This week, our weekly tip comes from Sara. Sara is an Executive Consultant for Axcis and is also in charge of HR and Training. This means that she works with some of our busiest schools and as such often has day to day work available in the mornings as well as long-term vacancies to fill. She also trains all our new consultants, so is hot on company policy and procedure. Her tip is to always remember to follow the Axcis child protection policy when you go into schools to work.
Child protection is always a hot topic with schools and at Axcis, we are aware that policies may vary slightly from school to school. While one school has a “no physical contact” policy, another might take a more relaxed view of contact with students. This is why we have our own child protection policy, and this is both explained verbally as well as being given in writing at all candidate interviews.
Although some schools may give you a copy of their own policy, always err on the side of caution. This is because supply staff are not usually as well known to the school or students as their own permanent staff members. As a result, allowances are less likely to be made if there are questionable comments or behaviours on the part of the supply contractor.
For example, I once had a tour of a school. It was a secondary mainstream school. During my tour with the head, I noticed that a year 9 student had been taken out of class for a “chat” with another member of the SLT who was on “corridor duty”. The student in question was obviously agitated, and the senior member of staff was rubbing her back and talking to her. The head saw that I had noticed this behaviour and was quick to explain that the staff member involved was an assistant head, and had been with the school for a very long time, and was a sort of “mummy” character whom the students could go to for support and advice.
While this might be seen as acceptable for a well-known member of staff, think how this might have looked if this member of staff was on supply and had never worked at the school before. This is why, at Axcis, we recommend a “no contact” approach unless otherwise directed by the school you are working in.
So, don’t forget to familiarise yourself with our child protection policy – contact your consultant if you need a fresh copy – and always follow it, even if the school you are working in seems to have a relaxed approach in this area.