P.E and Safety Policy
The Board of Management accepts that participation in physical education and sports’ activities carries with it some element of risk. This is normal and healthy. Children acquire injury avoidance skills and general safety skills. In light of this, the Board ensures that what is done, by the school and teacher as coach, supervisor, referee and facilitator is that which is reasonable in the circumstances, from the standpoint of a reasonable and prudent parent.
Note: School policy requires participation in school sports, except in instances where this would put the child at risk.
The Revised Primary Curriculum is differentiated in an age appropriate manner. The Board acknowledges, however, that not all sporting activities fall within the remit of this curriculum. This will be become more apparent as the school grows and after school sporting activities come on stream. In anticipation of this the Board will be guided by two primary principles:
1. The risk factor of the particular activity.
2. The vulnerability (age and experience) of the children concerned. The Board is aware that certain children (children with special needs and children will physiological or medical risk factors) may be more vulnerable that other children of similar chronological age. All teachers/other sports personnel working with children will take this into account.
The Board of Management is cognisant of the following is presenting this policy:
* Teachers are qualified to teach the Revised Primary Curriculum P.E. Programme. Teachers apply basic common sense and do what is reasonable in the circumstances. Teachers will be appropriately knowledgeable of relevant matters – for example the safety rules of the particular sport.
* The Board will be satisfied that sports’ personnel, other than teachers, have the necessary qualifications and experience to work safety with children.
* Pupils will be instructed in ‘injury avoidance’ principles appropriate to the activity.
* Appropriate warm-up activities will be an integral part of all sporting activities.
* No adult will ever be alone with a child. Only instruction-related touch by the teacher/other sports personnel is appropriate.
* The level of supervision will vary, depending on the nature of the activity, the risk factor and the vulnerability (age/experience) of the children.
* Medical assistance will be the same as for Lunchtime injuries – see Break Time and Lunchtime Supervision Policy. In off site activities, the First Aid Kit will always be taken as will a mobile phone.
* Teachers/other sports personnel will check sporting equipment before every lesson.
* Regular independent audits of all sports equipment will be carried out to ensure its safety.
* Teachers/other sports personnel will pay due attention to appropriate matching of players. It may be necessary, given the nature of the particular sport, to ensure that players are evenly matched in terms of size and experience. This is particularly important in contact sports like football, but also in sports like hockey, cricket and rugby.
* Safety equipment will be worn as appropriate.
* Teachers/other sports personnel will be knowledgeable of the relevant safety rules.
* In relation to weather conditions, prudence demands that the safety of the pupils is given the benefit of the doubt. Weather concerns should only arise where the conditions are such that they render an otherwise safe activity hazardous. Teacher/other sports personnel will apply a common sense analysis and ask whether, in all the circumstances is it foreseeable that injury may be caused, and, if it is, to cancel that activity.
* From time to time, it may be necessary to prevent a pupil from engaging in a sporting activity if his/her level of irresponsibility is such that he/she could not be trusted to participate safely.
* Premises: it is incumbent on the school to ensure that latent defects/risks in the premises that might foreseeable threaten the safety and well being of the pupils are remedied, and also that in all the circumstances the venue in question is suitable for, and guarded against foreseeable risks deriving from the activity. In the absence of an indoor P.E. hall, this applies to outdoor areas and surfaces.
Additional Safety Guidance to Teachers and other Sports Personnel
Safety Factors in the Outdoor Lesson
1. Children should wear the correct footwear for P.E.
2. When practicing stick-games skills and playing stick games (camogie/hurling/hockey), protective helmets must be worn by all children. Helmets are not required for uni-hoc.
3. There should be no uncontrolled swinging of bats or sticks. Children begin striking practice only when the teacher gives the command.
4. In soccer shooting and kicking skills practice, all shooting should be practiced in one direction. No collection of balls should take place until whistle command i.e. all shooters collect the balls now.
5. In rounders, never allow the batter to ‘throw’ the bat prior to running. Fielders must not obstruct the running players.
6. Never use a rope or secured top bar in a high jump practice. Jump pole must fall easily once touched.
7. Never use a ruler as a relay baton in running relays.
8. No running ‘backwards’ in any activity.
9. Free play begins only on whistle command and when all children are alert and aware of other players.
10. Playing surface should be gravel free. Danger areas should be noted and precautionary measures adopted: e.g. poles in the yard area should be lagged.
11. Minor accidents, e.g. falling while running, cannot be prevented. The duty of the teacher in safety promotion lies within the ambit of taking ‘reasonable care.’
12. Development of the ‘look up before you go’ concept will minimise the occurrence of minor accidents in the outdoor lesson.
Safety Factors in the Indoor Lesson
1. Suitable footwear should be worn for P.E. Never allow children to play in socks.
2. Earrings and handing jewellery must be removed before playing.
3. Never permit the children to run at speed towards a wall or other solid object, e.g. stacks of chairs. Use chalk marks or painted lines/tape on the floor as finishing lines and boundaries.
4. Never use upturned chairs as markers or obstacles. Traffic cones or skittles are ideal for this purpose.
5. Gymnastics equipment e.g. benches, should never be used as ‘boundary’ lines.
6. Ensure that the playing surface is completely clear and free from obstruction when an activity is in progress. Balls not in use should be placed in a specific area or preferably in a large basked/box/bag before the activity begins.
7. Never allow uncontrolled swinging of bats, rackets or hurleys in an indoor area.
8. Never use sliotars, hockey balls or heavy footballs in an indoor area. Use tennis balls for any batting activities indoors.
9. Pillars, such as side-support pillars in an all-purpose area should be lagged.
10. Competitive running activities, where children are confrontational in an confined space must be avoided. Never allow children to run towards one another at speed to pick up or touch an object.
A criterion in physical education teaching is the development of children’s ability to listen and to respond. Children who respond quickly to the teacher’s directives will be safer and happier in the Physical Education lesson.