A Day in the Life of a Schools Liaison Coordinator

At 8 o’ clock I am on my way from the station to a primary school; a journey of 40 miles. The local radio station accompanies me some of the way before we part company due to poor reception, and it’s over to my latest CD. There’s a call coming in on the hands free mobile, I recognise the number.

“Hi, I’m just passing through town”, I say; “No problem, just wanted you to know that the lesson this morning at 9:10am has been changed to 9:30am – I’m doing an assembly first at the request of the head teacher – they’ve had a few issues with mobile phones”. “Ok, see you shortly” I say.

At my first appointment this morning I will be observing a lesson called “Be Cyber Safe.” It explores the positive uses of digital communication, cyberbullying and what to do about it.

Arriving at the school I am delighted to find a visitor’s parking space easily, a rare experience!!! Dodging the rain shower and entering the school I am met by my School Community Police Officer (SCPO). I fumble with my school visitor badge as she whisks me away to the school hall. Using a short PowerPoint assembly presentation she confidently engages pupils aged 8-11 years in a talk about the impact of making hurtful comments through social networking sites. I manage to whisper a few words with the Head teacher at the side of the hall. He is very complimentary of the service he receives from the school programme and the positive impact the sessions and contact with the school officer has on his pupils. 

I am always warmly welcomed in the schools I visit and this occasion is no different. Assembly over, I am now sitting on a small pupil sized chair; pen and paper at the ready, to formally assess the delivery of the lesson by the SCPO. This is an important part of my role as it ensures quality control, corporacy of the programme and most importantly for the SCPO, it offers them positive feedback to benefit from my years of experience as a classroom teacher. The session goes along at an excellent pace and it is clear in the plenary that pupils have achieved the aims of the lesson. 

‘I learned that I can block people who I don’t want to receive messages from,’ says one boy.

“Cyberbullying is every bit as hurtful as face to face bullying” says another.

 ‘You should save any messages you get as evidence,” a girl adds, and finally another girl comments “You should not join in with bullying but tell someone like a teacher.”

I spend twenty minutes chatting with the officer about the lesson. There are lots of positive comments made. I suggest one thing for development and he agrees it would be a help.

“Are you a plain clothes cop?” I am asked as I leave the foyer. Tempted to say yes, I instead shake my head at the bright eyed lad. “I am a teacher who works for the Police,” Immediately I can tell he is no longer impressed and he walks away.

I now have 20 minutes to cross the city to my next appointment which is a multi-agency meeting. Here, I am one of a number of agencies in attendance. I represent the Police element of the School Health Improvement Programme. We are a key agency leading the Drug and Substance Misuse work of this initiative. Agenda met and opportunities for networking grasped, I am off to my next appointment; a School Officer team meeting in the Vale.

The venue for the meeting is a local police station, where I am met by 3 SCPOs. The agenda is full but formalities are dispensed with as we have worked together for several years. These meetings occur bi-monthly.

They are an opportunity to exchange important information between us and allow me to offer the appropriate support needed by the officers. I also have a lot of promotional material to give to the officers to be distributed to school, so I split the boxes up between them.

Checking my phone which has been on silent, I discover I have 4 missed calls and 3 messages. Two can wait but the third must be attended to before the journey back to my office.

The message asks if I can drop by at a local school. Filming is taking place with a production company that has been commissioned to carry out a new DVD resource for the programme.

This will add an hour on to my working day, but it is important and so I take the 10 minute journey to the school. Here I meet the small production team, actors and pupils involved in the film. They are shooting one of the key scenes of an anti-bullying DVD. I am impressed with the cast and the energy it takes to get the best from the youngsters. By the time I leave I am looking forward to seeing the results.

I am now travelling back to the office with thoughts of tomorrow’s appointments on my mind. I have 3 emails to write before leaving the office.

Once at the computer, in trepidation I switch on my Outlook to find 25 emails requiring my attention. Having quickly skimmed and prioritised I end my day with a list of to-dos for attention in the morning. With the click of the mouse, I send the last email of the day. 

It’s now 5.30pm I throw a fist full of documents into my bag ready for the next day. It feels good to cross a number of things off my ever growing to do list.