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Communication Policy

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Communicating with Parents/Guardians

Introduction

The Board of Management and Staff of St. Declan’s Community College encourage close links with Parents/Guardians and the community. We believe that students benefit when the relationship between home and school is a positive one.

Protocols for Parents/Guardians communicating with personnel of St. Declan’s Community College.

Providing Contact Details

Address, relevant telephone numbers and alternative “emergency” numbers must be given to the school and these must be updated as necessary with a phone call to the school.

Organising a meeting with the Principal, Deputy Principal, Year Head, Class Tutor and/or Subject Teacher.

If a parent /guardian wishes to meet with someone in the school an appointment must be made beforehand: except in the event of an emergency. An emergency is a situation that poses an immediate risk to health, life, property or environment.

A phone call should be made to the school secretary. Name and contact number should be left with the secretary and details of the reason for requesting a meeting. The person in question will then respond at their earliest convenience.

If a matter is of a sensitive or private matter it should be referred to the Principal in the first instance.

Should a Parent/Guardian wish for a family member/friend to attend a meeting they must inform the Principal beforehand.

Use of Student Journal

Any absence by a student should be notified to the school in writing in the Student Journal of the reason for all student absences. Such notice should be provided prior to the absence if possible or otherwise immediately afterwards.

If homework is not completed, an explanation note should be written in the Student Journal giving the reason why.

Parent/Teacher Meetings

Notice of all Parent /Teacher meetings are given at the start of the school year in the School Calendar. A text message will also be sent home with advance notice of the meeting. In the event a Parent/Guardian cannot make the meeting the Year Head should be informed.

Parent’s Information and Celebration Events

These are held for parents of different year groups at various times during the year. Letters of invitation and information will be sent out in advance. In the event a Parent/Guardian cannot make the meeting the school should be contacted.

Protocols for Reporting Student Absence

Protocol for the student who is absent for one or more days from school

  • Note to be written in the relevant section of the Student Journal and signed by the Parent/Guardian. Medical Certificate to be attached if possible. (This is particulary relavant for LCA students).
  • Note to be presented to subject teacher at roll call and notes to be forwarded to office.
  • Student is responsible for catching up on any work missed. Subject teacher will support where necessary.

Protocol for the student who is late in the morning

  • Student to sign into the Late Book

Year Head will monitor lateness patterns

Protocol for student who is signing out during the school day

  • Parent/Guardian must write an explanatory note in the Student Journal. The note must state why the student is signing out early and what time the student needs to leave at.
  • The note is to be presented to the Principal/Deputy Principal for signing before the commencement of class in the morning.
  • The student must present the signed note to the subject teacher of the class they will be leaving.
  • The student must then report to the school office and wait to sign out.
  • In the event of an emergency a phone-call should be made to the school detailing the emergency, what time the student will be collected at and by whom.
  • Please try to make doctor or dental appointments on Wednesday afternoon. Where this is not possible please try to make the appointment first thing in the morning or in the evening so little disruption is caused to the school day.

Protocols for dealing with aggressive or violent Parents/Guardians to the school.

This section of the policy is informed by circular letter M18/99 – Guidelines on Violence in Schools. The school recognises that the vast majority of Parents/Guardians, carers and others visiting the school are supportive of the school. However, on occasion, a Parent/Guardian can have a negative attitude towards the school and sometimes, this can result in aggression, intimidation, verbal and or physical abuse towards school staff.

The school expects its staff to behave professionally in these difficult situations and attempt to diffuse the situation where possible, seeking the involvement as appropriate of other colleagues.

However, all staff members have the right to work without fear of violence and abuse.

The school expects Parents/Guardians and other visitors to behave in a reasonable way towards school staff. This policy outlines the steps that will be taken where Parents/Guardians’ behaviour is unacceptable.

Types of behaviour tht are considered serious and unacceptable and will not be tolerated:

This is not an exhaustive list but seeks to provide illustrations of unacceptable behaviour.

  • Spreading malicious gossip about a member of staff
  • Writing abusive comments about a member of staff on paper or online
  • Shouting at or abusing school staff, either in person or over the telephone
  • Physically intimidating a member of staff, e.g. standing very close to him/her
  • Swearing at a member of school staff
  • Threatening school staff
  • The use of aggressive hand gestures
  • Physical assult
  • Racist, sexist or personal comments
  • Breaking the school’s security procedures

Unacceptable behaviour may result in the Gardaí being informed of the incident.

Implementing Procedures for delaing with aggressive, violent or threatening behaviour on school premesis or at a school related event:

When a Parent/Guardian or member of the public behaves in an unacceptable way towards a member of the school staff, the Principal/Deputy Principal or an appropriate senior staff member will seek to resolve the situation through discussion and mediation. Where all procedures have been exhausted, and aggression or intimidation continues, or where there is an act of violence, threatened violence or refusal to leave the premesis or grounds, a Parent /Guardian may be banned by the Principal and the Board of Management from the school premesis/grounds for a period of time, subject to review. The Gardaí may be called to remove the person or persons from the shool premesis or grounds.

  • If a ban is put in place the person will be informed in writing. It will be subject to review and the person is informed that if the ban is breached an injunction may follow.
  • Where an assult, threatened assult or failure to leave the school premesis/ grounds has led to a ban a statement that the matter has been reported to the Gardaí will be included.

Conclusion

Students learn best when there is a positive partnership between home and school. Adherence to the above protocols can and will strengthen this partnership. Whilst every effort will be made to work with Parents/Guardians this will only be possible where Parents/Guardians behave in an acceptable way. Where a Parent’s/Guardian’s behaviour is unacceptable or serious it will not be possible to continue working with him/her and, as a final resort, legal action may be taken. The school will take action where behaviour is unacceptable and breaches this policy or health and safety legislation.