The protection of our children is of paramount importance
Much work has and is currently taking place to bring about changes to law and practice in child protection to ensure all possible steps are taken to keep our children safe in our schools and elsewhere.
If you have concerns about a child, please follow the link below to find more information on the action you should take:
Vetting and Selection of Staff Working with Children & Young People
The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 introduces changes to the vetting requirements for people undertaking Regulated Activity in specified places of work such as schools. A new definition of Regulated Activity comes into force on 10 September 2012.
Regulated Activity is work that a barred person must not do. As a key part of changes to reduce the scope of Regulated Activity, the Protection of Freedoms Act removes from Regulated Activity, broadly, supervised work such as instructing or looking after children, which if unsupervised would be Regulated Activity.
The Department of Education has produced guidance (DE Circular 2012/19 English Version PDF 87 KB and DE Circular 2012/19 Irish Version PDF 93 KB), to which schools must have regard, to help them decide whether the supervision they plan to provide will take the supervised activity out of Regulated Activity.
Schools will be able to obtain an Enhanced Disclosure Certificate from AccessNI, but not check barred list status, for supervised work that is no longer Regulated Activity.
However, schools should note that pre-employment vetting remains a key preventative measure in denying unsuitable individuals access to children and vulnerable adults through unsupervised Regulated Activity.
Schools should continue to ensure that newly appointed paid staff such as teachers and non-teaching staff, including classroom assistants, office, catering, cleaning and caretaking staff are appropriately vetted in line with the practice and procedures operated by their employing authority and outlined in DE Circular 2013/01 Disclosure and Barring Arrangements: Vetting Requirements for Paid Staff Working in or Providing a Service for Schools PDF 103 KB (Irish version PDF 113 KB).
Child Protection Support Service for Schools (CPSSS)
The CPSSS came into operation in April 2006 following a review of the arrangements for providing child protection support and advice to schools. Each Education and Library Board has three designated officers for child protection working under the professional supervision of the Chief Education Welfare Officer. They provide advice and training for schools on child protection matters.
The CPSSS staff in the relevant Board areas can be contacted at:
Publications on the issue of safeguarding/child protection and guidance for schools can be found at: