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Country: UK

School level: reception (5 year old)

There is a new main teacher at my child's class - he started teaching few weeks ago. During pick up time when he releases children I see him patting heads or rubbing children's ears in a way that I find inappropriate, excessive compared to what other teachers would do.

I am afraid that he could be a dangerous person.

My first priority is my child. However, there are other aspects, such as safety of other children and the fact that if I am misjudging the teacher's behaviour I could cause dramatic damage to his life if I proceed with making false accusation of this nature.

What should I do?

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    Can you ask your child if the teacher is initiating any other physical contact during class etc. Is your child showing any behavioural changes, or showing any signs of distress since this new teacher started? What you've described on it's own doesn't nescessarily indicate this person is dangerous. My only direct concern with what you've described, is that patting a child on the head can be interpretted as a bit demeaning, like patting a dog. Commented Jan 13, 2022 at 23:14
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    @user1751825 I did not notice behavioural changes or sign of distress. However, I do not want to allow the situation to potentially escalate to that point. Commented Jan 13, 2022 at 23:47
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    ok, then I don't think you can assume that a teacher is dangerous simply because he pats kids on the head when they're leaving class. It sounds like there is just nowhere near enough evidence to make a judgement like this. Commented Jan 14, 2022 at 1:09
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    Are you aware of any other parents raising concerns about this teacher? Commented Jan 14, 2022 at 1:14
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    I don't understand the ear rubbing act. What is ear rubbing? Can you please describe it for me? (Maybe it's a British thing?) I understand pulling on an ear as an inappropriate indication of anger on the part of a teacher, or gently tugging on an earlobe once as a gesture of genial familiarity, and can see it following tussling a child's hair, but I'm completely in the dark as to what constitutes ear rubbing. Commented Jan 14, 2022 at 18:56

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The first thing to do is to see if the school your child is attending have any guidance available. A google search for "Guidance for teachers on physical contact with Children UK" returned a number of results many of them specific to individual schools ranging widely in level of detail available.

These general documents would help you get an idea of what the education industry itself feels is acceptable and if your school provides a specific one it will help you understand their policy.

You're right that an accusation of inappropriate contact is a very serious issue, I would recommend not approaching it as accusation in the first instance. Initially a conversation with the teacher directly to highlight the specific behaviour you're concerned about or if you're not comfortable talking to the teacher directly then you'll need to go through the school.

I would recommend always starting only with what you know, not any fears or worries about what might be. If you're uncomfortable with a certain type of contact, tell someone that, not that you think this might be a sign of something else.

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    I did speak to the teacher (wrote an email) which seems to have resolved the situation. Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 0:25
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    @whattodoaboutpercivedbadstuff - Good for you! I'm glad things are better. / I was going to say, you could consider letting the supervisor/head teacher know that that level of physical contact makes you uncomfortable. The supervisor can make his or her own observations and then provide feedback to the new teacher - and then the new teacher need not know the concern came from you. / I personally wouldn't be bothered by this, but that is irrelevant. It bothers you, and you have the right to ask that the teacher cool it. Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 1:34

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