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"Isolation booths" - normal?!

(141 Posts)
freegazelle Sat 30-Jun-18 16:55:48

Read this report about isolation booth use in an academy. Are these really normal in secondary schools now?! How are they legal? I don't know what I'd do if this happened to my DS.

OP’s posts: |
LoveMyLittleSuperhero Sat 30-Jun-18 17:02:26

My school had these when I started there over 14 years ago. There was an isolation room then to stop it basically devolving into a party for those being punished the booths were all round the edge of the room. Students couldn't interact but the teachers could see them all. I don't think they're necessarily a bad idea, however I think they are used far too quickly now.

Children being isolated for severely bullying others, smoking or drinking on school premises, being aggressive, threatening or violent to students and teachers seems fine to me. Maybe even the wake up call they need. However students being isolated for their uniform, hair style, equipment seems to be taking it way to far.

Anasnake Sat 30-Jun-18 17:05:54

Totally normal, usually arranged so pupils can't interact but the teacher can see them all. They have a computer and work to do. Some of the 'Educating' programmes have shown how they work.

TeenTimesTwo Sat 30-Jun-18 17:08:21

I think I have seen similar in the 'Educating XYZ' series, and on 'Waterloo Road' and 'Ackley Bridge', but perhaps used with more humanity than the article implies. They are just like little workspaces where pupils can't disrupt each other.

If a child is there just during lesson time, then that is a bit like it would be sitting at home revising for a day, ability to focus on work.

I think the whole point of isolation is to socially excluding them - from lessons to ensure they don't disrupt others' learning, and from break/lunch as the 'punishment'. So if a child is in isolation for say flouting uniform rules, then others won't see the rules being broken and the pupil 'getting away with it'. Or is a pupil has hurt another, it keeps them away as a breathing/calming down space.

I think work would be sent down by relevant teachers, they wouldn't be twiddling their thumbs all day.

So I suspect the issue is how the school is using them, not the fact they exist.

Teachers - feel free to contradict my understanding!

TeenTimesTwo Sat 30-Jun-18 17:09:05

x-post while I wrote my essay!

admission Sat 30-Jun-18 17:10:23

Most secondary schools have something along the same lines. However it does really come down to what is the level of "poor behaviour" that is required for a pupil to end up in the isolation area. If it is for some of the misdemeanours quoted in the article I struggle to believe that it is of any use what so ever.
However there is a level of in-discipline in class where it is actually affecting every other pupil in the class, so there is a need for something to allow classes to be taught without disruption. Isolation booths are one way of addressing the problem.
What is important is the outcome. What is necessary is that the pupil behaviour is improved to the extent that they then are learning as well as,if not better, than others in their cohort. Where it has been demonstrated that there had been no improvement in behaviour between two Ofsted inspections, the school was quite rightly criticised for not being able to show an increase in behaviour

Cliveybaby Sat 30-Jun-18 17:14:21

Sounds like they were being a bit heavy-handed in that school, but I can't see the problem with the booths in principle.
It's a punishment, it's not meant to be fun!

freegazelle Sat 30-Jun-18 17:19:02

Ah thanks for the replies.

I get it if there is a computer and they have work to do, and if its a relatively short space of time - that's a bit reassuring. All day seems pretty excessive.

If they have to sit there and look at the wall for hours that's just cruel.

OP’s posts: |
Ivegotfamilyandidrinkcupsoftea Sat 30-Jun-18 17:21:11

I think its a good idea

Isolation at my school was as a pp put it, like a party! We used to get sent on purpose so we could piss about blush

Aprilshouldhavebeenmyname Sat 30-Jun-18 17:24:22

Ds has been put in isolation frequently lately.
From yawning (he has ME), to hitting a lad back who smacked him with a book in the face.

freegazelle Sat 30-Jun-18 17:25:10

I understand that punishments shouldn't be fun, but I don't think they should be cruel, and they should be useful educationally.

I went to an unconventional specialist school where discipline was fairly non-existent - probably affected my views on these things. Dreading DS going to secondary - I don't like these zero tolerance approaches personally.

Someone said on a thread recently about one of those "Educating" programs that the teachers switch between acting like pupil's best friend and a prison warden.

OP’s posts: |
titchy Sat 30-Jun-18 18:04:00

They're set work, not staring at the wall for 7 hours. They get breaks and lunch, supervised, and are allowed bathroom breaks. It's hardly water torture. hmm If your child was ever put into isolation I hope you'd support the school's attempt to stop your child disrupting the education of 30 others.

freegazelle Sat 30-Jun-18 18:16:17


I just said, if you read the thread, that if they are set work that is different.

And I struggle to see how forgetting a pen or uniform breaches is disrupting the class. Thats beyond petty.

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HaroldsSocalledBluetits Sat 30-Jun-18 18:20:28

Agree that they're overused. At ours they get it for forgetting planners ffs. Difficult to get behind policies that are ridiculous - just because I'm a parent it doesn't mean I lose all power of judgement in regard to what a school does. No work set at ours either.

freegazelle Sat 30-Jun-18 18:31:04


That's awful I'd be infuriated.

And anyway with low level disruption in class, I think teachers should deal with it, not just put a pupil in a booth all day. Its part of a teacher's job surely.

I think this ethos is also reflected in the rising expulsion rates - removing problems (students) rather than dealing with them.

OP’s posts: |
Anasnake Sat 30-Jun-18 18:33:12

'Rising expulsion rates' - do you know how difficult it is to permanently remove pupils ?

freegazelle Sat 30-Jun-18 18:43:52

Its not just me saying this its Ofsted - there is a rising rate of fixed period exclusions.

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freegazelle Sat 30-Jun-18 18:46:45

"National figures from the Department for Education show that 6,685 pupils were permanently excluded from schools in England in 2015-16 – the majority of them in the run-up to their GCSEs – marking a 40% increase over the past three years."

OP’s posts: |
titchy Sat 30-Jun-18 18:54:34

* And anyway with low level disruption in class, I think teachers should deal with it, not just put a pupil in a booth all day. Its part of a teacher's job surely.*

Wait till your kid is trying to learn simultaneous equations while Johnny f's and blinds at the teacher.... teachers jobs are to impart knowledge, not to deal with 'issues'. As an aside most secondary schools have a pastoral team there to do that. So no, not a teachers job.

freegazelle Sat 30-Jun-18 19:03:40

I wouldn't call swearing at a teacher low level disruption

OP’s posts: |
TeenTimesTwo Sat 30-Jun-18 19:05:49

teachers jobs are to impart knowledge, not to deal with 'issues'. As an aside most secondary schools have a pastoral team there to do that

I agree. But if a school has a zero tolerance approach, the child who needs pastoral care may end up in the isolation unit instead...

HaroldsSocalledBluetits Sat 30-Jun-18 19:08:04

There's no point sat there imparting knowledge if you can't keep control of your class though.

Freegazelle, none of the parents I know are happy about it, we've raised it with the school, but they won't be budged on the issue. I can't see the value of alienating students who do their work including homework and whose behaviour is not disruptive over this.

snewname Sat 30-Jun-18 19:10:33

It's the low level disruption that is the worst. It's easy to deal with actual incidents, not so easy to deal with constant low level distractions that affect the teachers ability to teach and the pupils ability to learn.

It's easy to avoid going to isolation. Just follow the rules!
If you are stricter on the small things, the bigger things are less likely to occur.
They are given work, but actually I think the more bored they are, the more incentive there is not to be readmitted.

CuckooCuckooClock Sat 30-Jun-18 19:17:01

But they need their planners. If kids aren't punished for forgetting them then loads of them just won't bother to bring them. Kids can't just decide which rules to follow or schools would be total anarchy.

Blueemeraldagain Sat 30-Jun-18 19:18:00

The majority of internal exclusion units I have seen are a heap of shit. I’ve seen a fair few as I work in an SEMH setting and our academy chain tries to use the teachers at our school to advise teachers in mainstream how to deal with difficulties like ADHD, ODD,PDA etc as well as generalised disruptive behaviour.

-Kids are left with someone who is not qualified to teach any subject, let alone the four or five subjects different students may be working on.
- work is often not provided
- when work is provided it is inaccessible due to the student not being in the lesson.

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