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 Some will recognise me as the mum of a child offered a grammar school place which was then withdrawn 7 days later (investigation still ongoing...).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!

coppertop Sun 15-Sep-13 22:19:18

The phone policy is fairly common. Some schools allow them if they are kept switched off, but that's about it usually.

No lockers or cloakrooms is also common too, especially if it's a large school. If you have over 1000 children, that's a lot of space being taken up by lockers.

A short lunch break is common. I've never heard of children having to sit in silence and read though. Sounds very odd.

chickensaladagain Sun 15-Sep-13 22:20:48

Phone policy is pretty standard

Not having lockers or choosing not to use lockers -pretty standard

If you have an issue with coats on the floor, surely they can put them in their bag?

Lunch -is your dc missing something somewhere? How on earth do they get the whole school through lunch if they only get half an hour? They can spend that long queuing up at dd's school

All normal except for the silent reading bit (& as an English teacher I kind of like that one!)

EvilTwins Sun 15-Sep-13 22:23:21

Mobile phones - perfectly normal. Keep them off and in bags, then if they need them after school, they have them. If a parent needs to contact a child during the day (and vice versa) they can do it through the school office.

Lockers - some do, some don't. We do for yr 7 & 6th form, but not for 8-11. Not sure why, but the kids seem fine with it.

Coats - your secondary school aged child wears one? Most seem to not bother... Either way, they're just as safe on the floor as on the chair. OK, they might get mucky, but the same could happen at a cinema, theatre, etc etc.

Lunchtime. 30 mins is fine - no rules broken there. Do you have the bit about silent reading in writing from the school? I find it hard to believe that kids are not encourage (let alone not allowed!) to get a bit of fresh air/run around a bit. Check that one before going in with your guns blazing.

Labro Sun 15-Sep-13 22:26:31

Phone policy - very normal, they may allow children to leave a named phone in the office if necessary?
Lockers - very normal, local secondary has 2000+ kids and tells them what sort of backpack to get and to use one of the 'fold up' waterproof type coats.
Lunch - sounds like an allocated lunch slot and they do silent reading before the
start of the next lesson.
So, all standard stuff for a large state secondary.

Hulababy Sun 15-Sep-13 22:26:35

What is they need a phone before/after school? DD's secondary (also Y7) allows phones. They must be switched off during school hours but can be used at lunchtime. Makes life easier after school when DD is sorting out meeting me near my school though. A lot of the school have lengthy commutes though - maybe why they permit them.

DD has a locker in her form room. They leave stuff in there during the day and overnight - just carry what they need for lessons or homework. Coat can go in here too. She has a blazer which must be worn but they can remove it and put it on chair back in lessons.

DD also has a sports locker when sports bag and all kit lives - brought home each half term.

Lunch time is an hour or so. Due to lots of school buses, etc there are clubs at lunchtimes rather than after school. DD and her friends go to eat in the canteen and then have free time. Not allowed to leave school grounds, but they can sit outside with friends, or go to a club or use the library in this time.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 15-Sep-13 22:29:50

Phones - very standard to confiscate phones seen out during the day I think. What's the searching the bag thing? What are they searching for, if the phone is out?

Lockers - we have lockers for year 7 only. DS has had a locker in year 7 and again in year 8. No room for lockers for everyone. And students can only use lockers at before or after school, or lunchtime. Not between lessons.

Coats - in/on bags. Bags on the floor.

Lunch - our lunch is 30 mins too. I agree it's too short - especially for teachers. I spend most of it sorting stuff out. Where do they sit in silence?! Our students have to go out...

duckyfuzz Sun 15-Sep-13 22:30:18

All pretty standard rules really. They get through in half an hour by having different years in at different times I imagine, many schools do this. Presumably phones are ony confiscated if they are seen, so if the phone is off and in the bag, not being used in or between lessons, it may be ok.

Unexpected Sun 15-Sep-13 22:30:18

Wouldn't like the mobile phone policy and don't think it is practical these days. I'm not a parent who feels I have to be in contact with my children ALL the time but if their train is delayed e.g. I do want to know where they are. Like it or not, I also think life in general these days is geared towards everyone being easily contactable and as an example our PE dept is notorious for only notifying us of matches at short notice and demanding an almost instant response from the kids as to whether they can make it. If pupils don't have access to phones, it requires a complete change of mindset on communication.

Would hate if my dc didnt have a locker as I am sure ds1 would refuse to ever bring a coat with him if he had to carry it all day and ds2 would just leave a trail of possessions all around the school. Having said that, is this a space/expense issue? I suppose 1000 lockers must take up quite a lot of space.

Why on earth are they not allowed to hang coats on a chair? Apart from putting coats on dusty/wet floors surely there is a H&S issue of getting things tangled up in chairs all the time?

Lunchtime - half an hour is not very long and while I admire the effort to get teenagers to read at all, surely they need to get out and stretch their legs, play football etc more than they need to read?

Is this a new or established school PO?

SprinkleLiberally Sun 15-Sep-13 22:31:47

Phone is normal and good. Everyone knows they have them but being off and away means no distraction and also reduces bullying issues.

Lack of lockers is also normal due to lack of space. They tend not to carry textbooks now so generally ok.

Lunch is short but not uncommon. Lunchtime can be a difficult time for some pupils.

Coat thing is a pain but not the end of the world.

Come on then op. We've given our thoughts, so what are yours?

burberryqueen Sun 15-Sep-13 22:33:54

hardly any of them wear coats anyway
the bag searching thing sounds a bit hmm
no lockers - normal

Unexpected Sun 15-Sep-13 22:34:21

Umm... from the OPs post, I thought she meant that phones would be confiscated even if off? Obviously, I don't think pupils need to have their phones on during the day. However, everyone else interpreted it as phones allowed but turned off. Can we check which it is OP?

TheFallenMadonna Sun 15-Sep-13 22:34:37

If your phone is switched off and in your bag, then it won't be confiscated, because nobody will know its there. DS has a phone, so he can tell me when if he misses the bus for example. But it stays in his bag until then.

titchy Sun 15-Sep-13 22:35:10

All normal apart from the silent reading bit which I find hard to believe. Teenagers need to run around outside! Half an hour for lunch is a good idea assuming staggered properly - limits 'hanging around' time. Clubs happen after school rather than lunchtime with everyone turning up in dribs and drabs wolfing down a sandwich.

titchy Sun 15-Sep-13 22:35:48

What happened with theEFAby the way?

AlaskaNebraska Sun 15-Sep-13 22:36:16

gah - the phone thing is so old hat
ours not allowed to use them in lessons - otherwise fine.

Often they use in lessons to photograph the board/ text books/ homework

cece Sun 15-Sep-13 22:36:26

1. Phone policy same at my DC school. No problem from me with it or DC.

2. This would annoy me, We live 1.5 miles away so DC often leave things in their lockers to save carrying it back and forth all the time.

3. No coats allowed unless exceptional weather is forecast.

4. As long as they get their food promptly then no problem to me that one. My DC get and an hour but have issues with food running out if they don't get in the queue quickly enough.

noblegiraffe Sun 15-Sep-13 22:40:00

None of those rules seem particularly outrageous. With phones, if one is switched off and in the bottom of a school bag, teachers will never know it is there, if you are particularly desperate for your DD to have one.

Lugging stuff around school is normal. My school does provide lockers but not many of the kids can be arsed to use them, especially with the risk of them being broken into (although we now have CCTV).

No coats on the backs of chairs is a bit weird, but putting your bag on the floor and your coat on the bag wouldn't seem that big a deal.

I'd love to know how they enforce silent reading after lunch!

Unexpected Sun 15-Sep-13 22:41:42

Must try to fit all my points in one post! blush When you say if phones are found a second time, then bags are searched - what for? If the phone has been found and confiscated, what are they searching the bag for - more phones, something else entirely? On the half hour lunch thing, also meant to say that it may depend on catchment" for the school. DC attend a Catholic school for some kids travel perhaps 15 miles. If some clubs didn't run at lunch, a section of pupils would never get to take part in anything extra-curricular.

ExitPursuedByADragon Sun 15-Sep-13 22:42:29

Sounds crap to me.

No phones at DD's school (ha ha) but they have lockers and a long lunch time when they can chill with their mates and get some fresh air. Although DD does complain of boredom at lunchtime confused

And they have cloakrooms, in which they can hang their coats. A bloody waterproof would not cut the mustard in the depth of winter.

curlew Sun 15-Sep-13 22:46:41

I have two children in two different secondary schools. So I can give you different replies!
"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.

This is not the case in either of my children's schools, but it is in all the the secondary schools in the area. Dd is allowed her phone, but it will be taken away if the teachers think they ar taking the piss. Ds is not allowed to take his out of his bag apart from at lunch time.

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

Dd has lockers. Ds doesn't.

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.

Don't know about this- I think ds just shoves his coat in his bag. Dd has a locker.

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.

This is a bit odd- are you sure? Dd has 90 minutes for lunch but they have most their clubs and extra curricular things at lunch time. DS has 40 minutes- they eat then go outside. Is it just a year 7 thing? It might be- I would ring and ask.

KnappShappeyShipwright Sun 15-Sep-13 22:47:27

DD is allowed a mobile phone as long as it is switched off - it's a very rural school and nearly all children travel on buses so it's pretty essential kit.

No lockers and DD has never worn a coat (she has a black pac-a-mac for downpours on the way to & from the bus stop but wouldn't dream of wearing it around school - the shame!). The lack of locker does mean some days she has to carry a school bag, a flute and music folder, swimming kit and football kit for after school, but the upside is nothing essential is ever left at school or going mouldy in a long forgotten lunchbox.

Lunchtime sounds a bit odd, have you had this info from school or confirmed by other parents? DD has an hour and can do what she fancies, she has nowhere specific to eat her lunch unless she has school dinners but isn't bothered by sitting out with her friends.

Most of those are the same as DD1s school but I think they get a longer lunch break and all children have to silently read for 30 minutes every day.

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....

Okay, based on that I can't really see why you're going into school. None of these things are easily changeable or to your daughter's detriment.

Mobiles - it's a fair policy. She keeps phone out of way = no bag search. Simple. Why would she need mobile during the day?

Lockers - they don't have them. They will have considered this. There's no room for them or it's a big school and having them would slow pupils' movements from lesson to lesson.

Coats - tell her to put it on or in her bag. I assure you it is not this rule stopping teens from wearing coats!

Lunch - bit odd. Might be worth checking details.

SchrodingersFanny Mon 16-Sep-13 09:27:16

Fairly standard in the school I work in. Our lunch break is 40 mins. Schools do it to reduce behaviour issues. A few years ago someone showed that if you only give them enough time to eat and go to the toilet then they don't have time to riot. Not saying I agree with it, as a teacher I'd like a bit longer!

As to coats on chairs, winter coats hung on chairs drag on floor. I trip over them, much more so than bags. So I expect that is it. Hardly any of them wear coats now anyway.

Lockers at our school- problem is if they go to them between lessons they are really late, at break means you have to let them into building, and they get vandalised and take up masses of space.

noblegiraffe Mon 16-Sep-13 09:27:55

Bag searching is probably just in there to let you know that bags can be searched. Which is perfectly allowed, although in practice, I don't know any teachers that actually want to search kids' bags.

If a kid had a phone out, shoved it in their bag, then denied they had one, that would be the situation where a bag search was appropriate. If your DD never has a phone out, it will never come up.

OddBoots Mon 16-Sep-13 09:28:19

As others have said they all sound pretty usual other than the silent reading.

I'd be concerned about cookery stuff being carried all day though. That's how it was done in 'my day' but ds's school has huge fridges in which they put their ingredients at the start of the day and from which they collect their 'creations' at the end of the day (with a few exceptions ie bread which is still kept in food tech but not in the fridge). I would have thought all schools would have to do this to comply with food safety rules these days.

JohnnyUtah Mon 16-Sep-13 09:29:02

No - they don't not wear coats because there is nowhere to out them. They don't wear coats because they don't wear coats! There are loads of threads on here about it. If you are lucky they will wear a white t shirt under their uniform and the school jumper. If you are unlucky they will put a hoodie under their blazer and get it confiscated. But generally they just wear their uniform and no coat.

If you go in you might get a locker for your dd. but she might not use it, whatever you say!

BellaVita Mon 16-Sep-13 09:32:48

DS1 used to have cooking, pe and his guitar lesson on the same day. When he got off the bus he took his guitar to the music room (and pi led it up at the end of the day), took his cookery stuff to the food room. Slung his pe kit over his shoulder.

You will also find the majority of kids don't care about being cold, they would rather be cold than wear a coat.

We have a lot of yr7 parents ringing to say their child has forgotten to pick up their planner from xyz classroom and can someone go find it... Err no!

Tis big school now, they need to be responsible for themselves.

DeWe Mon 16-Sep-13 09:41:33

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. as others have said: standard. However one of the things I like about dd1's school is that they are allowed as long as not seen/heard inside. Actually I've heard worse. Another local school confiscates until July. Great for the parent who finds their kid has "borrowed" theirs for the day on a monthly contract and the school will not give it up. hmm

2. The children have no lockers or cloakroom and have to carry everything around with them. There is nowhere to leave anything.
Check that one. We didn't know until about a month into year 7 when we got a note asking us if they wanted one. They're often so far apart in a big school they can be fairly useless anyway

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. Most secondary age don't take coats until it's freezing, so it may be less of a concern than you think. grin

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.
Dd1's school gives them half an hour, which is a rush. But sit in silence and read???? I wouldn't like to be the person supervising that for the year 11s! Actually dd1 would love that, as she's not the most sociable person. But lunch is a time when they should be making friends etc. so I would have thought an important social time, particuarly for those who know few people. Are you sure that isn't wet play?

curlew Mon 16-Sep-13 09:50:53

My non locker child puts his PE kit in his back pack and takes his instrument straight to the music room in the morning. Same with cooking ingredients.

I don't know what he does with his coat- Ill ask him tonight.

My locker child doesn't actually use hers much, because she'll probably miss her bus if she has to yomp across the school and back at the end of the day.

Don"t think it's a grammar/non grammar thing- I have one in each.

Good luck with getting her to wear walking boots, by the way..........grin

mumsneedwine Mon 16-Sep-13 10:16:51

My kids school has half hour for lunch, which is at one of 3 times, so staggered so whole school gets time to eat. They then have a half hour 2nd break when some clubs run or they can chat (or go to canteen and have 2nd lunch or ice lollies in the summer). School finishes at 3 but hundreds of after school clubs and a late bus if parent can't pick up.
Phones must be off and not seen.
I didn't realise teenagers had coats ! None of mine ever wore one even when snowing.
I can't understand how you would do silent reading at lunch as surely they eat in a hall and then leave.
Hope your DD is enjoying schook.

BellaVita Mon 16-Sep-13 10:22:23

Curlew grin at walking boots. I thought the same! grin

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 16-Sep-13 11:33:06

Johnny - most kids don't want to wear coats. Some do, you know. Especially those with physical conditions which make them feel the cold. Schools don't care though. It took us years for DD1's school to fully appreciate the issues she has with regulating her body temperature.

AlaskaNebraska Mon 16-Sep-13 11:34:00

kids where I am wear coats, rather stylishly

curlew Mon 16-Sep-13 11:34:03

What are you going to say to the school, OP? Do you have other concerns as well? Because I think you might be wasting your time going in to talk about the things you have detailed. Lockers are incredibly expensive, and take up huge amounts of space- I don,t think you are going to change any minds there.

It would be interesting to know about the 10 minutes silent reading thing- is it just for year 7s?

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 16-Sep-13 11:34:10

On musical instruments - at both DD1's and DS's schools instruments have to be stowed in the music room/block in a designated area as soon as the kids arrive at school. Otherwise the insurance isn't valid.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 16-Sep-13 11:40:48

Curlew - if we have a winter like the one we had last year we are considering going in to bat for DD1 to have the right to wear boots to school and keep a pair of acceptable to the school shoes there. She has quite a long walk from the bus to the school, and if it is slppery, with her existing problems.......we (and the school, finally) are doing everything we can to minimise further injury risk. Not stupid things, not mollycoddling, just the sort of things that a sensible adult with her issues (eg ME) would do. And that most definitely includes wearing the right footwear for the weather. It's not just the injury risk either - she is almost always carrying multiple instruments plus her iPad for lessons (she does everything on that now, no more handwriting ever again).

People might well mock her, but they mock her when she goes arse over tit too. IT's her life. She's used to it. Better to be mocked without a sore arse or worse, and with warm dry feet.

AtiaoftheJulii Mon 16-Sep-13 12:35:42

At my kids' schools, if the weather is bad enough for them to need to wear more sturdy footwear to school, they're allowed to keep them on in school. So no worries about lugging your walking boots (sorry, but I laughed too) around.

BellaVita Mon 16-Sep-13 12:48:20

Is she your PFB by any chance OP?

TeenAndTween Mon 16-Sep-13 12:57:15

Assuming as others have said that mobile phones are allowed but have to be off and out of sight.

First 3 are normal.

Lunch time is a bit short, the silent reading is likely to be just before afternoon registration.

I think there are more important things to be concerned about tbh, and going in to school on these is OTT. Perhaps instead either check with other parents or if you really must, email the tutor about (4).

ashleysilver Mon 16-Sep-13 13:12:24

"What if child has PE and cooking, for instance, in one day? And musical instrument?"

My dd's school has an instrument store in the music department, they don't carry them around. It was a few weeks into Y7 before she discovered this, however.

On PE days dd dresses (as far as possible and as much as she can tolerate) in stuff she can wear for PE. They don't get much time to change, so it's just easier.

tiredaftertwo Mon 16-Sep-13 13:32:47

Umm, I think some of these sound odd. Why would you teach teenagers to put things on the floor not hang them up? It is all very well to say most teens don't wear coats but some do - and my children have had to wear walking boots to school in snow and then store or carry them all day.

Has the school had a discipline problem and is cracking down in bootcamp style? That would fit with the coat thing (be more obvious if you were getting stuff out of it in a lesson) and the lunchtime thing.

The locker thing I know is fairly normal and kids in schools with no lockers do seem to find ways and means....the phone thing also fairly normal at the strict end of things, although personally I think schools will need to rethink this now there are so few public phones, and perhaps invest in some public ones on site that the school smart card or whatever can be used on, or find a way for kids to bring their mobiles in. As someone else said, a lot of activities now rely on them.

I am glad she is enjoying herself - I remember your other thread. Is she giving you more jolly details as well?

cricketballs Mon 16-Sep-13 16:37:41

"Another local school confiscates until July. Great for the parent who finds their kid has "borrowed" theirs for the day on a monthly contract and the school will not give it up." That's is the child's fault, not the school - the rules and consequences would have been known by all students and parents

Op - in terms of lockers given that most secondary schools have in excess of 800 students there will be few schools with he space to accommodate that amount of lockers. One school I worked at didn't have the space for a single locker. My current school has about 350 for over 1000 students. Students tend to go share lockers otherwise they do as others have suggested and drop their instrument off to the music room, drop off ingredients first thing and carry their PE kit. although I'm a very soft form tutor and allow my form to store their stuff in my cupboard

I would clarify the lunch time arrangements with regarding silent reading as this would be very difficult to supervise for the whole school. 30 mins is about average for a lunch time in my LA

TheFallenMadonna Mon 16-Sep-13 18:36:38

When I was a tutor, my tutor group often left their stuff in my room if they had too much to carry. If she is over laden, she should ask. There's usually a solution someone can offer.

PermaShattered Mon 16-Sep-13 21:45:55

Haven't read all your posts since i last posted but DD has just told me (out of the blue) that she hates lunchtime - 'it's like a prison'. She said the head of year said anyone speaking during silent reading will be sent to isolation shock
Am i being soft?!

PermaShattered Mon 16-Sep-13 21:52:07

Curlew, you asked what i was going to say to school. I just want to know exactly what the situation. I'm not going in to complain - that was never my intention: just to get to the bottom of it.

I will make clear, though, that if they are expected to put their coats on the floor I won't be expecting my DD to - i think that's wrong. And it teaches children not to care for their belongings apart form anything else.

Lunch times - again, I want to know the exact position - easy for an 11 yr old to misinterpret. I'm surprised there is no info in the school handbook etc.

PermaShattered Mon 16-Sep-13 21:56:23

I'm comparing, too, with my eldest's super selective where the phone policy is too lax; they each have a locker - and more than hour lunchtime. Then again, their school day is 8.35 to 3.35 (my 11 yr old's is 8.45-3pm.

picnicbasketcase Mon 16-Sep-13 21:57:07

Good to read this - DS has just started yr 7 too and I have been quite bemused by the absence of lockers, but I guess it's just standard.

NonnoMum Mon 16-Sep-13 22:00:44

They all sound weird rules to me.

Rufus43 Mon 16-Sep-13 22:09:38

Just checked with son,

Normal for mobile phones, don't think his bag would be searched though

His lunch break is 40 minutes and they can do what they want (within reason!) with no silent reading

They can have a locker but he doesn't use one (to my daughter does)

He doesn't know about coats, he has never seen one over a chair and IF someone brings one in its usually kept in their locker or bag

curlew Mon 16-Sep-13 22:12:15

The lunch time on is the only thing I'd have a problem with- it sounds bonkers. The others all seem pretty normal. I would tell her to shove her coat into her bag rather than put it on the floor, though.

Do they have very little outside space? Or a serious bullying problem they think they can solve by not letting the kids be unsupervised at all?

tiggytape Mon 16-Sep-13 22:38:38

Rufus - my DS's response was similar when I asked him about caots (he hasn't taken one as yet - 4th term at the school). I might as well have asked him where pet aardvarks were stowed during lessons! We went back and forth a bit with puzzled looks on both sides before he conceded that pupils must put them in their bags because he’s never seen one in the school!

tiggytape Mon 16-Sep-13 22:40:41

*coats of course. So rare I cannot spell it!

bruffin Tue 17-Sep-13 08:45:51

the 30 minutes at lunchtime is to keep them out of trouble. At dcs school they have a normal lunch time but a huge amount of clubs to keep them occupied.
DCs school are lax about mobiles, only real rule is off during lessons and on way to lessons and no photos without permission of those being photographed.
Lockers are paid for in yr 7 and they have them all the way through until yr 11
No idea about the coats, but fairly sure they can hang them on back of chair.

PermaShattered Tue 17-Sep-13 09:02:21

Coats are clearly totally uncool for secondary schools! I'm bemused. I wonder why?!

SanityClause Tue 17-Sep-13 09:40:08

Who knows!

When I started at senior school, girls wore their skirts as short as possible, rolling them up, up they could get away with it. Socks were ankle socks. In the winter we wore ties, which were done up in as big a knot as possible.

By the time I left, skirts were long - below the knee was fine - sweaters were worn as big as possible, and socks were thick knee high socks, pushed down around the ankles. Also, there was a specific type of school shoe that was "cool". Ties were worn thin.

Where do these "rules" come from?

tiggytape Tue 17-Sep-13 09:43:18

It was all snoods and legwarmers in my day!

curlew Tue 17-Sep-13 09:46:34

At dd's school, they favour scarves the size of Manhatten, and ds's Superdry jackets. Which have the advantage of being stuffable into bags.

They are allowed to hang them on the backs of chairs, by the way.

Shootingatpigeons Tue 17-Sep-13 12:46:25

To be honest I am shocked that any school not modelled on Strangeways Prison gave their pupils only 20 mins to eat and then 10 mins reading in silence under supervision. At the local comprehensive schools they do only get 40 mins break, and finish at 3 but at least they have to decide how to use their time, no wonder pupils are emerging from school with no initiative. If having time that they have to fill themselves is boring, then boring is good, and if they fill the time playing up they have to learn that is not acceptable either. Perhaps without phones their pupils didn't know what to do? They also have to go outside unless it is raining torrentially or arctic. And what school institutes such a short break because the pupils want it and to go home early? I just hope they have an employer who bows to the sense of entitlement that would give? Do they have a morning break? Having conceded and put in these arrangements they can't change it though.

I wouldn't go in though, year 7 parents tend to still cling on to the close involvement you had at primary. Every year at DDs school the year 7 parents came in asking why they wore skanky sweat shirts, couldn't they have a nice jumper, and every 3 or 4 years they tried to trial a nice jumper and not a single pupil would be seen dead in it. Hell would freeze over before they wore a coat. That is until year 11ish when they suddenly realise they don't have to follow the herd and freeze. I made my DDs take a coat but was under no illusions it didn't get stuffed in their bag. It just made me feel better that should they be crouched in a gutter by the bus stop with the beginnings of hypothermia there would be a source of insulation available to them.

Their last Headmistress walked on to the stage on the first day of DD1s year 7 wearing the then chosen "uniform", the official uniform subverted by obscenely short skirt, laddered black tights (though DDs claim that was the lethal splintered desks) and pashmina knotted at throat. She was 59 and 6 ft. The school fell about laughing and after 10 mins of hysteria she fixed them with a glare, they stopped laughing and she said "I think I have made my point" .

Glad to hear your daughter is settling well though, and that the maladministration has been taken seriously.

VivaLeThrustBadger Tue 17-Sep-13 12:58:34

Im not meaning to sound arsey but I really wouldn't go in. It might not be ideal but its worked for the school for some years I would think before your dd started there. Other kids have managed.

If she is struggling on particular days due to having too much stuff then I'm sure her tutor or head of year would let her stash some stuff in a room. Dd's school sounds very similar.....I've never known her to have PE and cookery on the same day so I suspect they may have thought of this when doing the timetable.

I know when she's made a big model for homework for a lesson that isn't till the afternoon the head of year has let her keep it in her office for the day.

I'm sure she'll get used to it.

alreadytaken Wed 18-Sep-13 20:07:13

1. Mobile phone policy: school allowed phones if kept turned off.
If they were spotted they would be taken away. The child could collect the phone at the end of the day. If it happened again the parent was supposed to go and get it but I dont know if that happened. Much laxer with 6th form, even if the phone went off they'd probably just be told off.

2. The children have no lockers or cloakroom.
Check - there may be a few around but they tend not be used anyway as their stuff has to be carted to different classrooms. Musical instruments left at music room.

3. So - if they have a coat with them.

Oh I wish - most wouldn't wear one. Any wearing a coat (most probably a jacket or hoody) would put it on the back of the chair. Suspect this became a status thing as those driven to school could manage without them. By the 6th form they may wear one again if you are lucky. Scarves and gloves are acceptable in the worst weather.

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.

Totally odd as this doesn't allow lunchtime clubs. Also any sensible person knows that children need exercise even if it just walking behind the bike shed for a cigarette.

At secondary there are lots of pupils and one parent can have little influence. Join the PTA or become a governor if you wish to try and get policies changed. Personally I wouldn't suggest visiting to ask about this, save your time and energy for the more serious issues that will come up.

Schools sometimes have silly sounding rules so that the pupils can rebel against them rather than have more serious rebellion.

Found this because I was curious about the EPA result.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Wed 18-Sep-13 20:33:26

Apart from #4 it is the same at my DD's school.

AChickenCalledKorma Wed 18-Sep-13 22:39:33

Am feeling increasingly happy with the sensible place that is DD1's new secondary school.
1. mobiles allowed if switched off and not seen (so can be used on the way home.
2. plenty of lockers, but you have to pay a deposit for a key
3. coats can't be worn in school (but are allowed and can go in lockers if you can persuade your child to wear one).
4. 50 min lunch break - oodles of lunchtime clubs on offer

In fact one reason we rejected the school's main competitor was the insanely short "lunch break" which was either at 11:30am or 1:30pm, depending how unlucky you were with your timetable. Don't think I could cope with that myself and definitely didn't want to inflict it on my kids.

JGBMum Thu 19-Sep-13 07:29:33

Rather than going in, how about emailing your DDs form tutor with your concerns, unless you have a y7 parents event coming up in the next few weeks?

apatchylass Thu 19-Sep-13 08:08:42

shootingpigeons I love that headmistress!

marriedinwhiteisback Sat 21-Sep-13 22:21:22

Well you know when I was at school there were no mobile phones. They shouldn't be on in school but confiscation and returning to the child at the end of the day is enough - especially for full time working parents. I don't think many teachers and SLTs actually get the idea of full time working parents being unable to get away and get to the school by 5pm before the office shuts shop. If a school had confiscated a phone in those circumstances and if my child got into difficulties on the way home I would hold the school entirely responsible for any harm if they had refused to return the phone.

Lockers - when I was at school we all had desks with space inside them for our books and small belongings - there was no theft because there were consequences if thieves were caught in the form of expulsion but of course it never happened.

Again, when I was at school we had cloakrooms where coats could be hung or in the upper school we had pegs outside or in the classroom. It is slovenly to expect coats to be left on the floor and I think it's unacceptable. I don't put my coat on the floor in theatres or cinemas as someone upthread has suggested.

Lunch - we used to have tables with proper cutlery, proper plates and the teachers sat on the stage for theirs in the hall with us. We did it in two sittings and lunch lasted for an hour. It didn't have to be less to keep children out of trouble because if there was trouble there were consequences.

This is exactly what happens at my dc's schools too. We moved dd from a comp with an exceptional reputation because of declining standards - largely poor behaviour which meant the op's concerns were in place in the school. Had the behaviour of a small minority it would have been possible to run a civilised school. That's why we moved dd from the state system.

It isn't good enough and it isn't acceptable. My DC don't hang their coats on the floor at homed and I don't expect them to be hung on the floor at all. It is about the erosion of standards and standards are not good enough. But I would agree there is no point complaining in isolation - schools need strong governors and strong PTAs but these are too often peopled by those who are only doing it to bolster attention and privilege for their own DC.

I think it's really really sad that teachers think these sort of standards and this way of treating the majority of young people are acceptable - that's why I have lost respect for the state system; really it is.

Tuhlulah Wed 25-Sep-13 13:59:40

1. Phones -have to be handed in at the start of the day and collected from form teacher at end of day.
2. He has a desk and locker (the school sells combination locks, although the kids say there are never any thefts -they probably don't want another school book or PE kit!)
3. Not sure. But his school is very keen on the kids looking smart so i don't think they'd propose putting a blazer on the floor. (Bloody outrageous, and what kind of example is that? I agree with Marriedinwhiteisback). And what about when it's rainy outside -what do they do with wet coats? All wet and sloppy on the floor, leaving puddles, and a health and safety issue?
4. 25 minutes for lunch.

They have two 25 minute breaks, am and pm during which I hope they go outside.

I really don't think you should Go In To School over this.
Like it or not these are things which are almost universal in secondary schools.
I'd save the going in for the important stuff.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 25-Sep-13 15:41:34

It sounds like this school is within normal parameters, though they vary. DDs is
1) phones must be switched off - if one rings they get a penalty point. I don't think they confiscate. This seems ideal to me - DD has a long bus journey and we have to pick her up from the bus stop so its really useful that she can let us know if the bus is delayed.

2) they do have lockers - I gather this is not that common nowadays.

3) no idea about coats, the lockers are quite small... DD only wears one when the weather is really bad.

4) longer lunchtime (not sure how long) - quite a lot of clubs, orchestra etc run during lunch. They can also buy food at break. They certainly don't sit in silence the rest of the time (apart from chatting, DD and her friends sometimes play games... I think she's outgrown tag but not 100% sure!)

Vivacia Wed 25-Sep-13 15:55:16

I think you are completely wasting everyone's time having a meeting over these normal, reasonable rules.

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