The Board of Management of RMDS and the Management Committee of the RMDS School Age Childcare Service, in consultation with all the staff, agreed the following policies, procedures and codes of good practice to protect the safety and health of their employees.
This document contains:
Supporting documentation includes:
Appendix 1: Code of Practice on Sexual Harassment and Harassment at work (2012)
Appendix 2: DES Circular 61/17 regarding assaults on teachers
Appendix 3: Code of Professional Conduct for teachers (2nd Ed.) The Teaching Council (2016)
Appendix 4: DES Circular 48/18 regarding Disciplinary Procedures for Principals and Teachers
Appendix 5: DES Advice for Parents on making a complaint against a teacher
Appendix 6: Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2017)
Appendix 7: DES Circular 0081/17 regarding Child Protection
Appendix 8: DES Circular SNA 72/2011 regarding Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures for SNAs
Appendix 9: Critical incident management (NEPS, 2017)
Appendix 10: Management of Infectious Disease in Schools (Oct. 2014)
Appendix 11: Working Together Procedures and policies for positive staff relations
Appendix 12: Code of practice for employers and employees on the prevention and resolution of bullying at work. HSA (2007) (www.hse.ie)
Copies of the above are available online and in the school
Board of Management RMDS
(Reviewed September 2018)
Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005
Note: Read RMDS to include the RMDS School Age Childcare Service. The term ‘children’ in this document includes pupils of the school and those attending the RMDS School Age Childcare Service.
The main purpose of The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act (2005) is to make all work places safer and healthier. Employers must provide and maintain, in so far as is reasonably practicable, safe places of work; in addition, employers must provide their employees with information and training to ensure their health and safety. Specifically, employers must provide a written safety statement which specifies the manner in which the safety and health of workers will be secured. RMDS recognizes that their statutory obligation under legislation extends to children (pupils and those attending the childcare service) and to any person legitimately conducting school business and to the public while on the school premises.
The Act also confers responsibility on the employees, in so far as they are required to take care to avoid injury, to co-operate with the employer in matters of safety, to use any means provided for their protection and to report to the employer any dangerous work situation they may encounter.
This Safety Statement sets out the Health and Safety Policy of RMDS and sets out the means to achieve that policy. The objective of the statement is to endeavour to provide a safe and healthy work environment for all our employees and children and to meet our duties to members of the public with whom we come in contact. This statement also covers the RMDS School Age Childcare service. Ranelagh Multi-Denominational School (RMDS) will ensure that, in so far as is practicable, the highest standards of safety shall prevail and that, at a minimum, the provisions of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 1989 are applied.
When nominations to Boards of Management are being considered, the Health and Safety Act should be borne in mind and where possible, the Board should contain at least one member with skills in this area.
Ranelagh Multi-Denominational School, (RMDS), and the RMDSA School Age Childcare Service will ensure that arrangements are in place to select a member of staff (s) to act as Safety Representative(s). The Safety Representative will represent all employees on occupational health and safety matters. Paul Fairbrother represents the RMDS Staff and Caroline Carroll Percival the childcare staff. Paul Fairbrother has also been nominated as the Board of Management member with responsibility for this area. A Safety Committee may be established to monitor the implementation of the Safety and Health Policies of RMDS and the requirement under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005.
It is our intention to undertake regular reviews of this statement in light of experience, changes in legal requirements and operational changes. Management will also undertake to carry out regular safety audits and to report to staff. Records of accidents or ill-health will be monitored in order to ensure that any safety measures required can be put into place, wherever possible, to minimize the recurrence of such accidents and ill-health. A record book will be kept with the first aid box in the secretary’s office.
Duties of Employer
RMDS recognizes its duty as employer under the legislation to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable:
It is the duty of every employee while at work:
It is the policy of Ranelagh Multi-Denominational School and the RMDS School Age Childcare Service:
Hazards have been divided into two categories, those that can be rectified or minimized and those that cannot. Hazards that can be rectified or minimized will be dealt with as a matter of urgency. A maintenance book is passed around monthly for items that need repair. The Health and Safety representative will ensure that these matters are reported to the Board(s) and a nominated member will ensure that all rectifiable hazards are dealt with appropriately.
Hazards that cannot be rectified or minimized are termed general hazards. These are listed below and appropriate procedures to ensure compliance with the legislation are listed beside them.
Machinery, Kitchen Equipment and Electrical Appliances:
It is the policy of RMDS that Machinery, Kitchen Equipment and Electrical Appliances are used only by competent persons. Such appliances and equipment will be subject to regular maintenance checks. All staff are alerted to potential danger of scalding water from water heaters and hot taps.
It is the policy of R.M.D.S. that all chemicals, detergents etc., be stored in clearly identifiable containers bearing instructions and precautions for their use and kept in a locked area (the utility room). The protection provided is to be used when handling them. All flammable, toxic and corrosive substances must be kept in the locked press / utility room provided. All the above substances must be clearly and accurately labelled at all times.
It is the policy of R.M.D.S. that all medications, drugs etc., be kept in a specified Central First Aid Box, kept in the secretary’s office. During school time, no medication will be given by staff to children, with the following exception, in accordance with the Policy of Administration of Medicine:
If any child needs assistance with prescribed medicine during school hours, the parents must obtain authorisation from the Board of Management. This can be done by writing to the Board of Management, informing them of the medication required.
Nut allergy/ anaphylaxis:
In cases of anaphhylaxis or nut allergy, it is the responsibility of the parents/guardians to bring a labelled box, containing an information sheet with all necessary medicine, epi-pens etc. It is the responsibility of parents to update the medicine and ensure it is in date. The parent will show all the relevant staff at the start of each year how to administer the protocol and the epipen. There are no nuts signs around the school and our welcome booklet etc would highlight the no nuts rule at present this is no peanut butter, no nutella and no actual nuts. Further details can be found on
The policy on administration of medication in the RMDS School Age Childcare Service is below:
Polished or Wet Floors:
It is the policy of RMDS that washing of floors is conducted after school hours to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, elimination of danger of slipping. To this end, warning signs, regarding wet floors will be used. Attention is drawn to the fact that washing of floors will take place when extra-curricular activities and the RMDS School Age Childcare is in operation. Attention is drawn to the fact that the floor and stairs may be slippy on wet days. Coir matting is provided at the entrance to school, front and back, to minimize the risk of slipping.
Children are not allowed to bring drinks in bottled glass to school to minimize the risks of breakages and cuts.
Hot drinks should not be taken out of the staffroom when children are on the premises unless they are in lidded containers.
It is the policy of RMDS to minimize sound pollution. When people are working on the premises with drills or other loud implements, they must wear protective ear muffs. Where such work is taking place which constitutes any threat to Health and Safety, the school will be closed or the work will not take place during school hours.
Whiteboards and interactive screens have been installed in place of chalk boards, to minimize the levels of dust in the classrooms.
It is the policy of RMDS that the advice contained in the “Guidelines on the Safe Operation of Visual Display Units” issued by the Health and Safety Authority be carefully followed. Any up-to-date information regarding hazards relating to the use of VDU’s will be studied and recommendations and directives implemented.
RMDS follows the guidelines in the manual Management of Infectious Diseases in Schools (September 2013). It is RMDS policy to notify all infectious diseases. RMDS will endeavour to minimize the risk by adherence to sound principles of cleanliness and hygiene. Disposable gloves must be used for all first aid applications, cleaning jobs etc. Staff have been provided with separate toilets, with hot and cold water, a disposal unit, soap and hand drier and paper towels. Children have been provided with separate toilets for each class, hot and cold water and a hand drier and paper towels. Disposal units have been provided in the senior classes. There are separate toilets for members of the public and another with wheelchair access.
It is RMDS policy to keep the doors to the roof terrace locked at all times, except when in use by children accompanied by a member of staff. Staff passing through the area must ensure that doors are locked after them. To this end, a coded locking device has been installed. Children are not authorised to use this facility. Staff and children have been made aware of the potential hazard of the steel columns, which have been covered with protective wrap. When the roof terrace is in use, on windy days, the doors may slam shut – on such days staff should shut the doors closed and separate the corridor from the roof, as a precaution.
It is the policy of RMDS to use a key operated lift which is used only by authorized personnel. Children are not permitted to use the lift alone.
Doors and Windows:
A ‘keep left’ policy has been adopted in the school (with the exception of Rang 1 and the infant classes at lunchtime, when the policy is reversed). Precautionary notices in respect of safety matters are displayed at relevant points. A stepladder is available to each teacher as an aid in opening and closing windows in her/his classroom. The window in the Principal’s office should always be closed when children are in the yard. Staffs have been instructed to close all external doors when not in use, to prevent strangers accessing the building.
Storage areas in the GP room:
It is the policy of RMDS to keep the storage areas in the General Purpose Hall locked at all times; these areas are to be opened only by authorised personnel, who should use the hard hats provided.
A strong room has been provided for the safe keeping of valuable items and cash. The door must be kept locked at all times.
Movement around the school:
Members of staff ensure that children enter and leave the classrooms in an orderly way. Aisles should be kept clear of obstructions. The handrail should be held at all times going up or down the stairs. Attention is drawn to the fact that the internal stairs in the new extension is steep. There is a “Keep Left” code which applies to all corridors and stairs in the building. Staff should accompany children leaving the extension via the outside stairwell. Door release buttons should not be used by the children. Door codes should not be made available to the children
Outside in the yard:
All staff and pupils are familiar with the playtime policy and the Code of Behaviour. Children have been made aware of the possible risks from the concrete walls and seats in the yard. The ‘green area’ must not be used as a goalpost.
Visitors to the school:
It is the policy of RMDS that anyone who comes onto the school premises must identify themselves clearly to whoever answers the door, before gaining admittance to the school premises. Visitor are asked to “sign in” at the office. Access to employees is by consent. When the employee feels at risk from or threatened by a particular person on school property, this must be drawn to the Board of Management’s attention. The Board of Management will undertake to ensure that in such circumstances, all appropriate measures will be taken to protect employees. Such measures will include meetings by appointment, with or without witnesses and, in extreme circumstances, an injunction or barring order and any necessary legal steps (See RMDS Anti-Harassment/Anti-Bullying Policy for Staff).
It is the policy of Ranelagh Multi-Denominational School that:
Each classroom has a First Aid box. The contents of these boxes are as follows:
A central First Aid box is kept in the secretary’s office. This box contains supplies of all of the above materials in addition to the following:
It is the policy of RMDS that:
This policy is appended to all first aid boxes, to the noticeboard in the staffroom and in the school office.
Relevant phone numbers:
Emergency services: 999
Belgrave clinic: 01 4975666
Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children A+E: 01 4096100
Rathmines Garda Station: 01 6666700
Ranelagh Primary Health Care Team: 01 4986900
This policy was formally reviewed at the Board of Management meeting of 24th September 2018.
(Board of Management, RMDS)
RMDS Health and Safety Statement
Record of Receipt (2018/19)
The Board of Management is obliged, under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, to provide a safe and healthy school environment of staff, students and visitors to the school. In this regard, the Board of Management in co-operation with the school community has drawn up a safety statement, which is a written statement specifying how safety, health, and welfare is managed in this school. The safety statement will be reviewed and updated annually or more frequently if necessary.
Staff are reminded of the responsibilities of each employee under the Safety, Health and Welfare at work Act 2005 which include:
Each staff member is requested to sign the form below and return it to the Principal by: ______________
I have read and understood the safety statement for RMDS, dated: _______________
Signed by (staff member’s name) BLOCK CAPITALS: _________________________________
Signature: _________________________________ Date: _________________________________
For Staff in RMDS
The purpose of these guidelines is that staffs are treated with respect and dignity and that if any staff member is harassed, there is a grievance procedure in place. This policy is agreed between staff and Board of Management. See also Appendix 1, Code of Practice on Sexual Harassment and Harassment at work (2012).
Definition of Staff for the purpose of these guidelines includes:
Sexual Harassment means unwanted conduct of a sexual nature or other conduct based on a persons’ sex which affect the dignity of men and women at work. This can include unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct which is offensive and caused discomfort or humiliation to the individual concerned.
Examples of sexual harassment include:
Examples of bullying include:
Any person who comes within the definition of “staff” for the purposes of this document and who feels he/she has been or is being sexually harassed or bullied should ask the perpetrator to stop. If the above action is unsuccessful then the matter may be reported to:
The Principal/the Childcare Manager
Trade union representative
Member of the Board of Management.
Attempts will then be made to resolve the matter informally if possible. If informal resolution is impossible then the formal complaints procedure shall be followed:
No record of any complaint will be registered on an employee’s file unless the formal procedure outlined above has been invoked.
Where possible issues of sexual harassment / bullying are best dealt with, within the school. However, no aspect of this Policy affects any employees’ individual legal rights to take their complaint outside of the school.
THIS POLICY WILL BE SUBJECT TO PERIODIC REVIEW.
In the event of an assault on an employee, Circular 61/17 from the DES should be consulted. See Appendix 2. It is accepted that judgement will have to be exercised in each case; however the following steps should be followed:
All registered teachers are governed by the Code of Professional Conduct for teachers ((2nd Ed. 2012, The Teaching Council).
In 2009, the Department of Education and Skills, in consultation with Educate Together and the other primary management bodies published revised procedures in relation to professional competence and general disciplinary matters for teachers. The aim of this agreed procedure is to facilitate the resolution of difficulties where they may arise in an agreed and fair manner. This procedure also deals with parental complaints regarding teacher’s professional competence. Please refer to Circular 48/2018 (attached at Appendix 4).
In 1993, procedures were agreed between the teacher unions and the management bodies regarding parental complaints against teachers. The purpose of this procedure is to facilitate the resolution of difficulties where they may arise in an agreed and fair manner. The agreement lays out in five stages the process to be followed in progressing a complaint and the specific timescale to be followed at each stage. Please note this is a non-statutory procedure.
Only those complaints about teachers which are written and signed by parents/guardians of pupils may be investigated formally by the Board of Management, except where those complaints are deemed by the Board to be:
On matters of professional competence and which are to be referred to the Department of Education and Skills;
Frivolous or vexatious complaints and complaints which do not impinge on the work of a teacher in a school; or
Complaints in which either party has recourse to law or to another existing procedure.
Unwritten complaints, not in the above categories, may be processed informally as set out in Stage 1 of this procedure.
A parent/guardian who wishes to make a complaint should, unless there are local arrangements to the contrary, approach the class teacher with a view to resolving the complaint.
Where the parent/guardian is unable to resolve the complaint with the class teacher s/he should approach the principal with a view to resolving it.
If the complaint is still unresolved the parent/guardian should raise the matter with the chairperson of the board of management with a view to resolving it.
If the complaint is still unresolved and the parent/guardian wishes to pursue the matter further s/he should lodge the complaint in writing with the chairperson of the board of management.
The chairperson should bring the precise nature of the written complaint to the notice of the teacher and seek to resolve the matter between the parties within five days of receipt of the written complaint.
If the complaint is not resolved informally, the chairperson should, subject to the general authorisation of the board and except in those cases where the chairperson deems the particular authorisation of the board to be required:
If the complaint is still not resolved the chairperson should make a formal report to the board within 10 days of the meeting referred to in 3(b).
If the board considers that the complaint is not substantiated the teacher and the complainant should be so informed within three days of the board meeting.
If the board considers that the complaint is substantiated or that it warrants further investigation it proceeds as follows:
When the board has completed its investigation, the Chairperson should convey the decision of the board in writing to the teacher and the complainant within five days of the meeting of the board.
The decision of the board shall be final.
The Complaints Procedure shall be reviewed after three years.
Primary School Management or INTO may withdraw from this agreement having given the other party three months' notice of intention to do so.
In this agreement 'days' means school days.
The DES has published advice to parents on its website in relation to complaints (see www.education.ie) This is included as Appendix 5 of this document.
Allegations in respect of child abuse as defined in the Child Protection Guidelines for Primary and Post Primary schools should be addressed in the first instance under those guidelines. Please refer to DES Circular 0081/2017 (See Appendix 7).
Disciplinary and Grievance procedures for Special Needs Assistants were published in 2001 and are available as Circular 72/2011 (See Appendix 8).
Allegations in respect of child abuse as defined in the Child Protection Guidelines for Primary and Post Primary schools should be addressed in the first instance under those guidelines. Please refer to DES Circular 0081/2017 (See Appendix 7).
Contracts of employment have been issued to other non teaching staff which include procedures to be followed in the event of complaints / allegations.
Allegations in respect of child abuse as defined in the Child Protection Guidelines for Primary and Pos Primary schools should be addressed in the first instance under those guidelines. Please refer to DES Circular 0081/2017 (See Appendix 7).
RMDS is committed to open and positive communication between the home and the school. RMDS affirms the following rights of all its employees:
Specific examination should be given to circumstances where staff are:
In light of the above, parents/guardians who wish to have a consultation with a teacher should make an appointment via the school office. In urgent cases where a pre-arranged appointment is not appropriate, parents should report in the first instance to the school secretary. Parents/guardians may not approach class rooms directly during teaching time. Meetings should be on an “appointment only” basis, where the circumstances of a meeting are likely to provoke a confrontation. Where sensitive issues are the subject of discussion, arrangements should be made for conducting such interviews in privacy. It may be appropriate to have the Principal, Deputy Principal or where appropriate, another teacher, present at such meetings. Particular care should be taken to ensure that Parent / Teacher consultations do not take place within the hearing of other pupils / or parents.
What is a Critical Incident?
"A critical incident is any incident or sequence of events which overwhelms the normal coping mechanism of the school and disrupts the running of the school" (NEPS, 2008)
Critical Incident Management Team in RMDS
Critical Incident Management Plan
It is the policy of RMDS that the Critical Incident Management Team will meet in September each year. The purpose of meeting is to keep active and up-to-date the school’s readiness to respond to a critical incident. Proceedings/decisions taken at these meetings will be minuted and circulated. A copy of the minutes will be stored in the Critical Incident file in the principal’s office.
All members of the Critical Incident Management Team will be familiar with the following publications:
‘Responding to Critical Incidents: NEPS Guidelines and Resource Materials for Schools’. (DES) 2017
When Tragedy Strikes: Guidelines for effective critical incident management in schools (INTO, 2000)
Copies are available online and from the Principal.
DES guidance for parents of children in primary schools who wish to make a complaint about a teacher or other staff members of a school
This guidance note aims to generally inform parents about who they should contact to make a complaint against a teacher or other staff member of their child's school; as well as providing guidance on options they may choose to follow, likely timeframes involved and how they can appeal a decision of a school in relation to their child's education.
The guidance provided on this page does not apply to complaints in relation to actions or decisions by schools on allegations of child protection, suspensions, permanent exclusions, refusals to enrol and those decisions which may discriminate against a child. Guidance to parents on these issues is set out overleaf.
Making a Complaint
The 1998 Education Act provides the legal framework for the delivery of education to children through recognised schools. All recognised schools are legally owned by the school patrons or trustees; and managed by a school's boards of management which is also the employer of teachers in a school.
Accordingly, parents wishing to make a complaint against a teacher or school should contact the relevant school authorities. The complaint procedures adopted by most schools are those that have been agreed between the teacher unions and school management bodies. The details of these procedures for primary schools are attached in Appendix 1; and for post primary schools are attached in Appendix 2. These procedures lay out the stages to be followed in progressing a complaint and the specific timescale to be followed at each stage.
Under the 1998 Education Act, the Minister for Education and Skills provides funding and policy direction for schools. Neither the Minister nor the Department have legal powers to either:
While the Department does not pass judgment on individual complaints it can clarify for parents and pupils how their grievances and complaints against schools can be progressed. If you require any further clarification please contact Parents' and Learners' Section, Schools' Division, Department of Education and Skills, Cornamaddy, Athlone, Ph (090) 6484266, (090) 6484267, (090) 6484268, Fax (090) 648 4058
Appealing to the Ombudsman for Children
The Office of the Ombudsman for Children may independently investigate complaints about schools recognised with the Department of Education and Skills, provided the parent has firstly and fully followed the school’s complaints procedures. The key criterion for any intervention by the Ombudsman for Children is that a child has, or may have been negatively affected by the action of a school.
The office can be contacted at: Ombudsman for Children's Office, Millenium House, 52-56 Great Strand Street, Dublin 1, (Ph) 1800 20 20 40 or (01) 865 6800, E-mail: email@example.com
Complaints Relating to Child Protection or Allegations of Child Abuse
The Department of Education and Skills, (including staff of the Inspectorate or National Educational Psychological Service) does not investigate allegations of child abuse. Statutory responsibility for child protection rests with the Health Services Executive. Accordingly, the most expedient way of reporting a child abuse allegation is to contact the Child Care Manager of your local Health Service Executive Office.
Any allegation of child abuse received by staff in the Department is dealt with in accordance with the Department's Procedures for responding to allegations of Child Abuse brought to the attention of staff employed by the Department of Education and Skills. Under these procedures the Department does not pass judgment on the allegations brought to its attention and ensures that the details of the allegation available to the Department are immediately passed on to the relevant investigatory authorities, including the relevant school authorities, the Health Service Executive and/or An Gardaí. The Department cannot guarantee confidentiality to complainants alleging child abuse as the information it receives must be passed on to the relevant authorities for investigation, including any details of the person making the allegation.
Parents who are dissatisfied with how a school investigated a child abuse allegation should report this to the Health Service Executive and/or the Ombudsman for Children.
If you wish to report an allegation of child abuse to the Department of Education and Skills, contact: Parents' and Learners' Section, Schools' Division, Department of Education and Skills, Cornamaddy, Athlone, Ph (090) 648 4099, Fax (090) 648 4058. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Suspension, Permanent Exclusion or Refusal to Enrol
Parents can appeal a decision by a school's board of management to permanently exclude their child from its school, to suspend their child from attendance at its school for a total of 20 days in any school year, or to refuse to enrol their child. Under Section 29 of the 1998 Education Act parents may appeal these decisions by school authorities to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills. The appeal may be heard by a committee appointed by the Minister for Education and Skills for that purpose. Further information about Section 29 appeals, including the process and application forms can be obtained from the Department's website www.education.ie.
If you wish to make an appeal under Section 29 please contact: Section 29, Schools Division, Department of Education and Skills, Friars Mill Road, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, Phone 04493 37008, Fax 04493 37070.
Under the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2015 discrimination is unlawful on nine grounds: gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, membership of the Traveller community and race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin). If you feel that your child has been discriminated against in their education; and you have previously raised this matter with your school and remain unhappy with their response, you may refer the matter to: Workplace Relations Commission (WRC)
Workplace Relations Commission - Conciliation and Mediation Services
Tel: (01) 613 6700
Locall: 1890 22 02 27
Fax: (01) 613 6701
Further information about the complaints procedure and complaint forms can be obtained atwww.ihrec.ie