Posted by Schooldays Newshound, on 22/01/2019. Tags: Teachers Education And Politics
Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. has announced additional safeguards for child protection in schools with the introduction of specialised child protection inspections.
The new Child Protection and Safeguarding Inspections will begin in February 2019 by the Department’s Inspectorate as promised in the Government’s Action Plan for Education 2018.
Minister McHugh said: “These new Child Protection and Safeguarding Inspections will be carried out in a sample of schools around the country every year. These focused and in-depth inspections will look at how school boards and staff are fulfilling their legal responsibilities in relation to the protection and safeguarding of our children.”
Mandatory reporting of child protection concerns by teachers and greater oversight of child protection arrangements in schools were among a range of changes that came into effect with the introduction of new Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools in December 2017. Matching changes to inspection arrangements also began to be rolled out in 2018, and the new Child Protection and Safeguarding Inspections are a further step to monitor child protection in schools.
Minister McHugh said: “The new inspections will strengthen our child protection systems even more. They will provide another level of reassurance and they will help to guide and direct schools in relation to meeting their child protection obligations.”
Minister McHugh noted how the new Child Protection and Safeguarding Inspections were developed through an extensive research and consultation process with the education partners and other interested stakeholders including the Office of the Ombudsman for Children.
Minister McHugh said: “I want to thank schools that took part in trial inspections. They showed that schools take their responsibilities for child protection very seriously.
“The new inspections are an important way of promoting improvement in the implementation of child protection procedures by schools; they are also designed to promote best practice in school leadership as it relates to child protection.
“I have listened to what schools, principals and management bodies are saying, particularly in relation to their requirements on record-keeping and reporting and the supports they need in order to implement child protection procedures. I am pleased to say that:
The Parents and Learners’ Unit of my Department has provided a suite of templates to help schools and boards to fulfil their record-keeping and reporting obligations under the 2017 Procedures
The Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) and the Inspectorate are working closely together to promote best practice among schools in relation to child protection
The Inspectorate is providing a series of regional seminars on the new Child Protection and Safeguarding Inspections for primary and post-primary school principals over the coming weeks and is planning further briefings on the new inspections during May and June 2019. The Inspectorate will also present at conferences of a number of education partners. It is expected that more than 3,000 principals will have attended briefing sessions on the new inspections by the end of June this year.
Read more about what happens during a Child Protection and Safeguarding Inspection here