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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?

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 27-Aug-19 10:25:37

I think kesstral’s been on MN too long to be a Michaela plant.

chloe’s question is interesting though. Comp Sci is given such an emphasis in the new curriculum that I suspect basic programming skills are going to be the sort of thing every employee will have. They really should have an answer as to why they don’t think it’s important enough to teach. Also I don’t think it’s a given that it wouldn’t fit into their curriculum style. They manage it with art. It would have been an interesting answer.

I get the impression from one of Chloe’s posts that it wasn’t that they didn’t give a good answer but KB dodges the question then ended the session in order to avoid answering it. It speaks volumes.

kesstrel Tue 27-Aug-19 10:29:28

Michaela are almost certainly turning a profit.

Well, I suppose they are unlikely to have a PTA raising money for them, let alone the situation in some wealthy schools where parents set up regular standing orders for donations. I think it's unlikely any "profit" is going to the teachers' pockets, so maybe it's fair enough if it contributes to making the school better.

Piggywaspushed Tue 27-Aug-19 10:29:38

The Michaela plant was a joke! even though I know they exist

I don't remotely think that is what kesstrel is. Nonetheless, Chloe's actual first hand experience has been dismissed because it doesn't fit the narrative.

Piggywaspushed Tue 27-Aug-19 10:30:40

But Michaela do have a PTA!

PinkFlowerFairy Tue 27-Aug-19 10:31:11

The one near me has same day detentions for every 30mins of homework not done, (3 x30mins daily) and daily tests on selfquizzing, detentions if they dont make the mark.

They're v clear to parents that's what theyre signing up for though. And even say as a plus parents dont have to get involved in homework as they can do it in homework club or just do it the next day in detention.

Piggywaspushed Tue 27-Aug-19 10:31:45

They do teach art in quite a non standard way.

I suspect they just can't recruit good (any) Comp Sci teachers.

Piggywaspushed Tue 27-Aug-19 10:33:10

That sounds very familiar pink. In an area of high social deprivation, that makes sense.

kesstrel Tue 27-Aug-19 10:33:30

I think kesstral’s been on MN too long to be a Michaela plant.

Thanks, Rafal! grin

Piggywaspushed Tue 27-Aug-19 10:34:33

Although what Michaela and others do, rather than detention is supervised'prep' , so homework is never not done.

Piggywaspushed Tue 27-Aug-19 10:37:04

I'm not sure free schools can be teaching schools noble ? but the one near me is beginning to act like one. Which is both a good and bad thing.

kesstrel Tue 27-Aug-19 10:39:03

Nonetheless, Chloe's actual first hand experience has been dismissed because it doesn't fit the narrative.

No, I've merely pointed out that 3 data points does not constitute a large enough sample on which to base sweeping generalisations. It's a question of objectivity and trying to take a fair and balanced view when looking at very limited evidence.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 27-Aug-19 10:42:39

The KO as homework idea is growing on me. It’s an effective form of revision, you only need a pen and an exercise book to do it and it’s very light on teacher workload once you’ve done the initial work on thinking about what goes on the KO.

noblegiraffe Tue 27-Aug-19 10:44:04

The fact that they apparently have so many people going around for a gawp niggles somewhat. It’s a school not a tourist attraction - how much will visitors actually learn that couldn’t be learned more effectively and less instrusively in a series of videos on youtube?

herculepoirot2 Tue 27-Aug-19 10:45:31

Well, this has been very interesting. I will bow out now because I have another commitment, but I hope the discussion goes on!

Piggywaspushed Tue 27-Aug-19 10:49:07

KOs are good in some subjects. their primary purpose isn't meant to be for homework, apparently.

I have seen some excellent ones, and some shocking ones.

ChloeDecker Tue 27-Aug-19 11:03:52

Not sure what you have to buy kestral. Just taking part in the discussion and saying what I have seen. When we arrived in the morning, there was a session with a teacher and some pupils with information about the day and what their ethos was. Then there was time for three lessons before lunch, which we were invited to and a chance to speak to the Head afterwards.
The visits or ‘tours’ follow this schedule and right from the outset, questions are encouraged, at least, that was what my Head and I were told (and yes, my Head did pay but I don’t know how much-I can ask next week) and we were not the only ones in our tour group. There were plenty of questions answered honestly and with a smile (I really don’t have an agenda-I have in fact implemented already some of what I saw). It was my last one of something like ‘I teach Computer Science and I’m interested in how Michaela would approach that, do you have any advice? I was responded to by her without a smile, like other’s questions that she would have to leave it there and we would be escorted out by a pupil. As I have said earlier in this thread, it just left us with an odd feeling. That’s all. For me to make comparisons with my experience, it would have been helpful, but you are right, I should not have expected it.

noblegiraffe Tue 27-Aug-19 11:08:19

Then there was time for three lessons before lunch

How did this work? Were you there the whole lesson or did you just stand at the back for 5 minutes?

I’m trying to picture a school where there are regular group tours. Open Mornings for parents are bad enough!

noblegiraffe Tue 27-Aug-19 11:08:56

The problem with knowledge organisers in maths is that you cannot learn maths by reading about it, and we don’t want to encourage our students to think that they can!

ChloeDecker Tue 27-Aug-19 11:13:33

We were there the whole of each of the lessons, yes! They were quite open about letting people in and I didn’t get the impression they wanted to hide any aspect of the teaching and learning.

noblegiraffe Tue 27-Aug-19 11:22:02

How many people in your group? I can barely fit the kids into my classroom!

After these results they’re going to have way more people wanting to come. Wonder if they’ll change their policy.

Piggywaspushed Tue 27-Aug-19 11:22:42

I visited nearly every lesson in the (similar) school on one of my visits : every subject (no computing!) except PE and music. I did not hear a single child speak, other than to read aloud (and, to be honest, they were inaudible). It was a culture shock, to be sure!

ChloeDecker Tue 27-Aug-19 11:26:09

How many people in your group? I can barely fit the kids into my classroom!

We were each in different classes but together for arrival, lunch and chat afterwards. There were 5 of us.

kesstrel Tue 27-Aug-19 11:27:50

I can see several problems with videos instead of visits. the most obvious one is that people will assume it's all stage-managed to give the best view. Plenty of people already assume that when they hear about the visits, assert that the students doing the showing around have been "programmed" etc.

SansaSnark Tue 27-Aug-19 11:31:19

Going back a bit to the discovery vs knowledge thing, as a science teacher, I agree that part of the problem with discovery learning is that often you don't get the right results. Students are also far more likely to remember the process of doing the practical than what they found or the theory they are trying to link it to- in many ways, this makes sense. There are only so many things you can focus on at once!

FWIW, I'm not advocating scrapping practicals in science. I think it's really important to teach children about the scientific method and useful techniques (such as using a microscope)- but often that has to be the point of the lesson - the learning objective is "this is how we use a microscope". I do also think they have a role in getting students interested in and enthusiastic about science. And sometimes, they can learn things from them!

There's a practical that's often used to illustrate the relationship between surface area to volume ratio and the uptake of substances via diffusion. You use different sized cubes/cubiods of agar and a liquid, often something brightly coloured such as potassium permanganate and measure the time it takes to diffuse to the middle of the cube.

It's pretty reliable, and an able class can use this to figure out that in an object with a large surface area to volume ratio, diffusion happens quickly, and in one with a small surface area to volume ratio, diffusion happens slowly.

However, in a less able or even middle ability class, what can happen is:
-Many students have to be taught/reminded how to work out the volume and surface area of a cube.
-Many students don't fully understand ratios.
- Many students have forgotten what diffusion is/how it works.

These are all barriers to discovering the intended outcome, and if you're a student in that class who doesn't know how to work out the surface area of a cube, then you're never going to reach the intended learning outcome. So knowledge is required, even for discovery learning.

I work in a county where many parents don't really have a choice of school- effectively, usually, they can only access the closest school (rural county with lots of small towns and many children using buses etc to get to school). It's also an area with deprivation and low aspiration- in some schools at least. I would be intrigued to see how the model could work in an area like this!

I agree that the CompSci issue may partly be the shortage of teachers, especially specialist Computing teachers rather than IT teachers. It's also an expensive subject to resource. The same may well go for geography (although it's cheaper to teach).

I don't really object to the school fundraising though- many state schools in affluent areas ask their parents for voluntary contributions, for example and have active/successful PTAs. By fundraising in other ways, they're presumably intending to bridge this gap?

kesstrel Tue 27-Aug-19 11:32:46

you cannot learn maths by reading about it,

Actually, I learned a lot of maths from the really excellent textbooks I had (many years ago in the U.S.) They weren't like the maths textbooks now - everything had written explanations, like you were listening to a teacher, along with lots of worked examples and diagrams. (Of course we also had the teacher as well!) And we were expected to do what I now recognise was a huge amount of practice, compared to what my DDs were ever expected to do here.

kesstrel Tue 27-Aug-19 11:35:48

Sansa Really good points there, IMO.

noblegiraffe Tue 27-Aug-19 11:40:00

Actually, I learned a lot of maths from the really excellent textbooks I had

But you didn’t sit and read them in bed. Obviously you need an explanation of some sort, but if you read the method but never actually do any questions using the method, it’s as effective as saying you can ride a bike because you watched a video of someone riding a bike.

So sitting reading a knowledge organiser is a crap way of learning maths.

noblegiraffe Tue 27-Aug-19 11:43:13

I can see several problems with videos instead of visits. the most obvious one is that people will assume it's all stage-managed to give the best view

That depends on what you think the purpose of the school visits is. Is it to help teachers/visitors learn from your methods (in which case a selection of videos would be fine) or is it to show to your detractors that yes the kids chant poetry every lunchtime?

noblegiraffe Tue 27-Aug-19 11:45:31

If the tours are to help teachers learn from their methods then that’s fine (and like I said, switching to videos would make sense).

Using the kids to prove to other adults how very clever you are would not be a good reason to hold tours.

Piggywaspushed Tue 27-Aug-19 11:48:25

It is also fairly easy to stage manage a visit. I have seen those in many many schools!

Piggywaspushed Tue 27-Aug-19 11:49:05

The Free School I visited actually seemed less stage managed than many just 'normal' schools I visit.

noblegiraffe Tue 27-Aug-19 11:54:44

Thinking about Comp Sci (and a narrow curriculum!), even the KCL Maths school in London only offers Maths, Further Maths and Physics to A-level, with Computing or Economics AS. They used to do computing A-level, not sure why they stopped.

ChloeDecker Tue 27-Aug-19 12:16:41

They used to do computing A-level, not sure why they stopped.

It’s probably due to a big Catch 22 situation regarding a small uptake and lower results than those ‘Big Three’ because it was not really covered in Primary, Little to no time at KS3 allocated, ill thought out and rushed GCSE syllabus, which puts students off A Level, which in turn means schools drop it and universities can’t say they require it because so few do it.
It’s a subject that does need a specialist and time to implement and imbed knowledge and Michaela would have had a great opportunity to do this right from the start but something tells me that they wouldn’t want to risk their results by introducing it now and facing the issues that all other schools have had to.
I would be seriously impressed with their teaching if it would work introducing a new subject like that and it would be great to see them put their money where their mouth is.

If Michaela style teaching works for all, then it shouldn’t matter about finding the ‘right teacher’ (plenty of Comp Sci NQTs without jobs) etc.

SansaSnark Tue 27-Aug-19 12:20:40

Totally anecdotal, but I know schools who've had a massive increase in uptake of Computing as an option (at GCSE and A-level) since they've been able to appoint female teachers of the subject. And the same is true in a few schools of Physics A-level . Having role models in these fields is really important and by not even teaching computing, you could make it seem like computing is "not for them".

I do think it is really hard for schools to find good computing teachers, though- it's a relatively new subject, and most CompSci graduates have a huge number of options open to them. ITT recruitment numbers are low, and there's not the large pool of existing teachers that there is in other subject- obviously some ICT teachers can/have successfully transferred over but that's not possible for all of them, and even historically I think a lot of ICT teachers were non-specialists.

And now that schools have the option of not teaching the subject at all, it's perhaps easier just to drop it, rather than struggle to find people to staff it?

There are real concerns about some groups becoming disenfranchised from both IT and computing education:

SansaSnark Tue 27-Aug-19 12:23:08

@ChloeDecker Cross post, but I'm amazed you know Comp Sci NQTs without jobs! When I was looking for a science job this year, I was seeing lots of posts advertised around the south west. Maybe it's geographical?

ChloeDecker Tue 27-Aug-19 12:30:22

I think it is Geographical but also the fact that people don’t tend to leave their jobs-if you are a trad ‘ICT’ teacher, you won’t get another post easily elsewhere so you stay. It is true that there is a lack of specialist Comp Sci teachers but not a huge lack of empty roles. None of my PGCE trainees have jobs for Sept.

noblegiraffe Tue 27-Aug-19 12:34:12

<whispers> I’ve been roped into teaching a bit of KS3 computing.

kesstrel Tue 27-Aug-19 12:38:55

That depends on what you think the purpose of the school visits is. Is it to help teachers/visitors learn from your methods (in which case a selection of videos would be fine) or is it to show to your detractors that yes the kids chant poetry every lunchtime?

I'd respectfully suggest that's a false dichotomy.

Because why would any teacher want to watch CPD videos from a school widely represented as turning its pupils into miserable robots and grossly exaggerating/faking its early internal results?

I haven't forgotten the thread from two and a half years ago, based on unfavourable Guardian articles, where all those accusations were made and more, including that their methods would never work at GCSE level. And on this thread as well, we've seen all sorts of claims of sharp practice and deception.

The only way to show the world that the children aren't miserable, and the claims the school makes about learning are at least somewhat true, was to let them talk freely to the children, and go into any classroom they choose, on a personal visit. Otherwise you just get people making insinuations about what goes on behind closed doors.

ChloeDecker Tue 27-Aug-19 12:39:08

You’re a star noble! They will be lucky to have you.

And now that schools have the option of not teaching the subject at all, Technically not true but we know academies and free schools can opt out of the NC requirements!

I was part of the pilot GCSE in 2010 and know first hand how hard it is to suddenly change subject with no resources, no text books, no money to pay for training and no extra time to plan! That’s why Michaela would have had the luxury of planning time with a given national curriculum and new GCSE syllabus but something tells me they wanted to not touch controlled assessment subjects with a barge pole. They irony is that there is no controlled assessment in the 9-1 syllabus anymore!

Emilyontmoor Tue 27-Aug-19 12:41:42

What a sad thread. I am sure the Michaela school is providing an environment that works well for some pupils. The sad thing is that too many people in positions of power in education are the ones a system like that works well for. Of course if your success was defined by a system based on measuring the absorbing and regurgitating of facts in timed conditions then you will support it’s continuation.

For many of us school was a never ending series of blows to self esteem as we were set tests that we could not succeed at. It was bewildering to me and my teachers that I had scored highly in my 11+ results (VR and NVR only), had ideas and could enjoy applying logic and analysing texts and problems, loved reading and literature (though reading had come slowly and spelling never really at all ) I could never show that ability in test conditions. Their and my conclusion was that I must be stupid or lazy or both. I just did not understand that some people can memorise a page of facts and be able to serve it up in the right format in the time given in a test or exam. In the same way I am sure some people do not comprehend that somebody can be able but not show it in those conditions, even though they may have put far more time and effort into revision. I had thought we had an education system that has moved on from defining pupils by that weakness. Indeed we have in the best schools, I take the pint that private schools have the resources to do that more effectively. However does that mean that state schools have to revert to a system that does so badly by a significant proportion of its pupils (1 in 10 will have a significant Specific Learning Difficulty regardless of ability but I believe that separating pupils out into those who have a SpLD and those who haven’t is a false dichotomy, many pupils will share aspects of the profiles of pupils with SpLDs.) The recently revamped English Language and Literature GCSEs that have returned to more emphasis on rote learning have resulted in a downturn in pupils wanting to study English at a higher level. I can well believe it, it was only my love of literature, not the studying of it, and the not spectacular exam results, that have given me a lifelong gift of not just enjoyment but the discovery when studying the literature of another culture that at Masters level I had enough ability to get over 70% in an exam and get a distinction. Not because I was cured and had learned to pass exams but because the examiner was marking me on my analysis and ideas.

In real life I have worked with both the Board Members of some large companies in manufacturing, the media, logistics and finance facilitating strategy and planning and it is incredibly common that senior managers who are good at analysing their resources and markets and developing a strategy to exploit them effectively and a plan to implement that strategy can’t spell or do simple arithmetic. And it doesn’t matter because they have those strengths. Indeed the MOD are open about recruiting people who are neurodivergent because their skills in analysis and spotting patterns make them good spies.

How sad that the Michaela would put a Richard Branson (whatever you think of his ethics and personality) Sir Paul Nurse or any of the other shapers in our society who did not do well in school exams into their bottom stream and just fail to get them. Thank goodness I got my DDs through the system before it went backwards......

SansaSnark Tue 27-Aug-19 12:44:00

@ChloeDecker I'm really shocked that none of your trainees have jobs for September, and I can see how that would be a massive problem for retention and encouraging people to train. As I say, I saw quite a few job vacancies in Bristol/further south west when I was looking for a job- when you search for "science" it often brings up Computer Science too. But obviously that's no good for someone job hunting in another part of the country!

I can see that traditional ICT teachers probably stay in their roles though, so if there's no movement locally, you can be a bit stuck. I guess there's also quite a few jobs which aren't full time or where you're expected to teach a bit of maths etc too?

noblegiraffe Tue 27-Aug-19 12:46:34

Because why would any teacher want to watch CPD videos from a school widely represented as turning its pupils into miserable robots and grossly exaggerating/faking its early internal results?

confused why do they visit the school in large numbers?

I don’t think Michaela is widely represented as a bad thing either. The Daily Mail bloody love it. The DfE bloody love it. Key players on edu-twitter bloody love it. And it’s spreading across the country.

Piggywaspushed Tue 27-Aug-19 12:47:26

Time for you to go on a visit kesstrel ?

Piggywaspushed Tue 27-Aug-19 12:53:34

To be fair when people on here have commented based on visits , you have told them they're wrong or that it isn't enough evidence! I enjoyed my visits to Michaela schools but have concerns about elements of the way they operate and the narrowness of vision. And the silence was not for me,personally, nor the lack of flexibility in anything.

Piggywaspushed Tue 27-Aug-19 12:55:56

We have recruited IT teachers. They haven't lasted, sadly, for a range of reasons.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 27-Aug-19 13:59:08

I enjoyed my visits to Michaela schools but have concerns about elements of the way they operate and the narrowness of vision.

Come on now Piggy If you’re not 100% Michaela, you’re obviously prog rather than trad and determined to leave kids doomed to failure with your ineffective methods. wink

I can never understand why there can’t seem to be some muddle ground. Why does not being 100% for Michaela mean that you are against it? And it isn’t just here. If you dare to criticise a bit of what they do anywhere else the problem is you not whatever element you are querying.

Piggywaspushed Tue 27-Aug-19 14:02:28

I like the idea of a muddle ground !

SabineSchmetterling Tue 27-Aug-19 17:01:03

You’re right about a middle ground. I’ve been one of the people defending Michaela on this thread but, I must say, whilst I really admire what KB has achieved, it isn’t a school that I would personally choose to work in. I admire the commitment to consistency massively but I wouldn’t want all of my lessons scripted. It doesn’t suit the way I like to teach. I also like that my school is a bit more relaxed about uniform as I’m not massively observant. I think they have their core principles spot-on but its not an environment that would suit everyone.
What I think I find frustrating sometimes is that as a profession we sometimes seem quicker to jump to the defence of schools that are performing poorly than those that are performing well. I understand why that is... We know that the teachers in those schools are probably doing the very best they can with really challenging intakes and poor leadership. Inequality in education is not going to get any better until those schools improve though and whilst the leadership in those schools might be lovely people with great intentions, their methods aren’t working. I’ve been watching the secret teacher programmes and whilst the staff in those schools were clearly doing their best, poor discipline was clearly an issue in all of them. That isn’t the fault of the teachers, but continuing to make excuses which suggest that you can’t expect behaviour or results to be good in schools with challenging intakes is letting down poor kids.

SmileEachDay Tue 27-Aug-19 17:33:02

I’d agree with you Sabine.

The thing Michaela has tackled successfully is variation in quality of teaching between classrooms within their school.

This is something that has been picked up time and time again by ofsted, parents, children, teachers, consultants (basically everyone) as being hugely damaging to children’s progress.

chomalungma Tue 27-Aug-19 18:03:11

There just isn’t enough time when you have a full timetable of classes and endless admin. I don’t think Michaela would have been able to achieve what they have achieved if they’d started with a full school

That's interesting. Busy teachers, with busy timetables, a full school of children of all abilities, lots of administration, marking, planning etc leaves little time available for that focussing on how to teach, in depth working with pupils etc

jamoncrumpet Tue 27-Aug-19 18:06:47

I worked in a Michaela type school then moved to a much more liberal comp. I saw flaws in both systems but some things from the more draconian regime stuck with me. I was always outside the door to my classroom in the lesson changes, keeping an eye on the corridor outside and greeting the students as they came in. I seated my students in rows (liberal comp colleagues were horrified - 'but what about collaborative tasks?!'). I insisted on absolute silence when I or another student was addressing the class.

These will seem like obvious things to everybody but a lot of teachers don't do any of these things. And I know this because my students would always say 'Miss Crumpets you are so extra, why are you always watching us down the hall like that?'

It just made sense to me. The corridors can be scary and chaotic places.

SmileEachDay Tue 27-Aug-19 18:11:54

I do all of those things too crumpets - and I always, always wait for complete silence with everyone standing behind their chair before I dismiss them. I ask once, then just wait.

I generally dismiss by saying a particular word - and students get quite offended if I don’t. Routine is very important to young people feeling secure.

SansaSnark Tue 27-Aug-19 18:26:51

I do agree that consistency between teachers, regardless of what exactly you're being consistent about can really make a difference to a school environment. It's the schools where pupils, for example, can wander in 5 minutes late because their last lesson was on the other side of a large campus, that often feel more chaotic.

During my PGCE year we were encouraged to look at lots of different styles of teaching and take what we liked from each style, but Michaela does feel very all or nothing- you're either with us or against us, which is a bit divisive.

I'm reading the book now, and some of the stuff about being knowledge rich and using lots of recall practice I really like. Some of it annoys me a little bit e.g. when they mention teachers having two free periods a day, or that they do six science topics in year 8 (this is the bare minimum any state school I'm aware of would do).

I find it interesting that the chapter written by the science teacher doesn't mention practical work once- their teaching description sounds interesting and there's definitely things I would take from it and use (although it does seem to assume all students can e.g. easily read data from a table which in practice is a skill I have to explicitly teach some students) but I'd love to know what they do when practical work comes up. I would like to know (genuinely) how they manage the classroom during demos and student investigations.

Rainuntilseptember Tue 27-Aug-19 18:27:14

I really want to know the word now Smileeveryday.
do you mean saying "clear off you fuckers" isn't allowed any more?

Piggywaspushed Tue 27-Aug-19 18:29:00

Variation in quality is not the same as variation or, indeed variety, and they are often seen as the same as each other. So, if someone does something differently, that is not good . It can't be, because it's not The Michaela Way. I have used the Michaela name for ease there but it does apply to any number of schools and their policies.

Has anyone here read Cleverlands? It's a really interesting read.

chomalungma Tue 27-Aug-19 18:32:17

I seated my students in rows (liberal comp colleagues were horrified - 'but what about collaborative tasks?!'). I insisted on absolute silence when I or another student was addressing the class

Sound like my Grammar school education. We also stood up when a member of staff came in.

But...I don't remember much collaboration in my school. I remember lots of chalk and talk. Lots of facts. Too much silence. Not a lot of co-operation, team work, social development, group work...all valuable skills that are just as important as other skills.

I hope my school has improved on that since.

SansaSnark Tue 27-Aug-19 18:39:40

@Piggywaspushed I've read cleverlands (about a year ago), and I did find it an interesting read. It's definitely interesting to see what works well in other countries.

I think it was the Taiwanese model where teachers had free time each afternoon to spend time coaching students who were struggling on an individual/small group basis (I might be making that up). That's obviously going to be hugely valuable for those students. It sounds like Michaela did/do similar- but that's probably not sustainable in the average British secondary.

noblegiraffe Tue 27-Aug-19 18:41:51

I generally dismiss by saying a particular word


SmileEachDay Tue 27-Aug-19 18:44:51



If they’d pissed me off I’d say “off you go” and they would all be horrified 😂😂

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 27-Aug-19 21:51:23

Lol at muddle ground. Probably should have proof read before I pressed send.

Not sure whether this belongs here or on the Boris’s promises thread.

Hopefully your extra funding isn’t going to be from the same imaginary source as our in the nhs was.

Piggywaspushed Tue 27-Aug-19 21:56:01

noble just started a thread on that. I am assuming it's all imaginary!

herculepoirot2 Wed 28-Aug-19 07:09:09

Re. these “leaked” documents, I don’t know how it isn’t more obvious that teachers (ordinary classroom teachers) don’t need reminders about “reasonable force”. We know the law. We also know that we don’t want to have to manhandle our students, know that most of the ones we would have to manhandle would hit us back if we did, and some would do worse, and know that we would be investigated if we did it anyway.

We need to address poor behaviour at its root, not at the point where the student is refusing to do anything we say.

Piggywaspushed Wed 28-Aug-19 07:24:22

Hear hear, hercule.

BelindasGleeTeam Wed 28-Aug-19 08:28:59

Absolutely. Heads need not to fear exclusion.

Example: year 10 kid starts full on fight. His first punch breaks other kids nose.
Three day exclusion.

To me that's two weeks, governor disciplinary and on last warning before PE.

Can't do it. Kid has "anger issues" (no shit!) and dominates the year group through fear.

That's where we need efficacy.

SabineSchmetterling Wed 28-Aug-19 10:36:07

Belinda shock
How is breaking someone’s nose anything other than a PE?
If it was a totally out of character incident from a kid with real mitigating circumstances (e.g. extreme provocation or sudden family tragedy) then perhaps I could see a longer FTE being appropriate but under any other circumstances I would have thought that’s a PE in any school. I’m genuinely shocked that it isn’t. Who’d want to send their kid to a school where someone can break your nose and be back in class with you in less than a week?

BelindasGleeTeam Wed 28-Aug-19 11:49:12

Welcome to reality.

This kid intimidated classmates, staff and his parents too.

Twenty years ago he'd have gone on PE. Not any more.

Inclusive education innit? He has "anger issues" and some SEN related to his emotions. So he gets to beat kids up and not be chucked out.

And school is almost powerless. They tried everything to help this lad. I know how much work the SENCo put in.

noblegiraffe Wed 28-Aug-19 11:54:02

I would have thought that’s a PE in any school.

I’d be surprised if breaking another kid’s nose resulted in a PE in any school.

herculepoirot2 Wed 28-Aug-19 12:42:47

We had students involved in full on organised brawls not permanently excluded. Pushing or threatening members of staff resulting in an afternoon in isolation. The net result is students walking round damaging property, abusing each other and adults, not learning anything except how to dominate others, and ultimately passing into a life of frustration and failure.

It isn’t hyperbolic to call inclusion tragic, in some respects. Obviously in others we need it, and children need it. But someone has to apply some common sense and lateral thinking to it.

noblegiraffe Wed 28-Aug-19 12:57:47

The kids I know of who have been PE have had years of serious incidents on file. Schools have to show that they have given the kids every chance, every possible intervention and support before expulsion.

Hidcote Wed 28-Aug-19 13:02:53

A year 8 girl in my dcs' school kicked a teacher. The girl continued at the school. The teacher left sad No SEN/difficult home life as the girl was in dd's class at primary school.

SabineSchmetterling Wed 28-Aug-19 16:27:17

We’ve never had any issues with PE for kids who have been violent. We don’t use PE often but in my 10 years at the school there have been a few. Breaking someone’s nose would get a PE and would not be overturned on appeal here. Ofsted didn’t have any issue with out PE record when they visited either. Who is stopping HTs from excluding violent kids at the moment?

Piggywaspushed Wed 28-Aug-19 16:56:45

We have just had an exclusion overturned. Can't go into details but more than one violent incident.

SabineSchmetterling Wed 28-Aug-19 17:10:24

Wow! Must depend on the local area. We’ve had PE upheld for less than that and because we were undersubscribed until a few years ago have taken our fair share of kids who were permanently excluded from other schools, they have usually been excluded for less than that too.

Tonnerre Wed 28-Aug-19 17:16:39

I've sat on exclusion panels. Unless it was accidental, in self-defence or a reaction to deliberate provocation, I would have no hesitation in upholding the permanent exclusion of a child who broke another child's nose.

Piggywaspushed Wed 28-Aug-19 17:20:59

Perhaps you should have sat on our panel then which overturned ours on a technicality so we now have a violent and abusive student back in our school...

MoltoAgitato Wed 28-Aug-19 17:23:39

Our LA will make a HT’s life not worth living if they PeX. We are in the middle of a primary PEx - it’s taken years to get to this point, children leaving the school left right and centre because of one child and if their behaviour and language was a film we couldn’t show it to our children as it would be at least a 15 rating. Staff regularly punched. Children hurt, even with specialist 1:1. And the LA have threatened and blustered and refused to support and finally our Ht has had enough. It’s nearly broken out extremely experienced HT. Child has seen numerous medical professionals who all say no diagnosis. Guess what, parents are complete arseholes. It took us 5 terms before our HT finally PExed, and blow the consequences the LA are threatening.

Tonnerre Wed 28-Aug-19 17:49:50

What technicality, out of curiosity, Piggywaspushed? Governors aren't supposed to work on technicalities, and Independent Reviewing Panels can only quash a permanent exclusion on judicial review grounds, which are considerably more than technical.

noblegiraffe Wed 28-Aug-19 17:57:26

Schools are fined for permanently excluding pupils too, and aren’t exactly awash with money to do this!

Piggywaspushed Wed 28-Aug-19 18:04:09

I don't know myself tonnerre but it is paperwork and procedures related.

SmileEachDay Wed 28-Aug-19 18:08:04

Our LA (currently in special measures) has a “zero exclusion policy”.

They’ve not told us what the alternative is and funding for one of our only remaining outreach services for vulnerable families finished in July.


SabineSchmetterling Wed 28-Aug-19 18:19:44

Bloody hell. How can a whole LA have a zero exclusion policy? That is mind boggling. Maybe the extra power for HTs to exclude is needed after all. I’m not against inclusion but there has to be some limit to what schools are expected to tolerate. How can you keep your pupils and employees safe if you cannot exclude students who have been repeatedly violent to other students and to staff?

SmileEachDay Wed 28-Aug-19 18:34:09

And in some cases, because there is fuck all support, a PEX and time in a PRU is the only way extremely troubled youngsters have any chance of success. They simply can’t make it work in mainstream.

Teachermaths Wed 28-Aug-19 19:00:05

There should be more and better funded PRUs. They should be available as a "choice" when leaving primary school to students who are referred by primary school. They don't need to be called PRUs, support or small school... Just somewhere that actually properly met the needs of students who need a smaller, calmer environment.

Currently mainstream schools are failing students due to having to deal with so many conflicting issues in one room. Mainstream doesn't work for some students, the classes are just too big. I agree that PExs have reached the point of being almost unachievable in most schools. Most schools don't bother anymore because it's not worth the hassle. Being fined for PExing a student is a false economy. It should lead to that student attracting extra funding to attend a smaller school. Obviously this is a pie in the sky idea currently.

herculepoirot2 Wed 28-Aug-19 21:01:53


But it’s a good one. Lots of people fall into the trap of thinking firm behaviour policies and funding are mutually exclusive. They are not. I want to see funding AND firm behaviour policies. That necessitates different solutions for students whose behaviour seems outside their control.

Tonnerre Thu 29-Aug-19 00:17:01

Schools are fined for permanently excluding pupils too, and aren’t exactly awash with money to do this!

Only if they refuse to reinstate having been found to have acted unlawfully or wholly irrationally in relation to the exclusion. It's a power the is used very rarely.

noblegiraffe Thu 29-Aug-19 01:00:41

Do they not fine routinely any more? They used to back in the day

Actually sounds like the sort of thing Gove would get rid of.

SansaSnark Thu 29-Aug-19 21:30:24

I agree that more and well funded PRUs are the answer for some children. Some PRUs make a real difference to the lives of the students that attend them, in a way that possibly/probably isn't possible in mainstream school. It's also a very different environment and so they can deal with some things in a way that just wouldn't be possible in a mainstream school.

Exclusion doesn't have to mean the end of the road for a student- it should be the start of a process of rehabilitation in an appropriate environment- whilst ensuring the safety of everyone in the mainstream school.

Tonnerre Fri 30-Aug-19 08:20:22

Those weren't fines, noblegiraffe. The councils were clawing back funding relating to the pupils in question.

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