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 all.
This document contains:
Supporting documentation includes (not available online):
Appendix 1: Code of Practice on Sexual Harassment and Harassment at work (2012)
Appendix 2: DES Circular 40/97 regarding assaults on teachers
Appendix 3: Code of Professional Conduct for teachers (2nd Ed.) The Teaching Council (2012)
Appendix 4: DES Circular 60/09 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 (2011)
Appendix 7: DES Circular 0065/2011 regarding Child Protection
Appendix 8: DES Circular SNA 72/2011 regarding Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures for SNAs
Appendix 9: Critical incident management (NEPS, 2008)
Appendix 10: Management of Infectious Disease in Schools (HSE, 2013)
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. HSE (2007) (www.hse.ie)
Copies of the above are available in the school
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 Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act (2005), became effective on November 1st 1989. The main purpose of the Act 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, 2005 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, (R.M.D.S.), 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. Mary Clare Pigott represents the RMDS Staff and Caroline Carroll Percival the childcare staff. Paul Fairbrother has 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, 1989.
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.
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 R.M.D.S. 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 authorization from the Board of Management. This can be done by writing to the Board of Management, informing them of the medication required.
The policy on administration of medication in the RMDS School Age Childcare Service is below:
Polished or Wet Floors:
It is the policy of R.M.D.S. 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 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.
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 R.M.D.S. 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 have been installed in addition to chalk boards, to minimize the levels of dust in the classrooms.
Visual Display Units:
It is the policy of R.M.D.S. 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 Infection in school – A Manual for School Personnel (2007 edition). It is RMDS policy to notify all infectious diseases. R.M.D.S. 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 authorized 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 R.M.D.S. to keep the storage areas in the General Purpose Hall locked at all times; these areas are to be opened only by authorized 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 new 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 R.M.D.S. that anyone who comes onto the school premises must identify themselves clearly to whoever answers the door, before gaining admittance to the school premises. 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 Anti-Harassment Policy ).
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:
The purpose of these guidelines is that staff 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. Definition of Staff for the purpose of these guidelines includes:
a) All teaching staff
b) All secretarial and ancillary staff
c) All childcare staff d) All who have been invited onto the premises to help in the running of the school.
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:
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’. (Code of practice for employers and employees on the prevention and resolution of bullying at work. HSE(2007) www.hse.ie
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:
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:
In the event of an assault on an employee, Circular 40/97 from the DES should be consulted. 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 arise in an agreed and fair manner. This procedure also deals with parental complaints regarding teacher's professional competence. Please refer to DES Circular 60/2009.
In 1993, procedures were agreed between the teacher unions and the management bodies regarding parental complaints against teachers. The aim of this agreed procedure is to facilitate the resolution of difficulties where they may arise in an agreed and fair manner. The agreement lays out the process to be followed in 5 stages.
Please note that 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 when those complaints are deemed by the Board to be: On matters of professional competence and which are to be referred to the DES; Frivolous or vexatious complaints and complaints which do not impinge on the work of the teacher in school; or complaints in which either party has recourse to the law or another existing procedure. Unwritten complaints, not in the above categories may be processed informally as set out in Stage 1 of this procedure – See Appendix 4
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 0065/2011
SNAs Disciplinary and Grievance procedures for Special Needs Assistants were published in 2001 and are available as DES Circular 72/2001. 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 0065/2011.
Contracts of employment have been issued to non-teaching staff which include procedures to be followed in the event of complaints / allegations.
RMDS is committed to open and positive communication between the home and the school. The following statements should underpin communication:
Employees should have the following rights:
Specific examination should be given to circumstances where staff are:
(See INTO Publication – Guidance for Teachers)
In light of the above, parents/guardians who wish to have a consultation with a teacher should be encouraged to make a prior appointment via the school office. In urgent cases where a pre-arranged appointment is not appropriate, parents should be encouraged to report in the first instance to the school secretary / Principal. The practice of parents approaching class rooms directly during teaching time is discouraged. Specifically, 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.