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Should a teacher leave the students in class unattended?

(43 Posts)
youarenotkiddingme Sat 03-Sep-16 18:27:18

Just that really!

I get the practicalities are probably quite different to expectations but I wondered if there is any guidelines or policies about this?


PikachuSayBoo Sat 03-Sep-16 18:32:15

Afaik as long as it's not a science lab it's allowed.

Gmbk Sat 03-Sep-16 18:33:41

Can be unavoidable, morning sickness!

Generally not recommended but needs must.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 03-Sep-16 18:51:23

not generally acceptable but it depends on the circumstances.

HaveAWeeNap Sat 03-Sep-16 18:52:29

Why, OP?

youarenotkiddingme Sat 03-Sep-16 18:52:42

Do you know of any literature around this? Would schools have their own policies?

SnugglySnerd Sat 03-Sep-16 18:54:16

We are told absolutely not to leave a class unattended for any reason as we would be liable if a child had an accident.

youarenotkiddingme Sat 03-Sep-16 18:55:14

Have going through a safeguarding issue. Teacher wasn't in room at the time. I understand that isn't the reason for the incident - I just want to make sure I have all facts etc - mostly so I can focus on important points and not be dragged into unnecessary conversation around irrelevant parts of the incident iyswim?

booklooker Sat 03-Sep-16 19:02:12

I must confess that I have had to nip to the loo in the last couple of years.

I have been teaching 30+ years, and I am at an age where I can't hold it in like I used to.

Fortunately I teach in a school where the kids are lovely, and probably barely notice if I have popped out for a min or two.

I would accept it is probably against my contract, but I try to be pragmatic.

youarenotkiddingme Sat 03-Sep-16 19:07:00

Against contract?

Does that mean blame could be deflected to teacher (who afaik did no wrong and dealt with incident correctly) from the actual people who I'm holding responsible?

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 03-Sep-16 19:12:23

The blame could well be deflected on to the teacher, as a rule of thumb it is unwise to leave any class unsupervised.

There are extenuating circumstances/reasons why a teacher could leave a classroom. but ultimately the responsibility for safeguarding in the classroom is with the teacher.

LizzieVereker Sat 03-Sep-16 19:19:43

There is no law which says "teachers must never leave a class unattended", but it some schools may put this in individual contracts, I suppose.

The law says that teachers are responsible for their students' care, but need not always provide constant supervision, depending on the circumstances. For example, it is accepted that there are time gpduring the school day when students will not be being watched over directly (changing rooms, some play areas.) Also, teachers should judge whether it is viable to leave a class unsupervised according to the individual circumstances. For example, it is more dangerous to leave a class in a DT room than an ordinary classroom.

youarenotkiddingme Sat 03-Sep-16 19:21:22

Even if the teacher couldn't have realistically prevented the actual incident?

And even though the issue isn't about the actual incident but the way conc runs before and after weren't dealt with seriously?

sallyhasleftthebuilding Sat 03-Sep-16 19:21:22

youarenotkiddingme Sat 03-Sep-16 19:23:52

Was an ordinary classroom - with computers in it. Computers aren't actually part of the incident iyswim so that can't be blamed on teacher.

Have no idea why the teacher left the room. I didn't know they had until today.

The class was then left alone again whilst teacher took student involved out. Ds reasons for 15 minutes but he has no concept of time so I've not included this.

Wigeon Sat 03-Sep-16 19:24:34

DH, a secondary teacher, says he's not aware of any guidelines or policies but it's down to common sense - popping out for a minute because you can't find a pen: ok, leaving the class for 10 mins while you have a cup of team: not ok.

MuffyTheUmpireSlayer Sat 03-Sep-16 19:27:33

There have been times that I've needed to run to the loo. I just ask a colleague who is free that period to watch (or listen out for, if they're close by) my class for a mo.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 03-Sep-16 19:28:21

If the teacher was outside the door (during the incident) then it would/could be debatable as to whether the class was left at all.

Given the size and layout of the classroom (and where the teacher usually positions themselves) even if the teacher was in the room the y may well have not been able to do anything. If you see what I mean, so it could be a redundant point.

youarenotkiddingme Sat 03-Sep-16 19:30:07

Thanks sally very useful link.

It concerns me that the school may sacrifice the teacher to say the arses of the members of SLT I'm holding responsible.

I don't want that. He was an amzing teacher to DS and went out of his way consider DS needs and how to meet them. I don't believe he had the information needed to be held accountable for leaving the 2 students together.

I don't want to inadvertently ruin a good teachers career. We needs more of them not more teachers feeling vunerable. sad

youarenotkiddingme Sat 03-Sep-16 19:33:11

Yes boney that would be my point if they tried to deflect blame. Even if teacher had been in room he couldn't have prevented situation - and when it was drawn to his attention he followed policy and did exactly what I would train him to do. (Ironic I train staff to deal with these incidents!)

LizzieVereker Sat 03-Sep-16 19:41:27

So, just to be clear is the scenario something like this?

Year 8 Computing class. Sarah the student starts sobbing/ having a nosebleed, so teacher takes her outside to find out what's wrong. They chat outside for a few minutes. Sarah needs to go to Pastoral Office or nurse but as she is so distressed or I'll, teacher walks her down the corridor.

While teacher is out of the room, James stands up to go to the bin. As he walks towards it, he trips over Lucy's chair, falling and injuring his head.

If James hadn't fallen whilst the teacher was not present, the teacher is liable for nothing, as nothing happened. (If it came to light that a teacher habitually left the classroom they would probably be in breach of contract for not fulfilling adequate teaching and learning obligations.)

As James did fall, the investigation would consider whether the teacher did the most reasonable thing to preserve safety - was the room overcrowded, is Lucy known to be disruptive when unsupervised? So yes, the teacher could be held responsible but it would depend on the level of risk the class was left in, as perceived by the investigation.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 03-Sep-16 19:46:37

In all honesty, I am not sure that whatever you do you can prevent the SLT from going after the teacher if they are of a mind to.

But if you put the complaint forward as the whole of the issue and from the start and specifically complement/extol the virtues of the teacher on his handling of the situation including him pushing for a suitable resolution you may be able to limit any damage to him.

youarenotkiddingme Sat 03-Sep-16 19:56:32

lizzie I wouldn't be complaining if my child had tripped over. That's an accident.

I wouldn't be complaining about this incident if steps had been taken to resolve it. I get the teacher could not have reasonably have known what went down in his classroom was about to happen.

However, when concerns were raised the previous week after a previous incident they could have been taken seriously.
And when DS was affected by this incident and I asked ro meet SLT that could have happened in favour of ringing and changing story (completely!).

It never needed to get this far. But the realism is the incident could have, and in the past year has in another case, caused the death of my DS.

He was actually at minimal risk (due to details) - but I believe if I'd been taken seriously and action had been taken at my request this situation woukdnt have occurred. That's where I don't blame the teacher. I don't think (because I don't think he'd have left them if he knew) staff were ever informed of previous stuff and of the meeting and my request.

isthistoonosy Sat 03-Sep-16 19:56:35

I'm not in teaching but could you ask to see the policies and the risk assessments they are based on. The teacher should make sure he makes it clear if he has never seen / been trained on either of these.

youarenotkiddingme Sat 03-Sep-16 20:10:31

I could but I don't want to divert attention to the fact the teacher wasn't in class at the time. I do not believe this to be relevant.

He could not have stopped what happened. The only thing is he could have intervened a few seconds earlier possibly. But even if he had - it wouldn't have changed anything iyswim?

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