Child Protection Guidelines for Alize's School of Singing
CHILD SAFEGUARDING STATEMENT
Location: Alize’s School of Singing, Unit 29 Danville Business Park Kilkenny
1: NAME OF SERVICE BEING PROVIDED
Music lessons (instrumental and vocal) for children aged 4+, teenagers and adults.
Pop Star Parties for children aged between 5 and 12
2: NATURE OF SERVICES AND PROVISIONS TO SAFEGUARD CHILDREN FROM HARM
Alize’s School of Singing offers music classes to children and adults at both of the above named premises in Kilkenny. We currently employ 4 teachers and will update this if and when teacher numbers increase.
We also offer one to one classes, group classes, pop choirs and pop star parties to children of similar ages and we also offer online music lessons. Alize’s School of Singing believes that the best interests of children and young people attending our services are paramount. We believe that all children attending our school have the right to be protected, treated with respect, listened to and to have their views taken into consideration in all decisions affecting them. The aim of Alize’s School of Singing’s Protection Policy is to promote best practice in protection and set out a procedural framework to ensure that members of staff are equipped to make informed responses to specific issues and minimise risk with regard to child protection and welfare issues.
In implementing our policy, we follow the recommendations as set out by Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children, Tusla’s Child Safeguarding: A Guide for Policy, Procedure and Practice, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and current legislation such as the Children First Act 2015, Child Care Act 1991, Protections for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act 1998 and the National Vetting Bureau Act 2012.
Our guiding principles apply to all paid staff, volunteers and any other persons ordinarily engaged with Alize’s School of Singing on a regular or casual basis. All said persons must sign up to and abide by these guiding principles and our child safeguarding procedures.
We will review our guiding principles and child safeguarding procedures every year (or sooner if necessary due to service issues or changes in legislation or national policy).
Our Designated Liaison Person is: Alize Comerford 0834088014 (owner of Alize’s School of Singing)
SIGNED: Alize Comerford
Our Deputy Designated Liaison Person is: Amy Cooke, 0876173637
3: RISK ASSESSMENT
In accordance with the Children First Act 2015, Alize’s School of Singing has carried out a risk assessment of any potential for harm to a child while attending Alize’s School.
4: PROCEDURES / MEASURES IN PLACE
Our Child Safeguarding Statement has been developed in line with requirements under the Children First Act 2015, Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2017), and Tusla’s Child Safeguarding: A Guide for Policy, Procedure and Practice. In addition to the procedures listed in our risk assessment, the following procedures support our intention to safeguard children while they are availing of our service:
The following procedures/measures are in place:
A: CODE OF BEHAVIOUR FOR STAFF:
Children are to be treated with dignity, sensitivity and respect at all times.
All staff of Alize’s School (this includes all those contracted to carry out work under the name of Alize’s School and all staff conducting work online) must be sensitive to the risks involved in interacting with children in a one-to-one setting, in groups and online.
While physical contact may be necessary to instruct a child how to hold or to play an instrument, it should be appropriate to the lesson or class, and only take place when it is acceptable to all concerned.
While physical contact is a valid way of comforting, reassuring and showing concern for children, it should only take place when it is acceptable to all concerned.
School staff should never physically punish or be in any way verbally abusive to a child; nor should they ever tell jokes of a sexual nature in the presence of children.
School staff should be sensitive to the possibility of developing favouritism, or becoming over involved or spending a great deal of time with any one child.
Children and/or parents should be encouraged to report any problems to the School’s Child Protection Officer (Alize Comerford) who is also the school’s director.
All complaints and allegations will be met with a response
All staff and students and parents associated with Alize’s School should respect the personal space, safety and privacy of individuals.
B: PROCEDURES FOR REPORTING CASES OF CHILD ABUSE
Child abuse can be categorised into four types: neglect, emotional, physical and sexual. Children First – National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children includes the following definitions of child abuse:
Neglect. This is where a child suffers significant harm or impairment of development by being deprived of food, clothing, warmth, hygiene, intellectual stimulation, supervision and safety, attachment to and affection from adults, or medical care.
Emotional Abuse. This is normally found in the relationship between a caregiver and a child. It occurs when a child’s needs for affection, approval, consistency and security are not met.
Physical Abuse. Physical abuse is any form of non-accidental injury that causes significant harm to a child.
Sexual Abuse. Sexual abuse occurs when a child is used by another person for his or her gratification or arousal, or for that of others.
Any person who suspects that a child is being abused or is at risk of abuse has a responsibility to report their concerns to the health board (via the School’s Child Protection Officer, Alize Comerford). The Protection for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act (1998) provides immunity from civil liability to persons who report child abuse ‘reasonably and in good faith’ to designated officers of health boards or any member of An Garda Síochána.
Within the School, the report should be made to the Child Protection Officer, who will then report to the Director. In the case of Alize’s School, Alize Comerford is both Child Protection Officer and Director. If there are any grounds for concern, the health board or An Garda Síochána will be contacted. The person who first reported the matter will normally be required to talk to the duty social worker. When reporting, as much information as possible should be provided, i.e. names, addresses, full account of the concern for the child, dates of incidents, circumstances, and the child’s own statement, if relevant.
In cases of emergency, where a child appears to be at immediate and serious risk, An Garda Síochána will be contacted.
A suspicion, which is not supported by any objective signs of abuse, would not constitute a reasonable suspicion, or reasonable grounds for concern.
Any information provided to the health board and An Garda Síochána will remain confidential.
C: ALLEGATIONS OF MISCONDUCT OR ABUSE BY STAFF
The following actions are to be taken if an allegation is made against a member of staff:
The applicable employment contract and the laws of natural justice are to be followed.
The first priority is that no child is exposed to unnecessary risk, and the School Director will take the relevant protective measures.
These measures will be proportionate to the level of risk, and will not unreasonably penalise the staff member. Where protective measures, such as suspension, do penalise the staff member, early consideration will be given to the case.
Any action following the allegation of abuse against a staff member will be taken in consultation with the health board and An Garda Síochána. An immediate meeting with these two agencies will be arranged.
After these consultations, the accused person will be informed by the Director of his/her future in the School.
The School will ensure that all is done to assist the health board and An Garda Síochána in their investigation of the matter.
D: RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION PROCESSES
When a teaching or administration vacancy becomes available, a clear description of the job is to be provided. The minimum level of personal qualities required to fill the post are to be made clear.
Applicants are interviewed by the school director and a nominated third party (either another teacher at the school or a person who has relevant experience in this specific recruitment process e.g. youth worker, school principal). The specific qualifications necessary to work as a music teacher at Alize’s School will be discussed as well as their experience in teaching particular age groups. Teachers will not be paired with age groups that they have no prior experience teaching. The information supplied by the applicant and any other information supplied on their behalf will only be seen by persons directly involved in the recruitment procedure.
Applicants are to supply the names of two referees who will testify as to their character, their suitability to the job and any other issues that may affect their ability to perform the required tasks. At least one referee should have first-hand knowledge of the applicant’s previous work or contact with children.
The applicant will be required to confirm his/her identity against some documentation, which gives his or her full name and address together with a signature or photograph.
E: COMPLAINTS AND ACCIDENTS PROCEDURES
Emergency numbers are prominently displayed, and known by office staff.
Director and teacher, Alize Comerford, is on site at all times so staff know to contact her in case of emergency. If for any reason that she is unable to be on site, staff will use their own mobile phone to contact relevant emergency numbers asap and inform Alize asap.
A first aid box is kept close at hand and in view.
All accidents and complaints are to be reported to the Child Protection Officer, who will then enter them in a logbook.
F: PROVISION OF INFORMATION TO STAFF AND TRAINING
In relation to the provision of information and, where necessary, instruction and training, to staff in respect of the identification of the occurrence of harm (as defined in the 2015 Act) Alize’s School:
has provided each member of staff with a copy of Alize’s School Child Safeguarding Statement;
ensures all new staff are provided with a copy of Alize’s School Child Safeguarding Statement;
encourages staff to avail of relevant training e.g. ALL staff are required to undertake TUSLA CHILDREN’S FIRST TRAINING
This CHILD SAFETY STATEMENT has been provided to all members of Alize’s School’s staff. It is readily accessible to parents and guardians on request. A copy of this Statement will be made available to Tusla if requested. All relevant documents, this statement and details of procedures in place to mitigate risks are readily available upon request by contacting Alize Comerford.
Signed: __Alize Comerford_____ ALIZE COMERFORD, TEACHER / OWNER @ ALIZE’S SCHOOL OF SINGING
6: PROCEDURES FOR CONDUCTING LESSONS ONLINE
In facilitating access to instrument and vocal tuition for our students, Alize’s School extends the opportunity to study online. In providing these opportunities, we commit to adhering to the following best practices in the interest of safeguarding both students and tutors.
Child Protection Concerns Related to Internet Tuition
Tutoring students over the internet raises the following concerns in relation to child protection:
The situation introduces the student to the idea of communicating with an adult that is not part of their family group over the internet. This is not a practice that should come to be considered normal by the student and it should be emphasised by parents that communicating in this manner is something that requires permission and supervision;
This method of teaching invites the tutor into the student’s home, and vice versa, without being physically present and, therefore, possibly unknown to other members of either household. There should be an awareness on behalf of all involved that there is someone virtually present in their home and that everyone’s actions need to be reflected in this. Insofar as is possible, the teaching situation should closely reflect that of teaching in a music school;
Alize’s School musician educators/tutors undertake as part of our Child Protection Policy to report any concerns over child welfare to Alize Comerford, who is the designated liaison person with Alize’s School for child welfare matters. This relates not only to the student but to the welfare of any child in the location in which they are working, physically or virtually.
Written / Verbal & documented parental consent shall be sought for the purposes of:
Engaging with the young person in their home, or other locations as decided by the parent for online lessons (e.g. grandparents home), via live video calls (Zoom video calls)
Agreeing to allow access to Alize’s School tuition on the parent’s devices only
Location and Supervision of Lessons
All lessons should be held in an area of the home that is open and accessible to the parents of the student. Lessons should not, for instance, take place in a room with a closed door without parental/guardian’s supervision.
Lessons will, however, need to be held in an area where student and tutor/musician educators can concentrate on the lesson and not be unnecessarily interrupted. This may be hard to balance with younger children in the house and may take a few lessons to establish a good routine. All concerned need to show some patience in forming a routine and be willing to discuss ways to improve concentration during lessons.
A parent/guardian or other responsible adult should be available to drop in and out of the teaching space throughout the duration of the lesson.
Email Addresses (for Zoom classes)
All lessons and student-teacher interaction on the student’s part must take place using parent/guardian email addresses and devices.
Alternative Contact Methods
All arrangements / re-arrangements to lessons must be made through a parent.
Student and tutor are not to communicate via alternative video / electronic methods other than specifically agreed with the parent.
Any and all communications between student and tutor must be fully controlled by or accessible to parents.
Grounds for Concern
The grounds for concern laid out in Alize’s School Child Protection Policy shall apply in all lessons given over the internet and shall apply to all children in the student’s home. This includes things that happen in the background or off-camera.
If a parent has any concerns about the process or relationship between student and tutor/musician educator, they should contact Alize Comerford, the designated liaison person with Alize’s School, to discuss the situation. Alize’s School undertakes to investigate all complaints or concerns regarding its teaching staff in line with our Child Protection Policy.
Concerns for the welfare of students will be dealt with in line with Alize’s School Child Protection Policy.
Recording of Lesson
No recordings are to be made of lessons, without the explicit consent of both tutor/ Alize’s School and parent/guardian.
General Code of Conduct
All participants in Alize’s School programmes online must agree to :
Treat all users, educators and colleagues fairly and equally. Stimulate conversation, be respectful of others’ views, and refrain from personal attacks.
Respect legitimate intellectual property rights, do not plagiarise work, and give credit to the originators of ideas.
Don’t share the posts of others without permission.
We recognise that implementation is an on-going process. Alize’s School is committed to the implementation of this Child Safeguarding Statement and the procedures that support our intention to keep children safe from harm while availing of our service.
This Child Safeguarding Statement will be reviewed on 24th of August 2024 or as soon as practicable after there has been a material change in any matter to which the statement refers.
Signed: _Alize Comerford____ALIZE COMERFORD, TEACHER / OWNER @ ALIZE’S SCHOOL OF SINGING
ALIZE COMERFORD, 0834088014, INFO@SCHOOLOFSINGING.IE
For queries, please contact ALIZE COMERFORD, Relevant Person under the Children First Act 2015.