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Some kids behaved badly - whole school punished - is this a common strategy?

(21 Posts)
Avalon Wed 24-May-06 16:02:59

Last week, a few kids were laughing and shouting as they came into assembly at dd's junior school. Result - whole school in detention.

This morning, assembly using a story where a kid wastes school resources. Deputy head asked who wants to be like this kid? - some kids put their hands up. Result - whole school has to write a letter saying why this is wrong. If they're doing SATS, which dd is, they have to do the letter in break time.

A couple of weeks ago, they were due to have PE but their teacher had to do some extra science work with another group. So instead they had the head teacher with them to do quiet reading. Some kids played up. Whole class had to do detention.

I've just got off the phone to school and the deputy head is in a meeting at the moment. She's supposed to ring me back. I'm upset and my hands are shaking.

Is this sort of thing a common school strategy? I can't help feeling it doesn't achieve anything except alienate well-behaved kids (and their parents!).

Jessajam Wed 24-May-06 16:08:06

it's all about trying to put peer pressure on the naughty ones - like in those army films where the one who stands up for himself has to watch while his mates have to run extra 20 miles, they all hate him after that, so doesn't say it again....
trouble is probably won't work cos the kids who are being naughty probably don't care/aren't afraid of the other kids!

puddle Wed 24-May-06 16:10:53

I'd be interested in the teachers' perspectives on this too Arwen. My ds's class have all lost golden time on occasion because of the actions of a couple of children in the class. I don't really understand how it works either.

quanglewangle Wed 24-May-06 16:19:51

Can't say I agree with it myself, not for such trivial matters anyway.
Ime the peer pressure doesn't happen - but teachers lose the respect of the kids. The peer pressure logic only works if the kids see it that way.

Apart from anything else, how can the school keep it up? It must mean extra time and work for teachers .

Avalon Wed 24-May-06 16:23:40

Jessajam - yep, think you're right about the other kids. Dd is quiet and well-behaved - can't see her having an effect on the naughty ones! She used to be very enthusiastic about school and slowly she's losing that.

puddle - wonder if the teacher will even ring? All quiet so far ...

puddle Wed 24-May-06 16:24:50

Sorry avalon - not sure why I called you arwen.

Avalon Wed 24-May-06 16:26:42

quanglewangle - hadn't thought of the extra time etc by the teachers - maybe I can sell that side of it to the deputy head?!

Much better surely, to reward good behaviour. It's all stick and no carrot at the moment.

Avalon Wed 24-May-06 16:27:18

No probs puddle

EmmyLou Wed 24-May-06 16:51:14

Never heard of this sort of (quite extreme) reaction at a junior school. Sympathise re shaking hands - i think mine would be too! Sounds v counterproductive to me. I usually endorse backing the school as all to often you can find that interference creates a lack of discipline - remembering the kids at secondary school who misbehaved, got told off (or 'done' as we called it!) but would brag that their mum was coming up to school to tell the teacher what for etc. Parents and school should present a united front - but there are always some exceptions. Go for it. Ring them again or speak to class teacher/ head in the morning.

kipper22 Wed 24-May-06 16:58:18

sorry to anyone who has used this tactic, but it seems to me to be a way in which teachers with poor behaviour management skills try to assert their authority (ie. trying to get the kids to take on that responsibility for them.) As a teacher I have never understood the point and can still remember the feeling of injustice from when I was a goody-goody teenager! Admittedly I only worked in a primary school but it was definitely those teachers who gave out whole class punishments who had a real lack of respect from the kids. At the risk of insulting a few more people, I would say that I'm not surprised the leaing teachers seem to be the ones dealing out these reprimands - they're the ones who rarely have any actual contact with large groups of children!

cupcakes Wed 24-May-06 17:03:17

has the school phoned yet?

swedishmum Wed 24-May-06 17:08:05

It doesn't work and is totally unfair imo. Not the kind of thing I'd do as a teacher. I'd be asking to speak to someone too.

zoeuk1 Wed 24-May-06 18:01:04

this happens in my ds school. if one or two of the kids misbehave, then sometimes the whole class gets punished. i think its really unreasonable. afterall, if the well behaved children are being punished then surely they must think,"why should i bother behaving?"
also, another gripe i have is this. at my ds secondary school the naughty children get rewarded when they are good, but the children that are always well behaved dont get rewarded.

hulababy Wed 24-May-06 18:03:04

I left teaching a year ago, secondary but even then we were told that whole group punishments should not be used any more.

Rosefairy Wed 24-May-06 18:33:41

I too have this problem with DS school with it resulting in I now have a child who used to love going to school but now I have to take in screaming most mornings which breaks my heart.
This is resulting from the Head giving an whole school detention on more than one occasion because some juniors had talked during his assembly. Also the class has been kept in this week as there was a thief in the class (supposedly) as a child had 'lost' a miniscule toy (why did they not get told they should't bring special toys in i don't know!!) this toy was later found under the book shelf NO APOLOGY my child is only 6 and to mar these childrens lives by putting them off school is such a shame.
the only response I got from the school is that they are not allowed to single individual children out for punishment.

Avalon Wed 24-May-06 20:25:33

Thanks for your messages.

I haven't heard from the school. Not too surprised, tbh. I'll go in tomorrow morning and try to appear calm and rational!

I'm glad other people find whole school punishment unfair - but I'm a bit too - there's obviously lots of kids' good behaviour going unnoticed and bad behaviour getting others into trouble.

zoeuk1 Thu 25-May-06 13:51:48

thats what bothers me avalon. the well behaved children get punished for things they had nothing to do with! naughty children should be singled out for punishment as far as i'm concerned because maybe they would think twice before misbehaving again.

Avalon Thu 25-May-06 22:04:16


I phoned the school in the morning (too chicken to go in ) and the deputy was supposed to ring me back. Dd's class teacher phoned instead. I put all my points to him and he was in agreement (without saying it was unfair) and dd and a lot of others in her class haven't had to write the letter.

He did say that it's difficult when you're speaking to an assembly to see how many/whose hands are going up (I got the feeling that he thought she'd made a bit of a mistake, but couldn't come out and say it).

I suggested that whole school/class punishment just alienates the kids who are well-behaved, and that everyday good behaviour usually goes unrewarded purely because it's expected. He said that our conversation had sparked off some ideas and that he'd be looking to find ways of rewarding consistently good behaviour.

All in all, I'm pleased although it's a shame I couldn't speak to the deputy.

Zoe - felt he agreed that the kids who do things to be naughty should be punished. Got a bit of an eye-opener though, when he told me how hard some of them find it to control their behaviour. So maybe one kid's naughtiness is another kid's not knowing any better?

threebob Thu 25-May-06 22:11:54

I teach piano at a school who has a demerit system (they also have a separate merit system). Anyone with one or fewer demerits for the term gets to go on an outing in the last week of term (we have 4 terms, so that's 4 trips).

The stigma of not being able to go is huge, and whilst any child can slip up (mostly my pupils seem to get one for talking in class) they are then focussed for the rest of term on not getting another.

There will always be a child who loses 2 in the first week and then just doesn't care - but I think they have something in place to help the child work towards the trip the next term.

On the OP - what a silly thing to ask a question like that and then get upset when kids raised their hands. There are some children who will raise their hands to anything!

quanglewangle Thu 25-May-06 23:12:10

On one of those boot-camp for teenagers progs on tv, the whole group was punished for the misdemeanor of one of them.

The lesson to be learnt was that they had to learn that whatever you do has consequences for others, no one lives/behaves in isolation.

It seemed to work but only, iirc, because the reasoning was clearly explained to them all.

So, maybe if it is done correctly and only occasionally it might be effective. Still don't like it though.

ghosty Thu 25-May-06 23:25:01

In the school where I taught the headteacher used this method once in 6 years for what was seen as a very serious misdemeanour - major graffiti on a classroom wall (this was in a posh private school so it was very serious) .... The culprits were given 3 days to own up by letter to the head or else the whole school would be in detention.
It worked .. within 48 hours the head had letters from 3 children owning up to the 'crime' and the school was let off. The head didn't haul them up in front of the rest of the school but had the parents in and told everyone in assembly that the matter had been resolved.
The only downside, which left a sour taste was that their punishment was writing out extracts of the bible which I and many of my colleagues really didn't agree with ... unfortunately the headteacher was a fanatical born again Christian and used the bible and God to scare the kids

I never used the method personally for my own classes but fwiw I DO think it can work if used very very sparingly for serious things ... but to use it in the way you describe Avalon is ridiculous ...

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