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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

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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