New Child Protection Inspections Model unnecessarily bureaucratic

INTO calls for inspections to be delayed until training and support is made available

INTO responds to announcement by the Department of Education and Skills, of the commencement of new Child Protection and Safeguarding Inspections (CPSI) in schools from 1 February 2019.

INTO members are fully supportive of robust child protection guidelines in accordance with best and current practice and of effective school safeguarding policies. The INTO constructively engaged with the Department of Education and Skills (DES) to introduce new child protection guidelines into primary schools in 2018, based on the 2017 Tusla Children First guidelines and the Children First Act, 2015.

However, INTO is dismayed that the DES Inspectorate is about to embark on a new inspection model in relation to child protection which is more focused on compliance with bureaucratic requirements than child protection. Of even more concern to principals and teachers is that these proposed inspections by the DES are 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 new requirements in relation to CPSI are overly bureaucratic and represent a real challenge for principals to implement, creating additional paperwork and workload.

INTO President Joe Killeen raised the issue at today’s meeting of the Teachers' Conciliation Council.

INTO General Secretary Sheila Nunan said, “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. The government must listen to representative bodies such as the INTO and ensure that inspections do not take place in the absence of adequate training for Designated Liaison Persons, principals and school staffs. The Minister’s statement that training will not be rolled out until June, but inspections will kick off in February shows that the cart truly has been put before the horse.”

Ms. Nunan said, “Our members deliver 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.”