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Son kept in during playtime

(33 Posts)
JohBel Mon 16-Nov-15 18:18:07

My family and I moved to south Wales from Sweden 5 weeks ago. My son of 7 years who speaks fluent English has attended his new school for 2 weeks (this is week 3 now). He tells us that he is being kept in during play time to finish work while the rest of the class goes out to play. Adjusting to a different class culture does slow him down and obviously he has learned other things in his home country with a different carriculum. As I understand it he is not misbehaving, just struggling to keep up in the first few weeks at a new school.

In Sweden to restrict children's playtime is an offence and would be seen as morally wrong. Before I contact his new school in Wales to demand an explanations I wonder if anyone can offer me advice or the benefit of their own experience. Thanks!

BertrandRussell Mon 16-Nov-15 18:21:21

It's quite normal to keep children back to finish work- particularly if why have been perceived to be not getting on with it in class, but it seems a bit unfair to do it in the first two weeks in a new school and country! I would o and ask (not demand!) to know what's going on.

KittyandTeal Mon 16-Nov-15 18:22:17

I'm a primary teacher and the only time I ever stop children from going out to play is if they're not safe to be out there (I've had a few who weren't allowed out to play as they constantly hurt other children, they did, however, still get outside break but on their own with an adult)

I have colleagues who keep kids in for not finishing work and I think it's so wrong. Children need to run and play. Isf they've not finished their work then the teacher is doing something wrong, either the work is pitched wrong (likely in his case) or the kids been pissing about in which case they need to look at their behaviour management.

Raxacoricofallapatorius Mon 16-Nov-15 18:22:59

This is quite normal (being kept in).

However, your situation is unique and if there's a genuine reason for him not being able to produce the required amount of work then you need to work with the school to discuss how they are going to help him achieve his targets and whether he's having any problems settling in which can be addressed now.

Ask to meet with the class teacher and see if you can reach a consensus.

irvine101 Mon 16-Nov-15 18:27:15

My ds told me he had to stay in and finish his work in playtime, so I don't think it's uncommon here.(Unless my ds's school is not doing something right.)

But in your DC's case, he's new and just adjusting to new system and I feel it is a bit unfair to keep him working when he should be meeting new children and making friends.

Can you ask teacher for alternatives like finish the work at home, or give him less work until he feels comfortable at his new school?

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 16-Nov-15 18:28:12

I'm not sure keeping a 7 ur old in is particularly productive. they need to burn off energy to be able to concentrate.

if he's struggling they need to differentiate the work better so it can be completed in time.

Leeds2 Mon 16-Nov-15 19:41:29

I would be concerned that he was missing out on the opportunity to make new friends. Seems very harsh to me.

cariadlet Mon 16-Nov-15 20:20:06

I teach Year 1, and do sometimes keep in children who need to do more work - but only if they haven't tried their best during the lesson. Sometimes children will do more in 10 minutes then they did in an hour's lesson!

But I wouldn't keep back a child who had tried hard, but hadn't produced much for any genuine reason - eg had found the work tricky or had been out for some of the lesson.

JohBel Mon 16-Nov-15 22:30:55

Thanks to all for the feedback! BatrandRussell, I used the word ‘demand’ because I am quite outraged about it. Obviously the physical, emotional and social wellbeing of a 7 year old child in the 3rd week at a new school in a new country takes precedence over finishing work. And I feel astounded that a teacher of such children in Wales wouldn’t know that. I try telling myself that maybe the teacher is just trying to help my son adjust his skills and knowledge to fit in with the class … but if that is the case then it seems really misguided. KittyandTeal, can you give me some sort of heads up as to what guidelines there are for schools/teachers regarding this sort of thing? The way you describe it, it sounds like there is no determined regulation about it but rather that it comes down to the individual teacher’s discretion. Any advice with that would help me when I talk to the school about it. Raxacoricofallapatorius and irvine101, yes I think to speak with the teacher first will be my first step. It is quite hard though because it is not something we are willing to find a compromise over. For the sake and wellbeing of our son we have to insist that it stops. It is not our intention to get the teacher into trouble or even create bad relations with the school (at all or even after only two weeks), but from our cultural perspective it is only a short step away from negotiating with the teacher not to hit him with a stick. I can appreciate that there are different schools of thought regarding teaching methods in different countries etc., but a child’s need to maintain a healthy balance of work and play at school doesn’t stop when one crosses a political boarder (at least not within the EU). Gileswithachainsaw and Leeds2 I couldn’t agree with you more! Cariadlet, Yes I understand your point. My son is a good kid and he genuinely wants to fit in, so he is really trying extra hard in class. From his viewpoint, he is being punished for not being from here.

Jhm9rhs Tue 17-Nov-15 10:47:29

I completely understand your feelings (
I went to school in Sweden for a while myself), but I think there is nothing to be gained by going in with all guns blazing, because I think there is something of a cultural difference here...keeping children in to finish work is fairly common here and wouldn't be looked on in the way you describe.

I would perhaps ask to meet with his teacher, gently point out that your son has a lot to adjust to and new friends to make, and ask how you can work with the school to make sure he is not kept in at playtime in future. You could maybe ask the teacher for his /her perspective on areas he is finding tricky. I wonder if there are other areas in which he has already completed work the Welsh children will be doing. Could he complete his other work then? Or bring a bit home?

sashh Tue 17-Nov-15 11:02:43

I think maybe you should remind the teacher that he is studying in his second language, he may be fluent in English but he has been 'living' day to day in Swedish. Assuming you have been speaking English at home and Swedish at school he may be learning new vocabulary / not fully understanding.

Ask if she would do the same with a child newly arrived who doesn't speak English.

Does he know to ask for help / explanations? Does he have TA support?

In the midst of teaching it can slip my mind that some students are ESOL, particularly if they have a local accent. I sometimes get pulled up short when I use a word students don't understand, one resent example I told a student to get out the 'felt tips', she was 17, I assumed she new what they were. It was explained to her in Italian by an African student.

I'm in the midlands, I'm used to ESOL and cultural differences but occasionally it can throw me. Depending on where you are in Wales the teacher may have never come across child who has not been educated from day one in their first language.

I think it might also be worth having a discussion with the teacher about basic skills. I moved primary schools a couple of times. At two I was expected to write in pencil in print, you got a fountain pen at Xmas and the term after learned to do joined up writing ready for middle school, then I moved to a school where the children were all using biro and had been doing joined up writing for 2 years.

Little things like this can really slow you down. He may also be getting distracted with other children's chatter or with understanding the local accent (I'm assuming you do not have a welsh accent, apologies if I'm wrong).

RiverTam Tue 17-Nov-15 11:06:35

<wishes DD could be at a school in Sweden>
<misses point of thread altogether>

I'm with you OP, hate thus kind of shite. Depressing that so many people are fine with it.

anothernumberone Tue 17-Nov-15 11:10:24

This was happening to DD1 on a regular basis. I lost my shit at the clueless teacher. Dd has diagnosed dyslexia and suspected dyspraxia and struggles majorly with handwriting. It is pretty archaic to hold her back and in your sons circumstance I think the same.

plantsitter Tue 17-Nov-15 11:10:43

You are right, of course, but I suspect you're going to be coming against cultural clashes at school quite a lot in the coming years.

Before you go, I suggest you don't take the 'in Sweden..' tack as it is too easily responded to with 'this is how we do things here'. Instead talk about your son personally and the effect it's having on HIM.

Jftbo74 Tue 17-Nov-15 11:14:30

Can you just talk to the teacher or email and say you are aware they are keeping DS in at break time to work however he needs to go out and play for social and excersise reasons. Please stop keeping him in

bicyclebell Tue 17-Nov-15 11:34:44

My son has cerebral palsy and was kept in for all of his breaks and the whole of lunch a week ago - because his work was messy and he was dreaming.

I kept him off school the next day and wrote an email to the school explaining that he had come home in tears, repeatedly saying how stressed he was because he'd had no play or time to talk to his friends and that missing breaks was unlikely to improve his work - we all need breaks and fresh air to re-energize.

We have had a meeting with the school since and they still think that this is OK. They have not apologised or suggested that they should have done things differently. They have confirmed that our son was not being naughty.

I would be OK about my son being kept in for just one break time - but not on a regular basis and not if he had just started a new school (unless he was causing trouble in class).

In our case the school and teacher seem genuinely bemused that we have a problem with this. But they have listened to us saying that we don't want him to miss his whole day of breaks again and agreed that it won't happen.

So I would suggest that you go and speak to the school and say calmly that it is not what you want for your son.

anothernumberone Tue 17-Nov-15 12:03:58

bicycle that is appalling I am cross on your behalf.

bicyclebell Tue 17-Nov-15 12:09:07

The strange thing is that the school seem to think it is totally acceptable. I can't tell whether they actually do think this, or whether they just don't want to show us that a mistake was made ... the story is actually more complicated. The teacher is an NQT - she is struggling and the school are trying to make up for work that is unsatisfactory and/or hasn't been done.

BertrandRussell Tue 17-Nov-15 12:25:26

"but from our cultural perspective it is only a short step away from negotiating with the teacher not to hit him with a stick."

I really don't think you should go in with this attitude!! That's just not how it's thought of in the UK, honestly.

anothernumberone Tue 17-Nov-15 12:32:58

bicycle frankly we met a similar attitude from the teacher involved. Actually there were 2 teachers that we spoke to on the same day. One was holding her in during lunch and the other teacher had a baby and super baby table for children not doing their work to his standard. DD and the 1 of the other children in his class that went to resource were the only kids who made to the super baby table a few times. This was how the whole story came out from DD as she was so distressed about it all. You sometimes cannot legislate for what goes on and to be fair the eejit with the super babies table was a fantastic teacher and the kids adored him which made it worse for DD who only wanted to please him.

Sorry OP, tangent central and major vent. I get your frustration for your DS, some allowance must be made during his transition.

NorthLondonMama Tue 17-Nov-15 16:31:11

As a compatriot living in the UK, I thought I'd reply to this. I live in London and have a DC in year 2.

The issues seem to be a mix of cultural, individual and school/teacher specific. Whilst I understand the need (believe me I do) to be out and play with the others - for both social and physical reasons - there's also more 'pressure' on childrens' performance at this age in the UK compared to Sweden (I write 'pressure' as not everyone, like DC, see it as pressure). One interpretation is that the school does this to your son to give him the best, and most accurate, chances in that school.

Raising a child here is quite different from raising a child in Sweden (I am saying this based on my friends and spending 1-2 months in Sweden a year). I feel integrated (British hubby etc) but when it comes to school and raising children I often speak to my Scandi friends here to understand if 'it's me or a cultural thing'...

On a more practical note, I suggest requesting a meeting with the teacher to understand how your son is doing and how they view the situation. At the same time ask what you can do at home to support the work in school.

Lastly, I guess that there could be an issue with the language too. My English is not rubbish but when I sometimes help out at school/read with DC, I come across new words all the time. Last week I learnt the word "vertices" helping out in Yr2! smile Fluent does not mean that the vocab is as great as the average child. (DC is fluent in Swedish but, of course, the vocab is not as great as in English for various reasons.)

Feel free to PM me if you want an offline discussion.

NorthLondonMama Tue 17-Nov-15 16:31:50

Apologies for the long reply! shock

Keeptrudging Tue 17-Nov-15 16:43:25

Am horrified at the 'super baby table'!

Keeping a child in to finish work is the teacher's choice. Some teachers do, some don't, there's unlikely to be an official policy on it. I personally only did it in extreme cases e.g. pupil who was too volatile to go out. All pupils need the chance to run/play, but even more so when they're new to the country and just settling in.

I would go to school and suggest (very sweetly) to them that you are happy for him to take unfinished work home, but you are very concerned about the impact being kept in will have on his social skills/well-being. Emphasise that moving to a different system/language is exhausting for a child and he needs his breaks to 'recharge'.

clam Tue 17-Nov-15 20:39:15

I very rarely, if ever, use playtimes as any sort of sanction. Occasionally I might keep someone back to finish something off (if they've been playing around during work-time, for instance), but not at morning break, which is only 15 minutes long as it is, and vital for fresh air and a run-around. Even at lunchtime, it would be maximum 15 minutes, if that.

I have one particular colleague who does it all the time - the kids hate him. Some of his last year's class barely saw the playground all year. Am staggered that there weren't more complaints, actually. He maintained that it was vital to maintain discipline with a difficult class - my point (made to him, but ignored) was that a better way to engage them would be to be a bit nicer to them and have some fun. Doesn't stop you being in charge, but who wants to come to school for a battle of wills?

Keeptrudging Tue 17-Nov-15 21:10:56

Yes, it's counter-productive, it just breeds resentment. Happy children generally means better learning.

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