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1.0       Introduction

This policy was revised in June 2019.  It applies to all staff and children during school hours, break times, and on all school related activities.  This policy is in keeping with the school ethos of providing a safe and secure environment for all pupils and the wider school community.

2.0       Rationale

  • Our aim is to provide a safe place for all the children in our care. In St. Fiachra’s Senior School we value a safe environment and work towards providing that for the entire school community.
  • The rules for National Schools 121(4) and 124(1) obliges teachers to take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of pupils and to participate in supervising pupils during school time and during all school related activities.
  • The duty of care to pupils applies not only in school but also, for example, on school tours and on other occasions when the children are in the care of a teacher.
  • Duty of Care: The school must take reasonable care for the safety of pupils when pupils are under their charge. This applies not only to periods during break or playtime but also to the periods between the pupils’ arrival at school and the start of the school day and from dismissal in the afternoon. (Ref: Primary Education Management Manual 3:2.7).
  • While careful supervision is undertaken at all times during the school day, all members of the school community must be aware that no arrangement exists for the supervision of pupils who arrive at the school before 8.40am or who remain in the vicinity of the school after school hours awaiting collection.

3.0       Legislative Context:

  • Under the provisions of the Education Act 1998, and the regulations of the Department of Education and Skills, the Board of Management is the body charged with the direct governance of a school.
  • The overall responsibility for the day to day management of school supervision rests with the principal teacher. The terms of Circular 16/73, which issued to all primary schools, provide that the principal teacher of primary schools should organise supervision for the order and general behaviour of the pupils during school hours. In particular, s/he should organise and participate in the effective supervision of the pupils during breaks, lunch breaks, assembly and dismissal.
  • Circular 18/03: “Rules 121(4) and 124(1) of the Rules for National Schools and Section 23(2) of the Education Act 1998 oblige teachers to take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of pupils and to participate in supervising pupils when the pupils are on school premises, during school time and/or on school activities. Accordingly, the responsibility of all teachers individually and collectively to provide a duty of care at all times towards the pupils in the school in which they teach, including periods of supervision, is not changed.”

4.0       Policy Statement

On the issue of supervision before school, it was decided by the Board of Management on the advice of Allianz and CPSMA that pupils required a reasonable amount of time before school and after school to enter and exit the school building, and that the school could reasonably be expected to supervise pupils for a period of 10 minutes prior to the commencement of the school day at 8.50 (BoM & staff 2019) Parents are advised that outside of these times pupils would be on the school premises at their own risk unless attending an activity supervised by a teacher.

  • Pre-school supervision procedures
  • The school will open to receive pupils at 8.50am. In accordance with our Child Safeguarding Statement, pupils will be supervised for 10 minutes prior to this (from 8.40am) in three designated areas, the office yard, the astro-pitch and the extension yard.
  • Teachers on pre-school supervision duty supervise the designated areas to ensure the safety of the pupils.
  • Timetabling for supervision is on a rota organised by the deputy principal. The teachers and principal are organised into groups to undertake supervision. SNAs attend to their assigned pupils at this time.
  • The teachers on pre-school supervision duty remain with classes until they are collected by the class teacher.
  • All parents are notified by the school of the times at which the school accepts responsibility. A letter will be issued to parents at the commencement of the school year to inform parents on the arrival and dismissal procedure.

4.2  Pre-school supervision of pupils on mornings of inclement weather

On mornings when it is raining sufficiently, snowing or the school yards are deemed dangerous due to frost, the pupils will be admitted to the school buildings from 8.30. The decision to admit the children will be made by the principal.

The principal, deputy principal and AP1 will admit the children to the school at 8.30 and supervise them until 8.40. The children will make their way to their classrooms and sit in their chairs.

The pupils will be admitted to the classrooms and will be supervised as follows :

Rooms 1-8: Principal,

Rooms 9-15: AP1,

Rooms 22-26: Deputy Principal.


The teachers on pre-school supervision duty will supervise the children from 8.40am in their classrooms.


Provision will be made for the pupils in rooms 16 & 17 and 18-21 as follows:

  • A separate wet morning supervision rota is set up, one to cater for pupils in rooms 16 &17 and the other to cater for the pupils in rooms 18-21. Each rota will consist of approximately 17 teachers.
  • The rota will be revised when each teacher has completed this duty three times.
  • The children from rooms 16 & 17 will enter the school through the main door and go to room 1 where they will be supervised by the principal until 8.40.
  • At 8.40 the teacher on the Wet Morning Rota will accompany the children to rooms 16 & 17 and supervise them until 8.50.
  • The children in rooms 18-21 will go to the Extension building and line up in the corridor outside room 22 where they will be supervised by the Deputy Principal until 8.40.
  • At 8.40 the teacher on the Wet Morning Rota will accompany the children to their classrooms and supervise them until 8.50.
  • Allowance for this supervision will be made by allocating 30 CPA minutes per teacher per year thus allowing for a maximum of 3 exceptional wet morning supervision duties per teacher annually.

4.3       Procedures for supervision at mid-morning break and lunch time

The principal and teachers are organised into groups to supervise at break and lunch time.  The Deputy Principal is responsible for the rotas. The rota is displayed in the staffroom and in the foyer of the main building and each teacher is given a copy. A copy is also kept in the yard boxes.

  • Teachers on yard-duty supervise the yards to ensure and encourage the safety and good behaviour of the pupils.
  • Two teachers are on duty in each yard at all times. Each yard is divided into two sections, with one teacher supervising in each section, one to include the Active Zone. For information on the Active Zone, please see Appendix 3. For DISCUSSION
  • On wet days the same rostered teachers supervise the classrooms and corridors. In Block 2 (rooms 9-17) one teacher will supervise rooms 16 & 17 while the other supervises rooms 9-15. Similarly, in Block 3 ( rooms 18-26) one teacher supervises the rooms 18 – 21 and the other, rooms 22-26.
  • Yard rules (and rules for wet days) are revised and reviewed regularly and are repeated often to the children. A copy of the ‘Rules of the Yard’ is displayed in each classroom and on the window of room 7 and on the window of the staffrooms. All classes have copies of the relevant rules displayed. See Appendix 2.
  • The person on yard duty remains in situ until all classes have been collected by their teachers.
  • Teachers will bring to the attention of the deputy principal any matter requiring corrective action. The more serious issues will be brought to the attention of the principal. For more information regarding serious incidents of misbehaviour, refer to the school’s Code of Behaviour.
  • While SNAs provide individual supervision for designated children with SEN at lunch and break times, they can act in an observing and reporting capacity, bringing instances of misbehaviour to the attention of the teacher on yard duty.
  • In the event of necessary corrective action, the pupil involved may be asked to stand out for a short period. The class teacher is informed on his/her return if necessary.
  • First Aid boxes and Accident Report books are kept as a matter of procedure (see Accident and Injury Policy). All accidents where a significant injury is involved are noted in the Accident Report Book as per policy, by the teachers on supervision and reported to the class teacher. A report is written and a copy kept by the class teacher and designated first aid teacher. The principal is informed when an accident occurs and where teachers deem it necessary, the child’s parents will be informed.
  • The yard book and bell should reach the teacher the day before that teacher is scheduled to be on yard duty.

4.4             General procedures

  • Teachers on yard supervision will take their lunch at 11.30. The teacher will arrange with a colleague in an adjoining room to supervise the class in his/her absence.
  • Children excused from yard for medical reasons will sit outside the office for the duration of yard time. Those pupils who are in rooms 18-26 will sit in the foyer of the extension building.
  • Religious Ceremonies: The children of Parents who have a fundamental objection to their children attending Mass, will assemble in room 1 and will be supervised by a teacher.
  • Yard and active zone rules will be displayed in the classroom and the pupils will be informed of their contents regularly.
  • In cases of unplanned teacher absence and where the class is to be divided among other classes, the deputy principal or other designated teacher will supervise the division of the class group and the movement of the children to the other classes. Provision is made for extra chairs in each classroom. Where necessary, the deputy principal or designated teacher will supervise the children moving tables. The children will stay with the class group to which they have been assigned for the rest of the day and will be discharged from that classroom. Tables and the pupils’ boxes will be returned to the class on the day the teacher returns to school.


4.5             Dismissal of pupils

  • At 2.30pm, class teachers will accompany their classes to their designated point of dismissal.
  • In the event of a child not being collected on time, the child will proceed to the office.  The secretary will call the relevant parent or guardian and arrange for the child to be collected from the secretary’s office as soon as possible.
  • Contact details for parents are available to the secretary.  It is the responsibility of the parents to provide a minimum of two valid and current contact numbers upon which they can be reached in the event of non-collection.
  • Children who are attending after school-activities will adhere to the After School Activities Policy and will remain under the supervision of the teacher until dismissal.

4.6       Student teachers, visiting teachers, instructors and facilitators

Class teachers are responsible for the supervision and oversight of the children in their class at all times. When visiting teachers, instructors and facilitators (such as Artane School of Music teachers, Accord facilitators, and GAA, Rugby, Cycling instructors) come to work with the class, teachers are to remain with the class.

4.7       Teacher absences

  • In the event of a planned absence, it is incumbent upon the teacher to arrange for his/her designated yard buddy to swap supervision duties. In the event of an unplanned absence, the designated yard buddy of the teacher in question will complete the yard duty. On return to school, the teacher who was absent will arrange to make up the missed yard duty with his/her yard buddy. If leave is substituted, the substitute teacher will replace the absent teacher on the yard rota, if rostered for that day.
  • In the event of a non-substitutable teacher absence, the class will be divided among the other classes within the same stream, as far as possible.


4.8       Brief absences during the school day

  • Unless unavoidable, teachers should not leave their class unsupervised.
  • When a teacher has to leave a classroom for any reason, she/he informs the teacher next door and arranges for the supervision of his/her class.
  • If a teacher is called from his/her classroom to meet with a parent, another member of staff may be released to cover. Appointments will be made for parent/teacher consultations at a time convenient for all parties and supervision of the pupils will be provided for when necessary.

4.9       Provisions for pupils with appointments off campus


Parents may request that their children be allowed to leave during the school day due to medical appointments or other essential activities.  In these circumstances, the following procedure will apply:

  • Where a child needs to leave school during the school day, for a dental, medical or other appointment, the child’s parent or designated adult must sign the register in the school secretary’s office. At this point responsibility for the child’s safety is transferred to the parent/designated adult. (Please note that in line with our Child Safeguarding Statement, pupils will only be released for appointments into the care of a parent or designated adult over the age of 18yrs.)
  • Where possible, parents must notify the school in advance in person, by telephone or in writing. They must provide a reason for their early departure, the time that they wish to collect their child and the approximate time of return, if applicable.
  • The child is collected from his/her classroom by a parent or a designated adult over the age of 18.

 4.10     Other considerations:

  • A 24-hour personal accident insurance cover is available to all pupils.
  • If pupils are required to be on the school premises before or after official school hours, e.g. for school tours, school team training, choral work etc., written notification is sent to the parents in advance and a teacher must be on site to supervise the activity specified.
  • Where a court order is in place denying access to one of the child’s parents, it is the responsibility of the primary custodian to provide evidence of a court order to the school at the earliest possible opportunity.
  • If the parent who has been denied access becomes threatening and/or insists on attempting to remove a child from the school, the principal or deputy principal or next most senior teacher will call An Garda Síochána.

5.0       Roles and Responsibilities

  • The deputy principal is responsible for drawing up and updating the supervision rota.
  • The effective supervision of pupils before school (8.40 – 8.50am), during breaks and lunch periods is undertaken by the teachers and principal. SNAs have responsibility for designated pupils at these times.
  • Children with injuries/complaints are dealt with directly by the teacher on supervision duty.
  • Effective supervision of the pupils must be maintained by all teachers and SNAs during assembly and dismissal.
  • Teachers supervising at break/lunch times are expected to ensure that the pupils:
  • Do not run in the corridors
  • Do not enter the building without permission
  • Do not behave in an unruly manner that is likely to endanger themselves or others
  • Do not leave the school premises
  • Line up in an orderly fashion with their class
  • Comply with school and yard rules
  • When the bell sounds, teachers collect their classes from the yard and bring them to their classrooms promptly.
  • Teachers are not responsible for children on the way to or from school. Teachers are not responsible for children on school property before 8.40am or after dismissal.

6.0       Success Criteria and Review


  • Ensuring a safe child-friendly school yard
  • School tours and off-site visits are conducted safely
  • Yard rules are adhered to


6.1       Review

Review supervision duties and practice yearly.


7.0       Communication and Monitoring

This policy is an integral part of the culture of St. Fiachra’s Senior NS and will be subject to regular review. The safety and welfare of our pupils is central to our mission as educators. The policy will be reviewed initially after one year and then every three years, unless there is a compelling reason to review it earlier.