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Would you have expected support from the class teacher in this situation?

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by sunnydaysarebest, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. I would appreciate your thoughts on a situation I was involved in this week.
    A bit of background info about me first. I am a cover TA in a primary school that my child attends. I started off as a volunteer and am currently coming to the end of the level 2 supporting teaching and learning in schools qualification. I volunteer a fair bit in school and am often asked to cover for other TAs when they are off sick/on training courses etc.
    One day this week I was taking a phonics session, out of the classroom, with a group of reception age children. I have worked with this class previously on a couple of occasions. One particular child who is known for being disruptive started being particularly difficult. I managed to get the group back to the classroom, where the teacher was, by holding this child's hands (against his will). He refused to go into the classroom, despite the teacher asking him to go in.
    I tried to shepherd him in but he tried to make a run for it - he has run off before. So I decided to try and herd him/ grab his hands to prevent him from running off. He ran into the toilet so I shut the door and held it shut. He battered on the door from the inside. The teacher came out of the classroom - I asked her if I was doing the right thing (hoping for some direction on what to do). She said he'll calm down in a minute and went back into the classroom. He didn't show any signs of calming down - just shouted and banged on the door. I said he could come out if he calmed down. He sounded like he had begun to calm down a bit (had stopped shouting and banging on door) so I opened the door a little. He pulled it open and made like he was going to run away again so I had to hold him under his arms and lift him into the classroom (empty) opposite the toilets. I shut the door behind us and stood in front of it to stop him escaping. He started picking things up and I thought he was going to start throwing things about (he has been known to trash his classroom before). Then he decided to start on me - taking a run up and barging into me, pinching me and calling me names. Class teacher sent 2 kids to office to get someone. I remained in classroom - child continued to take his frustration out on me. An administrator from office eventually arrived (headteacher and deputy not available) and said she had a job for this child and he went with her quietly.
    Class teacher spoke to head teacher later in the day about what happened and child had to apologise to me and miss some breaktime.
    Thinking about it afterwards I wondered if class teacher should have taken over from me or at least given advice at the time on how to deal with the situation. I had never had to deal with anything like that before and hope I never have to again.
    Any thoughts about what I could have done differently or if I should have asked teacher to take over?
    Thanks
     
  2. I would appreciate your thoughts on a situation I was involved in this week.
    A bit of background info about me first. I am a cover TA in a primary school that my child attends. I started off as a volunteer and am currently coming to the end of the level 2 supporting teaching and learning in schools qualification. I volunteer a fair bit in school and am often asked to cover for other TAs when they are off sick/on training courses etc.
    One day this week I was taking a phonics session, out of the classroom, with a group of reception age children. I have worked with this class previously on a couple of occasions. One particular child who is known for being disruptive started being particularly difficult. I managed to get the group back to the classroom, where the teacher was, by holding this child's hands (against his will). He refused to go into the classroom, despite the teacher asking him to go in.
    I tried to shepherd him in but he tried to make a run for it - he has run off before. So I decided to try and herd him/ grab his hands to prevent him from running off. He ran into the toilet so I shut the door and held it shut. He battered on the door from the inside. The teacher came out of the classroom - I asked her if I was doing the right thing (hoping for some direction on what to do). She said he'll calm down in a minute and went back into the classroom. He didn't show any signs of calming down - just shouted and banged on the door. I said he could come out if he calmed down. He sounded like he had begun to calm down a bit (had stopped shouting and banging on door) so I opened the door a little. He pulled it open and made like he was going to run away again so I had to hold him under his arms and lift him into the classroom (empty) opposite the toilets. I shut the door behind us and stood in front of it to stop him escaping. He started picking things up and I thought he was going to start throwing things about (he has been known to trash his classroom before). Then he decided to start on me - taking a run up and barging into me, pinching me and calling me names. Class teacher sent 2 kids to office to get someone. I remained in classroom - child continued to take his frustration out on me. An administrator from office eventually arrived (headteacher and deputy not available) and said she had a job for this child and he went with her quietly.
    Class teacher spoke to head teacher later in the day about what happened and child had to apologise to me and miss some breaktime.
    Thinking about it afterwards I wondered if class teacher should have taken over from me or at least given advice at the time on how to deal with the situation. I had never had to deal with anything like that before and hope I never have to again.
    Any thoughts about what I could have done differently or if I should have asked teacher to take over?
    Thanks
     
  3. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    Personally I'd never shut a child in a room against their will, and you shouldn't shut yourself in a room 1:1 with a child as you leave yourself open to allegations. Have u had safeguarding training?

    Personally, as a teacher, if my TA was in this situation I'd probably have taken over, and if the child was still v upset and violent id have called for help (head/deputy/ someone who's had positive handling training) quite quickly. It sounds like you were left alone with him for a while which isn't fair.
     
  4. R13

    R13 New commenter

    In short, Yes.

    However if a child needs physical intervention to manage them then that should be done be trained staff in a co-ordinated way that has been agreed by parents and management.

    Please ask your Head for advice as to what is now going to happen - the physical interventions you used, such as taking an aggresive child against his will into a class of children was inappropriate - locking them in a toilet is also inappropriate . . . if you've not been trained then that isn't your fault BUT please don't let it happen again to you or the child
     
  5. Thanks for your reply.
    I found out afterwards that shutting a child in a room is a strategy used with another child in the school but the teacher stays on the outside and faces away from the door, to ignore the child.
    I have had safeguarding training as part of the level 2 course. If this situation had arisen with any other teacher in the school, I suspect they would have taken control of the situation without being asked.

     
  6. Oh dear what a situation to be in. Not your fault at all but there are a number of things you should not do. One being blocking his way, holding a door shut on him, shutting both of you inside a room and physically restraining him.
    I would only every physically restrain a child if he was a danger to himself or others. He obviously felt threatened by your actions. Being shut inside a toilet and not being able to get out, being shut in a classroom and not being able to get out must have come across as very threatening to him and he would get angry. I would!
    The teacher should have intervened. Poor you and what an awful thing to go through.
     
  7. Thanks. I have been replaying the whole thing over and over in my head all weekend and your reply has made me feel a little better. [​IMG]
    My rationale for holding his hands against his will in the phonics session was that he had just caused injury to one of the other children so I felt I had to do this to keep the other children safe. I had already sought help from the neighbouring classroom but found it to be empty. I needed to get the children back to the classroom - as I saw it I had three options 1) take other children back and let him run around school on his own, 2) follow him around the school and leave other children unattended, 3) hold his hands against his will and get them all back to the classroom. As keeping children safe is the most important thing; I felt that option three was best, as I could still see all the children.
    Afterwards I said to the teacher that I was worried that I had done the wrong thing and that I would like to know what to do if the situation arose again. The teacher did not give me any advice there but after speaking to the headteacher said that if he was a danger to himself or others to restrain him by folding his arms in front of him, hands on shoulders and to watch out for kicking legs! I asked if I needed to write anything down but was told it was unnecessary.
    I will have to ask the correct procedure for a runaway child. In my view letting an angry five year old run around the school is dangerous - he has run into the kitchen before, but I don't know what else I was supposed to have done.
    Thanks again for your sympathy - I needed it!

     
  8. Chezz

    Chezz New commenter

    What an awful situation to be in!
    However, you state that this child has been quite disruptive before and has also done runners. I'm just wondering what agreed strategies have been put in place - one that is followed by all members of staff who support him. Has the school employed outreach agencies to advise and guide as it sounds that this child needs early intervention? What does your Inclusion Leader suggest? As a CT, I would be very concerned that
    a) this child presents such behaviour
    b) that there are no agreed strategies in place
    In my experience early intervention can make all the difference to a child, especially those that are clearly struggling to cope with the structure and expectations of school.
     
  9. dozymare1957

    dozymare1957 Occasional commenter

    I once saw three TAs holding a reception child down, prone on the floor. This was a particularly disruptive and violent child who often needed to be restrained to protect himself and others around him. He was kicking and punching and one person would not have been able to control him. All three were hurt in the process. The child was none the worse for wear physically but I'm sure he was frightened and so fought even more. What else could they have done? (rhetorical question I think)
    I've really found this information useful. Secondary kids are different and I'm not sure if it would be possible to physically restrain them as most are bigger and stronger than I am. However, to protect myself I would never, ever touch a child without asking their permission. Equally, I don't let them touch me. I explain that we all have our space and that nobody should enter someone's space without permission.
    My advice for OP would be to ensure you are in a union so you will have legal advice if it's needed. I would also write a report whether the school wants it or not just in case.
    Get clear instructions from the school about how you should deal with situations like this, in writing if possible. If necessary, type up what you are told and then ask someone to sign it to confirm that you have the correct information.
    Regarding this particular child, don't hold on to any feelings about this incident when you see him again. Treat him as you do all the others. This incident is over and done with. He apologised. Don't make him wary of you. Be approachable.
    Remember, if you are worried about a situation that you find yourself in, you can always send a child to get help from the teacher, another TA, the office or the head. Try to keep an eye on the running child but don't chase them or restrain them as this can be very scary for little people.
     
  10. Thanks for the replies and advice. I'm a bit scared about the mention of legal advice though!
    I wrote a detailed account of what happened, for my own purposes, that same afternoon while it was fresh in my mind. I thought it would be useful if only to help me work out what to do if I found myself in the same situation another time.
    I will certainly ask about agreed strategies.
    Thanks

     
  11. dozymare1957

    dozymare1957 Occasional commenter

    Don't be scared. Do you have buildings and contents insurance at home? It's just the same as having that.

     
  12. I do have insurances for the home but do you really think this event is serious enough to warrant needing legal advice? The head didn't want anything written from me or even to talk to me about it so I was hoping that would be the end of it. I will go and see her first thing tomorrow I think, just to put my mind at rest. I am a bit of a worrier as you may be able to tell!
    Any reassurance would be most welcome.

     
  13. dozymare1957

    dozymare1957 Occasional commenter

    Don't worry. The school isn't concerned you shouldn't be either.
    The first piece of advice I was given as a TA was, "Join a union".
    You have home insurance because you know that it's sensible, not because you really expect your house to burn down. This is the same. Hopefully none of us will ever need to claim on home insurance or to use the union's legal service.
    Go to school tomorrow and enjoy it. You obviously love your job.
     
  14. angelface22

    angelface22 New commenter

    the headteacher said that if he was a danger to himself or others to restrain him by folding his arms in front of him, hands on shoulders and to watch out for kicking legs! I asked if I needed to write anything down but was told it was unnecessary. I'm sure this advice is not correct. You have to be very careful when you restrain a child, especially small ones. You have to check that the way you are holding them is not restricting their air waves. I would ask if you could be Team Teach trained. You should always fill in, quite a lengthy form after each incident that involves restraint. - Check also that parents agree that their child can be restrained in this way. Hope you get on okay tomorrow.
     
  15. Please don't worry. We have to cover ourselves where little children are concerned. I have been working with children for 20 years or so and I would never ever restrain a child unless they were in danger or for example when child is being left and is upset and mum wants to leave. Then I would say to mum is it ok if I hold him/her?. You can so easily hurt them if you haven't done team teach and then where would you be?
    We have a card system in school where we can send for urgent help if necessary perhaps in this case it would have been useful to you.
    Look on it as a lesson learnt.
     
  16. Hi, well done for doing your best under the circumstances.You certainly were right to write a report while it was clear in your mind. If safe I would have sent the remaining children to the class and sat with this child (if he was sitting down) and talking quietly about behaviour expectations. Hopeully children are unable to leave the school grounds because of gates etc. If this is the case and the child runs off,quickly let the teacher or another member of staff know and just follow calmly at a distance and keep an eye on the child without talking to them. As others have said part of your training in school you should be given written details ofany agreed strategies.
    Good luck
     
  17. Well Lawrence, that isn't a very helpful reply. All we know from this is that you consider yourself more skilled than both the OP and the teacher.
     
  18. you really need to be train on restraint before carrying it out, i have just done a crisis intervention course, very informative and a real eye opener!! you have to be trained and be part of a team who have done the same training, so you have have support especially from the litigation and safety side of things.
    Restraint has to be a last resort and if possible other techniques explored before the need to restrain. Speak to the head and see if there are course that are available to be done on-site be worth it in the long run.
     
  19. HotPinkCrayola

    HotPinkCrayola New commenter

    I would say don't trap them in the toilet just because the little darlings have a habit of going home and telling the parents what happened and they then get all indignant and the fact their kid was misbehaving goes by the wayside.

    We're told to let students run away rather than restrain or chase them (although I'm in a secondary school so not sure what the procedure would be with primary). Then you make sure any free teachers / pastoral care staff are aware of the wanderer and they go and find them. Gives the pupil chance to calm down and having an adult who wasn't previously involved find them diffuses the situation quicker.

    I must say though, it's nice to see someone who cares about discipline rather than letting them get away with it!
     

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