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Primary School Discipline

(23 Posts)
25hourdaymum Fri 14-Oct-11 07:04:50

Does your Primary School's Behavior Record so IMPORTANT, it needs 2b at the cost of a child's own self esteem and mental well being ?
Seems so at my my own child's school!
1st is a verbal warning> ok
2nd is warning card or name on board> ok
3rd is time out for 10/15 mins > ok but the time-out is not age appropriate.

Time out is set for across the whole school from reception to Year6. It takes place in the big kids class with a teacher (who resembles Grant Mitchell!). The youngest children are escorted there by a T.A. and left there in a class of older kids(strangers to them) and an unfamiliar teacher for 10 mins or until they finsh thier 'I must not ..' lines.
The initial experience of the long march down the corridor to the big kids class is a scarey enough experience but it has traumatised most of the youngest children who break down and weep even before they reach the 'time-out' classroom!

My 7 year old child has just been diagnosed with suffering stress and anxiety as a result of this 'discipline' which he's had to conform to over the last 2 years. It seems that now, even the threat of time-out and seeing his friends go into time-out has affected him really badly.
The most saddening factor is, that unbeknown to me, my child has even tried on his own to overcome his fear of the SCAREY Year6 time-out teacher, by trying to talk to him and get to know him. The teacher has persistantly ignored my child's efforts to speak to him.
The doc has summounted what's happened to my little boy, falls nothing short of controlled intimidation endorsed by the school but he says he cant doing anything to help but he will write a supporting letter to confirm the effects their discipline has had on my child.
Basically, this is mental cruelty and prob best to move him to another school which I think is the best option.

Talking to the school has not worked. Next is a formal complaint to the goveners, who incidently, "will not change the rules", as confirmed by the head in a private conversation to my little boy. Is the head allowed do this?
Not even sure if OFSTED would take action !
Why should the school get away with this?!!!
Very grateful for anyones positve imput.Thanks.

Bucharest Fri 14-Oct-11 07:09:19

If my child had progressed (more than once by the sounds of it?) to "stage 3"of the school's disciplinary process I'd be looking more closely at his behaviour rather than blaming everyone else.

swallowedAfly Fri 14-Oct-11 07:16:03

why by seven years of age would you need to have repeatedly gone all through the disciplinary procedures? if he's so scared of it why is he misbehaving, ignoring warnings, ignoring name on the board, right through to being sent out? presumably this started young and has happened on several occasions for him to be so traumatised by it?

they do a yellow card system at our primary as the last resort on the behaviour system and not one was given out last year.

and a gp can't dx stress and anxiety in a 7yrold let alone say what caused it - he's not a child psychologist.

fivegomadindorset Fri 14-Oct-11 07:21:08

If my child had got to stage three of the discipline system often enough to get stressed by the teacher then I would be questioning my childs behaviour.

When does he try to talk to the Year 6 teacher? If it is during time out then I would guess that he is not allowed to speak to the child concerned.

crazygracieuk Fri 14-Oct-11 07:24:27

I don't think that the punishment is too harsh. Punishments are supposed to be unpleasant so they act as a deterrent. Obviously if there are special needs then there might have to be a different system for that child but I think that schools need to punish bad behaviour so that other children can get on with learning and so on.

What did your son do to get a level 3? Why didn't he change his behaviour at level 1 or 2? My children have had level 1 but the embarrassment of being singled out makes them change their behaviour.

DownbytheRiverside Fri 14-Oct-11 07:28:14

How many other parents feel as you do?
Get a group together and work out an action plan as to what should change and what should take its place.
Many schools use this system, it seems to be the terror engendered by time out in a different class that is the issue. Work out what you want to say and approach the head as a concerned group.

cory Fri 14-Oct-11 08:33:49

Are you sure part of the stress is not caused by your showing your son that you think the punishment too harsh? Ime how a parent reacts is a major factor in how stressed they get.

Our school had a similar system but as far as I can gather it didn't cause any particular terror; it was embarrassing but not terrifying. Children accepted that this was how it was, and I think it helped that the parents took a brisk approach (Oh dear, well you'll have to behave better next time and then it won't happen again).

And in any case, I would be wondering what is wrong with a 7yo if the mere experience of being in a class with unfamiliar children causes him to break down.

In dcs' school this was something that often happened not just for punishment but for practical reasons (e.g. child not able to join school trip) and children seemed to take it in their stride; nobody would have thought this isn't something a 7yo should be able to cope with.

You do seem to be talking about your ds as a much younger child: surely the idea that time out has to be in the minutes of your age is a concept used for 3 or 4 yos, not for 7yos? And going into a different class for a while- again something that you might expect to cause stress for a 3yo, rather than a 7yo.

It may well be that this teacher is intimidating, but the problem is you are not giving your son the skills to cope with it.

If you move him now, there will either be a new disciplinary system in the new school- or else the children will be totally out of control which is just as intimidating. In the end, all he will learn is that he can't cope. You can teach him something more useful: how to communicate with the school to overcome the problems.

CustardCake Fri 14-Oct-11 09:58:44

I don't think the system seems too harsh especially as there are 2 warning stages long before they get the time out. This is pretty common practice (not always in a communal classroom but kids are often kept in at break time. At some schools, they don’t even get so many warnings first).

Most trivial behaviour issues are dealt with by a stern word or distraction so in reality to get to stage 3, the child would have to be persistently naughty and then it is fair enough that they miss some playtime. It is upsetting for you if your son is anxious but the punishment isn't particularly mean or unusual. Why is he so frightened of it? Punishments are supposed to be a deterent. If it was something that no child minded then there'd be no point using it as a punishment.

PatriciaHolm Fri 14-Oct-11 10:13:42

You make it sound like something out of the Victorian age!

I think you are over dramatising; how come a 7 yr old, who has been at the school 2 years, still considers the older children "strangers" and the teacher "unfamiliar"? My DCs knew pretty much all the older kids by the end of their first year, and there are 420 kids at their school! Same with teachers, they would know them all. And are they doing time out, or lines, or both? Your post isn't clear. Is this effectively detention, not "time out"? Why is your son going so regularly?

I don't believe for one minute that a school would continue with a punishment system that was regularly resulting in hordes of 5 yr olds in tears, as you suggest.

redskyatnight Fri 14-Oct-11 10:22:52

Are children really being sent into time out that often? There is a similar scheme at DS's school (which Ofsted rates "1" for behaviour if you consider that relevant) and from what he says the vast majority of children never go beyond the first warning stage (and actually the first warning isn't the real "first" - they get pre-warnings before then). I think there's only been 1 child in time out in his class this term.

If children are really going to timeout very frequently, I'd worry about the system being imposed very rigidly, or that the school needed to consider other behaviour management ideas.

purplemurple Fri 14-Oct-11 10:36:59

my ds also 7 has SN. He is in a MS school that use the yellow cards. He has a lot of anxiety about getting a yellow card. When he is doing his work in school he is "terrified" of doing his work wrong and getting a yellow card. When he gets his homework out he starts to cry in case he gets it wrong and gets a yellow card.and I can

His teacher has tried to reassure him and they have used this system since reception so it isn't new to him. However this is his fourth year at school and he has NEVER had a yellow card.

On the other hand my dd Y6 (NT) has received one yellow card in the duration of school, I think it was in Y4 for being bossy. She was in floods of tears on the friday as she would lose 10 mins golden time.

If it was affecting him so badly I would expect him to modify his behaviour. What kind of things has he done to warrant getting to the third stage of punishment?

marge2 Fri 14-Oct-11 10:43:22

You seem to be missing the point that your child repeatedly reaches level 3. Doesn't he understand that if he behaves himself that he won't have to go down the 'scary' corridor to the big kids class?

Punishments are not meant to be happy occasions.

ColdToast Fri 14-Oct-11 11:01:35

Surely if a child is sent to a different classroom for their behaviour, the last thing they should be doing is trying to chat to the teacher? You can hardly blame the man for not wanting to get into a conversation with your ds.

If your ds has been sent there as many times as you imply then you and the school should be working together to get to the root of the behavioural issues.

admission Fri 14-Oct-11 11:08:10

I agree with others that the OP seems to be missing the point as to why is their child getting to stage 3, without it sinking in that this is now getting serious and their behaviour needs to be modified.

Having said that there is a need to consider what is happening in class. Is this one class where actually the discipline is very poor and the teacher is instigating "time out" far to rapidly because of their own inability to instil any discipline? As the OP is talking about lots of chidlren taking the walk of shame and the fact that their child has had to suffer this for the last two years, I have to conclude that this not actually one teacher's problem over discipline but either a school with a very serious discipline problem or that OP is, as others have said, not reacting well to what is actually their child's poor behaviour.

What would be really interesting is to know what the year 6 pupils think of their scary teacher because from OP's post they all should be on the verge of nervous breakdowns due to the "iron" discipline in the school.

swallowedAfly Fri 14-Oct-11 11:17:19

not sure if the OP is coming back or has been put off by us being more concerned about the behaviour than the puishment but i keep thinking about this and i can't understand why children under the age of 7 would need to get up to the final straw of the discipline procedure ever let alone repeatedly unless there were serious issues with behaviour.

i'm also really not buying the idea of a GP diagnosing a child with anxiety and stress (superlative anyone) and determining it's cause. either the GP is very dodgy or what they said is being massively exaggerated.

LingDiLong Fri 14-Oct-11 11:24:23

Look, I'm sorry if your child is having some kind of breakdown. That must be awful for you both. But the punishment itself doesn't sound that awful at all; I'm sure younger children do sob on their way to time out but lots of children cry when they've misbehaved and got into trouble. At our school they have time out in their classroom but for really big 'offences' or for kids who aren't responding to that they do often get taken to see a different teacher for a talking to or to the Headmistress. Is there more going on with your son than just the time out issue? Presumably he's having some problems at school if he's getting to the time out stage frequently.

There are also a few things I don't understand here: if this teacher is unfamiliar to you and your child are sure you are reading him correctly as being like 'Grant Mitchell' and refusing to speak to your son? You seem to be taking everything your child says at face value, are you really going to assume the Governors will do nothing based on a 'private conversation' that the Head has had with your DC?

When you say talking to the school has not worked, what form has this talking taken? What did they say? I would absolutely take this to the Governors if you feel that strongly but I would disagree that this kind of punishment is 'mental cruelty'.

MerryMarigold Fri 14-Oct-11 11:32:55

Hi. Just to add a little argument on the other side. My child had a lot of problems last year. He was often sent out to other classes (of the same age group). He was miserable, likely singled out and it showed in his behaviour. He was also stressed. He was regularly waking at 5.30 in term time, and sometimes 4.30am. He was so tired, which made behaviour worse. It was so hard, I didn't know what to do, we tried coming down hard on him at home (we are not lackadaisical parents). Nothing worked - in term time. In the holidays he was like a different child, happy, relaxed, well behaved. I was very, very worried and finally casually spoke to the GP about it this year when seeing her about something else. She mentioned stress, but said to give it till half term since he's in a new class. He's gradually got BETTER which makes me think it was more the way he was handled, than any instrinsic problem.

This year he has a good teacher and his behaviour is a lot better - not as a result of stricter punishment, but better handling. He's not an angel, but if he doesn't do his work there is a direct consequence such as missing playtime which is not scary, but is certainly not pleasant. I think at home when he is disciplined, he knows we love him, we always communicate it a lot to him. At school when people shout or speak in a derogatory way or inflict scary punishment, some kids can feel worthless and disliked and actually go the other way and get worse.

As someone else said, if it keeps getting to this point: IT IS NOT WORKING. Someone should be trying to work out what will work on him.

dikkertjedap Fri 14-Oct-11 22:46:32

I would hope that you have arranged a meeting with his teacher to find out what is going wrong and why he ends up in time out on a regular basis. Once you know that you can consider next steps.

From what you have described I think the school's discipline procedure is absolutely fine, it seems clear and transparent and easy to understand for the children.

We have a similar approach at our school. I have a number of disruptive children in my class. I find that usually the ones which are most disruptive and persistently disruptive get most upset when they reach Time Out, some seem to think they are invincible and that this cannot and should not happen to them (backed up by their parents). Clearly, once in time out it would be silly for them to try to make contact with that teacher and I am sure that your son has been told not to do so. Nothing brave about trying to do that, just disobedient. From what you describe, and given my own experience, it could be that he simply refuses to accept his punishment and keeps misbehaving, possibly hoping that you can change the situation so he is no longer punished in this way.

ScareyFairenuff Fri 14-Oct-11 23:05:16

There are undoubtedly some children who think they are 'better' than the rest. The rules don't apply to them. They are more disruptive and generally do get more upset when disciplined. Children like that find it extremely difficult to accept responsibility for their actions. They will even lie about what they've done, rather than admit their faults, apologise and move on.

It's no surprise to find that these children tend to have parents who cannot accept that their child is at fault. There is always an excuse for the behaviour, they never behave like that at home hmm, or it's another child's or the teacher's fault. The parents often bypass the teacher and go straight to speak with the head teacher because they too believe themselves to be 'better' than the rest.

Not saying that you are one of those parents, OP, but the sooner your ds understands that he controls how much time out he gets, the easier life will be for him.

Feenie Fri 14-Oct-11 23:16:58

I can't believe that you are not more concerned that your ds repeatedly needs more than 3 warnings to do as he is told.

Those are serious behaviour problems with your 7 year old, and both you and the school need more work to resolve it.

Teacher401 Fri 14-Oct-11 23:44:42

It's fairly normal for children from the younger classes to be sent to a different class for 'time out'. In my previous role, as a Year 6 Teacher, I used to quite often be sent children from lower classes. This was due to the children, for whatever reason, seeing the Year 6 teachers as scary. It doesn't matter who the teacher is. It is just that because they teach the 'big' children they must be tough and scary!

PanelMember Fri 14-Oct-11 23:58:59

I agree with admission.

It is alarming that OP's son is regularly getting to stage 3 of the behaviour sanctions and even more alarming that she apparently thinks the solution is for the school to change (or abandon?) its behaviour policy rather than for her son to moderate his behaviour. I guess one reason the Y6 teacher isn't 'friendly' towards OP's son is that he doesn't want to do anything that might be interpreted as encouraging him to spend even more time in his classroom.

Talk of 'mental cruelty' is ridiculous and insulting to children and adults who really do experience mental cruelty.

swallowedAfly Sat 15-Oct-11 00:14:56

the op never came back then?

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