Code of Conduct

Guidelines for Teachers and Mentors

Physical contact, which may be misconstrued by a pupil, parent or other casual observer, should be avoided.  Such contact can include well-intentioned informal gestures such as putting a hand on the shoulder or arm, which if repeated with an individual pupil could be misconstrued, as well as more obvious and more intimate contact which should never occur.

There may be occasions when a distressed child needs comfort and re-assurance, which may include physical comforting such as a caring parent may give.  Teachers should use their discretion in such cases to ensure that what is, and what is seen by others present to be, normal or natural, does not become unnecessary and unjustified contact, particularly with the same child over a period of time.

Some teachers are likely to come into physical contact with their pupils from time to time in the course of their teaching, for example while showing a pupils how to use a piece of apparatus or equipment or while demonstrating a move or exercise during games of PE. Teacher s should be awar e of the limits within such contacts should take place and of the probability of such contact being misrepresented by the pupil.

Teachers who administer first aid should ensure, wherever possible, that other children, or another adult are present if they are in any doubt as to whether necessary physical contact could be misconstrued.

Following any incident where a teacher feels that his or her actions have been, or may be misconstrued, a written report of the incident should be submitted immediately to the Principal of the school.. This would apply especially in a case where a teacher had been obliged to restrain a child physically to prevent him or her from inflicting injury to himself/herself or to others.

Teacher s should be par ticular ly car eful when super vising childr en in a r esidential setting such an extended educational outing, where more informal relationships tend to be usual and where teachers may be in proximity to pupils in circumstances very different from the normal school environment.

These paragraphs are taken from an INTO publication Guidance for Teachers – a Professional Response for Changing Times.  The full GAA report Code of Best Practice for Youth Sport is available on Cumann na mBunscol Náisiúnta website

Please Remember:

A teacher must be present when County Board coaches visit schools. If there is no teacher available to travel with a school team a club member may act as mentor only with the approval of the Board of Management of the school.