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Fuss about Skinners Academy 5 detentions in Guardian

(50 Posts)
posheroo Thu 21-Nov-13 12:00:29

Hackney skinners Acadamy Guardian says they have 5 levels of detention
Is this a record?

friday16 Tue 26-Nov-13 14:41:47

The Guardian article also has responses from heads of other successful academies which do not use these rules

Yeah. Skinner's 2012 data isn't up on the dashboard yet, but we can compare 2011. The Corby Business Academy, which is the "other successful academy". 2011: 32% 5 Astar-C inc Maths and English,66% making expected progress in english, 44% in maths. 22% of the pupils were on FSM.

Skinner's 2011: 48% Astar-C, 89% making expected progress in english, 77% in maths, with a cohort of whom 44% are on FSM.

In what way do you think Corby Business Academy has lessons to teach Skinner's? On the face of it, Skinner's has a massively more deprived intake who do substantially better on every measure.

eofa1 Tue 26-Nov-13 13:59:37

And if clarification is required, I know of no school who wouldn't be happy to explain fully.

eofa1 Tue 26-Nov-13 13:59:12

Not sure how it is "easy to get tripped up" by a strict uniform policy. There will be a list of what to wear, and you stick to it. Where's the problem?

MadameDefarge Fri 22-Nov-13 20:39:52


pointyfangs Fri 22-Nov-13 20:31:20

I didn't think we were poles apart either. smile

MadameDefarge Fri 22-Nov-13 20:18:11

I do understand that pointy, and in fact share your disquiet about the notion that schools are just the first attack on non-conformism.

But to be fair these things were being put in place in the heady days of boom...

My fear is that they will be hijacked by the govt for their own agenda of suppressing the poor and disaffected.

But I do feel that better boundaries work very well for children who have few in their life, and not understanding them, as well, as not understanding different registers of language, will hold them back in society.

But if they become a standard 'workhouse' thing like Mr Gove would like, then no, I do object to that. Discipline my child for the good of the community, not to ensure he has no aspirations at all.

So I guess we do feel the same!

pointyfangs Fri 22-Nov-13 20:12:13

I see your point about desirable schools in an area with gang problems, but I still think that going straight to a detention for an infraction that is in fact the parent's fault (for not checking all parts of the shoe for tags) is too much. Letter home warning the mother that a tag has been missed and that there will be a check the following day with consequences if tag is not then removed = job done. DD1's school is actually strict on shoes and I'm fine with that - but the child and parent is always given a second chance to get it right.

And although the article is about one school as an example, it also states quite clearly that in Hackney, all the schools are like Skinner and that there is a trend towards heavy handed behaviour management in UK schools. It's this which concerns me, the fact that there seems to be a new ideology in town.

The Guardian article also has responses from heads of other successful academies which do not use these rules - who, in fact, have consciously decided not to do so having looked at these very strict academies. This shows that other approaches do work. What worries me is the possibility that the less extreme models for discipline will be crowded out because we are living in a time of austerity, harsh welfare reforms and general victim blaming re those who are poor. This could create a deeply unpleasant culture here in the UK, and at that point yes, I would probably return to Holland because too many of the things I love about the UK will have been lost.

MadameDefarge Fri 22-Nov-13 19:54:26

But my point would be that this is an article about one particular school, about a cross mother who is cross for reasons we all seem to feel are a bit unreasonable.

To extrapolate that school discipline has become a raging monster overtaking education is a leetle bit hysterical, IMO>

MadameDefarge Fri 22-Nov-13 19:45:47

And you say the tags rule is pointless. But its not. What if another child sees that the shoes are desirable? ie kickers (say in PE or something). What if those shoes are stolen as a result?

MadameDefarge Fri 22-Nov-13 19:44:04

I think its a mistake to think that schools with strict rules do not have other support measures in place. Its not all stick stick stick. You just don't hear about the nurture groups, the personal advisors, the SEN provision.

MadameDefarge Fri 22-Nov-13 19:42:49

pointy. I would have to say that each area has challenges all of its own. I don't know what suffolk is like. But when you have children running drugs for gangs from ten upwards, you certainly have a different environment I would think. The challenges our children face are different. The way they are dealt with are different.

For example, in DSs school they have family dining. Different year groups sit at the same table all year. They rotate tasks, serving, clearing away, laying the table. Often they are joined by a teacher. Many many children have never experienced this. So it teaches life skills. It also designs out the opportunities for bullying and anti-social behaviour. This is all thoughtful schooling, which takes into account the whole school community and its aspirations for its pupils.

breatheslowly Fri 22-Nov-13 19:29:52

Pointy - no it probably wasn't necessary at my school either - it was a very selective girls school, so didn't have the more obvious behaviour issues that you can get in some schools. But equally we were probably fairly arrogant which would bring a host of other issues.

Where do the seriously non-compliant children go if all of the local schools are like this?

pointyfangs Fri 22-Nov-13 19:28:26

But why do these kids need different rules? Where's the evidence that normal rules don't work? Are children in Hackney so very much more disruptive than children in Suffolk?

Exclusions are also very low at my DD's school and it is in a catchment with a considerable amount of deprivation. I agree that learning to follow rules is a vital life skill, I just think they should be sensible rules about good behaviour, not pointless ones about tags on shoes.

MadameDefarge Fri 22-Nov-13 19:20:22

And I might also add DSs school has an unusually low rate of exclusion.

MadameDefarge Fri 22-Nov-13 19:17:19

Why do you say they are clearly not necessary? Not necessary in your neck of the woods in your estimation?

Again, the kids don't live in fear. They just have to follow different rules than at your children's school. All rules can be seen as arbitrary and pointless. But learning how to follow them is a vital life skill.

Detention is 20 mins in DSs school. Not the use of an Iron Maiden. They sit in the canteen and read. It's hardly evil.

pointyfangs Fri 22-Nov-13 19:12:18

MadameDefarge my children go to local schools with sensible policies on uniform and discipline. I've lived and worked in the UK for the past 16 years and I love 95% of everything about the UK. It's just that the increase of Skinner-type schools worries me, because they are clearly not necessary. My DD1 wears a blazer and her school has a clear scale of disciplinary sanctions - but it starts with a verbal warning, not a detention. A detention should not be a measure of first resort, because if it is, what do you escalate to for really serious offences like violent bullying?

I agree that the boy in the article wasn't a great example - canvas shoes are not school shoes, and talking in class merits sanctions. That's agreed. However, rules about not making eye contact, standing up when a teacher enters the room and talking in the corridor between lessons serve no purpose except to breed resentment. Children are not stupid, they know perfectly well what is important and what is not.

MadameDefarge Fri 22-Nov-13 19:11:53

In fact I think that most parents in the Borough are thrilled that their kids are finally getting a chance to be educated in calm, safe environments where bad behaviour is not tolerated. No gang shit, no fear, less bullying, really engaged SMTs and teachers.

MadameDefarge Fri 22-Nov-13 19:06:47

I would imagine most schools have five levels of sanctions. warning. second. warning. detention 30 mins. Detention after school. I hour detention. 2 hour detentions. ooh that makes six.

What you need to remember is that ten years ago Hackney children were being failed academically on an epic scale. Today they do better than the national average by a significant margin. It ain't perfect. I couldn't care less about uniforms. But if they feel its part of the change then I go along with it.

TBH, I think many parents find the change from primary to secondary much more emotionally traumatic than their children.

This mother in the article showed disrespect for not giving her son decent school shoes to go to school in. (apart from anything else, I would not put my child in canvas shoes in case it rained and they would spend a hideous uncomfortable day in wet shoes).

He was disciplined for being disruptive in class. One mother's lively lad is another's refusing to listen to teachers little sod.

I fail to see the problem.

soul2000 Fri 22-Nov-13 18:59:44

Do the same rules and regulations, exist at Skinners grammar School in
Tunbridge Wells. If they do not exist, the organisation is trying to get discipline by creating fear not respect. When the fear goes usually by about year 10 the teacher looks foolish and a joke figure. Discipline is created by respect not fear in the long term.

MadameDefarge Fri 22-Nov-13 18:58:49

I am surprised you are educating your children in the British system then. Surely you would move to avoid these pitfalls?

pointyfangs Fri 22-Nov-13 18:56:36

breatheslowly I can only say that none of the teachers in my school ever needed such a measure - the fact that they had walked in was enough to get everyone quiet, no gestures needed.

Funnily enough this sort of measure was commonplace in schools in Belgium when I was at school in Holland, and every Belgian student I met at university later on expressed their utter contempt for it and envied us Dutch students who had gone to schools with less restrictive but still effective discipline. We all turned out pretty much the same in terms of behaviour and achievement.

MadameDefarge Fri 22-Nov-13 18:56:29

I do have to disagree. The teacher's at DS's school are committed and very involved with the children. There is not hatred or loathing.

Comparing education from another country 30 or so years ago does not really address any of the issues involved in teaching children today.

And to be frank I find the idea that I should move to get away from a decent school which cares brilliantly for my son simply because they are strict about sock colour is frankly a bit OTT in my book.

I'm just not sure you are talking from an informed view point, or a prejudiced one.

breatheslowly Fri 22-Nov-13 18:51:19

Pointyfangs - it just wasn't a problem or a hardship. It was quite a good way of making it clear that the teacher had arrived and set up an expectation that the teacher arriving meant that the lesson had started, even if you hadn't finished your conversation. And whilst the expectation drifted about standing up, it still was clear that the teacher could expect your attention.

pointyfangs Fri 22-Nov-13 18:47:47

MadameDefarge I just don't see it as a problem. Yes, I remember changeover at my school being pretty noisy. Somehow the teachers coped. So yes, it is completely OTT.

OK, I can see if you're teaching double maths/English the interruption would be annoying, but it would only be a brief outburst of noise. Most lessons aren't double lessons. Teachers were tougher in my day... My mum used to teach in an old-fashioned school building with echoing corridors and it was just accepted as part of life as a teacher. This measure sounds very 'children should be seen and not heard' and in fact the whole disciplinary ethos behind schools like Skinners feels to me like a manifestation of the British culture of fear and loathing towards children and young people.

MadameDefarge Fri 22-Nov-13 18:11:24

One of the rules, for example, is no talking in corridors when moving between classes. Sounds OTT? I promise you if you work in school the relief to not have ongoing lessons disrupted by chatty teenagers (and their volume is loud) would be a real blessing!

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