chapter  9
You’re only a dinner lady!
Pages 12

SALVE-Strategies for a Less Violent Environment-was originally my response to classroom teachers telling me that they often spent much of the afternoon’s teaching time sorting out difficulties that had arisen over lunchtime. This need to improve the overall lunchtime environment coincided with the time when the role of the ‘dinner lady’ changed to that of lunchtime organiser/supervisor as a result of the teachers’ strikes of the late 1980s. It became apparent that suddenly there was an enormous army of untrained, low paid women (without exception all lunchtime organisers I have met have been female, although I know that some male lunchtime organisers do exist) responsible for children for between a fifth and a quarter of the school day. The main aim in developing training for primary school lunchtime organisers was to enable them to do their job more effectively, to raise their status, and thus to contribute towards reducing the overall level of violence in the school. For the purpose of this project, violence was defined in its broadest sense to include anything f rom excessive noise, whistle blowing and shouting to overt physical violence and bullying.