1. A Critical Incident Management Plan



Adopted by the Board of Management May 2011


  1. Aim of Policy

What is a Critical Incident?

Procedure to be followed if an incident occurs 

  1. Liturgical Response
  2. Guidelines for teachers in handling the classroom situation
  3. Responding to Media.
  4. Sample letter to parents in the event of a tragedy.
  5. Sample letter to parents in the event of a tragedy requesting consent for involvement of outside professionals.
  6. Support Services and Contact Numbers
  7. Suggested Readings and Resources.


To enable the students of Ardscoil Mhuire, their parents/guardians and their staff to respond in a co-ordinated and sensitive manner to a critical incident.

What is a critical/traumatic incident?

Any incident or sequence of events, which overwhelm the normal coping mechanisms of the school and disrupt the running of the school, is a critical incident.


Given the uniqueness and individuality of each death and bereavement situation, it is possible only to have guidelines of how we, as a school community, should approach such a traumatic event.

  1. Establish a Critical Response Team consisting of Principal and Deputy Principal, Chaplain, Guidance Counsellor, Home School Liaison and Secretary.
  2. The role of this group is to co-ordinate the various aspects of the response required if an incident occurs. The majority of the staff would inevitably take on individual roles. These cannot be clearly identified at the outset; they will depend on the circumstances.

If an incident occurs:

The following guidelines, which we as a staff, aim to implement efficiently and sensitively in response to a critical incident.

  1. Confirm that the critical incident has occurred and establish the facts as accurately as possible.
  2. Convene the Critical Incident Team.
  3. Assemble and brief the staff with as much factual information as possible.
  4. Discuss the school routine for the first day. The advice is to try to maintain as far as possible a normal routine. This may not be possible for those students who were seriously affected by the incident.
  5. Furnish all teachers with the guidelines for dealing with the classroom situation.
  6. Designate two from the staff to contact the family/families concerned. Assure the family of the school’s support. Ensure the family knows who is the contact person with the school.
  7. Prepare a statement to be communicated to the students. Decide who communicates the information and how it will be communicated. Be aware of the year group/class group and friends – they all need special attention.
  8. Call on those teachers willing to assist students, those willing to supervise and those willing to provide an additional presence amongst the student body at break times.
  9. Inform Board of Management.
  10. Principal will deal with any media queries.
  11. Devise a process for dealing with telephone calls and visits from anxious parents.
  12. Have an up to date list of all local support services readily available.
  13. Review the school’s response to the critical incident and make any necessary changes to the plan.
  14. An appropriate liturgical response will be co-ordinated by the Chaplain and the RE teachers

In the event of the death of a current staff member or student:


  1. As a mark of respect to the bereaved family, the school will remain closed on the day of the funeral.
  2. Participation of students in the funeral (removal and burial) and the Liturgy will be decided on only after consultation with the family.
  3. Where appropriate plan a guard of honour, music, prayers, reflections and so on, with the family, chaplain, students and local clergy.
  4. Identify and confer with students who might participate in the liturgy.


The Critical incident team in consultation with the school community will decide on a suitable memorial.

Guidelines for handling the classroom situation

Before communicating with the class:

  1. The critical incident team will issue a statement of confirmed facts.
  2. The class and friends of the student who has died should be the first to be told by the Principal, with the Chaplain, Year Head, Tutor and Counsellor present. A room/space will be made available to this group. They will be encouraged and given time to express their feelings.  Tea/coffee will be available all day.
  3. The year group, of the student who has died, should be brought together and told by the Principal with Tutors, Year Head and Teachers present.
  4. Other classes to be told by their teachers or tutors.
  5. Not every class is going to be traumatised, some students may not have known the deceased, but it is important to acknowledge the loss for the whole school community.

Communicating with the class:

  1. Tell the class that you have sad news and that it is difficult for you to do this.
  2. Tell them the name of the student who has died.
  3. Read the statement from the School Response Team, using the deceased person’s name. It is important to prevent rumours.
  4. Say a prayer for the deceased and his/her family and have a moment’s silence.
  5. All students’ questions should be acknowledged. Questions about ‘Why’? or ‘How’? should be diverted. Do not get drawn into discussion. Refer to agreed statement at all times. Focus on remembering the person and the loss and pain of the survivors.
  6. Discuss normal grief reactions and what students might expect over the following days. Reassure students that shock, anger, guilt and tears are all part of normal response.
  7. Don’t use “I know how you feel” statements.
  8. Teacher should feel free to express his/her feelings appropriately.
  9. Encourage students to be supportive of each other and allow them to mingle and talk to one another in small groups. Teachers should be sensitive to the needs of the students but time given is at the discretion of the teacher.
  10. Advise students of the teachers who are available to them to help them deal with their fears and worries. Let them know that you will also support them. Counselling will be made available to the students.  Outside Bereavement Counselling, (Health Board, NEPS etc.,) may also be contacted and made available to students.  Teaching staff will also be given access to professional counselling.
  11. Don’t allow students to leave the classroom alone in a distressed state. Students must be supervised within the building while in a distressed state.
  12. Be attentive to identifying those who are not coping well and notify the School Response Team of vulnerable students. Individual students who are very distraught will be encouraged to speak to the school counsellor, chaplain or designated teacher.
  13. Parents/guardians of distressed students should be contacted and advised of the situation before the school day ends.

Returning to school after the funeral:

  1. On returning to school after the funeral teachers should be aware of how sensitive students will be to the empty chair recently occupied by their classmate and friend, to the student’s belongings which may still be in the room and so on. A helpful strategy might be to involve students in a discussion about what to do about the chair. This might also present an opportunity to move to a new phase in the process. Decision should be taken as to how best to return the deceased student’s belongings to the deceased’s family.  It might be an idea to put together a folder of the student’s work for the family.  This could be given at an appropriate time.  All members of staff should be informed of the decision taken.
  2. Students and teachers should be sensitive to any student on their return to school after bereavement. A timely reminder to classmates to treat their fellow student with consideration may help ease the student back into the school routine.
  3. Counselling will still be available to students on their return to school. Continued support will be available for the year group and any other student in the school who is affected by the bereavement. Every help will be given to the students to readjust to their studies and to come to terms with their loss and grief.
  4. Continue to observe students in the subsequent days and weeks and be sensitive to those who may need professional help. Consult with the team to discuss your concerns.

Responding to the media:

The following are some general guidelines for dealing with the media

  1. Designate one person to deal with the media, preferably the Principal.
  2. Prepare a written statement expressing sorrow at the student’s death and stating that it is a difficult time for the school community and for the deceased’s family. Ask that the privacy of the family be respected. State what the school is doing to support students and staff.
  3. Be co-operative and respectful but always talk as if everything you say is on record

Sample statement for the media:

It is with profound sadness that the management, staff and students of Ardscoil Mhuire have learned of the tragic death of ________________.

Our sincerest sympathy is extended to the family of _________________.

On hearing the tragic news the School’s Critical Incident Management Plan was put into immediate operation. The Critical Response Team convened a meeting to ensure that students affected by the loss are cared for adequately.

Procedures are in place to ensure that all in the School Community affected by this loss are given all the help they need to cope at this time.

The school is offering counselling and support for the students, parents and staff affected by this tragedy. Prayer services have been held with each class in the school to remember and pray for _________________.

Staff and students will attend and participate in the funeral service in consultation with the wishes of the family.

Our prayers and thoughts are with everyone affected by the tragedy.

Sample letter to Parents in the event of a tragedy:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

The school has experienced (sudden death, accidental injury) of one of our students. We are deeply saddened by the death/events.

(Brief details of the incident, and in the event of a death, perhaps some positive remembrances of the person).

We have support structures in place to help your child cope with this tragedy. (Elaborate).

It is possible that your child may have some feelings that she may like to discuss with you. You can help your child by taking time to listen and encourage her to express her feelings.  It is important to give her truthful information that is appropriate to her age.

If you would like advice or assistance you may contact the following people in the school. (Details)…

Yours sincerely,


Sample letter to Parents requesting consent of involvement of outside professionals:

Dear Parents,

Following the recent (tragedy, death of…. ) we have arranged professional support for students in school who need particular help. (Y), a psychologist, is available to help us with this work.  This support will usually consist of talking to children, either in small groups or on a one-to-one basis and offering reassurance and advice as appropriate.

Your daughter has been identified as one of the students who would benefit from meeting with the psychologist. If you would like her to receive this support please sign the attached permission slip and return it to  the school by ……………….

If you would like further information on the above or to talk to the psychologist, please indicate this on the slip or telephone the school.

Yours sincerely,


I/We consent to having our daughter meet a psychologist employed by the Minister of Education & Science.

I/We understand that my daughter may meet the psychologist in small group sessions or as an individual depending on the arrangements which are thought to be most appropriate.

Name of Student …………………………. Class/Year ……………

Date of Birth: ………………………………..

I would like my daughter …………………. to avail of the support being offered by the psychologist.

Signed ………………………………………….. (Parent/Guardian)

Support services and contact numbers:

  1. Western Health Board Regional Information Helpline:        1890 204 424
  2.  National Educational Psychological Services (NEPS) 091 500000 Mr Frank Kavanagh: 087 6501692
  3. WHB Adult Counselling Services : 1800234114
  4. Psychological Services, Galway : 091 523122
  5. Helen Greally, Clinical Psychologist, Galway : 091 524222
  6. Mary O’Sullivan, Resource Officer, Suicide Prevention:       091 548360.
  7. Edel O’Donnell, Health Promotion Officer, Galway               091 548419.
  8. Childline: 1800 666666
  9. Parentline: 1890 927277
  10. Aware; 1890 303302
  11. Samaritans:1850 609090
  12. Rainbows: 01 4734175
  13. Bereavement Counselling Service: 016767727
  14. Gardai: 090 9631890
  15. Hospitals: Portiuncula: 9642140 UHG: 091  524222
  16. Clergy: Presbytery: Ballinasloe: 9643916

Fr. Garvey:     090 9643916

  1. Dept. of foreign Affairs: 01 4780822
  2. Emerald Ballroom: 090 9644390
  3. Civil Defence: Tom Connaughton 086 1733734
  4. Fire Brigade 090 9642272
  5. Chairperson of Parents Association
  6. Duty Social Worker: 090 9646200        086 8095235
  7. Critical Incident Team: Patricia kilgallen    Lilian Hynes   Damien Johnston Breda Conneely   Fr. Garvey            090 9643916






2.  Acceptable Use Policy for the use of Information Communication Technology and the Internet 

Ardscoil Mhuire, Mackney, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway.

(Adopted by the Board of Management on January 28th 2013)

The aim of this Acceptable Use Policy is to ensure that pupils will benefit from learning opportunities offered by the school’s internet resources in a safe and effective manner. Internet use and access is considered a school resource and privilege. Therefore, if the school AUP is not adhered to this privilege will be withdrawn and appropriate sanctions – as outlined in the AUP – will be imposed

It is envisaged that school and parent representatives will revise the AUP regularly. Before signing, the AUP should be read carefully to ensure that the conditions of use are accepted and understood. 

School strategy

Ardscoil Mhuire, through the use of the ICT facilities, employs a number of strategies in order to maximise learning opportunities and reduce risks associated with the internet. These strategies are as follows:


  • Students may use the IT facilities for educational purposes only as instructed by a staff member.
  • Students should not use the IT facilities in any way that bullies, belittles or mocks a fellow student or member of staff.
  • Internet sessions will always be supervised or monitored by a teacher.
  • Filtering software and/or equivalent systems will be used in order to minimise the risk of exposure to inappropriate material.
  • The school may monitor pupils’ internet usage.
  • Students and teachers will be provided with training in the area of internet safety.
  • Uploading and downloading of non-approved software will not be permitted.
  • Virus protection software will be used and updated on a regular basis.
  • The use of personal memory sticks, CD ROMs or other digital storage media is not permitted in the school.
  • Students will treat others with respect at all times and will not undertake any actions that may bring the school into disrepute.
  • Eating and drinking is not allowed while using a computer.
  • User passwords for computers/e-mail accounts should not be shared.
  • Students are not allowed to use teachers’ computers without permission.  
  • Cyber bullying
  • Cyber bulling is defined as ‘actions that use information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated and hostile behaviour by an individual or group, that is intended to degrade, harass, threaten or intimidate someone’.
  • Students should not use the IT facilities in any way that bullies, belittles or mocks a fellow student or member of staff.
  • Students will not send or receive any material that is illegal, obscene, defamatory or that is intended to annoy or intimidate another person. 

World Wide Web

  • Students may not intentionally visit internet sites that contain obscene, illegal, hateful or otherwise objectionable materials.
  • Students must report accidental accessing of inappropriate materials in accordance with school procedures.
  • Students may use the internet for educational purposes only.
  • Students may not copy information into assignments and fail to acknowledge the source (plagiarism and copyright infringement).
  • Students may never disclose or publicise personal information unless instructed by a teacher.
  • Downloading materials or images not relevant to their studies is in direct breach of the school’s acceptable use policy.
  • Students are aware that any usage, including distributing or receiving information, school-related or personal, may be monitored for unusual activity, security and/or network management reasons.
  • The setting up of false facebook accounts/websites is strictly forbidden.
  • Uploading of pictures/videos showing students in school uniform inside or outside of school engaging in behaviour that is damaging to the school’s reputation is strictly forbidden.
  • No student has permission to write about the school/staff in a manner that undermines the school ethos.
  • Facebook is designed for aged 13 and over. It is our recommendation that no student under 13 have a facebook account and we strongly recommend active parental involvement for any students under 16 who are on a social networking site.


  • Students may use approved class email accounts under supervision by or with permission from a teacher.
  • Students may not send or open any material that is illegal, obscene, defamatory or that is intended to annoy or intimidate another person.
  • Students should not use the IT facilities in any way that bullies, belittles or mocks a fellow student or member of staff.
  • Students may not reveal their own or other people’s personal details, such as addresses or telephone numbers or pictures unless instructed by a staff member.
  • Students may never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they only know through emails or internet chat.
  • Students should note that sending and receiving email attachments is subject to permission from their teacher.

Internet chat

  • Students may only have access to chat rooms, discussion forums, messaging or other electronic communication forums that have been approved by the school.
  • Chat rooms, discussion forums and other electronic communication forums may only be used for educational purposes and will always be supervised.
  • Usernames will be used to avoid disclosure of identity.

School website

  • Pupils will be given the opportunity to publish projects, artwork or school work on the World Wide Web only in accordance with clear policies and approval processes regarding the content that can be loaded to the schools’ website or class sites.
  • The website will be regularly checked by school authorities to ensure that there is no content that compromises the safety of pupils or staff.
  • The publication of student work will be co-ordinated by a teacher.
  • Pupils’ work will appear in an educational context on web pages with a copyright notice prohibiting the copying of such work without express written permission.
  • The school will endeavour to use digital photographs, audio or video clips focusing on group activities. Content focusing on individual students will not be published on the school website without parental permission. Video clips may be password protected.
  • Personal pupil information including home address and contact details will be omitted from the school web pages.
  • The school website will avoid publishing the first name and last name of individuals in a photograph.
  • The school will ensure that image files are appropriately named – will not use pupils’ names in image file names or ALT tags if published on the web.
  • Pupils will continue to own the copyright on any work published.

Personal devices

  • Pupils using their own technology in school, such as leaving a mobile phone turned on or using it in class, sending inappropriate text messages or the unauthorised taking of images with a mobile phone camera, still or moving, is in direct breach of the school’s acceptable use policy and pupils doing so will face sanctions as outlined. 
  • Legislation
  • The school draws the attention of all to the following legislation relating to use of the internet:
  • Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003
  • Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998
  • Interception Act 1993
  • Video Recordings Act 1989
  • The Data Protection Act 1988



  • Misuse of the ICT facilities and the internet may result in disciplinary action in accordance with the school’s code of conduct, including written warnings, withdrawal of privileges and in extreme cases, suspension or expulsion. The school also reserves the right to report any illegal activities to the appropriate authorities

Letter to Parents/Guardians

Re: Internet Permission Form

Dear Parent/Guardian,

As part of the school’s education programme we offer supervised access to the internet. This allows students to access a large array of online educational resources that we believe can greatly enhance their learning experience.

However, access to and use of internet requires responsibility on the part of the user and the school. These responsibilities are outlined in the school’s Acceptable Use Policy (enclosed). It is important that this enclosed document is read carefully, signed by a parent or guardian and returned to the school.

Although the school takes active steps to promote safe use of the internet, it recognises the possibility that students may accidentally or deliberately access inappropriate or objectionable material.

A student may be requested to research an educational topic at home. In view of this you may like to take time to consider how the internet is used in your home, and see if there is any way you could make it safer for your own family. The following websites may prove useful:





The school respects each family’s right to decide whether or not to allow their children access to the internet as defined by the school’s Acceptable Use Policy.

Yours sincerely,


Patricia Kilgallen

Secretary to the Board of Management

3. Acceptable Use Policy for the use of Information Communication Technology and the Internet

Permission Form

Please review the attached Acceptable Use Policy, sign and return this form to:

The Principal, Ardscoil Mhuire, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway.

Name of pupil:              _______________________________

Class/Year                       _______________________________


I agree to follow the school’s Acceptable Use Policy on the use of ICT facilities. I will us the ICT and internet facilities in a responsible way and obey all the rules as outlined in the school’s A.U.P.

Pupil’s signature:                                  ___________________________________

Parent’s/Guardian’s signature:        ___________________________________

Date:                                                        ___________________________________


As the parent or legal guardian of the above pupil, I have read the Acceptable use Policy and grant permission for my daughter or the child in my care to access the internet. I understand that internet access is intended for educational purposes. I also understand that every reasonable precaution has been taken by the school to provide for online safety but the school cannot be held responsible if pupils access unsuitable websites.

By not accepting this paragraph the above pupil will not be permitted to access the internet on school computers. The school cannot be held responsible if the pupil does so without permission.

I accept the above paragraph                      I do not accept the above paragraph

(Please tick as appropriate)


In relation to the school’s websites, I accept that, if the school considers it appropriate, my child’s schoolwork/photograph/achievements may be chosen for inclusion on these sites. I understand and accept the terms of the Acceptable Use Policy as outlined above.


I accept the above paragraph                      I do not accept the above paragraph

(Please tick as appropriate)


Signature:           _________________________ Date: _________________

Address:              _______________________________________



Telephone:         _______________________________________


(Reviewed & updated December 2008)

This policy is rooted in the Mission Statement and aims of the school.

Ardscoil Mhuire is a Catholic Voluntary Secondary school for girls only under the trusteeship of CEIST.


In the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy we in Ardscoil Mhuire strive to build our school on the values of a Christian community.  We aim to treat each member of our school community with dignity and Christian love.  In this atmosphere students are encouraged to realise their full potential.


We in Ardscoil Mhuire aim to help each girl achieve her full potential as a worthwhile and caring person. Talents are encouraged, creativity is imaginatively extended, intellectual ability is stimulated and guided, and we endeavour to share and pass on an enlightened understanding of the Catholic Faith.  It is hoped that each girl passing through our school will develop responsible attitudes towards self and others but it would be naive to expect this to happen without careful guidance and support from both home and school.  Good discipline facilitates learning. 

Our carefully chosen curriculum recognises the broader understanding of education today and allows a wide choice of subjects which facilitates entry into an ever-increasing range of courses and careers, training and life long learning in Universities, Institutes of Technology, PLC Colleges, apprenticeships and varied job placements.

The years spent in second level education are crucial years in terms of personal growth and development. In this context we consider the development of leisure time activities and an appreciation of the arts to be very important.  Hence, we have a strong commitment to the provision of Art, Music, Sport and Cultural Interests in the school.


Within the

  • Context and parameters of Department of Education & Skills regulations and programmes
  • Rights of the Trustees as set out in the Education Act
  • Religious and Educational Philosophy of the Sisters of Mercy
  • Providing that funding and resources are available

The school supports the principles of:

  • inclusiveness
  • equality of access and participation in the school
  • parental choice in relation to enrolments
  • respect for diversity of traditions, values, beliefs, languages and ways of life in society.

The financial and teaching resources of Ardscoil Mhuire are provided by a combination of Department of Education and Skills grants and teacher allocations, voluntary contributions and fund-raising.

Implementation of the school plan and school policy must have due regard to resources and funding available.

The school operates within the regulations laid down, from time to time by the Department of Education and Skills. 

The school follows the curricular programmes prescribed by the Department of Education and Skills, which may be amended from time to time, in accordance with Sections 9 and 30 of the Education Act 1998.

Ardscoil Mhuire is a:

  • Voluntary Catholic Secondary School
  • Under the Trusteeship of CEIST.
  • It is a single sex, grant aided school.


The members of the Board of Management are:

Mr. Gerry Doherty

Ms. Pauline Finnerty

Ms. Carmel Dillon

Mr. Eamon Lally

Ms. Eilis Finnerty

Mr. Niall Kelly

Ms. Mary Cuddy

Mr. Colum McCann

Secretary to Board of Management:

Ms. Patricia Kilgallen

School Principal:

Ms. Patricia Kilgallen

School Deputy Principal:

Ms. Lilian Hynes

Relevant information on the Parents’ Council and Students’ Council is in the school prospectus.

The school is staffed in accordance with Department of Education and Skills regulations.

Programmes and subjects are as in the school prospectus.

Resource teaching is provided in accordance with hours approved by Department of Education and Skills.

Extra-curricular activities – as in the school prospectus.

Calendar for the school year will be provided in September each year. This will include details of holidays and Parent-Teacher meetings. 

Parents are requested to make a voluntary financial contribution towards the school each year. Accounts are provided at the end of each year for these funds. 


The following would be the minimum information required from parents when enrolling a girl in the school

  • Girl’s Name, Age, Date of Birth, Address
  • Parents’/Guardians’ names, Address, Telephone number, Marital status
  • Emergency Contact numbers
  • Details of Medical conditions
  • Any disabilities or special educational needs
  • Religion
  • Previous schools attended
  • Reasons for transfer if applicable
  • Any other relevant information


  1. Each girl’s request for admission must be accompanied by a completed enrolment form.
  2. The school’s code of conduct must be accepted and signed by parent/guardian before enrolment application is accepted.
  3. In the case of a girl applying to come from another post-primary school, a written progress report, behavioural and academic, should be submitted.
  4. This school welcomes girls, providing we can accommodate them, depending on class size and subject choice.
  5. Girls with special needs will be accepted provided the school has resources to accommodate their physical and educational needs in accordance with the Education Act. Parents of girls with special needs must make these known to the school authorities in good time to apply for the necessary resources from the Department of Education and Skills. Full case conferences involving all the professionals working with the girl/family may be necessary.

The school reserves the right to refuse enrolment to any girl in exceptional cases.   Such an exceptional case could include the following:

  • the girl has special needs such that, even with additional resources available from the Department of Education and Skills, the school cannot meet such needs and/or provide the girl with an appropriate education or
  • In the opinion of the Board of Management, the girl poses an unacceptable risk to other girls, to school staff or to school property.


  1. Non-Catholic girls may be enrolled on the understanding that the Catholic ethos of the school must be safeguarded.


  1. The school will seek to accommodate all 6th class girls in the catchment area who apply to enrol for the following September.


Open Night /Enrolment is normally held on the last Thursday in January each year.


  1. To comply with Department of Education and Skills’ Rules: Secondary school girls must be aged 12 years on January 1st in the calendar year following the girl’s entry into 1st year.


  1. The Board of Management reserves the right to refuse an application for admission in exceptional circumstances.

                            c.f. Section 29 of 1998 Education  Act.


5. Relationships and Sexuality Education Policy Statement ( to be reviewed 2017-2018)

  1. School

  Ardscoil Mhuire is an all girls post primary school with an enrolment of approx 500 students.

Our School Mission Statement:

In the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy we in Ardscoil Mhuire strive to build our school on values of a Christian community. We aim to treat each member of our school community with dignity and Christian love. In this atmosphere students are encouraged to realise their full potentiall      

  1. Definition of Relationships and Sexuality Education

RSE is a developmental process through experiential learning in which

Pupils participate to help cultivate a healthy attitude towards themselves

and others, particularly in the area of sexuality and relationships.

  1. Relationships and Sexuality Education within Social Personal and

Health Education

The Draft Guidelines for RSE (NCCA, June 1995, 1.2) state that Social

Personal and Health Education is “spiral, developmental in nature and age

appropriate in content and methodology”. The RSE programme is designed to follow this principle and pattern. Apart from the specific lessons of RSE, SPHE covers other areas which would be pertinent to the

development of a healthy attitude to sexuality in oneself and one’s relationship with others. SPHE deals with many issues such as self esteem, assertiveness, communication and decision making skills – all of which can contribute to the effectiveness of the RSE programme.

  1. The aims of our Relationships and Sexuality Education programme

Relationships and sexuality education has as its specific


  1. a) To help pupils understand and develop friendships and relationships
  2. b) To promote an understanding of sexuality
  3. c) To promote a positive attitude to one’s own sexuality and in one’s

relationship with others

  1. d) To promote knowledge of and respect for reproduction
  2. e) To enable pupils to develop attitudes and values toward their

sexuality in a moral, spiritual and social framework in keeping with

the policy of the school

  1. f) To provide opportunities for pupils to learn about relationships and

sexuality in ways that help them think and act in a moral, caring and

responsible way.

It is acknowledged that in a course of limited duration these aims are


  1. Guidelines for the management and organisation of Relationships

and Sexuality Education in our school

Arrangements regarding the teaching of the programme and the deployment of staff will be made by the Principal.

            Informing and Involving Parents:

Parents are the primary educators of their children and their role in education concerning relationships and sexuality is seen by the school as very important. This policy has been designed in consultation with Parent’s Association representatives and the views expressed by parents will be taken into account when reviewing the policy. A copy of this policy will be made available to any parent on request to the school Office.

            Offering Advice:

The school’s function is to provide a general education about sexual matters and issues and not to offer individual advice, information or counselling on aspects of sexual behaviour and contraception – however sources of professional information and advice will be identified when appropriate. Teachers may provide pupils with education and information about where and from whom they can receive confidential sexual advice and treatment, e.g. their doctor or other suitable agency. Advice offered should not be directive and should be appropriate to the age of the pupil.

            Explicit Questions:

It may not be appropriate to deal with some explicit questions in class. Teachers may choose to say that it is not appropriate to deal with that question at this time. If a teacher becomes concerned about a matter that has been raised he/she should seek advice from the SPHE co-ordinator or the Principal. When deciding whether or not to answer questions the teacher should consider the age and readiness of the students, the RSE programme content, the ethos of the school and the RSE policy.


It is school policy that in circumstances where a pupil is considered at some risk of any type of abuse or in breach of the law, the teacher must refer this immediately to the Principal. The Principal will decide whether to inform the parents and/or appropriate authorities.

The following is also school policy:

  1. a) teachers must not promise absolute confidentiality;
  2. b) pupils must be made aware that any incident may be conveyed to the

Principal and possibly to parents if the Principal decides that it is in the

best interests of the pupil to notify parents;

  1. c) teachers must use their professional judgement to decide whether

confidence can be maintained having heard the information;

  1. d) teachers must indicate clearly to pupils when the content of a

conversation can no longer be kept confidential – the pupil can then

decide whether to proceed or not.

The Child Protection Guidelines for Post Primary schools state in 4.1.1. and 4.2.1.

4.1.1.  If a member of staff receives an allegation or has a suspicion that a child may have been abused, or is being abused, or is at risk of abuse he/she should, without delay, report the matter to the Designated Liaison Person in that school. A written record of the report should be made and placed in a secure location by the Designated Liaison Person. The need for confidentiality at all times, as previously referred to in Chapter 1 Paragraph 1.2 of these guidelines, should be borne in mind. The supports of the school should continue to be made available to the child.

4.2.1   If the Designated Liaison Person is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for the suspicion or allegation he/she should report the matter to the relevant health board immediately.

            The division between biological and non biological aspects of sex


The school policy is that the Science Department and the Home Economics dept deals primarily with the biological aspects of reproduction from second year upwards.

            Withdrawing pupils from the RSE programme:

  1. Relevant sections of this policy are made available to parents in the school and it is the parent’s right to withdraw their child from sensitive aspects of RSE – parents will always be provided with a full copy of this policy following a request to do so.
  2. Issues such as over population and birth control are met in a minor way in subjects such as Geography and RE, Social education, Economics etc. However, as any discussion is limited and set within the context of the other subject concerned, it does not constitute part of the RSE Programme.
  3. Parents do not have to give reasons for withdrawal, but we respectfully invite them to do so – sometimes we can then resolve misunderstandings. Once a parent’s request to withdraw is made, that request must be complied with until revoked by the parent.

What we do if a request for withdrawal from the RSE programme is made by a parent:

  1. a) we discuss the nature of the concerns with the child’s parent and if appropriate attempt to reassure them (initially such discussion takes place at a meeting with the Year Head and SPHE Co-ordinator, the Principal may become involved if necessary)
  1. b) we consider whether the programme can be amended or improved in a way that will reassure parents – care is taken not to undermine the integrity of the RSE programme and the entitlement of the other pupils.
  1. c) we attempt to ensure that where a pupil is withdrawn there is nodisruption to other parts of their education,
  1. d) we point out that pupils who have been withdrawn are vulnerable to teasing – we therefore attempt to cause minimal embarrassment to the pupil and minimal disruption to the programme;
  1. e) we also point out that pupils may receive inaccurate information fromtheir peers;
  1. f) we offer the parents access to appropriate information and resources.

Visiting speakers and others

It is school policy that most of the RSE programme is best discussed openly with teachers who are known and trusted by the pupils. However visitors can enhance the quality of the provision as long as they are invited in addition to, not instead of a planned programme of RSE.

Guidelines as per D.E.S. Circular 0023/2010:

  • “Visitors to the classroom or school, particularly those engaging directly with students, should be aware of relevant school policies including the school’s child protection policy, RSE policy and substance misuse policy.       Any such visit must be carefully planned in advance in line with the relevant whole-school SPHE/RSE programme(s) and policies.
  • Talks/programmes delivered by outside agencies or speakers must be consistent with and complementary to the school’s ethos and SPHE/RSE programme. Visits should be planned, researched and implemented in partnership with school personnel.
  • Relevant teachers need to liaise with and be involved with all visitors and external agencies working with the school and the whole staff needs to be made aware of same.
  • It is strongly recommended that parents should be consulted and made aware of any such visiting people or agencies to classrooms/schools
  • The school’s SPHE/RSE coordinator may also help in the process of whole-school planning and coordination to support the effective implementation of SPHE/RSE.
  • It is of the utmost importance that classroom teachers remain in the classroom with the students and retain a central role in delivery of the core subject matter of the SPHE/RSE programme.       The presence of the classroom teacher should ensure that the school follows appropriate procedures for dealing with any issue(s) that may arise as a result of the external input(s).
  • It is of the utmost importance that classroom teachers remain in the
  • All programmes and events delivered by visitors and external agencies must use appropriate, evidence-based methodologies with clear educatioinal outcomes. Such programmes are best delivered by those specifically qualified to work with the young people for whom the programmes are designed.      
  • All programmes, talks, interventions and events should be evaluated by students and teachers in terms of the subject matter, messages, structure, methodology and proposed learning outcomes”.
  • In order to inform the visitor of the precise requirements of a group and to make better use of the time of the visitor it is advisable for the group to draw up questions in advance and these should be forwarded to the visitor. This will involve the pupils in the visit and will make the experience more relevant for them – it also facilitates planning.
  • The school office should be informed of the date and name of the


  • The visitor should be welcomed at the main door and sign in at the main

.           office.

  • At the end of the session a vote of thanks should be given by a pupil and the visitor escorted to the main door after refreshments.          


Teachers do not promote any one life-style as the only acceptable one for

society and therefore it is inevitable and natural that homosexuality will be

discussed during a programme of sex education. One of the advantages of exploring issues concerning homosexuality is the opportunity to correct false ideas, assumptions and address prejudice. Discussion of homosexuality should be appropriate to the age of the pupils and kept within the ethos of the school


This topic will be dealt with in an age appropriate, open manner, looking at all sides of the issues in a non-directive way and kept within the ethos of the school.

            Special Needs

Children with special needs may need more help than others in coping with the physical and emotional aspects of growing up; they may also need more help in learning what sorts of behaviour are and are not acceptable, and in being warned and prepared against abuse by others.

  1. Ongoing support, development and review


  1. All teachers involved in this work do not necessarily have to be ‘experts’ on the issues concerned. However, they do require sensitivity to the needs of the group, an ability to deal with questions openly/honestly and a

preparedness to refer to more expert advice if necessary. The skills acquired in general teaching apply also to health education. Furthermore,

many teachers have training in related areas such as counselling. Some

teachers have expert training in the specific areas of health, relationships

and sexuality education and will be encouraged to train other teachers.

  1. The school will facilitate teachers to obtain expert training in this field,

bearing in mind the overall budgetary framework and the need for the

ongoing teaching and learning programme of the school to continue with

as little disturbance as possible.


The school has appropriate RSE teaching materials which have

been identified by staff as useful and which have been approved by the

Principal, within the normal budgetary framework and as general school

resources allow.

Monitoring, evaluating and reviewing the RSE programme:

We are committed to monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of this

programme. Specifically important to the RSE Programme are:

  1. a) pupil feedback;
  2. b) staff review and feedback;
  3. c) parental feedback.

6.  Ardscoil Mhuire Dignity at Work Policy and Code of Procedure                                                     

(Required under Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005)  

Formulated                                    Academic Year 2016/2017


Table of Content

Mission Statement                                                                           Page   3

Board of Management Cover Letter                                             Page   4

Management \ Union Adoption of Charter                                 Page   5

Introduction, Objectives                                                                 Page   6/7

Definitions                                                                                        Page 8

Unacceptable Behaviours                                                             Page 9/10

The Effects of Bullying                                                                   Page 10

Preventative measures                                                                   Page 11

Performance Criteria                                                                       Page 12

Procedures for dealing with bullying                                           Page 13-16

Ardscoil Mhuire Mission Statement

In the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy we in Ardscoil Mhuire strive to build our school on the values of a Christian community. We aim to treat each member of our school community with dignity and Christian love. In this atmosphere students are encouraged to realise their full potential.

Dear Staff Member

The purpose of this document is to ensure that the Board of Management of Ardscoil Mhuire Ballinasloe is compliant with current legislation in relation to the Safety, Health and Welfare  Act 2005 and the Code of Practice on the Prevention of Workplace Bullying (May 2007)

The objective of the policy is to ensure school management is compliant with their duties under section 8 (2) (b) of the 2005 Act as regards ‘managing and conducting work activities in such a way as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any improper conduct or behaviour likely to put the safety, health and welfare at work of his or her employees at risk’.

It also applies to employees in relation to their duties under section 13 (1) (e) of the 2005 Act to ‘not engage in improper conduct or behaviour that is likely to endanger his or her own safety, health and welfare at work or that of any other person’.

A copy of this document will be issued to each staff member of Ardscoil Mhuire.

It is each employee’s responsibility to ensure that they become familiar with the contents of this document.

A copy of the Dignity at Work Charter will be displayed in a visible part of the school premises in order for management, staff, visitors and the general public to view.

In the event of a complaint in relation to bullying in the workplace Ardscoil Mhuire, the procedures contained within this policy, will be followed.

This document will be subject to periodic review.


Secretary, Board of Management

Academic Year 2016/2017

Dignity at Work Charter

Ardscoil Mhuire adopts the HSA Dignity in the Workplace Charter endorsed by IBEC and ICTU and adopted by JMB and ASTI.

JMB and ASTICommit ourselves to working together to maintain a workplace environment that encourages and supports the right to dignity at work.  All who work here are expected to respect the right of each individual to dignity in their working life.  All will be treated equally and respected for their individuality and diversity.

Bullying in any form is not accepted by us and will not be tolerated. Our policies and procedures will underpin the principles and objectives of this Charter.

All individuals, whether directly employed or contracted by us, have a duty and a responsibility to uphold this Dignity at Work Charter.

Supervisors, Managers, and Trade Union Representatives where applicable in the workplace have a specific responsibility to promote its provisions

Dignity in the Workplace Policy and Procedures


A core employment value is the commitment to ensuring that each individual is guaranteed a working environment where s/he may expect to be treated with dignity both by management and work colleagues. This approach is a positive emphasis on the importance of each individual and the contribution s/he makes to the success of the workplace.  It guarantees the optimal working conditions that allow individuals to freely maximise their role in the workforce. Sound management ethos is based on providing leadership that encourages individuals in this regard.  This is best achieved in our school through the creation and maintenance of a positive working environment.

Integral to this employment value and in particular to the principle of mutual respect is the commitment to provide a workplace free from bullying. It is in such a context that the philosophy and policy statement will be realised.

Objectives of Dignity at Work Policy

  • To create and maintain a positive working environment in Ardscoil Mhuire where the right of each individual to dignity at work is recognised and protected.
  • To ensure that all are aware of and are committed to the principles set out in this policy.The Board of Management of Ardscoil Mhuire is committed to providing all employees with an environment that is free from any form of workplace bullying.

The purpose of this document is to outline the Board’s policy and procedures in relation to workplace bullying.

A complaint of workplace bullying will be taken seriously and dealt with promptly and in accordance with due process.

In approving this policy, the Board has agreed that:

  • It be brought to the attention of all
  • All Staff are expected to co-operate in its implementation.

The Policy  

The objective of the Policy is to eliminate workplace bullying and to contribute to a supportive environment where Staff have the right to carry out the work of Ardscoil Mhuire.

The Policy guarantees that all complaints will be taken seriously and investigated promptly, and that all parties involved will be treated with respect.

Staff will be protected from victimisation or discrimination for assisting in an investigation. Victimisation as a result of a member of Staff raising a complaint will not be toleratedDEFINITIONS

Definition of Bullying:

Workplace bullying is repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, at the place of work and/or in the course of employment, which could reasonably be regarded as undermining the individual’s right to dignity at work. An isolated incident of the behaviour described in this definition may be an affront to dignity at work but as a once off incident is not considered to be bullying.

(Codes of Practice 2002 under the Industrial Relations Act and the Health and Safety at Work Act)

Harassment and Sexual Harassment:

The Employment Equality Act, 1998 and 2004 specifically deals with harassment in the workplace. The new Code aims to give practical guidance and advice. Harassment that is based on the following nine grounds – Gender, Age, Marital Status, Family Status, Sexual Orientation, Disability, Race, Religion or membership of the Traveller Community is a form of discrimination in relation to conditions of employment. 

Sexual Harassment:

Sexual Harassment is defined in the Equality Act 2004 as any form of verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the person.

The unwanted conduct may consist of acts, requests, spoken words, gestures or the production, display, or circulation of written words, pictures or other material.


Harassment on the other eight grounds covered by the legislation is any unwanted conduct related to any of the eight grounds (other than gender) and the conduct has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the person. The unwanted conduct may consist of acts, requests, spoken words, gestures or the production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other material.  (Employment Equality Act 2004)

Non Workplace bullying, sexual harassment and harassment:

The scope of this policy re sexual harassment and the harassment provisions extend beyond the workplace, for example, to work related conferences and work related training that occur outside the workplace. It also extends to work related social events.

What Constitutes ‘Unacceptable Behaviour’/ Workplace Bullying?

It is inappropriate for work colleagues to behave in an unacceptable and unprofessional manner.

Bullying can take a number of forms. Under the Health and Safety Act there is a requirement that personnel are consulted in respect of acceptable/unacceptable behaviour and that through this consultation process, the staff will have ownership of the policy as it relates to their school /organisation.

A pattern of the following behaviours are examples of types of bullying:

  • Exclusion with negative consequences
  • Verbal abuse/insults (Direct or indirect)
  • Physical abuse
  • Being treated less favourably than colleagues
  • Shouting
  • Intrusion – pestering, spying or stalking
  • Menacing behaviour
  • Intimidation
  • Aggression
  • Undermining behaviour
  • Excessive monitoring of work
  • Humiliation
  • Withholding work-related information
  • Setting unreasonable and unrealistic targets
  • Blame for things beyond the person’s control
  • Unequal treatment

This list is not exhaustive.

It is noted that a once-off incident is not normally considered to be bullying behaviour.

What are the Effects of Bullying? 

International research shows that the effects may be physiological, psychological and behavioural.

Effects on the individual: Research shows that individuals who are continually bullied lose self-confidence as self-esteem is eroded and they are at an increased risk of suffering stress. There may be serious effects on health and the person’s career may be adversely affected.

Effects on the Organisation: Individuals who are bullied will find it difficult if not impossible to give of their best in the workplace. Among the well-documented effects are increased sickness/absenteeism, low morale, a tense atmosphere or cliques.

An individual may be reluctant to take action for the following reasons:

  • The particular workplace culture could passively support bullying i.e. staff in general could be unaware of the seriousness of bullying.
  • The fear that the complaint may not be taken seriously.
  • S/he may be seen as unable for the job or/and a weak person.
  • If the alleged bully is a person in authority, there may be the fear that management will support the alleged perpetrator(s).
  • Making a complaint could result in further intimidation and increased bullying.
  • There may be no witnesses to the bullying and it could be one person’s word against another
  • S/he might be seen to be lacking in credibility or/and personal status
  • Where there are witnesses, these might be unwilling to come forward because they may be afraid of being branded troublemakers


Occurrence of Workplace bullying can be avoided by:

  • Being familiar with the school policy.
  • Participating in in-service with respect to dignity at work.
  • Engaging in consultation with respect to the development and review of the dignity in the workplace policy.
  • Being aware and educated about workplace bullying.

What can I do to stop people bullying me?

Tell them it has to stop! If you find it difficult to make an approach, tell somebody who may be able to give you support– The Principal, the Deputy Principal, the ASTI Steward, the school Chaplain, the school Counsellor or colleague.

What may be the consequences of not dealing with workplace bullying?

There are consequences for the individuals who perceive themselves to be targets of bullying behaviour, for the alleged perpetrators(s), for organisational culture/ethos and for the Board of Management.

The following performance criteria exist

  • A policy on Dignity in the Workplace (and the prevention of workplace bullying forms part of the health, safety and welfare strategies at work)
  • Awareness/availability of Policy
  • Existence of Charter in a visible place: Dignity in the Workplace
  • Dignity in the Workplace as well as inappropriate/bullying behaviour are defined in the Board Policy
  • Employee’s right to complain is respected
  • Informal resolution of complaints is encouraged.

Procedures for Dealing with Workplace Bullying


There is an informal and formal method of dealing with alleged cases of bullying:


Sometimes individuals may be unaware of the negative effects of their behaviour on other adults in the workplace. Such individuals may simply need to be told.  Thus, at times incidents of bullying can be handled effectively in an informal way. If an incident occurs that is offensive, it may be sufficient to explain clearly to the offender that the behaviour is unacceptable.  If the circumstances are too difficult or embarrassing for an individual, support may be sought from another colleague, a Contact Person, Staff Representative, Principal, Deputy Principal


A complainant may decide, without prejudice, to bypass the informal procedure and proceed with formal procedures

The following section outlines the procedures to be followed with respect to a com

The Procedure for dealing with bullying in the workplace is as follows:

Code of Practice Detailing Procedures for Addressing Bullying in the Workplace (Extract from IR Code of Practice S.I. No. 17 of 2002 Code of Practice)

  1. Informal Procedure

While in no way diminishing the issue or the effects on individuals, an informal approach can often resolve matters. As a general rule therefore, an attempt should be made to address an allegation of bullying as informally as possible by means of an agreed informal procedure.  The objective of this approach is to resolve the difficulty with the minimum of conflict and stress for the individuals involved.

  1. Any employee who believes he or she is being bullied should explain clearly to the alleged perpetrator(s) that the behaviour in question is unacceptable. In circumstances where the complainant finds it difficult to approach the alleged perpetrator(s) directly, he or she should seek help and advice, on a strictly confidential basis, from a Contact Person. A Contact Person in the school environment could, for example, be one of the following;
  • A work colleague
  • A member of management
  • An employee
  • An ASTI representative

In this situation the Contact Person should listen patiently, be supportive and discuss the various options open to the employee concerned.

  1. Having consulted with the Contact Person, the complainant may request the assistance of the Contact Person in raising the issue with the alleged perpetrator(s). In this situation the approach of the Contact Person should be by way of a confidential, non-confrontational discussion with a view to resolving the issue in an informal low-key manner
  2. A complainant may decide, without prejudice, to bypass the informal procedure. Choosing not to use the informal procedure should not reflect negatively on a complainant in the formal procedure.


  1. Formal Procedure.

If an informal approach is inappropriate or if after the informal stage, the bullying persists, the following formal procedures should be invoked:-

  1. The complainant should make a formal complaint in writing to his/her Principal.   If the Principal/Deputy Principal is the subject of the complaint, the formal complaint should be made to the Chairperson of the Board of Management
  2. The alleged perpetrator(s) should be notified in writing that an allegation of bullying has been made against them. They should be given a copy of the complainant’s statement and advised that they shall be afforded a fair opportunity to respond to the allegation(s).
  3. The complaint should be subject to an initial examination by a designated member of management, who can be considered impartial, with a view to determining an appropriate course of action. An appropriate course of action at this stage, for example, could be exploring a mediated solution which would require the agreement of all parties, or a view that the issue can be resolved informally. Should either of these approaches be deemed inappropriate or inconclusive, a formal investigation of the complaint should take place with a view to determining the facts and the validity or otherwise of the allegation(s)
  • Investigation
  1. The investigation should be conducted by either a designated member or members of management or, if deemed appropriate, an agreed third party. The investigation should be conducted thoroughly, objectively, with sensitivity, utmost confidentiality, and with due respect for the rights of both the complainant and the alleged perpetrator(s).
  2. The investigation should be governed by terms of reference, agreed between the parties in advance.
  3. The investigator(s) should meet with the complainant and alleged perpetrator(s) and any witness or relevant persons on an individual confidential basis with a view to establishing the facts surrounding the allegation(s). Both the complainant and alleged perpetrator(s) may be accompanied by a work colleague or employee/ASTI representative if so desired.
  4. Every effort should be made to carry out and complete the investigation as quickly as possible and preferably within an agreed timeframe. On completion of the investigation, the investigator(s) should submit a written report to the Board of Management containing the findings of the investigation.
  5. The complainant and the alleged perpetrator(s) should be informed in writing of the findings of the investigation.
  6. Both parties should be given the opportunity to comment on the findings before any action is decided upon by the Board of Management. The method of communicating the commentary may be in writing and/or by the individuals presenting at a Board of Management meeting.


2.2 Outcome

Should the Board of Management decide that the complaint is well founded; the alleged perpetrator(s) should be given a formal interview to determine an appropriate course of action. Such action could, for example, involve counselling and/or monitoring or progressing the issue through the disciplinary and grievance procedure of the employment.


All individuals involved in the procedures referred to above should maintain absolute confidentiality on the subject.

  1. Record Keeping    

At all stages of the process a clear record should be kept of the following;

  • the investigation undertaken.
  • all communications to/by the complainant.
  • the subject of the complaint.
  • the steps and all the decisions taken

The above records should be held by the Chairperson of the Board of Management in a confidential manner in a secure place.

Where a complaint has been rejected or has not been upheld, a statement to that effect shall be included in the record in the personnel file of the complainant.  All records in relation to a rejected/not upheld complaint shall be removed from the personnel file of the subject of the complaint.  A statement of the outcome of the investigation will be included in all other files. Where a statement of the outcome of the investigation confirms the allegation to be true then the statement of outcome shall be placed on the file/record of the person against whom the investigation upheld the complaint.

  1. Protection and Support

Staff shall be protected from intimidation, victimisation or discrimination for filing a complaint or assisting in an investigation.  Retaliation against a member of staff for complaining about bullying/harassment is considered a disciplinary offence.  A malicious complaint made by a staff member will be treated as misconduct under the disciplinary procedure.

  1. Assistance in the event of Harassment

Every effort will be made to assist if they so wish, persons who are victims of bullying/harassment to deal with the problem and where it is requested, the services of a counsellor will be made available by the Board of Management.  Persons who bully/harass others may be requested to attend counselling to prevent further incidences of harassment occurring.  Access to such counselling may be made available by the Board of Management.

  1. Training/Awareness

It is considered that all personnel who have a role in either the informal or formal procedure – e.g. designated members of management, worker representatives, union representatives etc., should be made aware of appropriate policies and procedures which should, if possible, include appropriate training

The policy is subject to periodic review  

Signed:         ________________________

 (For and on behalf of the Board of Management)


 Date:             ________________________________


  1. In the examples of bullying should we include

‘Being the constant topic of other peoples conversation in a negative way’

2.Role of the bystander?

The Role of the Bystander

A bystander is someone who sees or knows about bullying or other forms of violence that is happening to someone else; they can either be part of the problem (hurtful bystander) or part of the solution (helpful bystander). It’s easy to ignore incidents of bullying, or walk away thinking “at least it’s not me”.

Be a Helpful Bystander

We all have a role to play in erasing bullying, and protecting the rights of ourselves and others. You can take a stand against bullying by standing up for someone else — without putting yourself at risk, or becoming a bully yourself.

Bystanders have the power to play a key role in preventing or stopping bullying. Some bystanders directly intervene, by discouraging the bully, defending the victim, or redirecting the situation away from the bully. Other bystanders get help, by rallying support from peers to stand up against bullying, or by reporting the bullying.

Here are some ways you can become a helpful bystander:

  • Make it clear to your colleagues that you won’t be involved in bullying behaviour.
  • Never stand by and watch or encourage bullying behaviour.
  • Don’t harass, spread gossip or constantly talk about others in a negative way— this includes on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
  • Support the person who is being bullied to ask for help, or report it.
  • Report bullying to the designated person

**In procedures we need to include that a point about agreeing to confidentiality at the investigation stage


Homework is a necessary part of school life and must be done carefully and consistently.


In Ardscoil Mhuire homework is seen as an essential part of the teaching and learning process and is a follow up to work done in the classroom. It is this follow up that ensures success.  Teachers in this school assign the work to be done at home as an integral part of the lesson taught. 



  1. To ensure consistent approaches to the setting and reviewing of homework.
  2. To revise and reinforce work done in class.
  3. To reinforce literacy and numeracy skills.
  4. To help teachers to diagnose the strengths and weaknesses of particular students and to indicate where improvements could be made.
  5. To assess/evaluate progress of students.
  6. To encourage students to work independently, to organise and make proper use of their time and to develop good study habits.
  7. To give students the opportunity, when possible, to do their own research.
  8. To encourage parents/guardians to take an interest in and share responsibility for their child’s work and progress.



Board of Management:

  1. To ensure policy is drawn up, developed and evaluated at regular intervals.
  2. To approve policy and support its implementation. 
    1. Staff
  3. To develop and implement policy.
  4. Assign and review homework.
  5. Provide feedback to students.
  6. Students are given direction and help in homework/study skills
  7. Parents/guardians will be informed if students consistently fail to do homework.
    1. Parents/guardian 
  8. Monitor homework and journal regularly
  9. Parents/guardians of junior cycle students are to sign journal weekly
  10. Provide necessary support, encouragement for completion of homework.
  11. Provide suitable conditions for homework.
  12. See that adequate time is spent on homework and that homework is completed.
  13. Contact school if there are consistent difficulties with homework.
  14. If for any reason a student is unable to do homework, an explanatory note/letter from parent/guardian is required.
    1. Students:
  15. Responsibility lies with students to do homework on time.
  16. Students should present well prepared homework and co-operate with the teacher.
  17. Homework may consist of written, oral, aural and/or revision work. A balanced approach is necessary.
  18. Students are encouraged to draw up a study timetable – length of time required will vary with age/level. Regular revision of course work is essential and an integral part of homework
  19. Homework is to be done carefully and consistently. Copied or carelessly done homework is not acceptable.
  20. Part-time jobs are not recommended or encouraged, particularly in exam years.
    1.   Use of School Journal:It is essential that each student has her school journal in class at all times. All homework assignments should be entered into the journal at the end of each class. This journal is not a personal diary. Parents of first, second and third years are requested to check and sign their daughter’s journal on a weekly basis. Students do well when parents take an interest in their homework. It is the encouragement that makes the difference.Assessment for learning:Students look mainly to teachers for a response on the quality of their work. Effective marking and feedback have always placed demands on teachers, but both are fundamental to helping students make progress. Teachers check homework on a regular basis.
    1. Duration of Homework:
    2. Time management is an important skill. The length of time spent on homework will vary, depending on year group, level of ability, time of year etc.
    3. but the following time allocation may be useful as a guide.
    4. 1st years               1-2 hours
    5. 2nd years            2 hours
    6. 3rd years              2-3 hours                            
    7. 5th years              2 ½ – 3 hours
    8. 6th years             3-4 hours for extended essays or project work.
    9. TY                      Homework will be given but may be less structured
  21. A variety of methods are used to correct homework 
  •  Teacher correction
  • Class correction
  • Class discussion
  • Peer and self assessment
  • Students write out answers in the form of a test
  • Comment only marking Some items of homework (and classwork) may be checked by students themselves under the direction of a teacher. This can be a useful part of the learning process for students..
  1. Differentiated homework will be assigned when deemed appropriate. The tasks assigned will be appropriate to the needs and ability of the student. Parents are encouraged to continue to support their child in the completion of homework
  •        Performance Criteria:
    • The effectiveness of this policy will be judged by 
  • The school reports to parents on the progress of students and indeed reporting is a crucial part of the relationship between school and parents. Traditional school end of term reports that take the form of a grade or mark and a generalised comment for each subject can be reassuring and supportive for the parents of students. Parent/teacher meetings offer valuable opportunities for the school to move beyond the marks, as it were, and to present more comprehensive assessments of progress. As well as allowing a focus on progress achieved, such meetings provide an opportunity to nominate areas that need specific attention and to indicate what needs to be done to improve student performance.
  • Feeedback and reporting to  
  1. Whether goals are achieved.
  2. Good quality homework being presented. 
    1. Monitoring 
  3. Teachers report to parents, at Parent/Teacher meetings and through Year Head if homework is not being done.
  4. Principal reports to Board of Management.  
    1. Review:
  5.  Reviewed as part of overall policy review at regular intervals.(Adopted by the Board of Management on 15th April 2014)



Our Mission Statement is rooted in the Pastoral Care principles of the Mercy Philosophy of education.  It fosters the development of each individual student and teacher within an atmosphere of care, concern and respect.



(i) To value, develop and support each member of the school community.


(ii) To promote learning at every level for the student.




(i) Foster a happy school community.

(ii) To care for the individual student in a supportive environment.

(iii) To develop mutually supportive staff relationships which contribute to a good atmosphere in the School Community.

(iv) To encourage a sense of justice within the school community.

(v) To establish and maintain a good rapport between school, community and home.

(vi) To prepare students for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.


  1. Board of Management:

(i) To ensure that the Policy is developed.

(ii) To ensure that the Policy is developed in consultation with teachers, students, parents and community.

(iii) To ensure that the Policy is effective and implemented, practised, made explicit and reviewed.



  1. Principal/Deputy Principal:

(i) Make provision for Pastoral Care within the school structures.

(ii) Provide leadership in building community.

(iii) Encourage all activities, social, academic, sporting, musical etc.

(iv) Acknowledge (and where appropriate reward) all efforts and achievements in different areas.


  1. Year Head:

(i) The Year Head is a central figure in the Pastoral Care system and should have a knowledge of the needs, behaviour, progress and academic attainment of each student in his/her year group.

(ii) Liaises with Class Tutors/Deputy Principal/Principal/other staff/parents on a regular basis.

(iii) Creates a positive atmosphere within the year group thus promoting welfare and development of students.

(iv) Induction and integration of new students.


  1. Class Tutor:

(i) The class tutor is a key figure in the Pastoral Care system and should have a knowledge of the needs, behaviour, progress and academic attainment of each student in his/her class.


  1. Subject Teachers:

(i) Be familiar with, and support Pastoral Care Policy and report concerns to appropriate authority.

(ii) To create a positive teaching and learning environment in the classroom.

(iii) The subject teacher is concerned for the development of the whole person and emphasises the active involvement of the student in the learning process.


  1. The Guidance Counsellor and the Chaplain.

(i) The Guidance Counsellor and the Chaplain support staff and students and contribute to all aspects of Pastoral Care.

  1. Home School Liaison

(i) To provide an essential link between home and school.

(ii) To visit all parents/guardians of our first year students to ensure a smooth transition from Primary to Post Primary.

  1. Parents

(i)    Support the Pastoral Care Policy of the school

(ii)   Attend school related meetings

(iii)  Report concerns about family members who attend the school.



(i)    There is an organised Pastoral Care structure for each year group.

(ii)   Pastoral activities will include induction of new students and teachers, student assemblies, counselling, attention to each student’s academic progress, sporting activities, anti-bullying week, healthy eating week, inter-cultural week and outings.

(iii)  Year Heads, Class Tutors, Guidance Counsellor and teachers meet on a regular basis to monitor, evaluate and review student’s welfare.

(iv)  We endeavour to care for the individual student through:

(a) Pastoral Care structure i.e. Year Heads, Tutors, Buddy system,  Prefects, Leaving Cert mentoring system etc.

        (b)  Remediation services for students with learning difficulties.

        (c)  Counselling and referral where necessary.

        (d)  Parent contact.


(v)   Nurturing of staff:

        – By providing support especially in times of need.

        – Provision for welcome and induction of new staff

        – Social Committee Activities.


(vi)  Community building activities are promoted in a variety of ways through the:

        Student Council

        Staff Social Committee

School tradition (e.g. Mercy day, Leaving Cert party)

        Graduation Day

        Awards Day

        Liturgies for appropriate occasions:

                   Opening of year mass

                   Graduation mass

                   Leaving Cert Christmas mass

                   Penitential services

                   Ash Wednesday Service


        Class activities: Trips etc.

        Participating in charitable events

        Green schools

Extra curricular activities: Debating, Drama, Music, Sport, Stage productions etc.


(vii) Contact with parents is promoted and maintained through:

        – Home School Community Links

        – Parent Association

        – Reports to Parents

        – Links with Feeder Primary Schools

        – Newsletter

        – Parent Teacher Meetings

        – Work Experience

        – Community Links

        – School Website

        – Text messaging system

        – Student Journals



(i)    The goals of the Policy are attained.

(ii)   Good relationships achieved and maintained.

(iii)  Good attendance.

(iv)  A positive learning environment.

(v)   Positive feedback from students and parents



 (i)    Principal/Deputy Principal

(ii)   Year Heads and Class Tutors

(iii)  All staff




 (i)    Any staff member reports to class Tutors.

(ii)   Class Tutor reports to Year Heads.

(iii)  Year Head report to Principal/Deputy Principal.

(iv)  Principal reports to Board of Management.



This Policy is reviewed regularly in accordance with the school plan.

 Ratified by the Board of Management on 15th September, 2011.


 9.  Ardscoil Mhuire Ballinasloe Foreign Tours Policy



School tours provide educational opportunities which often cannot be provided in other ways. They provide students with cultural, educational and recreational opportunities outside the classroom in a variety of settings. School tours require careful planning and preparation if they are to be successful. They need to be conducted following clear guidelines. This policy has been drawn up in the context of Department of Education and Science Circular Letter M20/04 – Educational Tours by School Groups.


A tour is defined as a trip which involves an overnight stay in a foreign country.


  1. To provide students with cultural, educational and recreational opportunities outside the classroom in a variety of settings.
  2. To provide clear guidelines for students, parents and staff on the procedures to be followed in organising tours.
  3. To provide clear guidelines as to the manner in which those taking part in a school tour are to conduct themselves before and during the trip.
  4. To take into account the age and interest of the students and the curriculum being covered.


  1. A tour which takes place in the name of the school is under the authority of the school.
  2. Before any arrangements are made to organise a tour, permission must be sought from the Board of Management.
  3. The Board of Management before giving permission for the tour organisation to proceed must be assured that:
  • all school tours travelling outside of the Republic of Ireland must be booked through a bonded licensed travel agent or tour operator from the approved list on www.aviationreg.ie
  • it is organised by an approved person or persons and that there is adequate staff supervision for the tour.
  • the tour has a management policy and structure.
  • all financial documentation will be maintained in accordance with best accounting practice.
  • the itinerary is suitable for the age and abilities of the students.
  • the timing of the tour is such that clashes with other school activities are kept to a minimum and ensures compliance with DES guidelines.
  1. Members of a touring group will be selected from within the School by the teacher(s) in charge, and approved by the Principal.
  2. The school will not be in a position to bear the cost of a Special Assistant travelling with a student who may need such assistance.

Organisation prior to any school tour

  1. Students are invited to a briefing session on the tour on offer. Minutes of all meetings and decisions taken are to be kept and given to the Principal.
  2. Parents are requested to sign the consent form.
  3. It is the responsibility of each student travelling to acquire their own Passport and European Health Insurance Card prior to departure.
  4. If the number of students requesting to go on the tour exceeds the number of places available, there will be a selection process. After relevant discipline issues have been considered, names will be drawn at random from a hat by the tour leaders in the presence of the Principal and Year head.
  5. Payments from students should be made directly to the travel agent or tour operator and not collected through the school.
  6. Correspondence: Where other schools are involved, correspondence must go in the first instance to the Principal of that school and should bear the signature of the Principal of Ardscoil Mhuire.
  7. Parents should be informed of school policy (given a copy) regarding tours in advance of any monies collected.
  8. Once the tour details have been approved, a non-refundable deposit will be requested to secure a place on the tour. If student’s behaviour is deemed unacceptable or unsafe in the interval between the payment of the deposit and before the tour takes place, they will forfeit their place on the tour and their deposit.
  9. Students taking prescription drugs or medicine are to declare this to the staff member organising the tour prior to the commencement of the tour.
  10. A basic first aid kit will be carried by the Tour leaders.


  1. The Principal has the right to refuse permission to students to go on the tour.
  2. Students going on tours shall be informed that consistent bad behaviour or individual major breaches of school rules may incur withdrawal from the tour without any liability to the school or the organiser for any loss incurred by this action. Parents and Principal will also be informed.
  3. School rules apply at all times in respect of general behaviour and consumption of alcohol or drugs. Parents and students will read and sign the school tour contract.
  4. The staff members in charge are responsible for enforcing school rules and taking appropriate action should these rules be breached.
  5. Any student going on a school trip undertakes to obey staff members’ instructions and to accept the decisions of the staff members in charge.
  6. All those on ski trips should carry on their persons, when skiing, the name and address of their hotel, the names of Tour Leaders and the mobile number for the designated phone assigned for the trip.

Details of Tour

Parents/Guardians are sent the following information:

  1. Details of the cost of the tour including methods and deadlines for payments. All payments are non-refundable.
  2. Dates and times of departure and return (parents/guardians must meet their student on return).
  3. Parents will be informed of the need to be contactable by the Tour Organiser(s) for the duration of the Tour (i) for accident and emergency purposes and (ii) for reasons of serious misbehaviour that may result in their daughter being sent home. In such case all costs incurred shall be at the expense of the parent(s) who also have the responsibility for collecting her at the airport or other suitable venue.
  4. Details of accommodation such as hotel or exchange family’s name address and telephone number.
  5. Names of Tour Leaders, other staff and other accompanying adults and an emergency contact number.
  6. Standards of behaviour expected in respect of alcohol, smoking and general group discipline. Students taking part in activities on tour must adhere to appropriate safety guidelines e.g. wearing helmets
  7. Details of insurance taken out for the group as a whole. Parents/guardians can arrange for additional insurance cover if they so wish.

Information retained at the school

Full details of the tour should be available through the school while the tour is in progress. This should include:

  1. the itinerary and contact phone number/address of the group.
  2. a list of group members and their details.
  3. contact names, addresses and phone numbers of the parents/guardians.
  4. copies of parental consent forms.
  5. copies of travel documents, insurance documents, medical papers.
  6. a copy of the contract with the tour company/hotel etc.

It is the Principal’s responsibility to ensure that this information is available at all times, particularly if the tour takes place when the school is closed.


This policy will be reviewed every two years.

This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on:

Date:         _______________________________

Signed:      _______________________________

Appendix 1: Tour Template Details of School Tour

From circular m20/02


Reviewed 2015


Adopted by the Board of Management on the 09-09-2015


 This policy applies to students, staff and all other users of the school premises and/or school grounds, including parents and visitors. It is in force at all times, on the school premises, during school time, and during school related activities (including school tours and sports activities).



For the purposes of this policy, substance should be taken to mean any drugs whose use by school children is prohibited by law, for example alcohol, tobacco, solvents, inhalants and illicit drugs.

  • A drug in its broadest sense is any substance which changes the way the body functions i.e. mentally, physically or emotionally
  • A reasonable suspicion is a suspicion, backed by evidence such as statements by pupils, comments by pupils in class or otherwise, unusual or bizarre behaviour consistent with substance use.


This policy is consistent with our Mission statement.  Aims which strive to enable students to develop responsible attitudes towards themselves and others.  It is part of a general pastoral approach which fosters the development of each pupil within an atmosphere of care, concern and respect.




  • The Education Act provides that schools shall use available resources to “promote the moral, spiritual, social and personal development of students and provide health education for them, in consultation with their parents”.
  • The National Drugs Strategy, which is now Government Policy, requires schools to have a policy on substance use in place.
  • Drugs and their misuse, is an area of concern for pupils, parents and teachers.
  • The majority of young people do not take drugs. It is important to reassure these young people that their choice is responsible and positive and to support them in their choice of a healthy lifestyle.
  • Drugs have the potential to undermine good order and discipline in the school, and it is essential that appropriate steps are taken to ensure this does not happen.



  • To provide a safe environment so that learning can take place.
  • To reflect the school ethos.
  • To encourage good practice.
  • To protect students
  • To support staff
  • To provide a consistent response to drugs issues.
  • To formulate a framework for managing incidences of substance use.
  • To increase awareness of the risks associated with misuse of drugs.


Education concerning substance use

Education will be provided about alcohol and drugs in the content of Religious Education, Science, S.P.H.E., Home Economics and other relevant subject areas.


Planned and integrated contributions from visitors and agencies, which compliment the school’s approach and values, may add to the range of the programme.


A Drugs Awareness Programme will be provided for staff on a regular basis.

 Management of alcohol, tobacco and drug related incidents

It is forbidden to possess, supply, offer for sale, use or encourage the use of alcohol, illegal drugs or other harmful substances, including solvents and inhalants. Smoking is strictly forbidden in the school, on school grounds and on school related activities.  This is consistent with the Code of Behaviour (School Rules).

Illicit Drug:

It is strictly forbidden:

  1. To be in possession of, to use or to traffic in illegal drugs.
  2. To provide information to other pupils regarding contacts or places where illegal drugs may be obtained.
  3. To possess any items that may be deemed to be used in the taking of illicit substances, any written, printed, audio or visual material promoting the use of illicit substances is strictly prohibited and offenders will be dealt with in accordance with the Code of Behaviour.

 To be engaged in any of the above activities on the school premises or on the way to or from school or at any social or extra-curricular activity organised by the school is viewed as a very serious offence and disciplinary action will be taken in accordance with the school’s Code of Behaviour which incorporates the policy on Suspension & Expulsion

 Any student who is aware that students are engaging in any of the above activities is expected to report to the Principal. Any information given to the school regarding the use of illegal drugs will be handled sensitively.


The Year Head, Deputy Principal or Principal will investigate all allegations of drug misuse and will implement an appropriate sanction as per Code of Behaviour sanctions. As part of the investigation, students may be required to supply a written account of their knowledge of any incident(s).  The school will note the allegation and the outcome of the investigation in accordance with its record-keeping policy.



Students are forbidden to have in their possession or to consume alcohol either on the school premises or when going to and from school or at any social or extra-curricular activities organised by the school.


 Students who engage in such activity are in strict breach of school rules and disciplinary action will be taken in accordance with the school’s Code of Behaviour which incorporates the policy on Suspension & Expulsion.

 Solvent/Inhalent abuse:

 Students may not abuse solvents, aerosols or any other substances that could be harmful or open to being abused on the school premises or when going to or from school or at any other social or extra-curricular activity organised by the school.


Students who engage in such activity are in strict breach of school rules and disciplinary action will be taken in accordance with the school’s Code of Behaviour which incorporates the policy on Suspension & Expulsion.


Smoking on the school premises, on school grounds, on school related activities or on the way to and from school is strictly forbidden. This rule also to the smoking of e-cigarettes.


Students who engage in such activity are in strict breach of school rules and disciplinary action will be taken in accordance with the school’s Code of Behaviour which incorporates the policy on Suspension & Expulsion.


 Board of Management:


  • To ensure that a policy is in place, that it is approved, implemented and reviewed.
  • To decide on appeals by parents and/or pupils with respect to decisions made by Principal.
    • Principal and Senior Management:
  • To formulate draft policy, in consultation with staff, students, parents, Board and Trustees.
  • To ensure that policy is implemented, reviewed and evaluated.
  • To ensure that training is provided for staff when necessary.
  • To respond to media enquiries, consistent with confidentiality policy




  • To be vigilant in class and on school premises and to bring any information or reasonable suspicion to the attention of the Year Head/Deputy Principal or Principal as soon as possible.To monitor the implementation of the policy.
  • To maintain confidentiality at all times.



  • To support the policy and co-operate fully with the school in its implementation.
  • To bring to the attention of the school authorities any concern or information they may have in relation to substance misuse. 


  • To co-operate fully with the school in the implementation of the policy.
  • To report any information or drug related incident to the Principal, Deputy Principal or other member of teaching staff.


The approach to this issue, is based on the principle that the school acts in loco parentis – that the primary concern must be the well being and safety of all the pupils in our charge, and that they will be treated with care, concern and respect. Students may be required to submit to counselling and/or regular drug tests.  Banned substances will be confiscated.  Reasonable suspicions that a student has engaged in the misuse of drugs or is dealing in illegal drugs, will be investigated and that suspicion will be communicated to their parents/guardians.  The school will liaise with outside agencies, such as social workers as appropriate.  At all times the principles of natural justice will apply. 


Parents will be required, at the time of enrolment, to supply all relevant information regarding a pupil’s prescribed medication to the school. Relevant staff should be aware if a student is on prescribed medication.   

Parents will be informed of our policy on Substance Use, which contains reference to the sanctions for misuse. 


Monitoring requires vigilance on the part of everybody. This policy will be monitored regularly to ensure that it is implemented and is effective.



  • Successful implementation of this substance Use Policy
  • The successful dealing of any breaches of this policy
  • Positive feedback from teachers, parents and pupils


Ongoing review and evaluation will take cognisance of changing information, legislation, developments in school based programmes, feed back from parents/guardians, teachers and students. Procedures will be revised at regular intervals

Signed:       ________________________________________________


 Date:          ______________________________________________






Suspension is a serious sanction and involves the removal of a student from the regular school timetable for a specified, limited period of school days as determined by this Policy or by the school authorities.

Suspension will only be imposed where other efforts to resolve a disciplinary situation have failed or where the nature of an incident dictates that the student be removed from the school (or class) immediately.

Circumstances in which suspension may be considered include:

  • Repeated incidents of indiscipline, in spite of warnings and interventions by staff
  • Failure of the student to recognise legitimate authority
  • Persistent behaviour which is considered to interfere with the right of other students to learn
  • Particularly serious incident(s) which endanger the safety and welfare of others
  • Behaviour involving serious damage to property
  • Discipline incidents which are so critical that suspension has to be immediate
  • Substance misuseSuspension is a statement by the school that the student’s conduct has broken acceptable boundaries. It will be a matter of record and communicated to the Board of Management. Notes of all incidents, meetings and interviews leading up to a suspension must be retained.      misbehaviour that could warrant suspension, the school will observe the following procedures:
  • Where a preliminary assessment of the facts confirms serious
  • The authority delegated to the Principal in respect of suspension states the limits on that authority, and specifies how the Principal is accountable to the Board of Management for her use of that authority.
  • The Board of Management of a recognised school has the authority to suspend a student. The Board has delegated this authority to the Principal.
    • Suspension Procedure 
  • inform the student about the complaint and give her an opportunity to respond
  • inform parents/guardians by phone and give them an opportunity to respond.
  • arrange a meeting with parents and student to explore the matter further

Where an immediate suspension is considered by the Principal to be warranted a formal investigation will immediately follow the imposition of the suspension. In the case of an immediate suspension parents/guardians will be notified and arrangements made with them for the student to be collected.

The National Education Welfare Board will be informed if the suspension is for six or more school days or if the student has been suspended for an aggregate of twenty or more days in the school year

Period and Type of Suspension

In imposing a suspension and in deciding it duration, the following factors will be considered:

(a) The seriousness of the breach/breaches of school rules

(b) The severity of the behaviour, the frequency of its occurrence and the likelihood of its recurring

(c) The behaviour of the student up to the time of suspension

(d) Previous interventions

(e) The age, state of health and special needs of the student

(f) The possible negative impact of the student’s behaviour on other students in the school.

In certain circumstances and at the discretion of the school authorities an ‘in house’ suspension may be imposed. Out of school suspensions and in-house suspensions are regarded with equal gravity.

Implementing the Suspension

The parents/guardians of the student being suspended will be informed:

(a)  by telephone, where they can be contacted

(b)  in person

(c) by letter

The letter will contain:

  • the reason(s) for suspension
  • the length and dates of the suspension
  • the provision for an appeal to the Board of Management.The letter may also contain the following (depending on the individual circumstances):
  • the expectations of the student while on suspension
  • a statement of the importance of parental assistance in resolving the matter including any commitments to be given by the student
  • arrangements for the return of the student to school.   The student upon her return to school will be required to report to the Principal/Deputy Principal/Year Head before being permitted to go to class.A student returning from suspension will meet with the Guidance Counsellor.           
    • EXPULSION     General
  • Expulsion is the ultimate sanction available to the school and is exercised by the Board of Management only in extreme cases of unacceptable behaviour such as:
  • The Board of Management has the authority to expel a student. A student is expelled when the Board of Management makes a decision to permanently exclude her from the school, having complied with the provisions of section 24 of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000
  • If the parents/guardians are not satisfied with the decision of the Board of Management, they may appeal to the Department of Education and Science under Section 29 the Education Act 1998. Such an appeal regarding suspension can only be made where the suspension period brings the cumulative period of suspension to 20 school days or more in any one school year.
  • Parents/guardians (and students aged 18 years or more) may appeal the decision to suspend to the Board of Management. They should furnish the Board in writing with full details of the Appeal.
    • Appeal
  • During the period of suspension a student is not permitted to enter the school premises without prior permission nor is a student permitted to loiter in the vicinity of the school premises. The suspension may be lifted temporarily to facilitate a student to participate in a State Examination
  • The student’s behaviour persistently causing significant disruption to the learning of others or to the teaching process
  • The student’s continued presence in the school constituting a real and significant threat to safety and welfare of other users of the school campus
  • The student being responsible for serious damage to property
  • The student persistently failing to adhere to the School Code of Conduct
  • Substance misuse including possession
    • Expulsion Procedures
  • The Principal will:
  • Where the Principal takes the view that expulsion may be warranted, the Principal will make a recommendation to the Board of Management to consider expulsion.
  • A detailed investigation will be carried out under the direction of the Principal. Parents will be informed in writing of the alleged misbehaviour, how it will be investigated and the possibility that it could result in expulsion. Both parents and students will be given the opportunity to respond to the complaint of serious misbehaviour.
  • Inform the parents and the student that the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion
  • Ensure that parents have records of: the allegations against the student; the investigation; and written notice of the grounds on which the Board of Management is being asked to consider expulsion
  • Provide the Board of Management with the same records as supplied to the parents
  • Notify the parents of the date of the hearing by the Board of Management and invite them to that hearing
  • Ensure that parents have enough notice to allow them to prepare for the hearing
  • Advise parents that they can make a written and oral submission to the Board of Management.The Board of Management will consider the Principal’s recommendation. If the Board decides to consider expelling the student it will hold a hearing. At the hearing the Principal and the parents, or student aged eighteen or over, put their case to the Board in each other’s presence. Each party may question the evidence of the other party at the hearing. Principal and parents will not be present for Board deliberations.If the Board, having considered all the facts, is of the opinion that the student should be expelled the Board will notify the National Educational Welfare Board under Section 24(1) of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000. The student will not be expelled before the passage of twenty school days from the date on which the EWO receives this notification. Suspension may be applied for this period. The Board will communicate its decision in writing to the parents and outline the next phase of the process involving the Educational Welfare Officer.    Following the twenty day notification period and intervention of the Educational Welfare Officer, and where the Board remains of the view that the student should be expelled, the Board will formally confirm the decision to expel in writing. Parents and student will be informed of the right to appeal under the Education Act 1998 section 29 and supplied with the standard form. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management of Ardscoil Mhuire, Ballinasloe at its meeting of _______________________ Chairperson Secretary
  • Signed: ______________________       Date__________________
  • Signed: ______________________       Date_________________

12. Vetting Policy for Ardscoil Mhuire, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway.

Adopted by Board of Management on 20th February, 2008


In the context of the school’s Mission Statement and of its commitment to the care and protection of its students and of all who work in the school, the Board of Management has adopted the policy set out hereunder to govern its application of garda vetting as part of its recruitment practice.

The policy has been framed in compliance with:

  • DES circular letter 0094/2006
  • The Child Protection Guidelines for Post Primary Schools (DES 2004)
  • The Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003
  • Employment Equality Acts 1998 and 2004
  • Equal Status Act 2000
  • Industrial Relations Act 1990
  • The Garda Central Vetting Unit’s Code of Practice.




To ensure that the school is a safe and secure environment

To ensure that vetting of school personnel is carried out:

  • To the highest standards of good practice
  • In compliance with all legal and ethical obligations
  • In an open, transparent and just manner
  • With an assurance to applicants for vetting that the highest standards of confidentiality are observed.


The policy

In phase one, all new staff being recruited from 1st September 2006 or later who have not been employed in a recognised primary, or post-primary school, in a Youthreach, VTOS, Junior Education or Traveller Training Centre in this state at any time since 1st September 2003 must be vetted now (circular 0094/2006).  All new staff means all personnel working in a full-time, part-time, voluntary or student capacity who will have unsupervised access to children and vulnerable adults (para 2.3 of 0094/2006).


The extension of vetting to other school personnel will be notified to school management in due course.

At the completion of the selection process, when the preferred candidate has been selected, the candidate must complete a Garda Vetting Application Form. 

All offers of employment will be in writing and will be “subject to satisfactory vetting”

Failure to complete the Garda Vetting Application Form will disqualify the candidate and no offer of employment will be made to him or her.The provision of inaccurate information on the Garda Vetting Application Form, such as an inaccurate date of birth or address, may disqualify

Failure to disclose a conviction will disqualify.

(Note that in this jurisdiction there is no such thing as a “spent” conviction)

The attached schedule sets out those offences or categories of offences which will disqualify candidates. It also sets out other offences or categories of offences which may disqualify.  In deciding whether a particular conviction renders a candidate unsuitable for appointment, the school will have regard to

The nature of the offence and its possible relevance to the post.

  • The age of the offence (offences many years in the past may be less relevant than more recent offences)
  • The frequency of the offence (a series of offences will give more cause for concern than an isolated minor conviction)
  • Offences which are not sexual or violent in nature or drug related offences of a minor nature committed before the age of 18 will be judged in the light of the age of the applicant at the time of the offence.
  • Where the vetting process discloses pending prosecutions or unsuccessful prosecutions, such prosecutions will be assessed in the light of the nature, age and frequency of the alleged offence(s) and of the age of the candidate at the time of the alleged offences.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Principal will be designated as the Line Manager and will be responsible for the implementation of this policy.


The Principal/Line Manager will conduct the process on behalf of the school in conjunction with the Joint Managerial Body (JMB) and, through the JMB, with the Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU).


In the event of a disclosure the Principal should meet the applicant in person and in privacy. The applicant will be informed of the nature of the disclosure and will be given an opportunity to respond to it.  The Principal may wish to be accompanied to this meeting by the Chairperson of the Board or the Manager.  In such an instance the applicant should be informed that the Chairperson or Manager will be present and the applicant should also be afforded the option of being accompanied to the meeting.


The Principal should be authorised to determine if the outcome of the vetting of a candidate has been satisfactory or not, the determination being made in accordance with the school’s vetting. The Principal must  consult the Chairperson of the Board of Management/Manager before reaching a decision.


The only circumstance in which a disclosure of convictions or prosecutions would be made known to the Board of Management would be where the applicant consents that they be consulted.


Where the applicant applies to the school for a copy of the Garda vetting disclosure document a copy will be given to him/her.


The Eight Rules of Data Protection will be strictly observed by the school.




This policy will be effective from the date of adoption by the Board of Management. The school’s Vetting Policy will be made available to candidates for employment, paid or unpaid.  It will be included on the school’s Job Application Form(s), such that the candidate’s signature on that form confirms that he/she is aware of the school’s policy on vetting and accepts the school’s policy that satisfactory vetting is an essential requirement for appointment to a post in the school.  The form should authorise the Principal to receive disclosure of the outcome of Garda vetting and to have regard to it in determining if the candidate may be appointed to the post.



Policy Review:


This policy will be reviewed as necessary and particularly to comply with any relevant legislative changes.


Policy adopted by the Board of Management.



Signed: ________________________________

              Chairperson, Board of Management/Manager.



Date: _________________________________
































Category/Type of Offence



from employment

May or may not



May be acceptable










Sexual offences



Rape under Section 4

Unlawful carnal knowledge

Aggravated sexual assault

Sexual assault

Sexual offences (other)






False imprisonment


Assault causing harm

Non-fatal offences against the person including threats to kill, syringe attacks, endangering traffic



Assault (minor)

Assault (other)




Aggravated burglary


Theft from person

Theft (other)


Robbery of establishment/cash/goods

Robbery from person


Criminal Damage




Criminal damage





Possession of drugs for sale or supply


Simple possession




Possession of firearms

Discharge of firearm

Possession of offensive weapon







Intoxicated driving a vehicle

Intoxicated in charge of a vehicle

Unauthorised taking of a vehicle

Dangerous driving causing death

Hit and run (leaving the scene of an accident)









General road traffic offences


Public Order Offences


Drunkenness offences


Fraud Offences


Fraud offences


Explosives offences


Explosives offences



Money Laundering


Money Laundering



Trafficking of illegal



Trafficking of illegal immigrants



Terrorist Offences


Terrorist offences