The need to revise the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017 came about from the enactment of the Children First Act 2015. This document and other relevant material can be found at the link:
The Act places statutory obligations on specific groups of professionals, including registered teachers, and on organisations, such as schools, that provide services to children. The requirements of the new Procedures, apart from those relating to the Child Safeguarding Statement, come into effect from 11 December 2017.
The new Procedures give direction and guidance to school authorities and to school personnel in relation to meeting their new statutory obligations under the Children First Act, 2015 and in the continued implementation of the best practice (non-statutory) guidance set out in Children First National Guidance 2017, hard copies of which will be provided to schools.
The Procedures include -
The reporting procedures to be followed by registered teachers in respect of their role as mandated persons, including a requirement to liaise with the Designated Liaison Person (DLP) and, where applicable, to submit mandated reports jointly with the DLP to Tusla.
Guidance and direction regarding a school’s statutory obligations in relation to Child Safeguarding Statements. The Child Safeguarding Statement must be in place by 11 March 2018. In that regard, the Procedures require that all boards of management use the relevant templates published by the Department when preparing, publishing and reviewing their Child Safeguarding Statement. These are available on the DES website at the link above.
Significantly enhanced oversight measures which are aimed at ensuring full compliance by schools with the Children First Act 2015, Children First National Guidance 2017 and with the Department’s requirements as set out in the procedures for schools. A new Child Protection Oversight Report-CPOR- must be provided to the board of management, as part of the Principal’s report to the board, at every board of management meeting.
The school principal has an obligation to provide a CPOR under the required headings:
Allegations of abuse made against members of school personnel.
Other child protection concerns in respect of pupils in the school, that is, concerns that do not involve any allegation of abuse against a member of school personnel.
Child protection concerns arising from alleged bullying behaviour amongst pupils.
Summary data in respect of reporting.
*Outside of the school there are new and further layers of oversight, including oversight by the DES Inspectorate. The CPOR may be subject to scrutiny by the DES Inspectorate during a subject or other forms of inspection. Section 9.13 of the Child Protection Procedures sets out the extent of the role that the Inspectorate will perform in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities including the possibility of a Child Protection and Safeguarding Inspection (CPSI). The use of the CPOR template (provided by the Managerial bodies) should ensure that the principal’s report meets the DES requirements.
In the context of the new statutory obligations that apply to all registered teachers and to all school authorities, the oversight arrangements are strengthened so that they are as comprehensive and robust as possible. This will help ensure that the sector can be satisfied and can demonstrate that schools and their staff are operating in full compliance with the Children First Act 2015, Children First National Guidance 2017 and with Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017.