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Alone in classroom with child

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by prt204, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. Could I get in trouble for this?
    I was in a school on supply on Friday, in a year 1/2 class. There were a number of children with behavioural issues but I was not filled in on any of these (it was last minute and I was straight into it with no briefing).
    The children went off to lunch but one child stayed behind with his work. I had noticed the other teacher talking to him earlier but nothing was said to me. The child told me he was grounded and had to stay to finish his work. I sat down with him for a few minutes to check he understood the task then went to the other side of the classroom to do the marking. The classroom door was open. Another member of staff happened to walk past and see. She sent the child out immediately and told me that should not have happened.
    I feel so stupid - I was totally unaware that you're not allowed to be in a classroom with a child - I'm an NQT and for my final placement, teachers, including myself were regularly alone in classrooms with children. The supply school told me that it's a blanket rule though. I'm concerned that there are other things I should but don't know. I've read everything I can about safeguarding and welfare but does
    anybody know of a good guide to all the basic rules and regulations
    since I don't want anything to happen like this again.
    I spoke to the supply agency and told them what had happened and they said it wasn't a problem as long as the school hadn't complained which they haven't. I just hope that's the end of it. I must say though, it's really taken my confidence away because I feel so clueless.
    Any advice?

  2. marshypops

    marshypops New commenter

    I think the policy on the above depends on what school you're in tbh. Certainly in schools that I have worked in, the policy is if you are alone with a child (that it can't be avoided etc.) then you leave the door open (but I'm secondary so maybe different rules for different key stages?!)
    I really don't feel that you did anything wrong, if the school has this policy then it is up to them to let you know of this policy before you enter the classroom.
    Take care x

  3. As you are a supply teacher you are unlikely to be told the various 'rules' (some not even written down) around protecting yourself from allegations, which operate differently in different schools. You need to 'watch your back' and be extra cautious in your position. So I would:
    Make sure you are never alone with a child.
    Get someone else to deal with any toilet accidents - just say it needs to be someone who is familiar with the child.
    Do not help children when getting changed for PE with any clothes where skin to skin contact of skin normally kept covered might occur - get them to pull trousers up and down themselves for instance.
    Have someone else present if looking at accidental injuries to parts of the body normally covered.
    Do not sit children on your lap or pick them up. If they come and sit on your lap move them off asap without being unkind!
    I know it all sounds very paranoid, but as you are going into schools on a supply basis it is best to play safe! Good luck. Don't take this incident to heart. Some teachers love to pick supply teachers up on things they would normally ignore if it was a regular colleague. You'll see what I mean if you have a quick read through this forum. [​IMG]
  4. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Forget it - classic case of lack of info for Supply Teacher, happens all the time. We're expected to be bloody psychic.

    In future, if it worries you, ask in advance what the policy is.
  5. By the way, prt204, I agree with magic surf bus. It was totally the fault of the school. However, you said you didn't want anything of the sort to happen again, so I hope my advice helps with that. Other things will happen though! Like being unable to teach to the plan because there are no resources provided, finding out you have an ASD child at the end of the day after they have caused major problems in all the lessons, TAs mysteriously disappearing at moments when they are needed, children needing inhalers you have not been told about, no password for the eportal etc etc. You'll soon get used to it!
  6. Part of Hays' policy is that supply should now ask for and read a schools' protection policy on arrival. I worked in one school where I was given a school policy and had to sign that I'd read it. It is not always practical at the start of the day to spend much time reading the policies when the pressing need is to get ready for the class. Common sense should prevail. But it doesn't always.
  7. I think the member of staff who went in gobbing is at fault here.
    The member of staff should have just advised you that it is not a good idea. If no other member of staff is available then the child gets dismissed into an other supervised area.
    When in school I observe teachers often alone with children, doing tutoring mentoring or telling them off, like good teachers do.
    However if you are short term supply even if you see the regular teachers not following their own school policy advice, do not think that you can. I am secondary and if I am going to hold back children on breaktime/lunch, then I hold a minimum of three back.
    Also, if I hold any back I report to someone in the department that I have done this. If there is nobody about I will probably not hold any back, just get their names. I avoid doing hold backs anyway.
    I have drifted into discipline in secondary however we supply are very vulnerable and we have to be careful
  8. " and sometimes teachers DO seem to relish the chance to get one over on
    us (I've always said one of teaching's worst flaws is the way some
    relish running down others to make themselves look good.."
    I would say in recent years that is particularly true of a number of tas.
    Can't say I've experienced teachers wanting to put the supply down on many occasions, except maybe if the planning is poor and things go wrong, some might find it easier to blame the supply instead of saying, "I didn't plan things well for the supply". However, usually when the lesson is hard to deliver, is missing the resources etc, that has been acknowledged without the apportionment of blame.

  9. historygrump

    historygrump Lead commenter Forum guide

    I have a simple policy that I try to keep to and that is never keep in a classroom with a child, unless there is another child or adult present. It gives you some protection against any false allegations from either a child, teachers or support staff.
  10. Just wondered how do headteachers deal with dealing with children? Most heads don't seem to leave their office doors open, or do they?

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