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Lessons on Child Protection: A Survey of Newly Qualified Primary-Level Teachers in Ireland

NCJ Number
Child Abuse Review Volume: 22 Issue: 2 Dated: March-April 2013 Pages: 80-92
Kathryn McGarry; Helen Buckley
Date Published
April 2013
13 pages
This paper argues for the standardization of the operation of child protection procedures.
Do all newly qualified primary-level teachers report the same experience of child protection practices in their schools? Drawing on findings from a recent Irish study, this paper will consider the operation of official child protection guidelines in schools based on the reported awareness and knowledge of a sample of newly qualified teachers. Their knowledge of child protection guidelines pertains to experience of induction into child protection practices upon taking up employment in the school and their awareness of a designated liaison person, school child protection policy and the procedures for reporting a suspected child protection issue within the school. The findings of this research indicate that schools' compliance with national guidelines on child protection is certainly inconsistent and such an ad hoc approach can be seen to impact on the perceived confidence levels of newly qualified teachers in dealing with child protection issues in the school. Given the crucial role teachers play in the safeguarding of children and the potential for strengthening this role, this paper argues for the standardization of the operation of child protection procedures across all schools and the provision of training for all school staff. Abstract published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons.