Child Safeguarding Statement and Risk Assessment

Child Safeguarding Statement

Dripsey National School is a primary school providing primary education to pupils from Junior Infants to Sixth Class. It currently has a Special Class for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder/ASD and is planning on opening a second Special Class in September 2022.

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

  1. The Board of Management has adopted and will implement fully and without modification the Department’s Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools 2017 as part of this overall Child Safeguarding Statement
  • The Designated Liaison Person (DLP) is Bernard Sheehan
  • The Deputy Designated Liaison Person (Deputy DLP) is Sarah Lucey
  • The Board of Management recognises that child protection and welfare considerations permeate all aspects of school life and must be reflected in all of the school’s policies, procedures, practices and activities. In its policies, procedures, practices and activities, the school will adhere to the following principles of best practice in child protection and welfare:

The school will:

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

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

The following procedures/measures are in place:

  • In relation to any member of staff who is the subject of any investigation (howsoever described) in respect of any act, omission or circumstance in respect of a child attending the school, the school adheres to the relevant procedures set out in Chapter 7 of the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017 and to the relevant agreed disciplinary procedures for school staff which are published on the DES website
  • In relation to the selection or recruitment of staff and their suitability to work with children, the school adheres to the statutory vetting requirements of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 and to the wider duty of care guidance set out in relevant Garda Vetting and recruitment circulars published by the DES and available on the DES website
  • In relation to the provision of information and, where necessary, instruction and training, to staff in respect of the identification of the occurrence of harm (as defined in the 2015 Act) the school:
  • Has provided each member of staff with a copy of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement
    • Ensures all new staff are provided with a copy of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement
    • Encourages staff to avail of relevant training
    • Encourages Board of Management members to avail of relevant training
    • The Board of Management maintains records of all staff and Board member training
  • In relation to reporting of child protection concerns to Tusla, all school personnel are required to adhere to the procedures set out in the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017, including in the case of registered teachers, those in relation to mandated reporting under the Children First Act 2015
  • In this school the Board has appointed the above named DLP as the ‘Relevant Person’ (as defined in the Children First Act 2015) to be the first point of contact in respect of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement
  • All registered teachers employed by the school are mandated persons under the Children First Act 2015
  • In accordance with the Children First Act 2015, the Board has carried out an assessment of any potential for harm to a child while attending the school or participating in school activities. A written assessment setting out the areas of risk identified and the school’s procedures for managing those risks is attached as an appendix to these procedures
  • The various procedures referred to in this Statement can be accessed via the school’s website, the DES website or will be made available on request by the school.

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

This statement has been published on the school’s website and has been provided to all members of school personnel, the parents’ association (if any) and the patron.  It is readily accessible to parents and guardians on request. A copy of this statement will be made available to Tusla and the Department if requested. 

This Child Safeguarding Statement will be reviewed annually or as soon as practicable after there has been a material change in any matter to which this statement refers.

This Child Safeguarding Statement was adopted by the Board of Management on January 20th 2022.

Signed: Jim O’Connell                                                                   Signed:  Bernard Sheehan

Chairperson of BOM                            Principal/Secretary to the BOM

Date:     22/01/2022                                                                      Date:    22/01/2022­­­

Child Safeguarding Risk Assessment

Written Assessment of Risk of Dripsey National School

In accordance with section 11 of the Children First Act 2015 and with the requirement of Chapter 8 of the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017, the following is the Written Risk Assessment of Dripsey National School.    

  List of school activities  The school has identified the following risk of harm in respect of its activities    The school has the following procedures in place to address the risks of harm identified in this assessment  
Lack of training of school personnel in Child Protection mattersHarm not recognised or reported promptly
Child Safeguarding Statement & DES procedures made available to all staff   DLP& DDLP to attend PDST face to face training All Staff to view Túsla training module & any other online training offered by PDST   BOM records all records of staff and board training
One to one teachingHarm by school personnel
School has policy in place for one to one teaching Open doors Glass in window in door More than one teacher has full access to every Homework folder on MS Teams/OneNote
Care of Children with special needs, including intimate care needs
Harm by school personnel
Policy on intimate care
Toilet areasInappropriate behaviour
supervision policy  (one child coming into toilet from yard at a time, have to ask teacher on yard)
Curricular Provision in respect of SPHE, RSE, Stay safe.Non-teaching of same
School implements SPHE, RSE, Stay Safe in full
Child going to office for somethingHarm by school personnelChild waits in corridor
Daily arrival and dismissal of pupilsHarm from older pupils, unknown adults on the playgroundArrival and dismissal supervised by Teachers
Managing of challenging behaviour amongst pupils, including appropriate use of restraintInjury to pupils and staff
Health & Safety Policy Code Of Behaviour
Sports CoachesHarm to pupils
Policy & Procedures in place Visiting coaches to present Tusla certification and/or vetting certificate
Students participating in work experienceHarm by student
Visiting student vetted (if over 16) Child Safeguarding Statement.
Recreation breaks for pupilsHarm from other pupils
Supervision policy Anti bullying policy
Whole Class teachingHarm by school personnel
All staff vetted and trained in Child Protection Substitutes to be vetted
Sporting Activities  Harm from unknown strangers, school personnel, other pupils 
Anti bullying policy, child protection policy, staff to be vetted and trained in child protection
SwimmingHarm from unknown strangers, school personnel, other pupils 
Anti bullying policy, child protection policy, child safeguarding statement,  staff to be vetted and trained in child protection
Fundraising events involving pupils  Harm from unknown strangers, school personnel, other pupils 
Anti bullying policy, child protection policy, child safeguarding statement,  staff to be vetted and trained in child protection, pupils to be under supervision of parents/staff
Administration of Medicine Administration of First Aid  Misuse of medicines, harm by school personnel
Substance misuse policy, administrations of medicines policy, first aid policy, staff training.
Prevention and dealing with bullying amongst pupilsBullying not identified/dealt with
Anti bullying policy, full implementation of the SPHE policy
Use of external personnel to supplement curriculum    Harm by external personnel, harm not recognised by external personnel 
external personnel to be vetted/provide certificate of Tusla training, Child protection policy, child safe guarding statement        

Care of pupils with specific vulnerabilities/ needs such as  Pupils from ethnic minorities/migrantsMembers of the Traveller community Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) childrenPupils perceived to be LGBTPupils of minority religious faithsChildren in careChildren on CPNS (Child Protection Notification System)  
Bullying by other pupils Harm by othersAnti bullying policy Child protection Statement  
Recruitment of school personnel including – TeachersSNA’sCaretaker/Secretary/CleanersSports coachesExternal Tutors/Guest Speakers Volunteers/Parents in school activities  Harm not recognised or properly or promptly reported   Harm by school staff
Child Safeguarding Statement & DES procedures made available to all staff   Staff to view Tusla training module OR any other online training offered by PDST   Vetting Procedures   Policy of Parents / Volunteers    
Use of Information and Communication Technology by pupils in school  Bullying
ICT policy Anti-Bullying Policy Code of Behaviour
Students participating in work experience in the school  Harm not recognised or properly or promptly reported   Harm by work placement  pupils
Pupils not on a 1 to 1 with work placement students.   Work placement students to be vetted (if over 16 years of age)
Student teachers undertaking training placement in school  
Harm not recognised or properly or promptly reported   Harm by student teacher
Vetting procedures student teacher to be presented with safe guarding pack    
Use of video/photography/other media to record school events  Staff member looses phone
Permission slips , pupils in groups and not named Photos transferred to school computer and deleted
After school use of school premises by other organisations  Harm not recognised or properly or promptly reported Harm of pupils by other personnelOther organisation to have Child Safeguarding Statement and staff to provide proof of vetting
Important Note:  It should be noted that ‘Risk’ in the context of this risk assessment is the risk of ‘Harm’ as defined in the Children First Act 2015 and not the general health & safety risk.  The definition of harm is set out in Chapter 4 of the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post- Primary  Schools 2017

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

Examples of Activities, Risks and Procedures
The examples listed in this document are provided to assist schools in undertaking their risk assessment under the Children First Act, 2015.  Schools should note that this list of examples is not intended to be exhaustive. It is the responsibility of each school to ensure, as far as possible, that any other risks and procedures that are relevant to its own particular circumstances are identified and specified in the written risk assessment and that adequate procedures are in place to address all risks identified.

It is acknowledged that schools already have in place a range of policies, practices and procedures to mitigate the risk of harm to children while they are participating in the activities of the school and that some school activities will carry low or minimal risks of harm compared to others.  In the context of the risk assessment that must be undertaken by schools, the Children First Act, 2015 refers to risk as ‘any potential for harm’.  Therefore, it is important that as part of its risk assessment process, each school lists and reviews all of its various activities (which shall include identifying those that may carry low risk of harm as well as those that carry higher risks of harm).  Doing so will help the school to (1) identify as required under the Children First Act, 2015 any risks of harm that may exist in respect of the school’s activities, (2) identify and assess the adequacy of the various procedures already in place to manage those risks of harm and (3) identify and put in place any such additional procedures as are considered necessary to manage any risk identified.

The Addendum to Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children published in January 2019 clarifies that organisations providing relevant services to children should consider the specific issue of online safety when carrying out their risk assessment and preparing their Child Safeguarding Statement.

The Guidance on Continuity of Schooling for primary and post-primary schools (April 2020) advises of the importance of teachers maintaining the safe and ethical use of the internet during distance learning and assisting parents and guardians to be aware of their role also. Schools should ensure that their Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) informs and guides remote or distance learning activity.

Important Note:  It should be noted that ‘Risk’ in the context of this risk assessment is the risk of ‘Harm’ as defined in the Children First Act, 2015 and not the general health & safety risk.  The definition of harm is set out in chapter 4 of the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017.

Examples of School Activities:

  • Daily arrival and dismissal of pupils
  • Recreation breaks for pupils
  • Classroom teaching
  • One-to-one teaching
  • One-to one learning support
  • One-to-one counselling
  • Outdoor teaching activities
  • Online teaching and learning remotely
  • Sporting Activities
  • School outings
  • School trips involving overnight stay
  • School trips involving foreign travel
  • Use of toilet/changing/shower areas in schools
  • Provision of residential facilities for boarders 
  • Annual Sports Day
  • Fundraising events involving pupils
  • Use of off-site facilities for school activities
  • School transport arrangements including use of bus escorts
  • Care of children with special educational needs, including intimate care where needed
  • Care of any vulnerable adult students, including intimate care where needed
  • Management of challenging behaviour amongst pupils, including appropriate use of restraint where required
  • Management of provision of food and drink
  • Administration of Medicine
  • Administration of First Aid
  • Curricular provision in respect of SPHE, RSE, Stay Safe
  • Prevention and dealing with bullying amongst pupils
  • Training of school personnel in child protection matters
  • Use of external personnel to supplement curriculum
  • Use of external personnel to support sports and other extra-curricular activities
  • Care of pupils with specific vulnerabilities/ needs such as: 
    • Pupils from ethnic minorities/migrants
    • Members of the Traveller community
    • Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) children
    • Pupils perceived to be LGBT
    • Pupils of minority religious faiths
    • Children in care
    • Children on CPNS
    • Children with medical needs
  • Recruitment of school personnel including:
    • Teachers/SNA’s
    • Caretaker/Secretary/Cleaners
    • Sports coaches
    • External Tutors/Guest Speakers
    • Volunteers/Parents in school activities
    • Visitors/contractors present in school during school hours
    • Visitors/contractors present during after school activities
  • Participation by pupils in religious ceremonies/religious instruction external to the school
  • Use of Information and Communication Technology by pupils in school
  • Application of sanctions under the school’s Code of Behaviour including detention of pupils, confiscation of phones etc.
  • Students participating in work experience in the school
  • Students from the school participating in work experience elsewhere
  • Student teachers undertaking training placement in school
  • Use of video/photography/other media to record school events
  • After school use of school premises by other organisations
  • Use of school premises by other organisations during the school day
  • Breakfast club
  • Homework club/evening study

Examples of Risks of Harm:

  • Risk of harm not being recognised by school personnel
  • Risk of harm not being reported properly and promptly by school personnel
  • Risk of child being harmed in the school by a member of school personnel
  • Risk of child being harmed in the school by another child
  • Risk of child being harmed in the school by a volunteer or visitor to the school
  • Risk of child being harmed by a member of school personnel, a member of staff of another organisation or other person while the child is participating in out of school activities e.g. school trip, swimming lessons 
  • Risk of harm due to inappropriate use of online remote teaching and learning communication platform such as an uninvited person accessing the lesson link, students being left unsupervised for long periods of time in breakout rooms
  • Risk of harm due to bullying of child
  • Risk of harm due to racism
  • Risk of harm due to inadequate supervision of children in school
  • Risk of harm due to inadequate supervision of children while attending out of school activities
  • Risk of harm due to inappropriate relationship/communications between child and another child or adult
  • Risk of harm due to children inappropriately accessing/using computers, social media, phones and other devices while at school
  • Risk of harm to children with SEN who have particular vulnerabilities, including medical vulnerabilities
  • Risk of harm to child while a child is receiving intimate care
  • Risk of harm due to inadequate code of behaviour
  • Risk of harm in one-to-one teaching, counselling, coaching situation
  • Risk of harm caused by member of school personnel communicating with pupils in appropriate manner via social media, texting, digital device or other manner
  • Risk of harm caused by member of school personnel accessing/circulating inappropriate material via social media, texting, digital device or other manner

Examples of Procedures to Address Risks of Harm:

  • All school personnel are provided with a copy of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement
  • The Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017 are made available to all school personnel
  • School Personnel are required to adhere to the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017 and all registered teaching staff are required to adhere to the Children First Act 2015
  • The school implements in full the Stay Safe Programme
  • The school implements in full the SPHE curriculum
  • The school implements in full the Wellbeing Programme at Junior Cycle
  • The school has an Anti-Bullying Policy which fully adheres to the requirements of the Department’s Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools
  • The school undertakes anti-racism awareness initiatives
  • The school has a yard/playground supervision policy to ensure appropriate supervision of children during, assembly, dismissal and breaks and in respect of specific areas such as toilets, changing rooms etc.
  • The school has in place a policy and clear procedures in respect of school outings 
  • The school has a Health & Safety Policy
  • The school adheres to the requirements of the Garda Vetting Legislation and relevant DES circulars in relation to recruitment and Garda Vetting
  • The school has a Code of Conduct for school personnel (teaching and non-teaching staff)
  • The school complies with the agreed disciplinary procedures for teaching staff
  • The school has a Special Educational Needs policy
  • The school has an Intimate Care Policy/Plan in respect of students who require such care
  • The school has in place a policy and procedures for the administration of medication to pupils
  • The school:
    • Has provided each member of the school staff with a copy of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement
    • Ensures all new staff are provided with a copy of the school’s Child Safeguarding Statement
    • Encourages staff to avail of relevant training
    • Encourages board of management members to avail of relevant training
    • Maintains records of all staff and board member training
  • The school has in place a policy and procedures for the administration of First Aid
  • The school has in place a Code of Behaviour for pupils
  • The school has in place an ICT policy in respect of usage of ICT by pupils
  • The school has in place a Mobile Phone Policy in respect of usage of mobile phones by pupils
  • The school has in place a Critical Incident Management Plan
  • The school has in place a Home School Liaison Policy and related procedures
  • The school has in place a policy and procedures for the use of external persons to supplement the delivery of the curriculum
  • The school has in place a policy and procedures for the use of external sports coaches
  • The school has in place a policy and clear procedures for one-to-one teaching activities
  • The school has in place a policy and procedures for one-to-one counselling
  • The school has in place a policy and procedures in respect of student teacher placements
  • The school has in place a policy and procedures in respect of students undertaking work experience in the school
  • The school has in place a policy and procedures in respect of pupils of the school undertaking work experience in external organisations