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Spilling hot coffee on a child-Who is responsible?

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by Duplobrick, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. Two different scenarios
    1. No guidance to staff re hot drinks in classroom and then an accident occurs
    2. Staff informed not to have hot drinks in the classroom but policy ignored and accident occurs.

    So putting the scalded child to one side, who is responsible for the injury?

  2. Two different scenarios
    1. No guidance to staff re hot drinks in classroom and then an accident occurs
    2. Staff informed not to have hot drinks in the classroom but policy ignored and accident occurs.

    So putting the scalded child to one side, who is responsible for the injury?

  3. They are but you have to make sure they knew not to have hot drinks in the class-is it in your staff handbook. Their union would argue they didn't know if it became disciplinary.
    I go through the staff handbook every year-I am always amending it, eg about the use of mobiles, facebook etc, then get the staff to sign that they have read it and agree-not a leg to stand on then with unions with any misconduct.

  4. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Whilst 'We weren't told not to' might seem a reasonable defence if you're FIVE, I think you'll find most governing bodies will support a head disciplining an educated, adult person whose responsibilities include keeping a professional eye open for risks to children in your classroom.
    If you take a hot drink into a room in which children might be scalded by it, you are responsible.
  5. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    The teacher with the hot coffee in both cases.
    It should not be necessary to have to specifically refer to this matter in a staff handbook in order to prevent the unions arguing in the event of disciplinary following a scalding incident.
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Yes. Clear responsibility. Teachers are adults and have a duty to take care not to put others - children and adults - in situations of danger.
    In addition, doesn't your teaching contract have a clause somewhere on page 99 about being responsibile for the H&S of all persons on school property? I think it is fairly common.
    Many, many moons ago, when they were 5 times the price they are now, we had 6 laptops stolen. They had been used in a class, then left on the teacher's desk in a classroom, the day we had an "Open Doors" event for the local community to come and wander round the school.
    The teacher claimed no responsibility as he had been given no written instruction to put them away after use. Got a Warning nonetheless.
    Teacher is responsible.
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    The next Workshops I'm doing that still have vacancies are on Sunday 13th and Friday 25th February. There is also a specialist Workshop for applications to SLT on Saturday February 19th.
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  7. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I love the 'Nobody told me not to' defence. Where might it end? 'Nobody told me not to run across a crowded classroom holding a large, pointy knife'?
  8. ho, ho, ho, ho, ho.........Although I'd be willing to bet that certain staff and unions would try that defence!
  9. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    We have those non spill thermos cups now. But yes the member of staff is at fault.
  10. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    Why does the staff memeber have hot coffee i the room?..........they are responsible....but maybe they have to carry it in a themos cup as no chance to a break if on play duty....soTA brings it in as a kindness....or maybe room is to far away to get a coffee and drink it and get back?
    In days gone by we used to have our own kettles when we were miles from a staff room......but of course those days are gone........
  11. Okay 1960's/70's senario:
    Teacher pours boiling water over childs head believing it to be a mug. The staff member had just returned from seeing the head for a meeting, during which they shared a half bottle of whisky taken from his filing cabinet.
    Who is to blame
  12. mychuck

    mychuck New commenter

    The teacher is to blame. If you have a clear policy and dare I say it...a risk assessment for hot beverages then staff are responsible. Unfortunately, we are governed by the mighty RA and I have the most peculiar ones for my school but it is a blame culture and parents will argue that the teacher was negligent. We have themo cups with lids on for staff who have been out on duty and want a hot drink.
  13. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    You make it sound like that would be wrong. The teacher IS to blame.
  14. mychuck

    mychuck New commenter

    Not wrong at all...as a parent I would be more than cross if my child was scolded in this type of accident.
    The teacher IS to blame however, many school settings haven't woken up to the fact that although they may carry a hot drink round at home in front of their children; at school they are in the the work place and responsibility/blame for the incident rests with them.
    I didn't think my wording through carefully the first time...sorry.

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