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Pregnancy concern

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by mymindisnotabedtobemadeandremade, Dec 18, 2018.

  1. Hi,
    I am a teacher, pregnant for the first time. I have told my head that I am pregnant, and my head hasn’t drawn up a risk assessment that I could look over. I am also concerned that they are adding a new child to my class, with ASD. On his referral forms it states that he can lash out and become violent, throwing chairs sometimes. I have raised the concern but no one seems to be listening. I don’t feel he should be placed in my class. Am I over reacting?

  2. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    The risk assessment is a legal requirement so go back to your head - they have to do it. Maybe you need to draw up the risk assessment together, especially as you have a specific concern re: an aggressive child.
    I don't know about the child not being placed in your class - if the school are admitting him, he has to go somewhere but a risk assessment would address any concerns.
  3. hs9981

    hs9981 Established commenter

    agathamorse and grumpydogwoman like this.
  4. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Some children with ASD do not find change easy - in which case that would be an alternative argument that putting him in a class due to have a change of teacher may not be the best option.
    Lalad likes this.
  5. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    If not involved already, I'd contact my Union if I was the OP.
  6. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I would have thought that a school should have a standard risk assessment, which should be the same for all teachers except where there are additional risks, such as for practical subjects. There should be something about students who can be violent. It is hard to comment on this particular case, but a more detailed discussion of this student's history might show if it is wrong to place him in your class. I think @FrankWolley's suggestion of contacting your union is sensible.
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    It probably won't be the head drawing up the risk assessment, but whoever deals with HR matters. Office manager or some such? Go and speak to them and discuss the risk assessment, making sure this new child is included as a risk.
    agathamorse likes this.
  8. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    When I did a risk assessment for a pregnant teacher with a challenging child in the class it addressed this issue and included statements such as the teacher immediately swapping with the teacher from the next door class as soon as any situation begins to escalate. You could ask for this. There may be no other option than your class for this child and the school can’t just say no.
  9. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    The risk from the child could come under:
    Working Conditions or Specific Hazards.

    The control measure could be as described by @Sundaytrekker. You leave the room at your own discretion and are immediately replaced by a colleague. That's probably the most realistic step you can take.

    But I would additionally want the following: The whole class has to know about your condition. This particular child must be addressed by a senior member of staff and encouraged to take responsibility for her/his actions as s/he would surely not want to harm an unborn baby. An extra reward system can be put in place for evidence of the child exercising self-discipline.
  10. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    No, you are not over reacting at all.
    But I feel sad on trying to understand the replies.
    It is definitely correct to highlight this formally, according to risk procedures.
    However, the replies are saying you should not teach this child. So therefore, unsaid, somebody else should teach this child.
    But if I were working in this school and were not pregnant, I ought to also be able to assert this right somehow. What's going on here? We ought to be outraged at the fact of a child with a propensity to throw chairs in the vicinity of any teaching staff, surely?

    O,but undiminished by that, take all the good advice offered in the thread-congratulations!
    agathamorse and Piranha like this.
  11. studentcrisis

    studentcrisis New commenter

    Any child has the ability to throw a chair. Any adult also does. I’d be more concerned about a chair hitting another child - when you sign up to teach you understand that children with behavioural issues could pass through your classroom surely? I’ve worked with adults with autism and learning disabilities my whole adult life and I promise you none of them throw chairs for fun - it’s always signposted and preceded by other behaviours, emotions and communications which you learn to recognise and work through with the person.

    How angry and upset must you have to become to be in a place where throwing a chair is your most viable option? It stems from their environment and how they’re understanding and processing what’s going on around them.

    No I wouldn’t except a pregnant person to have to work in rooms where this is a risk but I would also say other adults should be jumping to understand the child and enable them to access school and education in a way that is productive and safe for everyone.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  12. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Well no. When I decided to be a teacher I wasn't expecting to be injured in my work. If that's the case teachers need to be trained to defend themselves like police/armed services personnel. And perhaps have retirement on pension after 20 or so years service.

    If a pupil had thrown a chair at me (or other pupils) I would have restrained them, and as I was untrained I might well have hurt them.

    The best answer is for pupils who pose this sort of threat (esp. to pregnant teachers) is not to be allowed in mainstream schooling.
  13. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I agree with you, but also love it that trainees today still have the rose-tinted, idealistic views expressed by @studentcrisis . There is so much negativity around, that reading such a lovely post by someone at the end of their first term training does warm my heart a little. (Either that or I should stop having tasters of various alcoholic Christmas drinks in supermarkets in the mornings!)
    Piranha likes this.
  14. studentcrisis

    studentcrisis New commenter

    Many professions are trained in restraint (my former one included) and largely restraint is used to protect the person in crisis rather than to defend yourself. I’d be surprised if no one in your school is trained in Team Teach which is a child-oriented method of physical intervening in dangerous situations, I’ve heard it’s standard practice now to have a few trained staff in each school? Certainly every school I’ve been in this has been true.

    I think the most important thing to note is how often this occurs - if it’s a daily or weekly occurrence then perhaps the child would be better suited to another environment however if it’s a rare response when the child is feeling desperate I would think it would be more appropriate to assess and adapt their class environment and provide them with more/different support? After all S7 does say we need to use approaches appropriate to the needs of all pupils to manage behaviour and S5 something very similar.

    Definitely don’t stop day drinking it’s Christmas! Thank you though, hopefully I’m a little less rose-tinted than you think as this has been the area I’ve worked in for years now and I like to think I have a decent understanding of people with additional needs and how to work with them around their issues! Obviously the way this works in a classroom is different but I’ve met many a person who’s reputation has gone before them and they’ve turned out much more pleasant and less violent/rude/disgusting than has been suggested. Hopefully this is the case for the boy in question and whoever ends up teaching him really enjoys his presence in their classroom.

    Again I feel the need to reiterate that I don’t think a pregnant person should be put in the position of working in a potentially very risky situation but equally I don’t think it’s right to automatically demonise and try to oust the poor kid either.
  15. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    We've clearly taught in very different kinds of schools. I have only known any team teach training in one school in over 20 years and that was in response to a particular child.

    One or two people trained only works if those people are in the class where the need is. There might well be people in the OP's school whoa re trained. However, if the OP is in year 1 and the trained staff in year 5, it probably isn't much use.
    agathamorse and sbkrobson like this.
  16. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I'm retired.

    But I spent over 30 years teaching, mostly in selective schools it is true, but also in three comprehensives (for nearly a decade in all).

    At no time were staff trained to restrain - and a fair number would have objected on a variety of grounds, I suspect.

    Money was tight when I was working. It is even tighter now. That is the real reality of education today. That and a 'blame and scapegoat' culture. I'm glad to be out of it.
    agathamorse and Catgirl1964 like this.
  17. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    In which case it ought to be those staff who take those children for lessons, and only those staff. Otherwise having a few trained staff elsewhere is as misplaced as a lifebelt in a desert.
    There's an omission in what you say, which is the basic rights of teachers, as adult humans, not to be aggressed.
    If you instruct somebody to take a class and simultaneously inform them that aggression is likely to occur,as in OPs example, then you are logically and morally ignoring that right. But being pregnant or otherwise does not instigate the right, it's about being employed there full stop.
    I hadn't mentioned the rights of the individual child,because in this case it impacts on the rights of every single member of staff who that child encounters.How many people? Twenty? Fifty? A hundred?
  18. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I always see notices at my dentist/doctor/elsewhere saying that verbal or physical attacks on staff won't be accepted under any circumstances, and that those who do them will be removed and, where possible, prosecuted.

    Schools should do the same, for the attention of both pupils and parents. Any attacks should lead to expulsion.
    agathamorse likes this.

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