Child Protection Policy


If you have any concerns about a child safety issue please talk with:

Jean McGowan who is the Designated Liaison Person (DLP) or Sinéad Grimes who is the Deputy DLP. They have been appointed by the Board of Management.


The Policy

The staff, parents’ and management of St. Edward’sNS have developed and agreed this policy in line with the current recommendations and guidelines relating to child abuse prevention and child protection guidelines.

This policy addresses the responsibilities of the school in the followings areas:-

a)                  Prevention – curriculum provision

b)                  Procedures – procedures for dealing with concerns / disclosures

c)                   Practice – best practice in child protection

An individual copy of this policy document and the appended section from the Department of Education and Science Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures has been made available to all staff.

All staff must familiarise themselves with ‘Children First’ and the DES child protection guidelines and procedures.


This policy aims to

  • Create a safe, trusting, responsive and caring environment
    • Provide a personal safety skills education which specifically addresses abuse prevention for all children in the school
  • Develop awareness and responsibility in the area of child protection amongst the whole school community
  • Put in place procedures for good practice to protect all children and staff
  • Ensure that all staff members are aware of and familiar with the ‘Children First’ and the DES guidelines and procedures in relation to reporting concerns and/or disclosures of child abuse.
  • Provide for ongoing training in this and related areas for all school staff


The Stay Safe programme is the primary resource used in this school to provide education for children on abuse prevention. The programme is taught as part of the schools’ SPHE curriculum under the strand unit Safety and Protection (Personal Safety).

On enrolment of their child parents will be informed that the Stay Safe programme is in use in the school and a copy of the Stay Safe ‘A Parent’s Guide’ provided.

The formal lessons of the programme will be taught in their entirety every second year in accordance with the SPHE two-year cycle plan.

Staff will make every effort to ensure that the messages of the programme are reinforced whenever possible.


All staff(teachers, special needs assistants, ancillary staff, secretarial, caretaking etc.) in this school will follow the recommendations for reporting concerns or disclosures as outlined in ‘Children First’ and the Department of Education and Science document, ‘Child Protection, Guidelines and Procedures’. (See pages 5 to 20 from the above DES Child Protection Guidelines)


The following areas have been considered by the staff and board of management of this school as areas of specific concern in relation to child protection.  Following discussion and consultation the staff and board of management have agreed that the following practices be adopted.

a)                   Physical contact

Physical contact between school personnel and the child should always be in response to the needs of the child and not the needs of the adult. While physical contact may be used to comfort, reassure or assist a child the following should be factors in determining it’s appropriateness:-

  • It is acceptable to the child
  • It is open and not secretive
  • The age and developmental stage of the child is considered.

School personnel should avoid doing anything of a personal nature for children that they can do for themselves.

b)                   Visitors / Guest Speakers:

Visitors/guest speakers should never be left alone with pupils. The school (principal/teachers) has a responsibility to check out the credentials of the visitor/guest speaker and to ensure that the material in use by guests is appropriate.

c)                    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, between parents/guardians, class teacher, special needs assistant, principal and if appropriate the pupil. The purpose of the meeting will be to ascertain the specific needs of the child and to determine how the school can best meet those needs. The staff to be involved in this care will be identified and provision will be made for occasions when the particular staff members involved are absent. A written copy of what has been agreed will be made and kept in the child’s file.

Two members of staff will be present when dealing with intimate care/ toileting needs. Any deviation from the agreed procedure will be recorded and notified to the DLP and the parents/guardians.

d)                   Toileting accidents:

Clean underwear and suitable clothing will be kept in the school so that if a pupil has an ‘accident’ of this nature they will in the first instance be offered fresh clothing into which they can change.

If the pupil for whatever reason cannot clean or change themselves and the parents/guardians cannot be contacted the child will be assisted by members of staff familiar to the child.  In all such situations two members of staff should be present, or a child’s sibling will be present.

A record of all such incidents will be kept and principal and parents will be notified.


e)                                 One- to One teaching

It is the policy in this school that one-to-one teaching is sometimes in the best interest of the child. Every effort will be made to ensure that this teaching takes place in an open environment. Parents of children who are to be involved in one-to-one teaching will be informed and their agreement sought.

Work being carried our by special needs assistants will be carried out under the direction of the class teacher in an open environment.

f)                                 Changing for Games/ PE/ Swimming

Pupils will be expected to dress and undress themselves for games/PE/ swimming. Where assistance is needed this will be done in the communal areas and with the consent of parents. Under no circumstances will members of staff/ volunteers be expected to or allowed to dress/undress a child in a cubicle/private area. In such situations where privacy is required the parent/guardian of the child will be asked to assist the child.

At all times there must be adequate supervision of pupils.

g)         Recruitment and selection of staff will take into account Garda vetting and    references will be verbally checked

h)         Internet Use – See Acceptable Usage Policy, which is signed by all parents when they enrol their children

While every effort will be made to adhere to best practice as agreed and outlined above, in the event of an emergency where this is not possible or practicable a full record of the incident should be made and reported to principal and parents.

Links to other policy / planning areas:

Prevention:       SPHE curriculum, Strand Unit on ‘Safety and Protection’

The School Code of Discipline

Procedures:      Anti-Bullying Policy.

Health and Safety Statement.

Practice:          Swimming Policy School Tours / Outings


Review and Monitoring

This policy will be monitored and reviewed by the Board of Management on an annual basis and when the need arises. The board of management will ensure that adequate training and support is provided for all staff.

Policy reviewed by the BOM in June 2016


Signed: Fr Noel Rooney



@ CAPP, Bridge House, Cherry Orchard Hospital, Dublin


Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children.


The teaching of Stay Safe is mandatory.


4 main types of abuse


Neglect Emotional
DefinitionNeglect can be defined in terms of an omission, where the child suffers significant harm or impairment of development by being deprived of food, clothing, warmth, hygiene, intellectual stimulation, supervision and safety, attachment to and affection from adults, and/or medical care. p. 8

Signs & Symptoms:

Child neglect should be suspected in cases of:

• abandonment or desertion;

• children persistently being left alone without adequate care and supervision;

• malnourishment, lacking food, inappropriate food or erratic feeding;

• lack of warmth;

• lack of adequate clothing;

• inattention to basic hygiene;

• lack of protection and exposure to danger, including moral danger or lack of supervision appropriate to the child’s age;

• persistent failure to attend school;

• non-organic failure to thrive, i.e. child not gaining weight due not only to malnutrition but also to emotional deprivation;

• failure to provide adequate care for the child’s medical and developmental problems;

• exploited, overworked.


DefinitionEmotional abuse is normally to be found in the relationship between a parent/carer and a child rather than in a specific event or pattern of events. It occurs when a child’s developmental need for affection, approval, consistency and security are not met. Unless other forms of abuse are present, it is rarely manifested in terms of physical signs or symptoms.p.8 

Signs & Symptoms:

Emotional neglect and abuse can be identified with reference to the indices listed below. However, it should be noted that no one indicator is conclusive of emotional abuse.

• rejection;

• lack of comfort and love;

• lack of attachment;

• lack of proper stimulation (e.g. fun and play);

• lack of continuity of care (e.g. frequent moves, particularly unplanned);

• continuous lack of praise and encouragement;

• serious over-protectiveness;

• inappropriate non-physical punishment (e.g. locking in bedrooms);

• family conflicts and/or violence;

• every child who is abused sexually, physically or neglected is also emotionally abused;

• Inappropriate expectations of a child relative to his/her age and stage of development.


Children who are physically and sexually abused and neglected also suffer from emotional abuse.


Physical Sexual
DefinitionPhysical abuse of a child is that which results in actual or potential physical harm from an interaction, or lack of interaction, which is reasonably within the control of a parent or person in a position of responsibility, power, or trust. There may be single or repeated incidents. 

Signs & Symptoms:

Unsatisfactory explanations, varying explanations, frequency and clustering for the following events are high indices for concern regarding

physical abuse:

• bruises (see below for more detail);

• fractures;

• swollen joints;

• burns/scalds (see below for more detail);

• abrasions/lacerations;

• haemorrhages (retinal, subdural);

• damage to body organs;

• poisonings – repeated (prescribed drugs, alcohol);

• failure to thrive;

• coma/unconsciousness;

• death.

There are many different forms of physical abuse, but skin, mouth and bone injuries are the most common.

DefinitionSexual abuse occurs when a child is used by another person for his or her gratification or sexual arousal, or for that of others. 





Signs & Symptoms:

Child sexual abuse often covers a wide spectrum of abusive activities. It rarely involves just a single incident and usually occurs over a

number of years. Child sexual abuse most commonly happens within the family.

Cases of sexual abuse principally come to light through:

(a) disclosure by the child or his or her siblings/friends;

(b) the suspicions of an adult;

(c) physical symptoms.



It is the intention that all children should have a safe childhood and it is our duty as parents, teachers, carers and members of the community to be aware of signs that might warn us when they are in any danger.