Equality of Access & Participation Policy

This Policy was formulated by the Whole School Staff and the Board of Management.

Rationale
This policy is devised in order to (1) comply with the Equal Status Act (2000), the Employment Equality Act (1998) and the Education Act (1998).
(2) enable all our pupils to access and participate in education.
(3) promote principles of justice and equality for all.

Relationship to Characteristic Spirit of the School
St. Mary’s N.S. strives (1) to provide an inclusive environment responsive to the needs of all children. (2) to be respectful and accommodating of diversity in race, culture, religion, gender and ability.

Aims

” 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 preparation of our pupils for life in a Multicultural Society.

Organisational Areas
Enrolment
St. Mary’s N.S. is a Roman Catholic School under the patronage of the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin. All pupils are welcome to enrol in St.Mary’s N.S., subject to the school’s Admission Policy and the availability of places.

Staff
The Board of Management of St. Mary’s N.S. is an equal opportunities employer and 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.

In accordance with the Equal Status Act, the Board of Management may (1) give more favourable treatment on the religion ground to an employee where it is reasonable to do so in order to maintain the religious ethos of the school (2) take action(s) which is fare reasonably necessary to prevent an employee from undermining the religious ethos of the school.

Procedures for promotional posts within the school are those outlined in Primary
Circular 07/03

The procedures for advertising and selecting staff are those outlined in the CPSMA Board of Management handbook.

Home School Communication
Communication with parents is done through notes, newsletters, phone calls and direct contact. Notes are explained to older children so that if their parents have difficulty reading them, they can explain them to their parents.

Notes are translated into Polish for Polish children, as we have 1 Polish teachers in the school who can translate them.

As many of the parents of the Junior & Senior Infant Classes collect their children, direct contact is made with them to explain any written notes that they might have difficulty reading.
In the case of parents who have no English at all, other parents or children are asked to translate.

At the entrance to the school, there are welcome signs in the different languages of children in the school.

The school communicated with the main carer where there is a divorce of separation, unless asked to communicate with both. Such a request would only be refused if a Court Ruling ran counter to it.

Parental Involvement
St. Mary’s N.S. has a Parents’ Association which welcomes involvement from all parents in the school.
Parents are asked to accompany children on school trips, help with reading and other activities in the classroom, attend concerts, Science week, book fairs, International Day and Sports Day.
Parents of children for whom English is a second language are encouraged to meet the Language Support teachers on a regular basis.

Uniform
St. Mary’s N.S. has a uniform that all children are expected to wear. No child will be discriminated against or treated unfairly for not wearing the uniform. Parents who cannot afford the uniform or wish to wear some cultural garment instead/as well as the uniform should speak to the Principal.

Attendance
At the beginning of every school year, parents are sent a letter outlining the issues relating to Attendance as mentioned in the Education Welfare Act. All procedures relating to absenteeism and attendance as outlined in our Attendance Policy.

On occasion, pupils are absent to participate in religious/cultural ceremonies that do not coincide with those of the school. The school recognises that children need to attend ceremonies but under the Rules for National School, must still mark these children absent. If these pupils are absent for 20 or more days in the school year, these absences must be communicated to the National Welfare Boards as laid down by the Education Welfare Act. However, absences for religious/cultural reasons, are explained to the NEWB,

Lunch
The school has a healthy eating policy which notes that if a child has any special dietary restrictions or needs, parents should contact the class teacher or principal and all possible arrangements will be made to facilitate the child.

Code of Behaviour & Anti Bullying Policy
The schools Code of Behaviour and Anti-Bullying Policy expect the highest standard of behaviour from all members of the school community.
In cases where children have difficulty maintaining these high standards, individual programmes are developed with the child in co-operation with their parents.
In the case of staff, the school has a Sexual Harassment Policy and Anti-Bullying Policy. The grievance procedures as laid out by the CPSMA are made known to all staff.

Anti-Racism
Racism is defined as a particular form of exclusion faced by minority ethnic groups. It is based on the false belief that some races are inherently superior to others because of their skin colour, nationality, ethnic or cultural background. Racism is a multifaceted concept ranging from small, everyday acts of discrimination to acts of threatening behaviour and violence.
The school has an Anti-Racism Charter which is displayed in the main hall.

St. Mary’s N.S. Equality Charter

Everyone has the right to………

1. Work and learn in a safe and welcoming school environment.
2. Be treated equally regardless of appearance, race, colour or gender.
3. Feel safe from bullying, racism, verbal and physical abuse.
4. Have their feelings, opinions and values listened to and respected.

Incidents of racism are dealt with under the school’s Code of Behaviour and are kept to a minimum by the total integration of all pupils no matter what their cultural background and through work done in SPHE, English, Geography, History and Religion.

Induction of New Pupils
If a pupil starts during the school year, the principal talks to the parent and pupil about the school and its policies and procedures. The class teacher also meets with the parent and child and discusses class policy and procedure. When the child starts, four children are assigned to ‘buddy’ the child in the school yard.

Induction of New Staff
A mentoring policy for new staff is currently being developed by the Assistant Principal.

Homework
The homework given to children is in accordance with the children’s abilities and children are not asked to attempt homework tasks beyond their ability.

Curriculum
All pupils have equal opportunities to experience all aspects of the curriculum. Teachers are aware of the different educational needs of the pupils in their classes and adapt their teaching style, methodologies and materials to meet the needs of these children. Resource teachers and classroom teachers work closely together to meet the learning needs of all pupils.

A range of assessment approaches are used in the school including teacher observation, questioning and discussion. Samples of children’s work portfolios, projects and tasks and tests, self-assessment by the child, standardised tests and diagnostic tests (Circular 0138/2006).
Pupils may be excluded from standardised testing if in the view of the school principal, they have a learning or physical disability which would prevent them from attempting the test, or in the case of newcomer pupils, where their level of English is such, that attempting such a test would be inappropriate.
(Circular 0138/2006)
Through the school curriculum, cultural awareness and tolerance is promoted. Children are afforded the opportunity to learn about the culture and language of other children in their class.

Success Criteria
That all pupils participate in all areas of school life at a level appropriate to their abilities.
That children have an awareness of the concepts of equality and justice.
That parents are satisfied with the values being promoted in the school.
That there is ongoing improvement in pupil attachment levels in curricular areas.

Role and Responsibility
It is the role of the Board of Management & Staff working closely with the parents and community to ensure implementation of this Policy.

Implementation Date
This Policy will be implemented from April 2008.

Review
The Policy will be reviewed in 2010.

Ratification and Communication
The Policy was ratified by the Board of Management on 11/3/2008.

A copy will be given to all staff.

A copy will be made available to any parent who wishes to read it.

St. Mary’s N.S. Equality Charter

Everyone has the right to………

1. Work and learn in a safe and welcoming school environment.
2. Be treated equally regardless of appearance, race, colour or gender.
3. Feel safe from bullying, racism, verbal and physical abuse.
4. Have their feelings, opinions and values listened to and respected.

Incidents of racism are dealt with under the school’s Code of Behaviour and are kept to a minimum by the total integration of all pupils no matter what their cultural background and through work done in SPHE, English, Geography, History and Religion.

Designed By