Britannia Education Trust
Code of Conduct for Staff and Volunteers
Adopted June 2017
Reviewed June 2019
In this document, “staff” includes both paid staff and volunteers.
1. Basic principles
2. Duty of Care
All staff have a duty to keep children safe and to protect them from physical and emotional harm. This duty is, in part, exercised through the development of respectful, caring and professional relationships between staff and pupils and behaviour by staff that shows integrity, maturity and good judgement. Staff must ensure that pupils in their care are always adequately supervised.
3. Exercise of Professional Judgement
There may be times when staff have to make decisions or take action in the best interests of the child which could contravene this guidance or where no guidance exists. Staff are expected to make judgements about their behaviour which is in the best interests and welfare of the children in their charge and in so doing, will be seen to be acting reasonably.
4. Power and Positions of Trust
All adults working with children in school are in positions of authority and therefore are in positions of trust in relation to those children. A relationship between a member of staff and a pupil cannot be a relationship of equals. Staff have a responsibility to ensure that an unequal balance of power is not used for personal advantage or gratification.
Staff must treat information they receive about children in a discreet and confidential manner. If staff are in doubt about sharing information they hold, they should seek advice from the Head Teacher or other senior staff. (If abuse is alleged or suspected, then staff have a duty to speak to the Head Teacher or DSL). When discussing children, staff should ensure that this is in a professional and appropriate environment.
6. Propriety and Behaviour
All staff have a responsibility to maintain public confidence in their ability to safeguard the welfare and best interests of children.
7. Dress and Appearance
Staff’s dress and appearance are matters of personal choice and self-expression. However staff should wear clothing, which promotes a positive and professional image, is appropriate to their role and sensitive to the views of our diverse cultures. Denim jeans/skirts/jackets and anything that looks like casual jeans are considered too casual. Body decorations such as tattoos should be covered. Staff should model the school’s ‘no chewing gum’ rule.
There are occasions when children or parents wish to pass on small tokens of appreciation to staff, e.g. at the end of the school year and this is acceptable. It is unacceptable to receive gifts on a regular basis or to receive gifts of any significant value. Children should not be informed of staff birthdays.
‘Gifts’ to children, if any, will be given equally, whole school, following a leadership decision and will be of insignificant value. Staff should not give gifts to individual pupils or their class at Christmas, the end of the year or any other time.
Rewards (for example for good attendance) will be given transparently with access to the reward open to all.
Staff should report any indications that a pupil may be infatuated with a member of staff.
10. Social Contact
Staff should not establish social contact with pupils for the purpose of friendship or to strengthen a relationship. Any planned social contact with pupils should be approved by the Headteacher. Staff must not give minors their personal details (e.g. telephone numbers, Facebook etc). Staff should report and record any situation, which they feel, might compromise the school or their own professional standing. Staff who use social networking sites on the internet should manage their accounts in such a way that personal information is not available to pupils or their families. Be aware of the need to continually validate security and privacy settings and not post inappropriate images.
11. Physical Contact
There are occasions (including supporting children with SEN) when it is entirely appropriate and proper for staff to have physical contact with pupils, but it is crucial that they only do so in ways appropriate for their professional role. Please see the school’s intimate care and positive handling documentation as well as ensuring that you have read an individual child’s SEN documentation (if working with that child on a frequent basis).
Staff supervision of children during changing should be appropriate to the needs and age of the children concerned and sensitive to the potential for embarrassment.
13. Pupils in Distress
If a distressed pupil needs comfort and reassurance, then age-appropriate physical contact may be provided by staff but this contact must not be threatening, intrusive or subject to misinterpretation.
14. Behaviour Management
All pupils have a right to be treated with respect and dignity. Force must never be used for punishment. Although humour can help to defuse a situation, sarcasm and demeaning or insensitive comments are never acceptable. Please ensure that you follow the procedures outlined in the Behaviour policy, including rules and procedures based around positive handling.
Communication with pupils, staff, visitors and parents should always be polite and professional. Any signs of disagreement and tension can make children feel insecure and unsafe.
16. One to One Situations
Staff working in one to one situations with children may be more vulnerable to allegations. Staff should recognise this possibility and plan and conduct such meetings accordingly. Every attempt should be made to ensure that the safety and security needs of both staff and pupils are met – keeping doors open, making sure that members of staff know where you are.
17. Transporting Children
Generally staff should not transport pupils in their own vehicle. Where it is deemed that this is necessary, transport is undertaken with at least one additional adult to the driver. Staff should ensure that their behaviour is safe, that the vehicle is roadworthy/appropriately insured and that the car is fitted with car seats in line with legislation if necessary.
18. Educational visits and after-school activities and clubs
Staff should be fully aware of all the guidance contained within the school’s Educational Visits Policy alongside LA and national guidance and requirements. The Educational Visits Co-ordinator should be consulted on all aspects of educational visits, including risk-assessments. The SENCO should also be notified. Requested trips should be added to the diary and the names of proposed staff to accompany the children should be added to the diary notes.
19. First Aid and Administration of Medicines
Staff must adhere to the school’s safety policies and guidelines regarding First Aid and Administration of Medicines.
20. Intimate Care
All children have a right to safety, privacy and dignity when contact of an intimate nature is required (e.g. assistance with toileting). Children who require intimate care on a regular basis should have a Care Plan drawn up and agreed with parents.
There are some aspects of the curriculum, which can include or raise subject matter, which is sexually explicit. Staff must abide by the school’s policy on Sex and Relationships Education and must not enter into or encourage inappropriate or offensive discussion about sexual activity.
22. Mobile phones, Photography, Videos
Personal mobile phones must be turned off and out of sight during the school day and at other times when staff are responsible for supervising pupils.
Staff should be clear about the purpose of any activity, which involves photography, or video of children. As a rule, staff will use school cameras, film recorders or school ipads to photograph or film children. In the event that they use their own equipment (never a mobile phone), such images should not be stored for longer than is necessary but should be transferred to school memory-systems or deleted. Staff must not take, display or distribute images of children unless they have consent to do so.
23. Internet Use
Staff must adhere to the school’s Online Safety Policy and sign the Acceptable User statement annually.
The school’s Whistleblowing Policy is available on Google Drive. Staff must report any behaviour by colleagues that raises concerns such as (this is not an exhaustive list):
All staff have a duty to report to the Head Teacher any concerns about children who might be at risk of being drawn into terrorism and to challenge extremist ideas which could be used to legitimise terrorism.
26. Sharing Concerns and Recording Incidents
All staff should be aware of the school’s Safeguarding and Child Protection procedures, including procedures for dealing with allegations against staff. Staff who are the subject of allegations are advised to contact their professional associations. Staff must take responsibility for recording and reporting any incident, which may result in being misinterpreted and/or an allegation being made.
27. Informing the school of any change in circumstances
All staff are responsible for informing the Head Teacher if there is any change in their circumstances which may be seen as having an impact on their suitability to work with children. This may include for example, a criminal conviction, a police caution or any change to the information declared on the Staff Suitability Declaration (including information about other household members).
28. Arriving and Departing
Staff must arrive early enough to be ready to start work at the agreed time. It is important that staff function effectively as part of their team leaving enough time to discuss the day ahead, setup and resource their classes as well as compensate effectively for any unforeseen changes to the day.
Staff who smoke must do so offsite and discretely, disposing of their used cigarettes safely and appropriately.
I confirm that I have received, read, understood and agree to abide by the Britannia Education Trust’s Code of Conduct for Staff and Volunteers.
Signed ___________________________________Date ____________________