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Mid Day Supervisor- are there any guidelines in law?

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by Finflyer, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. I have seen some messages on this forum regarding MDSA's and hopefully no-one will mind me asking some questions. I am a MDSA at a school with almost 96 pupils years R-4 and have been working there for over 3 years.
    We don't have a large enough hall to accomadate all the children to eat together, so we have to use two seperate areas which means we have one MDSA present in one room, one MDSA supervising in another room and one MDSA outside in the playground with those children which can't fit in either room!
    This sounds like a fairly good plan until quite a lot of the children who are quick eaters go outside to play, however this can result in almost sixty children being outside with one MDSA whilst the children inside are still eating.
    I take my job very seriously as do our other MDSA's and we know we can't leave children eating unsupervised, but I feel this puts the children in the playground at risk and our outside MDSA under so much pressure to keep an eye on everything it does make the job almost impossible.
    No teaching staff ever come out to help supervise the children even though there is only one MDSA outside with them for at least 20 minutes on their own.
    Can anyone tell me if there is a law which states the number of children that a single MDSA should be allowed to care for on their own?
    If you have never been an MDSA can I assure you that it isn't a doddle of a job and despite some comments we don't (in our school) stand about chatting ignoring the children, but we still end up with injuries at the end of the playtime which take at least 30 minutes to sort out, writing letters, explaining to teachers and recording the accidents.
    I have never had a job description and any relief MDSA's are inducted "on the job". Luckily we have a good family centred school and know each child by name and the children also know us as we have all been parents of children who attend or have attended the school.
    My concern is for the safety of the children and I would like to know if there are any issues relating to supervised numbers. Thank you for any feedback.
  2. I totally sympathise with you. I think your position is untenable. Ask the person who is in charge of risk assessments to look at your lunchtime system. It is suggested in all schools that there should be a risk assessment for lunch times. They should talk the situation through with you, and if the risk is too high, which I feel on what you have written it is, should be able to bring some changes. STRESS of staff is a high risk Good luck. Let us know how you get on.
  3. I used to work as a midday supervisor with 60 year |R children and one other MDS. We struggled to fit all our sandwich sittings into the classroom to eat and had to cope with hot dinners coming back before they had finished.
    We worked out two sittings and tried to put the fastest eaters in the second half and the slowest in the first. Could you do something similiar or put all the slower children in one area and the fastest in the other freeing up the second lady sooner?
    We had very supportive class teachers who explained to parents why Jonny could not sit with Jack at lunchtimes which did help.
    Hope this helps.

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