Things I Wish Were On My PGCE But Weren't: Number 2 What you are legally allowed to do

I see a lot of teachers asking where they stand in various situations, with regards to what they have the right to do or not: basically whether they can get done or not for a certain course of action. If it is important to know rights and responsibilities in terms of what needs to get done in the classroom, then it is equally important to know what you can and can’t do in terms of carrying those out.

Students certainly know their ‘rights’, and like to remind you of those at every opportunity. But teachers just don’t know what theirs are. Most commonly, teachers want to know what they are legally allowed to do in terms of restraining students and in what situation. Of course this is vital if students are fighting or otherwise causing danger.

But I also see teachers asking if they are allowed to refuse to teach a certain student, whether they can pursue police action against a student when appropriate and what can be done about students outside of school property and hours.

Teachers just don’t know. I guess this is left out of a PGCE to avoid scaring student teachers and making worse an already low retention rate. But the result is that teachers are in dangerous situations without the training or knowledge needed to handle them properly.

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