Infants and the toilet
* School will insist pupils are toilet-trained, but be ready for children who haven't made it.
* In any case, at first take all children to the toilet in groups and teach them what to do - cover basics such as aiming, flushing, pulling pants up, hand-washing. Be cheerful and frank.
* Later on, let them go whenever they want. They should ask, out of politeness, and so you know where they've gone, but make allowances for the one who gets taken short and has to run.
* Pr-empt accidents with reminders. Make sure all children go at natural breaks during the day. Check hand-washing before lunch.
* Be prepared for accidents, with spare pants and vests.
* You may have to clean a child up, so check the school policy on intimate contact. Protect your own clothes, and wear protective gloves.
* If a child has regular accidents, discuss it with the parents. They may need to talk to a doctor. With the head's agreement, you might want a parent to come to school to do the necessary - there's a limit to what can be expected from school staff.
gerald Haigh Next week: school uniforms