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Playtime supervision - would you raise this as a concern?

(11 Posts)
MiaowTheCat Sun 15-Jan-17 12:04:40

I'm the least likely person ever to want to rock the boat but it's starting to niggle with me a bit and I'm just posting for some perspective on this one. I'm also coming at it from the viewpoint of having done umpteen playground duties in my time so knowing it from that angle as well. I'll try to describe the layout of the playground as well so bear with me.

Playground is along the side of the KS1 classrooms who all have side doors opening onto the rectangular playground. All the class doors open facing up to the "empty" end of the playground, while at the other end of the playground (to the back of the open classroom doors - which is kind of relevant) there's a big climbing apparatus - it's actually marketed at KS2 kids (the head bragged about this in terms of how they encourage risk taking at the new parents' visiting days). One child already this year has broken her leg on the fireman's pole part of the playframe - which yes, it's just an accident that happens and she'd landed awkwardly, but gives you a bit of the background in terms of scale etc - it's not something I'd be unduly worried about my kids using under supervision to stamp out any daft behaviour though.

Because of how parking at the school is, on the days I've got to do multiple school runs and need the car (roll on next year when I don't need to do this and can walk it), I've got to park up pretty early so I tend to park up and take the dog for a walk in the playing field that runs alongside the school playground. It's at the same time as KS1 are out for their final playtime of the day and as such I've been getting somewhat worried about the supervision going on.

Lots and lots of kids without coats - not just the odd one or two who never seem to feel the cold, but entire classes, and it was 4 degrees here on Friday. Yes that one might be precious snowflakery and I'll just nag the crap out of my own kids to put a coat on when they're in KS1 (DD1 is Reception at the moment) but the bigger issue seems to be supervision.

I know playground duty on an exposed hillside at this time of year is fucking awful (I used to do it on the side of a hill in County Durham and that was a whole new realm of cold!) but the staff seem determined to count playground duty as just standing in their classroom doorways, backside propping open the door and thus no one at all watching what's going on on the climbing frame apparatus. I've had a word with DD1's class teacher before that, "look I know there's a bit of a blindspot behind the climbing frame but the kids have had a wonderfully daft game going on today using the reading corner books as slide mats - can you tip the KS1 staff off this is going on" - but it's still not stopped the stupidity and upped the supervision at that end of the playground. This week we've had kids dangling off scarves off the climbing frame, kids chucking the playground toy skittles off it to try to hit their friends, pushing people off and all sorts - it's really quite concerning in terms of it just being the type of daft idea that the kids will get into their heads if they're not being watched. The staff are paying absolutely no heed at all to the whole of one side of the playground - not circulating or interacting with the kids at all - just standing in doorways trying to get as much heat out of their classroom as they can.

Like I say - I've done a ridiculous amount of playground duty (did supply for years and usually landed a playground duty day most days) and I'd always make sure that I positioned myself as best as possible to avoid blind spots and be able to see as much of the playground as possible. I'm just struggling with balancing that knowledge with really really not wanting to be "that parent" - but I'm concerned about the kids' safety when DD1 will be going into KS1 in September (and she can be the queen of finding daft ideas with the best of 'em). I also really don't want to make bother for the staff as I know what teachers are dealing with.

jamdonut Sun 15-Jan-17 12:18:28

Yes raise the concern.
We have to be outside , patrolling with hi vis jackets and are not allowed drinks outside.
In this weather children must have coats on.
They can't go on our wooden climbing equipment at the moment , either, as it becomes slippery in cold damp weather.
There are usually 3 of us on duty , for all the different areas.

It does sound like a safeguarding issue to me.

cansu Sun 15-Jan-17 12:24:04

They should be walking around playground . I do this duty and I wrap up warm grab a cup of tea and walk. Tell the head.

Feenie Sun 15-Jan-17 12:30:40

A cup of tea?????


<misses point>

cansu Sun 15-Jan-17 12:36:57

Definitely in a lidded beaker of course!

WatchfulOwl Sun 15-Jan-17 12:43:54

Walking around with tea?? Not in my school, all staff expected to be playing and engaging with the children at all times.


MiaowTheCat Sun 15-Jan-17 13:30:33

Thanks for confirming what I was thinking. Head does an informal coffee morning with parents end of the month so I might head to that and bring it up there. I don't think she knows quite how lax it's got since normally she'd have a policy in place to wipe your own backside if she could do but other schools when I've worked in have had things like designated areas for each person on the playground to supervise and the like so this seems alarmingly lax to me.

We used to have to have tea buckets if you were taking a cuppa back to your desk during school hours - so you'd have to balance your cuppa in a washing up bowl through the school instead, and then all the tea buckets invariably piled up in one classroom (cough the Y6 team) so you had to hunt them down first!

bojorojo Sun 15-Jan-17 18:34:56

It is not a safeguarding issue. It is a safety issue. The Head and the Governors are responsible for Health and Safety and such issues should be brought to their attention. Any serious accident should be investigated and, given the history of accidents, you should bring your concerns to the Head. The School must have a Health and Safety policy and do a check every year that highlights any health and safety issues. These are then put into a plan for improvement. This is urgent. Not really the coat wearing but how the equipment is supervised. I would voice your concerns to the Head and if needs be, to the of Governors.

LindyHemming Sun 15-Jan-17 22:30:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrz Mon 16-Jan-17 06:20:55

I'm relocating! grin

MiaowTheCat Mon 16-Jan-17 10:04:16

I knew I'd been out of teaching too many years the other weekend when I had a travel cup of tea at the waiting room of one of the kids' activities and I couldn't down a boiling hot cup of tea in under 10 minutes anymore (5 minutes if you'd had to queue for the kettle)!

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