Health and Safety at Work (2019)

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:  

  1. Health and Safety Statement (2019)
  2. Anti-Harassment / Anti-Bullying Policy for Staff in RMDS (2012)
  3. RMDS policy on procedure in the event of an assault, verbal or physical on a member staff (2012)   
  4. RMDS Policy on Complaints / Allegations against teachers (2012)
  5. RMDS Policy on parent/teacher communication (2012)
  6. Critical Incident policy (2012)

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) (

Copies of the above are available online and in the school 

Board of Management RMDS

(Reviewed September 2018)

Ranelagh Multi-Denominational School

 Health and Safety Statement (Reviewed 2019)

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:  

  1. The design, provision and maintenance of all places in a condition that is safe and without risk to health.
  2. The design, provision and maintenance of a safe means of access to and from the school.
  3. The proper design, provision and maintenance of school equipment.
  4. The provision of systems of work that are planned, organized and maintained so as to be safe and without risk to health.
  5. The provision and maintenance of suitable protective clothing or equivalent as necessary to ensure the safety and health at work of its employees.
  6. The preparation and revision as necessary of adequate plans to be followed in emergencies e.g. fire drill, first aid etc.
  7. The safety and prevention of risk to health at work in connection with use of any article or substance.
  8. The provision and maintenance of facilities and arrangements for the welfare of employees at work.
  9. Obtaining where necessary, the services of a competent person for the purpose of ensuring the safety and health at work of its employees.
  10. The continuing updating of the Safety Statement.
  11. The provision of arrangements for consultation with employees on matters of health and safety.
  12. The provision of arrangements for the selection from amongst its employees of a safety representative.

Duties of Employees

It is the duty of every employee while at work:

  1. To take reasonable care for his/her own safety, health and welfare and that of any person who may be affected by his/her acts of omission while at work.
  2. To co-operate with his/her employer and any other person to such extent as will enable his/her employer or the other person to comply with any of the relevant statutory provisions.
  3. To use in such a manner so as to provide the protection intended, any suitable appliance, protective clothing, convenience, equipment or thing provided, (whether for his/her use alone or for use by him/her in common with others), for securing his/her safety, health or welfare while at work.
  4. Who is under medical supervision or on prescribed medication and who has been certified fit for work, to notify the Principal of any known side effect or temporary physical disability which could hinder their work performance and which may be a danger to either themselves or their fellow workers and pupils. 
  5. To report to the relevant Board of Management, without reasonable delay, any defects in the building or in equipment being used, which might endanger safety, health or welfare, of which he/she becomes aware.
  6. No person will intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse any appliance, protective clothing, convenience or other means or thing provided in pursuance of any of the relevant statutory provisions or otherwise, for securing safety, health or welfare of persons arising out of work activities.
  7. Employees will, by using available facilities and equipment provided, ensure that work practices are performed in the safest manner possible.
  8. Employees are not allowed to attend the premises or carry out duties whilst under the influence of illicit drugs or alcohol.
  9. Smoking is not allowed on the premises.

Consultation & Information

It is the policy of Ranelagh Multi-Denominational School and the RMDS School Age Childcare Service:

  • To give a copy of the Safety Statement to all present and future staff.
  • To ensure that any additional information or instructions regarding Health, Safety and Welfare at work   not contained in the document will be conveyed to all staff as it become available.
  • That Health, Safety and Welfare will form an integral part of any future staff training and development plans.


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.

General Hazards

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.

Drugs, Medications:

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:

  • Children with a contagious illness may not attend our facility. Please notify the Manager if child has an infectious or contagious illness.
  • If your child is sick and is taking prescribed medication, you must notify the manager (through text or phone call); if you want your child to take their medication during their time at our facility, please sign the medication book which is left in the secretary’s office. If this book has not been signed your child will not be able to take their medication. 
  • A member of staff will be with the child when medication is taken. 
  • Children should not keep their medication in their school bags.
  • Medication should be handed over to a member of staff or left in the office so that it can be put away for safe keeping.

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

Hot drinks should not be taken out of the staffroom when children are on the premises unless they are in lidded containers. 

Sound Pollution:


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.

Visual Display Units

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.

Infectious Diseases:

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.

Roof Terrace:

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). 

 Fire Drill:

It is the policy of Ranelagh Multi-Denominational School that:

  1. There is an adequate supply of fire extinguishers which deal with any type of fire.
  2. All fire equipment is identified and serviced.
  3. Regular fire drills take place, at a minimum once a term.
  4. The route taken will be on display in each classroom in the event of the regular class teacher being unavailable.
  5. Instruction is given in the use of fire extinguishers.
  6. Fire alarms are clearly marked.
  7. Signs will be clearly visible to ensure visitors are aware of exit doors.
  8. All electrical equipment be unplugged or turned off outside office hours and when offices are vacated for lengthy periods.
  9. An assembly area is designated outside the building – the grass triangle adjacent to the school.
  10. All staff leaving the building during school hours should let someone know – generally the secretary or the principal or leave a note if neither is available.
  11. The Principal and Deputy Principal will be responsible for fire drills and evacuation procedures during the school day. The Childcare manager will be responsible for fire drills during the afternoons and outside term when the service is in operation.  Fire drillls are recorded in the book in the secretary’s office 
  12. Each teacher/childcare staff member is responsible, in the event of an evacuation, for checking that all the children in their class/group have exited safely from the toilets and classroom and that the class/group roll book is brought out of the classroom.

RMDS Policy on First Aid:

Each classroom has a First Aid box. The contents of these boxes are as follows:

  • Arnica ointment
  • Antiseptic ointment
  • Disinfectant (Dettol / Savlon)
  • Cotton wool
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Plasters
  • Dressing strip
  • Disposable gloves
  • Scissors

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:

  • Selection of larger dressings
  • Selection of bandages including triangular bandage
  • Surgical tape
  • Safety pins
  • Tweezers
  • Waspeeze

It is the policy of RMDS that:

  1. Parents must inform the Principal of any allergies or medical conditions which a child may have.
  2. Disposable gloves must be used at all times when administering First Aid.
  3. Children are never permitted to administer First Aid to themselves. 
  4. All injuries in the yard should be brought to the attention of the teacher on duty.  The teacher may then send a child in for first aid with an SNA.
  5. Cuts will be washed and cleaned. 
  6. Bruising can be treated with Arnica.  
  7. Plasters should only be used where absolutely needed.  
  8. Icepacks and arnica can be used for bumps. Icepacks are stored in the freezer in the utility room and the small fridge in the staffroom.
  9. For any child who needs further treatment, parents will be contacted.  If no contact can be made within a reasonable time, the child will be taken to hospital, (Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin (Ph.4096100), or to the local Doctor, (The Belgrave Clinic Ph. 01 4975666) unless the school has been otherwise informed.
  10. All incidents must be recorded on Aladdin and copied into the accident book.  This is kept in the secretary’s office with the first aid box.
  11. Anything to do with teeth, facial cuts and bumps on the head should be reported immediately to the principal or deputy principal or in the case of the childcare service, the childcare manager.  
  12. It is the policy of RMDS that members of staff will be encouraged to attend a First Aid Course.
  13. If in doubt, seek advice from a colleague.

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.



William Connor  


(Board of Management, RMDS)

Appendix A

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:

  • Complying with safety, health and welfare legislation in the 2005 Act and other relevant legislation
  • Taking reasonable care to  protect his or her own safety, health and welfare and that of any other person who may be affected by his or her acts or omissions at work
  • Co-operating with his or her employer or any other person as necessary to assist that person in complying with safety, health and welfare legislation as appropriate
  • Taking account of the training and instructions provided by the Board of Management
  • Correctly using any article or substance and protective clothing and equipment provided for use at work or for his/her protection
  • Reporting a breach of safety, health and welfare legislation or any defect in the place of work, the systems of work or in any article or substance likely to endanger him or her or another person, which comes to his/her attention.

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: _________________________________


Anti-Harassment / Anti-Bullying Policy

For Staff in RMDS 

(Reviewed 2012)

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:

  1. All teaching staff
  2. All secretarial and ancillary staff
  3. All childcare staff
  4. All who have been invited onto the premises to help in the running of the school.

Definition of Sexual Harassment:

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:


  • Requests or demands for sexual favours
  • Suggestive remarks
  • Degrading abuse or insults
  • Jokes or tricks of a sexual nature


  • Displaying pornographic material at the workplace


  • Gesturing of a sexual nature
  • Unnecessary touching
  • Indecent exposure
  • Actual assault, up to rape
Definition of Bullying

Bullying at work has been defined as ‘repeated inappropriate behavior, direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, at the place orf work and/or in the course of employment, which could reasonably be regarded as undermining the individual’s right to dignity at work’. See Appendix 12 (Code of practice for employers and employees on the prevention and resolution of bullying at work. HAS (2007) (

Examples of bullying include:


  • Violent behaviour towards another person
  • Assaults or deliberate pushing or jostling of an individual
  • Persons damaging or interfering with the property of others

Non – Physical:

  • Aggressive behaviour by a manager, supervisor, subordinate, colleague or any individual connected, directly or indirectly to the organization that happens to be on site
  • Repeated verbal harassment
  • Hostility through sustained unfriendly contact or exclusion
  • Maligning or ridiculing of a person directly or to others
  • Unfair selection for difficult or unpleasant tasks
  • The use of jokes, songs or laughter as a form of ridicule
  • Continued and deliberate staring

Making a complaint of Sexual Harassment / Bullying

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

Deputy Principal

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:

  1. A written report to the Board of Management by the complainant or person authorized by the complainant, signed by the complainant.
  2. The complaint will be investigated with the minimum of delay as confidentially as possible by two individuals, (male and female), named by the Board.  Due respect shall be had for all parties involved.
  3. Both parties may be accompanied / represented at all meetings held.  Such meetings shall be recorded.
  4. Where the complaint is found to be substantiated, the extent and nature of the harassment/ bullying will determine the form of the disciplinary action to be taken e.g. Verbal warning,             Written warning,  Suspension from duties without pay, Suspension, Dismissal.
  5. Where the complainant is victimized as a result of invoking / participating in any aspect of the complaint procedure, then such behaviour will also be subject to disciplinary action.

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.



RMDS policy on procedure in the event of an assault, verbal or physical on a member of staff (2012)

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:

  1. The incident should be immediately reported to the principal teacher / other colleague / Chairperson of the Board of Management
  2. The details of the incident should be recorded in an incident book, kept for this purpose (available in the Principal’s office).
  3. Where necessary, immediate medical assistance should be sought
  4. The matter should be reported to the Gardaí, where appropriate.  This report would normally be made by the teacher who was assaulted
  5. The Board of Management should be notified of the incident and where necessary an emergency meeting of the board should take place.  The Board should notify its legal advisors of the assault. The Board’s insurance company should also be notified.
  6. Where the assault is by a pupil, the matter should be dealt with in accordance with the school’s Code of Behaviour. 
  7. Where the assault is committed by a parent / guardian, the parent / guardian should be immediately instructed in writing, not to make contact with the teacher / school, pending full consideration of the matter by the Board.  Subsequently, the Board should correspond with the parent / guardian stating:
  • That the Board considers the assault unacceptable
  • What action the Board intends to make
  • Outlining what pre-conditions should be met before access to the school is restored

RMDS Policy on Complaints/Allegations Against Employees  (2012):


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. 

Stage 1

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.

Stage 2

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.

Stage 3

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:

  1. a) supply the teacher with a copy of the written complaint; and
    b) arrange a meeting with the teacher and, where applicable, the principal teacher with a view to resolving the complaint. Such a meeting should take place within 10 days of receipt of the written complaint.

Stage 4

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:

  1. a) the teacher should be informed that the investigation is proceeding to the next stage;
    b) the teacher should be supplied with a copy of any written evidence in support of the complaint;
    c) the teacher should be requested to supply a written statement to the board in response to the complaint;
    c) the teacher should be afforded an opportunity to make a presentation of case to the board. The teacher would be entitled to be accompanied and assisted by a friend at any such meeting;
    d) the board may arrange a meeting with the complainant if it considers such to be required. The complainant would be entitled to be accompanied and assisted by a friend at any such meeting; and
    e) the meeting of the board of management referred to in (d) and (e) will take place with in 10 days of the meeting referred to in 3(b).

Stage 5

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 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).

Other Staff

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).

Parent / Teacher Communication (2012)

RMDS is committed to open and positive communication between the home and the school.  RMDS affirms the following rights of all its employees:

  1. The right to work in a safe, secure, disruption free environment and to be treated with due respect
  2. The right to decent conditions of service, to include fair pay, substitute cover for approved absences, lunch breaks free from supervision duties and access to a welfare service
  3. The right to appropriate support services to cater for the mental, physical and emotional needs of pupils
  4. The right to a career structure, job-sharing, career breaks and retirement at a reasonable age
  5. The right to well-structured, continuous in-service education and professional development under the auspices of a teacher’s council
  6. The right to professional support and advice from the Inspectorate of the Department of  Education
  7. The right to be a member of a Trade Union and to participate and be represented in negotiations on issues affecting education and working conditions
  8. The right to a private life and to hold one’s one religious, moral and ethical beliefs

Specific examination should be given to circumstances where staff are:

  • Working alone on the school premises
  • Working in an isolated part of the school premises
  • Engaged in out of class activities
  • Working with pupils with behavioural difficulties

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.

RMDS Critical Incident Policy (2012)

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

  • Principal Teacher
  • Deputy Principal 
  • Patron Chairperson
  • Board Chairperson 
  • PA Chairperson 
  • School Secretary 

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. 

Appendix 5

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:

  • instruct schools to follow a particular course of direction with regards to individuals complaint cases, or
  • to investigate individual complaints

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:

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:

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

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) 

Contact details:

 Workplace Relations Commission - Conciliation and Mediation Services

Lansdowne House

Lansdowne Road

Dublin 4

D04 A3A8

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

Ranelagh Multi-Denominational School,
Ranelagh Road,
Dublin 6.
T: +353 1 496 1722