Jenny runs an after-school percussion group arranged through the local Hub. With an age range of 13 to 16, everyone gets on well. However, Jenny had noticed a change in behaviour in one of the pupils named Kim. Kim was getting angry when things went wrong; she also was losing weight.
One evening, Jenny asked Kim to stay behind after class to see if she could find out the cause of this change. Kim eventually admitted that her mother had been drinking a lot lately and had lashed out at her on occasion. Kim asked Jenny not to tell anyone as she was afraid people would make fun of her. However, Jenny explained she couldn't keep the matter to herself and why she was obliged to pass the information on to the appropriate authority, which she did.
Jenny had not come up against this sort of situation before but, fortunately, had taken part in a Child Protection Awareness Training workshop organised and delivered by the MU through the Hub a few weeks earlier. The workshop included information on current legislation and the group undertook several exercises about how to deal with a range of situations.
Thanks to this training, Jenny was able to respond to Kim's situation and was confident in her subsequent actions. To help clarify what she had learnt in the workshop, Jenny went on to take the online Child Protection in Music course - http://platinum.educare.co.uk/music.
As well as having the right training and information about safeguarding children, music teachers working with individuals or small groups of pupils may also find themselves in vulnerable situations where their professional conduct is questioned and so it is important for them to have the relevant information about being in such a situation.
Physical contact with pupils
- Any physical contact with pupils can be potentially subject to misinterpretation or even malicious allegations
- The best advice is to avoid all physical contact with pupils
- Keep all communication with pupils on a professional level. Be aware of exchanging personal contact details, such as email addresses and mobile numbers, and sharing information on social networking websites
- Avoid developing a personal relationship with your pupils
- Be aware of the language you use when teaching
- Swearing, making disparaging or insensitive remarks and using suggestive language or terms of endearment should be avoided. All of these can be misinterpreted in a teaching environment and, therefore, are inappropriate
If a pupil shares any information with you regarding bullying, abuse or personal problems, or you suspect such issues, you should report this to the school, parent/guardian or relevant authority at your earliest opportunity. Don’t try to resolve these types of problems yourself.
Lifts in a teacher's car should only be given with the express approval of the parent/guardian.
Violent or disruptive pupils
If a teacher feels that their professional or personal safety is at risk, then they should inform a member of staff at the school. Teachers are authorised to use reasonable force to control or restrain pupils if necessary.
Procedures and training
All teachers should have access to accepted policy within the school regarding child protection, Special Educational Needs teaching and dealing with difficult pupils. Please contact your MU Regional Office regarding training in any of these areas.
Public Liability Insurance (PLI)
The MU recommends that you carry your PLI Certificate with you while teaching, together with your Criminal Records Bureau or Disclosure Certificate. Make sure you use MU contracts with your pupils or the institution that you teach in. (More information about the MU's services can be found elsewhere in this section.)
Approach your teaching as a professional and remember that you are the responsible adult. If an incident happens during a lesson, report it immediately to the school or parent/guardian.