclosure is made.

Communication, Monitoring and Review

This policy will be communicated to staff and the school community as appropriate and will be subjected to regular review in accordance with the systematic cycle of review of policies adopted in St. Brigid's & St. Patrick's N.S.

Signed:

Date:

Chairperson, Board of Management

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This Policy is being updated

Please contact the school for more information

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This Policy is being updated

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This Policy is being updated

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This Policy is being updated

Please contact the school for more information

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St. Brigid's & St. Patrick's National School

Bóthar Brúgar, Drogheda, Co. Louth





COVID-19 Policy Statement


St. Brigid's & St. Patrick's N.S. is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all our staff and a safe learning environment for all our pupils. To ensure that, we have developed the following COVID-19 Response Plan. The BOM and all school staff are responsible for the implementation of this plan and a combined effort will help contain the spread of the virus. We will:

  • continue to monitor our COVID-19 response and amend this plan in consultation with our staff
  • provide up to date information to our staff and pupils on the Public Health advice issued by the HSE and Gov.ie
  • display information on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and correct hand-washing techniques
  • agree with staff, a worker representative who is easily identifiable to carry out the role outlined in this plan
  • inform all staff and pupils of essential hygiene and respiratory etiquette and physical distancing requirements
  • adapt the school to facilitate physical distancing as appropriate in line with the guidance and direction of the Department of Education
  • keep a contact log to help with contact tracing
  • ensure staff engage with the induction / familiarisation briefing provided by the Department of Education
  • implement the agreed procedures to be followed in the event of someone showing symptoms of COVID-19 while at school
  • provide instructions for staff and pupils to follow if they develop signs and symptoms of COVID-19 during school time
  • implement cleaning in line with Department of Education advice

All school staff will be consulted on an ongoing basis and feedback is encouraged on any concerns, issues or suggestions.
This can be done through the Lead Worker Representative(s), who will be supported in line with the agreement between the Department and education partners.



Signed:___________________

Date:___________________

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This Policy is being updated

Please contact the school for more information

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