The Department of Education have released updated Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017. These new procedures have been developed to take account of the new statutory obligations under the Children First Act 2015 and in light of the recently updated Children First Guidance 2017 (available at Tusla.ie). Under the Act, teachers will be required to follow new reporting requirements in respect of their role as mandated persons. The Procedures provide that the Designated Liaison Person however will still maintain their central role in the school's child protection arrangements.
The Procedures state that their aim is to give clear direction and guidance:
To schools management and school personnel in relation to meeting new statutory obligations under the Children First Act 2015 With regard to the implementation of best practice guidance as set out in the revised Children First Guidance 2017. These new school Procedures are broken into 9 chapters, the first two of which outline the statutory framework and the applicable definitions. The Procedures then deal with the role of school personnel and the new statutory obligations on teachers as mandated persons under the Children First Act 2015. Reporting of concerns is set out in some detail at chapter five, and a distinction is set out between the role of school personnel, the mandated persons and the DLP. Chapter six outlines the role of the Gardaí and Tusla is followed by the protocol now in place where allegations are made against a school employee, in chapter seven. Practical compliance with the legislation is set out in Chapter 8 which makes provision for Garda Vetting, the Child Safeguarding Statement and the time frames in place from carrying out the Risk Assessment and the Child Safeguarding Statement as required in the Children First Act 2015.
Chapter 9 is significant. It details the increased level of oversight which will be borne by a number of key players: the Board of Management, the Principle, the Patron, the Department of Education and Skills and Tusla.
The Board of Management will have increased governance responsibilities in terms of monitoring the child protection and the Principal will have increased obligations in terms of reporting to the BOM.
The Principle is obliged to make a Child Protection Oversight Report to the BOM at each meeting of the BOM. This Report shall comprise of details concerning:
Allegations made against member...