Aarrgghh. Third time DS has come out of school in shitty pants!

(178 Posts)
Kyrptonite Tue 24-Sep-13 16:21:33

Please tell me if I'm over reacting as I had a baby 2 weeks ago and my brain hasn't fully returned to full capacity.

I've posted before about DS (4) and his toileting issues. He had been doing so much better lately and then today for the third time since starting school came out covered in shit. I could smell him as soon as I picked him up. When I asked him why he hadn't asked someone to help him (teacher and 2 TAs in class) he said something about missing playtime or losing golden time if he's naughty.

I'm not brave enough for AIBU but WIBU to compose an email to school asking what they are doing to support him and why no one noticed? He bloody stank and had obviously been like it a while.

I had a meeting before he started where I explained he has a problem. I let the teacher know last week he was on medication and may have an accident.

I don't want him to be bullied. He's waiting for a paediatrician referral for suspected encopresis. He's managed the toilet 4 times last week and I really thought we were getting somewhere.

sparkle12mar08 Tue 24-Sep-13 16:40:17

I had something very similar with my ds1 in YR and Y1 (and still occasionally now in Y3!). Technically speaking, it's not the school's job to assist him with toileting, but given that there are medical issues most schools with make sure one of the TA's is available to help if needs be. The problem we had was that ds1 would often deny he'd pooed, and they can't force them to drop their pants to check. He was mistaken in thinking he'd be in trouble but he just didn't want to admit it. Is something similar happening with your ds perhaps? Don't go straight in to email, have a quick word with the teacher after school tomorrow or ask if you can speak to her in the morning. See if you can find out what's happening first. It may be that you need to follow up with a letter or email, but give it a try in person first.

Kyrptonite Tue 24-Sep-13 16:41:54

We don't get a chance to talk to the teacher in the mornings really. I'm just so bloody frustrated right now!

CecilyP Tue 24-Sep-13 17:29:16

Rather than an email, I think you should definitely go in to speak to someone. If your DS has a medical problem, things really can't be allowed to go on like this.

AcrylicPlexiglass Tue 24-Sep-13 17:50:03

Oh dear. How upsetting. I agree you need to meet face to face with the teacher. You all need to be absolutely clear what is the procedure if there's an accident. I'm not sure whose responsibility poo is in a mainstream primary school though. Maybe you also need to speak to the SENCO?

kilmuir Tue 24-Sep-13 18:06:09

Can you go in early and speak to the teacher.

sparkle12mar08 Tue 24-Sep-13 18:23:09

Technically it's the parents responsibility. They can ask you to come in and clean up your child, or collect him, take him home, and bring him back. Thankfully my ds had the most amazing TA in his class in reception and she went well above and beyond the call of duty in cleaning up some horrewndous messes on a couple of occasions.

clam Tue 24-Sep-13 18:33:05

If there are two TAs in the class, it may well be that one of them is specifically designated for a specific child, which means that she will not be available to help others in the same way a "normal" TA might be.

Kyrptonite Tue 24-Sep-13 18:33:17

They technically can't insist I come in and change him as it's against the equality act and also technically neglect if they leave him in it.

I could try and go in early to speak to the teacher but they don't open the doors until its time to go in and I would hate for the other children to hear me saying DS shits himself. I have no idea who the senco is. It's a tiny school with 3 teachers, a head teacher and a receptionist so no one free to talk to me in the mornings.

Regards Tue 24-Sep-13 18:34:03

Your child has a right to an education. If he has a special need the LA has a responsibility to make provision for this. The school also has a uty of Care.


This gives some info.

Regards Tue 24-Sep-13 18:35:24

^Duty of Care

Regards Tue 24-Sep-13 18:36:11

I'd write them a letter. If no action is taken contact the LA.

Kyrptonite Tue 24-Sep-13 18:36:45

I have a draft email in which I've asked to see their continence policy. And referenced the unique child as per the EYFS. I've held off on sending it though as I don't want to be 'that' parent!

Regards Tue 24-Sep-13 18:39:48

Sometimes you just have to be that parent. Its better that and it gets sorted than not. Also, I think other children and their parents will be affected by any lack in this area. The school needs to improve their procedures. There does seem to be a common myth going around that this is not the school's responsibility.

sparkle12mar08 Tue 24-Sep-13 18:42:20

They can insist you come in if there are no medical issues and no care plan, IEP, statement etc in place. If it's just an accident you can be asked to come. However given that there are medical issues you have that on your side. However what they can't do is force your ds to take his trousers off or his pants down in order for them to help him, if he refuses to try himself and has already pulled his clothes back up/on. In that scenario they'd pretty much have to call you to do it.

sparkle12mar08 Tue 24-Sep-13 18:43:34

And believe me, I've been 'that' parent on a number of issues with school on occasion! Which is probably why they Head avoids me now!

Regards Tue 24-Sep-13 18:45:04

There is emergency funding available to schools whilst a Statement is being applied for. They still do have a Duty of Care. Your DS should have a care plan for this. You may need to contact SENCO and school nurse.

BarbarianMum Tue 24-Sep-13 18:47:07

<<Technically it's the parents responsibility. They can ask you to come in and clean up your child, or collect him, take him home, and bring him back. >>

That's simply not true. They have a duty of care and in a 4 year old cleaning them up after an accident is pretty standard practice. Go in and talk to them. My ds2 had this problem periodically through reception (scared of school toilets) and the staff were always lovely about it even though it must have been yuck frustrating for them.

Kyrptonite Tue 24-Sep-13 18:50:37

If I post the draft email could someone help me word it less stroppily please? I think an email might be better than face to face as i then have a record of having sent it if they refuse to do anything.

louby44 Tue 24-Sep-13 18:50:53

Go in ten minutes before school starts. This is YOUR child and it's not nice to be sat in pooh all day (or for other people to be smelling it).

I'm a Reception teacher and mum to 2 boys. One is in Year 6 and still gets pooh marks in his pants, he's 10!!! Boys are often lazy and not very good at wiping themselves - my son is always in too much of a rush.

I had a boy a couple of years ago in my class who had a medical problem and had medication that made him 'go' a lot. Mum wrote a letter giving permission for us to change him, provided us with baby wipes, nappy sacks and tons of clean pants.

You need to communicate with the class teacher please. Teacher's can't do anything if you don't TALK to them about issues you have.

BarbarianMum Tue 24-Sep-13 18:51:57

OK so talk to them first then follow up with an email confirming what was said/agreed.

JumpingJetFlash Tue 24-Sep-13 18:52:09

Could you phone and make an early morning appointment rather than turn up at the door - as a teacher I would always try and accommodate that. Start of the day is never good - it's hard for the teacher as she/ he is trying to get class settled and it's hard for you as you don't want people to overhear your conversation. Hope you get it sorted x

louby44 Tue 24-Sep-13 18:52:40

Please don't send an email. Communicate with them face to face. We are human beings too!

Kyrptonite Tue 24-Sep-13 18:53:53

I physically cannot get in ten mins early as they make everyone wait outside the school until someone comes to open the main door. I also thought that maybe if I write it down then the school can discuss what to do and get back to me rather than saying something in the morning rush that they cannot actually implement.

Regards Tue 24-Sep-13 18:54:23

Do you know an email will be read? Our class teachers are notorious for not responding to emails. You could email head teacher and the office, but I would follow up with a phone call.

Kyrptonite Tue 24-Sep-13 18:54:30

I'll phone reception tomorrow and arrange an appointment. We have parents evening on the 7th Oct but I don't really want to leave it that long to sort out.

Kyrptonite Tue 24-Sep-13 18:55:14

I only have a school email not for individual teacher so would hope it would get read although cannot be sure!

Regards Tue 24-Sep-13 18:56:26

I do think writing / emailing them is perfectly reasonable. Then follow up with an appointment if necessary. That way you can be certain something will be done.

ILetHimKeep20Quid Tue 24-Sep-13 18:57:02

I agree with not sending an Email and going in.

Is he on movicol?

Regards Tue 24-Sep-13 18:57:33

X posted. An appointment is fine. However if nothing gets done I would be contacting the LA.

kilmuir Tue 24-Sep-13 19:01:13

Sorry but i would want to have a word ith the teacher tomorrow. Do they have a school receptionist, tell her you need a private word with the teacher or Head.

steeking Tue 24-Sep-13 19:03:46

They aren't allowed to clean up children if they have an accident. Or so I was told.
In p1 he pooed his pants and I was called to the school. I arrived to find him sitting on his own on a chair segregated from the others. The smell was awful. He'd been given a clean pair of pants and trousers but no-one helped him clean up. They could have let him wait in the medical room. I thought it was humiliating,
When we got home I realised there was poo everywhere- all over his bottom and halfway down his legs.
After that I gave Ds a couple of wipes in a sandwich bag to keep in his pocket in case of mishaps.

Tabby1963 Tue 24-Sep-13 19:04:31

Can you make an appointment for the end of the school day? That way your teacher will be available to chat with you and hopefully, come up with a solution. Good luck.

Kyrptonite Tue 24-Sep-13 19:07:35

Yes movicol. At least when I can get him to take it as not having control and poo leaking out of him is distressing him a lot. I've been hiding it in black currant squash but he's caught onto that and is refusing to drink anything but milk at home!

Regards Tue 24-Sep-13 19:12:23

They are 'allowed' to clean up children. In fact they have a Duty of Care which means they should do this.

mrz Tue 24-Sep-13 19:13:05

Staff are allowed to clean up children if they have an accident, in fact they have a duty to do so (if the child agrees), but sometimes staff can be unaware, or if like the OPs child ... the child doesn't tell anyone, noticing a smell in a class of 30 with no one taking responsibility and discovering the source can be impossible. What we can't do is to insist a child allows us to inspect their pants ...

clam Tue 24-Sep-13 19:15:15

What a distressing situation for you all.
Is this a recent thing, and he was at one stage managing "normally," or has he suffered some kind of setback more recently?

spanieleyes Tue 24-Sep-13 19:15:31

We have a reception child still in nappies, there are no medical reasons why, Mum says he is "not interested" in toilet training and doesn't want to start. We change his nappy 2-3 times a day.

FanjoForTheMammaries Tue 24-Sep-13 19:23:36

Saying not allowed and technically not their responsibility is all very well but what about basic human kindness. Of course they should help him.

FanjoForTheMammaries Tue 24-Sep-13 19:24:45

Saying not allowed and technically not their responsibility is all very well but what about basic human kindness. Of course they should help him.

FanjoForTheMammaries Tue 24-Sep-13 19:27:21

Oops sorry

ILetHimKeep20Quid Tue 24-Sep-13 19:32:34

Have you had information on how to work the doses to clear him out first? My eldest had encroprisis, it's bloody infuriating.

Basically his bowel has been knocked out of shape through impacted poo. So poo is getting stuck, the soiling is poo seeping out, not actual movements. He might, like mine did, manage a poo of monster proportions every so often. That's not solving the problem though.

The clear out using movical (you increase dose over the course of a week) won't be fun and it really wouldnt be fair to make him go to school through it, he willl soil and smell. After that you need to keep movements regular and easy to allow the bowel to shrink back .

ILetHimKeep20Quid Tue 24-Sep-13 19:35:31

It really shouldn't take a specific referral to tell you all that, your gp should advise. Of you do that a couple of times to no avail then yes, seek specialised support.

Kyrptonite Tue 24-Sep-13 21:39:24

He's supposed to have 1 sachet in the morning and another at night. He hasn't had any for a week as he's refusing to take it and I can't exactly pour it down his throat.

He's always had pooing issues since he was toilet trained 18 months ago.

noramum Tue 24-Sep-13 22:12:39

When DD started school we signed letters actually allowing the staff to clean our child in case if accidents.

She now has constipation problems and the school is great with her. We emails the school and explained, asking if an appointment to speak to the teacher was necessary. They declined, saying that they had experiences with similar cases and just asked us to be available for school trips as it wouldn't be fair to other parents to help DD if necessary. We spoke briefly to the teacher as, like the OP, we didn't want to speak at drop off more than necessary.

She has seen a specialist now as Movicol was useless. We still experience the odd accident but supplied DD with spare pants and wipes in her bookbag. Knock on wood, no accidents since starting Year 2.

Kyrptonite Wed 25-Sep-13 15:59:19

He had another accident. He told someone this time. They bought him out at home time waving the carrier bag with his dirty clothes in in front of everyone

lotsofcheese Wed 25-Sep-13 16:11:16

Sorry to hear you're having issues.

My DS is very similar - late to toilet train & still having accidents age 4. I believe it's related to his prematurity.

Anyway, he regressed considerably when I had DD. We "blackmailed" him with toys, chocolate, magazines etc, which did help. Although I found it hard to be consistent with a new baby.

Does he have a key worker at school/nursery who you could have a word with? Perhaps phone in at lunch time & leave a message asking them to call you back?

ILetHimKeep20Quid Wed 25-Sep-13 17:40:31

This won't get better until it's dealt with, go back to your gp

clam Wed 25-Sep-13 18:17:24

Sorry, who was "waving the carrier bag," your ds or the teacher/TA?

Kyrptonite Wed 25-Sep-13 18:37:15

The TA. Sorry should have said. The teacher matches them to a parent at the door. I couldn't see DS then the TA led him out with the bag of soiled clothing. I said "at least he told someone this time" and it sounded as though her reply was "yes this time he told us we didn't have to smell him"

clam Wed 25-Sep-13 18:41:35

Oh God! blush on you behalf!
I think I would have had to retort "Do you mind?" whilst looking pained and angry.

Kyrptonite Wed 25-Sep-13 18:42:43

I'm more embarrassed for DS. Hoping desperately that none of the parents say anything to their DCs. Why they couldn't have put it in his PE bag and brought that out is beyond me.

Kyrptonite Wed 25-Sep-13 18:43:26

I'm also wondering if she meant they'd smelt him before and ignored it because he hadn't told them it had happened.

SugarMiceInTheRain Wed 25-Sep-13 18:50:23

I feel for you, I had this problem when DS1 was in reception and Y1. Occasionally he soils now (in Y3!) but fortunately not at school any more. His is partly down to being on the autistic spectrum, and despite being very articulate, he simply doesn't care, and the smell and the social embarrassment factors don't enter into the equation in the way they would with typical children! The most blush incident was during a meeting with his reception teacher she told me she'd walked in to see why he was taking so long, and he'd smeared excrement all over his face! She said she'd never seen anything like it in 20+ years of teaching.

Mostly his school have been fantastic at cleaning him up and sending him home in a set of school clothes. From helping out in class though, I expect it's not uncommon to miss the occasional accident purely because quite a few little boys don't wipe properly so whiff a bit...

Can you just have another word with teacher at the end of school when she lets them out? Alternatively ring the office and request a meeting with teacher and TA to clarify things?

AcrylicPlexiglass Wed 25-Sep-13 18:58:22

Oh my goodness, sugarmice! Excrement on face does not sound like fun for you or the teacher! I'd forgotten about the amazing lack of disgust you can come across in autism sometimes. I once looked after a child who was obsessed with eating snails. Live ones crawling around the park! Consternation all round, as you can imagine. He was a great kid though- was utterly oblivious to our horror!

LittleMissMoonshine Wed 25-Sep-13 21:23:19

I have been dealing with constipation issues with my DD since she was two. She has just started year 1. When she first started reception I was very worried as she could not go the day without a wet or dirty accident. Most days she came out dirty sometimes you wouldn't notice it sometimes it was bad. My DD would not want to have a poo at school and she would avoid the toilets (at home as well) she would hide it and hate to be found out by the teacher. This is part of the problem and in the busy class she got away with it.

Movicol helps but IMO they still have control to withhold. Now we are year 1 she now wants to be clean (peer pressure) and is much better, however, sometimes we regress!

My point is the teacher was great she had a sticker chart and she had a buddy and a neutral adult to taker her to the toilet at times but despite all this she would come out smelling some days! It was not the schools fault. It is a very emotional subject for us mums so wait until your less upset.

Things will improve but it takes time. It's a complex problem a lot of people don't understand.

LittleMissMoonshine Wed 25-Sep-13 22:05:46

Just to add I give one sachet of movicol a day. I give two a day if she is getting constipated again but only for a day or two as it makes her poo too runny and she has no control but I know the dose is different for every child.

Snelldog Wed 25-Sep-13 22:13:20

I would email asking for a meeting indicating it is sensitive

applebread Wed 25-Sep-13 22:31:07

Top tips for hiding movicol:

1 Mix it with milk and pour it on your child's cereal (weetabix works well)

2 mix with fruit juice or squash and make freezer lollies

3 mix with milk plus nesquik

4 mix with water (62.5ml) then add to your child's waterbbottle topped up with plain water.

For 2 yrs ds didn't know he was taking movicol every day. We gradually got him to accept it and gradually got the dose down to every other day as we very very slowly get him to overcome some issues and increase the fruitIin his diet. Movicol in with milk on weetabix is failsafe though.

Ds also had difficulty at school but we agreed a reward system with school which motivated him enough to stay clean there (mostly)

reddaisy Wed 25-Sep-13 22:33:45

My DD has issues with constipation. One thing I have found that definitely helps is to increase her water intake - that has really helped (along with movicol at times etc)

applebread Wed 25-Sep-13 22:42:22

The other thing I did to help school and ensure ds was comfortable was send him in with spare clothes folded into a large resealable bag (so flat enough not to look out of place in his book bag with some wet wipes and a nylon drawstring bag that could have been a shoebag) so he always had the right stuff and he could get cleaned up properly and not have attention drawn to the problem. This worked well once I'd talked it through with the teacher.

I also encouraged ds to clean himself up with wet wipes as he found it less distressing than someone else helping him.

These things helped day to day in school but the thibgs that made the most difference were movicol and maturity. Ds goes to a tiny village school and also got much more confident over time as there are only 3 classes and he knows everyone pretty well.

AbbyR1973 Wed 25-Sep-13 23:07:49

Hi OP,

A bit of advice ahead of your paediatric appointment to get you started:

1) Have you visited the ERIC website? They have lots of advice and support regarding soiling.
2) soiling is almost always the result of "functional" constipation, ie there is unlikely to be a medical cause, but the paediatrician will take a history/ examination and possibly blood test to exclude medical conditions. Encopresis is just a posh medical term for soiling which is what DC is doing.
3) Your DC is very likely to be unaware of the soiling himself ie he isn't being naughty or lazy, but due to long term severe constipation, the function of the large bowel is affected. This can return to normal, but takes a considerable period of time in many cases-expect to be on the movicol for months.
4) Make sure DC is drinking adequately and this should be primarily water. Milk can worsen constipation, so he should have no more than 2 glasses of milk a day.
5) is he good with fruit and veggies.
6) This one is really important. Get him sitting on the toilet regularly after every meal (about 20-30 mins after eating you have a natural reflex to go to the toilet.) Reward sitting on the toilet for 5-10 mins regardless of whether he poos or not. Make sure he feels secure on the toilet and have a footstool for him to rest his feet on so he is in a good position. Get bubbles for him to blow or party whistles. He should sit at least after breakfast lunch and dinner, and if he can sit at morning break at school as well so much the better.
7) Aside from sitting on the toilet regularly he needs to be encouraged to go to the toilet as soon as he feels the need to and not hold on. It is crucial school are involved. Are school toilets clean?
8) Movicol is really the very best treatment so it's key to find a way of getting it into him. The paediatrician will feel his tummy to see if he is "impacted" (lots of hard lumps of poo to feel when pressing over the tummy.) If this is the case he will need disimpacting with bigger doses of Movicol before you will see much improvement in the soiling.
Good luck OP- it takes hard work and perseverance with soiling.

LittleMissMoonshine Wed 25-Sep-13 23:50:06

Would just add get back on the movicol. I also found things like a friend being away from school etc would set us back and you have just had a baby and he has just started school.

Kyrptonite Thu 26-Sep-13 20:05:42

I haven't been able to make an appointment. I've drafted an email so if anyone could tell me if I sound insane or if it is ok then I would be grateful!

I am writing with regards to X in Class X. I would like to confirm in writing, having previously verbally informed Miss X, that X is undergoing medical treatment for the condition encopresis. Unfortunately the medication may leave X with little or no awareness that he is going to have a bowel movement and so may result in 'accidents'. On three occasions since starting school X has returned home in soiled clothing. When asked why he had not informed someone X responded that he didn't want to lose his play time or golden time. I would like to know if it is possible for someone to discretely remind him to go to the toilet after lunch as on one occasion he was very distressed when he came home as he had not been able to sit properly at carpet time due to the state that he was in.

I would appreciate it if any of X's soiled clothing could be placed in his PE bag for him to bring out at home time. On Wednesday he was brought out at home time by a TA holding a carrier bag with his dirty clothes in. I'm sure that you can appreciate that this was slightly embarrassing for both X and myself. When I expressed relief that X had felt able to tell someone that he had had an accident the response was that he had told someone and also that the staff had been able to smell him. I would greatly appreciate a little discretion in this matter as I am worried that X's condition may hinder his ability to form friendships and that his accidents may deter the other children from playing with him. X is already saying that he does not play with anyone and that the other children do not want to play with him so it is an area of concern for me. As X has three years in the school with the children in his class I would hate to think that a medical condition in reception could stay with him throughout his time at school.

Regards Thu 26-Sep-13 22:40:07

Perfect smile

Regards Thu 26-Sep-13 22:42:23

May just want to thank them for cleaning him up just to balance it out.

Crouchendmumoftwo Thu 26-Sep-13 23:43:35

This may sound obvious but can you spend more time teaching him how to wipe his bottom? My son and daughter arent brilliant and not 100% clean but it sounds to me like you really need to practice wiping with him. You cannot expect a teacher or TA to do this with a class of 30 children. At my school I know of a parent in a similar situation and she is called in from home to change him when it happens. THis is another perpespective, it is your issue that you need to sort out at home even if it means keeping him at home to train him. I really dont see how you can expect a teacher or TA to deal with this they are not their to wipe bums.

AbbyR1973 Fri 27-Sep-13 00:00:09

Crouchendmumoftwo, just to say OP seems to be describing soiling, ie leakage of poo into the pants, rather than a case of not wiping properly. The nature of overflow leakage is such that it can be very difficult to clean up and certainly I think most very young children would struggle with this, as well as very often not being particularly aware of what's happened.

ILetHimKeep20Quid Fri 27-Sep-13 07:44:49

Which is why it needs treated properly with a total clear out. The poor lad can't help the leaking and it isn't the medication causing it, it's the encroprisis. I hope the op gets back to the doctors asap.

mrz Fri 27-Sep-13 07:46:33

Speaking as a teacher it's very difficult if the child doesn't tell you they've had an accident and as AbbyR says sometime the child isn't aware. I would always clean and change child unless the "accident" was such it required more than school facilities accommodate ...and yes I've had children who managed to cover themselves from the neck to soles of feet as well as the cubicle walls and floor. I've also had "serial" soilers who average 5 or 6 accidents per day and needed changing each time and those who insisted the smell wasn't them and even one who claimed the smell was his dad's aftershave.

flyingwidow Fri 27-Sep-13 08:02:03

I feel for all sides in this situation. The child must be shielded from this, as it wouldn't be fair if this holds him back from making friendships- but at the same time the teachers/TAs have a huge amount on their plates. I cannot manage experiencing this as an adult without appropriate medical intervention and I would encourage the OP to push for more help from the GP.

CupOCoffee Fri 27-Sep-13 08:14:41

Poor little dude!

I wouldn't worry about other parents saying anything. In my experience accidents in reception are very common and no one cares. Well not in a bad way. I see children coming out with bags of soiled clothes all the time.

If anything your acting embarrassed is more likely to make him embarrassed.

The email is good but don't think it is clear what the woman said. Perhaps put it in speech marks?

Kyrptonite Fri 27-Sep-13 08:29:34

I didn't show him I was embarrassed. I just put the carrier bag in my handbag and we went to the car.

I wish it were a problem of him not being able to wipe. If only things were that simple it would be lovely!

DS is back at the doctors next week after he finishes the movicol prescribed. I've been hiding it in his bedtime drink and morning drink so he has no idea he's on it.

Kyrptonite Fri 27-Sep-13 11:32:06

School have just phoned me. DS has had an accident to the extent he needs washing so have to go and get him. They also think I should send him in pull ups as they don't have the resources to change him. The head teacher admitted that she has no knowledge of encopresis so doesn't know whether they would need to get DS more support or not.

I have no idea what to do now.

BarbarianMum Fri 27-Sep-13 12:06:31

I really feel for you both.

You need a care plan for him - the school nurse can help you draw one up for him (nurse may not be site based but there will be one the school has access to - unless it's a free school).

The care plan will make a list of the things the school need to do to allow him to access education. Checking he's clean, encouraging him to use the toilet (if appropriate) and cleaning him up will be part of this. If needs be the school will have to invest in the facilities to do this (a private place with running water and a sluice is all that's required although many schools have better facilities).

Whatever the school is telling you it is really unlikely that your ds is the first child they've come across with this problem - it's really fairly common. They should be able to cope without calling you in and without leaving him half clean. And they may not have limitless resources but this is a priority for the resources they do have. Please don't let them pass the buck.

cfc Fri 27-Sep-13 12:09:23

OP, really feel for you. I like your email. Good luck, your distress for your son really comes through your posts. I know you know it'll all be ok, but it's the between then and now that matters to you and him.

Let us know how it all works out with the school. Perhaps a note from the doctor to the school TA and teacher to let them know the condition he's dealing with. They probably think, despite being told, that it's a case of confidence or babyishness...a doc's note holds credence, more so than your say-so. It shouldn't be that way, but it is.

Kyrptonite Fri 27-Sep-13 12:14:38

Thank you. The HT was saying they're a school not a nursery so don't have the resources. But he's still under the EYFS and even that states that he may have accidents at his age so they should be able to deal with it.

MIL is a nursery manager so has offered to come to a meeting with me at the school as although I work in early years I'm probably unable to point out policies etc without getting overly emotional right now. I've been in tears since they phoned worrying about the state he will be in.

BarbarianMum Fri 27-Sep-13 12:42:45

<<they're a school not a nursery so don't have the resources>>

OK the fact they are a school MAKES NO DIFFERENCE. Neither does the fact he's in early years, they must support him with toileting even if they were a secondary school.

Schools need to support their pupils with their medical needs to allow them to access education.

If your son had spina biffada and was incontinent the school would have to support him.

If he had learning difficulties making him slow to potty train the school would have to support him.

Encroprisis is no different. It really isn't.

Read up on your rights (does anyone here know the relevant legislation?) Quote it at the Head chapter and verse - he should already know this.

Get a letter from your GP. Contact ERIC for advice. Get a care plan. Insist on it.

They are buck passing but they haven't a leg to stand on. Get angry, not upset.

(but have some cake anyway cause it is upsetting and stressful but it will pass)

Kyrptonite Fri 27-Sep-13 12:48:12

DP went to pick him up. Apparently my email has upset the TA and she didn't know whether she was able to change him or not without a witness which they don't have the staff to do.
DS had been cleaned up pretty well. Not the state I was expecting at all.
I don't care about anyone witnessing him being cleaned up. I don't want him left in his own shit.

mrz Fri 27-Sep-13 17:35:59
ClayDavis Fri 27-Sep-13 17:50:48

I think the relevant legislation would be the Equality Act. Do you or the school have access to a continence nurse or a similar service that could provide advice? It doesn't sound like you would need their service but they may have experience of this type of situation.

Kyrptonite Fri 27-Sep-13 17:59:11

Thank you for that link Mrz. And thank you to everyone for the responses. I was expecting to be told I should take him out of school until he was sorted!

mrz Fri 27-Sep-13 18:14:45


Children of all ages may experience continence issues often related to their age or stage of development; for some children incontinence may be a life-long condition.

All settings must make reasonable adjustments (e.g. additional staff support to meet the needs of each child (Equality Act 2010, Chapter 2 Section 20). Children should not be excluded nor treated less favourably because of their incontinence.

Admissions Policies cannot require a child to be continent as a condition of admission.

Indirect disability discrimination happens when there is a rule, policy or practice that applies to everyone but especially disadvantages children with a particular disability compared with children who do not have that disability.

Therefore parents cannot be required to support their children's care needs in the setting (Equality Act 2010 Chapter 2, section 15)

I feel for you having a child with downs I've spent many years being given carrier bags at the end of the day I felt dreadful for the staff concerned but what can you do? I'm also a TA and like all TA's we are worked to the max with regular groups of children to work with throughout the day , that takes a lot of planning and preparation for, so the call goes out that a child needs assistance, that means that 2 TA's have to stop what they're doing take their group of children back to class, quietly explain to the teacher why the group had come back then go and help the child get themselves clean. Ideally TA's would be valued members of staff and there would be enough in school to meet the varied needs of all children and so we wouldnt feel so stressed that by helping one we're letting down another

pusspusslet Fri 27-Sep-13 20:38:20

From my perspective at 51, it sometimes feels, when I read things on here about how schools behave, as though the world has gone mad!

The school is in loco parentis. If your child has a bowel problem then the school should be looking after him, sensitively. I can't believe that any school would have made an issue about it when I was a primary school child. IMO if the teachers or assistants aren't willing to do so then they're in the wrong job. Like lots of today's nurses.

Good luck, OP, to you and your DS.

Puss as a parent of a disabled child I agree but playing devils advocate I think some teachers and TA's think they're purely there to teach or assist the teacher to teach. A lot will have trained up without giving the necessary thought to the nursing/caring side of the job. Perhaps if the trainers were more honest about what the job entails some potential trainees might think twice as they quite rightly should

pusspusslet Fri 27-Sep-13 21:34:47

Hello Notonaschoolnight (good name!),

You may be right, but I can't help but wonder what's happened to common sense. I'm assuming most teachers and TAs have children of their own and so understand that with youngsters it's never going to be a tidy, sterile environment. If they're used to looking after their own children then why on earth would they not realise that everyone else's children will need the same kind of care during the day? In infants' and primary schools in particular, it's never going to be just about academics.

LittleMissMoonshine Fri 27-Sep-13 21:39:40

With my DD I have found that accidents and not being cleaned up has been the norm. It is easy for people to say that its so bad of the school but when my DD is constipated she will refuse to use the toilet and will deny she is dirty. Even when cleaned up she would have another accident. The way I looked at it was if I couldn't keep her clean at home (I didn't always notice immediately as she would avoid me) there is no way the teacher could always do it. I talked to the teacher about it they told me how they were helping her and I left it at that.

It is extremely distressing having to deal with this everyday and heartbreaking watching but all you can do is take a step back and stay calm, keep up with the movicol, a good diet and toilet routine.I have found the dr, HV and the school nurse pretty useless but after 18 months on movicol things are not perfect but better. It has taken that long and when she first started reception it was bad but it did eventually settled down.

LittleMissMoonshine Fri 27-Sep-13 21:41:53

The other thing is there will be other children in the class with toilet issues. I think the stats are 1 in 10 at this age. No one will bat an eye at a bag of dirty clothes.

FlorenceMattell Sun 29-Sep-13 13:01:43

Nothing useful to add only to say be strong you are in the right. Of course the school should help your son. Seems like common sense has gone out of the window.
Yes take MIL along to meeting. Write down all your points too.
These schools take children younger and younger to get funding and then ignore the fact they are only four! Makes me so angry. How is it fair on the poor child?
Yes I appreciate teachers are busy but they can anticipate they will have children every year who need assistance, and employ a nursery nurse not TA.

tethersend Sun 29-Sep-13 13:16:45

Take this NUT guidance to the meeting, which clearly states that teachers cannot be compelled to change children, but that support staff can.

It also clearly states that there is no safeguarding need for two members of staff to change one child in normal circumstances.

mrz Sun 29-Sep-13 13:27:56

The NUT is slightly misleading ...support staff can only be compelled if it is in their terms of contract but a school should employ someone on their staff to fulfil the need.

tethersend Sun 29-Sep-13 13:31:03

UNISON guidance for support staff here

spanieleyes Sun 29-Sep-13 13:31:58

The Head changes nappies in our school.

Kyrptonite Sun 29-Sep-13 19:15:39

Thank you everyone. I'm feeling really guilty that I've upset the TA. I didn't think the head would repeat my email word for word but discretely ask that his clothes are put in his PE bag.

I'm really confused as to whether they have to change DS or not. Everything I read seems to he be differing views! I'm going to arrange a meeting and see what they say. MIL is of the opinion that if I say I'm going to withdraw him from school that they will come up with a plan as they won't want to lose the funding for him.

It's an ofsted outstanding school. We chose it because it was small and we thought DS had a better chance of succeeding there. I had thought of taking him out and finding another place but (not a stealth boast) he's beginning to do sums, reading and can spell and write words after seeing them once. Being stuck at home with me whilst I find a new school would drive him potty!

mrz Sun 29-Sep-13 19:22:17

Achieving continence is usually a developmental milestone that is reached before a pupil enters a learning setting. However for some pupils this may not be the case and the reason for the delay may be unclear. It is therefore appropriate for schools to meet the needs of a pupil with delayed personal development in the same way as they would meet the individual needs of a pupil with a diagnosed disability.

"Asking parents/carers of a child to come and change a child is likely to be a direct contravention of the DDA, and leaving a child in a soiled nappy for any length of time pending the return of the parent/carer is a form of abuse."

Kyrptonite Sun 29-Sep-13 19:23:52

That's from the ERIC site isn't it Mrz? I thought about printing their leaflet out and taking it in.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Mon 30-Sep-13 10:40:45

The Equaliy Act is the law and does require children to be changed. That's the important bit.

The union advice is just advice and relates to how the requirement to change children applies to individual staff. That bit is only important as to WHO does the changing. The school have to change the child quickly to comply with the law. How exactly they do it which individual staff member does it is irrelevant. It is no answer to say none of our staff have contract terms to require them to change your child so no one will. They have to find someone to do the change, hence heads sometimes doing nappies.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Mon 30-Sep-13 10:45:59

Of course a member of staff would not be required to change a child if the child refused to let them. That's a different matter.

tethersend Mon 30-Sep-13 11:06:02

I linked to union advice for the OP to take to her meeting, Ghoul- it may be useful to refute any claims that they are not obliged to change a child.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Mon 30-Sep-13 11:12:04

Tethers - yes I know and it probably is. OP said she was unclear what the school are actually required to do so I was trying to sort out the law (which they have to follow) from guidance which is only an interpretation of the law which may or may not be right smile

tethersend Mon 30-Sep-13 11:13:57

Fair enough.

There is certainly a lot of conflicting information about, but you are correct in that The Equality Act is the One To Follow smile

spiderlight Mon 30-Sep-13 11:44:13

Oh, poor little lad sad I hope you manage to sort this out.

ancientelm Mon 30-Sep-13 12:31:20

It does seem that 'working to rule' and teacher's contracts stating they should not be expected to change children often ends up treating 'accidents' as SN and having to employ extra support staff, when this is an issue for quite a large proportion of children (so not that special), as in it is not uncommon.

From the other similar thread on this board I read this:

I'm a Reception teacher and often have children who wet/ soil themselves when they first start school. It's not mine or my TA's favourite job but we ALWAYS clean the children up (have a male TA, so I help the girls, as you can never be too careful with parents - no offence!) And never make a big deal out of it, we certainly don't talk about the child in front of them

In fact the children affected will not be actually that far behind the 'developmental norm' as per what we are told currently, training at around 3 years. Any illness would compromise what existing ability a child possessed. If in fact a short 'illness' (distorted bowel) is the cause, employing short term extra staff may also be problematic.

Treating every case as a SN distorts the very nature of what SN actually is.

I think there are a lot of issues like this in primary, applying sun cream, concentrating or sitting still for extended periods of time, dressing, to name but a few. All these Union regulations mean that some staff feel paralysed to act, as they should not be expected to act or they might question whether they are 'allowed to. However these tasks fall very much within the Duty of Care of a school, since they are in loco parentis. Failing to carry them out is in breach of this and can mean that the most vulnerable lose out.

ancientelm Mon 30-Sep-13 12:35:22

^ that should read 'short term illness.' I know there is not an overnight fix for this condition.

mrz Tue 01-Oct-13 16:57:50

by working to rule do you mean teaching the other 29 children in the class ancientelm?

Teachers can do lots of things but not unfortunately be in two places at once.

ancientelm Tue 01-Oct-13 17:27:46

I would not expect you to be mrz but flexibility does help, gives a person more freedom to act as needed. If you are free you do what is needed, simple as that. You prioritize your time in accordance with you skills level of course. Would you feel the same about first aid?

The teacher I quoted and other like her obviously work like this and find it
works for them. This model works well also in other lines of work too.

mrz Tue 01-Oct-13 18:07:25

I was going to say I'm happy to change soiled pants if needed but perhaps happy isn't the correct word. Over my career as a reception teacher I have changed hundreds of children as the need arose. I've had serial soilers who needed to be changed at least five times a day - every day and I've had smearers who managed to cover themselves from the neck downwards (how do you get poo between your toes while wearing your shoes?) and the toilet cubicle walls, door, toilet floor and have never shirked my duty to the child but it has meant that for albeit short periods I've had to leave the other members of the class unsupervised in order to carry out these duties ...fair on them?

ancientelm Tue 01-Oct-13 18:29:18

mrz yes, absolutely fair. But this is my belief. The greater serves the lesser. These roles swap round at various points in our life. Not everybody's belief I know. I'm a bit of a 'hard-liner' in that respect but I feel it's the only way forward...

Expectation, duty or requirement? Yes, here is the bind and a fine line to tread...I know. But you speak up for what you think is right, all the same.

mrz Tue 01-Oct-13 18:43:15

So while the teacher is changing pants another unsupervised child is seriously injured ...yes that's fair hmm

ancientelm Tue 01-Oct-13 19:04:08

If needs be. Did you get what I said about prioritisation? Here:

You prioritize your time in accordance with you skills level of course. Would you feel the same about first aid?

And how often has your case scenario happened? I'm sure the TAs are well trained for supervision. In our school they took a lot of the classes because the teachers were on strike.

If everybody is paralysed by their contracts I'm sure a lot of good things would not happen.

The thing is soiling and wetting pants is something that should be expected as a possibility in reception as it is not far outside developmental norms and in fact is common, and should be planned for.

I actually think this country could pare down early education a lot in terms of academic requirements or early learning goals, in order to be in tune with the range of what can be expected at this early age, developmentally.

clam Tue 01-Oct-13 19:18:08

"In our school they took a lot of the classes because the teachers were on strike."

Slightly off-topic, but if that is the case then your school was acting illegally and your Head Teacher could be in a lot of trouble.

I wonder if the parents of the injured child would agree that it was fair.

ancientelm Tue 01-Oct-13 19:19:55

Possibly. Was supposedly a 'fun day'. We had a letter about it.

Nothing surprises me...

ancientelm Tue 01-Oct-13 19:21:45

There has been no injured child.

We are talking hypothetically. Hypothetically a lot can happen.

clam Tue 01-Oct-13 19:23:57

ancientelm, Not sure of your role in school, but teachers are not allowed to leave their classes unsupervised.

ancientelm Tue 01-Oct-13 19:26:31

On re-reading mrz* post I realise that she said 'unsupervised'. I thought most reception classes had at least 1 TA?

Even in the 70s we had a nursery nurse. Crikey you could even get the secretary in, in an emergency.

What I am saying is these scenarios should be actively planned for. They are common for the agegroup...

mrz Tue 01-Oct-13 19:47:24

In the 90s I taught reception classes of 36 without a TA ancientelm and under EYFS the legal ratio in reception is 1 teacher to 30 children Thinking that most reception classes have a TA isn't an excuse.

mrz Tue 01-Oct-13 19:52:07

Crikey not all schools have full time secretaries either!

ancientelm Tue 01-Oct-13 19:55:30

So what do you think should happen mrz?

mrz Tue 01-Oct-13 19:59:57

I think you should refrain from making sweeping remarks about prioritising ...when you don't know individual circumstances.

mrz Tue 01-Oct-13 20:02:15

How often have I had to leave the class to go and change a child's pants? More times than I care to remember ... when you are in sole charge of a class of 4 year olds it can be a daily occurrence ancientelm!

izziewizzie Tue 01-Oct-13 20:24:46

Just adding in to this, not read the whole thing, so sorry if I repeat anyone......

My dd (5) has ongoing constipation/diahorrea issues from being born with an imperforate anus, and had a colostomy bag until she was 3.

I found Movicol very difficult to use, I never got the dose right, and dd leaked poo all the time.

Eventually her drs at GOSH agreed to try her on enemas. It's a faff and involves a catheter full of solution being inserted BUT it has been a godsend. It clears impacted poo, and they don't have any option but to go. We do it after school when I notice any mess, and it seems to work.

Next day I put a very discreet pad (you get them in the baby section of Sainsburys and are designed for children with bowel issues) which stops her leaking onto her pants. These can be removed, flushed and replaced. It stops the poo going onto pants/clothes.

I spoke to her teachers, and I have a set of pants/pads in the office. The school is very good over changing the pads if need be.

Dd went through a phase of refusing to tell anyone, thinking she would get in trouble or her friends would know, I spoke to her teachers, and we agreed that if she had an accident she would just go to the teacher and say she needed the toilet, which was a code for "I've done a poo"

I suspect that your child's skids are the same, ie very "sticky" for want of a better word, and simply wiping well with tissue won't cut the mustard, you need to use baby wipes. The school makes sure we have some in the disabled loo that she can use.

You do need to push a bit, as originally dds reception teacher would not have it that dds bowel problems were any different to any other child's, and didn't really get why I was pushing so much. However, dds bowel is VERY different to other childrens, and they now seem to have got it.

Sorry to have babbled, but I have spent nearly the whole of dds life discussing her poo, looking at poo and cleaning up her poo.

I think I'm almost an expert at it winkwink

ancientelm Tue 01-Oct-13 21:20:25

How often have I had to leave the class to go and change a child's pants? More times than I care to remember ... when you are in sole charge of a class of 4 year olds it can be a daily occurrence ancientelm!

Common occurrence then? Not necessarily SN then. All I am saying is that this should be accepted as a possibility within the norm and planned for.

I don't really care who does the changing personally but realistically would expect all school staff to be prepared to, if that's what is to be expected within this agegroup.

clam Tue 01-Oct-13 21:26:39

"I don't really care who does the changing personally"

Really? That's good of you. The child and its parents might, however.

ancientelm Tue 01-Oct-13 21:32:47

clam obviously a member of school staff, with the appropriate checks. This is not my main point as you well know. My main point is that soiling is common, not necessarily SN, should be expected and planned for accordingly. None of this not knowing whether it is allowed and leaving a child sitting in dirty clothing until a parent collects them. The policy should be clearly outlined in the school starting info too.

mrz Wed 02-Oct-13 07:33:41

Soiling isn't classed as SEN ancientelm just as delayed development

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 07:42:37

But if due to a short term illness (though too long term to be kept off school such as distorted bowel) how delayed is their development? I also said SN not SEN.

RiversideMum Wed 02-Oct-13 07:44:18

I don't think I'd leave a class unattended to sort out a soiled child. I'd send 2 children to find help from somewhere.

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 07:45:34

Schools will have to accommodate such cases now, as they have to accommodate all special needs up to a 6K spend on an individual child, before more funding is applied for.

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 07:46:39

Riverside I was not suggesting you would. I failed to read the unsupervised element as I assumed in Reception there would be a TA.

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 07:52:43

mrz What would you do if a child had a plaster cast, due to injury, which made going to the difficult for them, without help?

MissStrawberry Wed 02-Oct-13 08:00:26

At my child's previous school I was called in to clean up a child who had had an accident as their parent was at work and this was agreed between all of us. I don't see why your school can't call you, or someone you have who is willing to help, can't do this. The most important thing is the chid is clean and not left smelling and uncomfortable not the "equality act" that sounds ridiculous if cited in this case.

If the school are not allowed to ask him to let them check then surely they can smell the mess and the obvious thing is to get you in. It really isn't rocket science.

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 08:20:52

MissStrawberry This is where inequalities arise. Not everybody has jobs they can leave within a reasonable amount of time. They could be a doctor or nurse or police officer for example. Not every body has someone they can just call. The child cannot just be left.

Schools cannot be just absolved from their Duty of Care. They should be making provision.

mrz Wed 02-Oct-13 17:38:16

"But if due to a short term illness" ...so all children who soil in reception have a short term illness? WRONG

"What would you do if a child had a plaster cast, due to injury," the same as I would do if they didn't have the plaster cast ancientelm ...help them! (If it was OK with the child)

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 17:43:35

Stop twisting my words mrz, I said if as in 'if due to a short term illness'. The 'not all' is implicit.

I am pleased you would help.

mrz Wed 02-Oct-13 17:49:02

MissStrawberry often you can smell but it's not always possible to narrow it down to one child. I've seen myself and the nursery nurse sniffing at every table and group trying to work out the source and more difficult when you find the source and they don't want help.

clam Wed 02-Oct-13 18:00:27

ancientelm, are you intending to come across as quite so pompous and patronising?

mrz Wed 02-Oct-13 18:16:46

IMHE soiling due to short term illness (stomach bugs) is a fairly rare occurrence in reception, more often it is children like the OP's with who are being treated for known ongoing bowel probs with medication or children who are so engrossed in play they simply forget to go or children who just aren't fully toilet trained when they start school.

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 18:17:23

clam No entirely you own perception.

I have outlined what I see as a problem, that is all. It is one that teachers, schools, and LAs have to overcome. Parents can not really do more in this situation.

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 18:19:21

mrz I was including the OP in the short term illness bracket. Hopefully this can be overcome when the bowel shrinks back to its normal size.

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 18:23:43

^Op's child's situation that is.

clam Wed 02-Oct-13 18:23:55

I rest my case! Surely the perception of those you interact with is fairly relevant? I'm sure most people who are rude think that their attitude is fine. Whether everyone else agrees is another matter.

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 18:28:37

Clam Is it what I am saying you don't like? Do you have a particular perspective? You have not told me exactly what it is that I have said, that has offended you.

clam Wed 02-Oct-13 18:49:00

Nice try, but I'm not engaging.
Am off.

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 18:53:53


mrz Wed 02-Oct-13 18:54:23

"I was including the OP in the short term illness bracket."

I would hardly call 18 months a short term illness ancientelm. I'm assuming you have never had a child with bowel problems that required medication.

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 19:01:09

mrz just a matter of definition. I do tend to view things quite long term. There are illnesses than can last years, I was thinking in comparison to these kind of illnesses which would require a medical Statement of Special Needs or a EHCP, as it is now.

mrz Wed 02-Oct-13 19:07:55

Illnesses such as impacted bowels ancientelm?

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 19:10:16

The prognosis is variable.

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 19:13:13

But anyway a school has to demonstrate 6k of additional fund spent on an individual child before 'High Needs' funding is applied for. This equates to 12-16 hours per week of 1 to 1 support.

mrz Wed 02-Oct-13 19:17:56

It would be highly unlikely that a child would be awarded a statement of SEN for soiling alone ancientelm I'm surprised you should even think that.

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 19:24:28

mrz I didn't say they would be.

Perhaps I have not made myself clear. My the school has to make provision for these children, it is not necessarily a SN, soiling is still common for this age-group. Provision should be made as a matter of course.

OP should not have even had to post. Her school should have been able to reassure her, and have provision in place. She should not be required to go in and change her child.

mrz Wed 02-Oct-13 19:35:26

You seem to be associating SEN with statements and additional funding
"She should not be required to go in and change her child."
Ancientelm I, and many others said as much a week before you even joined the thread

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 20:10:05

? SEN is associated with additional funding and Statements that have funding or resource attached. I think I am missing your point.

Do you agree or disagree with what I have said? That is working to rule can add a degree of inflexibility into Early Years education which is not conducive to the needs of this group of children, in terms of self care skills.

mrz Wed 02-Oct-13 20:15:40

As I first said ancientelm I object to the sweeping remarks you made in your first post on the thread ...and now you are repeating those unpleasant statements

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 20:17:58

Also working to rule requires additional staff which costs extra hence the discussion regarding the justification of additional funding, which in turn crosses over in to a discussion of what can be expected as the norm and SN. The picking apart of my arguments may have resulted in an emphasis of this rather than my initial point which was to do with how working to rule results in resourcing issues.

mrz Wed 02-Oct-13 20:18:59

Very unpleasant indeed

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 20:22:32

They are unpleasant, I know. No one wants to think of industrial action having a detrimental effect on the most vulnerable. However I think it does and have given of one example how.

If you do not think this is ever the case you can say so. However there does see to be some misconceptions regarding schools' responsibilities.

mrz Wed 02-Oct-13 20:24:31

unpleasant and based entirely on your assumptions as you have admitted

teacherwith2kids Wed 02-Oct-13 20:27:10


Of course school should have provision in place, and the parent should not be required to go in. I don't think that anyone who actually works with children has suggested anything other on this thread.

However, there are practical realities - in Reception classes with no TA (not common, but not that rare) changing a soiled / wet child leaves the remainder of the class unsupervised OR means that a member of staff fully utilised elsewhere (e.g. a nursery nurse or TA) needs to be pulled away from their normal work.

I have this situation at the moment - I have a TA in my class for some lessons, who has a specific expertise and works with a couple of children who make much better progress as a result of that experitise. I plan to use her for every minute of every lesson she is with me, because her expertise is rare and valuable to the children she works with. However, at the moment she is also called upon multiple times per day because of issues - not specifically toileting ones, but similar self-care / medical type issues - around other children in the school. There is no funding for an additional TA to carry out this other work, but as a result the children in my class she works with are making markedly less progress than they otherwise would.

All such utilisation of school staff involves weighing up benefits and disbenefits. Yes, of course school staff should fulfil their duty of care. But yes, it has an impact on other children towards whom we have an equal duty of care. No child should sit soiled for any time BUT if a child refuses to be helped, in a scenario where all staff are fulfilling their duty of care towards other children at that precise moment, the level of care that we deliver in practice may be less than perfect - and we always regret those moments. In the same way as my TA cannot sinply 'lurk', waiting for a self care / medical issue to arise, teacher and TA cannot necessarily lurk behind a child who might soile / wet waiting for an accident. Almost by definition, all school staff are fully used, all the time. No TA or teacher would ever avoid clearing up an accident once they detect it - but we may not always detect it as rapidly as a parent will 1 to 1.

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 20:29:18

What assumptions have I admitted in particular? Everybody makes assumptions obviously, you cannot begin to have theories, or spot a possible pattern, or draw conclusions without them.

It is an emotive subject but an important one which requires examination if you are deciding whether to agree to work to rule.

teacherwith2kids Wed 02-Oct-13 20:29:22

Ancient, sorry X-posts. Since nobody I know in my school - or my previous school - has ever 'worked to rule', the constraints I mention are simply those that exist when a limited number of adults work with a large number of children, nothing to do with industrial action of any kind.

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 20:32:01

Maybe by engaging is discussions such as this will mean this kind of issue is given higher priority.

mrz Wed 02-Oct-13 20:32:47

Your big assumption is your insistence that teachers are "working to rule" your next assumption was that all teachers have TAs to support them your next was that all schools have full time secretaries who can be called upon to change soiled pants and that's without your assumptions about "short illnesses"

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 20:37:14

I just highlighted a possible link between working to rule and resourcing issues and what the implications of this could be.

teacherwith2kids Wed 02-Oct-13 20:41:03

I don't quite know what you mean by 'higher priority'. When a medical / salf care emergency occurs, I lose my TA (at the moment, this can be in every one of the 8 lessons a week I have her for). As a school, we prioritise those 'health / care / personal care' needs over the learning needs of other children (and i should point out that I work in a junior school so we are not talking about very young children).

Of course, as a school, we have frequent discussions as to what priority we - as a school, with a primary purpose to provide an education 'suitable for every child's interests and aptitudes' - should place on these two facets of our work. For example, whether we remove a TA (someone who has a rare skill set in terms of making SEN and low ability make progress) from the classroom in order to devote more time to health / care / personal care needs. Wedo not have any 'non high skills' TAs - so there is no-one who could do the 'care' work whose removal would have a lower impact on learning. We cannot employ more TAs, in fact over time we are anyway employing fewer. How to square that circle so neither children's 'care' needs nor educational needs go unmet is a constant discussion.

(On the SEN point, none of the children for whom medical / care attention is needed day to day are on the SEN register. Ironically, those children who have TA time reduced through their transfer to care tasks ARE on the SEN register....)

teacherwith2kids Wed 02-Oct-13 20:43:15

Insofar as I have ever read the 'work to rule' documents, I don't seem to remember that there was any impact whatever on resourcing for teachers carrying out their normal tasks in the classroom during normal hours - and for teachers of young children or those with medical issues, changing wet / soiled pupils is a normal task during normal hours. How would work to rule affect this???

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 20:51:48

Ironically, those children who have TA time reduced through their transfer to care tasks ARE on the SEN register....)

Yes this is worrying and possibly illegal if talking away a child's individual Statemented support.

This is why I think there needs to be a rethink at a governmental policy level regarding Early Years Education, soiling is common, there should be resources to meet this need. Perhaps some of the educational requirements, the EYFS scoring for example, should be pared down to recoup more time to spend on meeting the needs of this agegroup.

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 20:55:11

*Add message | Report | Message poster tethersend Sun 29-Sep-13 13:16:45
Take this NUT guidance to the meeting, which clearly states that teachers cannot be compelled to change children, but that support staff can.*

Is this not working to rule? This means support staff are required.

teacherwith2kids Wed 02-Oct-13 21:00:09

I did not say they are statemented. Statemented children have their own support staff as detailed in their statement and these are never used elsewhere. Which of curse increases the pressure on the (relatively few) 'generalised' TAs.

You may have missed the point where I stated that i worked in a junior school - no Reception children, but similar resourcing issues around medical / self care issues. It is not simply an 'EYFS thing', it is simply that in a school - primary purpose education - every adult is utilised to the full, all day every day. Medical issues, soiling, self care needs, but also pastoral needs, the kind of sub-social servises but still acute care needs for many children all clamour for our attention with the educational needs of children.

None of this is IN ANY WAY linked to work to rule. It is simply a symptom of a system with no slack in it even when everyone is working to their maximum.

If you were to argue that the primary curriculum is too full, and the emphasis on testing and inspecting schools and pupils puts additional preassure on teachers which competes with their very human wish to do the best by all their pupils in every sort of 'human' way, I might agree with you. But to link this with work to rule is simply insulting.

teacherwith2kids Wed 02-Oct-13 21:03:04

I do not know of any teachers who would need to be 'compelled' to change a child. I know of very many who would worry about the safety and progress of 29 other chuldren while they are out of the classroom doing so - and in an environment where there are no support staff to 'compel' instead, that is what teachers do.

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 21:03:44

But is is linked. No slack means more is required. Working to rule means no more is given.

Not saying this is fair...in fact the opposite.

teacherwith2kids Wed 02-Oct-13 21:12:31

Nobody, I repeat nobody, I know in school in RL has worked to rule at all. So there is no link because there is no working to rule...

teacherwith2kids Wed 02-Oct-13 21:14:58

[Wonders how many times I will need to repeat this. Resources only go as far as they do because every member of staff is so deperate to do the best by every child in their care. In many more normal workplaces, the lack of resource would have had the organisation creaking at the seams long ago - it is simply that as resources are depleted through decreasing budgets, what there is becaomes more and more overstretched. That is not teachers' fault - it is the Government's]

ancientelm Wed 02-Oct-13 21:19:28

Nobody, I repeat nobody, I know in school in RL has worked to rule at all. So there is no link because there is no working to rule...

Thank you for clearing that up.

teacherwith2kids Wed 02-Oct-13 21:26:23

Glad to be of service.

If it helps at all, no classes in my school have full-time TAs (though some full-time TAs are assigned to statemented pupils exclusively). TAs with particular experise join us for certain lessons each week.

And the school secretary - who also runs finance and has oversight of facilities - also works much longer than her contracted hours, and juggles many, many tasks within them. She runs minor injuries during break times, but sadly has little available time to give elsewhere.

mrz Thu 03-Oct-13 07:15:21

As teacherwith2kids says most primary schools would struggle to function if it wasn't for the goodwill of teachers doing over and beyond what they are legally required in their contracts. Personally I don't know any teachers who refuse to do the 17 tasks laid out in workforce reform ... so talking about "working to rule" is insulting.

StressedandFrazzled Thu 03-Oct-13 09:54:33

Why can't you write an email saying you'd like an appointment after school pick up, to talk to teacher, that's what we do.

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