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What to do if a pupil runs away on a school trip or out of school?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by lisac1977, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. lisac1977

    lisac1977 New commenter

    I had this question yesterday in an interview. I didn't know the correct answer so just used my common sense and said I would ask my TA/helper to stay with the class and I would go after the child.
    Is there a better answer?
     
  2. lisac1977

    lisac1977 New commenter

    I had this question yesterday in an interview. I didn't know the correct answer so just used my common sense and said I would ask my TA/helper to stay with the class and I would go after the child.
    Is there a better answer?
     
  3. lillipad

    lillipad New commenter

    My first thought would be that a child in the school has done this previously, possibly a child in the class you are applying to work with... Alarm bells!
     
  4. Wouldn't you also contact the police?
     
  5. Often running after a child makes them run faster and become less aware of what they are doing.
     
  6. A tricky one! There are so many variables to this, so there's no one definitive answer. A school should be secure enough to completely eradicate the possibility of a child leaving the premises. Interior doors should be accessed only by staff, the external door should only be opened by a member of staff and the school grounds must have gates that can be locked during school times.There shouldn't be the possibility of a child leaving the grounds unaccompanied.
    During a trip there should be sufficient adults (teachers/TAs/parent volunteers) to each have a small group to look after, thus minimising (but not eradicating) the possibility of a child absconding. A risk assessment should have been carried out prior to the trip so that the potential risks/escape routes are known. Children should be dressed in their uniform so are easily identifiable and they should remain in pairs. Headcounts should be carried out on a very regular basis.Children should know their responsibilities and how they are expected to behave. If a child is a regular absconder then they should not be allowed on the trip. Chasing a child who wants to escape only makes them run faster! You may not have seen them leave, so you might not be able to go after them. You should alert the staff where you are on the trip and if necessary, alert the police. Keep the other children safe and with responsible adults.
     
  7. This happened while I was on prac. While it was an older primary grade, we still had one special needs student that would run off occasionally. Naturally, this happened while on an excursion. With two classes combined, there were probably eight adults there, so it was easy for one to run after the student. One of the TAs kept an eye on him as he ran off, gave him a bit of space and went after him. He tired fairly quickly and sat down and had to be coaxed back (I don't mean to sound flippant).

    At school, there were a couple of runners too. At least there are procedures in place for when it happens on school grounds. One case that I definitely know of involved the principal driving out to track down the child when he was notified (this happened back when I was in primary school too - the one time it happened!)
     
  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    We had a runner in our school.Used to get to the school wall and sit on it or go home. He was in year 6. If he was on the wall, we kept on eye on him and talked to him if he was prepared to listen. If he ran away, we called the police and his parents. I can't remember if anyone followed him.
    On a school trip to the Deep, we lost someone - but didn't realise. We were getting our lunch stuff sorted when he turned up with a member of staff. I think he failed to keep up with his group or got distracted. Then all the groups arrived together. He could not have got out without being seen and was wearing bright red school uniform. A lesson learnt.
     
  9. Personally, I think you would be better to send the TA to see where the child had gone (agree you shouldn't chase after them - it just makes them run further), send a sensible child to alert the head teacher and stay with the class yourself. The other children tend to get very excited in these situations and it is better to stay with them yourself and calm the situation. The head would then decide whether to involve the police and would contact the parents. That's my experience anyway. On a trip, if it is a one off (not persistent runner who wouldn't be allowed on the trip anyway), keep the rest of the children together, send a member of staff (or two, if possible) to watch/follow where they had gone. Contact the head in school immediately.
     
  10. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    It is essential that you notify the police.
    Never run after them. Do whatever you can to keep within eyesight, but never run after them. If they run into traffic, you might well be held accountable.
    Yelling at them that you're calling the police usually does the trick, i find.
     
  11. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Runs out of school is easy...just inform the HT or most senior member of staff and leave them to deal with it.

    If a child is likely to run off, then the risk assessment prior to the trip should have taken this into account. We have just one child in year 2 who may possibly (in a blue moon type thing) do this and we just write him an individual risk assessment and he has a TA assigned just to him for the trip. To be honest these days, prevention should more or less eradicate the problem. But other than that all staff to stay with the group and the teacher in charge needs to phone the police and the school.
     
  12. lisac1977

    lisac1977 New commenter

    Thank you very much to everyone for their responses.....have a much clearer idea of what should happen :)
     
  13. We have a runner and they're not allowed on school trip without their parent, which then gives them 1:1. Parent has agreed to this and takes day off work for trip. We only do one trip per year. Child is part of 3 day residential this year and only allowed to come for middle day with parent (tis a localish place)
     
  14. What about fire doors which can be opened by anyone at any time, a member of staff or a child? And I thought schools weren't allowed to lock all gates because of access by the fire brigade. We had a child in school once who escaped a few times, through fire doors, so the teacher asked if the drive gate could be locked but we were told no because of access in emergencies. You could argue that someone could go to unlock this gate but thats not possible due to everyone needing to go to an assembly point to be counted.
     
  15. To be inclusive all children must be included on trips. reasonable adjustments should be made such as having one to one support for challenging pupils or a very secure venue.
     
  16. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Lead commenter

    Welcome to TES, dianne ...
     
  17. I wonder if this is actually true. I don't mean that you weren't told it on the course, but is it true that you can be successfully sued? or is it just the local authority (or whoever ran the course) being ultra-cautious? It's like the issue of whether you can be sued for clearing the pavement in front of your house - people say don't do it because you can be sued, but apparently no-one has ever been sued.

    Having said that, I agree that teachers shouldn't be running after children, and the advice given seems sensible (ie. call the police - or better, inform the head who will take control).

     
  18. sjk17

    sjk17 New commenter

    You lost someone on a trip and didn't realise? Are you serious? "I think he failed to keep up with his group or got distracted" why wasn't anyone keeping a proper eye on him? HOw regularly were you doing head counts and how big were the groups? If you were in my school and this happened you would have been severely b*llocked, this is totally and utterly unprofessional and I am aghast that this situation even happened!
     
  19. As has been said many a time already, if a child attempts to/escapes school, let them go. Keep an eye on them. Stay with your class, TA or sensible child to notify head of the incident who will hopefully inform parents and/or police.

    School-trip wise- assess whether they should be on the trip, or ensure there is 1:1 support for that child.

     

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