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Discipline in primary schools

(15 Posts)
finknottle Wed 08-Oct-08 13:45:45

We've got an emergency staff & parent governors' mtg next week, the letter mentions changing what the school has been doing up until now as a result of recent unspecified incidents.

It's got me wondering what schools in other countries do. We're in Germany & the most common punishment threatened & meted out is writing an essay (1 or 2 sides of A4) on e.g. why it's wrong to hit. Occasionally detention but v seldom ime.

It's a village primary school, 200 pupils aged 6-10, very few problems on the whole but the last couple of years things have changed. There is more aggressive behaviour, fighting & bullying and the head is responding pretty well to it within her & the German sysytem's limits. There never used to be any anti-bullying policy hmm and we had to raise the money through the PTA to have the teachers go on a course on bullying this summer. There's a new "buddy" scheme which should start this term but it seems a bit vague.

So what happens where you are if pupils repeatedly fight/kick a teacher/bully others. What happens with the parents, when are they notified?
And how do your buddy or other schemes work?

Thanks smile

maidamess Wed 08-Oct-08 13:49:30

If a child is seen hitting, attacking another child they are immediatley withdrawn and taken outside the deputy heads offcie for the rest of the break (if it happened at playtime, when it usually does)

If it happens again, the parents are notified of what has happened.

With children that seem to get into trouble a lot, we have 'solution circles' where the staff discuss the triggers of behaviour and how it can best be dealt with.

This ensures all are following the same guidelenes,and the parents are informed of this.

finknottle Wed 08-Oct-08 13:56:24

Thanks - interesting about the 'solution circles'. Am waiting to see how much more the teachers want to be involved tbh as here there aren't as many staff meetings ime. Lessons go until 12/1pm and the car park is empty apart from the head's car at 1.15 wink Think the older brigade will hold out against any more teacher input.

At break if the supervising teacher can be found, child is told, "Don't do it again" or (rough translation from my 3) "Not again, I don't want to hear about it. Can't you lot just play?"

finknottle Wed 08-Oct-08 16:14:12

bumping for the after-school crowd.
Help me MN-ers! I want to go to the meeting full of bright ideas about how things are done elsewhere.
And I need at least a week to get my German verbs sorted wink
Where's Cod when I need her?

NikkiH Wed 08-Oct-08 16:24:10

I think our school has some kind of 'on report' situation where children have to get report cards signed by teachers / supervising adults to say they've behaved.

We've also got a buddy system for play times.

If children misbehave seriously in class they are generally sent into the other year class for a first offence and then subsequent misdemeanours see them being sent to different teachers - head of key stage, assistant deputy, deputy and head etc.

cory Wed 08-Oct-08 16:32:19

In the first instance, they would be losing playtime. If it continues and is serious, older children (say 10-11yos) may be suspended for a few days or even expelled.

finknottle Wed 08-Oct-08 16:40:35

Thanks smile
And the buddy system? Are the children assigned to younger ones and have to 'shadow' them, be available at break-time or how exactly does it work?
<dim expat emoticon>

Am glad I asked on here as met a mum in the village just now who told me she'd heard one reason I'd been elected was that the parents wanted to hear how other countries do things. Obviously not just for my gin-swigging talents then wink

Twiglett Wed 08-Oct-08 16:42:42

suspensions and exlusions

finknottle Wed 08-Oct-08 16:53:20

Not for minor stuff though, surely, Twiglett?
<Tom Brown emoticon>

I'm thinking of what happens between "Don't do that a second time" and "Don't do that a 20th time" cos there's no difference in discipline here between the two & it's obv v wearing & ineffective. Hence the 20th time...

frogs Wed 08-Oct-08 17:16:48

OK, our experiences from very mixed inner-London primary schools:

Fighting, kicking or systematic bullying absolutely not okay. Playfighting also not okay. Serious physical incidents (punching, kicking etc) would result in a child being sent to deputy head/head for a bollocking. If serious enough (proper fighting, group of kids attacking another) child would be excluded. This happened only twice to my knowledge in the 10 years I had dc in that school.

Kicking a teacher would be instant exclusion for a child above nursery/reception age, as would swearing at a teacher. Again, there's only one incident that I ever heard about (and I would have, it was that kind of school).

For pushing, shoving, nastiness, the child or children would be talked to by deputy head to get to the bottom of the situation, and punishments/consequences meted out as necessary. For repeated incidents, parents would be contacted and called in. If child really can't behave, the school has the right to make parents take the child home at lunchtime, or for the child to be kept apart from others at playtime. This wasn't common, but it did happen. I think they also do behaviour contracts with the kids + parents.

We had a minor incident when ds was in Y1 which involved a large-scale playfight with obvious potential to get out of hand (think the boys were playing at 'gangs'). All children even vaguely involved were spoken to individually by the head to get an idea of what actually happened, then received individual bollockings too. We had a letter home asking us to reinforce the message at home. More recently, ds (then Y4) was on the receiving end of some overtly homophobic and very graphically sexually explicit verbal abuse from a Y6 boy. I went in to see the deputy head to complain, and I know it was dealt with, though don't know details obviously. Absolutely no recurrence nor any repercussions for ds though.

Buddy schemes tend to operate on the basis of a group of kids being trained in peer-mentoring. Some schools also have a 'buddy bench' where dc can sit if they feel lonely at playtime, and someone will come and scoop them up to join a game.

Schools also tend to have very finely-tuned reward and consequence systems, and inappropriate physical behaviour would be part of that. Lots of schools also have a playground code which the kids have usually worked on themselves and which are prominently displayed around the place. This would generally cover things like keeping your hands and feet to yourself, not excluding people or being nasty about them, not throwing things etc.

In all the schools my dc have been in there have been significant numbers of kids from really difficult family backgrounds (prison, domestic violence, alcohol, drug abuse, you name it). Physical or even verbal violence at school was the absolute exception, and all the schools have gone to great lengths to investigate incidents thoroughly and deal with them well in order to create an environment where all children feel safe. It is time-consuming, but I think most UK schools would regard it as a priority.

Twiglett Wed 08-Oct-08 17:30:04

I was responding with suspension and expulsion for the OP saying "aggressive behavior, fighting and bullying"

don't forget a suspension can involve a 'rest of the day', couple of days, rest of week etc and it's an incremental thing

like work warnings

I believe zero tolerance for aggression sends a strong message .. adn don't forget it's also our teachers being attacked, they deserve a safe working environment (and yes in primary too)

finknottle Wed 08-Oct-08 18:29:25

Ahh, Twiglett, didn't get the incremental idea. Here suspension's on a par with expulsion and v rare. Tbh most behaviour here/at our primary that would seem to warrant stricter discipline is sort of waved away. No wonder the school has no procedures in place.

The kicking a teacher was such a rarity that it almost made the local news - and the boy was hardly disciplined hence I believe the call for a policy decided by the parent governors & teaching staff.

Interesting to read this, things are really very different here. Thanks for taking the time. Frogs, am I right that you're a German expat or have lived here?

frogs Wed 08-Oct-08 19:07:03

Yes, am half German, and spent some of my schooling there. Still have lots of rellies with kids in the German system. Tis a very different animal. In Germany it's all about transmitting XYZ content to the dc. In UK they take a much more holistic, in loco parentis approach, maybe because the days are longer? Or because there's no option of hoofing out kids who don't make the grade academically or behaviourally, so there's a greater emphasis on making the classes that you do have work well, and meeting individual dc's needs? Or possibly because they start with much younger dc, so need to have proper policies to socialise them.

But I think the starting point here would be that children can only learn if they're happy, and providing a safe, calm environment is a major part of that. It's one of the things Ofsted do comment on, if you ever see their reports, so it's not just a fluffy bolt-on extra. I've been v. v. impressed with what I've seen of behaviour management in the schools I've encountered. They certainly don't ignore it, presumably on the assumption that it will escalate and spread. Most schools would take a zero tolerance attitude to any kind of physical confrontation -- it would be major telling off for first incident, probably with the head or deputy, and parents in if there was a recurrence.

Can't imagine any circs in which they'd set an essay on why hitting is wrong! Letter of apology to the victim, possibly -- ds was bitten once by a friend when they were in Reception, and parents were called in and child made to 'write' a letter of apology to ds. But it would be made very very clear that any repeat performance would warrant a much more serious reaction. Which is as it should be, imo.

nolongeraworriedmummy Wed 08-Oct-08 19:37:39

It depends on the school, some do absoloutley nothing hmm

Dds new school sends children to work in another room on their own (its really an extension of the classroom so teacher can still fully see them) if they are mean and name call, if they hit/kick etc they go to the head and a note goes home to the parents.

One school I know children start off with 10 moons and if they are naughty in anyway they lose a moon and if they lose all their moons they dont do shine time (special activity on Fridays)

finknottle Thu 09-Oct-08 08:56:02

That's what is interesting, Frogs, the system here is so different.
The "finely-tuned reward and consequence systems" & "playground code" would be so alien here, think we're in for an interesting meeting, lol.
S2's teacher introduced a reward system for the class & it was viewed as new-age loopiness by the older teachers, and a mixture of awe and disdain by the parents.

Just realised that there are codes of behaviour within classes but they aren't brought outside to the playground, that needs to change. The focus in the past has been to create a biddable class for the teacher and things, they are a changin'.

Thanks all.

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