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You are here Parents School Policy on Equality of Access and Participation

Introductory Statement
This draft policy document was composed during the week 3rd – 7th December 2006 by the principal for consideration by the teachers at their planning day on 8th December 2006. Following discussion and changes to the document it was then submitted to the general body of Parents for consideration before submission to the Board of Management for ratification at its meeting on 22nd May 2007.

Our school decided to review its attendance because:
o Equal Status Act 2000
o Employment Equality Act 1998
o Education Act 2000
o To enable all our pupils to access and participate in education
o To promote the principles of justice and equality for all

Relationship to characteristic spirit of the school
We aim to provide a well-ordered, caring, happy and secure atmosphere where the intellectual, spiritual, physical, moral and cultural needs of the pupils are identified and addressed. The school adopts a holistic approach to the education and development of each child and to the enhancement of teaching and learning processes. We believe that an effective Policy on Equality of Access and Participation will help to do this.


 To ensure that the school complies with legislative requirements and principles of good practice
 That each person in our school feels valued and respected
 The creation of an environment where diversity is valued and celebrated
 The awarding of equal opportunities to all persons
 The preparation of our pupils for life in a multicultural society and with an understanding of the value of cultural diversity and pride in their own culture

Our mission statement says: “We will endeavour to enhance the self-esteem and wellbeing of everyone in the school community, to offer a supportive environment where opportunities for development are encouraged”
The Board of Management and the teachers will endeavour to ensure that the school and classrooms reflect diversity in a positive manner. Images of and reference to people of different race, culture, language are displayed in all classrooms. Flags from Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic are displayed in the assembly hall.

Organisational Areas
 All pupils are welcome to enrol in our school irrespective of race, religion, membership of traveller community, family status, gender, sexual orientation and disability. The school community is familiar with the Equal Status Act 2000
 Pupils are placed in age appropriate classes
 Arrangements can be made for pupils who do not wish to participate in religion classes/RSE lessons if the school is notified by the parents. This supervision will cover events such as the School Mass, choir practice and visits to the church.
 The characteristic spirit of the school is explained to parents through the School Booklet for Parents so that they are aware of the religious denomination of the school and its reflection in the curriculum offered and the organisation of the school
 When enrolment forms are returned to the school arrangements can be put in place to take into account that parents may be separated, divorced, same sex or single parent families.
 Enrolment forms are available in the native language for Polish families and families from the Czech Republic to support pupils/parents/staff whose first language is not English.

 The board an equal opportunities employer i.e. does not discriminate against any application for a position (or continuation in employment, training opportunities, promotion etc.) in the school based on the nine grounds as set out in the Equal Status Act
 Procedures for promotional posts within the school are known to all
 The format outlined in the CPSMA Board of Management handbook for the advertisement and selection of staff is known and followed
 The school has policies in relation to harassment and bullying
 Classes are assigned to teachers in a fair and transparent manner. The principal circulates staff each year seeking teachers to rank their choice of classes in order of preference from one to three. Teachers who were unable to receive their first choice in previous years are given the first choice the following year. Mobility of staff is encouraged in the school.
 The school has a fair and equitable procedure in relation to job sharing, secondment, staff development, career breaks, study leave, carer’s leave, maternity and paternity leave applications. All DES circulars on such areas are followed strictly.

Home School Communication
 If requested by parents the school will provide separate copies of all communications and reports to parents who are separated.
 For Traveller parents who are unable to read the HSCL will communicate all information by visiting the families. The school provides a translation service whenever possible for non-English speaking parents.
 The HSCL will advise families of support agencies that can assist the family in integrating into the community.
 The school uses multi-lingual notices in the school
 The role of the school, the expectations of the school, the expected role of parents etc are explained to parents through our School Booklet for Parents. The school is also aware of different child rearing practices and different expectations parents have for their children

Parental Involvement
 Does our Parents Association have a broad balance e.g. representatives from the Traveller community/international community?
 Does our Parents Association have a gender balance?
 Could our Parents Association organise intercultural events/language classes?
 Are international parents aware of language development, the need to continue speaking the child’s first language at home while at the same time assisting the child to learn English?

 All parents are made aware of the Education Welfare Act (2000) and issues relating to attendance as mentioned in the Act
 Non-English speaking parents are made aware of its implications through the translation service the school operates for parent/teacher meetings.
 The school has a written policy on attendance

Code of Behaviour and Anti Bullying Policy
 Our Code of Behaviour and Anti-Bullying Policies promote respect for all.

Anti-Racism Charter

Our school’s anti-racism charter states that every child has the right to:

 Feel safe from mocking, threats, verbal and physical abuse. Be called by his or her own name.
 Be themselves and to be treated equally regardless of appearance, race, colour, gender or religion.
 Be included in school activities and have friends.
 Have his or her beliefs and personal belongings respected.
 A good education without prejudice in a clean healthy environment.
 Give expression to his or her own opinions and feelings.
 Use and develop his or her own talents.
 Be listened to.
 Have his or her privacy, secrecy and confidences respected.

Intercultural education is taught by all teachers and breaches of the anti-racism charter are dealt with as per the school’s Code of Discipline.

Induction of New Pupils/Staff
 New pupils are brought into school during the month of June so they can familiarise themselves with the school.
 New teachers are met by the principal/deputy principal before they start in school. School policies and procedures are explained to all new staff and a mentor is appointed to act as their guide for the initial period. This mentor is usually the teacher who is closest to the new staff member. A follow-up meeting is held with the new staff member and the principal within the first two weeks of starting to teach in the school.
 Communication between the class teacher and the parents/child prior to the child starting school is facilitated by the HSCL

 Homework is assigned as per the school’s Homework Policy. Teachers differentiate homework to suit the needs of all children.


Tours and school organised events
 All our pupils have equal opportunity to participate in school tours and school organised outings? (Wheelchair transport and access/cost)
 All additional staff are aware of the obligation on schools to provide an education to the pupils which is appropriate to their abilities and needs. The educational needs of all pupils including those with a disability or other special educational needs are identified and provided for.

Staff Development
 All teachers are aware of what equality involves, the principles of equality education and the methodologies advocated for its success
 The BOM facilitates teachers to up skill themselves through the allocation of a specific grant of €1000 each school year.
 The school has broadband Internet access to source reference materials

 Assessment is carried out as outlined in the school’s Assessment Policy

Extra- Curricular Activities (arranged for after school hours)
 All pupils can avail of the extra-curricular activities promoted by the school
 The school considers whether these activities address equality of access and participation before promoting them.

Transition to Post Primary
 All pupils are encouraged to continue their education to post primary level.
 The school supports “at risk pupils” to continue their education as outlined in the school’s policy on tackling educational disadvantage under DEIS
 Arrangements are made to assist successful transition to post primary school as outlined in the school’s policy on Transition to Secondary School

Success Criteria
 Awareness of language of rights, of concept of equality and justice
 Reduction in incidents of bullying/racist incidents
 Pupils having and using appropriate language
 All pupils accessing and participating in all areas of the curriculum and school life at a level appropriate to their needs
 Improvement in pupil attainment levels in curricular areas (especially literacy)
 Parental satisfaction with the values being promoted in the school
 Staff feel that they are valued

Roles and Responsibility
 Teaching staff in differentiating the curriculum to reflect the principles of this policy
 All staff in supporting the policy
 Parents and community in supporting the policy
 Board of Management in supporting the policy and in providing the identified resources

Implementation Date
22nd May 2007

Timetable for Review
Reviewed annually at the last staff meeting each school year

Ratification & Communication
Circulated to parents in the revised School Booklet for Parents

Reference Section
• Employment Equality Act 1998
• Equal Status Act 2000
• Employment Equality Act 1998. Equal Status Act 2000. Questions & Answers. INTO. 2003
• “Equality and Education” The Equality Authority, 2001
• “INTO Intercultural Guidelines for Schools”
• “The Challenge of Diversity: Education Support for Ethnic Minority Children”: INTO: 1998
• “Promoting Racism and Interculturalism in Education” Draft Recommendations towards a National Plan: DES
• “Code of Practice on the Prevention of Workplace Bullying”: Health and Safety Authority
• “Working Together. Procedures and Policies for Positive Staff Relations” INTO 2000
• “Code of Practice on Sexual Harassment and Harassment at Work”: The Equality Authority
• Education for Persons with Disabilities Bill: 2002
• “The Principal’s Legal Handbook” Oliver Mahon B.L. 2002. Irish Vocational Educational Association
• IPPN Handbook
• Report to the Minister of Education, Niamh Breathnach on Discipline in Schools : Maeve Martin 1997: Issued to all Schools
• Department of Education Guidelines on Countering Bullying Behaviour in Primary and Post Primary School: September 1993
• “National Children’s Strategy, Our Children – Their Lives” 2000
• Guidelines on Traveller Education for Primary Schools” 2002
• “Convention on the Rights of the Child” 1989
• “Our World, Our Rights” Teaching about rights and responsibilities in the primary school. Amnesty International.
• “Refugees - a resource book”, Jill Rutter, Refugee Council 1992
• Information Booklet for schools on asylum seekers: DES/RIA
• “Helping Children with English as a Second Language, Suggestions for Teachers” Blackrock Teachers’ Centre: 1996
• NCCRI. (2002) Guidelines on Anti-Racism and Intercultural Training, NCCRI: Dublin

Induction: In Touch (Jan/Feb 2000) pg.27 Mentoring
• Solas (Jan.2002) pg.5,6
• Solas (Sept. 2000) pg.3
• Solas (Sept 2001) pg. 3-5
• Solas ( March 200) pg. 5
• Solas (Jan 2001) pg. 2, 6
• Solas (Sept 2000) pg. 3
• Solas (Mar. 2000) pg.5
• InTouch (Sept. 2002) pg.30, 31
• InTouch (May 2001) pg.25 Anti-Discrimination directives
• Solas (Sept. 2000) pg.2 Information Note for Professionals in relation to Disability categories in Department of Education and Science
• InTouch (Sept.2002) pg.14 Hard of Hearing
• InTouch (Sept. 2002) pg.29 Gifted Children
• InTouch (March 2002) Circular on Travellers
• InTouch (April 2002) Special Needs
• Solas (Jan. 2000) pg.2 Sexual Harassment