Help Midday Supervisors Feel Valued and Supported

In my work in schools I see teachers and management working hard to make the whole school flourish and for adults and children to feel respected. When I speak with Lunchtime Supervisors they frequently tell me there are times when they don’t feel valued or supported. This is what they share with me:

  • Children say ‘I don’t have to do what you tell me as you’re not my teacher, my mum even says I don’t have to do what you say’
  • The children don’t respect us
  • We aren’t communicated with – no one tells us what’s going on
  • We aren’t clear on the reward and sanction systems

Here are some of my Top Tips for raising respect for your Lunchtime Supervisor

Top Tip 1 School Newsletters

Include playtime initiatives in the school newsletter and photos of the Lunchtime team. Write an article for your newsletter about playtimes, at least once a month, which could be about new playtime initiatives, equipment bought, games children are playing, playtime star of the week, role of the MSA’s and new recruits. It is good for parents to see who the Supervisors are and gives them greater status.

Top Tip 2 Welcome Boards and School Website

Include playtime initiatiMake sure Lunchtime Supervisor photos and names are displayed on the welcome board in the school entrance and on the website together with the rest of the staff. During a course I was running in York a Lunchtime Supervisor explained her team were really upset because everyone in their school, except Lunchtime Supervisors, had just had their photos taken and displayed in the school entrance!

Endorse and Empower EveryoneTop Tip 3 Endorse and Empower Everyone

Look for the good in the child, catch them being good ? give out ‘Caught being good’ slips. Use other incentives such as Reward Tokens, Stickers and Reward Slips praising good behaviour and linked to your Playground Rules.

For a more detailed explanation of rewards and sanctions take a look at the Edventure Guide to Constructing a Playtime Behaviour Policy by Therese Hoyle – please go to the link at

Remember: You are a team ? support your team mates and endorse and empower them too.

Top Tip 4 Relationships Matter

The child psychologist Dan Hughes believes that your attitude to the child is key and that your relationship with the child is crucial to them developing a positive sense of self and self-esteem.

Build positive relationships through engaging with your children, laughing, having fun, being playful and playing games. We like to use the PLACE model to further reinforce the schools behaviour with the children (Dan Hughes).

Remember to be:
P = Playful
L = Loving
A = Accepting
C = Curious
E = Empathic

Top Tip 5 Respect Matters

When I talk about building respectful relationships in schools, Lunchtime Supervisors frequently tell me the occasional child will say ‘I don’t have to do what you tell me because you are just a Lunchtime Supervisor’.

Other issues concern them such as feeling that communication systems have slipped and they don’t get the staff messages and notices everyone else has, they have no access to rules, incentive and sanction systems and feel powerless when it comes to behaviour.

Ideas for building respect for Lunchtime Supervisors:

  • Invite them into the assembly at the beginning of the school year when rules, responsibilities, incentive and sanction systems are being discussed
  • Assign them to a class so that they build strong relationships with all the children in that class. They can then collect them at lunchtime from their classes, have lunch with them, line them up at the end of play and return them to class
  • Have a Lunchtime Supervisor’s noticeboard where all notices go
    Make sure they know the school rules and know what the school’s lunchtime and school incentive and sanctions systems
  • Make sure new Lunchtime Supervisors receive the Lunchtime and Playtime Behaviour Management Policy and this is talked through.