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Concerns about secondary school - DD just started yr7

(98 Posts)
PermaShattered Sun 15-Sep-13 22:12:54

I could do with some advice/guidance. My DD started year 7 in secondary school two weeks ago and i'm going into school later this week to air some concerns.

My DD has settled well and really enjoying herself on the whole. Some will recognise me as the mum of a child offered a grammar school place which was then withdrawn 7 days later (investigation still ongoing...). So to have her settling in well is fantastic smile

Anyway, these are my concerns/worries:

1. Mobile phone policy: no phones allowed. If seen in school they are confiscated, to be collected only by parents. If found a second time, their bags will be searched.

2. The children have no lockers or cloakroom and have to carry everything around with them. There is nowhere to leave anything.

3. So - if they have a coat with them they are not allowed to hang them on the back of their chairs, they must put them on the floor.

4. Lunchtimes: these are half an hour (the school day ends at 3pm). They have 20 mins to eat, then have to sit in silence and read for 10 mins.

I won't say (at this point) what i think of those - because I'd like to hear what others think, and whether the school is breaching any rules/regulations, etc

Many thanks is advance!

coppertop Sun 15-Sep-13 22:19:18

The phone policy is fairly common. Some schools allow them if they are kept switched off, but that's about it usually.

No lockers or cloakrooms is also common too, especially if it's a large school. If you have over 1000 children, that's a lot of space being taken up by lockers.

A short lunch break is common. I've never heard of children having to sit in silence and read though. Sounds very odd.

chickensaladagain Sun 15-Sep-13 22:20:48

Phone policy is pretty standard

Not having lockers or choosing not to use lockers -pretty standard

If you have an issue with coats on the floor, surely they can put them in their bag?

Lunch -is your dc missing something somewhere? How on earth do they get the whole school through lunch if they only get half an hour? They can spend that long queuing up at dd's school

All normal except for the silent reading bit (& as an English teacher I kind of like that one!)

EvilTwins Sun 15-Sep-13 22:23:21

Mobile phones - perfectly normal. Keep them off and in bags, then if they need them after school, they have them. If a parent needs to contact a child during the day (and vice versa) they can do it through the school office.

Lockers - some do, some don't. We do for yr 7 & 6th form, but not for 8-11. Not sure why, but the kids seem fine with it.

Coats - your secondary school aged child wears one? Most seem to not bother... Either way, they're just as safe on the floor as on the chair. OK, they might get mucky, but the same could happen at a cinema, theatre, etc etc.

Lunchtime. 30 mins is fine - no rules broken there. Do you have the bit about silent reading in writing from the school? I find it hard to believe that kids are not encourage (let alone not allowed!) to get a bit of fresh air/run around a bit. Check that one before going in with your guns blazing.

Labro Sun 15-Sep-13 22:26:31

Phone policy - very normal, they may allow children to leave a named phone in the office if necessary?
Lockers - very normal, local secondary has 2000+ kids and tells them what sort of backpack to get and to use one of the 'fold up' waterproof type coats.
Lunch - sounds like an allocated lunch slot and they do silent reading before the
start of the next lesson.
So, all standard stuff for a large state secondary.

Hulababy Sun 15-Sep-13 22:26:35

What is they need a phone before/after school? DD's secondary (also Y7) allows phones. They must be switched off during school hours but can be used at lunchtime. Makes life easier after school when DD is sorting out meeting me near my school though. A lot of the school have lengthy commutes though - maybe why they permit them.

DD has a locker in her form room. They leave stuff in there during the day and overnight - just carry what they need for lessons or homework. Coat can go in here too. She has a blazer which must be worn but they can remove it and put it on chair back in lessons.

DD also has a sports locker when sports bag and all kit lives - brought home each half term.

Lunch time is an hour or so. Due to lots of school buses, etc there are clubs at lunchtimes rather than after school. DD and her friends go to eat in the canteen and then have free time. Not allowed to leave school grounds, but they can sit outside with friends, or go to a club or use the library in this time.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 15-Sep-13 22:29:50

Phones - very standard to confiscate phones seen out during the day I think. What's the searching the bag thing? What are they searching for, if the phone is out?

Lockers - we have lockers for year 7 only. DS has had a locker in year 7 and again in year 8. No room for lockers for everyone. And students can only use lockers at before or after school, or lunchtime. Not between lessons.

Coats - in/on bags. Bags on the floor.

Lunch - our lunch is 30 mins too. I agree it's too short - especially for teachers. I spend most of it sorting stuff out. Where do they sit in silence?! Our students have to go out...

duckyfuzz Sun 15-Sep-13 22:30:18

All pretty standard rules really. They get through in half an hour by having different years in at different times I imagine, many schools do this. Presumably phones are ony confiscated if they are seen, so if the phone is off and in the bag, not being used in or between lessons, it may be ok.

Unexpected Sun 15-Sep-13 22:30:18

Wouldn't like the mobile phone policy and don't think it is practical these days. I'm not a parent who feels I have to be in contact with my children ALL the time but if their train is delayed e.g. I do want to know where they are. Like it or not, I also think life in general these days is geared towards everyone being easily contactable and as an example our PE dept is notorious for only notifying us of matches at short notice and demanding an almost instant response from the kids as to whether they can make it. If pupils don't have access to phones, it requires a complete change of mindset on communication.

Would hate if my dc didnt have a locker as I am sure ds1 would refuse to ever bring a coat with him if he had to carry it all day and ds2 would just leave a trail of possessions all around the school. Having said that, is this a space/expense issue? I suppose 1000 lockers must take up quite a lot of space.

Why on earth are they not allowed to hang coats on a chair? Apart from putting coats on dusty/wet floors surely there is a H&S issue of getting things tangled up in chairs all the time?

Lunchtime - half an hour is not very long and while I admire the effort to get teenagers to read at all, surely they need to get out and stretch their legs, play football etc more than they need to read?

Is this a new or established school PO?

SprinkleLiberally Sun 15-Sep-13 22:31:47

Phone is normal and good. Everyone knows they have them but being off and away means no distraction and also reduces bullying issues.

Lack of lockers is also normal due to lack of space. They tend not to carry textbooks now so generally ok.

Lunch is short but not uncommon. Lunchtime can be a difficult time for some pupils.

Coat thing is a pain but not the end of the world.

Come on then op. We've given our thoughts, so what are yours?

burberryqueen Sun 15-Sep-13 22:33:54

hardly any of them wear coats anyway
the bag searching thing sounds a bit hmm
no lockers - normal

Unexpected Sun 15-Sep-13 22:34:21

Umm... from the OPs post, I thought she meant that phones would be confiscated even if off? Obviously, I don't think pupils need to have their phones on during the day. However, everyone else interpreted it as phones allowed but turned off. Can we check which it is OP?

TheFallenMadonna Sun 15-Sep-13 22:34:37

If your phone is switched off and in your bag, then it won't be confiscated, because nobody will know its there. DS has a phone, so he can tell me when if he misses the bus for example. But it stays in his bag until then.

titchy Sun 15-Sep-13 22:35:10

All normal apart from the silent reading bit which I find hard to believe. Teenagers need to run around outside! Half an hour for lunch is a good idea assuming staggered properly - limits 'hanging around' time. Clubs happen after school rather than lunchtime with everyone turning up in dribs and drabs wolfing down a sandwich.

titchy Sun 15-Sep-13 22:35:48

What happened with theEFAby the way?

AlaskaNebraska Sun 15-Sep-13 22:36:16

gah - the phone thing is so old hat
ours not allowed to use them in lessons - otherwise fine.

Often they use in lessons to photograph the board/ text books/ homework

cece Sun 15-Sep-13 22:36:26

1. Phone policy same at my DC school. No problem from me with it or DC.

2. This would annoy me, We live 1.5 miles away so DC often leave things in their lockers to save carrying it back and forth all the time.

3. No coats allowed unless exceptional weather is forecast.

4. As long as they get their food promptly then no problem to me that one. My DC get and an hour but have issues with food running out if they don't get in the queue quickly enough.

noblegiraffe Sun 15-Sep-13 22:40:00

None of those rules seem particularly outrageous. With phones, if one is switched off and in the bottom of a school bag, teachers will never know it is there, if you are particularly desperate for your DD to have one.

Lugging stuff around school is normal. My school does provide lockers but not many of the kids can be arsed to use them, especially with the risk of them being broken into (although we now have CCTV).

No coats on the backs of chairs is a bit weird, but putting your bag on the floor and your coat on the bag wouldn't seem that big a deal.

I'd love to know how they enforce silent reading after lunch!

Unexpected Sun 15-Sep-13 22:41:42

Must try to fit all my points in one post! blush When you say if phones are found a second time, then bags are searched - what for? If the phone has been found and confiscated, what are they searching the bag for - more phones, something else entirely? On the half hour lunch thing, also meant to say that it may depend on catchment" for the school. DC attend a Catholic school for some kids travel perhaps 15 miles. If some clubs didn't run at lunch, a section of pupils would never get to take part in anything extra-curricular.

ExitPursuedByADragon Sun 15-Sep-13 22:42:29

Sounds crap to me.

No phones at DD's school (ha ha) but they have lockers and a long lunch time when they can chill with their mates and get some fresh air. Although DD does complain of boredom at lunchtime confused

And they have cloakrooms, in which they can hang their coats. A bloody waterproof would not cut the mustard in the depth of winter.

curlew Sun 15-Sep-13 22:46:41

I have two children in two different secondary schools. So I can give you different replies!
"1. Mobile phone policy: no phones allowed. If seen in school they are confiscated, to be collected only by parents. If found a second time, their bags will be searched.

This is not the case in either of my children's schools, but it is in all the the secondary schools in the area. Dd is allowed her phone, but it will be taken away if the teachers think they ar taking the piss. Ds is not allowed to take his out of his bag apart from at lunch time.

2. The children have no lockers or cloakroom and have to carry everything around with them. There is nowhere to leave anything.

Dd has lockers. Ds doesn't.

3. So - if they have a coat with them they are not allowed to hang them on the back of their chairs, they must put them on the floor.

Don't know about this- I think ds just shoves his coat in his bag. Dd has a locker.

4. Lunchtimes: these are half an hour (the school day ends at 3pm). They have 20 mins to eat, then have to sit in silence and read for 10 mins.

This is a bit odd- are you sure? Dd has 90 minutes for lunch but they have most their clubs and extra curricular things at lunch time. DS has 40 minutes- they eat then go outside. Is it just a year 7 thing? It might be- I would ring and ask.

KnappShappeyShipwright Sun 15-Sep-13 22:47:27

DD is allowed a mobile phone as long as it is switched off - it's a very rural school and nearly all children travel on buses so it's pretty essential kit.

No lockers and DD has never worn a coat (she has a black pac-a-mac for downpours on the way to & from the bus stop but wouldn't dream of wearing it around school - the shame!). The lack of locker does mean some days she has to carry a school bag, a flute and music folder, swimming kit and football kit for after school, but the upside is nothing essential is ever left at school or going mouldy in a long forgotten lunchbox.

Lunchtime sounds a bit odd, have you had this info from school or confirmed by other parents? DD has an hour and can do what she fancies, she has nowhere specific to eat her lunch unless she has school dinners but isn't bothered by sitting out with her friends.

Most of those are the same as DD1s school but I think they get a longer lunch break and all children have to silently read for 30 minutes every day.

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