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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?

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...

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