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Child Protection




Designated Child Protection Teacher                                                                                                                              Deputy Child Protection Teacher

Mrs Heidi Clarke                                                                                                             Mrs Mecki Lenehan                             


During Mrs Clarke's Maternity leave in this school year, 2014-2015 the Designated teacher for Child Protection will be

Mrs Pam Evans, Vice Principal and Mrs Lenehan will continue as Deputy Designated teacher.

                                                                                                      CEARA SCHOOL




Policy for

Child Protection


This policy should be read in association with our School Mission Statement, School Aims and Objectives, Intimate Care Policy, Health and Safety Policy, Needlestick Policy, Reasonable Use of Force Policy, Sex Education Policy, Medication Needs Policy, Gateway Targets, Pastoral Care Policy and Educational Visits Policy as well as the SELB Child Protection Policy.




‘The curriculum at Ceara is delivered within an ethos which empowers all our children; which allows them to voice ideas, feelings and opinions; which treats them with respect, dignity and tolerance at all times; values their contribution to school life and lets parents make a contribution to the educational process.’



General Introduction

It is recognised that staff in school play an important role in identifying potential cases of child abuse. It is also important that all relevant agencies involved in child abuse cooperate together for the benefit of the child. At Ceara we have a designated and deputy designated teacher for child protection, who liaises with Social Service departments and with teachers in school, as well as a ‘safeguarding’ team. We have developed excellent links with the Children with Disabilities Team (CDT). Nonetheless, for procedure to work, it relies on the skills and expertise of every member of staff in school to recognise or report concerns.


It is our fundamental position that all our children have a Right to be protected from abuse and neglect and treated with respect, dignity and tolerance.


At Ceara School Mrs Clarke is the Designated Teacher (DT) and Mrs Lenehan is the Deputy Designated Teacher – should neither be available then the Principal will act as the DT. Parents are informed in writing every year who the Child Protection Designated Officers are and how they may raise a child protection concern should they have any. The role of the Designated Teacher is:


  • To discuss child protection concerns with school/support staff and maintain accurate records.
  • To share policy with the parents.
  • To participate in child protection training .
  • To raise awareness in child protection with all school staff.
  • To refer to Social Services or PSNI.
  • To notify the SELB designated officer.
  • To keep the school principal informed.
  • To notify the Chair of Board of Governors when allegation is against Principal.
  • To take the lead in the development of the school’s child protection policy.
  • To promote a child protection ethos within the school.
  • To arrange training for all school staff.
  • To include information about the preventative curriculum.



In addition, the school has a ‘Safeguarding Team’ which currently consists of :


  • Principal
  • Designated Teacher
  • Deputy Designated Teacher
  • Designated person on Board of Governors


There are also designated teachers for – sex education, drug awareness, pastoral care, anti bullying, promoting positive behaviour, road safety, SENCO, health education, Team Teach, Brownies, Scouts and Extended School Activities.


All staff at Ceara have been ‘vetted’ by Access (NI) protocols to work with vulnerable children and adults.


All staff at Ceara have total commitment to child protection. They raise children’s awareness about themselves through all aspects of the total curricular provision, and develop a trusting climate so that children feel able to talk and share their thoughts and feelings. Children are educated in an environment where they are respected and treated with dignity.


Ceara School has a policy of partnership between home and school, but with child abuse, or suspicion of child abuse, our first and only responsibility is to the child. We may not be able to prevent child abuse, but by following child protection procedures, we are trying our best to protect all our children. This is our first and only responsibility.


While primary responsibility for keeping children safe rests with their parents who should ensure that they are always safe from danger in the home and risk from others, schools owe a legal ‘Duty of Care’ towards the young people in their charge. This is the responsibility they have in relation to pupils who are entrusted to them.



All teachers make sure, through their ‘Duty of Care of children, to ensure that children keep safe, remain healthy. Suspected cases of abuse are reported, procedures adhered to and subsequent actions are left to the appropriate agencies.


Governors have a duty to determine measures to be taken with a view to protecting pupils from abuse in school or otherwise and to prepare a written statement of these measures that is available to parents. This ‘policy’ is reviewed annually. The Governors also have a Designated Child Protection Governor, currently this Governor is Dr. Thompson.


All staff at Ceara receive annual Child Protection Awareness raising training annually, usually as part of our Staff Training Week in August.


The school has a ‘School Counsellor’, currently one day per week, who is fully trained in all aspects of child safeguarding counselling. The counsellor holds regular information sessions with parents. Parents may refer their child to the counsellor at any time.


Aims of our policy


By following child protection policy procedures we:


  • Care for and protect the child
  • Care for our school
  • Respond to the guidelines and procedures of other agencies
  • Safeguard staff.




In reporting concerns or suspicions, all staff must follow SELB Child Protection Procedures as outlined in Annual Training. We keep accurate written records at all times.


Reasons for Following Procedures


  • It protects the child to the best of our ability
  • It avoids delay
  • It provides consistency
  • It protects all staff
  • It ensures that, if further action is taken by another agency, then the school has followed the appropriate protection procedures.


If a child discloses abuse or staff are suspicious they should:


  • Report their concerns immediately to the Designated Child Protection Officer, or Deputy Officer if the Designated Officer is unavailable.


It is very important that prompt and correct procedures are followed under EASR Protection Procedures. Advice may be sought from the EASR Child Protection Team at any time in relation to any child protection matter.


The reporting teacher will be told of any further action taken i.e. Social Service referral, monitor etc. If the reported case is taken up and investigated by an external agency, then any meetings, case conferences or action taken will be followed through and the teacher concerned may be invited to attend.


To summarise:


  1. Complaint made or concern observed
  2. Tell the Designated Teacher/Deputy Designated Teacher
  3. DT will tell the Principal
  4. If appropriate referral to Gateway Team
  5. Gateway team may pass the concern onto PSNI
  6. Principal/DT will notify SELB Special Education Officer
  7. Principal will make a report to Governors when they next meet



It is not the role of school staff to unearth or investigate child abuse but simply to pass on your concerns. Staff have an important role in hearing what children have to say.  Staff also have a responsibility to:


  • Put the welfare of the child first at all times
  • Treat all young people equally with respect, tolerance and dignity
  • Maintain appropriate distance with young people
  • Keep a written record of any inappropriate body contact with a child
  • Report without delay any accusations made against you or your colleagues



Staff should never:


  • Engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games with children including horseplay
  • Allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching
  • Allow children to use foul, sexualised or discriminatory language unchallenged
  • Make sexualised suggestive comments to children even in fun
  • Reduce a child to tears as a form of control
  • Allow allegations made by a child to go unrecorded or not acted upon
  • Invite or allow children to stay with you at your home
  • Share mobile phone details with children ~ yours or theirs
  • Send text messages to children
  • Take personal photographs/videos of children



Allegations against staff


  • Staff who have behaved inappropriately or not acted in the best interest of the child will be subject to the: schools/Education Authority disciplinary procedures.


  • Where it is alleged that a member of staff may have abused a child they may be subject to an investigation by Social Services and/or PSNI.


  • Consideration will be given to suspension on a precautionary basis, depending on the nature of the allegation, pending the outcome of any investigation.


  • Disciplinary procedures will be initiated if the investigating agency uncover that abuse did in fact take place.


  • Disciplinary procedures may be initiated if the investigating agency discover that on ‘the balance of probability’ abuse did take place.



Where an allegation is made against a member of staff at the school a referral will be made to Social Services i.e. the Gateway Team on the appropriate documentation. Depending on the nature of the complaint, the concern may be passed to PSNI by Social Services. A copy of all documentation will be retained by school.


The EASR Special Education Officer will be informed at all times of any allegations against staff.


The Chair of Governors will be informed at all times of any allegations against staff.


Signs and Symptoms


This is intended as a guide and is not an exhaustive listing. Remember that the presence of one or more factors does not necessarily give proof that child abuse has occurred. It may, however, indicate that investigation should take place.


  • Unexplained delay in seeking treatment which is needed
  • Incompatible explanations
  • Constant minor injuries
  • Unexplained bruising:

    – Bruise marks in or around the mouth

    – Black eyes, especially if both eyes are black and there are no marks to forehead or nose

    – Grasp marks

    – Finger marks

    – Bruising of the ears

    – Linear bruising (particularly buttocks or back)

    – Differing age bruising

  • Bite marks
  • Burns and scalds
  • Cigarette burns
  • General physical disability
  • Unresponsiveness in the child
  • Change in behavioural patterns
  • ‘Frozen’ look
  • Apprehension
  • Antisocial behaviour
  • Unkempt appearance
  • Sexually precocious behaviour
  • Sexualised drawings and play
  • Withdrawal
  • Running away
  • Reluctance to return home after school
  • Difficulty in forming relationships
  • Confusing affectionate displays



Definitions of Child Abuse


An abused child is a boy or girl under the age of 18 who has suffered from physical injury, physical neglect, failure to thrive, emotional or sexual abuse, which the person who has had custody, charge or care of the child either caused or knowingly failed to prevent. Having custody, charge or care includes any person, in whatever setting, who, at the time, is responsible for that child.


Some young adults at Ceara are over 18 years of age. They are referred to as ‘vulnerable adults’. The reporting, recording procedures are the same – its just the term which is different.



Physical Abuse

Physical injury to a child, including deliberate poisoning, where there is

definite knowledge, or a reasonable suspicion that the injury was inflicted or knowingly not prevented.



Sexual Abuse

The involvement of dependent, developmentally immature children and

adolescents in sexual activities that they do not truly comprehend, and to which they are unable to give informed consent; or they violate the social taboos of family roles.




The persistent or severe neglect of a child (for example by exposure to any kind of danger including cold or starvation) which results in serious impairment of the child’s health or development, including non-organic failure to thrive.



Emotional Abuse

The severe adverse effect on the behaviour and emotional development of a child by persistent or severe emotional ill-treatment or rejection. All abuse involves some emotional ill-treatment; this category should be used where it is the main or sole form of abuse.



SELB Child Protection Procedures

These procedures are to be followed in reported abuse cases or suspicion of abuse. Copies of the procedure are on display in the staffroom and also on the Union notice board.



Central to all procedures for child abuse is a case conference. The following people and agencies may be invited to attend:


  • Social Services
  • School Staff
  • Gateway Team
  • Medical Staff
  • Therapy Staff
  • PSNI
  • EWO
  • Educational Psychology


This meeting is a ‘minuted’ meeting. There may be ‘follow up’ meetings.



Advice on any aspect of this policy may be had from any member of the Designated Teacher Team and/or the Safeguarding Team.



This Policy will be kept under constant review; and in any event will be reviewed annually during the Staff Child Protection Awareness Raising session.



Useful Websites




Child Protection Policy

Information for Parents



The school’s pastoral care ethos places the child at the centre of the schools work, and promotes the valuing of children as individuals. It also promotes communication with staff, pupils and parents/guardians.


In all their contact with pupils, staff at Ceara follow the guidelines and procedures outlined by the Department for Education publication, “Pastoral Care in Schools – Child Protection” (1999). In a case of suspected child abuse, the actions taken will be carried out in partnership with the professional agencies. Staff at Ceara will not investigate suspected abuse – that is the function of the local Social Services Officers (Gateway Team – 02837 415285).


A copy of the school’s Child Protection Policy is available in all classrooms. Parents/guardians may consult/get a copy from the General Office.


How a Parent may discuss a Child Protection Issue


I have a concern about my/a child’s safety in school.


  1. I can speak with the class teacher.


  1. I can speak with the Designated Teacher for Child Protection – Mrs Evans.


  1. I can talk with the principal.


  1. If I am still concerned, I may talk/write with the Chairperson of Governors or the Special Education Officer at the SELB – 37512200.


When Mrs. Evans is not in school, the ‘Designated Teacher’ is Mrs Lenehan.