Monthly Archives: January 2015

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The Administration of Medicines


The Administration of Medicines

While the Board of Management has a duty to safeguard the health and safety of pupils when they are engaged in authorised school activities this does not mean a duty upon teachers to personally undertake the administration of medicines.

The Board of Management requests parents to ensure that teachers be made aware in writing of any medical condition suffered by any children in their class.

• Non-prescriptive medicines will neither be stored nor administered to pupils in school. Prescribed medicines will not be administered in school without the written consent of parents and in the case of long term conditions e.g. Diabetes the specific authorisation of the Board of Management.

• The medicine should not be kept by the pupil but in a cupboard out of reach of pupils. Certain medicines, such as inhalers used by asthmatic children must be readily accessible at all times of the school day.

• The medicine should by self-administered if possible, under the supervision of an authorised adult.

• A written record of the date and time of administration must be kept.

• A teacher should not administer medication without the specific authorisation of the Board.

• No teacher can be required to administer medicine or drugs to a pupil.

• In emergency situations qualified medical assistance will be secured at the earliest opportunity.

• Parents of a pupil requiring regular medication during school hours should write to the Board to authorise a member of staff to administer the medication in school.

• Written details are required from the parent/guardian to the Board of Management giving the name of the child, name and dose of medication, whether the child should be responsible for her own medication, the circumstances in which medication is to be given by the teacher and consent for it to be given, when the parent is to be notified and where she can be contacted. It is the parent’s responsibility to check each morning whether or not the authorised teacher is in school unless an alternative arrangement is made locally.

• Where children are suffering from life threatening conditions, parents should outline clearly in writing, what can and can’t be done in a particular emergency situation, with particular reference to what may be a risk to the child.

• It is the parent’s responsibility to inform the school where children have an allergy to a substance contained in antiseptic wipes or plasters as these will be used in cases of accidents in school.

• Parents are further required to indemnify the Board of Management and authorised members of staff in respect of any liability that may arise regarding the administration of prescribed medicines in school. The Board of Management will inform the school’s insurers accordingly.

• Where possible the family doctor should arrange for the administration of prescribed medicines outside of school hours.

• Where permission has been given by the Board of Management for the administration of medicine the smallest possible dose should be brought to school, preferably by the parent with clear written instructions for administration, giving the name of the pupil. It is also the parent’s responsibility to check that the medicine is within expiry date.

• Changes in prescribed medication (or dosage) should be notified immediately to the school with clear written instructions of the procedure to be followed in storing and administering the new medication.

Parents should ensure that these procedures are clearly understood before submitting any request to the Board of Management.

This policy will be reviewed as and when necessary.

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Complaints procedure for primary schools




Only those complaints about teachers which are written and signed by parents/guardians of pupils may be investigated formally by the Board of Management, except where those complaints are deemed by the Board to be:


  • on matters of professional competence and which are to be referred to the Department of Education;
  • frivolous or vexatious complaints and complaints which do not impinge on the work of a teacher in a school; or
  • complaints in which either party has recourse to law or to another existing procedure.


Unwritten complaints not in the above categories may be processed informally as set out in Stage 1 of this procedure.



Stage 1


  • A parent/guardian who wishes to make a complaint should, unless there are local arrangements to the contrary, approach the class teacher with a view to resolving the complaint.
  • Where the parent/guardian is unable to resolve the complaint with the class teacher she/he should approach the Principal with a view to resolving it.
  • If the complaint is still unresolved the parent/guardian should raise the matter with the Chairperson of the Board of Management with a view to resolving it.



Stage 2


2.1 If the complaint is still unresolved and the parent/guardian wishes to pursue the matter further she/he should lodge the complaint in writing with the Chairperson of the Board of Management.

2.2 The Chairperson should bring the precise nature of the written complaint to the notice of the teacher and seek to resolve the matter between the parties within 5 days of receipt of the written complaint.



Stage 3


3.1 If the complaint is not resolved informally, the Chairperson should, subject to the general authorisation of the Board and except in those cases where the Chairperson deems the particular authorisation of the Board to be required:


  • supply the teacher with a copy of the written complaint; and


  • arrange a meeting with the teacher and, where applicable, the Principal Teacher with a view to resolving the complaint. Such a meeting should take place within 10 days of receipt of the written complaint.


Stage 4


4.1 If the complaint is still not resolved the Chairperson should make a formal report to the Board within 10 days of the meeting referred to in 3.1(b).

4.2 If the Board considers that the complaint is not substantiated the teacher and the complaint should be so informed within three days of the Board meeting.

4.3 If the Board considers that the complaint is substantiated or that it warrants further investigation it proceeds as follows:


  • the teacher should be informed that the investigation is proceeding to the next stage;
  • the teacher should be supplied with a copy of any written evidence in support of the complaint;
  • the teacher should be requested to supply a written statement to the Board in response to the complaint;
  • the teacher should be afforded an opportunity to make a presentation of case to the Board. The teacher would be entitled to be accompanied and assisted by a friend at any such meeting;
  • the board may arrange a meeting with the complainant if it considers such to be required. The complainant would be entitled to be accompanied and assisted by a friend at any such meeting; and
  • the meeting of the Board of Management referred to in (d) and (e) will take place within 10 days of the meeting referred to in 3.1(b).


Stage 5


5.1 When the Board has completed its investigation, the Chairperson should convey the decision of the Board in writing to the teacher and the complainant within five days of the meeting of the Board.

5.2 The decision of the Board shall be final.

5.3 This Complaints Procedure shall be reviewed after three years.

5.4 CPSMA or INTO may withdraw from this agreement having given the other party three months’ notice of intention to do so.


In this agreement ‘days’ means schools days.


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Designated Autism Unit – Admissions and Enrolment Policy


Designated Autism Unit – St. John’s N.S.

Admissions and Enrolment Policy



Enrolment Criteria


  1. All parents wishing to enroll their children in the class for children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in St. John’s N.S. will require an up to date psychological assessment report from a registered Psychologist.


Please note that an “up-to-date psychological assessment” is defined as:


A psychiatric or psychological assessment report that clearly specifies whether the child has a confirmed diagnosis of an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.


A reference to the child’s current cognitive functioning as well as current behaviour analysis as ascertained by valid and reliable psychometric tests and clinical impressions.


It is preferable that a report, completed within approximately 12 months prior to a decision being made with regards to the child’s application, should be furnished.


The age profile of children in the A.S.D. class must correspond with the age profile of all the other children in St. John’s N.S.


Final decision lies with the B.O.M. Applications Team comprising of the Board of Management, Chairperson, Principal, Psychologist, Special Class Teacher and S.E.N.O. (Special Needs Organisor).



Where a child’s behaviour impacts in a negative way on others in the school to the extent that their constitutional right to an education is being interfered with or their health and safety compromised, as judged by the Board of Management of the School, the school reserves the right to advise parents that a more suitable setting should be found for their child.


Application Process


  1. Parent(s) / Guardian(s) will apply in writing to the School Principal.


  1. The criteria for admission, the services available, the teaching methodologies used, and a Registration/ Enrolment Form will be sent to the Parent(s) / Guardian(s) for consideration.


  1. Should Parent(s) / Guardian(s) feel that the particular class might suit their child’s needs they will need to forward the registration form along with a recent psychological assessment – see definition of same above.


  1. The application will be considered by the B.O.M. Multidisciplinary Committee. This Committee is comprised of a Psychologist, Board of Management Chairperson, Class Teacher and School Principal.  The Admissions Committee recommendation is forwarded to the B.O.M. who will have the final decision.



The Class for Children with ASD


  1. According to the Department of Education and Science (D.E.S.) CIRCULAR 9/99 the current pupil teacher ratio applicable is 6:1. This is comprised of 1 Teacher and 2 Special Needs Assistants per 6 children.


  1. The outreach services of a multi disciplinary team from the Regional ASD Service will be available to the class.


  1. In-service training for staff will be delivered on an ongoing basis. In the light of whole team training, it may be deemed necessary at times to request the children not to attend school on that particular day(s).  Parent(s) / Guardian(s) will be given ample notice of dates.


  1. All school staff will have access to specific training and focuses on educating/working with children who have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.






“Enrolment” – At an introductory stage children will be integrated into their new class environment as per their individual needs (for example a child may initially attend on a part-time basis until the child has adapted to the new environment) this will be individually agreed and monitored in consultation with parents.

In all cases admissions must be monitored and reviewed – children shall not remain in this class if the class is not meeting their needs.



Teaching Methods


Teaching methods include elements of various styles and techniques including:

  • All children follow the Mainstream Curriculum and integrate with their peers in the Mainstream Classes where appropriate
  • E.P. (Individual Education Plans) are written at the start of the school year in consultation with parents and the A.S.D. Team. Targets are monitored on a regular basis, with review meetings taking place in January and June.
  • E.A.C.C.H – Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children
  • E.C.S – Picture Exchange Communication System
  • P.E.L.L – Structure, Positive, Empathy, Low Arousal, Links
  • Social Stories
  • The Social Class Teachers will work in consultation with the A.S.D Team to ensure the needs of each child are addressed appropriately. The A.S.D Team may include the following members: Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Clinic Manager, Key Worker and Social Worker.



Individual Educational Plan – Children will have regular access to I.E.P.’s in the setting of St. John’s N.S.



Aim and Objectives


To provide a quality driven, appropriate educational service to all children in the Unit, within the requirements of all recent legislation pertaining to Special Needs Education.

To strive towards the integration of children in the Unit into mainstream education, having regard for levels of disability, available resources and suitability for such integration.

To enhance the communicative and social skills of the children in the Unit.


Discharge Policy


It is school policy to facilitate the discharge of pupils from the unit once they have reached the age of twelve.

Pupils who reach the age of thirteen after September 30th in any year will be permitted to complete that academic year. This means a June discharge in the following year.  Discharge may also be recommended after the first year if the admissions team, after consultation with the parents/guardians, feel that placement is not appropriate.




The Board of Management will monitor the implementation of all aspects of this policy.  This policy will be amended and updated as require.


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Homework Policy



Homework is given as a means of consolidating and reinforcing work done in school. It provides a link between teacher and parent and encourages parental involvement in their child’s education. We would advise you to check your child’s work and remain in regular contact with the child’s teacher by signing homework every school night.


The following points should also be noted with regards to homework.


  • Set aside a regular time for homework including adequate time for reading, learning by heart as well as written work.
  • The child should be sitting comfortably at a table in a quiet room free from distractions and interruptions.
  • Do not allow children to watch T.V. while doing homework and they should not have access to iPads, tablets, phones etc. at this time.
  • The pupil should have their homework journal/homework sheet beside them and tick off work as it is completed. Homework Journals should be signed each night by parent or guardian after checking that the work is completed satisfactorily. If for any reason homework cannot be done, let the class teacher know by writing a short note.
  • If your child is working independently – be available to help and show interest in what is being done. If you are working with your child and you feel yourself becoming impatient, take a short break and go back to the work a little later. Praise your child’s efforts at every opportunity.
  • Parents should encourage a positive attitude towards all subjects from an early age and should advise their child to do their best work at all times. If your child is persistently having problems with homework, contact the class teacher and discuss the difficulties.


  • Encourage your child to keep books and copies clean and tidy and to take pride in doing their very best work. Ensure your child has all the necessary books and school related items needed for school the following day.
  • The school promotes recreational reading as part of the homework routine or at the other times e.g. bedtime / weekends / breaks. We would appreciate co-operation from all parents / guardians with regard to same.


In order to promote a positive attitude to homework the following rewards are used, reward stickers / stars / stamps / Student of the week / Reader of the week etc. Occasionally one aspect of homework e.g. oral or written will be omitted as an incentive for best effort in group work. The school will periodically award a homework-free night for special occasions or achievements.


While homework is given with the child of average ability in mind, obviously some children will get it completed more quickly than others. Some children may have to complete work begun in school that they did not finish. Time spent on homework will vary from day to day and also from the beginning to the end of the school year. Remember that work completed quickly and carelessly is not work completed properly.

When considering the amount of time spent on homework, one must not include time spent doing another unrelated activity e.g. wandering off to play. Time spent depends on the child’s concentration, ability and application.


If a child is absent from school for lengthy periods due to illness, school personnel will endeavor to help the child keep up with the work of the class. In the event of a child being absent from school for other reasons e.g. holidays, it is our policy that teachers will not set or correct work for individual children. All absences affect the pattern of a child’s schooling and parents need to be mindful of this and avoid children losing out on valuable educational experiences where possible.







Here follows the recommended homework times which should operate in normal circumstances and keeping the above guidelines in mind.


Infants:                                   0-20 mins.

Rang 1 and 2:                       20-30 mins.

Rang 3 and 4:         –             30-40 mins.

Rang 5 and 6:                       40-50 mins.



We have a policy of giving homework from Monday – Thursday.

Weekends are homework free provided homework has been completed on Monday to Thursday.


Parent / Teacher Meetings:

Communication between parent and teacher is vital to ensure that the progress of your child can be monitored. Parent / teacher meetings are held once a year usually in February. However, should you wish to discuss your child’s progress with class teacher or principal we would ask you to make an appointment through the school secretary who will arrange a suitable time for your consultation.