Need a quick refresher on child protection? Here are our top do’s and don’ts for supply staff in schools:
- Do tell another adult if you are going to be in a situation where you are alone with a child.
- Do leave the door open and situate yourselves where you can clearly be seen by others passing by.
- Do make pupils aware of the fact that you are legally required to inform the school’s Child Protection Officer if a pupil discloses sensitive information to you.
- Inform management immediately if you feel that a pupil (or pupils) are placing you in a compromising position.
- Do get another member of staff in the room (by sending a child to the departmental or main office) if a difficult situation arises, such as pupils physically fighting. They can deal with the situation more safely as a permanent member of staff and also act as a witness to events.
- Do inform a member of staff should a child leave your classroom unexpectedly.
- Do ensure you are aware of any pupils who may have specific health concerns such as diabetes, asthma or epilepsy, and what is the appropriate procedure to be followed in such cases.
- Do familiarise yourself with the school’s ‘Behaviour Policy’, or ask a senior member of staff the correct procedure when encountering disruptive behaviour.
- Do not get yourself into a situation where you’re alone with a child.
- Do not hit, grab or push a student (except if a situation occurs where a pupil is likely to cause harm to either him/herself or to others, and even then, only minimum restraint is acceptable if the pupil is not responding to any verbal command).
- Do not behave in a way that might lead to complaints of questionable behaviour (e.g. hugging pupils, allowing younger children to sit on your lap, any physical contact that may be misconstrued).
- Do not take photographs of pupils on your mobile phone or personal camera.
- Do not make contact with pupils outside of the school setting (either physical or verbal).
- Do not disclose any of your personal information to the pupils.
- Do not ask pupils for any personal information, unless it is absolutely necessary for school purposes and then ensure it is passed to the relevant school contact as soon as possible.
- Do not use words towards, or in the presence of, children that might be deemed negative, defamatory, or aggressive (e.g. “bad”, “stupid”, “shut-up”).
- Do not let pupils leave the room without proper permission – written where necessary.
- Do not leave a class unattended.
- Do not use sweets as rewards as many schools now have a policy against this.
Have you had any issues related to child protection while in school? Share your stories with us below!