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Aibu to be do concerned about this?

(35 Posts)
Biggamehunter Wed 05-Nov-14 12:00:29

I started a thread a couple of weeks back about how I'm returning to work and ds (5 and a half) will need to use breakfast club at school.

I'm apprehensive generally about going back but what's really stressing me out it the breakfast club system. They let all the children out on the playground ten minutes before school and whilst two members of staff stand on the playground no one watches the gate. At this time loads of parents are coming in and out and the school opens directly onto a very very busy main road.

I've watched quite a bit since knowing ds would need to use it and about 10 or so ks1 and reception children spill out onto the playground and are then basically left unattended. The two members of staff just chat together, they don't watch the children. Or more importantly the gate.
I asked the club manager about it and she said the children 'know the boundaries' and that they 'keep an eye on them' How can two members of staff watch 10 or so small children at once on a very chaotic playground?

I wasn't hugely happy with this answer. I'm 99.9% that my ds wouldn't leave the playground but frankly even at 0.01% the risk is too great for me. It's a safeguarding issue as far as I'm concerned.
I mentioned it to ds's teacher this morning and she said she will have a word about it as apparently someone used to stand at the top of the gate but that member of staff has now left and no one else seems to bother. The teacher was not aware that no one was stood there anymore. There are no handover lists or anything so if a child did go they might not be missed for a while.
They are 4, 5 and 6 years old. They might know the boundaries but small children do random things sometimes.

Wibu to mention this to the head if no changes seem to be made? Ds starts the club in December and I'm genuinely concerned. Probably needlessly but it just doesn't seem like a very safe system.

Biggamehunter Wed 05-Nov-14 12:10:37


yellowdinosauragain Wed 05-Nov-14 12:12:27

YANBU but can't see how you're going to change it. If you're not happy to send your son to the breakfast club (and I wouldn't be either) then you'll have to look at other solutions like reciprocal arrangements with friends or a child minder.

SpuffySummers Wed 05-Nov-14 12:15:07

Thats odd. Both primary schools that are near me escort the breakfast club kids straight into their classrooms just before the bell rings.

Biggamehunter Wed 05-Nov-14 12:15:36

I think I will have to look into a childminder.
It's tricky because we travel a little way to the school and ds was new in September so don't know people very well yet.

I thought if I spoke to the head then maybe she would do something about it? It just needs one of them to stand over by the gate! At the moment I feel like essentially ds would be left completely to his own devices for those ten minutes. It's not long but it's long enough. I have visions of receiving a text saying he's not at school...when I've sent him but breakfast club have lost him.

yellowdinosauragain Wed 05-Nov-14 12:15:56

And it might just be me but I'm always much more likely to clink on a thread where you can tell what it's going to be about from the title rather than a vague could be anything title like you've written. You might get more responses if you started a thread titled something like 'AIBU TO be concerned that the school breakfast club is unsafe?' or similar...

Biggamehunter Wed 05-Nov-14 12:17:13

Apparently they think it's nice for the children to have a run round.
I've worked in schools and this system would not have been acceptable in any of them. Ok so they haven't lost a child yet...but the possibility is definitely there.

The teacher said it didn't sound good too. So hopefully she will mention it.

Losingmyreligion Wed 05-Nov-14 12:29:03

Very bad safeguarding practice that is. Contact the Head and voice your concerns and say you consider it a child protection/safeguarding issue. If that doesn't put the wind up them I would make other arrangements.

Bearbehind Wed 05-Nov-14 12:48:14

I can see your point but surely it would be the same if you dropped your child off 10 minutes before school and didn't stand at the gate until they'd gone in.

It does sound like a bigger issue than just for the breakfast club children.

Biggamehunter Wed 05-Nov-14 12:57:17

But I wouldn't drop my 5 year old off without making sure he'd gone in?
Some parents drop the older children and go but the ks1 parents stay.

Bearbehind Wed 05-Nov-14 13:34:10

If that's the case then there are lots of people who would notice if a child tried to walk out wouldn't they? I know it's not ideal.

Nanny0gg Wed 05-Nov-14 13:37:27

It's a safeguarding issue and as it's on school premises, even if the club is privately run it very much affects the school.

And I am surprised that the school doesn't have someone on the gate. They really should. Speak to the HT about your concerns.

Thebodynowchillingsothere Wed 05-Nov-14 13:42:22

Who is in charge of your child during this drop time? Is it the breakfast club staff or the school?

Total waste of time talking to any of them by the way you have to put it in writing to both the club, HT and governors.

If the words arnt on a page no action will be taken but if it's written evidence they will act as they see the threat of legal action over any incident occurring.

I work in a school and dh In legal profession. grin

cakedcrusader Wed 05-Nov-14 14:26:22

Yanbu at all! It is a safeguarding issue imo and I would not be happy with this arrangement for my 5yo. At my dc's school ks1 parents have to stay with their child until a teacher or ta takes them in, at pick up time they only let them out when they can see their parent waiting there regardless of the fact that there are always teachers in the playground. I don't understand how they can see the current situation as acceptable when they go to such lengths when the dcs are being picked up or dropped off by a parent? I would be straight on the phone to ofsted tbh, it's an accident waiting to happen.

FrenchJunebug Wed 05-Nov-14 14:54:35

is the gate closed or open?

Thebodynowchillingsothere Wed 05-Nov-14 14:57:26

Totally waste of time phoning. Always have a paper trail.

Heels99 Wed 05-Nov-14 14:57:33

Yanbu. At our school,they escort them in a crocodile line from breakfast club to classroom with club staff at the front and back of the line. The children wear tabards so can easily be seen who is in the group. They are handed to the teacher at the classroom door, their names checked off a list, they give back their tabard.

The arrangements you describe are a safeguarding issue I would not be happy with it.

Biggamehunter Wed 05-Nov-14 15:35:51

The gate is open. There is a ramp for people with buggies and steps too, people are arriving at that time.

Another parent may spot a child leaving...or they may not if they've several of their own. I wouldn't feel happy relying on it.

I will check if it comes under the school or managed separately. I think it comes under the school. I will definitely put it in writing, I have a feeling this will make me unpopular with the before school leader but my main concern is that ds (and no other child) go missing!

I've observed this now every day and there's no doubt in my mind that it would definitely be possible for a child to go out of the gate unnoticed.

cakedcrusader Wed 05-Nov-14 15:40:52

I'm glad you're going to write in about it. I know at my dc's school drop off time is total chaos and no one would take any notice of a child other than their own running in or out of the gate! I would be so grateful to you for reporting if my child was at that club.

CantGiveAnyMore Wed 05-Nov-14 15:40:55

It is a safeguarding issue, write firstly to the head teacher and if you don't get a suitable answer take it too the governors.

I noticed a before school club letting children out into the yard, unsupervised, so let the head know, she acknowledged it shouldn't have happened and they changed the procedures.

FunkyBoldRibena Wed 05-Nov-14 16:23:54

Didn't you like the answers on your old thread? Pretty much the same as this one IIRC.

Biggamehunter Wed 05-Nov-14 16:33:27

My other thread wasn't specifically about this - and at the time I hadn't spoken to the manager of the club.

My other thread was more argh - I'm going back to work!
This one is just about this specific issue.

hippo123 Wed 05-Nov-14 16:39:55

Sorry but that sounds normal around here for kids that are in year 1 upwards. I guess they could leave the playground but no more so than they could at play / lunch time. The reception aged kids do get escorted directly from breast fast club to the classroom though, but I think that's probably because it takes them longer to get their coats off etc really.
Are you aware of the set up at break times? I suspect you'll find it the same.

Biggamehunter Wed 05-Nov-14 16:46:55

The gate isn't open at play times! And there's not loads of adults coming and going.

A gate to a main road won't be left wide open at play.

hippo123 Wed 05-Nov-14 16:50:55

Fair enough. The gates in my dc playground can easily be opened by them though hence I mentioned it.

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