Publications and guidance on child protection issues for schools

Training materials, publications and guidance to schools and those with responsibilities in child protection.

Publications on general child protection issues

This publication provides guidance to schools and others on their responsibilities in relation to child protection, including the action to be taken to enable cases of suspected abuse to be properly considered and pursued. It also includes guidance on how complaints against school staff should be handled. The contents do not constitute, or purport to be, an authorative interpretation of the law: that is exclusively a matter for others.

This handbook will assist school governors in fulfilling their statutory responsibilities regarding their safeguarding role, in order to promote consistency and clarity of approach across all schools.

These slides are part of training materials designed to help the Designated Teacher in each school raise awareness about safe guarding and child protection issues. They complement the Child Protection Safeguarding Children DVD that has already issued to all schools. The materials convey a key message that safeguarding and protecting children is everyone’s business.

The Department recognises that schools may occasionally wish to procure external training to support the teaching of sensitive subjects such as Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE).

To assist schools in selecting the provider that would best meet their needs, the Department has produced guidance which contains some useful advice for schools. Whilst the advice is couched in terms of CSE, the principles apply equally to training in other areas of child protection and safeguarding.

This guidance should be considered in conjunction with the wider DE guidance, ‘Safeguarding and Child Protection in Schools’ which includes more information on issues such as the handling of disclosure.

Circulars and letters - General child protection issues

This circular is to advise schools of the publication of the Department of Education’s guidance on child protection, “Safeguarding and Child Protection in Schools - A Guide for Schools”.

Record Keeping in Schools

This circular provides advice and guidance to schools on the recording and retention of child protection concerns.

Other circulars and letters

Circulars and letters - Safeguarding children and young people

This circular informs schools about the law on parental responsibility and provides advice on the action required by schools in respect of a person or persons who acquire parental responsibility for a pupil. This circular has been updated to reflect changes to the law brought in through the Adoption and Children Act (Northern Ireland) 2022.

Vetting of staff working in schools

This circular explains that from 1 April 2008 responsibility for undertaking criminal history background checks transferred from PSNI Criminal Records Office to an organisation called AccessNI. This circular sets out the process which all grant-aided schools must use to request pre-employment criminal history background checks on prospective employees, volunteers and school governors from that date. Other changes to apply from that date are covered in this circular.

The circular below recommends that all staff, paid or unpaid, in a school should have been subject to a criminal background check to ensure suitability to have access to children.

The circular below contains a schedule setting out the dates and the appropriate nominated officer.

This circular advises that from 1 September 2006 at least one school governor serving on an interview panel or committee established for the purpose of recruiting or selecting staff for appointment to a school should be trained in 'Child Protection and Recruitment and Selection'.

The circular below advises that from 1 September 2006 schools should employ as substitute teachers only those who are on the Northern Ireland Substitute Teachers Register.

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