Becoming a midday supervisor

Other relevant job titles: School meal supervisory assistant, lunchtime supervisor

Midday supervisors are the lynchpins of an army of support staff that patrols school playgrounds and cafeterias to ensure pupils are fed, appropriate behaviour promoted and order prevails. The change of name from ‘dinner lady’ to’ lunchtime or midday supervisor’ signifies a new recognition for this role: schools are keen to maintain consistent standards of pupil behaviour at break times.


Your salary will depend on the employer, which can be either the school or an agency. A permanent job will be term time only but should include sick pay and pension benefits and is likley to pay between £12,000 - £15,500 pro rata. The temping rate is likely to be around £7.50 - £8.00 per hour.


Typically you’re looking at around 7.5 hours per week.


Supervisors guide and assist children during the midday break and ensure their safety, general welfare and appropriate behaviour. Duties will vary according to whether the job is in a primary, secondary or special needs setting but the activities outlined below are typical:

  • To assist in the lunchtime supervision of pupils to ensure that the meal is completed on time in a safe and hygienic setting
  • To encourage children to eat healthily and assist those who need help such as cutting up food, and also ensure behaviour doesn’t become too boisterous at the meal table
  • Report behaviour observations to a teacher in order for them to maintain the school’s standard of discipline and behaviour
  • Work to council and school policies to maintain a safe environment for pupils and other staff
  • Work safely and encourage safe behaviour from pupils

Qualifications needed to become a midday supervisor

Candidates are required to undertake a CRB check. Otherwise the usual qualification is to have experience of working with children.

Skills and knowledge

The role is found in both primary and secondary schools although the duties will be a lot more hands-on in primary. You will need the following…

  • Patience, a ‘kind but firm attitude’
  • Good sense of humour
  • Calm
  • Sociable
  • Interest in young people and the ability to engage with and motivate children