1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Leaving a class unsupervised...

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by specialteacherinni, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. specialteacherinni

    specialteacherinni New commenter

    Is it legal to leave a class unsupervised??
  2. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    A bit more detail might help? Reception? Sixth Form? How long? Why?

    My commonsense approach says - do a risk assessment, even if you don't write it down. Make a decision on the basis of that. And consider the fact that, while pupils are supervised directly in their classes, they aren't supervised directly all the time they are in school.
  3. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Which specific legislation are you thinking of? it is not illegal, but in some circumstances it might not be advisable.
  4. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    As a union rep I had to defend someone who'd done precisely this. Fortunately, considering my sprints down to the printer and back, I wasn't the one who needed defending. This was a disciplinary matter for the member and fortunately most staff weren't aware of it so it was allowed to go. Dire warnings were issued at the next CPD though.

    Quite simply you are abandoning your duty of care and even leaving the class with a TA in it still leaves you on shaky ground if one kid assaults another or SLT happen to wander in.

    It's a bit of a stretch to call it illegal but there is the crime of neglect, if the school burnt down for instance and you weren't there to lead them out?
    pepper5 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  5. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Definitely advisable, unless under extreme circumstances.
  6. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    I know this is common in many secondary schools and much less so in primaries - staff popping down to the photocopier/office etc. However it is not advisable. I agree that "illegal" is probably stretching it but most contracts will contain something along the lines of 'supervising children in your care at all times during the school day.' If there was an incident, you'd struggle to excuse having left the room, even if the students were 16+ as you wouldn't be able to say what had happened and that would open up another load of problems.

    In cases such as sickness, it's advisable to stick your head into/shout/send a pupil etc to at least inform a nearby teacher that you've had to leave the classroom. I've often propped open both doors and hovered in the corridor for the time that the other teacher needed to dash somewhere. Still not ideal but at least an eye/ear on both sets of pupils and the children know you are there.
    pepper5 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  7. ictbev

    ictbev New commenter

    I once had a case of gross misconduct brought against me and this included leaving the class unsupervised. The fact that I was 5 feet away in floods of tears in the office didn't seem to matter.

    Needless to say, I'm not at that school any longer. However staff leave classes for a short time regularly, pregnant women need the loo often, printing needs collected, a trip to the office to phone for support (how else can you get support!)

    If you know your class and you are only going to be a minute or two, I see no harm.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  8. FollyFairy

    FollyFairy Occasional commenter

    I have never liked to leave my class unattended so whenever I need to go to the loo, I ring for 'back-up' and tell them why... and this is why I also allow my students to go to the toilet if they are really desperate (though I do make them wait 5 minutes as 'what we are doing right now is really important and I don't want you to miss it' and if they really do want to go, they ask again!). I had a student in my form once who had bladder issues. Every teacher should have known as it was on her SEN plan. One day, she wasn't allowed to go and wet herself (year 8). She came to me with everything soaked and I had to deal with it, poor girl.
  9. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I have left children unattended on occasion, but I tell them where I'm going and why and remind them what to do if the fire bell rings. I also let the teacher across the corridor know and prop the door open. (I do the same for her.)

    I do work in a school with a sensible SLT, who would accept my reasons for not being there should they ever walk in. Not sure how I'd feel if there was ever an accident though...probably never forgive myself.

    I once worked in school where it was considered a serious disciplinary offence to leave your class with a TA, even to nip to the pupil loos and retrieve a couple of year 1s who were playing with the water in the lavatories! (These same TAs covered our PPA time and this was apparently 'different'! :rolleyes:)

    However, there are some classes I wouldn't leave for two seconds!
  10. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I would never, ever leave any class unattended as it is way too risky even for the best behaved classes.
  11. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    In Primary I would say it would be very inadvisable - which doesn't mean to say I never did it, but it would have been very rare and I would have been in deep trouble if caught. Is it different in secondary? Different risks I guess.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  12. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I teach in secondary and it would be just as risky as in primary - the mind boggles! No, I would never, ever leave any class unsupervised.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  13. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    Advisable, no, realistic occasionally, yes. For a number of reasons. Obviously not with a class where you know there would be high risk of an incident the moment you popped out. And minimising risk as much as possible, eg. Propping door open. But it's not realistic, especially in a busy dept where lots of people need to find you, or indeed when children are working in lots of different spaces, to supervise all children every moment. I speak from a secondary perspective, having also worked in primary I would be much less likely to leave the room unless it was a real emergency.
  14. Ds2d12

    Ds2d12 Occasional commenter

    Depends on the school? I often pop the toilet in the afternoon and leave a TA covering whilst I'm gone....but the school is ok with this
    pepper5 likes this.
  15. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    If you have to go to the toilet then I don't see any legislation preventing this. There are some people who will walk through solid wooden doors when they've got to go. What if you've got IBS or bladder issues?

    And while I recall, when I was a HOD I spent at least once a week leaving my classes to go and sort out a problem child in the department.

    Secondary mind....
  16. simon43

    simon43 New commenter

    I teach KG and primary in the country of Myanmar. Usually I have a local TA, but not always. Sometimes a child will wet themselves and there is no way that I will leave the class alone to go and get assistance. So I'm left standing at the open door waving frantically down the corridor at the school gardener (who doesn't speak a word of English and wonders why this idiot foreigner is using sign language to indicate that they want to have a pee...).

    I must improve my Burmese language skills :)
  17. What sucks thats exactly what happen to me the teacher left the class fir a IEP. And a student attact me assulted me i push him off me and he got hurt and i got fired
  18. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    No. Do not risk it. Especially in primary. Not me, but a teacher I knew left a Y 5 class to collect printing or some such. Gone for 2 minutes. In that 2 minutes a boy cut off one of the girl's plaits. Parental bomb went off. Warning issued. Never leave the blighters unattended. Not for a single minute. Send a kid to the printer or to find a TA or to ask the office. Never leave the room. If you are going to vomit or wet yourself, send a kid to find another adult to cover you.
  19. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    I always leave mine with an adult. I wouldn't dare leave them alone. Just stepping outside to speak to office staff with the door slightly ajar and still being able to see them tells me that they wouldn't cope!

Share This Page