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LOSING TOUCH

With teachers and carers no longer allowed to offer comforting hugs – or even put on a plaster, their relationship with the children they look after is suffering, writes Josie Appleton

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It’s an everyday drama at primary schools up and down the country – but according to London teacher Kate Abley, a child wetting himself in the classroom is no longer a molehill, it’s a mountain. “One male teacher refused to change children – he’d get other teachers to do it,” says Abley. “Another teacher would call the child’s mother to come in and deal with it.” Those teachers who were prepared to change a child’s wet pants were supposed to take another adult into the changing rooms, to keep an eye on them. “The whole thing was completely impractical.”

There’s a growing panic among childcare professionals about touching young children in their care which, says a group of academics at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Institute of Education, is causing concern and uncertainty about what’s OK and what’s not when it comes to innocent physical contact with youngsters.

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