The high emotional stakes for children haven’t changed since then!
If I had to say what was the biggest cry from the heart regarding lunchtimes – it’s FOOTBALL!!! There is a collective groan that goes up from every school I’m at when it’s mentioned. Honestly though it is possible to have football and a happy playground – but like every policy for lunchtimes it demands ‘Plan, Do and Review’ meetings. As long ago as 2002 I published a really important idea which was a football contract (which is now super and radically updated!) which every child would need to sign if they wanted to play football… and by the time the book hits publication it will mean that I’ve been using those ideas for 3-4 years before the publication date. So, very simply, children have to vote on whether they want to ban football or make it work – yes, of course they vote to make it work!!! … but that’s different from having it as a right.
Football is a privilege that needs to be earnt. So I spend time with children and all adults creating a football contract that reflects the needs of that particular school. So we need to have the football area painted or marked with sports markers. We need bibs so we all know what sides they’re on. We need a published rota system so children and midday supervisors know who’s allowed to play that day. We need to agree that anybody who wants to play football can, and we need to agree that they will pass the ball fairly (girls often complain that the boys don’t pass the ball to them). There are many other issues that need to be looked at but the truth is we often recognise things are not right and we moan about them but we don’t have meetings because we’re so busy but often the reason we’re so busy is the fallout of problems after lunch. I feel I need an award from the Football Association now because I know that many schools have now got calmer happier lunchtimes which include fair football games. I work in a variety of ways, sometimes a morning workshop just helps get midday supervisors and senior managers thinking, sometimes I need to work with classes of children through circle time so that they can contribute to the debate and sometimes schools choose to have a whole school inset day where everyone gets passionate about what goes on at lunchtime. So the choice is yours.
Website Manager’s Notes
- You can find Positive Playtimes and many other resources in our webshop.
- 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.
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- Do see Jenny’s Calm Dining Halls articles in Headteacher Update and the TES.