Sports Policy



Sport has a major role to play in school and society. Coláiste an Átha recognises the importance of students participating in school sport as it contributes majorly to the students’ education while also aiding their physical, social and emotional development. Teachers/Coaches must make use of the opportunities that sport and sporting activities provide in order to help the students to grow and develop as persons.

The following is a list of college policies, practices and activities that are particularly relevant to the Sports Policy:

Mission Statement

Child Protection Policy


Code of Behaviour

Class Tutor System

Whole School Guidance

Substance Misuse

Critical Incidents Procedures

Student Attendance


Coláiste an Átha aims to create opportunities for students to participate in a wide variety of sports that will thus contribute to the optimal development of the individual’s potentialities in all phases of life.

Current Provision:

  • Hurling
  • Camogie
  • Gaelic Football
  • Soccer
  • Rugby
  • Basketball


Our school sporting environment provides for:

  • Enjoyment of playing
  • Proficient teaching and development of skills
  • A balanced attitude towards competition where winning and losing must be handled in a spirit of true sportsmanship
  • Harmonious interaction between teacher/coach and student, between fellow students and between students and their opponents
  • Exposure of students to a variety of sports so that a ‘carry-over’ to later life may be possible
  • Spirit: On and off the field there should always be a good spirit. Team spirit encourages children to participate not only for themselves but also for the team.


  • Students display positive attitudes towards an active lifestyle
  • Exhibit better health habits (tend not to smoke)
  • Students develop personal physical fitness and enhance bone growth
  • Exhibit more positive attitudes about school, physical activity and self
  • Play better with others
  • Have less aggressive behaviours
  • Perform as well or better academically
Section 2: PROTOCOLS

Child Protection:

In accordance with the requirements of the Department of Education and Skills’ Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools, the Board of Management of Coláiste an Átha has agreed a ‘Child Protection and School Protocol Policy’ which the Sports Department adheres to. The Sports Department works to ensure that the protection and welfare of the child is of paramount importance, regardless of all other considerations. It has been agreed as and from Easter 2012 that outside coaches working with the children for a period of time will also be asked to sign the ‘Child Protection and School Protocol Policy’.

Under Section 5 of the ‘Child Protection and School Protocol Policy’ the following adapted protocols are of particular importance to the Sports Department:

Dressing Rooms

It is the intention of the college that all students should be afforded privacy whilst using dressing rooms and shower areas. Where it appears that the well-being or safety of students require intervention by an adult, the Board of Management authorises such intervention which would, except in an emergency, be preceded by a vocal alert telling students that an adult is entering a dressing room after a brief period to allow students dress themselves to a level of decency. Where possible, such intervention should be by a female teacher in the female dressing rooms. A male teacher intervening in such a manner is required to be particularly prudent.

All such interventions must be recorded briefly by the intervening adult in an incident book kept for that purpose in the Principal’s office.

In the case of all matches, the first person into a dressing room must be a female teacher or female voluntary adult supervisor. She must also be the last to leave the dressing room.

Once a female teacher or female voluntary adult supervisor has checked the dressing room and ensured that all students are dressed to a level of decency, a male teacher may enter the dressing room to give a team talk.


Where possible, there must be two supervising teachers at all matches involving school teams, at least one of whom must be female if it is a female team that is playing.

One-to-one situations

It is preferable for male teachers not to be in a one- to- one situation with female students. Where this does happen e.g. learning support, special examination centres, the male teacher must be visible at all times through an open door or a clear glass panel.

Where female teachers need to talk privately with an individual student, the teacher should be clearly visible to others at all times while the student can be afforded privacy.

Trips out of school

When there are female students going on a trip there must be at least one female teacher on those trips.

Exceptional emergency

In cases of exceptional emergency, all teachers and voluntary adult supervisors are authorised by the Board of Management to do what must be done. Details of such emergency must be recorded in the incident book as set out above.

Role of the Teacher/Coach


Teachers/Coaches will seek permission from the Principal/Deputy Principal before arranging a sporting activity. Only after permission has been sought can a fixture be verified with the opposing team. Teachers/Coaches will update the Student Activity Folder on ‘Teacher Share’ so that a clashing of other school events will not occur. The fixed sporting activity will appear in the staff newsletter. The teacher/coach is responsible for posting a list of involved students on the staff notice board in the staff room. Teachers must leave work for any classes that they may be absent for.


Teachers/Coaches are responsible for the transporting of equipment to and from a sporting activity. They must ensure that all equipment is stored in a safe environment in accordance with Health and Safety guidelines. They must ensure that jerseys are washed and kept in good condition.


Teachers/Coaches are responsible for scheduling training sessions outside of class time. Teachers/Coaches must adhere to the previously mentioned Child Protection Protocols regarding dressing rooms etc. If students are not attending training sessions on a regular basis, teachers/coaches have the authority to disallow them from participating in matches, home or away.

Health and Safety

Teachers/Coaches must be aware of any medical conditions a student may have. Teachers/Coaches are responsible for the storing of equipment in accordance with Health and Safety guidelines. They must have a first aid kit present at all sporting events. Jerseys must be washed after each activity. Where possible, students should be advised by their teachers/coaches to have their own drink’s bottle at training/matches. Teachers/Coaches must insist that rules are adhered to at all times for the safety of the student, the opposing team and other persons involved.


Teachers/Coaches will try to ensure as far as possible that students are not regularly missing classes if players are involved in multiple events. Teachers/Coaches will advise students that it is their responsibility to ensure they catch up on any class work missed. If students are back before the end of the school day students are expected to find out their homework and have it completed as normal for the following day unless otherwise agreed with the subject teacher. Sanctions are imposed as per Code of Behaviour. Subject teachers have permission to withdraw students from future sporting activities should they deem such a punishment necessary.


All students are eligible and encouraged to participate in the sports Coláiste an Átha provides without discrimination. Teachers/Coaches will at all times be fair when trying to facilitate the amount of ‘match play’ each player gets. However, if a player has not been training on a regular basis, the amount of ‘playing time’ will be significantly reduced at the discretion of the teacher/coach.

Resources/Financial Assistance

Teachers/Coaches may seek financial assistance from the school from time to time to aid with travel expenses, jersey costs, water bottles etc. However it has been agreed among teachers/coaches that for away games students will contribute up to €5 for the cost of a bus.


Teachers/Coaches may nominate players at the end of the academic year for their contribution to sport. These students will be honoured at the annual School Awards Ceremony.


Teachers/Coaches are responsible for informing the Deputy Principal of anything they would like highlighted in the local media, submitting match reports, photographs etc


Coláiste an Átha has a ‘Code of Behaviour’ in place that exists in accordance with latest education legislation and guidelines. Students are expected to abide by this at all times, even during sporting events and activities.

Students who participate in sport at Coláiste an Átha will be asked to sign the below Code of Conduct. This should be witnessed by a parent/guardian who must also sign it.

Code of Conduct

Students should undertake to:

  • Play fairly, do their best and have fun.
  • Shake hands before and after the event, whoever wins- and mean it.
  • Respect officials and accept their decisions with grace, not a grudge.
  • Respect fellow team members, teachers/coaches; give them full support both when they do well and when things go wrong.
  • Respect opponents, they are not enemies, they are partners in a sporting event.
  • Give opponents a hand if they are injured or have problems with equipment.
  • Accept apologies from opponents if they are offered.
  • Exercise self-control and tolerance for others, even if others do not.
  • Be modest in victory and be gracious in defeat.
  • Show appropriate loyalty to their sport and all its participants.
  • Make high standards of fair play, the example others want to follow.

Students should not:

  • Cheat.
  • Use violence, using physical contact only when it is allowed within the rules.
  • Shout at, or argue with, the referee, officials, team mates, opponents or teachers/coaches.
  • Take banned substances to improve performance.
  • Consume alcohol or smoke whilst being involved in sporting activities.
  • Bully or use bullying tactics to isolate another player.
  • Use unfair or bullying tactics to gain advantage.
  • Harm team mates, opponents or their property.
  • Tell lies about adults or other students.
  • Spread rumours.
  • Keep secrets about any person who may have caused them harm.