It is important that you quickly familiarise yourself with the school’s own behaviour policy and practice, as each one may have different procedures and expectations of staff.
It is unnecessary and unrealistic to suggest that teachers should touch pupils only in emergencies. You should always bear in mind, however, that even perfectly innocent actions can be misconstrued. Be guided by your teacher-mentor and always be sensitive to a child’s reaction to contact.
It is not uncommon for a pupil to be attracted to a member of staff and/or develop a strong infatuation. All situations should be responded to sensitively to maintain the dignity of those concerned. You should be aware that such circumstances carry a high risk of words or actions being misinterpreted and for unfounded or false allegations to be made. If you become aware that a pupil may be infatuated with you, you should:
- immediately report the incident to the principal/line management/designated safeguarding lead
- where the inappropriate behaviour continues despite warnings, ensure full reporting to your headteacher/principal so that steps under the pupil behaviour and discipline policy/other relevant action (eg referral to the child protection team) can be taken
- always follow the school’s policy on being alone with pupils and take steps as far as possible not to be alone with a pupil in a place which is closed or away from other people
- promote respect between pupils and teachers at all times and in all situations.
You should not establish or seek to establish social contact with pupils for the purpose of securing a friendship or to pursue or strengthen a relationship. Even if a young person seeks to establish social contact, or if this occurs coincidentally, you should exercise your professional judgement in making a response and be aware that such social contact could be misconstrued.
You should not give your personal details such as home/mobile phone number, home address or personal email address to pupils and you should avoid any contact on social networking sites and similar, unless you need to do so and it is agreed with senior management.
Further help and advice
You can find more help and advice on a range of issues on the ATL and the NUT section websites.