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Is this a normal thing in Secondary? Whole class punishments.

(4 Posts)
Lovecat Mon 28-Nov-16 19:21:00

Before I begin, I'm well aware that DD may be giving me a partial version of events, but before I contact the school (if I contact the school at all), I'd like a few opinions - and if there are any secondary teachers around I'd love your views! (and apologies for the essay...)

DD is in Y7 of secondary school. She went to a very small school beforehand (1 form intake) where discipline was fairly good, whilst not being overbearing (she has sensory issues so used to complain to me about the people on her table chatting in class that meant she couldn't concentrate at times, so it's not like she's used to monastery-like silence).

Her current class is one of nine in the year and she's generally taken to it well. However, there are 2 issues:

Geography - the teacher has been told off (DD's words) because he was allowing too much messing about (some odd story involving kids bringing in skittles (the sweets) for merit points which I took with a pinch of salt) and has told them that from this week the entire class begins each lesson with a concern mark (they get a concern mark if they forget their textbooks/equipment/kit or get in trouble with a teacher and 2 marks = a detention) and as a whole class have to earn its removal by working to his satisfaction in the lesson. DD is mildly annoyed by this as she's done nothing (again her words) to misbehave and it's only a few boys who are being noisy, but the whole class is being punished. The boys who are noisy don't particularly care, so she's anxious that she's going to get a concern mark every time she has geography.

Second issue - their science teacher isn't letting them do any practicals (her friend's class have done several) because 'the class is too naughty to be allowed to do practicals'. While I'm not in favour of letting hyper schoolchildren loose with bunsen burners, I do feel that if they are meant to be doing practicals then it's unfair to penalise the well-behaved children as well as the more boisterous elements of the class.

Disclaimer - I have no idea if she's been parked in a particularly badly-behaved class or not as I have little or nothing to compare it to - her primary was relatively quiet.

However, I had gathered that whole class punishments were frowned upon these days. This business of the whole class getting a concern mark seems very unfair.

I'm also mildly worried that this is impacting on her education - she's dyslexic and dyspraxic and learns best by doing rather than from textbooks, so the fact that they're not allowed to see what happens in evaporation (for example) means that for her, it's not really going in.

So do I do/say anything? They don't have a parents evening until April next year and while I don't want to be 'that' parent, I'm not at all happy if what I've been told is true.

Any ideas how to approach this? Thanks smile

noblegiraffe Mon 28-Nov-16 20:01:10

Starting the whole class on a 'concern' mark isn't acceptable and could be flagged up - drop the teacher an email and say your DD is worried that she is being punished for the misbehaviour of others and please could he confirm that this wouldn't be the case.

The science practicals - if the science teacher risk assesses that it's not safe for the class to do practicals, then they won't run until the class behaves itself. They can't really have the good half the class doing practicals if the risk of the poorly behaved half doing something stupid is still there.

It does sound like your DD might be in a challenging class though - if you raise your concerns with the school re noise, practicals etc, then they can look at implementing some solutions across the board rather than each teacher dealing with it on their own.

monkeyseatpeanutbutter Mon 28-Nov-16 20:26:30

I don't think starting them all off negative could ever be a wise strategy but I wouldn't go in all guns blazing.

I am a science teacher (name changed for this) and I completely agree that with some classes, in some schools, in some circumstances there is no option but to restrict practicals. That is not to say that i won't still carry out the experiment, but as an experienced teacher responsible for everyone's safety and learning there are times when IMO it isn't 1. Safe or 2 actually teaching much of value - as 30 Year 9s fannying around one another, fail to follow clear verbal and written instructions.

When I get a class like this I give them a chance, try again with extra guidance and failing that stop the whole thing and demonstrate.

And then work back up to whole class practicals. Next time get selected students to demo, all the time reinforcing the responsibility required.

It's not mainly bunsens. It's daft kids splashing NaOH around like it's water, who've been asked 10 times in 45minutes to put on safety glasses and 'no your spectacles don't count!'

Lovecat Tue 29-Nov-16 01:50:59

Thank you both - I've emailed the head of year asking if behaviour is a particular issue for this class and if so what strategies are being put in place to deal with it.

Monkeys, I don't envy you your job and I understand completely that some children can't be trusted around a lab - it's just a shame that it's impacting on DD.

Thanks again smile

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