Introduction

This policy document has been formulated by the staff and management of Scoil Chiarain.

 

Rationale

While the school is no longer required to register with the Data Protection Agency, this policy is designed to clarify the school’s procedures in safeguarding information relating to pupils and staff.

This policy outlines the responsibilities of school personnel in relation to personal and confidential information held within the school. All staff should be aware of the rights and responsibilities of all members of the school community and are required to adhere to this policy.

Our school holds information relating to each child and staff member. While the information is held for valid reasons, it is important that members of the school community know what is held on file, how this information is used and safeguarded and who has access to this information.

 

Policy Content

Within the School

Student Files

  • Students are referred to our school by psychologists following assessment and a copy of the assessment is provided to outline the special educational needs of the child. A file is then started and all further correspondence with parents, schools and other professionals is kept in this file. Initially students are waitlisted for consideration and the file is kept in the locked cabinet in the Principal’s office.
  • When parents accept a place for their child in the school, they are asked to sign a permission letter, allowing access to this file for all professionals working with the child. Additional information is sought from parents relating to medical conditions, religion and other personal information relating to the child at the time of registration.
  • Applications for resources – teaching staff, SNA support and transport – must be made to the NCSE and personal information & details of each child’s special needs must be outlined. These forms are completed by the principal and signed by parents.
  • When a child enrols in the school, their file is transferred to the main office filing system, which is kept locked. Access is through the secretary. No files may be removed from the school building and must be returned to the secretary by the end of the day.
  • While school staff have access to files relating to their own students, no copies should be made for class files without prior permission from the Principal.
  • Parents may at any time request access to their child’s file. The Principal will facilitate this. Copies of reports will be made for parents if they request this.
  • School files are also made available to the SENO as part of the review process each year. The SENO will be made aware of our Data Protection Policy and requested to comply with same.
  • Medical details are kept in a special medical file in the secretary’s office. This is available at times of medical emergency to provide quick access to parents’ telephone numbers, medical details and information relevant to medical staff. This information is brought to hospital if a child needs to attend in an emergency.
  • If a child is not enrolled in the school, their details may be kept on a waiting list for future consideration or will be shredded when no longer under active consideration.

 

Staff Files

  • When staff members apply for a position in Scoil Chiarain, they provide personal details, CV and Teaching Council Registration details. This information is used to select candidates for interview.
  • Following interview, the successful candidate’s details form the basis for their staff file. Future correspondence relating to the staff member will also be held in this file which is kept in a locked cabinet by the school secretary. Staff members can access their file at any time through the school secretary.
  • Unsuccessful candidates details may be retained for 4 months to be used if any futher vacancies arise, as per DES guidelines. Within that 4 month period, it is not necessary to re-advertise a position.
  • After the 4 month period, all files relating to unsuccessful candidates are shredded.

 

Confidential Files

  • The school Principal, as Designated Liaison Person for Scoil Chiarain maintains Confidential Files in the office in a locked cabinet. The Deputy DLP has access to these files also.
  • These files relate to Child Protection Issues. These are only available on a need-to-know basis to school staff. A tag is placed on the front of the general student file to indicate that additional confidential information is available from the principal.
  • These files contain copies of reports made to HSE and minutes of Child Protection Conferences / Family Welfare Conferences. These are not available to parents. Guardians or parents wishing to access these files will be referred to the authors.
  • Personal details relating to individual children and families are made available to HSE social workers and Gardai when reporting concerns to these agencies, as required in Child Protection protocols. Where it is safe to do so, the parents are informed that a report is being made and are made aware of the concerns raised, in line with our Child Protection Policy.
  • Information contained in these files is confidential and all staff are required to respect this.

 

Class Files

  • Each child has a class file which contains their Individual Education Plan and progress records. This is designed to facilitate teacher recording of progress. This file is maintained in a green folder and is kept in a secure place where the class team have constant access.
  • At the end of each year, this file is passed to the new teacher to assist with future planning.
  • The contents of this file are transferred to the student’s file when they leave the school.

 

Computer Files

  • All computers should be password protected to ensure that any details relating to personal or pupil data is secure.
  • Staff are required to adhere to the school’s Acceptable Use Policy in relation to IT.
  • As with paper files, school staff should ensure that information is only maintained as long as necessary and is safeguarded from others.

 

Access to information

Many students are supported by other professionals outside the school and there are times when it is necessary to share information in the interest of supporting the child. Such requests for information are generally made in writing. The following policy was previously agreed by staff and ratified by the Board of Management in 2008.

 

Policy Document on Written Reports

A member of staff may write a report or be asked to write a report on a particular pupil or group of pupils for a number of reasons. The following guidelines should be kept in mind when writing reports:

  1. Keep it clear and concise – don’t be long winded or use a lot of jargon. 
  2. Keep it factual – the report should be professional and as objective as possible. 
  3. Give yourself time to write it – don’t try to rush it, better to read it again after a few hours, especially if it is a difficult task. 
  4. Consult your colleagues if you have any difficulty – they may have some helpful insights. 
  5. Give the original to the Principal and keep a copy for your files for future reference. 
  6. Be sure to sign and date all reports 
  7. Keep in mind that others may read this report some day and you may be asked to justify your opinion. 

The above applies to reports provided in writing (or orally) for parents,  care staff, foster parents and guardians as well as social workers and other health/education professionals.

Guidelines for dealing with requests from outside agencies for reports on individual pupils.

Do not engage in discussions about students over the telephone as the other party may be taking notes and misquote you at a later date. Reports should only be furnished in written form.

All requests should be notified to the Principal. All persons requesting reports verbally should be asked to refer to the Principal. Parental permission may be sought before releasing reports. Staff members should record all requests for reports and make notes of any conversation relating to such.

When the report is complete, it should be forwarded to the Principal who will then forward it to the appropriate agency.

The staff member should keep a copy of the report and a copy kept in the school records. A copy of the request (and parental permission where this applies) should also be kept on file and the reason why the report was sought. Parents have permission to access their child’s school file under the Freedom of Information legislation.

The Principal will have the discretion to bring any sensitive reports or requests to the Board of Management for their attention, advice or direction.

Ratification

These procedures are already in place within the school. The policy was circulated to staff on Tuesday 1st May 2012.

 

This policy was ratified by the Board of Management on

Signed:

Chairperson.

Latest News

28 January 2019

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