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Would anyone mind giving me their opinion on detention in secondary school please for my Teaching Assistant course

(82 Posts)
LittleMisslikestobebythesea Fri 08-Aug-14 14:31:07

Don't know if I am allowed to ask, apologies if not, sorry MNHQ blush I am a regular poster.

I am doing my assignments for my teaching assistant level 3 course, and one of them is about secondary school and people's thoughts on detention.

As both my children and my friends children are in primary, while I have opinions on it, it would obviously be useful to have opinions from parents with older children.

If I am not allowed to post/need to post elsewhere let me know and I will report myself! grin

Thank you for your help smile

ElephantsNeverForgive Sat 09-Aug-14 10:58:38

DDs maths teacher is great, but there seems to be a few DCs in sets 2/3 and in more mixed ability stuff like art and drama who are determined to do no work even though they are capable of getting C/B grades.

Just throwing these DCs in detention does not for fill the need to find out why they are willing to risk their futures for want of 3 months effort.

Higheredserf Sat 09-Aug-14 10:39:37

They have made dc litter pick at after school detentions at my DS school. After school ones are for serious offences and break time ones for less serious. He has had two break time detentions one for talking so justified and one which seemed a little unfair as he was the last to sit down at the start of a lesson.

I don't agree with all class detentions at all, very unfair.

Maryz Sat 09-Aug-14 10:27:08

That's awful Rooners flowers

With hindsight, I think that's how ds1 felt about school. I wish he had told me - though I'm not sure I would have had the strength to take him out.

I'm very different with ds2 though - there are days I just let him stay at home because I know mentally he won't cope with the day. I also sometimes let him do his homework after breakfast and take him in late, for the same reason.

I think schools need to be more flexible rather than having a strict "one size fits all, and if you don't fit we will punish you" policy.

Though I suppose that's really deviating from the point of the thread.

Sorry op smile

Rooners Sat 09-Aug-14 10:20:59

I don't pin it all on the teachers btw. There are a lot of parents who terrified of the consequences of allowing a child not to attend mainstream will enforce it themselves till they are blue in the face. People are sometimes simply too ignorant to understand children's needs.

I remember sitting at the table at home one morning with my mother when I was 10 or 11, crying and saying that I couldn't face another day at school, and her putting her head in her hands and actually screaming.

She said it really scared her because it was not 'normal'.

So whatever schools do there will be children who are at the receiving end of some serious parental issues, probably physical violence and all sorts of threats and dramatics.

I could never be a teacher

Maryz Sat 09-Aug-14 10:14:55

Exactly Elephants.

Some teachers are willing to accept good excuses, occasionally, from otherwise hardworking children.

Others just snap occasionally and give out detentions randomly, not taking any notice of who has a good reason and who hasn't done any homework at all for a month hmm

Yes BadDog, exactly, but that's fair enough for 14 year olds; by 16 any child who wants to do well with do homework without the thread. If they haven't learned by then, there realistically is little a teacher can do.

Maryz Sat 09-Aug-14 10:12:41

"Children who don't want to be there shouldn't be"

I agree with you absolutely. This forcing 15 to 19 year olds who are not academic, never were academic, never wanted to be academic to spend 6-7 hours a day 40 weeks a year sitting in a classroom is just torture.

No wonder they kick up, no wonder they cause trouble outside school.

Compulsory education might seem like a good idea, but does it have to be dry English and Maths and History and sitting at a desk?

If they put some of the education money into teaching kids trades for example, that might solve some of the lack of interest and disruption for older teenagers at least [sigh]

BadDog Sat 09-Aug-14 10:09:08

detention, like prison wink isnt just for the offender though. it is to give a firm message to others that whatever the behaviour was is nOT acceptable.

Rooners Sat 09-Aug-14 10:08:46

By the way I should probably mention that I wasn't deliberately disruptive or badly behaved. I just cried a lot and had horrendous panic attacks that no one knew how to help me with. But I adapted into secondary for a time by going barefoot and escaping to the orchards and sitting in trees a lot, eating my lunch outside alone in winter, or hiding in a practice room with a piano. Miserable life but it could have been avoided.

Rooners Sat 09-Aug-14 10:05:47

In a school where all the children want to achieve and are basically well-behaved it isn't necessary, but in a school where a proportion of kids don't want to be there at all and are destroying things for the others, a teacher has to do something.

Yes - this is a fundamental issue isn't it, and one which I have neither the skill nor the experience to address. It is something that makes me question the entire premise of compulsory school education tbh.

Children who do not want to be there should not be forced to be there imho. I know what it is to be in that situation, because I was a school refuser from the age of 8 or 9 and it built into significant mental health issues by the time I was a teenager. All I knew was that I did not want to be at school.

If just one person had said to me, Ok, that's Ok, you can do this instead - anything, anything at all - then it would have helped me so much I don't know where to begin.

I think we have to take a step back into the causes of this stuff rather than implement a cure-all from the top down. In the mean time I guess you have got whatever protocols are at your disposal and it cannot be an easy job.

ElephantsNeverForgive Sat 09-Aug-14 10:02:24

Maryz that is exactly the problem, anyone who couldn't complete (even though they had practicals in music art and drama) Maths past papers was likely to fetch up in detention because of a few serial lazy arses. These DCs need to become HOD, progress leaders problem rather than spoiling the atmosphere for everyone else at a very stressful time.

Maryz Sat 09-Aug-14 09:50:57

I wonder what the answer is to persistent non-homework-doing? I get the idea of punishment for 14/15 year olds actually, because if 25 children in a class see that 3 or 4 aren't doing it and are getting away with it, a few of them will also stop doing it. So a teacher has to enforce homework somehow with this age group.

With older kids, yes, it's their problem if they don't do the work and by that stage the other kids should have matured enough to realise that it's up to them, the teacher shouldn't be wasting time on enforcement.

Rooners, what consequence would you suggest for continual low-level disruption in class or continual refusal to do any work? I'm just curious, because if teachers can't "punish" what can they do? In a school where all the children want to achieve and are basically well-behaved it isn't necessary, but in a school where a proportion of kids don't want to be there at all and are destroying things for the others, a teacher has to do something.

ElephantsNeverForgive Sat 09-Aug-14 09:43:39

The other problem with no HW = detention is it babies the pupils.

It's utterly ridiculous that I had to write a note for my 16y DD explaining why she hadn't done a maths past paper.

It was a watertight reason, she could explain perfectly herself.

And works experience etc. wonder why it's mummy who rings. It's because that's how it has to be at school. Inflexible discipline systems get parents involved for really petty things we would have sorted out ourselves.

Rooners Sat 09-Aug-14 09:24:20

And therefore no - I do not support a school using detention.

Rooners Sat 09-Aug-14 09:23:01

Polkadots that sounds more like it. My school was a girls' grammar and behaviour was generally excellent. Detention was not common. Other schools around us used it a lot more.

If a child has done something minor, by accident perhaps or through misunderstanding etc then a discussion ought to sort that out and ensure it isn't repeated.

If they have done something more deliberate and major then a detention is unlikely to address the root cause of the behaviour. So it isn't particularly appropriate for any situation that I can see.

Rooners Sat 09-Aug-14 09:18:48

Oh sorry someone replied to my post way back...

'Rooners, you have I idea what those children had done wrong to get their punishment, perhaps your child is an angel, or are you a parent that does not support your child's school? Do you not think poor behaviour should result in a consequence in a large community?'

Ermmm...no, I have no idea what they had done. I don't really care tbh - picking up everyone's litter isn't likely to sort it out imo. If the child did something undesirable then it needs to be explained to them, discussed, etc etc. I suspect the school just uses this system as a substitute for something more effective and less humiliating, as was often the case when I was at school, though my school was better.

Not sure what my own child's behaviour has to do with this. Or my supportive status in regard to my child's school(s).

Obviously poor behaviour has consequences - it often has natural consequences but when it doesn't particularly, I'm not certain that contrived ones are essential.

I hate the word 'punishment' in this context, as though a punishment is likely to sort out a behaviour. Prisons are for my money more of a security thing, ie people are kept there for a time in order to protect the rest of society from a perceived risk.

What takes place within the prison is another matter entirely.

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams Fri 08-Aug-14 20:35:37

My school never used detentions. Punishments were being told off, or having to explain to the teacher (escalated to form teacher/head of year if necessary) about the misbehaviour.

Occasionally somebody would be sent to stand outside the door or maybe work in the next room (all the depts had classrooms together, so the teacher would ask their colleague teaching in there to keep an eye on them). That was for constant disruption. I think the worst punishment was to be put 'on report' - you had a sheet that had to be signed by the teacher after every lesson saying if behaviour had been satisfactory.

But detentions never happened. I think the teachers preferred to deal with behaviour as it occurred rather then putting it off and having to man a detention later on! But because nobody gave detentions it just wasn't in the school's culture. I think we all behaved well. Being told why you'd upset/disappointed the teacher I think is worse than sitting around for half an hour.

Interestingly, there was a new head who gave a detention (not for something huge, uniform related maybe? It was a long time ago!). It caused a lot of trouble - the teachers didn't agree with it at all, and I don't think anyone was prepared to run a 'session'.

PittTheYounger Fri 08-Aug-14 20:12:52

Our place has a ban on whole class ones

I would suggest you contact your Head about their policy on this.

Wolfiefan Fri 08-Aug-14 20:11:40

I don't believe whole class detentions are fair or useful.
Detentions for HW not done can be a chance for HW to be done but shouldn't necessarily be the first and only consequence. I also think schools need to be a bit flexible eg family member in hospital or needing to use a computer etc.
Detentions for behaviour can only be part of a strategy. Far too often the same kids end up in DT again and again and couldn't care less.
(Secondary teacher and Y6 parent.)

LittleMisslikestobebythesea Fri 08-Aug-14 20:03:34

Thank you for all your replies, I appreciate them.

And I don't mind the thread derailing as any information is useful!

It is asked as part of a question about behaviour policies and specifically mentions detentions and asked to gain opinion from others to give a wider opinion I guess.

I knew I would get a wide variety of opinions on here grin

Thanks again thanks

lazee Fri 08-Aug-14 19:25:43

Thanks Maryz. Time for bed here. smile

Maryz Fri 08-Aug-14 19:09:29

Don't worry about it lazee smile

I think threads do derail a bit as they morph into discussions rather than question and answer sessions, but that doesn't stop them being valuable to the op. She can trawl through it and take helpful bits and ignore the rest.

I like the idea of dancing in goalie kit too.

lazee Fri 08-Aug-14 19:04:50

Knuckles rapped,, sorry if I offended anyone. I know how bloody hard it can be to be a damn good TA. I studied hard and I love my job.
Sorry again.

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Fri 08-Aug-14 18:33:58

I love the dancing in his kit detention!

I tend to keep kids back for a very short amount of time, just to inconvenience them and to prove the point that I am the boss. Often if they are kicking off, saying they won't stay back, I keep them for three minutes - gives everyone else time to leave so they are just behind their mates.

Maryz Fri 08-Aug-14 18:28:39

I shall refrain from saying "Back at you" because you sound a bit unreasonably cross.

scaevola Fri 08-Aug-14 18:28:36

Detentions should never be considered alone - they are utterly useless unless part of a wider discipline policy (which covers both reward and sanction).

OP: is the question really asking only about detention, not appropriate discipline policy for teenagers?

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