Child Protection

Child Protection

Child Protection Procedures for Schools  

The Department of Education and Skills circular 0081/2017 (published on 11 December, 2017) informs school management authorities that the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017 have been developed and published following an extensive consultation with the education partners.  

The purpose of the procedures is to give clear direction and guidance to school authorities and to school personnel in relation to meeting the statutory obligations under the Children First Act, 2015 and in the continued implementation within the school setting of the best practice guidance set out in the updated Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017.

The procedures apply to all recognised primary and post-primary schools and to all members of school personnel.

Reporting to TUSLA (Child and Family Agency) using the Tusla Portal:

Since the Child Protection Procedures for Schools were published, Tusla has developed and put in place a secure online Portal for reporting child protection concerns.  This Portal now also allows the reporter to print a copy of the report submitted.

Accordingly, when reporting a concern to TUSLA under these Procedures, the Tusla Portal should be used wherever possible.

After the report has been submitted via the Tusla Portal, a copy of the report must be printed and retained in accordance with the requirements of the Procedures.

Further information in relation to the use of the portal is available at: https://www.tusla.ie/children-first/web-portal/

Board of Management meetings and Child Protection Oversight

The Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017 (hereinafter referred to as the procedures) set out specific oversight requirements that apply to all school boards of management, including in relation to the provision by the school Principal of a Child Protection Oversight Report at every board of management meeting.  

Following the closure of schools in March 2020, the Department advised schools that the requirement to provide a Child Protection Oversight Report (CPOR) would not apply to board meetings held remotely.  This was because it was not thought possible in the context of such meetings to meet the requirement to provide the board with the specified documentation in the secure and confidential manner required by the procedures.  The  Department advised at that time  that Principals should  continue to maintain the relevant data and records so that  the CPOR could  be provided at the next face to face meeting of the board and that the data in that next report must reflect cases arising since the previous CPOR was provided to the board.

In the context of schools having reopened and having regard to the ongoing public health emergency, the following are the updated requirements in relation to the provision by the Principal of a Child Protection Oversight Report to the board of management -

  • A face to face meeting of the board must be held at least once in every school term in order for the CPOR report along with required supporting documentation to be provided to the board and for the board to resume and continue to carry out its important oversight role in respect of the reporting of child protection concerns in accordance with the procedures.  A Board meeting for these purposes is considered essential work. The following shall apply to such a meeting –

-The face to face meeting may be convened to deal solely with the CPOR report
-A quorum must be physically present at the face to face meeting
-No members are permitted to join remotely
-The relevant requirements of the procedures must be adhered to in full in respect of the CPOR, including those in relation to the provision and recovery of documents at the meeting
-The CPOR report submitted shall set out under each of the required headings the number of cases arising since the last CPOR report was provided to the board
-Appropriate social distancing and other relevant public health measures and guidance must be followed

  • The CPOR report shall not be provided at any board meeting that is held remotely except in circumstances where, since the last CPOR was provided to the board, there have been no cases arising under each of the headings set out in sections 9.5 to 9.7 inclusive of the procedures.    This is the only exception to the general rule prohibiting the provision of the CPOR at remote meetings.  This exception has been made because the procedures do not require any supporting documentation to be provided in circumstances where the CPOR does not contain any cases under sections 9.5 to 9.7 inclusive.  

Supporting Templates/Guidance

The following supporting documents/templates (14 in total) are available for schools to use in implementing the Child Protection Procedures. Some of these templates are mandatory to use and some are optional.

Mandatory Templates

The following supporting documents/templates (14 in total) are available for schools to use in implementing the Child Protection Procedures. Some of these templates are mandatory to use and some are optional.

Schools must use the Child Safeguarding Statement and Risk Assessment templates. There are 4 templates:

Mandatory Template 1: Child Safeguarding Risk Assessment Template.

Mandatory Template 1: Child Safeguarding Risk Assessment Template (Landscape version).

This mandatory template 1 is available in portrait or landscape layout. The content of each template is exactly the same and using either version will meet the requirements of the Child Protection Procedures.

Mandatory Template 2: Child Safeguarding Statement Template.

Mandatory Template 3: Checklist for Review of the Child Safeguarding Statement.

Mandatory Template 4: Notification regarding the Board of Management’s review of the Child Safeguarding Statement

Optional Templates and other supporting documents

The Department has developed a number of optional templates that Schools can choose to use:

Optional Template A: Record of how the allegation and/or concern came to be known to the DLP and record of DLP’s phone call seeking advice of Tusla (Sections 5.1.1 and 5.3.3)

Optional Template B: Template statement from DLP to a member of school personnel as to the reasons why a report has not been made to Tusla (Section 5.3.8 of the Procedures)

Optional Template C: Record of DLP informing or not informing a parent/carer that a report concerning his or her child is being made (Section 5.3.6 of the Procedures)

Optional Template D: Template written notification from DLP to a parent where a child protection concern about a member of school personnel has been raised by a parent (Section 5.6.2 of the Procedures)

Optional Template E: Template Check List for preparing the Principal’s Child Protection Oversight Report (CPOR)

Optional Template F: Template for recording documents provided to the Board of Management as part of the CPOR

 

In addition, the Department has also developed a number of supporting documents which schools may wish to refer to:

Child Protection Case File Checklist

Guidance note on the use of unique codes or serial numbers

Communications Checklist – Child Safeguarding Statement (Sections 8.11 and 8.13.6 of the Procedures)

FAQs in relation to the Principal’s Child Protection Oversight Report (CPOR)

Child Protection and Safeguarding Inspections

The Guide to Child Protection and Safeguarding Inspections is available here.

Information on Child Protection Monitoring by the Inspectorate is available here.

Contact

General queries in relation to the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017 should be e-mailed to the Department at