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Staff and Visitor Code of Conduct

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St Patrick’s Primary School and Magheradroll Nursery Unit

 

CODE OF CONDUCT FOR STAFF, VISITORS AND ANYONE WORKING WITH CHILDREN

RATIONALE

All those working with children in St Patrick’s P.S. and Magheradroll Nursery must always be mindful of the fact that they hold a position of trust and that their behaviour towards the children in their charge must be above reproach. School staff and Volunteers must always remember that they are role models and therefore must adhere to behaviour that sets a good example to the pupils within the school and nursery. As a member of the school community each person has an individual responsibility to maintain their reputation and the reputation of the school, whether inside or outside working hours. They must maintain high standards of honesty and integrity at all times.

This Code of Conduct applies to all staff and volunteers of the school and/or nursery. It is not intended to discourage the positive interaction between those working in the settings and pupils but to assist them in respect of the complex issue of child abuse, by drawing attention to the areas of risk and by offering guidance on appropriate conduct.

SAFEGUARDING PUPILS

This policy complements our Safeguarding and Child Protection Policies and all persons working with children in our settings should be familiar with the procedures for recording and addressing safeguarding issues. It is their duty to report concerns about a pupil or colleague to a member of the Safeguarding team (Mr Caughey, Designated Teacher, Miss Grant, Deputy Designated Teacher, Mrs Magee, Deputy Designated Teacher, Mr Coulter, Principal).

USE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Staff and volunteers should be familiar with our ICT and Online Safety Policy. It is in compliance with Acceptable Use of the Internet and Digital Technologies in Schools (DENI Circular 2007/1 – 18 June 2007), Effective Use of Mobile Technologies (DENI Circular 2016/26) and On-line Safety (DENI Circular 2016/27).

Staff should not attempt to establish an inappropriate relationship which might include:

  • Communication of a personal nature
  • Inappropriate dialogue through the internet
  • The sending of emails or text messages of an inappropriate nature

Staff should be extremely careful in their use of social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and any other web based presence they may have, including written content, videos, or photographs, and view expressed either directly or indirectly by ‘liking’ certain pages or posts of others. Contact with students should only be through school authorised mechanisms. At no time should personal contacts be used to communicate with a pupil. Staff relationships with children should at all times remain professional. It is worth bearing in mind that on such sites inappropriate or even misconstrued communication may have the potential to impact upon careers or even result in criminal investigation. If staff are using social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter etc. they should not make any references to the Nursery or school or anyone who attends or works there.

In addition staff should bear in mind who may access their profiles on such websites and should therefore take care as to the information they display about themselves and their personal lives. They should also ensure that they have installed and are using the appropriate privacy settings.

Staff should not make, view or access illegal or inappropriate images of children.

PRIVATE MEETINGS WITH PUPILS

It is recognised that there will be occasions when confidential interviews must take place, but staff should be aware of the dangers which may arise from private interviews with individual pupils.

When such interviews are taking place, staff should:

  • Conduct the interview in a room with visual access or with the door open
  • Ensure another adult knows the meeting is taking place if above conditions cannot apply.
  • Have another pupil or preferably another adult nearby
  • Not use a sign prohibiting entry to the interview room
  • Not make unnecessary physical contact with the pupil
  • Never touch a child who has made it clear that he/she is, or would be, uncomfortable with such contact, unless it is necessary to protect the child, others or property from harm. (See Safe Handling and Reasonable Force Policy)

There may be occasions when a distressed child needs comfort and reassurance which may include physical comforting such as a caring parent would give. Staff should use discretion and not feel inhibited from providing this.

  • When administering first aid to a pupil, ensure as far as possible that this is done in the presence of other adults or children. However, no member of staff should hesitate to provide first aid in an emergency simply because another person is not present.
  • Physical punishment is illegal, as is any form of physical response to misbehaviour, unless it is by way of necessary restraint. (Article 4 of Education (Northern Ireland) Order 1998.
  • Any physical contact which would be likely to be misinterpreted by the pupil, parent or other casual observer should be avoided.
  • Following an incident where a member of staff feels that his/her actions have been misconstrued, a written report of the incident should be submitted to the Principal.
  • Staff should be particularly careful when supervising pupils in a residential setting or in approved out of school activities, where more informal relationships tend to be usual and where staff’s proximity to pupils may be very different from the normal school environment.
  • Staff should avoid any occasion where they would find themselves alone with a child in a closed room.
  • Staff are not permitted to conduct private tutoring on school premises.

CHOICE AND USE OF TEACHING MATERIALS

Teachers should avoid teaching materials which might be misinterpreted.

When using teaching materials of a sensitive nature, teachers should be aware of the danger that their application, either by pupils or teacher, might after the event be criticised.

If in doubt about the appropriateness of a particular teaching aid, always consult with the Principal before its use.

RELATIONSHIPS AND ATTITUDES

Within the Pastoral Care Policies of the school and the employing authority, staff should take care that their conduct does not give rise to comment or speculation and ensure that their relationships with pupils, parents/carers and colleagues are professional at all times. Pupils should be treated with dignity and respect and interactions with them should be appropriate to the age, maturity and gender.

USE OF MOBILE PHONES

It is preferred that children do not bring mobile phones to school or school related activities. However, should a parent feel that it is necessary for their child to carry a mobile phone they should inform the Principal.

Use of mobile phones by staff for calls or text messaging is restricted to outside the classroom and phones must be either turned off or kept on silent mode during class hours.

Personal mobile phones, camcorders, ipads or any other recording device must not be used to photograph or record children either in school or during a school related activity.

Staff may use their own mobile phone for school related calls in the case of an emergency whilst on an educational visit. Only calls will be made, as any photographs or recordings will be taken using the school cameras/camcorders/ipads.

USE OF IMAGES OF CHILDREN

On occasions the school and nursery will use photographs of children or their work on the school/nursery website or in other publications. It is policy that pupil names may accompany photographs but only after written permission has been given by the parent/guardian.

IMPLEMENTATON AND MONITORING

Conduct relating to Safeguarding is monitored by the Safeguarding Team, this includes reporting of concerns, record keeping, implementation of the Safeguarding Policy and implementation of the Intimate Care Policy.

Conduct of Staff will be monitored by the Principal who will report to the Chairperson of the Board of Governors.