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On duty

Being on duty means taking a turn at doing a supervisory job, such as looking after children in the playground or in the bus queue. Always take your duty seriously - bullying thrives on slack supervision, and adventurous children can get up to dangerous stuff. And, of course, there are legal implications to think about.

* Find out exactly what you have to do. Do not rely on word of mouth as bad practices may have crept in over the years.

* Don't miss your duty. You must read the rota.

* Be prompt. It is not acceptable to be held up by children's questions or, worse, by calling into the staffroom tosee someone or pick up a cup of coffee.

* Be vigilant to head off trouble. Watch the children, move about, look into hidden spaces.

* In primary school, children will want to come up to talk or play games. This is fine, but you must not be distracted from your broader responsibility.

* Report anything that seems important, such as bullying, a rejected or lonely child or unwanted visitors. Record any loopholes in the system, such as places that are difficult to supervise.

* If you feel unable to do the job safely, talk to management.

Next week: taking assembly at the last minute

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