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Phoning parents/children at home

Discussion in 'Staff, pupil & parent's wellbeing' started by zachjoe1, Mar 31, 2020.

  1. zachjoe1

    zachjoe1 New commenter

    We are about to implement a phone around rota system to all the parents of our children to check on their well being while they are away from school Has anybody come across any useful links with protocols, dos/dont's, safeguarding issues regarding this. Thanks
  2. Drespencer

    Drespencer New commenter

    I came across this site the other day https://www.safeguardinginschools.co.uk/covid-19-coronavirus-advice-for-schools/ that makes some points about contacting people at home, including this: 'Contact phone calls will also be important. Ideally these calls should be made using school phones, rather than personal devices.' The article was written pre-isolation, but the site may be helpful? It has a safeguarding checklist for the current time. I don't know enough about telecoms to know whether the school phone number could be re-routed. Hope that helps
  3. shevington

    shevington Occasional commenter

    Teaching staff should not use their own home phone or mobiles because it can serious problems if parent or students misuse them at a future date. We had many serious problems reported on this web caused by the misuse. You should also check your Union advice on this matter.
  4. crumbleskates

    crumbleskates Occasional commenter

    We bought a few cheap mobiles for staff WFH to use. Could you order these online?
    We looked at all our vulnerables including the ‘unofficial’ vulnerables and decided who needed what level of contact. We designated key staff to families.
    Used knowledge of the families to determine which would prefer text/ email/calls. We have a shared log to keep notes. We agreed key points we would cover, and try to have a little chat with the children too on speaker phone ideally. Depending on the contact, we might step up or step down the frequency. Staff can contact SLT for support before or after if necessary.
  5. Lisa54321

    Lisa54321 Occasional commenter

    We are ringing each parent/child once every two weeks. Below are the two advisory notes that our headteacher gave to us:

    1. Make sure to use a school phone.
    2. If speaking to the child as well, make sure that the parent has the phone on loud speaker.
  6. ashcurtis

    ashcurtis New commenter

    Can someone confirm for me whether making phone calls to all school pupils is compulsory or not?

    Just having a debate with someone over it.

  7. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Your question is too simplistic to be given a yes or no answer. What's the context? Calling which children how often about what? Calling in directed time? Calling from home or when in school? Using your personal phone or school phone?
  8. ashcurtis

    ashcurtis New commenter

    Apologies -

    Primary setting, calling in school, during work time - no children in, 4 staff members to do it, every child once a week.
  9. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    If it's directed time and you are calling all children on matters relating to T&L I'd say it's permissible for the head to direct you to do it. In principle, at least, if it has a T&L purpose then presumably it's something that requires what STPCD calls "the exercise of a teacher’s professional skills and judgment". STPCD professional responsibilities of a teacher include "50.15.Communicate with pupils, parents and carers".

    There are potential safeguarding issues but you are doing it from school using the school's phone, which mitigates one area of concern. Have a look at the document linked in Post #2 above.

    Have you checked what your union thinks?
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2020
    agathamorse likes this.
  10. ashcurtis

    ashcurtis New commenter

    Ah ok, but is it a legal requirement?

    It's not for me, but someone in that situation who has been informed they 'legally need to do it'.

    My opinion is no it is not a legal requirement specifically that 'every child must receive a phonecall home once a week' which is what she was specifically saying. Vulnerable etc obviously are different.

    Now in terms of good practice and continuing communication then a school may choose to take this path - but it's not 'a legal requirement.'


  11. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I don't know what law they have in mind but it's something the head can legally direct you to do under your contract of employment. Whether the head is legally required to direct you to do it I don't know but is not particularly relevant.

    It may sound like splitting hairs but it isn't if you are a teacher being directed to do it. If the head can legitimately direct you to make calls then you have a legal duty under your employment contract to do what you are directed to do. Or risk disciplinary action. It's not optional or merely good practice to obey directions from the headteacher, it's a requirement under employment law. It's irrelevant that head could have chosen to do something else but hasn't.

    I doubt there's a law that says anything as specific as 'you must phone every child every week'. More likely the head has in mind a school's general safeguarding duty and this is one way the head has chosen to comply with that duty.
  12. steph_m_m

    steph_m_m New commenter

    Teachers in many Essex schools are being told to email and/or phone every pupil in their tutor group. The rational is the government have told parents this will happen so it must happen. The schools have circulated a letter by the Local Authority Education person as reason for this...

    "We have also asked all schools in Essex to make regular contact with all families during the school closure period. Therefore, if you haven’t already had contact from your school during this time, this is something that will begin to happen from this week. This is an opportunity for you to engage with your school with any support you may need with home learning and to discuss any wellbeing concerns you may have. If everything is all fine, please also report that to your school."

    Is this happening across the country?
  13. agathamorse

    agathamorse Senior commenter

    We're emailing our tutor groups as a class to check in with them. No phone calls at all.
    steph_m_m likes this.
  14. maggie m

    maggie m Lead commenter

    London borough, I won't say which, we have been directed to phone 3 pupils from our tutor group each day. If we try on two days and if we can not make contact we refer to the safeguarding lead. We have been told to use our own phones and block our number.So far I am finding most do not answer the phone so safeguarding lead is going to be a busy lady.Vulnerable pupils are getting calls from SLT and SEN department
    agathamorse and steph_m_m like this.
  15. steph_m_m

    steph_m_m New commenter

    Has there been any mention of reimbursement for cost of calls, hiding your number and deleting pupils’ numbers afterwards? Thanks.
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. maggie m

    maggie m Lead commenter

    No of course not and I don't suppose there ever will be. I am careful to block my number and I have deleted numbers as soon as I finish a call.
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    The DfE guidance is here but I can't see where it says that. Do Essex say exactly where the government has told parents that?


    There is a lot in that guidance about schools keeping in contact with vulnerable children and their families and following up unexplained absences and concerns, but I can't see anything in it about keeping in regular contact with all children.
    agathamorse likes this.
  18. ashcurtis

    ashcurtis New commenter

    That's been my point, thank you. Nowhere in the guidance does it say they legally have to be in contact, let alone a phone call each and every week.
    agathamorse likes this.
  19. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    .... and for your legalistically minded colleague, strictly speaking none of this is law at all. Although the law allows the Secretary of State at the DfE to issue directions to schools covering all these matters so far the DfE haven't done so. The formal status of nearly all of this guidance is technically just a request that schools could ignore! Not suggesting they should, but as you were asking about the law.....

    But to repeat myself, just because the head isn't required by law to do this doesn't mean teachers can legally ignore a direction from the head to do it if the head decides to direct you!
  20. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    It strikes me as being a sensible approach. Blocking your phone number ensures your privacy - the downside there is that many people won't answer a call from a withheld number! It's reasonable to ask for a contribution to the costs, and a sensible school would offer a fixed amount rather than attempting to account for every call.
    I'm coming from experience as a boarding school housemaster where my office phone was also my home phone and I'd expect to be speaking to parents daily (and getting occasional emergency calls in the middle of the night!)
    Keeping the pupils engaged and learning will become harder as time goes on, and it'll become more important.
    Stiltskin likes this.

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