St Dympna’s School values the relationships between all members of the school community. As well as the educational, spiritual and social aspects of these relationships, the school is also aware of its legal and ethical responsibilities in regard to the children in its care. The school’s Duty of Care in protecting students from reasonably foreseeable injuries includes adequate supervision of students, protecting students from dangerous situations and maintaining safe premises and equipment. We are aware that the duties and responsibilities of the staff at St Dympna’s extend beyond the legal requirements to protecting the physical and moral welfare of all children.
To ensure Duty of Care policies and procedures are understood and followed, St Dympna’s School will ensure:
(Refer to School Policies for Excursions, Administration of Medication, Visitor’s and Critical Incidents Policies for more detailed requirements.)
Staff must take reasonable precautions for the well-being of students and others. There is a need for sound behaviour management and supervision skills in classrooms, around the school grounds and buildings, in sport activities, and while on school excursions.
Before and After School
The known or ought-to-be known presence of children on school grounds is sufficient to establish a legal duty of care. On setting rules concerning behaviour in the playground or setting supervision times, before and after school, the school realizes that it has a Duty of Care and that adequate supervision should be provided. Teachers must carry out their rostered supervision for the full term of that duty.
Supervision of students at lunch and afternoon tea must be carried out with due care and diligence by the staff member on duty. The care required does vary according to such aspects as the age and nature of the students, the place and type of equipment being used and the space used and numbers using it. The Duty of Care rests with the rostered teacher and every effort needs to be made to fulfil the supervision duties.
Sport and Physical Education
Sport and Physical Education are areas of school life which often require a great deal of supervision and care. Activities designed to enhance children’s capabilities are an important part of the educational process but, by their nature, they usually involve a level of physical activity beyond that experienced in the classroom. The following points need to be noted in providing sport and Physical Education opportunities for children in the school.
Excursions and Camps
Schools and teachers owe a Duty of Care to students for the duration of the camp or excursion. Camps often increase the Duty of Care required for the safety of the students and the staff. Both camps and excursions need to be assessed to ensure they are justified in terms of risk of harm and the value of the activity. It is important to thoroughly plan all aspects of the camp or excursion and to keep records of procedures followed.
Non-teaching staff and volunteers
Non-teaching staff and volunteers owe a Duty of Care where they take part in a school activity. The following points need to be taken into consideration. It is the responsibility of the school to ensure that staff or volunteers are appropriately skilled to carry out any responsibilities which involve the safety of students.
First Aid and Disease
The Duty of Care requires a teacher to take control of a health emergency but it does not necessarily require the teacher to personally administer First Aid. Staff members should have current First Aid training and should be equipped to administer appropriate First Aid. The school administration will inform staff about students with specific health conditions.
School Policies and Procedures
All Staff are expected to be aware of, and fully comply with, all School Policies, especially those relating to the safety and welfare of the children in our care. The Critical Incidents Policy, in particular, is in operation throughout the school and regular induction and training in its different aspects is undertaken. These policies have been developed, implemented and reviewed to ensure that the school has sound preventative risk management strategies and fulfils its Duty of Care responsibilities.