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April 12, 2011 permalink
Principal Catherine Jenkinson-Dix of the City of Ely Community College in Cambridgeshire, England has found the greatest threat to school discipline: mismatched socks. Violators have been held in detention for five hours sitting silently in rows in the assembly hall while reading a booklet explaining “good behaviour.” See the whole story on BoingBoing or the National Post report below.
U.K. school cracks down on bad manners
Almost half the students at a British school have been barred from class in just four days because of infractions of their new code of conduct.
The 600 or so scofflaws at the City of Ely Community College in Cambridgeshire, southeastern England, have been sentenced to spend five hours sitting silently in rows in the assembly hall while reading a booklet explaining “good behaviour.”
The rules they flouted included prohibitions on chewing gum, wearing odd socks, eating between lessons, running, wearing excessive makeup or using “visible” earphones or cellphones.
The zero-tolerance policy was introduced this week by Catherine Jenkinson-Dix, the school’s no-nonsense principal, in consultation with teachers.
On Monday alone, 236 of the college’s 1,295 students were sent to the hall.
”Low-level issues, such as using mobile phones, affect staff’s ability to teach the pupils and also affect those pupils who are trying to learn,” she told the Cambridge News. “If we can eradicate these, all students will be able to receive the best possible education. I am pleased to say I have the support of the majority of parents.
“Any pupil who is removed from class is removed for a good reason and this is fundamental in preparing pupils for their future careers, where they certainly would not get away with being rude, dressing inappropriately and chewing gum.”
The code is part of a new “Right to Teach -Right to Learn” initiative launched by the school’s governors and the principal. Teachers said the rules were drafted after observations of the students showed a “minority” were not meeting basic expectations.
In a letter to parents informing them about the code, they said, “Staff will enforce a zero-tolerance approach if students fail to meet these basic expectations in every lesson and situation in college.
“If students choose not to conform, they will be removed from the situation immediately and will spend the rest of the day working in silence, supervised by senior staff.”
Nonetheless, some shocked parents are attacking the new rules and accusing Ms. Jenkinson-Dix of turning the school into a “prison.”
”I’m absolutely appalled. They are wrecking pupils’ education and turning it into a prison,” Amanda King, 34, who pulled her 12-year-old son Ben and daughter Shannon, 14, out of classes, told the Cambridge News.
“Staff are nit-picking for everything -for behaviour, for what they wear. Apparently they are not allowed to wear any accessories or even coats in school now.”
Another mother, who asked not to be named, said, “Yes, children should be taught to respect their teachers but to punish them for wearing bright hair bobbles or having their mobile phones is petty. I’m not happy about the new rules at all.”
However, other parents have supported the code.
“Well done Ely!” one parent wrote on the Ely Standard newspaper website. “My children both know how I feel about this and if they are put in the hall then so be it. They shouldn’t misbehave.”
The uproar in Cambridgeshire comes as staff at another school went on strike to protest their students’ bad behaviour and alleged poor treatment from bosses. About 70 teachers at Darwen Vale High School in Lancashire picketed the school gates brandishing placards, the Daily Mail reported.
The walkout is in protest at the lack of support the staff claim they have received from the head teacher, Hilary Torpey.
Teachers say when they take disciplinary matters to Ms. Torpey, she often sides with the students instead of staff.
Source: National Post