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Code of Conduct

Introduction

All actions concerning children and young people must uphold the best interests of the young person as a primary consideration.  Staff must always be mindful of the fact that they hold a position of trust, and that their behaviour towards the children and young people in their charge must be above reproach.

Code of Conduct

1. Private meeting with Pupils

  • Staff should be aware of the dangers which may arise from private interviews with individual pupils.  It is recognised that there will be occasions when confidential interviews must take place.  As far as possible, staff should conduct such interviews in a room with visual access, or with the door open.
  • Where such conditions cannot apply, staff are advised to ensure that another adult know that the interview is taking place.  It may be necessary to use a sign indicating that the room is in use, but it is not advisable to use signs prohibiting entry to the room.
  • Where possible another pupil or (preferably) another adult should be present or nearby during the interview.

2. Physical Contact with Pupils

  • As a general principle, staff are advised not to make unnecessary physical contact with their pupils.
  • It is unrealistic and unnecessary, however, to suggest that staff should touch pupils only in emergencies.  In particular, a distressed child, especially a young child, may need reassurance involving physical comforting, as a caring parent would provide.  Staff should not feel inhibited from providing this.
  • Staff should never touch children who has clearly indicated that he/she is, or would be, uncomfortable with such contact, unless it is necessary to protect the child, others or property from harm.  References: Child Protection Policy, Safe Handling and Use of Reasonable Force Policy.
  • Physical punishment is illegal, as is any form of physical response to misbehaviour, unless it is by way of necessary restraint.
  • Staff who have to administer first-aid to a pupil should ensure wherever possible that this is done in the presence of other children or another adult.  However, no member of staff should hesitate to provide first-aid in an emergency simply because another person is not present.
  • Any physical contact which would be likely to be misinterpreted by the pupil, parent or other casual observer should be avoided.
  • Following any incident where a member of staff feels that his/her actions have been, or may be misconstrued, a written report of the incident should be submitted immediately to the principal.
  • Staff should be particularly careful when supervising pupils in a residential setting, or in approved out of school activities, where more informal relationships tend to be usual and where staff may be in proximity to pupils in circumstances very different from the normal school/work environment.

3. Choice and Use of Teaching Materials

  • Teachers should avoid teaching materials, the choice of which might be misinterpreted and reflect upon motives for the choice.
  • When using teaching materials of a sensitive nature a teacher should be aware of the danger that their application, either by pupils or by the teacher, might after the event be criticised.
  • If in doubt about the appropriateness of a particular teaching material, the teacher should consult with the principal before using it.

4. Relationships and Attitudes

  • Staff should ensure that their conduct does not give rise to comment or speculation.  Attitudes, demeanour and language all require care and thought.
    Please refer to Intimate care policy

Conclusion

Whilst this code of conduct offers some useful guidance for staff, it would be impossible and inappropriate to set rules to cover all the circumstances in which staff interrelate with children, or where opportunities for their conduct to be misconstrued might occur.