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Michaela School and behaviour - AIBU

(988 Posts)
herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 10:36:28

AIBU to think that you might read this behaviour policy and think it is authoritarian and unnecessary, but to also think that, with results four times better than the national average, these people might have a point about the benefits to young people of being expected to work hard and behave well?

https://mcsbrent.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Behaviour-Policy-11.02.19.pdf

Marvinmarvinson Fri 23-Aug-19 10:52:05

I couldn't follow the link but googled. Very interesting. I wonder what the pupils and parents think of the school? How do they instil the values of kindness and gratitude? I was initially horrified by the image of silent children moving in lines between lessons but actually her reasoning is sound. My kids hate the corridors and toilets of their secondary school. It IS where bullying and fights occur.

On the flip side, I have a friend who moved house at great expense to be in the catchment of a very good secondary. Her son hates it and is struggling with the pressure. Is it like that at the michaela school I wonder? Are those fantastic results due to excellent teaching and discipline or are the pupils put under a lot of stress?

BelindasGleeTeam Fri 23-Aug-19 10:55:36

Well it's mostly the discipline and behaviour that allows excellent teaching. It makes everything so much easier when you have well behaved classes who are expected to work hard and get on with it.

The parents have it seems been supportive after initial concerns but after those results then I think there's little to argue with. This is not a middle class area. There were many kids in that first cohort with behaviour issues who've done really well.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 11:01:32

I was horrified by SLANT, silent corridors, no snacks(!) as well. Initially. And then I thought how much more pleasant it’s going to be for the little Year 7s turning up in September, confident that there won’t be corridor rioting, shoving, screaming, swearing, kids filming each other, kids arguing with teachers etc.

And just how much more they are going to know and be able to do, in five years’ time.

Trumpleton Fri 23-Aug-19 11:02:29

I know children that have gone here and even though I did baulk at many of the seemingly outdated behaviour policies (scratching your hand in class? Demerit!) , they are consistent and the children learn. Many of the problems with teaching where I am in London come down to very poor behaviour, lack of support from management and/or parents. Michaela don't have this problem so can focus on teaching. Children I know who have gone there found it hard at first to settle in to the regime but children like routine and seem to flourish with the opportunity to focus on learning. I wish our school were more hardline on behaviour! Our cohort is very similar to Michaela.

Areyoufree Fri 23-Aug-19 11:18:38

It doesn't sound very inclusive, so not sure personally. However, I do like they way they approach meal times:

We are excited to offer pupils a different eating experience. Rather than canteen provision, pupils at Michaela sit at tables, eating together and engaging in conversation. Children serve food to their classmates, clear each other’s plates and eat the food that they are given.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 11:21:22

It doesn't sound very inclusive

I do wonder how they balance their expectations with students’ SN. But on the other hand, how much easier is a very predictable environment going to be to navigate for lots of students with ASD, or BESD?

BelindasGleeTeam Fri 23-Aug-19 11:21:50

We used to do that at my (girls independent) school.

It's just old fashioned teaching and values.

It's not trendy. But that traditionalsystem evolved over years..... evolution often better than revolution I think.

It had huge faults like corporal punishment. But there seems to be a lot we can learn from the Michaela approach

BelindasGleeTeam Fri 23-Aug-19 11:22:46

Agree quiet, consistent approach great for many kids with SEN.

Chaos is far, far more damaging.

GrammarTeacher Fri 23-Aug-19 11:24:18

I intend to implement as much as possible in their style next term. I am sick of the low level of disrespect we are forced to put up with and sick of the time wasted dealing with a minority of students.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 11:26:47

I am sick of the low level of disrespect we are forced to put up with and sick of the time wasted dealing with a minority of students.

Hear hear.

Areyoufree Fri 23-Aug-19 11:27:20

I do wonder how they balance their expectations with students’ SN. But on the other hand, how much easier is a very predictable environment going to be to navigate for lots of students with ASD, or BESD?

My daughter would be good with the quiet, ordered side of it, but struggles with sitting still and often needs something to fiddle with. Also, she can hyper-focus or not focus at all. I do wonder whether the strictness of the setup has an influence on the types of families that feel that the school is a good fit for them, which could also explain the good results.

TinyGhostWriter Fri 23-Aug-19 11:28:40

Results may be one thing, but it’s not the be all and end all.

Learning by rote is one of their approaches to teaching. That doesn’t foster critical thinking skills.

Without the discipline and structure of this school, I wonder how the alumni fayre at college and uni?

I also wonder how resilient the pupils will be when they enter the wider world.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 11:29:34

I do wonder whether the strictness of the setup has an influence on the types of families that feel that the school is a good fit for them, which could also explain the good results.

It will do, especially in an area of London with so much choice of where to send your child to school. But also lots of gang violence, drugs and underachievement, so parents are very incentivised to send their children here.

Oliversmumsarmy Fri 23-Aug-19 11:30:16

I have a friends who’s Dd went to a similar school.

Her problem has come at uni.
She is out of her depths on the social side of things and she is struggling

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 11:30:23

*Results may be one thing, but it’s not the be all and end all.

Learning by rote is one of their approaches to teaching. That doesn’t foster critical thinking skills.*

I think you have to know stuff before you can think critically about it. What are you thinking critically about otherwise? Cheese?

SpinsterOfArts Fri 23-Aug-19 11:30:43

I think that life isn't all about exam results.

I was an extremely quiet and well-behaved student and I'd have hated this sort of school because I'd have been constantly anxious about getting in trouble for very minor things. It teaches obedience and conformity. I'm not surprised that this leads to better exam results. I don't believe, however, that it leads to better people.

The mealtime description sounded nice until I got to 'eat what they're given' at the end. That's about the exertion of power - why not give children a choice over what they eat? It's also a way to exclude children who eat limited diets, which is often due to special needs (which could be undiagnosed, as mine were at that age).

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 11:33:17

I think that life isn't all about exam results.

Exam results are just a demonstration of learning. I can’t think of many things I would prefer for my child (after health, kindness and a reasonable degree of happiness) than that she be informed.

I was an extremely quiet and well-behaved student and I'd have hated this sort of school because I'd have been constantly anxious about getting in trouble for very minor things. It teaches obedience and conformity. I'm not surprised that this leads to better exam results. I don't believe, however, that it leads to better people.

Perhaps not. Or perhaps it leads to people who are able to show respect for others, and are going to have easier lives as a result.

CassianAndor Fri 23-Aug-19 11:36:44

Without the discipline and structure of this school, I wonder how the alumni fayre at college and uni?

this is one of my big issues, that this approach simply doesn't prepare them for life outside this draconian atmosphere. All the great results in the world won't help you if you cannot function in the wider world.

Brefugee Fri 23-Aug-19 11:37:19

The mealtime description sounded nice until I got to 'eat what they're given' at the end

same. I went to boarding school and we had mixed age tables, which were arranged from LVI to first years. The two first years had to fetch and carry, the LVI portioned and served everything up. Result: the first years ran around like blue arsed flies getting everything, begging other tables for spare stuff etc. And if the food was nice and the LVI girl was horrible the younger ones got tiny portions, or if it was horrible they got giant portions.

Making children eat what they don't like/want is awful. But i agree that learning good table maners and how to make polite conversation is a good life skill. OTOH: lunch breaks are just that, a break. I don't eat with my colleagues and have polite conversation sometimes because i want to be alone. I think children might also sometimes need a break from each other.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 11:39:20

I didn’t see anything in the policy about forcing them to eat. Where was that?

MoltoAgitato Fri 23-Aug-19 11:40:38

Frankly it sounds far more inclusive than the shit that most children have to put up with at school these days. At the moment it seems that if you want to have a reasonable expectation of decent behaviour at secondary, you need to pay for private where they will just get rid of you if you can’t behave, or to one of the selective sources where the same happens. Children should not have to put up with crap behaviour.

BelindasGleeTeam Fri 23-Aug-19 11:40:40

And that's what PARENTS are key for.

School is, if we are being honest, about learning your subjects.

Yes the social side is there but it's primarily for LEARNING. It's not a youth club, sports club etc.

Parents have to do their bit in teaching the social sides by getting kids to youth clubs, sports, whatever outside of school time.

Schools cannot produce fully rounded beings in 6 hours a day.

AskMeHow Fri 23-Aug-19 11:40:42

I think people focus a lot on the seemingly draconian, punitive behaviour policy.

But it's only one aspect of the school. There is a lot of emphasis on kindness and respect which the teachers mirror to the students.

It's not for everyone, but good on them for having a vision and the stubbornness to see it through.

TinyGhostWriter Fri 23-Aug-19 11:41:14

I think you have to know stuff before you can think critically about it. What are you thinking critically about otherwise? Cheese?
I agree, but you also have to understand something before you can think critically about it.

Drilling students can make them pass tests, but it doesn’t provide them with an opportunity to make sense of the material.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 11:43:15

*I agree, but you also have to understand something before you can think critically about it.

Drilling students can make them pass tests, but it doesn’t provide them with an opportunity to make sense of the material.*

These kids clearly do have understanding, though. 37% of exams taken were passed with 9-7. Top grades!

BelindasGleeTeam Fri 23-Aug-19 11:44:03

The rote learning is the foundations for some things not all.

Knowledge then can be applied for understanding. Which leads to critical thinking.

Blooms taxonomy is basically bollocks because you cannot have the top stuff without all the huge amount of learning etc from the bottom.

soulrunner Fri 23-Aug-19 11:45:30

All the great results in the world won't help you if you cannot function in the wider world.

I’m not sure whether this sort of school environment is necessarily problematic in that respect though. A lot of very well regarded schools operate with a high level of routine and strong enforcement of behaviour. A lot of extremely successful people operate within a self- created frame of habits.

BelindasGleeTeam Fri 23-Aug-19 11:47:23

Exactly.

I love the attitude they have of not expecting less just because kids come from pooorer background. That's they're 100% entitled to learn the same as kids at Eton and to push that ethos of achievement, hard work and respect for all.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 11:47:36

Blooms taxonomy is basically bollocks because you cannot have the top stuff without all the huge amount of learning etc from the bottom.

I actually think Bloom’s T. is fine, just wisely misinterpreted by school leaders and parents. It is showing you a progression of learning, but people take it to mean ‘analysis’ is ‘better’ than ‘knowledge’ therefore you should jump straight to analysis, or, better still, skip the analysis and jump straight to creating. Creating what, I hear you ask?

Cheese? 🧀

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 11:47:55

Widely, not wisely.

JacquesHammer Fri 23-Aug-19 11:48:19

37% of exams taken were passed with 9-7. Top grades!

That doesn't seem an especially startling level of results unless I'm misreading you!

Tonnerre Fri 23-Aug-19 11:48:35

Those results are achieved by pretty ruthlessly managing out children with disabilities and SEN, as demonstrated by their behaviour policy, and likewise with children liable to put a chink in their statistics. Zero tolerance policies, if they really are zero tolerance, simply aren't compatible with compliance with the Equality Act.

SignedUpJust4This Fri 23-Aug-19 11:50:52

I teach in a school like this. For years we were told there was no such thing as bad behaviour. If students misbehaved it's because you weren't engaging enough. We planned singing, dancing, entertaining, interactive, fun lessons only to have results continue to go down and never being able to complete the content due to low level disruption. After 12months of this new behaviour policy we are now one of the top schools in the country. Behaviour and discipline matter. Even those more vulnerable students enjoy coming to school now because they are not in a stressful classroom any more. However, I do think those with more challenging SEND do not get the support they need. This is a problem with funding though and these students will continue to struggle in mainstream education anywhere unless funding is increased.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 11:51:01

That doesn't seem an especially startling level of results unless I'm misreading you!

It’s nearly double the national average.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 11:51:38

Zero tolerance policies, if they really are zero tolerance, simply aren't compatible with compliance with the Equality Act.

Has there been any legal challenge?

echt Fri 23-Aug-19 11:52:46

AIBU to think that you might read this behaviour policy and think it is authoritarian and unnecessary, but to also think that, with results four times better than the national average, these people might have a point about the benefits to young people of being expected to work hard and behave well?

mcsbrent.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Behaviour-Policy-11.02.19.pdf

A one-off result means fuck all. You need to look at longitudinal studies to arrive at any meaningful conclusions. Because education is a political football, that is hardly any evidence that proves anything.

SolitudeAtAltitude Fri 23-Aug-19 11:53:30

it depends on the child

My kids have not had a very authoritarian upbringing, and would find that type of school intimidating/unpleasant/unnecessary. It would probably make my kids anxious/worried.

I completely agree with SpinsterofArts

JacquesHammer Fri 23-Aug-19 11:53:33

It’s nearly double the national average

Our local comp has just posted results of 77% of all results at Grades 9-7.

For the behaviour policy which does, in effect, make the school selective I'd want results inline with truly and overtly selective schools.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 11:56:04

JacquesHammer

Well, that’s fantastic, but my citing of that statistic was in response to the allegation that the children at a school will be learning by rote and not understanding. That clearly isn’t the case when nearly 40% of exams are awarded top grades.

SunnySideDownBriefly Fri 23-Aug-19 11:56:30

9-7 is the equivalent of A, A* or A**

37% at A+ is pretty amazing!

Brefugee Fri 23-Aug-19 11:57:14

I think it sounds completely stifling - as a teenager I'd have resented having to go there and probably would have been expelled.

I'm also not on board with their mobile phone confiscation policy. I get that schools don't want children to have phones at school and I would get behind a non-use or checking-in policy (where they have to hand it in to reception on the way in and get it at hometime, for example) but there are legitimate valid reasons why a parent might want a child to have a phone.

Basically - if that's what you want from a school, fine. But i prefer children to be able to be a bit creative, push a little rather than just follow instructions blindly.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 11:58:10

A one-off result means fuck all. You need to look at longitudinal studies to arrive at any meaningful conclusions. Because education is a political football, that is hardly any evidence that proves anything.

It’s not a one-off, it’s a composite result made up of the thousands of exams taken by hundreds of children. Yes, a study over ten years would tell you more, but this isn’t a fluke.

Nicolamarlow1 Fri 23-Aug-19 11:58:31

As far as I know, they do not manage out children with SEN. Read Katharine Burbalsingh's book, 'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Teachers' which gives much more information on this. Many SEN children make excellent progress with them, as they are freed from the label of being SEN, which can lead, in some schools, to lowered expectations of them.
As for these children adapting to life in the wider world, they will go out into the world knowing the basics of kindness and good manners, which is more than can be said for many children coming out of undisciplined state schools, who are not equipped for the workplace and think that the attitudes they displayed at school will be accepted when they at work. IMHO, as a former teacher in a fairly strict primary school, I think all schools need to be far more like Michaela.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 11:59:14

Basically - if that's what you want from a school, fine. But i prefer children to be able to be a bit creative, push a little rather than just follow instructions blindly.

The attitude that children following instructions given by adults in charge of them makes them “blind”, and actively wanting your children to disregard them, utterly flummoxes me.

But they’re your kids!

BelindasGleeTeam Fri 23-Aug-19 11:59:41

Oh the kids at Michaela push. They're teens.

The just get set back on the straight and narrow rapidly.

BelindasGleeTeam Fri 23-Aug-19 12:01:06

The have a policy of teaching to the top and scaffolding so all kids can reach that. Not differentiating down so SEN kids get "easier" work.

NavyBlueHue Fri 23-Aug-19 12:03:55

The biggest barrier to learning in schools is bad behaviour.

Fix the behaviour by tackling small stuff consistently so that it doesn’t become big stuff.

I’m all for strict rules around behaviour in schools. DD’s school is tackling this over last few years and results have gone through the roof.

Tonnerre Fri 23-Aug-19 12:04:28

Has there been any legal challenge?

I think there have been a few cases where schools have basically rolled over and changed their policies when they get a pre-action letter, but in the nature of things that doesn't tend to get reported. This is sort of an example, except that it relates specifically to the use of isolation booths rather that the bigger picture discrimination issue.

ThatCurlyGirl Fri 23-Aug-19 12:04:37

My school was very much like this - not an independent school, an all girls grammar school.

I think coming from a very poor family meant I knew this was unusually strict (I actually enjoyed it so much because I was desperately craving some routine and boundaries!) so I had a fairly good idea of my own school life versus that in the 'real' world.

Some of my school friends who had been to independent primary schools really struggled with the jump to university, much more so than the couple of us who were from disadvantaged backgrounds, foster care in my case. A couple of the ones who struggled have said now that we are in our thirties they look back and think this was probably because had never experienced anything other than very well behaved environment where respect for authority was absolute.

Of course that is lovely environment don't get me wrong, but it's good for children to also know they are in a privileged position and be able to interact with people who have had very different experiences to them.

It's all about balance I think smile

LiveInAHidingPlace Fri 23-Aug-19 12:04:40

A mix of rote learning and critical thinking is obviously best, that's the whole point of Bloom's taxonomy. That each stage is important and the point is to lead up to higher thinking.

Personally I hated the lack of discipline at my school. I did not understand why the other students didn't just sit down and shut up. I'm pretty sure I'd have been far happier at somewhere with far stricter policies.

BarbariansMum Fri 23-Aug-19 12:04:55

There is one near us. Wouldnt suit my kids but it is hugely oversubscribed and v popular with the parents of children with asd who need a highly structured (almost regimented) learning environment and very little free time. A friend is trying it for her ds who has ADHD. Again she hopes that he will find a very strict yet predictable regime will help him settle and focus. Knowing him I think it will either work well (after an initial period of adjustment) or be a total disaster. Fingers crossed for the former.

GCAcademic Fri 23-Aug-19 12:05:39

I wonder how many people appalled at silent corridors have ever been inside a school when pupils are moving from one classroom to another? I did some teaching observations at what was supposed to be the best state school in a small city and it was awful, absolute chaos and so noisy. A fight broke out between two strapping year 11 boys at one point. It was scary. It would have been more scary if you were a great 7 girl, I’m sure, and even more so if you had something like autism. People talking about the Equality Act should consider how well this kind of noisy, intimidating atmosphere serves those with protected characteristics.

TinyGhostWriter Fri 23-Aug-19 12:06:02

Knowledge then can be applied for understanding. Which leads to critical thinking.

That is my point though, if students are not given the opportunity to apply and make sense of content, they won’t have an opportunity to develop those critical thinking skills.

Asking young people to regurgitate reams of information doesn’t allow them to think for themselves. They don’t have opportunities to prioritise, problem solve, analyse or evaluate.

I do appreciate that it depends on the subject, but it does concern me in relation to the pupils transition into further and higher education.

NovemberWitch Fri 23-Aug-19 12:06:23

My two children have HFA and would have thrived in an environment where they could concentrate on learning and not waste enormous amounts of time and effort on merely surviving their fellow students.
And they went to a good, mainstream comprehensive with excellent results. All the distress and confusion they endured came from their peers.
I think a lot of parents have no idea how hard it is to work in an environment of low-level/high level disruption, foul language and mockery, unwanted physical contact and chaos. It’s exhausting, especially for many with SEND.

Tonnerre Fri 23-Aug-19 12:07:35

As far as I know, they do not manage out children with SEN. Read Katharine Burbalsingh's book, 'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Teachers' which gives much more information on this. Many SEN children make excellent progress with them, as they are freed from the label of being SEN, which can lead, in some schools, to lowered expectations of them.

There are some fairly obvious reason why I wouldn't take what is in that book as gospel. No headteacher is going to boast of managing out children with SEN. Nevertheless, if your child was in a school where they were utterly miserable due to constantly being disciplined for behaviour which is the direct result of their disability, would you want them to stay?

SchadenfreudePersonified Fri 23-Aug-19 12:08:10

All of this sounds the sort of discipline I had when I was at school (I'm 66) - I suppose in that era it was expected,..

The only thing I rebelled about was being given a detention by the maths teacher because I had a cough. Apparently it doesn't matter how sore/tickly your throats,you can control a cog=ugh (I wasn't the only one to suffer under this Draconian rule! - but it was the teacher's rather than the school's. She was a cow!

They were very strict on hair (tied back), make-up (NONE) and unoiform, too.

Labassecour Fri 23-Aug-19 12:10:58

If a school comes with an endorsement from Roger 'Fascist' Scruton, that's an immediate danger signal.

Some of this stuff seems perfectly reasonable, like computer access and homework clubs for children without access to quiet study space at home (and I like that the loos have no mirrors, and think it's helpful for girls in particular --

pragmaticreform.wordpress.com/2016/12/10/no-excuses-high-standards-high-support/

but some is just cruel. You get a day off and your homework excused for the funeral of a close family memory without a detention, but after that you're back to detentions for any missed homework, with a bit of Tibetan philosophy to help them cope with their bereavement, because the key thing is that the school doesn't lower its standards for you just because you've lost a parents, and it's important you 'stay on track'? hmm

And the time the teachers don't waste on dealing with bad behaviour sounds as if it is expended on endless 'sermons', reminders about demerits and behaviour and equipment checks multiple times a day.

This school teaches conformity and obedience and if it were any more Tory in its ethos, it would wear a large blue rosette .

GCAcademic Fri 23-Aug-19 12:12:34

Re. critical thinking. In my experience of teaching undergraduate students in a humanities department in a top 10 university, very, very few schools do well at teaching critical thinking, and it’s something we have to work intensively when students start their courses. There is always a proportion of students, for example, who we need to wean off cutting and pasting text from the internet. I agree that pupils should be taught critical thinking, but to say that Michaela is serving its pupils worse than other schools in this regard is wrong.

Tinuviel Fri 23-Aug-19 12:13:00

Would love to teach at Michaela - their foreign language learning methods sound really interesting.

Bloom's taxonomy is a brilliant diagram of learning, so long as you stick to the original triangle - with a wide base of knowledge at the bottom! When looking for a diagram I once saw an inverted version showing a tiny triangle of knowledge with everything else weighing down on it! As PP said, you can't think critically about nothing, children need a firm knowledge base to found all their higher level thinking on. And I get the impression that Michaela provides that.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 12:14:07

This school teaches conformity and obedience

Which are, in general, pretty useful abilities to hold. It’s just as important to know when to set them aside, but the ability to meet the expectations of those around you is a prerequisite for most professional careers and a healthy family life.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 12:15:31

There is always a proportion of students, for example, who we need to wean off cutting and pasting text from the internet. I agree that pupils should be taught critical thinking, but to say that Michaela is serving its pupils worse than other schools in this regard is wrong.

I think critical thinking is important, but it does require a wide base of knowledge to draw upon to support your conclusions.

Pangur2 Fri 23-Aug-19 12:17:02

I could be wrong, but I'd imagine that on a day to day basis, very few teachers in that school actually give out demerits for kids scratching their hand etc. Once the behaviour is good, those rules are probably just there in case kids are taking the piss (everyone dropping their pen at the same time etc.)

My school in Ireland was very strict, but most of the time rules didn't really need to be enforced with punishments. I only ever got 2 detentions for chatting in class and they didn't even tell my Mam, so she thinks I got none, haha!

I personally wouldn't want to work in a school where kids can't even talk on the corridor, but I have noticed sometimes behaviour over here is all or nothing. If you give an inch behaviour bubbles up extremely quickly. I don't remember this being an issue in my Irish school and other members of staff from other countries have commented on it as well. I've only ever taught in London (in a range of schools types/ areas/ demographics) and from what I have seen there are major issues with behaviour (especially low level disruption) across the board. Parents don't seem to want to tackle this, or allow teachers to tackle it.

I think the standard of teaching over here is much better than in Ireland, but Ireland still comes out much higher internationally; I suspect this is to do with behaviour and attitudes towards school and teachers. It is much easier to learn without constant distractions and interruptions.

Xenadog Fri 23-Aug-19 12:17:44

I think Michaela sounds excellent. Having taught in tough inner city schools where kids know all their rights but none of their responsibilities Michaela sounds refreshing and well-led. Children cannot learn unless they are focused and behaving well that is the crux of education. Michaels have cracked that and I think they should be applauded.

NovemberWitch Fri 23-Aug-19 12:20:18

I think the students who struggle most in a disciplined system are the confident, spirited ones who know all of their rights, few of their responsibilities and feel their voice and opinions should be top priority for all. The ones who know that misdemeanours are not targeted, and that have a very clear understanding of what the rules are and what they can get away with.

Userzzzzz Fri 23-Aug-19 12:20:31

They must be doing something right and those results are good. My views on rote learning changed at university. I did a language ab initio and we got to a high standard quickly using traditional methods like rote learning. I spent years at school fannying around in French and reached a higher standard in 6 weeks at university (obviously with an element of self selection by ability) than I did in school in 5 years.

SchadenfreudePersonified Fri 23-Aug-19 12:24:21

There is always a proportion of students, for example, who we need to wean off cutting and pasting text from the internet

Some of them do this all through uni, too - believe me, I was a lecturer and clinical educator at a prestigious university. It's a bugger to get them out of.

Oliversmumsarmy Fri 23-Aug-19 12:26:04

CassianAndor

In answer to your question about how pupils get on when they get to uni. My friends DD is struggling.

When I was at primary school the school dinners were similar to this set up.

We had to eat what we were given.

It resulted in me being caned across the hand at least 2 or 3 times per week.

The dinner ladies would tell me that when I was older I would think of myself as foolish for not liking mushy peas or green beans or cottage pie, or liver or on the Christmas Lunch, Christmas pudding
Before they sent me to the headmaster to be caned. Most of my mornings at school would be taken up with worrying what I was going to be served at lunch
l cannot stand the smell or taste of those foods.

I would never send my DC to a place where they would repeat that bit of my childhood

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 12:26:04

but some is just cruel. You get a day off and your homework excused for the funeral of a close family memory without a detention, but after that you're back to detentions for any missed homework, with a bit of Tibetan philosophy to help them cope with their bereavement, because the key thing is that the school doesn't lower its standards for you just because you've lost a parents, and it's important you 'stay on track'? hmm

I’m torn on this, but I think the intent is kindness, not cruelty. A girl in my last school lost a parent, and from that moment on, it was the excuse for everything. No homework? Her mum died. Disrupting others in class? Her mum died? Called the teacher a cunt? Her mum died.

However much compassion I have for her, she is now a school leaver with no mum AND and no GCSEs. In trying to be kind, the people responsible for her education let her down.

SignedUpJust4This Fri 23-Aug-19 12:26:21

No point having critical thinkers if they don't have the ability to retrieve subject knowledge required for the question or the self discipline to study. Previously many students were giving up because they found everything too hard not having that basic subject knowledge at hand. Now they have that they are engaged and motivated by their success and are able to start the critical thinking. I don't think discipline means students cant be creative, critical thinkers. That's nonsense. I don't know why we expect this behaviour from kids at Harrow yet think it's beyond the capabilities of your average student. We let our students down by not having high expectations of them. Students in the most deprived areas need discipline and structure more than anyone else. The majority rise to it. The minority need something else. But they were being let down before too so nothing's changed there.

Labassecour Fri 23-Aug-19 12:30:52

I could be wrong, but I'd imagine that on a day to day basis, very few teachers in that school actually give out demerits for kids scratching their hand etc.

The link I gave upthread specifically says that how many demerits each teacher gives out is carefully monitored in order to ensure that some teachers aren't implementing the rules more strictly than others, so I imagine teachers are subject to very similar conformist rules to the pupils, with consequences for over- or under-punishing.

Interesting point about differences in the education systems in Ireland and the UK, @Pangur2.

I think Michaela's is a thoroughly repellent system.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 12:31:53

The link I gave upthread specifically says that how many demerits each teacher gives out is carefully monitored in order to ensure that some teachers aren't implementing the rules more strictly than others, so I imagine teachers are subject to very similar conformist rules to the pupils, with consequences for over- or under-punishing.

It is actually really important that the rules are enforced consistently, though. They make no secret of the behaviour policy, so if you don’t like it, don’t work there. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Oliversmumsarmy Fri 23-Aug-19 12:35:54

You get a day off and your homework excused for the funeral of a close family memory without a detention, but after that you're back to detentions for any missed homework

Do you get a day off and excused from homework on the day a parent dies or is it just on the day of the funeral.

I suspect that it is very black and white but the world is shades of grey

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 12:37:16

Tom Bennett’s excellent book on behaviour management includes these sentences: “u have genuinely seen teachers who think that getting the class to do what they want isn’t part of what they signed up for... If you’re not comfortable controlling others, then leave the room, the book shop, whatever. Put this book down. Run, don’t walk out of education.”

👍

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 12:37:37

*I not u

Nicolamarlow1 Fri 23-Aug-19 12:40:05

Tonerre the children at Michaela are actually happy! People who have visited the school, including Boris, have been impressed by the atmosphere in the school as well as the children's knowledge. They are in a safe, very structured environment.

Pangur2 Fri 23-Aug-19 12:42:14

All schools keep an eye on that to be fair. I'm quite bad at both; I tend to praise or give out there and then. I often forget to put it on the system, but I teach a subject where I am not next to the computer/ lots of cleaning up/ dirty hands so I can't type etc. The next class comes in and then some of it gets forgotten about.

My school's "thing" is uniform. Honestly, they could come in wearing hot pants and a mohawk and I wouldn't naturally notice/ care but it is my job to at least try to notice. I'm getting better, but I'm 13 yrs in at this stage, haha!

Labassecour Fri 23-Aug-19 12:44:17

I agree about consistency, @herculepoirot2, but I was responding to Pangur's point about how maybe some teachers don't give detentions for a pupil scratching their hand in class -- it sounds to me as if there is no discretion. You don't give demerits for handscratching, it's noticed and the Head is on you like the FBI.

People who have visited the school, including Boris, have been impressed by the atmosphere in the school as well as the children's knowledge

Well, Boris liking it -- and Gove, who is also a fan -- is hardly surprising, as it's a Tory-ethos school.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 12:45:17

My school's "thing" is uniform. Honestly, they could come in wearing hot pants and a mohawk and I wouldn't naturally notice/ care but it is my job to at least try to notice. I'm getting better, but I'm 13 yrs in at this stage, haha!

In my experience, consistency is THE issue when it comes to uniform. I couldn’t give a damn what kids wear to school. Honestly doesn’t bother me. But when your school has a behaviour policy and they ask you as a teacher to enforce it, then kids are walking past the HT and SLT in hoodies and they don’t say anything, or you send the student (as asked) to the HOY for refusing to give you the hoodie when you confiscate it (as asked) and they come back wearing it, the whole thing goes to shit.

howabout Fri 23-Aug-19 12:46:11

Just had a look at the new sixth form criteria. It is selective and requires 7+ 7s at GCSE. That translates to the majority of GCSE pupils produced by the existing school not being accepted for sixth form? All very well to have an above average success rate but I am not sure it is a very good stepping off point for the majority who don't make the grade.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 12:46:23

You don't give demerits for handscratching, it's noticed and the Head is on you like the FBI.

I’m not sure I would like to work there. I’m a little too creative/free-spirited/rebellious/non-conformist. 😂😂😂

Tiggering Fri 23-Aug-19 12:52:25

It sounds like heaven to me. I am a teacher and our term started on Tuesday. In the first 4 days of term most things run smoothly but there have been a couple of issues:
- One boy refused to leave the football pitch and knocked / snatched the ball from my hands several times when I tried to put it away. He stayed on the pitch until 2 other members of staff came to remove him so the pitch could be locked.
- Another boy called me a "fucking prick" because I took too long to unlock the football pitch.
- One child who is not very good at English yet (I live abroad and this is not an English speaking country) just shouts "I don't understand you!" or "What is she saying?" in the local language every time I speak. She is not willing to even try to guess what I'm saying even though she has had 3 years of English lessons, I mime instructions like stand up, I model exactly what they should do and the key words are available in her language. She could guess is she tried.
- The school gave every pupil a pencil case on Wednesday. 3 of my class this afternoon have already lost or snapped their pencil.

Mostly I'm happy to not be teaching in the UK anymore, but sometimes I miss working in a system where schools are allowed to reward and punish the children for their behaviour. Here that is considered too controlling and not respectful of their individuality. The focus here is on what the pupils choose. They have to consent to doing homework and I cannot set them more homework that they consent to. We cannot insist that children attend detention because by law it must be optional, we can only reward whole classes rather than individuals and children have the right to be present every time the teacher speaks to their parent. Sometimes I miss the system which "dehumanises" children into becoming "obedient little robots" because you can actually get on with teaching them then.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 12:53:54

Tiggering

Where are you? Sounds UK.

Bobbybobbins Fri 23-Aug-19 12:58:26

I like that Michaela has high expectations of all of the kids there and they seem to be fulfilling those.

I am not keen on sone aspects of the behaviour policy. I work in an outstanding inner city comprehensive with a high level of deprivation. I have never been sworn at etc. My school is firm but IMO more flexible than Michaela.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 12:59:16

I do think you can be selective about their approach, and take the best of it while leaving the more cultish aspects alone.

Michaelbaubles Fri 23-Aug-19 12:59:43

I wondered about the critical thinking thing at first but you just can’t get 9s in English Lit or RS though rote learning - you have to engage with arguments and be able to see different interpretations. And if they have managed to rote-teach that, then good! Because so many people haven’t.

Tonnerre Fri 23-Aug-19 13:02:07

Tonerre the children at Michaela are actually happy! People who have visited the school, including Boris, have been impressed by the atmosphere in the school as well as the children's knowledge.

Well, yes, when the unhappy ones have been driven to leave, that is the impression you will be left with.

As for Johnson's views: really? Does anyone seriously believe that when he visits a school like this he is going to say anything negative, or indeed be allowed to see anything negative?

True story: some time ago, when he was Mayor of London, he was due to visit a school near to me. There were a couple of kids who had been illegally excluded but who, after threats of legal action, were due to return on a certain day. A couple of days earlier, the school contacted the parents in a panic and asked if they could return a day later. When they opened their local paper the next day, what should they see but a large picture of Johnson on an official visit to the school on the day the children had been due to return.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 13:04:25

People who have visited the school, including Boris, have been impressed by the atmosphere in the school as well as the children's knowledge.

Someone like Boris goes there because it fits his agenda. I am more interested in the views of people who (like me - although that’s not why!) are more naturally left-wing. Is this school a vehicle for reducing educational disadvantage? I would argue it is. It is levelling the playing field.

pandarific Fri 23-Aug-19 13:30:06

I want to go there. wistful

BelindasGleeTeam Fri 23-Aug-19 13:31:58

I mean left wing and was hugely cynical but after near on 20 years teaching I'm now thinking they've got a helluva lot right.

pandarific Fri 23-Aug-19 13:33:12

It sounds like Malory towers or St Claire's. And yes to the person who said it sounded quite similar to Irish schools; having read the attachment mine wasn't that strict but it was similar - there just wasn't that level of disrespect, it just simply wouldn't have happened, and we had a wide range of people from different socio economic brackets attending.

CarolDanvers Fri 23-Aug-19 13:38:45

It sounds like a school that adults think is best for children, with policies that adults think are absolutely wonderful but children will absolutely hate. Reminds me of when it was considered routine to send children to boarding school at age 5. Adults believed it was the best thing but it produced generations of totally screwed up people the repercussions of which we still feel today.

CarolDanvers Fri 23-Aug-19 13:40:11

Boris Johnson went to Eton ffs! Who cares what he thinks about schools? The man is living in upper class cloud cuckoo land.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 13:41:22

There are some things about it that make me uncomfortable. I don’t like the idea of forcing children to discuss their learning at lunchtime, or to converse generally if they don’t want to. I don’t like their statement that doctors’ appointments aren’t allowed during term time; that’s crazy. I don’t like the length of the school day.

But most of it, I’m fine with.

Tonnerre Fri 23-Aug-19 16:14:10

It sounds like Malory towers or St Claire's.

Good grief, most of the pupils at Malory Towers and St Clare's wouldn't last 5 minutes at Michaela. I doubt the staff would, either.

Tonnerre Fri 23-Aug-19 16:20:04

Demerit for persistently not tracking, sloppy uniform or sloppy written work: so that's instant demerits for the kids with ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and sensory problems. Two demerits mean a detention, which can also be given in its own right for lots of behaviours that are an intrinsic feature of learning difficulties. Three behaviour detentions means a "senior detention" for 1.5 hours in the afternoons - so presumably children miss lessons for these. Internal isolations for "at least" a day is the next step. So that's an awful lot of children with learning difficulties being punished for their disability, being excluded from the classroom, falling further behind as a result. Is it any wonder that their parents end up voting with their feet?

Tonnerre Fri 23-Aug-19 16:21:18

An interesting feature is that their policy claims that they can use external exclusions for things that the parents do. That's directly against statutory guidance and unlawful.

Breaking the law isn't exactly setting the kids a good example, is it?

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 16:34:58

so that's instant demerits for the kids with ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and sensory problems.

Well, no, it isn’t. I accept that the policies are strict (and would be interested to know how they make adjustments) but it simply isn’t true that all students with dyslexia, for example, are going to turn in sloppy work, or that all students with ADHD are going to be unable to keep still. Sometimes they find these things harder and sometimes they can’t do them, but nothing about this is automatic just because someone has a disability.

CarolDanvers Fri 23-Aug-19 16:42:23

I feel very sure that children with additional needs will soon be "managed out" but not before plenty of stress induced meltdowns and deteriorating mental health. Loads of those kids slip through the cracks or are not quite there when meeting diagnose requirements or have parents who will shoehorn them in there in the mistaken belief that they "just need some discipline".

It sounds absolutely shit.

herculepoirot2 Fri 23-Aug-19 16:44:30

CarolDanvers

I really don’t know that you are right. Some children with additional needs will absolutely thrive in an environment where teaching is geared to their needs as standard - very clear instruction, modelling of right and wrong answers, one voice policy, silent working etc.

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