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when do you leave children unattended in the classroom?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by sueemc, Feb 14, 2009.

  1. sueemc

    sueemc New commenter

    Do you leave children unattended in the classroom eg. at break to do jobs etc?
  2. Never. If you are responsibe for them, you never leave them alone. In addition to the potential behaviour issue -what about the possibility of a serious accident?
  3. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    But then, maybe I teach older children than sueemc?
    Would I leave them unattended during a breaktime while they used stanley knives to create a package design. No.
    Would I leave them unattended during quiet reading while I discuss a matter of importance with another child or teacher in the corridor. Quite probably.
    It is a matter of professional judgement; you ought to take the actions of any 'reasonable' parent, as with the old fashioned idea of being in loco parentis.
  4. In my school year 6 ("prefects", doing jobs) are allowed to be unsupervised at break times but nobody else. Have you no school rule/ policy? I think it's very irresponsible to leave children alone at breaktimes. I know mine would cause havoc.
  5. EBC

    EBC Occasional commenter

    I may pop to the classroom next door, or the corridor/cloakroom.
    Never to photocopy in another room etc
    If I really really have to then i will ask nextdoors taecher or TA to stand in the middle of the classrooms.

    Why do you ask?
  6. I have left children unattended before but only because I 'trust' my children to behave and they know how to behave. It's very much our school's policy of children being 'trusted to do the right thing whether or not an adult is around'. My class are the 'class from hell' but I can still pop next door to get something from the cupboard in the corridor, come back and find them working as I left them because they know the boundries. I would never leave them for longer than 2/3 minutes but I think if children have been 'taught' how to behave and expectations are high them surely they can behave. You don't stand next to them the whole time they're on the playground do you?
  7. I'm sorry MysteryLion but if you really had a "class from hell" there is no way that they would still be working if you left the room for 2-3 minutes. My class are in no way a class from hell and I have spent LOTS of time working on their behaviour, and they start talking if I talk to an adult in the doorway! Real "class from hell" could never be left unwatched even if you were still in the room.
  8. Sorry, I meant that my class were considered 'The class from hell' before they moved into Year 5 but now they have been taught how to behave and can be trusted now.
  9. NO
  10. No- I have a duty of care to those children and so do you.
  11. Yes.
    But then I am fortunate to be a teacher in the school and area I am in. The vast majority of the children I teach are well behaved and can be trusted.
    Would a reasonable parent of a sensible 10/11 year old feel the need to be in the same room as them at all times at home?
  12. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    It's vital to stress that no part of 'duty of care' requires constant surveillance.
    A teacher in sixth form college also has a duty of care to its students, as does a school to its staff. It would be ridiculous to consider that all such students and teachers need to be watched constantly.
    It is a matter of professional judgement.
    Of course, if you have no professional judgement skills, then the next best alternative is to say never.
  13. slippeddisc

    slippeddisc New commenter

    I think it's a sad state of affairs if we can't trust most of our children to be alone for a few minutes. While we've got to use common sense I don't see why children can't be left alone in the right place and circumstances.
    I wouldn't leave them in a classroom is completely out of the way of anyone else, I wouldn't leave little Timmy and Johnny together but I certainly wouldn't have a problem leaving good little Millie and George in a classroom that is close by to other people.
  14. Crickey, I hope your Year 4 teacher doesn't know you post on here - if they did and read that last comment they would truly be pi**ed off with you.
    Oh to be the perfect disciplinarian!!!

    FAIRYDELL New commenter

    I'd just like to offer a word of caution to those who would leave ltheir class unattended for a couple of minutes.
    Yesterday a child was sent back to class, from the IT suite, for 'messing about' and falling off a chair. I followed the child back to class, walking just behind, while the supply teacher stayed in the IT suite with the rest of the class.
    As the child went to retrieve an exercise book from a drawer he said ' Mrs Dell I'm not feeling too good' and collapsed.
    He'd been fine all day.
    Luckily I was close enough to catch him before his head made contact with either the nearby table/chair or floor.
    He ended up in hospital.
    Can you imagine the consequences had there been no adult in the room at that time?

  16. I teach year 2. I never leave them unattended, sometimes I leave the room to get something from the cupboard outside my room but I have a big window and also get one of the children to hold the door open.
    If I catch any of my children in the room at break or lunch without an adult I play hell. I'm concerned that one might fall and hit their head, and there be nobody around to help them. And I am also concerned that one child in particular might get up to no good in there!
  17. ouch!
  18. Actually, the Year 4 teacher knows his short comings and left the school after having my class due to being 'unable to control them', he was put on an action plan involving the local authority, seconded to another school and subsequently deemed 'inadequate' during an LA observation and eventually when ofsted arrived. He has since left teaching. I didn't mean to come across as arrogant regarding my own behavior management but I'm also not going to play it down, it's something that I see as a strength of mine.
    Regarding, the above arguments I do agree with Tafkam, regarding the 'duty of care'.
  19. sjw2007

    sjw2007 New commenter

    It completely depends on how your school runs as well as the children in your class.
    I occassionally pop out for a few minutes to find resources or go to the loo and often allow a few children in to tidy up at lunchtime or breaktime if they ask. However, throughout the school day, including lunchtime, there are always members of staff working with groups or hearing readers in the corridors. I can leave my door open and let one of them know I'm popping somewhere so I am safe in the knowledge that if there was an accident or the children misbehaved someone would be able to deal with it on my behalf. During lunchtimes the children are allowed in to use the computers in the corridors and play board games etc. on the tables in the corridor so that time is also always supervised. I am very lucky though, not sure I would be so confident with leaving them if there wasn;t someone around...

    I have to say though, how often do we allow children to go to the library to change their books unsupervised? Quite a lot in my school so what is the difference?
  20. I wouldnever leave a child on their own. However I regularly send groups of children to the ICT suite or library to work for periods of time. They know how to behave and thier are always adults around. If they couldn't behave they wouldn't be allowed to go. They go to the toilet on their own and on residential are in rooms on their own.
    My school allows children in the ICT suite at lunchtime (not sure I agree with this but..) they are in their with no adult. Thee are adults in and out and near by and any problems would be dealt with quickly. We have never had an issue.


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