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In need of advice for dealing with fights

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by lquin92, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. lquin92

    lquin92 New commenter

    I have been a cover supervisor fresh from my PGCE for just over a year and have dealt regularly with fighting between students.
    The only training I have received in how to deescalate a fight came from my course, in which I was told to just “put myself in the middle and hold my arms out”.
    Since starting my role, I have asked my line manager and beyond three times if I would be able to receive training on positive handling/restraint in order to separate students fighting. I have been told yes on all occasions but still have not had anything arranged.
    Today I was on my own dealing with an extremely violent fight, in which tables, chairs etc were used and headbuts and punches were exchanged. It was only at the last second that two other staff, both female came to help. As an under 5ft 4in petite female trying to separate two nearly 6ft tall yr 10 boys armed with canteen tables, this was very difficult and dangerous.
    I do feel shaken by this as I and others could have been really hurt, but I don’t know where to turn to to get training for this.
    Does anyone know of any independent trainers that can provide training as the school still fail to provide this for me, or even any advice?
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    My advice to you would be to find another school to work at since where you are sounds dangerous. There should be enough adults in the areas where trouble is likely to start and there should also be an aim to have zero tolerance for fighting at the school and anyone choosing to engage in fights will be sanctioned.

    Students fighting should be rare- it shouldn't be on a daily basis.

    You are not a police officer. If you wanted to train as a police officer you would have done so.
    caress and JohnJCazorla like this.
  3. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    Realistically you won't be able to do this alone. I've dealt with only two serious fights in my career, fortunately neither with weapons of any sort. On both occasions I decided to step in and was immediately helped by some big strong pupils. Without help I wouldn't have succeeded in breaking up the fights physically and would have had to resort to attempts at force of character; I think it would have ended badly.
    I feel that if this is common in your school there needs to be a clear policy (please check the handbook) and if intervention is appropriate then there must be appropriate training. I think in the situation you describe you are best to move away and call for help.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  4. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    I'm sorry to hear you are dealing with such serious violence. As the others have commented, this shouldn't be a typical occurrence and you should absolutely not be expected to intervene alone.

    Are these fights happening within classrooms during lessons or at break time? What is the procedure for calling for immediate help at your school? Do you have something like the SIMS facility for an emergency alert?

    If they are happening during lessons, perhaps you are better to get the other students out of the room and call for immediate support. I would not advise intervening physically without another adult in the room - not only for your own personal safety but also to avoid any accusations of unnecessary contact. Fights are incredibly unpredictable and intervening physically should be a last resort. I understand that the safety of the students involved in the fight, particularly if it is not a "fair" fight or involves one student attacking another, is part of our responsibility but your safety is also the responsibility of your employer.

    You should complete a serious incident form and ask for a meeting with the appropriate senior leader to discuss your experiences. I would start with the most recent event. Record the details and send it to the head teacher/senior leader with responsibility for behaviour. Copy in the heads of year/tutors of those involved and the subject teacher for the class you were covering. You might need to get as many people involved as possible to make something happen. In your statement, reiterate that you haven't received training.

    If after this, things do not improve, you may need to ask for another meeting to discuss discontinuing your role. You cannot be expected to deal with serious violence regularly without support.

    Are you happy with the sanctions the students involve receive? If the school were dealing with the fighting severely, regular fighting would not be occurring so perhaps this is another issue you can raise but again, I don't imagine things will change quickly.

    Take care of yourself.
  5. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    I would add if indoors always send the person nearest the door out regardless of who started the fight.

    You should not have been told to put yourself in the middle. Talk to your union.

    If fights are regular there is something wrong - go to another school.

    Is this an SEN setting? There should be systems in place.
    pepper5 likes this.
  6. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    pepper5 likes this.
  7. barbaramcn

    barbaramcn New commenter

    Sounds like the school needs to create and strengthen policies and procedures. I agree with comments above.
    As already stated if you are going to intervene you need several competent and confident staff.
    Your priority is the safety of anyone around who’s not involved. You are paid to be a teacher not a fighter. Don’t put yourself in danger - otherwise you might find you get more than you bargained for.
    Alternatively change schools.
    pepper5 likes this.

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