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advice on being pregnant in a SEN unit

(12 Posts)
VeryEarlyDays Wed 29-Jul-15 10:51:04

Just found out I'm pregnant. I teach in an SEN unit and my group had a behaviour focus. Best job ever but can be quite physical plus I have a new pupil next year with a very violent history. I will tell the head I'm pregnant as soon as I get back (even though it's earlier than I would like) but not sure what they can do... I'm worried I'll get told to just "get out of the way" or "let TAs deal with behaviour"... Any top tips? what can I reasonably expect them to do?

AsBrightAsAJewel Wed 29-Jul-15 15:29:51

Firstly - Congratulations!

There should be full risk assessments undertaken, especially with violent pupils. If the school don't you may need to contact HR, LA H&S and/or your union for advice and support. It may be worth googling your LA and "risk assessment pregnancy". It may not be generally available but the head should be able to download it. Should none be available direct them to The Key where school leaders can access advice and examples. Many LAs suggest that if the risk from specific children can not be adequately managed the teacher is deployed elsewhere - not ideal when you love your job, but in the short term it is preferable to any risk to your baby!

Also worth having up your sleeve should school not be helpful -

The TES has a Pregnancy Forum that you might find useful

VeryEarlyDays Wed 29-Jul-15 16:37:51

thanks AsBright that's really positive helpful advice!

CharlesRyder Wed 29-Jul-15 17:07:45

I was pregnant in the severe and complex needs base within an SEBD school. I had a specialist risk assessment done by the LA.

However, at the end on the day, the drill was 'get out of the way and let the TAs deal with behaviour'!

I left the room as soon as anything started to escalate, didn't even stop to hold doors open etc- you need to be sh*t hot on your second by second risk assessment. I'm sure you already are but it does become paramount. If it didn't look like I was leaving the room the TAs would have moved me first!! If I was with a calm child(ren) I would take them with me. If the child I was with was the one bubbling or looked like they might go I would swap with somebody who's child was calm (because of the nature of the class we generally worked 1:1).

My team of TAs were incredibly highly skilled and there was never a moment when I felt at risk. You need to consider whether you trust your team in this way. What are your ratios?

Keeptrudging Wed 29-Jul-15 17:15:05

I have worked in a similar situation - not pregnant but injured and with a Doctor's letter stating 'light duties only'. TAs were fabulous, like the pp I just made myself scarce as I couldn't lift/handle/protect myself. I would send for a member of SMT too. If you know your pupils, you'll have a fair idea of when they are struggling. It's doable but you need to be firm with yourself and not place yourself at risk.

VeryEarlyDays Wed 29-Jul-15 18:42:03

thanks. I have a 2 new people coming into my team of 3 and one of those is new to the unit so will have to be really clear from the beginning, that's a worry but I think bringing slt on board too would be helpful. the ratio is 7:4 but only 3 pupils are at all violent. The new pupil has 2:1 which the unit is interpreting as 1:1 in an environment where there are always other staff which is fair but will make things tricky if it's a different pupil kicking off as we then become a calm group but with only 2 members of staff one of whom can't get involved....

Keeptrudging Wed 29-Jul-15 18:54:49

Then you need to discuss with SMT that there needs to always be someone on call. I'm pretty sure they will bend over backwards to keep you teaching as there may not be a long line of people willing/able to step into your job. Get it all in writing too, and don't hesitate to get union in if necessary - your safety has to come first.

CharlesRyder Wed 29-Jul-15 20:08:15

As you have new staff I think you need to do a detailed management plan for a range of foreseeable circumstances (individuals escalating, groups of children that you know trigger each other escalating together etc) and share these plans with your staff and SLT.

However bad it makes you feel, if things look like they are getting out of hand you will have to walk away without leaving instructions. You need to make it clear who will lead if this has to happen.

In my current Base if we are short staffed and I am out the TAs would call the Head but she knows she would slot in as 'pair of hands' and the most experienced TA would lead the de-escalation. You need this kind of system in place IMO so you can feel confident to walk away.

VeryEarlyDays Wed 29-Jul-15 21:50:33

thank you Charles that's helpful.

SpecialCircumstances Thu 30-Jul-15 20:12:23

I'm currently in the first trimester and work in a special a students have a mixture of MSI and ASC with some challenging behaviours. My risk assessment is very detailed and the LSAs are great- we work 1:1 with teachers extra where possible. My personal risk assessment is that:
I know my students very well and can spot the signs
They're primary age and whilst they can challenge they tend to bite and hair pull or run off
So I'm comfortable working 1:1 with most of my students, I always have a radio in case I feel ill or need a break and in the event of things escalating my job is to get out of the way!
Assessment visits or working with unfamiliar students would have to be 2:1 or more so that I could safely leave if things escalated.

As my pregnancy progresses I can see more issues around being able to run after students and some of the manual handling. We've agreed to review the risk assessment monthly with the option to take an office based roll towards the end of needed.

Also worth considering hydro/swimming if you do these? I'm not allowed on the hydro area due to temperatures!

VeryEarlyDays Thu 30-Jul-15 20:19:33

oo special you make a great point I'm meant to lead a hydro session weekly (not done that before so didn't think!) will check temperatures.

SpecialCircumstances Fri 31-Jul-15 15:35:22

I'm allowed in the main pool but not pool side as it gets hot and there's a risk I might faint!

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