Concerns about secondary school - DD just started yr7

(98 Posts)
PermaShattered Sun 15-Sep-13 22:12:54

I could do with some advice/guidance. My DD started year 7 in secondary school two weeks ago and i'm going into school later this week to air some concerns.

My DD has settled well and really enjoying herself on the whole. Some will recognise me as the mum of a child offered a grammar school place which was then withdrawn 7 days later (investigation still ongoing...). So to have her settling in well is fantastic smile

Anyway, these are my concerns/worries:

1. Mobile phone policy: no phones allowed. If seen in school they are confiscated, to be collected only by parents. If found a second time, their bags will be searched.

2. The children have no lockers or cloakroom and have to carry everything around with them. There is nowhere to leave anything.

3. So - if they have a coat with them they are not allowed to hang them on the back of their chairs, they must put them on the floor.

4. Lunchtimes: these are half an hour (the school day ends at 3pm). They have 20 mins to eat, then have to sit in silence and read for 10 mins.

I won't say (at this point) what i think of those - because I'd like to hear what others think, and whether the school is breaching any rules/regulations, etc

Many thanks is advance!

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 15-Sep-13 23:10:01

DD1 and DS go to different schools. Phone thing? Standard. For both of them. Lack of lockers, laces to put coats etc? Same at Dd1s (Grammar) school. They do have lockers at DSs school. Lunch thing? Odd. I would t be fussed about doing a bit of reading but when do they have choir, orchestra, jazz band, book club, drama etc?

meditrina Sun 15-Sep-13 23:11:30

Though I think the lunchtime stipulations are weird, and I can't think of any regulations that any of the examples you give would contravene, I would take issue with the requirement for a parent to pick up the mobile unless the school has an office which remains open well into the evenings, especially on Fridays. The are sanctions other than overnight /weekend confiscation that could be used. The removal of the means of communication, on which families may rely, is disproportionate and may even have safety implications.

tiggytape Sun 15-Sep-13 23:12:17

These are pretty standard in most secondary school (or at least most larger ones - many have 6-10 classes per year group now so with thousands of children per school there's some staggered lunches and no room for lockers).

No phones means no visible / audible phones (so they can have it switched off, in the bag and never taken out during school hours). Ours also confiscates any phones that are seen - it is to reduce bullying because they can film and upload on phones now and because phones are a distraction in school.

The only one I haven't heard of is enforced silent reading at lunchtime. That sounds very odd! Ours have a short lunch break but can spend it eating and talking. Most clubs are after school but we're in London with O.K transport and tiny catchment areas so nobody has to rush home or travel far.

burberryqueen Sun 15-Sep-13 23:15:20

the phone thing is out of order tho' - what if pupils need to contact their parents after school and cannot get their phone? it then becomes a child protection issue doesnt it?

BoundandRebound Sun 15-Sep-13 23:15:30

I wouldn't go in if I were you.

NoComet Sun 15-Sep-13 23:20:38

No phones would have my DDs changing schools, given some of the antics their bus has managed.

Short lunch times, with no time for clubs are barmy, ours has been cut and I don't approve. No talking, no socialising, no relaxing.

That and no phones makes me smell a huge discipline rat. Both demonstrate no trust in the pupils at all.

NoComet Sun 15-Sep-13 23:22:56

We're rural, pushing clubs to after school would cause huge problems as there is no public transport.

At present we have kept 45 min lunch and they are just possible.

NoComet Sun 15-Sep-13 23:25:00

We have lockers, not enough, and you have just reminded me DD2 needs to pay to renew hers.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 15-Sep-13 23:26:19

DS's school have late buses on club nights. Good thing I think.

curlew Sun 15-Sep-13 23:26:31

"the phone thing is out of order tho' - what if pupils need to contact their parents after school and cannot get their phone? it then becomes a child protection issue doesnt it?"

Really? At ds's school, if they need to contact a parent they go to the reception desk and ask to us the phone. He has his mobile with him because I need to pick him up- we live 5 miles from the school, and I need to know if he's going somewhere else after school. But he doesn't need to use it in school time.

PurpleGirly Sun 15-Sep-13 23:38:29

How did pupils manage before mobile phones? They are not needed in classrooms and are a problem for teachers so there has to be a rule. My school is the same as OP in that after one sighting it goes away and if seen a second it goes to the office.

Marmitelover55 Sun 15-Sep-13 23:48:13

My DD1 is allowed her phone, but can only use out of lesson time and not in the corridor. Her lunch time is - hour and 5 minutes which is good, although they don't finish until 3.45. All of the children have lockers and coats can go in there if worn.

Marmitelover55 Sun 15-Sep-13 23:48:52

Oops her lunch is 1 hour and 5 minutes.

BackforGood Mon 16-Sep-13 00:05:08

Phones - fairly standard

Lack of lockers - fairly common (fortunately both ds and dds' schools have them, but more didn't than did, when I looked round

Weird about not being able to put them on the backs of their chairs - I wonder why not ? Mind, not an issue, as not many secondary school pupils wear coats anyway.

Lunchtime - my dc get 40mins, but a shorter lunch does seem fairly common.

Silent reading - never ever heard of this at secondary - used to do it in a lot of Primary schools, but it was in lesson time, not break time. How on earth do they get everyone served and time to eat and time to go to the toilet, if the school only effectively has 20mins ? confused

FunnyRunner Mon 16-Sep-13 00:12:49

All normal.

FunnyRunner Mon 16-Sep-13 00:15:26

(and I suspect the 'silent reading' is wishful thinking on the part of school - or will fade away within weeks... There is a tendency to lay down the law with Yr 7 when they start, so they get a sense that the school means business. It's like the old teaching adage 'never smile before Christmas' - start strict and then relax. BTW no one does this before some outraged soul appears saying it's disgusting not smiling at children etc etc.)

TSSDNCOP Mon 16-Sep-13 00:25:18

1. Leave phone switched off in bag, no one will know its there.

2. Will promote organisation-cant carry excess crap about

3. But, why no pegs in the classroom - surely crap all over floor is trip risk and wrecks their gear. Trip risk is the but the school should card about.

4. Would prefer 10 minutes in fresh air myself. Then again I'd prefer an hours break but that might just be me.

Glad DD is settling well, I recall your situation.

cory Mon 16-Sep-13 07:20:39

In ds' school phones have to be handed in at reception in the morning. This ensures that students can still contact parents if transport breaks down but that classes are not interrupted by constant ringtones. Sounds pretty solomonic to me.

meditrina Mon 16-Sep-13 07:26:09

It's not just the need for the phone in school (I agree you don't actually need one in school at all). You may well need one after school, though, especially if travelling alone on public bus (as public phone boxes are dying out), or at any point over a weekend (if confiscation on Friday).

It's the requirement for parents to collect that is the problem, not the control of phones in school (including pupil pick up confiscation, detention, other sanctions etc).

Auntfini Mon 16-Sep-13 07:26:28

Is the silent reading accelerated reading? Are there quizzes to do op?

BellaVita Mon 16-Sep-13 07:57:24

All normal in the secondary school I work in apart from the silent reading (which they do in form time).

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 16-Sep-13 09:02:36

All the same here, except a longer lunch break.

JohnnyUtah Mon 16-Sep-13 09:13:45

Phones - standard policy, keep it switched off in the bag and you will have no problems. Schools aren't trying to stop kids being able to call home to say the bus is late, they are trying to stop them texting in lessons and photographing people for Facebook.

Lockers - don't go there. Even when they are provided half the kids won't use them and carry everything around, which the staff have all known for years.

Lunchtime is a bit short but they are hardly going to change it for you ,are they?!

Give it time, you are probably picking up on the negatives because if the whole grammar school debacle. Which is quite understandable but still means you wil be "that" parent if you go in about these things.

PermaShattered Mon 16-Sep-13 09:20:03

Hi all, loads of responses - thank you! I've only got through the first page but will read rest later. But i've been asked for my thoughts so quickly (else i won't get round to it until tonight because of work deadlines) -

It's reassuring to know most of these policies are normal in many schools. Anyway, these are my thoughts:

1. I know it's likely i only have the half the story from my DD!

2. Mobile phones: i agree with the policy but think having bag searched is a bit heavyhanded - at this point anyway.

3. No lockers: what if child has PE and cooking, for instance, in one day? And musical instrument? Could be tricky. Walking boots, for instance, in snow - with shoes to carry for indoors? It's fine to carry your stuff around with you day - if you don't have a lot with you.

4. Coats: this is the one that really annoys me. I don't my children coats for them to be left on a grubby floor. Most of the kids don't wear a coat to the school. I have seen them every morning while taking my children to primary school and often said/though: "They must be frozen!" Now i know why. My DD will walk occasionally. If she has a winter coat I can't see that fitting in her bag.

5. Lunchtime: I'm in two minds! Apparently, this was the preference for pupils when surveyed a few years back as it meant they get out of school early. It swings in roundabouts I suppose. But not being able to stretch their legs/get any fresh air even for a few mins seems counterproductive to me.

Someone asked about the EFA situation - I keep meaning to update that thread as a lot of people have been privately contacting me about it for updates which is really lovely smile Anyway, it's still ongoing. Interestingly, the EFA split our complaint into 9 separate heads of alleged maladministration. And that was about the appeal itself not what led up to it! It's taking a while but i expected it to.

Anyway, will revisit you later. Thanks for comments, they've really helped.

PermaShattered Mon 16-Sep-13 09:20:44

sorry - don' BUY my coats for them to be left on floor....

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