Wednesday, 14 June 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
Minister for Education and Science (Ms Hanafin): The issue of child protection and ensuring that all children in every primary school are aware of child protection issues are high priority areas for my Department.
The ‘Stay Safe’ programme is a personal safety programme for children. It is designed to give children the knowledge and necessary skills to help them deal with potentially abusive or threatening situations. However, it is also recognised that the programme must cover those individuals closely involved with children on a daily basis: parents/guardians and teachers. To this end, professional in-service courses for teachers and parent awareness seminars have been put in place at individual school level. This is in addition to the teaching of a personal safety skills programme to pupils.
The training of teachers, parents and Boards of Management in the ‘Stay Safe’ programme and the development of guidelines and procedures for a school policy on child protection is provided by a network of thirty-one regionally-based teachers who are available to the programme on a part-time basis. This support supplements the assistance provided by the Department of Health and Children which maintains an administrative office for the ‘Stay Safe’ Programme.
An initial one-day in-service training seminar on the ‘Stay Safe’ Programme has been provided for all primary schools. Since the Programme was introduced, 99.7% of primary schools have participated in this training.
In relation to schools in County Wexford, and indeed all other counties, my Department is currently conducting a questionnaire survey in all primary schools to find out the number of schools implementing the ‘Stay Safe’ Programme. When all the questionnaires are returned and the data analysed, my Department will then be in a position to state more accurately the position in relation to the implementation of the programme in schools.
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