Can I be asked to supervise keyworker and vulnerable children?

To supervise children you need no qualification, I used to be a cover supervisor and do not have qualified teacher status (QTS), just my chemistry degrees.
To teach children you need to have QTS in state schools/academy schools, the only exception being independent schools.

The term 'children' is as broad as can be, whilst it's useful when applying for TA/SEN roles to have training in those areas, it is not a legal requirement so there is no reason to say why you cannot supervise children who are doing work that has been planned by a qualified teacher.

That said, if your DBS hasn't come through then you should not be left unsupervised on school grounds if the school has a decent policy, and certainly should not be supervising children in any sense as you have no legal leg to stand on if you have an accusation from a child against you.

SO once your DBS is done, unless you have a clause in your contract saying you will not be expected to supervise children which is incredibly unlikely, and what is very likely is that you'll have a clause saying that you'll be expected to complete 'any other reasonable request' then chances are that in these dire and short-staffed times you'll be drafted in as a babysitter and there's not much you can do about it if your contract is very vague.
 
I haven't been asked to supervise keyworker and vulnerable children, I was just put on a rota! I thought it was voluntary as supervising students isn't a part of my role.

Joe
 

Paul Murphy

COMMITTEE
To supervise children you need no qualification, I used to be a cover supervisor and do not have qualified teacher status (QTS), just my chemistry degrees.
To teach children you need to have QTS in state schools/academy schools, the only exception being independent schools.

The term 'children' is as broad as can be, whilst it's useful when applying for TA/SEN roles to have training in those areas, it is not a legal requirement so there is no reason to say why you cannot supervise children who are doing work that has been planned by a qualified teacher.

That said, if your DBS hasn't come through then you should not be left unsupervised on school grounds if the school has a decent policy, and certainly should not be supervising children in any sense as you have no legal leg to stand on if you have an accusation from a child against you.

SO once your DBS is done, unless you have a clause in your contract saying you will not be expected to supervise children which is incredibly unlikely, and what is very likely is that you'll have a clause saying that you'll be expected to complete 'any other reasonable request' then chances are that in these dire and short-staffed times you'll be drafted in as a babysitter and there's not much you can do about it if your contract is very vague.
Whilst it is correct what you have stated, I feel it is unreasonable to supervise pupils when teachers are working from home. I, as a tech, have to attend school but teachers are working from their lounge. I not trying to get out of coming into work but it is the teachers who supervise the children not support staff. As for the "any reasonable request" clause in our contracts, this has been tested in court a number of times and has been deemed by some courts as wrong (this obviously depends upon the request).
The other issue with supervising pupils is the insurance angle, this is a very grey area as to whether support staff have insurance to supervise. I have asked this question an number of times and got very different answers. So my answer to supervise pupils is an unequitable "SORRY NO".
 
The other issue with supervising pupils is the insurance angle, this is a very grey area as to whether support staff have insurance to supervise. I have asked this question an number of times and got very different answers. So my answer to supervise pupils is an unequitable "SORRY NO".
If you want insurance cover then join a union or the ase.


Don't rely on the schools they might not back you up.
 
I have signed up to do it in my current school. If you don't want to do it there is no expectation for you to do it. I am working the days my wife is going into her school (she is a teacher). I am being paid so helping out is not a problem to me.
I haven’t been asked (was just added to the rota) I’m a technician and supervising students isn’t a part of my job description. The school is threatening taking action for refusing to follow instructions.
 
I haven’t been asked (was just added to the rota) I’m a technician and supervising students isn’t a part of my job description. The school is threatening taking action for refusing to follow instructions.

If you are not in a union then now is the time to join one, for support staff that is NEU, Unison, GMB, or Unite depending on which ones have of members/rep in your school. (The NEU will cover matters related to covid-19 that arose prior to joining and support staff can join unlike with NASUWT were it is teachers only.)

Do you have an individual RA for this lockdown?
 
If you are not in a union then now is the time to join one, for support staff that is NEU, Unison, GMB, or Unite depending on which ones have of members/rep in your school. (The NEU will cover matters related to covid-19 that arose prior to joining and support staff can join unlike with NASUWT were it is teachers only.)

Do you have an individual RA for this lockdown?
Thanks, I’ll join today! No I don’t have an individual risk assessment. My line manager wasn’t even aware that I’d been added to the rota to supervise.
 
Last edited:

Paul Murphy

COMMITTEE
If you want insurance cover then join a union or the ase.


Don't rely on the schools they might not back you up.
I am in a Union but if we are doing something that we shouldn't do we have cover?
 
I am in a Union but if we are doing something that we shouldn't do we have cover?
“A key sentence in the DfE guidance is: ‘…discuss and agree any proposed changes in role or responsibility with the member of staff.’ Schools should not impose new roles or duties on staff. We expect that changes which impact on others should be discussed with all those affected, and that the local UNISON reps/contact should be involved. If there are no school-based reps then schools should contact the local UNISON branch. Members who are unhappy with proposals or are aware that their school has not talked to the union should contact their branch.”

 
Whilst it is correct what you have stated, I feel it is unreasonable to supervise pupils when teachers are working from home. I, as a tech, have to attend school but teachers are working from their lounge. I not trying to get out of coming into work but it is the teachers who supervise the children not support staff. As for the "any reasonable request" clause in our contracts, this has been tested in court a number of times and has been deemed by some courts as wrong (this obviously depends upon the request).
The other issue with supervising pupils is the insurance angle, this is a very grey area as to whether support staff have insurance to supervise. I have asked this question an number of times and got very different answers. So my answer to supervise pupils is an unequitable "SORRY NO".
I never said it was fair. I didn't know about the clause being tested in court, that's interesting and handy as well as the insurance aspect - I'll have to remember those, thank you for your wisdom.
 
It's a little sad to see that the onus of supervising students seems to primarily be falling on support staff who wouldn't normally do that role. I certainly wouldn't agree to that particularly as many of the children currently going in to my school have behaviour issues or learning needs.
Here the supervision of the students is all being done by teachers and LSAs on a rota basis. It's much safer that way as they all know the children. During the first lockdown we only had 6-8 students in, but this time it's 45-50.
 
I was asked, as teachers are zooming.
I refused as I'm in a high risk group and my other half has a heart condition.
They made me feel really guilty, to the point that my HOD said I was inundated with work and couldn't possibly supervise kids
By the way, we had 7 last time, now we have 50.
 
I was just added to the rota but I only do 2 days a week and I have a radio, theres one assistant head and another member of staff around if I need any help. Theres only about 5 or 6 students per class and all the classes are in the same block so I dont feel like I've been left alone. We are paid the same as the TAs.
 
Has anyone had further dealings with senior management after declining to help supervise vulnerable and key workers children when requested?
 

Merilyn

Another Aussie Labbie
This is interesting that I came across this thread as I'm having a similar problem here (50km outside of Sydney, Aus). Fortunately, we have only had one period of lockdown in 2020 with very few students on-site. My issue will be an on-going one regarding playground duties. I've been told I have to supervise a Kindergarten to Year 2 area (we are a K to Year 12 school). I've checked my workplace agreement, and although vague, it seems that this is allowed on my pay grade. My concern is the lack of training I've been provided. I have worked as a labbie for about 10 years, my background is in horticulture, not teaching or childcare!
Our work health and safety laws here make it very clear that the employer MUST provide adequate training for all aspects of your job. I have no idea about children with special needs, what is appropriate behaviour, what is an appropriate response to what I think is inappropriate behaviour. I have to start this duty tomorrow at lunchtime. I have images of being called up to the deputy's office because I've upset some kid. Ten years ago I would have been in a panic about that, now it's "bring it on"!
So maybe with this supervision you've been asked to do, could you consider that your school needs to provide some sort of training? This doesn't have to be a formal, day off work kind of training, but something so you know what you should/can do?
My analogy is getting a Year 1 teacher up to my prep room, telling them "here's the fume cupboard, here's the key to the chem store and the Chem teacher needs 5 litres of 0.1M HCl. See ya!" They wouldn't do it.
And definitely contact/join the union.
 
Top