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Is this normal re 'strikes' and missing playtime

(33 Posts)
Stompythedinosaur Thu 09-Nov-17 21:53:59

Dd1 is in y2 at the moment. She's been having some problems with being picked on this term (although this appears to have settled down now), and has become quite anxious about a few things at school.

She was telling me this evening at bedtime that one of the big things she worries about is getting a 'strike'. She says the school has a system of giving strikes for bad behaviour, and if you get 3 strikes you miss playtime. She got two strikes when she was in reception (one for talking in class and one for not stopping an activity when she was told to tidy up - not huge misdemeanors imo). So now if she is ever in trouble again she will immediately miss her playtime.

I know parents can have rose tinted glasses, but dd1 is definitely not a particularly naughty child, and I have never had her behaviour raised as an issue.

I have emailed the teacher to ask if this is right, as carrying over misdeeds from 2 years ago seems somewhat draconian to me, but I thought I'd try to find out if this is a normal sort of thing to happen? I am also bothered by the fact that the strikes are apparently up on the wall, she could tell me who had how many strikes, and she says she feels sad about her 2 strikes from her reception whenever she sees them. Surely that sort of public humiliation is not right?

AlexanderHamilton Thu 09-Nov-17 21:56:50

I'm sure you will find that the strikes re-set every term or even half term.

It was termly for Ds in secondary (they carried a card in their blazer pocket). I'd expect a much shorter duration in primary.

lizabes Thu 09-Nov-17 22:03:26

I would ask the teacher about it as it sounds like your dd might have got a little mixed up.
A 3 strikes system or similar is normal but it normally restarts weekly or termly or possibly yearly at a stretch.

If it turns out it is carried over every year I would complain.
It’s ridiculously unfair to punish a 6yo for something they did two years ago.

JennyBlueWren Thu 09-Nov-17 22:09:38

I would be very shocked if the "two strikes" carried over from a previous year. I wouldn't have thought they'd last the day unless they are only given out for major misdemeanors and even then it would be for the half term.

As a teacher I have often found that conscientious children will be unnecessarily anxious about a behaviour system which rarely goes near them. I have had parents query me about a "warning" I gave out the term before. As some children get a "warning" from me frequently (with most responding by correcting their behaviour) it wouldn't have meant anything to me but to the child it was of great concern and worry that they had done something wrong.

If your child is worried then please do speak to the teacher. I've had a parent phone up after school before so I could personally reassure their child over something they were worrying about (and had misunderstood). Teachers should be there to support not to scare.

Stompythedinosaur Thu 09-Nov-17 22:16:20

Thanks, I hope you're right. I have emailed the teacher (we're rural and the kids are collected by bus so difficult to catch them in person).

Jenny dd1 is exactly the sort of child you describe. Wants to do well so much it actually makes her quite anxious. I am sad that she hadn't told me before because she thought I'd be cross that she'd got the strikes (I am not an ogre, I promise).

She seemed very sure that the strikes are on the wall on a chart, and her strikes from reception are still there, which doesn't seem ok to me even if they aren't counted. I suppose I will find out when I get a reply.

MrsKCastle Thu 09-Nov-17 23:20:09

That seems very strange. Some children would probably have multiple strikes by now .and it would be cruel to have all the strikes displayed from reception o wards, let alone having them still count towards missed play times. If it's true, the school really needs to look at their behaviour policy and think about being a bit more encouraging.

Norestformrz Fri 10-Nov-17 06:13:47

If you think about it the strikes have to be reset or the child who gets three strikes in reception will still be missing playtime in Y6.
In Primary I’ve seen it as a daily system. Every day should be a fresh start.

Tomorrowillbeachicken Fri 10-Nov-17 08:10:33

Ds6’ system is reset every morning.

Glumglowworm Fri 10-Nov-17 08:38:33

I can't imagine strikes from reception still counting so I hope she's misunderstood. most year 2 kids won't remember something so mildly misbehaving that they did 2 years ago, it's unfair to punish them for it. I would expect weekly or even daily resets, especially in infants.

Definitely worth speaking to the teacher to clarify and to let her know that it's making your daughter very anxious.

I would also try and reassure her that even if she gets three strikes and misses one playtime the world won't end. That you won't be cross and the teacher won't hold a grudge. It's a missed playtime, it's really not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, although it seems like that to her because she's built it up so much in her head bless her

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Fri 10-Nov-17 09:33:14

That can't be right. Apart from the fact it wouldn't be very effective, they must have a huge number of children missing playtime each day if it never resets.

And some children must miss most of them.

Stompythedinosaur Fri 10-Nov-17 09:46:30

I hope you are all right, I will update when I hear from the teacher. A system which updates daily would be much better than what she's describing.

She was clear that some kids have a lot of strikes on the chart (one child apparently has 97 accumulated from reception to y3). Even if they do reset I'm not delighted about them being displayed in this way.

It is a very small school (32 kids between reception and y4) with not much bad behaviour I think.

I have taken the advice about contacting the teacher about how anxious she is - Im a bit worried about her level of anxiety around school tbh. Good idea about reassuring her that.missing playtime isn't the end of the world, too.

Witchend Fri 10-Nov-17 10:12:04

I would expect at the very least termly resents, but at any rate weekly, or even daily.
But I would say what she got them for is exactly what they're designed for, so fair cop really!

I'd also wonder if there's something she's having difficulty telling you about that she's worrying about. It seems unlikely to me that she's worried about it all the way since year R, all through year 1, without saying anything. I'd suspect it is something she can tag her worries on to, but the worry isn't actually about that if that makes sense.

YouCantArgueWithStupid Fri 10-Nov-17 10:49:55

Surely most kids would get 3 strikes in their primary years! I hoping she’s misunderstood and they reset daily/weekly?

Stompythedinosaur Fri 10-Nov-17 12:15:57

Witchend there are definitely other issues which have led to this cropping up, I don't think it was bothering her last year. She's been being picked on by another child who's been encouraging children to exclude her. The school have not been that supportive (they view it as a "friendship issue" rather than bullying) but it does seem to have settled down a bit now.

I'm absolutely not saying she shouldn't be pulled up if she's doing things she shouldn't, I just meant that her level of misdemeanor is at the lower end (i.e. not fighting or bullying or something like that, where I could understand her behaviour being monitored over a longer period).

brilliotic Fri 10-Nov-17 12:50:14

FWIW, my DS is also one of those generally very well behaved children who are hugely anxious about the school's behaviour management system. It started with the introduction of Classroom Dojo in Y1. The way this teacher implemented it was that you'd get two verbal warnings and then a red dojo (red dojo meant you lost certain privileges such as golden time, or being able to 'win' the weekly dojo tally-up). DS was super worried about ever getting a verbal warning, he said to me that what he wanted most was to NEVER get one (a verbal warning that is; a red dojo was a truly unimaginably horrible prospect to him).

When eventually half-way through Y1 he got his first ever verbal warning (for chatting/being slow whilst changing for PE), he was initially devastated. But it was actually a good thing - because he learned that it was not the end of the world to get a verbal warning! His anxiety subsided a lot, and this actually made it easier for him to behave well (because behaving well can require lots of effort and concentration if it is done under 'stress' conditions, but the same good behaviour can be pretty effortless if the child is relaxed and confident) and as he started to enjoy school more he also had more energy to devote to academics instead of to behaviour.

So whilst I find it awful that teachers so thoughtlessly (often) employ behaviour management systems that make a good proportion of children anxious (whilst probably not actually improving the other children's behaviour much anyway) - I'd kind of hope for your DD's sake that she gets that third strike soon, sits out her punishment, and gets to feel that a) it's not the end of the world, and b) she's done her penance and can put it behind herself.

That said, at our school though red dojo's stay 'active' for the week, verbal warnings 'expire' (are re-set) daily or even half-daily. With your school's 'strikes' system I'd also expect children to be able to have a fresh start at least daily. And most of all, what on earth is the reasoning behind leaving the over-all tally on display?! Even if it were re-set to zero termly, what good does it do anyone to see which children have raked up lots of strikes in the last few weeks? The children themselves must gain low confidence and a self-image of being a 'naughty one' - and this does NOT induce behaviour improvement. On the contrary.
So even if you agree with carrying over previous 'strikes' from one day to another, from one week to another, from term to term even (you might argue that bad behaviour that is spread out over time is no better than bad behaviour that is concentrated within one day) - once a child has that 'third strike', and does their 'penance', those strikes should be deleted (from public view). The child has paid the consequence for their bad behaviour. Now they're starting afresh.

So if you were to discuss with the school (sadly this usually is not very fruitful), this is the aspect I'd most focus on. To ask them to stop publicly displaying every child's complete history of past demeanours. To at least give them a chance to start afresh!

BubblesBuddy Fri 10-Nov-17 14:31:37

I would advise any parent to actually read the school’s behaviour policy and you should find that the vast majority of them reward good behaviour first and foremost. Talk this through with your child. Losing privileges and being sent to the Head etc only occur for the worst misdemeanours and no child should be stressed by a behaviour policy! If you find your policy is all stick and no carrot, find some better ones on line and talk to the school about using rewards to encourage good behaviour. Most children are happy with this. Punishment is something a tiny minority of children should experience.

Stompythedinosaur Fri 10-Nov-17 14:50:38

brillotic thanks, it's goid to hear about your experience. I think you're right about it being better to find out that missing playtime isn't the end of the world. I don't think it's actually the punishment she's worried about, as much as the feeling of being in trouble.

I had a response from the teacher, much to my surprise she's confirmed that dd1's version is correct and strikes do carry over without a particular limit. She did confirm that dd1's behaviour is excellent, and she did say she'd have a think about the system as she could see that it was causing unnecessary worry.

She didn't answer about whether strikes are displayed, I suspect they are though, since dd1 was right about the other things and was very specific about this. I have emailed her back to ask her to consider changing this too.

Stompythedinosaur Fri 10-Nov-17 14:51:53

Bubbles good point about it being better to focus on rewards. I'll ask about that too.

brilliotic Fri 10-Nov-17 14:59:39

Bubbles, our school mainly rewards good behaviour and my child is miles away from having to experience the (objectively really mild) consequences for bad behaviour. Doesn't stop him from having been super anxious about it.

Saying that 'no child should be stressed by a behaviour policy' doesn't make it so. These kinds of anxieties are not 'rational' and talking to a child about them does not make them go away.

Unfortunately not many teachers realise that their 'harmless' and well meant behaviour policy may be causing some children real anxieties. They are often well-behaved children. Teachers often won't recognise that this quiet child is unusually subdued at school - they don't realise that this is out of character for the child, because the child is always like that when they see them. And they don't see how the child's emotions can explode when the child leaves school. (Not saying that the child should be unruly at school - but it is possible to behave well without being subdued and anxious about it!)

I don't believe teachers mean for this to happen. But telling my DS' teachers how anxious he is about behaviour at school has always only prompted the same response: 'But DS has nothing to worry about, he is ALWAYS well behaved and never gets into trouble.' As if that helps.

BubblesBuddy Fri 10-Nov-17 15:14:44

I think you, as a parent, stress the positives of the behaviour policy. Where I am a governor, we don’t stress the punishments to the children! We talk about our high standards of good behaviour and how we reward that. Why does anyone have a policy where the children focus on punishment and consequences of bad behaviour? It is not helpful and I do not believe any child needs to be stressed by an effective behaviour policy because good behaviour is the focus, not continual talk of “strikes” and anxiety inducing punishment. That’s a very poor policy and unsuitable for anxious children.

Witchend Fri 10-Nov-17 15:46:43

Witchend there are definitely other issues which have led to this cropping up, I don't think it was bothering her last year that was exactly what I was thinking.
It's easier for her to admit that "I'm scared I might get another strike" than "I'm scared that I might have no friends to play with at lunchtime" if that makes sense.

My dbro once said that things like that weren't fair. Because the people that get them lots don't care, and those who do worry about getting them are usually well behaved.
He's not totally right as my ds cares a lot and has had a lot (but has got much better) but there is a sort of generalisation rightness.

HeadsDownThumbsUpEveryone Fri 10-Nov-17 15:56:18

I cannot honestly believe that a school carries 'strikes' over from year to year! As teacher that is just mindboggling!! Does the school not have disruptive pupils I cannot imagine they do or surly how ridiculous this policy is would have been discussed by now, I mean I know for a fact I have given pupils 2 warnings in a day before and in a single week I have had several pupils receive what would be considered 'strikes' so to carry them over across years let alone weeks has left me baffled! shock

crunchtime Fri 10-Nov-17 16:06:30

I work in year 3 and the idea of carrying "strikes" over for more than a day is absolutely bonkers! Wtf???? That is really bad practice.
It is completely pointless too!

Bubblysqueak Fri 10-Nov-17 16:12:13

My d's school the strikes are reset on a daily basis so they start everyday with a clean slate.

Stompythedinosaur Fri 10-Nov-17 16:36:23

I think it's bonkers too! The teacher sounded as though she could see my point so hopefully it will be changed.

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