A Handbook for Lunchtime Supervisors and their Managers

19th May 2006 at 01:00
A Handbook for Lunchtime Supervisors and their Managers

By Shirley Rose

David Fulton pound;15

A badly handled lunchtime affects the work of the whole school. As Shirley Rose explains: "When the lunchtime break goes wrong, picking up the pieces can be time-consuming, disruptive, and stressful." Too right. Ask any head about the afternoons they've spent sorting out lunchtime incidents.

The potential flashpoints are legion, and often rooted in trivialities.

Here, for example, are seven key dilemmas for a lunchtime supervisor, from a list in Rose's book.

* Who's responsible for supervising children told by a teacher to stay in the dining room at lunchtime because of bad behaviour?

* Some children are out in the cold without coats. Whose job is it to make them put them on?

* A supervisor's son is new in reception: can he stay with mum through the lunchtime, as he naturally wants to do?

* Who decides which children can use particular equipment or playground spaces?

* Who clears up sick in the toilet at lunchtime?

* Can a supervisor go home if a teacher hasn't turned up to collect her class by the end of lunchtime?

* What do you do about the parent who feeds her child sweets through the railings at lunchtime?

The sheer realism of these examples - every primary head and lunchtime supervisor will have dealt with at least three or four of them - shows just how well this author understands her subject.

Good management, of course, is the answer. This includes effective training, and Rose provides most of what is needed to do the job in school.

There are good case studies, training activities, clear explanations.

Properly used and applied, her advice could have a more calming effect on a school than the most elaborate disciplinary policy that doesn't take lunchtimes into account.

The answers to the dilemmas? I have to say that, despite 11 years of headship, I'm not at all certain about any of them. I'd be busking, surfing on good humour, experience, and my relationship with the people involved.

Shirley Rose, though, provides the right answers, point by point. Except for clearing up the sick. She's not sure about that. "Many LTSs have this as part of their duties, although some do not..." So it's as I thought. I'd be clearing it up myself.

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