Safeguarding children and young people

The Education Authority Music Service has a commitment to pupils, parents, colleagues, the school community, and to the community at large. 

In fulfilling the obligations of professional practice, music service personnel should at all times act in such a manner as to demonstrate personal courtesy and integrity and to enhance the reputation and standards of the service.

Introduction - Statement of Principles

The primary aim of the Music Service is the optimal development of pupils’ musical, aesthetic and general intellectual ability. In all of its endeavours, the service acknowledges that the welfare of the child is paramount and accepts its responsibility to promote and safeguard the welfare of children. To assist and enable staff in fulfilling these responsibilities, in-service training has been provided on Pastoral Care and Safeguarding and all Music Service staff are vetted to ensure their suitability to work with children and young people. 

Music Service personnel will at all times: 

  • act with compassion and impartiality 
  • seek to encourage and praise whenever appropriate 
  • ensure that reports on pupils are based on factual information. 
  • be sensitive when providing feedback to pupils with respect to their ability and performance
  • recognise their responsibilities towards pupils and honour their position of trust 
  • respect the confidentiality of information relating to pupils, unless its disclosure is either required by law, or is considered to be in the best interests of the particular pupil 


Music Service personnel will at all times: 

  • exercise a caring and respectful attitude towards colleagues 
  • be aware of the professional needs of other staff 
  • respect the professional status of colleagues, particularly when making any observation or assessment of their work 
  • exercise openness and integrity in all matters 
  • maintain clear and accurate records in respect of pupils’ progress and attendance 
  • maintain documented and appropriately dated records of concerns/untoward incidents and advice sought 
  • respect confidentiality, acknowledging their professional responsibility to share concerns appropriately with relevant EA personnel 
  • adhere to EA’S corporate communications strategy with respect to public statements. 

The Music Service recognises that achievement of the aforementioned aims is dependent on effective working partnerships. 

Partnership with Parents

Music Service personnel will at all times: 

  • seek to establish a relationship of mutual respect and co-operation 
  • communicate openly with parents, providing them with opportunities to discuss their views and concerns 
  • respect parental rights to enquiry, consultation and information with regard to the musical and general development of their children 
  • provide objective professional judgements and assessment of pupils’ musical development . 

Partnership with Schools

It is acknowledged that successful delivery of the service is dependent on schools making available appropriate provision, including accommodation. (Reference ‘Code of Conduct’ points 1 and 2). 

Music Service will at all times: 

  • be aware of and support the general musical activities of the school 
  • co-operate with all reasonable requests in respect of preparing pupils for school concerts and public examinations. (with adequate notice and consultation between tutor and school) 
  • communicate regularly with the head teacher and/or the member of staff responsible for music, particularly in respect of timetable difficulties, pupil absenteeism etc 
  • respect the school’s right to enquiry, consultation and information with regard to the musical and general development of their pupils 
  • respect confidentiality in terms of their professional contacts with schools 
  • be aware of the school’s Safeguarding and Pastoral Care Policies and their responsibility to work within these. 

Code of Conduct for the Music Service

The following guidance is derived from the Department of Education document “Pastoral Care in Schools; Child Protection” DENI 99/10 appendix 9. It is essential for the optimal and safe delivery of the Music Service and for the quality of teaching and learning that suitable provision is made available by schools and at other venues. Music Service staff provide tuition on both individual and small group basis. 


All actions concerning children and young people must uphold the best interests of the young person as a primary consideration. Staff must always be mindful of the fact that they hold a position of trust, and that their behaviour towards the children and young people in their charge must be above reproach. This Code of Conduct is not intended to detract from the enriching experiences children and young people gain from the positive interaction with staff within the Music Service. It is intended to assist staff in respect of the complex issue of child abuse, by drawing attention to the areas of risk for staff and by offering guidance on prudent conduct. 

Code of Conduct 

  1. Staff should be aware of the dangers which may arise from meetings/tuition sessions with pupils. It is recognised that there will be occasions when one to one meetings/tuition must take place. Staff should conduct such meetings/tuition in a room with visual access, or with the door open. 
  2. Where such conditions cannot apply, staff are advised to ensure that another adult knows that a meeting/tuition is taking place. It may be necessary to use a sign indicating that the room is in use, but it is not advisable to use signs prohibiting entry to the room. 
  3. Where possible another pupil or (preferably) another adult should be nearby during the meeting/tuition. 
  4. As a general principle, staff are advised not to make unnecessary physical contact with their pupils. However we recognise that during instrumental instruction some physical contact is occasionally required. Staff should not feel inhibited from providing this, having explained and clarified with the child the purpose of the contact. 
  5. Staff should never touch a child who has clearly indicated that he/she is, or would be, uncomfortable with such contact, unless this contact is necessary to protect the child, others or property from harm. (DENI Circular 1999/9, on the use of reasonable force, gives guidance on Article 4 of the Education (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 (Power of member of staff to restrain pupils)
  6. Physical punishment is illegal, as is any form of physical response to misbehaviour, unless it is by way of necessary restraint. 
  7. No member of staff should hesitate to provide first-aid in an emergency simply because another person is not present. However, staff who have to administer first- aid to a pupil should ensure wherever possible that this is done in the presence of other children or another adult. 
  8. Any physical contact which would be likely to be misinterpreted by the pupil, parent or other casual observer should be avoided. 
  9. It is strongly recommended that staff do not, except in exceptional circumstances transport pupils in their own vehicle. Where such exceptional circumstances arise, the staff member should notify their line manager and receive authorisation for the proposed arrangements. 
  10. In accordance with this Music Service policy, staff should ensure that their relationships with pupils are appropriate to the age, maturity and sex of the pupils, taking care that their conduct does not give rise to comment or speculation. Attitudes, demeanour and language all require care and thought, particularly when staff are dealing with adolescent boys and girls. 
  11. Staff should be particularly careful when supervising pupils in a residential setting, or in approved out of school activities. More informal relationships tend to develop where staff are in proximity to pupils in circumstances very different from the normal school/work environment. 
  12. During residential courses it is inadvisable for staff to enter a pupil’s room unless accompanied by another member of staff. No pupil should be in a member of staff’s room and staff should avoid situations where they may be on their own with a pupil. 
  13. Following any incident where a member of staff feels that his/her actions have been, or may be, misconstrued, a written report of the incident should be submitted immediately to his/her line manager. 
  14. All staff are expected to assist in supervision duties while in activities or on residential, during breaks from rehearsals. Staff can only permit a student to leave a centre/activity for lunch or any other reason, if written parental consent has been provided. 
  15. Staff should remain on duty until all children/young people have left rehearsal areas. If there are recurrent difficulties around arrangements for transport/collection of a child or group of young people, these need to be notified to the line manager and, if appropriate, contact with the parent/person responsible for transport will be instigated in an attempt to resolve the difficulty. 
  16. If any untoward incident or disclosure of abuse occurs, Music Service staff should record the facts in a concise manner without making judgements, appreciating that relevant professionals can request access to this written record. 
  17. Where an incident occurs within a school, this information should be given without delay to the School’s Designated Teacher for Child Protection. Where an incident arises at an out centre, the music service staff will convey the information, without delay, to their Area Coordinator. 
  18. If a child/young person discloses abuse to you: 
    • stay calm 
    • believe 
    • reassure 
    • listen 
    • record 
    • report 
    • and seek support.

    Do Not: 

    • make promises you cannot keep 
    • probe for information/investigate 
    • use leading questions 
    • panic 
    • make the child repeat the story unnecessarily.


Contacts for Advice and Support or Notification of Referral. 


  • EA Child Protection Support Service Helpline 028 9598 5590

    Monday to Friday 9:00am - 4:30pm


  • Regional Emergency Social Work Service - 028 95049999 

EA Music Service Managers/Designated Officers 

  • Ms Therese McKinney – Designated Officer, Belfast Office, 028 90772266
  • Ms Anne Bergin – Deputy Head of Music, Omagh Office, 028 71863515
  • Mr Clifford Lowry/Mr Colin Elliott – Designated Officers, Antrim Office, 028 94482212
  • Mrs Nuala Curran – Designated Officer, Portadown Office, 028 30253168
  • Mrs Aisling Butler – Designated Officer, Dundonald Office, 028 90566900 

Download a PDF version

In 2022/23 we were involved with