Child Protection Policy 2017



This policy was first ratified by SMT and Board of Governors in June 2011 and amended in June 2016, December 2017

1. Child Protection Ethos 

We in St. Joseph’s Boys’ High School have a responsibility for the Pastoral Care, general welfare and safety of the children in our care and we will carry out this duty by providing a caring, supportive and safe environment, where each child is valued for his unique talents and abilities, and in which all our young people can learn and develop to their full potential. All staff, teaching and non-teaching should be alert to the signs of possible abuse and should know the procedures to be followed. This Policy sets out guidance on the action, which is required where abuse or neglect of a child is suspected and outlines referral procedures within our school

2. Principles

The general principles, which underpin our work, are those set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and are enshrined in the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995, the Department of Education (Northern Ireland) guidance “2017/04 Safeguarding and Child Protection in Schools”

The following principles form the basis of our Child Protection Policy.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child” – “ children have the right to be protected from all forms of violence: they must be kept safe from harm; and they must be given proper care by those looking after them (Article 19). Moreover Article 3 provides that “ when adults or organisations make decisions which effect children, they must always think first about what would be best for the child’.

    • It is a child’s right to feel safe at all times, to be heard, listened to and taken seriously.
    • We have a pastoral responsibility towards the children in our care and should take all reasonable steps to ensure their welfare is safeguarded and their safety is preserved.
    • In any incident the child’s welfare must be paramount, this overrides all other considerations.
    • A proper balance must be struck between protecting children and respecting the rights and needs of parents and families; but where there is conflict the child’s interest must always come first.
    • To have in place a structure within the school which will provide a swift effective response to any incident of suspected or actual abuse.
    • To provide staff with a procedure for action in any case of suspected or actual child abuse.

3. Other Relevant Policies

The school has a duty to ensure that safeguarding permeates all activities and functions. This policy therefore complements and supports a range of other school policies including:

  • Behaviour Policy
  • Anti-Bullying policy
  • Special Educational Needs
  • Educational Visits
  • First Aid and the Administration of Medicines
  • Health and Safety Policy
  • Relationships Sex Education
  • Use of Mobile Phones/Cameras
  • ICT and access to the internet
  • Substance Abuse Drugs Policy

These policies are available to parents and any parent requiring a copy should contact

the school Principal or visit the school website at

4. School Safeguarding Team

The following are members of the schools Safeguarding Team

  • Designated Teacher.,                    Mrs J Muckian,
  • Deputy Designated Teachers,   Mr Declan Murray, Principal
  • Mr M Gallagher
  • Deputy Designated Person.       Mr Martin Mc Greevy, Student Support Officer
  • Designated Governor for Child Protection.Mr Ciaran Mackin
  • Chair of the Board of GovernorsRev Canon F Brown

5. Roles and Responsibilities

5.1 The Designated Teacher and Deputies

The designated teacher and deputies must:

  • Avail of training so that they are aware of duties, responsibilities and role.
  • Organise training for all staff (whole school training).
  • Lead in the development of the school’s Child Protection Policy.
  • Act as a point of contact for staff and parents.
  • Assist in the drafting and issuing of the summary of our Child Protection arrangements for parents.
  • Make referrals to Social Services Gateway team or PSNI Public Protection Unit where appropriate.
  • Liaise with the Education Authority, Southern Region Designated Officers for Child Protection.
  • Maintain records of all child protection concerns.
  • Provide written annual report to the Board of Governors regarding child protection.

5.2 The Principal

The Principal must ensure that: -

    • DENI 2017/04 is implemented within the school.
    • That a designated teacher and deputy are appointed.
    • That all staff receive child protection training.
    • That all necessary referrals are taken forward in the appropriate manner.
    • That the Chairman of the Board of Governors (and, when appropriate, the Board of Governors) is kept informed.
    • That child protection activities feature on the agenda of the Board of Governors meetings and termly updates & annual report are provided.
    • That the school child protection policy is reviewed annually and that parents and pupils receive a copy of this policy at least once every 2 years.
    • That confidentiality is paramount. Information should only be passed to the entire Board of Governors on a need to know basis.

5.3 The Designated Governor for Child Protection

The Designated Governor will provide the child protection lead in order to advise the Governors on:

    • The role of the designated teachers.
    • The content of Child Protection Policies.
    • The content of a code of conduct for adults within the school.
    • The content of the term updates and full Annual Designated Teachers Report.
    • Recruitment, selection and vetting of staff.

5.4 The Chair of the Board of Governors

The Chair of the Board of Governors must:

    • Ensure that a safeguarding ethos is maintained within the school environment.
    • Ensure that the school has a Child Protection Policy in place and that staff implement the policy.
    • Ensure that Governors undertake appropriate child protection and recruitment & selection training provided by the Education Authority Child Protection Support Service for Schools, the SELB Governor Support and Human Resource departments.
    • Ensure that a Designated Governor for Child Protection is appointed.
    • Assume lead responsibility for managing any complaint/allegation against the School Principal.
    • Ensure that the Board of Governors receive term updates and a full written annual report in relation to child protection activity.

5.5 The Board of Governors

Board of Governors must ensure that:

    • the school has a Child Protection Policy in place and that staff implement the policy
    • relevant Child Protection training is kept up-to-date by at least one governor and a record kept of the same.
    • confidentiality is paramount. Information should only be passed to an entire Board of Governors on a need-to-know basis.

5.6 Other Members of School Staff

Staff in school that sees children over long periods is in a position to notice physical,

behavioural and emotional indicators and hear allegations of abuse.

Remember the 5 Rs: Receive, Reassure, Respond, Record and Refer.

The member of staff must:

    • refer concerns to the Designated/Deputy Teacher/Person for Child Protection;
    • listen to what is being said without displaying shock or disbelief and support the child
    • act promptly
    • make a concise written record of a child’s disclosure using the actual words of the child (Appendix 1)
    • Avail of whole school training and relevant other training regarding safeguarding children
    • Not give children a guarantee of total confidentiality regarding their disclosures
    • Not investigate
    • Not ask leading questions

In addition, the Class Teacher should:

    • Keep the Designated Teacher informed about poor attendance and punctuality, poor presentation, changed or unusual behaviour, deterioration in educational progress, discussions with parents about concerns relating to their child, concerns about pupil abuse or serious bullying, concerns about home conditions including disclosures of domestic violence.

5.7 Parents


   Parents should play their part in child protection by:

    • telephoning the school on the morning of their child’s absence, or sending in a note on the child’s return to school, so as the school is reassured as to the child’s situation;
    • informing the school whenever anyone, other than themselves, intends to pick up the child after school;
    • letting the school know in advance if their child is going home to an address other than their own home;
    • familiarising themselves with the School’s Pastoral Care, Anti Bullying, Positive Behaviour, Internet and Child Protection Policies;
    • reporting to the office when they visit the school
    • raising concerns, they have in relation to their child with the school.

6. What Is Child Abuse?

The following definitions of child abuse are taken from the Area Child Protection Committees’ Regional Policy and Procedures (2005) and from “Co-operating to Safeguard Children and Young People in Northern Ireland 2016”

6.1 Definition of Abuse

Child abuse occurs when a child is neglected, harmed or not provided with proper care. Children may be abused in many settings, in a family, in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them or more rarely, by a stranger.  There are different types of abuse and a child may suffer more than one of them.  The procedures outlined in this document are intended to safeguard children who are at risk of significant harm because of abuse or neglect by a parent, carer or other with a duty of care towards a child.

6.2 Types of Abuse

Physical Abuse is the deliberate physical injury to a child, or the wilful or neglectful failure to prevent physical injury or suffering.  This may include hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, confinement to a room or cot, or inappropriately giving drugs to control behaviour.

Emotional Abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development.  It may involve conveying to a child that he is worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as he meets the needs of the other person.  It may involve causing a child to frequently feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of a child.  Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill-treatment of a child, though it may occur alone.  Domestic violence, adult mental health problems and parental substance misuse may expose a child to emotional abuse.

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s physical, emotional and/or psychological needs, likely to result in significant harm. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, failing to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment, lack of stimulation or lack of supervision.  It may also include non-organic failure to thrive (faltering growth).

Sexual Abuse involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities.  The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (for example, rape, or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing or touching outside clothing.  They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

Sexual Exploitation of Children and Young people. Child exploitation is a form of sexual abuse in which a person(s) exploits, coerces and manipulates a child or young person into engaging in some form of sexual activity in return for something the child needs or desires and/or for the gain of the person(s) perpetrating or facilitating the abuse. Consent cannot be given, even where a child may believe they are voluntarily engaging in sexual activity with the person who is exploiting them. Child exploitation doesn’t always involve physical contact and can happen on line. A significant number of children who are victims of sexual exploitation go missing from home, care and education at some point.

Domestic Abuse is “threatening” behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, verbal, sexual financial or emotional) inflicted on one person by another where they are or have been intimate partners or family members, irrespective or gender or sexual orientation and impacts on the health and wellbeing of the child or young person. It is now recognised that children who live in an atmosphere of domestic violence may be at risk. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse,

    • Psychological
    • Physical
    • Sexual
    • Financial
    • Emotional
    • Virtual

6.3 Children who display Sexually Harmful Behaviour

When abuse of a child is alleged to have been carried out by another child, the procedures outlined in section 7 of this policy will be followed. It is important in such situations to distinguish between behaviours which are experimental in nature and those that are exploitative and harmful. Advice and support will be sought in such circumstances from the Education Authority’s Officer for Child Protection and where appropriate a referral made to the statutory agencies. In all such cases a risk assessment will be undertaken and an individual support and safety plan identified. Appropriate services will also be provided for children involved. The above guidance follows,

DE Circular 2016/05 subject Children Who Display Harmful Sexualized Behaviour.

A child may suffer or be at risk of suffering from one or more types of abuse and abuse may take place on a single occasion or may occur repeatedly over time.

When we become aware of young people below the age of consent engaging in sexual activity the Designated Teacher has a duty to share this information with Social Services.

6.4 Signs and symptoms of abuse ~ Possible Indicators

Physical Abuse

Physical Indicators

Behavioural Indicators

Unexplained bruises – in various stages of healing – grip marks on arms;

slap marks; human bite marks; welts; bald spots; unexplained/untreated burns; especially cigarette burns (glove like); unexplained fractures; lacerations; or abrasions;

untreated injuries;

bruising on both sides of the ear – symmetrical bruising should be treated with suspicion; injuries occurring in a time pattern e.g. every Monday

Self destructive tendencies;

aggressive to other children;

behavioural extremes (withdrawn or aggressive);

appears frightened or cowed in presence of adults;

improbable excuses to explain injuries; chronic runaway;

uncomfortable with physical contact;

come to school early or stays last as if afraid to be at home;

clothing inappropriate to weather – to hide part of body; violent themes in art work or stories

Emotional Abuse

Physical Indicators Behavioural Indicators

Well below average in height and weight; “failing to thrive”;

poor hair and skin; alopecia;

swollen extremities i.e. icy cold and swollen hands and feet;

recurrent diarrhoea, wetting and soiling; sudden speech disorders;

signs of self mutilation;

signs of solvent abuse (e.g. mouth sores, smell of glue, drowsiness);

extremes of physical, mental and emotional development (e.g. anorexia, vomiting, stooping).

Apathy and dejection;

inappropriate emotional responses to painful situations;

rocking/head banging;

inability to play;

indifference to separation from family

indiscriminate attachment;

reluctance for parental liaison;

fear of new situation;

chronic runaway;

attention seeking/needing behaviour;

poor peer relationships.


Physical Indicators Behavioural Indicators

Looks very thin, poorly and sad;

constant hunger; lack of energy;

untreated medical problems;

special needs of child not being met;

constant tiredness; inappropriate dress;

poor hygiene;

repeatedly unwashed; smelly;

repeated accidents, especially burns.

Tired or listless (falls asleep in class);

steals food; compulsive eating;

begging from class friends;

withdrawn; lacks concentration;

misses school medicals;

reports that no carer is at home;

low self-esteem;

persistent non-attendance at school;

exposure to violence including unsuitable videos.

6.3 Signs and symptoms of abuse ~ Possible Indicators

Sexual Abuse

Physical Indicators Behavioural Indicators

Bruises, scratches, bite marks or other injuries to breasts, buttocks, lower abdomen or thighs;

bruises or bleeding in genital or anal areas;

torn, stained or bloody underclothes;

chronic ailments such as recurrent abdominal pains or headaches;

difficulty in walking or sitting;

frequent urinary infections;

avoidance of lessons especially PE, games, showers;

What the child tells you;

Withdrawn; chronic depression;

excessive sexual precociousness; seductiveness;

children having knowledge beyond their usual frame of reference e.g. young child who can describe details of adult sexuality; parent/child role reversal;

over concerned for siblings;

poor self esteem; self devaluation;

lack of confidence; peer problems;

lack of involvement;

massive weight change;

suicide attempts (especially adolescents); hysterical/angry outbursts;

lack of emotional control;

sudden school difficulties e.g. deterioration in school work or behaviour;

inappropriate sex play;

repeated attempts to run away from home; unusual or bizarre sexual themes in children’s art work or stories;

vulnerability to sexual and emotional exploitation; promiscuity;

exposure to pornographic material.

The following are guidelines for use by staff should a child disclose concerns of a child protection nature.

Do: Do not:

v  Listen to what the child says

v  Assure the child they are not at fault

v  Explain to the child that you cannot keep it a secret

v  Document exactly what the child says using his/her exact words

v  Remember not to promise the child confidentiality

v  Stay calm

v  Listen

v  Accept

v  Reassure

v  Explain what you are going to do

v  Record accurately

v  Seek support for yourself

v  Ask leading questions.

v  Put words into the child’s mouth.

v  Ignore the child’s behaviour.

v  Remove any clothing.

v  Panic

v  Promise to keep secrets

v  Ask leading questions

v  Make the child repeat the story unnecessarily

v  Delay

v  Start to investigate

v  Do Nothing

7. Procedures for making complaints in relation to child abuse

7.1 How a Parent can make a Complaint

At St. Joseph’s Boys’ High School, we aim to work closely with the parents/guardians in supporting all aspects of the child’s development and well-being. Any concerns a parent may have will be taken seriously and dealt with in a professional manner. If a parent has a concern they can talk to the class teacher or the Principal/Designated teacher/person for child protection. If they are still concerned they may talk to the Chair of the Board of Governors or the ombudsman. At any time, a parent may talk to a social worker in the local Gateway team or to the PSNI Public Protection Unit. Details of who to contact are shown in the flowchart in Appendix 2.

7.2 Where the school has concerns or has been given information about possible abuse by someone other than a member of the school staff including volunteers

Where staff become aware of concerns or is approached by a child they should not investigate – this is a matter for Social Services – but should report these concerns immediately to the designated teacher and full notes should be made. These notes or records should be factual, objective and include what was seen, said, heard or reported. They should include details of the place and time and who was present and should be given to the designated teacher. The person who reports the incident must treat the matter in confidence.

The designated teacher will decide whether in the best interest of the child the matter needs to be referred to Social Services. If there are concerns that the child may be at risk, the school is obliged to make a referral. Unless there are concerns that a parent may be the possible abuser, the parent will be informed immediately.

The designated teacher may consult with the Education Authority Designated Officer for Child Protection or Social Services Gateway Team before a referral is made. During consultation with the Designated Officer the child’s details will be shared. No decision to refer a case to Social Services will be made without the fullest consideration and on appropriate advice. The safety of the child is our prime priority.

Where there are concerns about possible abuse and a referral needs to be made the designated teacher will telephone Social Services Gateway Team. He will also notify the Education Authority Designated Officer for Child Protection. A UNOCINI (Understanding the Needs of Children in Northern Ireland) referral form will also be completed and forwarded to the Gateway team.

If the Principal has concerns that a child may be at immediate risk from a volunteer, the services of the volunteer will be terminated immediately.

This procedure with names and contact numbers is shown in Appendix 3.

7.3 Where a complaint has been made about possible abuse by a member of the school’s staff 

If a complaint about possible child abuse is made against a member of staff, the Principal {or Designated teacher if he is not available) must be informed immediately. The above procedures will apply (unless the complaint is about the Principal/Designated teacher)

If a complaint is made against the Principal the Designated Teacher will inform the Chairperson of The Board of Governors who will ensure that necessary action is taken.

Where the matter is referred to Social Services the member of staff may be removed from duties involving direct contact with pupils (and may be suspended from duty as a precautionary measure pending investigation by the appropriate authorities). The Chairman of the Board of Governors will be informed immediately.

Child Protection Procedures as outlined in Appendix 4 will be followed in keeping with current Department of Education guidance.

8. Attendance at Child Protection Case Conferences and Core Group Meetings

The Designated Teacher/Deputy Designated Teacher/Person or Principal may be invited to attend an initial and review Child Protection Case Conferences and/or core group meetings convened by the Health & Social Care Trust. They will provide a written report which will be compiled following consultation with relevant staff. Feedback will be given to staff under the ‘need to know ’principle on a case-by-case basis. Children whose names are on the Child Protection register will be monitored and supported in accordance with the child protection plan.

9. Confidentiality and Information Sharing

Information given to members of staff about possible child abuse cannot be held “in confidence”. In the interests of the child, staff have a responsibility to share relevant information about the protection of children with other professionals particularly the investigative agencies. Where abuse is suspected schools have a legal duty to refer to the Statutory Agencies. In keeping with the principle of confidentiality, the sharing of information with school staff will be on a ‘need to know’ basis. Should a child transfer to another school whilst there are current child protection concerns we will share these concerns with the Designated Teacher in the receiving school.

10. Record Keeping

All child protection records, information and confidential notes are kept in separate files in a locked drawer. These records are kept separate from any other file that is held on the child or young person and are only accessible by members of the school Safeguarding Team.

Should a child transfer to another school whilst there are current child protection concerns we will share these concerns with the Designated Teacher in the receiving school.

11. Vetting Procedures

All staff paid or unpaid who are appointed to positions in the School are vetted in accordance with relevant legislation and Departmental guidance.

12. Code of Conduct for all Staff Paid or Unpaid

All actions concerning children and young people must uphold the best interests of the young person as a primary consideration. Staff must always be mindful of the fact that they hold a position of trust, and that their behaviour towards the child and young people in their charge must be above reproach.

The school’s code of conduct is available on request.

13. Staff Training

St. Joseph’s Boys’ High School is committed to in-service training for its entire staff. Each member of staff will receive general training on Policy and Procedures with some members of staff receiving more specialist training in line with their roles and responsibilities. All staff will receive basic child protection awareness training and annual refresher training. The Designated Teacher/Deputy Designated Teacher/Person, Chair of the Board of Governors and Designated Governor for Child Protection will also attend relevant child protection training courses provided by the Child Protection Support service for Schools.

When new staff or volunteers start at the school they are briefed on the school’s Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct and given copies of these policies.

14. The Preventative Curriculum

Throughout the school year child protection issues are addressed through class assemblies and there is a permanent child protection notice board in the main corridor and relevant information in each resource area, which provides advice and displays child helpline numbers. A flow diagram for how a parent may make a complaint is also on display. An enlarged flow diagram for a complaint against a member of staff is in the staff room.

Other initiatives which address child protection and safety issues:

    • E-Safety Talks
    • Drug and Alcohol Education
    • Safeguarding Assemblies
    • Anti- Bullying Presentations
    • P.D.M.U. Topics
    • Road Safety / Fireworks

The school uses a range of external agencies for support and guidance including Education Welfare Office, Pupil Personal Development Services, Education Psychologists, Behaviour Support Team, Newry Adolescent Partnership, CAMHS, CAPS, YPP, Just Ask, Kinnego Outreach Centre, School Counselling Services and PSNI.

In addition, visitors to the school must report to Reception Desk, sign in and out on the booklet supplied and wear a Visitor Badge while on the premises.

Safeguarding Team photographs are displayed in all classrooms, corridors and school canteen.

15. Monitoring and Evaluation

The safeguarding team in St. Joseph’s Boys’ High School will update this Policy and procedures in the light of any further guidance and legislation as necessary and review it annually. The Board of Governors will also monitor child protection activity and the implementation of the child protection policy on a regular basis through the provision of reports from the Designated Teacher.  

On-going evaluation will ensure the effectiveness of the Policy.

Date Policy Reviewed:                                                                                              


______________________                            (Designated Teacher

                        ______________________                (Chair of Board of Governors)

Appendix 1

St. Joseph’s Boys’ High School



Name of Pupil:

Year Group:

Date, time of incident /disclosure:

Circumstances of incident /disclosure:

Nature and description of concerns:

Parties involved, including any witnesses to an event and what was said or done and by whom:

Action taken at the time:

Details of any advice sought, from whom and when:

Any further action taken:

Written report passed to Designated Teacher:                                                 Yes           No     

If “No” state reason

Date and time of report to Designated Teacher:                                            

Written note from staff member placed on pupil’s Child Protection file             Yes           No     

If “No” state reason

Name of Person completing the report:                                                                              




Signature of Designated Teacher: ____________________________________________

Date: _________________________________

* Record actual words used by the child/young person

Appendix 2

How a Parent can make a Complaint?


If I am still concerned, I can talk/write to the

Chairman of the Board of Governors,

Rev Canon F Brown

NI Public Services Ombudsman

(Name inserted)


If I am still concerned, I can contact the

NI Public Ombudsman

                        Tel 0800 343 424


At any time, a parent can talk to a social worker at the

Gateway Team Tel: 0800 7837 745 free phone from Landline

                                                                      or the

PSNI Public Protection Unit Tel :010 and ask for PPU in “E” District

Appendix 3

Procedure where the School has concerns, or has been given information, about possible abuse by someone other than a member of staff


Member of staff completes the Note of Concern on what has been observed or shared and must


Source of concern is notified that the school will follow up appropriately on the issue raised.



Southern Health & Social Care Trust

Gateway Team 02830825000

PSNI Public Protection Unit

Tel: 028 9025 9299

Regional “Out of Hours”

                  Social Work Service

Tel: 02895049999



Staff member discusses concerns with the Designated Teacher or Deputy Designated Teachers in his/her absence and provides note of concern

Designated teacher should consult with the Principal or other relevant staff before deciding upon action to be taken, always taking care to avoid undue delay.

If required advice may be sought from a CPSS officer.


Child Protection referral is not required

School may consider other options including monitoring the situation within an agreed timescale; signposting or referring the child/parent/carer to appropriate support services such as the Children’s Services Gateway Team or local Family Support Hub with parental consent, and child/young person’s consent (where appropriate)

Where appropriate the source of the concern will be informed as to the action taken. The Designated Teacher will maintain a written record of all decisions and actions taken and ensure that this record is appropriately and securely stored.

Appendix 4

                    Dealing with Allegations of abuse Against a member of Staff


Key Points

Lead individual learns of an allegation against a member of staff and informs the Chair/Vice Chair of BoG as appropriate.

It is                


Guidance on the Next Steps

Lead individual then establishes the facts, seeks advice from the key agencies as appropriate, usually through informal discussion





Possible Outcomes

Following on from establishing the facts, seeking advice from Key Agencies and discussion with the Chair and / or BoG to agree a way forward from the options below.


Precautionary suspension is not appropriate and the matter is concluded
Precautionary suspension under Child Protection procedures imposed
Alternatives to precautionary suspension imposed

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20 Armagh Road
BT35 6DH
Tel: (028) 3026 2595
Fax: (028) 3026 4420


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