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Who is qualified to cover practical woodwork?

Discussion in 'Design and technology' started by Ultrafin, Jul 4, 2012.

  1. I was on supply today and was told I would be covering practical woodwork with the D&T technician present. Is this right?

    I am an English supply teacher

    Unfortunately a pupil injured themselves whilst the technician was out of the room. It was a very minor injury, which the pupil didn't want to do anything about, but I was furious about the situation I had been placed in. Surely either they should have had a D&T teacher, or at least the D&T technician should have been in the room at all times, not gone missing for 10 minutes at a time 2-3 times during the lesson. Nor should be have been competing with the pupils as to who could hold the cordless drill out at arm's length for the longest!
  2. littlemissraw

    littlemissraw Occasional commenter

    No. D&T teachers have to pass Health & Safety exams and you should not have been put in this position. You should only have been allowed to cover a non practical or possibly a lesson where the materials are non specialist (ie modelling with card etc or painting final pieces).
    I have some one off lessons on my resources you can use if you ever get called for D&T in the future... x
    TES Teacher Panel Member
  3. re

    re New commenter

    You are not insured to cover practical activities even with a technician in the room. If an accident did happen, the head teacher, chair of governors etc could be taken to court. Simple as that.
  4. Spencer_DT

    Spencer_DT Occasional commenter

    I 100% agree with all of the above. In short, you should not have been put in that position and it is not fair.
  5. That's exactly what I thought!!

    I even contemplated writing a letter the school and making sure they were aware of the situation, as I do believe it was left up to the technician to decide that practical work would be fine. However, it was also my last day of supply as I have a permanent job in September so felt it wasn't worth the hassle.

    Out of 6 lessons that I had to cover, only 2 of them actually had work set, and the school, which I have supplied at several times, is always disorganised. I don't know that a supply teacher making an issue out of this would actually be listened to, and whether I would causing a fuss for nothing.

    What would you do?
  6. Spencer_DT

    Spencer_DT Occasional commenter

    From your own point of view its done, you have moved on. However from the students and future staff perspective, no lessons have been learned. Irrespective of whether they listen or not, I feel you are well within your rights to express your opinion. They need to understand that it is not good practice and the technician should not be allowed to make those decisions.
  7. A technicians view----

    As has already been said here, you should not be covering a practical lesson. Huge liability issues with that, operation of machinery without the proper training. Also, the technicians role is not to teach, and we cannot be asked to take responsiblity for a class of students, we are not trained to teach!! (nor are we paid to!!) although often we will be assisting students with practical work, operation of machines etc. Often during lessons we will need to go and fetch something from a store room, back room etc, so that is normal practice.

    I do think your technician was acting incredibly irresponsibly by the "competition" with the students, and also should not have gone ahead with the practical knowing that you have not had training, but ultimately the responsibility in a situation like this falls on the head.

    Next time you are asked to do a lesson such as this, refuse to do the practical, and let the headteacher know that you are acting in accordance with HSE guidelines, and possibly saving him/her costly litigation if something were to happen.

    At the school where I work we have a dedicated cover teacher who has the necessary training. If he is not available the students don't do any practical work.
  8. finamar

    finamar New commenter

    Could somebody direct me to the 'legislation' that states you have to have training on the machinery. I'm interested in which machinery anyone can use and which cannot or is all machinery covered from all areas of technology?
  9. Hi Finimar,

    for legislation check out PUWER


    and also there is a British Standards for Design Technology BS 4163

    Two organizations to consult are DATA and CLEAPSS both extremely helpful in my experience.

    Basically, to condense the law, in order to use any kind of machinery in school, you must have received training from your employer, and that training needs to be refreshed every 5 years.

    It can be a bit of an annoyance-- you can have a background of many many years experience in using woodworking machinery, but once you are employed in a school, they have a duty to make sure you are properly trained, and must give you training, otherwise they are liable in case of an accident.
  10. finamar

    finamar New commenter

    Thanks, Techigirl!
  11. I fully endorse this response, only those that have the right training can teach the subject, and we can be called as expert witness in cases where pupils injure themselves. In court, the question of qualifcations, training, risk asessments and supervision by the teacher always are considered
    Go to www.data.org.uk
  12. We can only recommend that they get H&S trained and accredited in all the areas they are going to teach, but it sounds like they already have core training (?) which is a good start. We always say that if not trained ' you don't know, what you don't know' and we see some scary stuff from those who have had no training. And you have obviously done a risk assessment (hopefully on paper) to reduce the risks of this project to a minumum, so that is also good. Having a technician on standby will be helpful from a practical point of view as those pesky machines are difficult, but do they have accreditation?
    We do have unfortunate cases where pupils have been injured with sewing machines, pins, scissors, irons, heat presses and needles, and schools do end up in court. Often headteachers have not been informed about the H&S training requirements, and they should be made aware, and the controls you have put in place. In the end this would pass the responsibility and liability to the head, rather than the individual teacher. Your headteacher should be keen on training and making sure everything is in place, because they can fail OFSTED through 'safeguarding' criteria. The school can fail outright on this.
    All the advice on the accreditation scheme is on our website, the training lasts for years, and iuts good value www.data.org.uk
  13. Thanks DATA staff. New NQT must have core. When ever I bring up the need for accreditation i.e also for Food I'm told that it is not mandatory. I'm not in charge of Textiles - the Head of Faculty is and is an Art teacher so although I've made a few noises I've been told it is not my job to organise him though I have been asked to give him SOW and resouces to teach this module. I have no responsibility for his teaching of textiles and hopefully the machines will not be in a mess for my lessons (again the technician will hopefully be able to sort this) My accreditation runs out soon so I'm hoping to get techician accreditation when I get mine renewed.
  14. finamar

    finamar New commenter

    According the the DATA website it is not a legal requirement to have accreditation:
    'There is no legal requirement to meet these Health and Safety standards'
    So I am assuming that staff competancy can be assessed in house without the expense of accreditation such as DATA offers along with risk assessments for each piece of machinery used.

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