Advanced search

Lunchtime trouble

(27 Posts)
PETRONELLAS Wed 05-Apr-17 18:56:20

I'd like to know what happens in good schools to ensure lunchtimes are fun and safe, and how issues are managed. My DS is over sensitive and I'm working on him developing a thicker skin but the reality is the lunchtime staff don't deal with issues properly and obviously the teachers really don't want to have to deal with things that happened at lunchtime every day...but the children are left feeling a sense of unresolved injustice and don't bother reporting behaviour that bothers them but they know it won't be dealt with.
Small school, committed head teacher but less emphasis on behaviour. I want to come up with solutions rather than just moaning. What equipment do you have out etc?

Schoolmumbum Wed 05-Apr-17 21:07:16

This seems to be the same in every single school I'm afraid
I'm yet to hear of a school without this problem

soapboxqueen Wed 05-Apr-17 21:30:11

It is a problem across all schools in afraid. Lunch time staff are difficult to come by and get very little training. There are some amazing ones and ones I'd gladly never set eyes on again. It's all just luck.

eromdap Wed 05-Apr-17 21:34:24

In Winter/ Spring we have bikes and titles at one end of playground; games equipment (beanbags, skittles, hoops, skipping ropes etc) at the other; our forest school is often open; and football on the field. We also have two adventure playgrounds and covered octagon/outdoor classroom area. The bikes and adventure playgrounds are rota'd between the classes and the field is available even when wet as the children all have their own outdoor shoes and access to waterproof trousers and jackets. In the summer he play equipmentis brought onto the field and the playground is not used. Allowing the children to spread out more decreases the issues that arise. Any serious issues that arise are reported to class teachers who are more than happier to deal with them as they have high expectations of behaviour even when they are not responsible for the children at the time.

jamdonut Wed 05-Apr-17 21:43:04

Our lunchtime staff are very good, on the whole, at sorting 'problems'; have to use the same behaviour management system as we do within school. Anything that can't be completed resolved in the playground gets reported to the class teachers or TAs for further investigation.

PETRONELLAS Wed 05-Apr-17 22:05:51

Thanks all. Sounds like the lunchtime people are so important but that putting the ownership back to the teachers will help. And keeping them all busier.

WombatStewForTea Thu 06-Apr-17 08:55:54

Lunch time staff are notoriously hard to deal with in most schools. They are undertrained and often don't have the same standards. I'm sick of wasting my lunch time (not used eating lunch of course) to deal with playground issues because the dinner staff can't/won't. They also only seem to have one tone of voice - shouting!
In a staff meeting someone recently 'joked' that if the head paid us we'd do it and we would cos we have to deal with everything anyway!

Isthatwhatdemonsdo Thu 06-Apr-17 09:08:05

This is why in the school I worked in the TA's would do lunchtime duty. It's better continuity for the children as we knew the children well and any issues that presented themselves would be able to be managed.

Saucery Thu 06-Apr-17 09:15:15

We have a Supervisor who is also a TA. She is the liaison between the lunchtime staff and the teaching staff. Issues are dealt with through this chain of supervision and means the teacher isn't swamped with "Miiiisssss! X did Y!" after every lunchtime. It is constantly reinforced to the children that this should not happen and that they need to report to the lunchtime staff at the time of the incident.
The best lunchtime behaviour I saw was in a school where the TAs covered lunches, but that was a very small school (albeit with quite a lot of challenging behaviour).

Saucery Thu 06-Apr-17 09:17:03

I don't believe teachers should have to deal with it tbh, beyond applying the behaviour policy where necessary.

Glittermakeseverythingbetter Thu 06-Apr-17 09:25:58

We have playground equipment out, which usually results in kids accidently or on purpose getting hit with bats or balls which results in a lot of time being taken up by lunchtime staff going to the first aid room. (Sometimes kids aren't badly hurt but like the one to one fuss and attention).
Serious arguements HAVE to be reported back to teachers, whether dealt with at lunchtime or not - then it's up to the teacher to dish out punishments/inform parents.
Lunchtime staff never command the same respect from pupils and often from teachers! (attitudes like wombats).
So it is very difficult to command respect and good behaviour from pupils at lunchtime.
Controlled sitting down classroom environment - 30 kids with one teacher, and one TA, is very different to several hundred being let loose in the playground at lunchtime.
Lunchtime staff don't get to decide how many are employed and are often understaffed/overworked and expected to stay longer - unpaid - to finish off first aid/head injury phonecalls to parents. Also 'don't deal with issues properly' OP imagine your sons issues x 5 children coming up to you in the space of 5 minutes and then see how you would prioritise!

Trifleorbust Thu 06-Apr-17 10:09:02

Contractually, teachers are entitled to lunch breaks and do not have to do duties. Obviously in an emergency they will intervene but they are not being paid to do daily supervision of lunch so should not be dealing with these issues.

PETRONELLAS Thu 06-Apr-17 10:31:45

Glitter - it's more about resolving serious issues for all the children ie glossing over physical behaviour, rather than them not prioritising. It's a whole school issue isn't it.

Glittermakeseverythingbetter Thu 06-Apr-17 10:55:57

It is a whole school issue yet you seem to be blaming lunchtime staff. Maybe in your school the lunchtime staff don't care - but I very much doubt that to be the case, as most are mums of children from the school anyway and genuinely care about the children. But trust me, our hands are tied with regards to discipline. There's only so much we can do without back up and reinforcement from the teachers with their don't work at lunchtime/ don't bother to discipline arguments that start in the classroom and then spill out onto the playground! But yes just blame the clueless dinner ladies!! (Not you but in general).

Glittermakeseverythingbetter Thu 06-Apr-17 11:03:45

BTW am a TA often stepping in while the teachers just sit there.

Trifleorbust Thu 06-Apr-17 11:09:56

don't work at lunchtime/ don't bother to discipline

Oh bugger off, Glitter. I do enough unpaid work, thanks.

Glittermakeseverythingbetter Thu 06-Apr-17 11:14:51

Discipline often involves keeping a child in at lunchtime- as you can see from trifles response- there lies your problem!

Trifleorbust Thu 06-Apr-17 11:17:43


What are you talking about?

Saucery Thu 06-Apr-17 11:53:11

It's not in a teacher's interests to not 'bother' disciplining as they then have to waste time sorting out playground problems that have spilled over into the classroom. I haven't come across any with that attitude but I know of teachers who are/were fed up of the free-for-all that can be lunchtime and worked with SMT and lunchtime staff to work out strategies to solve the problem. Even if you can't afford a Supervisor there are ways of creating chains of communication and an expectation that children know how to report problems and who to at the appropriate time.
Lunchtime misbehaviour is dealt with in the same way as any other unwanted behaviour where I work, but that's not to say the teacher has to drop what they are doing and deal with the immediate problem. Keeping children in at lunchtime is not one of those strategies, although there is a clear Time Out policy during that time.

Saucery Thu 06-Apr-17 11:55:01

It helps to have a recruitment process that is rigorous and clearly sets out what welfare/lunchtime staff will be expected to do I.e. not stand in a corner chatting to their friend.

JonesyAndTheSalad Thu 06-Apr-17 12:01:46

I have always felt that lunchtime supervisors should have proper play training. I know it's only an hour but they could organise games for smaller children or activities for older.

It would be good to have clubs for those kids who don't like rough and tumble.

My children attend a school here in Oz which I suppose is a bit like a forest school.

They eat outside (weather's good!) and then they can build dens or play on the trees etc. It's a lot better than a tarmac playground.

TheMysteriousJackelope Thu 06-Apr-17 12:02:56

I am in the US. In elementary school the children were given 20 minutes to eat lunch, and the first 10 minutes were in silence to encourage them to actually eat their food rather than chat.

There was 20 minutes of recess during the day. Each class would go out on their own, or with one other class together with their teachers. There was a pre-K through first grade playground which was fenced in and quite small with swings, climbing equipment etc. There was a larger playground for the older children with bigger equipment.

A whole grade would go out at a time for 60 minutes of PE every day so 120 children with four or five PE teachers supervising organized activities. Some problems did get missed, but when the teachers did pick up on something they were very strict - docking whole grades, letters to parents, children sitting out the class.

In middle school there isn't any recess. The children get 10 minutes to stand in the hallway and chat.

There were rarely any problems at play time, on the other hand the children didn't have many opportunities for unsupervised play where they had to make up their own games.

JonesyAndTheSalad Thu 06-Apr-17 12:42:35

Mysterious that sounds bad! It's not enough free play is it?

ScarletSienna Thu 06-Apr-17 12:46:12

The best school I've been in has no lunch time supervisors. The whole school, including staff have lunch together with staff sitting with the children then a rota for the playtime duty. Playtime is not straight after lunch-there's half an hour in between. The staff on duty get 1/2 hour covered by TAs to have their lunch free time between the meal and the play.

WombatStewForTea Thu 06-Apr-17 13:09:10

Lunchtime staff never command the same respect from pupils and often from teachers! (attitudes like wombats).

The dinner staff get no respect from the children because they don't respect the children! Why the fuck would you listen and respect someone who only ever shouts at you.

I respect some of our dinner staff but others are honestly a waste of space. They spend their time chatting with each other and when they do 'sort' something the children are often dissatisfied because they never listen to both sides of the story! Or worse they end up in a shouting match with a child - seriously! It's a joke.

Why should my lunch time be disrupted by a dinner lady bursting into the staff room with X won't do this or X has said this. They know the behaviour policy so they need to implement it. If they constantly come running to us they aren't going to be respected are they.
And yes I am precious about the 20 mins I get to eat dinner because the other 40 is spend doing lunch time clubs or if I'm lucky marking!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: