Serving lunch with a little care

Lunchtime supervisors (also known as lunchtime assistants and midday meals supervisors) work in primary, secondary and special schools, looking after children during the lunch break.

As a school lunchtime supervisor, your tasks during the meal would include:

l helping children who are in difficulties, for example with cutting up food

l encouraging good table manners

l making sure behaviour does not become too boisterous.

After the meal you would:

l supervise children in the playground (or in the hall or classroom in wet weather)

l stop any dangerous behaviour

l deal with any quarrels or fights

l comfort children who are upset

l deal with minor injuries such as cuts, grazes and bruises

l sometimes organise games.

You would work between noon and 1.30pm on school days. You would usually work less than ten hours a week, in term time only.

Your job would involve a lot of standing and walking, both inside the school and outdoors in the playground, often in cold weather.

School lunchtime supervisors can earn around £7 an hour.

Senior lunchtime supervisors can earn around £10 an hour.

In bigger schools, you might have the chance to progress to senior supervisor once you have experience.

And there are opportunities to progress to becoming a teaching assistant.

You will usually need to be at least 18 to become a school lunchtime supervisor.

It could be an advantage if you have basic first aid skills and experience of working with children.

You will need Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) clearance.

Once you start work, you will receive training on the job from experienced staff.

If you have not already got first aid skills you might be asked to undertake a first aid course.

Other qualifications you could work towards include the Level 2 Award or Certificate in Support Work in Schools. See the Training and Development Agency or Schools website for details.

To get the most satisfaction from working as a midday meals supervisor, you may find the following character traits useful:

l enjoying working with children and having the ability to control and supervise them

l patience

l the ability to stay calm in an emergency

l good communication skills

l a reasonable level of fitness

l the ability to work as part of a team.

Look for vacancies in newspapers, in Jobcentre offices and on local authority websites.