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Schools converting toilets into isolation booths

(23 Posts)
noblegiraffe Sat 18-Jan-20 11:37:51

This is bullshit, right? www.theguardian.com/education/2020/jan/17/schools-converting-toilet-blocks-into-isolation-booths

“I was told of a school where they were converting a toilet section into isolation booths – and the comment there was it was very handy because they had already got the cubicles.”

It’s the Ban the Booths conference this weekend and so it’s all kicking off again.

What I don’t see in these articles is ‘your kid is in a class with a child who is out of their seat, dribbling a basketball and bouncing it off the walls, when the teacher tries to get the ball off them they dodge and run the other way. No teaching or learning is happening. Should this child be removed from the classroom or left in there while your kid learns nothing and has a ball bounced off their head?’.

The complaints always seem to be about kids who forgot their pen being isolated for weeks. Surely that is not the experience in most schools, and therefore not a reason to call to ban isolation rooms?

Can we just all agree that it is entirely sensible to have a room to remove disruptive kids to which has desks that the pupils can work at and some way of stopping them simply going there to socialise with their disruptive peers? (E.g. dividers between desks)?

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raisinseverywhere Sat 18-Jan-20 11:52:51

I don’t think it’s acceptable to put children into converted toilet booths, but do agree that a more acceptable room is fine. My DC’s school uses a normal room, supervised by staff.

Very disruptive children can distress the other Children in the lessons, as well as creating a tense and unpleasant atmosphere. I do think that some of the people against this only have experience of private and grammar schools.....

noblegiraffe Sat 18-Jan-20 12:19:51

I don’t think it’s acceptable to put children into converted toilet booths

I don’t think anyone does, I suspect it’s not true.

Especially given the issues with lack of decent toilet facilities in schools, they can hardly afford to lose toilets.

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Baulk Sat 18-Jan-20 12:21:34

The whole thing makes me so annoyed. How can those who go for the ‘all behaviour is communication’ crap not see that the children they are trying to help need complex help, early intervention etc, not a ‘relationship’?!

And, for that matter, some just need discipline.

I wouldn’t want my child in a booth, but bloody hell, I wouldn’t want my child in some of the classes I’ve taught (taught being an optimistic choice!).

Hell in a handcart.

YourOpinionIsNoted Sat 18-Jan-20 12:26:15

I don't get why the booth is seen as such a dreadful thing. We had them (open backed, high sided, facing the wall) in the library at my school, they were study desks. Only the sixth form were allowed to use them, we were all very jealous! It was a proper highlight of becoming a sixth former, setting yourself up in your own little study booth. There were only 6, people used to fight over them. Used them loads at uni too.

People act like it's a medieval torture chamber. Ridiculous. Naughty kids don't like them because they limit their ability to be naughty. End of.

Grasspigeons Sat 18-Jan-20 12:52:44

I quite like the idea of well designed booths for disruptive pupils to go to - as long as all the other support is in place for those that need it. I dont think they are an alternative to providing support. i can see children with genuine needs being stuck in a booth forever as its cheaper /easier than getting a TA with the right training and a proper set of OT lead sensory breaks and doing an individualised curriculumn. Funding is so low now. They sound very sensible for people just messing around - they just look like normal office spaces.

SansaSnark Sat 18-Jan-20 13:22:48

My school took out their isolation booths recently. Suddenly, internal exclusion became seen as preferable to going to detention as it was low demand and kids would sit in there on their phones or chatting to their friends. Behaviour across the whole school deteriorated and the school is now looking for another solution.

I don't think booths are right for all children in all circumstances, but used sensibly (I.e. Not for minor uniform violations) they act as a good deterrent and help with whole school behaviour.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 18-Jan-20 14:32:22

There is a huge amount of anecdotal in the story.

But I note that there is no other solution put forward.

It will be just another case of teachers having to put up with it and then having to take the fall for it.

thejollyroger Sat 18-Jan-20 14:44:40

A repurposed building is just a repurposed building. I’m sure we have all eaten, slept or reproduced in spaces in which someone, at some time, has done a wee or a poo. This is ridiculous.

noblegiraffe Sat 18-Jan-20 15:04:40

I think the issue was not the building, but that the toilet cubicles would have the toilets removed and be replaced with a desk and chair.

Like I said, I seriously doubt that this is true. No named school, the person saying it only ‘heard’ the story and doesn’t work for the school.

Yet it gets a headline from people either clickbaiting or seeking to whip up hysteria for ideological reasons.

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thejollyroger Sat 18-Jan-20 15:07:20

Oh I see! Yes, that sounds like crap to me (if you’ll pardon the pun).

Mintchocchipicecream Sat 18-Jan-20 20:27:24

I really don’t understand why the education of the majority of other pupils is never a consideration in these articles. Why should a minority by allowed to disrupt their classes? Behave and you won’t be put in isolation! Yes yes for some it’s more complex than that and that’s where better SEN support is needed but if there’s no money in the system then what exactly are schools supposed to do? Apparently they are just to let the disruptive ones be disruptive and screw the education of everyone else never mind the safety and well-being of the other students and the staff?

YourOpinionIsNoted Sun 19-Jan-20 11:01:53

You left out 'and then blame the classroom teacher and put them on capability procedures', Mint. But otherwise, yep pretty much.

Paperdolly Sun 19-Jan-20 11:43:06

I’m going to be unpopular here but I hate the idea of them as it’s exactly the opposite of what SOME students need. There are reasons behind all behaviour and any policy where a student is constantly in isolation and the pastoral management doesn’t take an interest in what’s behind the behaviour doesn’t help the student.

I work in mental health and some of the kid’s have horrendous DV situations at home and spend hours in their bedrooms for safety. They then get to school where they feel safe but can’t communicate their distress in a civilised way so get to sit in that awful soul destroying familiar silence.

I have great respect for teachers, I used to be one, but this is not the answer for these kids. Most of my troubled kids loved Drama classes where they could play out their angst.

noblegiraffe Sun 19-Jan-20 11:53:52

any policy where a student is constantly in isolation and the pastoral management doesn’t take an interest in what’s behind the behaviour doesn’t help the student.

Obviously.

That’s no reason to ban isolation rooms. That’s a reason to have reasonable policies regarding their extended use.

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BoneyBackJefferson Sun 19-Jan-20 12:04:00

We currently have
an Internal Isolation room
A sensory room
A chill room
A quiet room
various SEND specific classrooms

It still isn't enough, yet there are people saying X is wrong with no mention of a suggestion of how to solve the problem from their end.

noblegiraffe Sun 19-Jan-20 12:23:23

I just saw on twitter “No one is saying don't teach them how to behave, no one is saying don't remove them if needed, no one is saying don't protect the others, no one is saying don't have sanctions. What they are saying is stop the harm, to all the children, not just the ones that behave.”

If that’s true, why are schools getting rid of their isolation rooms per Dix?

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YourOpinionIsNoted Sun 19-Jan-20 12:24:36

I agree with noblegiraffe. Anything can be used badly. That doesn't mean it can't also be used well, and that, when used well, it is a valuable and necessary tool.

YourOpinionIsNoted Sun 19-Jan-20 12:31:24

What, for the love of God, is the 'harm' that is caused by sitting by yourself and getting on with some work for a day??

Are they physically harmed? No. They sit in the same type of chair as in a classroom. They sit at a desk, just like in a classroom. There are thin walls at either side of the desk. They are not shut in, because the back is open. There is no physical discomfort.

Are they psychologically harmed? From sitting? No. They are not in solitary confinement. They have break times and lunchtimes out of their booth - they are unlikely to be sat there for more than two hours at a time due to the structure of the school day. This is less time than many of the GCSE exams, which they will also need to sit through, on their own, in silence. No one is claiming psychological harm from doing their English exam.

What is the harm?

mummyduckduck Sun 19-Jan-20 12:40:11

Surely it is easier to put cubicles into a normal room, than to remove toilets & plumbing from a toilet block? Sorry, I know that's not the point, but it seems a very inefficient way of doing things.

Schools definitely need a space to remove disruptive children to. I'm not fond of the isolation room we have at work as the cubicles restrict the staff view of the pupils rather than stopping them communicating, but having rooms away from mainstream lessons is essential.

noblegiraffe Sun 19-Jan-20 13:04:47

YourOpinion From twitter: ‘Putting a child in a booth and not allowing them to leave is the same as locking a child in a room!’

Also, concerns that isolation is bad for mental health.

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YourOpinionIsNoted Sun 19-Jan-20 13:11:42

But we put them in a classroom and don't let them leave?

I'm sorry, I just think it's bollox. It's a punishment. It's meant to be mildly unpleasant.

noblegiraffe Sun 19-Jan-20 13:13:49

It’s probably the same sort of person who thinks that a detention is depriving a pupil of their liberty.

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