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Morning Breaks


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I wonder how many of us working in units take a morning break. Has this been discussed anywhere else in the forum does anyone know? I've just mentioned it in my last (very long!) post but basically we still do have one although our LEA advisor tells us we shouldn't. I appreciate the chance to just take 10 'kid free' minutes and grab a drink-I feel like it re-charges my batteries but don't always take one as too much to do. If I was to start working somewhere else where they don't take breaks this would be fine by me because they can be slightlydisruptive to the organisation of the day. However, I am not willing to impose this on our support staff who feel that thy are not paid to work through a morning break abd don't think its fair that TAs in the reast of the chool take 15 mins each day without fail. I know its different in the FS but sometimes staff relationships and making collegues happy is just as important as the 'right' way of running things. It might look better to LEA/OFSTED if we are continually with the kids (ratios etc) but wouldn't be too great if the staff weren't speaking to each other!!! Opinions Please!!!

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Hi again, Zim!

 

This is a good one, isn't it! Where I used to work, pre-school playgroup, we had them, we took it in turns to grab 5-10 mins with a drink (and in some cases, mobile phones or fags. The latter outside the building, of course). Where I am now, there is no break until lunchtime. If there is a staff meeting (after-hours), early staff will come back into the rooms about 5.30 to relieve late staff for 15 minutes, which I think is amazing team spirit, and I'm so proud of them!!

 

Sorry, just realised it's not really answering your post! :oxD

 

What I think I wanted to say, is how about having an 'open forum', offering egs of how other people work, possibilities... ways forward for you? Don't know, it's interesting, let me know how you get on, please!

 

Sue :D

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Hi Zim,

In the nursery where I work staff don't get breaks apart from 30 minutes for lunch. What we do, however, is have quite a formal 'snack time' when we sit with the children while they have milk and fruit. One member of staff will make drinks for the others and we try to gulp them down before they get too cold. (Out of reach of the little ones, of course!)

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We started off in September with having no breaks, but staff were heading for nervous breakdowns so we reintroduced playtime with rest of school for Reception chn. to give staff a bit of a break. Staff working in Nursery base don't have a break, but finish at 11.15 anyway. These are almost always working breaks, getting things prepared, displays etc., but 15 mins away from chn. is essential for our sanity!

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This is really interesting as breaks are under debate at my school. Beware of heads who are calculating contact time with the children in preparation for work force re-modelling.

I maintain that neither myself or my staff have a break during either session. The head has suggested that snack time is a break. I violently disagree with him - what does anyone else think? :o

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Hi Wendy -

Welcome to the forum! Thanks for the first post. :D

 

Your head is of course talking nonsense. In the same way teachers used to monitor lunchtime in return for a free lunch, but then withdrew their service when the free lunches were withdrawn (and now schools have to pay for lunchtime staff), your snack time is a duty, not a break!

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Ofsted asked me once where we take our break, and was glad I said outside for smoking or just a few mins in the kitchen. I thought everyone had to have a 10 min break as part of employment law or even health and safety. :D Oh and hello Wendy :D:D

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Where I am now working, because we have wrap-around care the early staff start at 8 and the session lasts until 12.00 - by law staff working for 4 hours have to have a 15 minute break. I believe 3 hours is the cut-off point for not needeing breaks so if staff are on contact with the children for longer than 3 hours they have to have a 15 minute break. If the setting has session 3 hours or less on contact then what has worked well for staff is getting hot drinks with safety lids ( we bought ours from Ikea!) . Staff took turn s on a rota to do this - its essential when working outsdoors in cold weather!

 

I'm only relying for this on what I was previously told by an lea advisor for the three hours and I am clear the a 4 hour shift requires a break but whether the cutoff point is three or three and a half hours I am not sure. I would stress that the hours that count are those where the children are present - not set-up time etc.

 

Frankly it makes sense to get a break if your session is longer than three hours - another factor is how long staff get for lunch - do you really want staff working for 5 or 6 hours with children with say only one 45 minute break? Is this really conducive to good interactions and practice by staff? I know on those occassions when I have not taken a break my practice is not so good in the afternoon - and over time I just get more tired and stressed.

I always try to have at least 5 minutes 'meditating' during a break where I try to shut out everything and just relax and think of nothing! I think its important to give yourself some stillness in a day that is generally hectic and requires high levels of concentration to do well. Furthermore it is vital to encourage your staff to do the same.

There is a health warning on all this though- breaks need to be kept to time - its easy for fifteen minutes to stretch to 20 and then things can get silly - give breaks but monitor them. All professionals however dedicated need reminding to keep themselves to time on ocassion

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Hi & welcome to Wendy.

 

Nothing different to add to this one really, think its all been said. My last head insisited that everyone took a mid morning break although when it became a contention she did say it was at her discretion!

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Hi and welcome wendy.

I agree with everything everyone has said. We are not entittled until 4 hours has been worked for a break. And the 10% has to be teaching time - when the children would be expected to be taught so break times do not count and that is that tell your head I am sure it is written down and I have seen it somewhere but can't say where.

Abi

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If a worker is required to work for more than six hours at a stretch, he or she is entitled to a rest break of 20 minutes.

 

 

This is from www.dti.gov.uk

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So basically, in terms of MID MORNING breaks, we are not ENTITLED to them by law but it is up to the discretion of head teacher/manager? I think the problem in schools where there are nurseries/FS Units is that-quite rightly so in my opinion-staff compare themselves to staff in other key stages. Why should we (who are working with the most demanding age group) not get 10-15 mins mid morning to recharge/get our caffine/nicotine fix or whatever if the rest of the school does? In terms of support staff with all the changes to workload, pay and conditions I think this issue is even more contentious than ever. It is in our school anyway so I'm leaving breaks be. Its a boat i'd rather not rock at the moment xD I don't see why I should feel guilty about taking a break either: I definitely perform better with one :o

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