Sunday 17 February 2019

Teachers claim staff don't have 'adequate training' to engage with specialised inspections starting next month

INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan. Photo: Frank McGrath
INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan. Photo: Frank McGrath
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Primary teachers say school staff do not have the proper training or supports to engage with specialised child protection inspections due to start on February 1.

Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO)  general secretary Sheila Nunan said Education Minister Joe McHugh was “putting the cart before the horse” by introducing the inspections next month, while training won’t be rolled out until June.

Ms Nunan said INTO members were fully supportive of robust child protection guidelines in accordance with best and current practice and of effective school safeguarding policies but were dismayed at the announcement  that inspections were to start within weeks.

She said the new inspections were “more focused on compliance with bureaucratic requirements than child protection”.

Of even  more concern, she added, was  that they were “due to take place in a vacuum of adequate training and supports for school personnel including the complete absence of any whole school staff face-to-face training”.

The union has called for the inspections to be delayed  until there is  adequate training for Designated Liaison Persons – a member of staff with particular responsibility in relation to  dealing with child protection concerns -  principals and school staffs.

Ms Nuan said  INTO  members 2deliver the highest standards of child protection. Inspections which are pre-occupied with bureaucracy detract from the goal of delivering excellent child protection. Given the importance of this area, Government must act quickly in response to our demands.

“These measures will not assist in keeping children safe. They will, however, considerably increase the workload on school leaders who are already at breaking point, she said.

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