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General Chat Thread, Being told that we now have to do lunch duties in General; Hi all, Myself (NM) and my technician have just been told that we are now doing a break duty once ...
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    StampStudy's Avatar
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    Question Being told that we now have to do lunch duties

    Hi all,

    Myself (NM) and my technician have just been told that we are now doing a break duty once a week supervising pupils (No teacher present). I am curious if we can refuse to perform these. It is once a week and only 20 minutes but I know this is how it starts - next it will be twice a week and then it will be lunch times as well.

    What really gets to me is that there was no consultation or checking whether we could help out. It has been assumed that this is now part of our weekly tasks and we have been told. After the rota was sent out with our names on it - a while later another email got sent stating that it is now common for support staff in other schools to perform break duties.

    1) How many of you guys/gals (I am curious about IT staff) are told you have to do break duties?
    2) What happens when there is an emergency with IT over this duty?
    3) Are we allowed to supervise children without any training? I am thinking if a fight breaks out or something happens in the area we are responsible for - We do not know the pupils names and as we don't have much dealings with them have no authority over them.

    We already do many jobs to help out that is outside our general scope which we are happy to do but think this is a bit much. It does state in our contracts that we may be asked to perform other tasks but surely they have to be somewhat related to what we are trained to do?

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    Sylv3r's Avatar
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    Us IT Staff like all staff here can choose to do a paid lunch duty if we so wish - 12 for 50 mins plus a free lunch. I must admit I don't but my Network Manager does as he is saving up for his wedding next year.

    Whether they can force it upon you, probably comes down to the any other tasks or duties as designated by the headteacher part of your Job description - I don't think theres an issue with you supervising students.

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    Am sure you would need to go to some kind of training regarding working with pupils. We had a short training regarding seeing signs of child abuse/neglect etc but thats it. If we were asked to do this, i would just make some crap up regarding running routine network/server checks which needs the technicians/NM input.

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    StampStudy's Avatar
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    I think I would have felt better about it if we had been asked rather than told. I am going to ask politely that we be removed from the rota when I go for my LM meeting tomorrow. The duties that we are have been told to do is 1) to supervise the library and 2) be responsible for an area of the playground. This will also mean that anything we are working on before this duty period can't overrun - I can just imagine starting to fix a serious fault on the system and having to stop so that I can stand in the playground.

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    We used to do it at our old old site, we were asked in a sort of don't say no way. we got a free lunch.

    the "any other duties" is useless and they would not wash with the union.

    but it's down to you, if you do not feel comfortable dealing with pupils then you must state this to your line manager and untill your are comfortable then it should not be imposed on you.


    personaly, i did not want to do it, lots of confrontation, but after a while you know the bad ones and if they give you grief you just push it off to the pastoral team to deal with the pupils so they suffer until they realise and go elsewhere.


    if a fight breaks out, your fully hands off so you run and report it to slt.

    lastly, if you aint in one. be in one before you take it on in case you need representation, and if need be stipulate it as one of the conditions that you get reimursed your fees.

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    I am already in one and will see how this pans out. I am not against helping out but I know this may take up more time than the set 20 minutes p/week.

    I do think that once we agree to this that it will then be forever assumed that we are on duties and the number of duties are likely to increase. I also know that if there was an incident during the duty, even a minor one, that I would have to write it up and identify pupils and everything else that goes with it. We only know a handful of pupils names.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StampStudy View Post
    ...How many of you guys/gals (I am curious about IT staff) are told you have to do break duties?...
    I don't do a duty although one of my technicians does. He used to work with the Caretaker [Site Manager] before moving to work with us. When he was in that other role senior staff/canteen staff found that he was very good at controlling the lunch queue and so was asked to continue to do this even after his move. He gets free meals for doing this duty [which he never takes]

    I was told that I would have to do a duty too but idea was dropped because we get calls for support at all times of day [including over lunch] and, I guess, senior staff deemed my time was better spent on that continued IT support rather than managing a queue.

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    ozydave's Avatar
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    I'm sure there is a law about how many hours you can work without a break. Working time directive or something like that. Your untitled to your break even if they pay you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ozydave View Post
    I'm sure there is a law about how many hours you can work without a break. Working time directive or something like that. Your untitled to your break even if they pay you.
    A duty would count as work, so you are still entitled to any breaks your contract states.

    I volunteered last year to do duties. I quite enjoy it, you get to know the students a little better and that can be helpful getting honest feedback about IT provision in the school. My confidence dealing with the students has improved and that means I'm more likely to tackle poor behaviour when I see it rather than think it's not my problem. I think if applied to all staff, that would help improve and maintain behaviour standards within the school. This year Duties have been mandated for all staff. People have grumbled a bit but in the main they have stepped up to it. Some basic training has been provided and people can elect to be buddied up with a senior member of the teaching staff while they find their feet.

    Can they make you do it? Probably. Job descriptions can (and should) change. You work in a school so it would be difficult to say that working with the students was unreasonable and it's not a particularly unreasonable thing for a school to need to provide supervision during the school day. If you really object it is worth discussing with your manager and/or your union. I doubt anyone would see it as beneficial to have (say) a shaking nervous wreck doing a duty.

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    Galway's Avatar
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    What a cheek. The any other role applied to similar relevant roles, it does not mean the head can ask you to unblock the girls toilets and have it covered by this sentence. I would definitely refuse.

    As stated above, everyone is entitled to a break. Check your contract to see what you are contracted for and seek advice. Are you an LEA school? Some staff have do not have any contact with students as part of there responsibilities, maybe this applies to you?

    Good luck.

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    I can't believe they are asking you to do this. During break and lunch is the one time you can get into classrooms and fix that broken monitor, or replace the VGA cable that the teacher broke shoving it into the serial port of her old laptop, etc etc. Most NTs take a break either before or after the school break time to allow for this down time to be used properly.
    Plus the students will not show due respect to non teachers, and you have been given little guidance and training for handling any situation that arises.
    I would refuse.

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    I've considered volunteering for duties here for the free lunch, but held back because of concerns about the odd time when the excrement has hit the ventilation and I've been in the server room up to my neck in it. I'm not walking away from a broken file server or cluster instability to watch a bus queue. I'd say this is the angle to take in your defense - things can go wrong any time, will you really want me walking away from repairs for twenty minutes and potentially leaving everyone without essential IT just to watch a playground?

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    I should have said.

    lastly, if you aint in a UNION. be in one before you take it on in case you need representation, and if need be stipulate it as one of the conditions that you get reimursed your fees.

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    SpuffMonkey's Avatar
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    I suppose that if you don't want to do this - you need to stop it now. If you go ahead and do this bit - pupil supervision will be deemed to be part of your job into the future ("custom and practice") - so you'll never be able to ditch it later on - up to you

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    Quote Originally Posted by StampStudy View Post

    1) How many of you guys/gals (I am curious about IT staff) are told you have to do break duties?
    2) What happens when there is an emergency with IT over this duty?
    3) Are we allowed to supervise children without any training? I am thinking if a fight breaks out or something happens in the area we are responsible for - We do not know the pupils names and as we don't have much dealings with them have no authority over them.
    I get lunch provided so...

    1. I do a duty in one of our ICT suites during lunchtime. The kids come in and do work and play non-violent games. (we have Smoothwall set to unlock games and a few other things at lunchtime)
    2. The IT emergency takes priority. Everybody out!
    3. Never had a fight and there are usually enough staff nearby to deal with anything like that anyway. Students are usually fairly helpful with identifying any trouble makers.
    Last edited by JJonas; 2nd October 2013 at 09:05 AM.

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