The best resource to transform a school are the children. Involve them and they will take responsibility for the dining hall, the playground and trying to keep all children happy.
I have been working in this area for 35 years and my best schools are the ones where the children are at the heart of all the changes. My Golden Schools involve children in the working party with the adults. My Golden Schools have regular meetings with children who are taking on responsibilities. When you have jobs that need doing you need to advertise properly. Children need to fill in application forms and their parents sign them. Children are very happy doing a range of jobs from washing down tables to checking the toilets. They need a proper interview with the Dining Hall Supervisors and Senior Manager and maybe a parent. They get the job, they get a fabulous uniform… then they regret signing up for the job!! They don’t want to be away from their mates for too long. Make sure that you put children on a rota basis, maybe Monday children, Tuesday children etc or week one children, week two children etc. And again they need regular meetings.
We have all become so rushed and stressed as adults we can’t find the time to set up initiatives properly and therefore it’s all done too quickly without proper investment. Take it slowly, involve the children and your school will transform. Listen to these children – this system has been going on in the school for over 5 years now and the dining hall helpers help create the ethos of kindness and calm. I advocate that children can give out the Golden Raffle Tickets for good behaviour in the dining hall – they are very moral and will only give them out to children who deserve them (not their mates!!!)
Here’s what some fabulous Dining Hall Helpers at Kew Riverside wrote about their roles:
Poppy Mae – “I enjoy being a dining hall helper because it means you have a responsibility in school. I like meeting and speaking with the younger children at lunchtime because we don’t always get to see them otherwise. It’s a job but also it’s fun!”
Aydan – ” I think being a dining hall helper is good for the school because it gives the teachers a break. They don’t need to be in here, they can be setting up exciting lessons for us in the afternoon. I always make sure I check to see if the younger children are happy and if there’s anything I can help them with”
Imogen – “I like helping and this is the perfect job for that. I make sure that the children are making the right choices in what food they are eating. If a younger child doesn’t like something then I can suggest an alternative for them”
Francis – “It’s nice to be part of a team. The dining hall helpers are there to help the children at lunchtime but we also help each other”
Ben – “I personally like the way we call in the classes one at a time for lunch, that was it isn’t too busy in the dining hall. I get to ring the bell and collect them from the playground, it’s a good responsibility and I also like taking control!”
Luka – “As a dining hall helper my main job is to look after the younger children. I fill up their water cups and cut up their food if they need me to. It’s showing them what to do so that we are all calm and happy”
Martin – “I like giving out the lunchtime lottery tickets. I am looking for positive behaviour in the dining hall and everyone is always so happy when they get a ticket!”
(Very big thanks to Sarah Waight at Kew Riverside Primary School for collecting these real comments from Dining Hall Helpers at her school.)
Website Manager’s Notes
- We have brilliant Dining Hall Helper outfits here.
- Read all about Dining Hall Helpers and how to introduce them to your dining hall systems in best selling “How To Create Calm Dining Halls” by Jenny Mosley.
- Jenny Mosley is available for better behaviour and lunchtimes and playtimes INSET training days, Working In School Days and for different length projects involving several schools for schools training.
- Find out about booking Jenny or attending open training conferences around the country throughout the year. Jenny also excels as an educational presenter at schools conferences, LA conferences and Headteacher conferences.
- The areas of Jenny’s expertise include training for positive behaviour for learning, early years training, training for midday supervisors and lunchtime supervisors, to promote calm dining halls and healthy, active playgrounds, also training for promoting social and communication skills for learning and training for mental health and wellbeing. To find out more about Dining Hall Helpers please ask.
- Jenny’s resources support all her areas of training and are available form her webshop.
- To contact us please phone 01225 767157 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form on our website. We look forward to hearing form you.
- Do see Jenny’s Calm Dining Halls articles in Headteacher Update and the TES.