All actions concerning children and young people must uphold the best interests of the young person as a primary consideration. Staff must always be mindful of the fact that they hold a position of trust, and that their behaviour towards the children and young people in their charge must be above reproach.
The Policies are not intended to detract from the enriching experiences children and young people gain from positive interaction with staff within the education sector. It is intended to assist staff in respect of the complex issue of child abuse, by drawing attention to the areas of risk for staff and by offering guidance on prudent conduct.
Within the Policies of the school and the employing authority staff should ensure that their relationship with pupils is appropriate to the age, maturity and gender of the pupils, taking care that their conduct does not give rise to comment or speculation. Attitudes, demeanour and language all require care and thought, particularly when staffs are dealing with adolescent boys and girls.
Where teachers see signs which cause them concern they should seek clarification from the pupil with tact and understanding. Where a classroom assistant or another member of the ancillary or auxiliary staff sees such signs, he/she should immediately bring them to the attention of the class teacher or the designated teacher who may carry out the necessary clarification. While such clarification may reassure teachers that abuse has not occurred several points should be borne in mind:
All staffs are expected to treat other colleagues, pupils and external contacts, such as parents, with dignity and respect. Staffs are required to comply with the school's policies in respect of colleagues, students and other contacts such as parents. Unacceptable behaviour such as discrimination, bullying, harassment or intimidation will not be tolerated in schools. This includes physical and verbal abuse and use of inappropriate language or unprofessional behaviour with colleagues, pupils and parents.
School staffs are expected to act in an open and transparent way that would not lead any reasonable person to suspect their actions or intent.
Staffs in schools are in a position of trust and have a duty to protect young people from discrimination and harm and to maintain appropriate professional boundaries. It is equally important for staff to avoid behaviour that might be misinterpreted by others to protect both young people and themselves. Staffs are required to read and understand school policies on child protection.
Staffs must not misuse or misrepresent their position, qualifications or experience or bring the reputation of the school into disrepute. Such behaviour may lead to disciplinary action.
School staffs must inform the Head of the School immediately if they are subject to a criminal conviction, caution, ban, police enquiry, investigation or pending prosecution. The Head of the school or the Governing Body will discuss this with the staff in the context of their role and responsibilities to help safeguard children and other staffs at the school.
Staffs must adhere to the school’s Health and Safety policy, procedure and guidance and must ensure that they take every action to keep themselves and everyone in the school environment safe and well. This includes taking immediate safety action in a potentially harmful situation (either at school or off-site) by complying with statutory and school guidelines and collaborating with colleagues, agencies and the local authority.
The taking of illegal drugs during working hours is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. All staffs are expected to attend work without being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs and without their performance being adversely impacted by the consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs. If an alcohol or drug usage impact on the staff’s working life, the school has the right to discuss the matter with the staff and take appropriate action, having considered factors such as the school or local authority’s reputation and public confidence.
School equipment and systems (phone, email and computers) are available only for school-related activities and should not be used for the fulfillment of another job or for personal use. This is unless authorised by the Head of the school in case of an emergency, or where used for brief periods outside of working hours.
This includes photocopy facilities, stationery and premises. It also applies to access provided for remote use (e.g. hand held portable devices etc.) and to staff working outside of school premises and using their own IT equipment.
Illegal, inappropriate or unacceptable use of school equipment or communication systems may result in disciplinary action and in serious cases could lead to an staff's dismissal. This list is not exhaustive and includes;
Staffs receiving inappropriate communication or material or who are unsure about whether something h/she proposes to do might breach this policy should seek advice from their Head of the school.
The school has the right to monitor e-mails, phone-calls, internet activity or document production, principally to avoid offensive or nuisance material and to protect systems from viruses, but also to ensure proper and effective use of systems Communication systems may be accessed when the school suspects that the staff has been misusing systems or facilities, or for the investigation of suspected fraud or other irregularity. Passwords should not be shared and access to computer systems must be kept confidential. Breach of this confidentiality may be subject to disciplinary action.
School staffs must not access social networking websites for personal use (i.e. non- job related use) during work time.
Access to some journals, blogs and social networking sites is permitted during work time for the purposes of undertaking job related duties only. School staffs must act in the best interests of the school and not disclose personal data or information about any individual including staff, young people or children. This includes images. Access may be withdrawn and disciplinary action taken if there is a breach of confidentiality or defamatory remarks are made about the school, staff, young people or children.
It is not recommended that staff use these sites, however if staffs have a profile they must ensure that they:
The school respects a staff's private life. However, it must also ensure that confidentiality and its reputation are protected. Staffs using social networking websites in their private life;
Staffs who wish to set up personal web forums, weblogs or 'blogs' must do so outside of work, not using school equipment.
Staff should not disclose sensitive information about the school, its staffs or the local authority to other parties, for example, parents or colleagues.
Everyone has the right to request access to data that is held about them and such requests should be made to the Head of the school who will address the request.