AIBU to want to feel safe at work?

(30 Posts)
Bellini81 Mon 24-Mar-14 15:58:38

I work part time in a school, since I started it has been getting progressively worse, lots of staff changes, no real structure, very good teachers leaving and being replaced by temp staff that stay a few terms then leave and so on.

I get a bit of attitude from the pupils but mostly they respect me and I used to love working there and enjoy my job. But recently I have been dreading going to work.

Last term I was attacked by a pupil, to cut a long story short I caught him spitting at a child and when I went over to intervene he spat in my face and started attacking the other pupils around him so I scooped him up and took him up to the heads office immediately. He punched, kicked and scratched me the whole way there and tried strangling me with the scarf I was wearing all in front of the other pupils.
When I eventually got him up to the office and someone else took over, I showed the head my injuries, as by now I was actually bleeding from both hands and her response was to show me her bite marks and scratches from a previous outburst from the same boy... That was that.

Today was the worst day ever, I got told to shut my mouth from one boy and then a fight broke out and I had to run over with the other adults to break it up and during the chaos my wrist got bent backwards and now I can hardly move it. I came home and had a good cry.

I am looking for another job but a term time job is quite hard to come by and I need the money so badly at the moment I have to stick it out until I have another secure job. But I am bloody miserable and am feeling a bit sorry for myself at the moment. Surely I should feel safe at work but I don't.

Finola1step Mon 24-Mar-14 16:04:41

You absolutely have the right to feel safe. No question.

Some quick questions:

1. Have the school given or arranged for you to have restraint training?

2. Was the previous incident logged (behaviour book, accident book?)

3. Has today's incident been logged?

4. What type of school is this? Mainstream, PRU, primary, secondary?

5. How old are the children involved?

6. Is your role support or are you a teacher?

7. Are you in a union?

Sorry to ask so many questions, but it wil help me advise you IYSWIM.

Bellini81 Mon 24-Mar-14 16:09:20

1. Have the school given or arranged for you to have restraint training? No, none. Never offered, though our team have asked on several occasions.

2. Was the previous incident logged (behaviour book, accident book?) Nothing was logged. I spoke to the head and deputy head but that was it.

3. Has today's incident been logged? No. Again just given a lot of sympathetic looks and asked if I was okay as I was holding my wrist.

4. What type of school is this? Mainstream, PRU, primary, secondary? This is primary school.

5. How old are the children involved? The first child who attacked me was 6. Today I broke up a fight of pupils in year 6.

6. Is your role support or are you a teacher? I am a support worker only at lunchtimes hence the reason we aren't taken seriously I suspect.

7. Are you in a union? No.

gordyslovesheep Mon 24-Mar-14 16:12:35

Union union union ...the school has a duty to protect staff and record work based injuries ...join one asap

Flossyfloof Mon 24-Mar-14 16:16:03

I am afraid this is not particularly untypical. I would love to see some of those who slag off teachers have a go themselves. You MUST join a union. In the meantime ask to see the risk assessment for the first child and check up on procedures. I am secondary not primary but I feel you put yourself in a dodgy position picking the child up.

RainbowSpiral Mon 24-Mar-14 17:44:03

I'm sorry all this is happening to you. I don't think the head is handling it well, do you think they are also out of their depth. Well done for trying to uphold discipline.

Advice:
Join the union. Log now the previous attack as an accident FOR YOU. And practically I'd avoid wearing scarves or necklaces (I found I couldn't wear with when my boys were young as they were always tugging).

MunchMunch Mon 24-Mar-14 17:54:23

bloody hell, reading the op I thought you worked in a secondary school and were dealing with year 7+ but the child was 6! sounds like he (and the school and most probably his parents) need support. I dread to think the things his parents have to go through. Are there any SN concerns that could contribute to his behaviour?

I agree join the union and make sure every incident, no matter how small, is recorded. YANBU to want to be safe at work.

Ginnytonic82 Mon 24-Mar-14 18:02:07

Echo everyone else get in a union asap. I teach at a secondary school and am part of the behaviour team. If you are supposed to deal with students who have had prior incidents where they were aggressive to staff you need specialist training. Nor should you be breaking up fights without training. There are strict protocols that govern how to intervene, where to hold children and what to say.This child clearly has anger issues and should be with a supervising member of staff who knows him. You shouldn't be expected to deal with him. The head's behaviour was uncaring but not surprising I'm afraid. If these incidents haven't been logged it's time to ask why.

Finola1step Mon 24-Mar-14 18:02:56

Oh Bellini this is crap. I've been in teaching for nearly 20 years, am senior management in a primary school. This casual acceptance and shrugging of shoulders is all too common place.

With the info you have provided, I do advise you joining a union. Unison is probably the best one for you. Mid Day Meals Supervisor is probably the toughest job in the school. Definitely keep your own log book of incidents and accidents. Get your wrist check out before going back to work. Write an account if what happened today and finish by stating that you have not received restraint training and are formally requesting restraint training. Hand it to the Head.

The school has a duty of care to the staff as well as the children. MMS should not be having to physically remove children. If no restraining training is booked in soon, then hand in your notice and refuse to intervene in physical fights without the aid of a senior member of staff.

Without proper training, you are risking the child's safety as well as your own in breaking up fights and physically removing a child from a situation.

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Mon 24-Mar-14 18:12:05

you definitely need training ASAP. DP has worked in schools like this for years and you need training to deal with this properly.

i very much doubt you can 'scoop up' a child unless there is no other way of dealing with situation regarding their and other safety. Its unclear from your post if there were other options. e.g. remove the other children. however well you mean it, i am unsure if you are escalating the situations.

also you need to consider the home life of a child who acts like this aged 6. the HT is probably aware of SS concerns regarding the children who are violent at a young ages - which explains their focus.

but i don't think you should have to deal with this unless you have the training and want to work in this type of environment.

ICanSeeTheSun Mon 24-Mar-14 18:16:47

Please join an union and do so ASAP, could you afford it if a child made an allegation about you, if you was in an union they would fight your corner.

Also if you have been assaulted in school and got injuries put it in the accident book yourself.

Bellini81 Mon 24-Mar-14 18:23:58

Many thanks for all your advice. I am looking into joining a union right now so thank you for pushing me to do that.

The first incident with the boy who had attacked me does now have SS involved in his care but we were the last to know. So we handle him with care now.

My wrist is killing me and I may have to pop into a walk in clinic tomorrow before work to get it seen to.
Today the boys involved did not mean to hurt me but like everyone has pointed out, I am not trained to deal with this so it was inevitable that I have managed to get myself injured like an idiot!

I have only actually seen the head out of her office in less than 5 occasions in 2 years I have been doing this job, she doesn't get involved at all and we are all left to it and we all hope for the best and all breathe a sigh of relief when a day has gone by with no damage done. Writing that down sounds awful but honestly there is good points to my job too!

Many thanks again.

GertTheFlirt Mon 24-Mar-14 18:44:11

so I scooped him up and took him up to the heads office immediately. He punched, kicked and scratched me the whole way there and tried strangling me with the scarf I was wearing all in front of the other pupils.

You put hands on a child - you didnt restrain him - you touched him. Wrong in so many ways.
There is a lesson to be learned there.

I have to say, you and any pubic sector worker who is not in a union, is a fool. I'm glad you are resolving that tomorrow.

I am not trained to deal with this so it was inevitable that I have managed to get myself injured like an idiot!

Your employer is at fault here - you need appropriate training. MDS are sadly over looked as bottom of the pile.

MostWicked Mon 24-Mar-14 18:49:25

You should not be man-handling kids without the proper training. Even then, physical intervention should be the last resort.

I scooped him up and took him up to the heads office immediately. He punched, kicked and scratched me the whole way there and tried strangling me with the scarf I was wearing

I cannot understand how or why you ending up in this situation. The HT should have told you that this was a completely inappropriate way to handle this. It's no good for you, for the child involved or the other children who witnessed it.

Whether you leave this job or go elsewhere, you need proper training and you need to know what the policies are for handling these kinds of situations as well as the behaviour policy for the children.

Ronmione Mon 24-Mar-14 19:07:01

What area do you work in op??

Bellini81 Mon 24-Mar-14 19:09:21

To clarify about the picking up a child to take him to the heads office... we are still told to do this now by my line manager and deputy head so I am really concerned about this.

Basically if a child is kicking off we have to pick them up and get them into the office. I don't want to pick up a screaming, kicking child no more than I would pick up an alley cat who was lashing out so I am not happy about this at all, I have put myself at risk a lot.

UniS Mon 24-Mar-14 19:10:24

Sadly very few school train Meal time assistants in anything beyond a bit of basic first aid. MTAs are seldom told much about volatile children or how to handle them. It may ( or may not) be written down in a file that the MTAs have access too but it may not be in a format that makes any sense or indeed gives any clarity.

I used to work as an MTA. After witnessing an incident between two children I did go and seek out the info on those children as their reactions were not "normal". All that was written down in the appropriate place was " x is being assessed by Y centre." Which told me nothing as I had no idea what Y centre specialized in.

GertTheFlirt Mon 24-Mar-14 19:17:50

Basically if a child is kicking off we have to pick them up and get them into the office.

It isnt the school the would be sued, it would be you.

To clarify about the picking up a child to take him to the heads office... we are still told to do this now by my line manager and deputy head

No chance. ask to see the risk assessment policy ratified by the governors.

I don't want to pick up a screaming, kicking child no more than I would pick up an alley cat who was lashing out so I am not happy about this at all, I have put myself at risk a lot.

Again - no chance - your safety is paramount you throw buckets of water at alley cats

The first incident with the boy who had attacked me does now have SS involved in his care but we were the last to know.

Immaterial - you only need to know if he is volatile and what plans are in place

You are a MDS aren't you?

You need to check all your other support staff union affiliation, go with the crowd, usually GMB rather than UNISON. Remember to tick the part time box

dayshiftdoris Mon 24-Mar-14 19:29:18

Yet me clarify this point...

I have a child with ASD and challenging behaviours... We have a plan in place and a risk assessment...

Regardless of that piece of paper if a member of staff picked up my child like you describe in a meltdown then a) they would get hurt and b) I would report the school to safeguarding ?why because that policy seriously puts the children and adults at risk.

For the record my son has been restrained - more than once and I have signed paperwork to that effect... Have no issue with safe, calm restraint but that is not what you are doing.

Not all parents of violent children are known to SS and some of very much care about keeping staff safe on an equal level to our children

Littlefish Mon 24-Mar-14 19:39:14

1. Join a union tomorrow and speak to a representative immediately
2. Never, ever "scoop up" a child again
3. Demand to have your injuries recorded in the incident book.

You are putting yourself at such enormous risk in so many ways.

hippoinamudhole Mon 24-Mar-14 19:46:10

I am a MSA in an infants school. Ask to see the school's behaviour policy. This should actually be on the website for anyone to look at. Ask your LBP (lead behaviour professional) to have a meeting with all the MSA's to discuss how to deal with behaviour at lunchtimes. This should be consistent with the rest of the day. You also need strategies for dealing with incidents needing extra attention.

Are the teaching and classroom support staff trained using team teach or equivalent? If they are ask for the lunchtime team to be included in the training next time.

Have you been trained in safeguarding? It is a legal requirement that all school staff have had safeguarding training.

Our school now has this in place. It's taken about 2 years for this to happen but all the dinner ladies use the same procedure and the children know they will get the same answer no matter who they ask.

I would also point out that Ofsted are now looking for consistency across the whole of the school day. This last should be enough to get them moving

YouTheCat Mon 24-Mar-14 19:55:25

I've been a TA for 12 years in a primary and have never had any safeguarding training, though I have asked.

But I'd never lay hands on a child. I fetch the head/deputy/class teacher. There's no way I'm putting myself in the firing line if a child is having a meltdown. I have had some restraint training but that was to do with my ds and I am not qualified to implement that in school.

Tbh, Hippo, a primary is very unlikely to have staff trained in team teach in my experience.

Goldmandra Mon 24-Mar-14 19:55:52

To clarify about the picking up a child to take him to the heads office... we are still told to do this now by my line manager and deputy head so I am really concerned about this.

Tell the head that you won't be doing this any more unless is it part of a planned, practised and risk assessed procedure carried out by you and another member of staff after you have both had manual handling training.

hippoinamudhole Mon 24-Mar-14 20:00:33

We are all team teach trained, including MSA's, and we are an infant school not even a primary

WWOOWW Mon 24-Mar-14 20:08:49

I am a SW working in a residential setting - team teach trained. I tell any agency worker we may have coming into the unit that unless their life or a child's life is in immediate danger they must not restrain (they call someone who is trained - we have to have two on each shift).

You (and the school) are leaving yourself wide open for allegations or accidentally seriously hurting a child.

Littlefish Mon 24-Mar-14 20:37:57

All teachers, TAs ands some lunchtime supervisors are TeamTeach trained at my primary too.

cansu Mon 24-Mar-14 20:47:22

There is no way you should be picking up a child to restrain them at all. Only staff who are trained to restrain should do so. In the situations you describe you remove the other children and send for help. If this means a classroom is trashed then so be it. You need to ask for incidents to be logged. Put everything in writing. Ask for risk assessments for the child you are concerned about. Stand back when he or she kicks off. Protect the other children but do not put yourself in harms way. Your first duty is to keep yourself safe. I am shocked at the practices in the school. I work with slightly older children and there are maybe three or four seniors members of staff who are trained to restrain and are allowed to do so. All children who have a known risk of violence have a risk assessment and there are set procedures of how to deal with them.

MostWicked Mon 24-Mar-14 23:17:30

There are no circumstances when it would be acceptable to carry a child who was having a meltdown, down a corridor - regardless of training.
As a parent, I would be furious if this had happened to my child.
Clear the room of other children and call for help.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Mon 24-Mar-14 23:35:22

I'll echo MDS as the hardest job in school; I did it for 6 months while taking a break from HGV driving.

Thing is, we were told "you do not touch, ever". We had quite a few challenging kids, and if they had a meltdown you got the specialists in, after clearing the area. Amd everything was logged, right down to verbal abuse.

SallyMcgally Mon 24-Mar-14 23:50:44

Oh Bellini, that sounds dreadful. thanks sorry not to have anything more helpful to say.

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