Working with pupils

Allegations of abuse from pupils

Receiving an allegation from a pupil and facing an impending investigation can be a distressing time when teaching. Your school should ensure it provides effective support, conducts a fair investigation and provide you with a named member of staff if you are suspended from work.

Am I allowed to search pupils at my school?

The Department for Education (DfE) has issued powers to schools which allows school staff to search pupils with or without their consent. The powers also include confiscating and seizing items during a search.

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Can I refuse to teach a disruptive class or pupil?

You may teach a class or specific pupils which provide you with behavioural difficulties. This might have a detrimental impact on your health and well-being. You are entitled to work in an environment free from violence and disruption and to appropriate access to training and support.

Is there a class size limit in schools?

You could have over 30 pupils in your class and wonder if there is a legal limit to the amount of pupils you can teach in a class. You might have also read the following BBC article which highlighted a primary school in Devon with a year 6 class of 63 pupils.

Reasonable force in schools

You may be involved in situations where you have to physically move pupils due to safety concerns for yourself and others. You might be apprehensive to do so and might be unsure about what you are allowed to do. This article outlines what ‘reasonable force’ is, when it can be used and how your school can provide support.

What is my responsibility for FGM as a teacher?

You may have heard of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) but might be unsure of what it is and what you should do if you suspect a pupil is at risk. FGM includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

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What is my responsibility for Prevent as a teacher?

The Prevent strategy published by the Coalition government in 2011 aims to reduce the threat to the UK from terrorism by preventing people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. It is still the most current duty where schools have a legal responsibility to “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.”

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What should I do if I have been assaulted by a pupil?

In the unfortunate event you have been physically assaulted by a pupil you will want to know how to proceed at your school. You will most likely feel shaken and may be apprehensive to continue teaching the same pupil, class or to return to teaching. Your school should have policies and procedures in place to ensure that you can teach safely and not be at risk of assault or intimidation by pupils.