Policy will improve discipline

By by John Turner john.turner@iomtoday.co.im Twitter:@iomnewspapers in Education

Ballakermeen head teacher Adrienne Burnett has defended a new discipline policy implemented at the school.

Mrs Burnett was contacted after the Manx Independent was approached by a pupil at the island’s largest secondary school complaining the new rules were unfair.

The pupil, who lives in the Douglas area but asked to remain anonymous, told Isle of Man Newspapers: ’This is a change in behaviour policy which many, if not all students believe is unfair.

’Under the old system, we used to be given many warnings and fair opportunities to improve our behaviour before serious actions were taken; this included being talked to by the teacher in a constructive manner. Isolation, detention or suspension was viewed by all as a very last resort.’

However, he said following the change of policy, what he termed ’minor offences’ - examples given were chewing gum or talking to another pupil without permission - would result in a negative comment being recorded.

’If a student gets eight comments in a week, they are moved to isolation regardless of their previous behaviour record.

’Any incidence of swearing at another student or teacher, making racist or homophobic comments or making inappropriate comments about a teacher will result in a student being removed to isolation immediately,’ he said.

But Mrs Burnett told Isle of Man Newspapers the school’s disciplinary policy was reviewed every year as part of the school’s self evaluation process and any necessary adjustments were made.

’We have recently undertaken a review of the school’s code of conduct and have sought over the last year or so to bring a little more clarity to the processes that already take place day to day in the school.

’The updated code of conduct has been presented to students and it is unfortunate that the student who has been in contact with IOM Newspapers has not fully understood the code.

’One of the strengths of the school is the relationships we have with our students, and when it comes to discipline issues, we treat every student as an individual and fairly.

’The vast majority of our students who are well behaved will not notice anything different.’

She added the school was liaising with pupils and parents to make sure everyone understood the new code of conduct which, she said, would have a positive impact.

A survey by teachers’ union the NASUWT claimed earlier this year some teachers were being threatened outside schools by pupils.

Last November, the NASUWT threatened legal action after two staff at Ballakermeen School were allegedly ’harassed and abused’ by pupils.

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Smiles · 6 days ago · Report

At the end of the day changes happen the school as like all schools on the island continuously striving to improve, to make life a better place for young people to grow, learn and gain the skills to help them throughout their lives. Ballakermeenn is no exception. The small change /clarification in the code of conduct is part of the schools annual review.

Kitty B · 7 days ago · Report

Ok. Maybe I came across as a namby-pamby. I was thinking of those fidgety, hyperactive, kids who would be in need of special classes and possibly medication anyway, ( prone to less serious offences like constant gumchewing, verbal wind-ups etc) The majority do need to follow certain codes of acceptable behaviour. (or face appropriate consequences.)

Kitty B · 7 days ago · Report

Ok. Maybe I came across as a namby-pamby. I was thinking of those fidgety, hyperactive, kids who would be in need of special classes and possibly medication anyway, ( prone to less serious offences like constant gumchewing, verbal wind-ups etc) The majority do need to follow certain codes of acceptable behaviour. (or face appropriate consequences.)

Terry n June · 7 days ago · Report

If they behave, then there isn't a problem. Slack standards today are evident when these people enter the work place. They do not have a clue about acceptable standards and behaviour. We knew what was acceptable and what wasn't when I was at school. We didn't get nursed. The pupil who has raised this story is most likely guilty of ome or all of the behaviour which is unacceptable, Otherwise, there wouldn't be an issue.

Grumpy Old Man · 8 days ago · Report

I'm more worried about what's on the whiteboard in the picture. What class is that?

bugs · 8 days ago · Report

1968 grow my hair long told to get it cut . no the reply from me . detention after two or three times in detention decided not to go result cane three strokes Get your haircut no . detention didn't show . Three strokes of the cane this became daily eventually I was expelled at 14 years old

Spook · 8 days ago · Report

In my day there was no warning let alone eight. We knew the rules or at least very soon learned what they were and if you contravened them then you paid the price. What's more, certainly in my case, if I whinged about it when I got home it was paying the price part two. Eight warnings is ludicrous. NO warnings is right. Step out of line and bang. It's a part of the training of kids and socialising them.

Leon · 8 days ago · Report

They are lucky they get 8 chances before punishment is given. The reason why behaviour is bad is because kids know they will not be punished.

Manx born (formerl CV) · 8 days ago · Report

So what would you do with someone who makes a racist or homophobic comment towards a pupil or teacher KittyB? Despite these changes there appears to be very little discipline in schools going by the examples given. But good for Mrs Burnett anyway for making a start.

Clock Weights · 8 days ago · Report

Kitty B........ mind you don't melt in this warm weather.

Spook · 8 days ago · Report

Kitty B, I couldn't give a toss if some little scrote or feral brat gets 'damaged' in school 'cos nothing is more certain that once in the real world they'll either get 'damaged' IN SPADES or CAUSE damage. Some kids can be educated, many more need to be trained, and there's some that need to have their behaviour modified by whatever works. It's a crying shame that corporal punishment is no longer an option. It worked and was both a deterrent AND a quick fix when needed.

Conch · 8 days ago · Report

oh give over, since when was isolation after 8 comments (warnings) a week a strict discipline regime? they get off light these days. if a pupil doesn't get it at the 1st or 2nd warning and it goes to 7 and then 8 write-ups which is a lot, they are obviously the problem. They should be isolated. If the pupil has behavioural problems they shouldn't be in that class disrupting it. The teachers have got enough to do. they want jam on it

Kitty B · 8 days ago · Report

I think that if a minority of the pupils, had some problems with regulating their behaviour/impulse control, then following this strict discipline regime, may be damaging long-term. One size doesn't fit all.

Clock Weights · 8 days ago · Report

Typical attitude of the snowflake generation, always someone else's fault. How about a few welts of the cane instead? No, didn't think know so. Do as you're told then and you won't need to be disciplined, will you?!

Conch · 8 days ago · Report

yes I don't get what the problem is, chewing gum is disrespectful it smacks of a lot of slipping of standards these days. The complainant said 'most if not all' disagreed with new rules. Well what is it, most or all? I can't see the well behaved pupils objecting somehow

WelshManxie · 8 days ago · Report

Good. I have heard nothing but bad reports from Ballakermeen. It is about time children stopped acting like victims and owned to their actions. You are at school to learn and prepare for life once in the real world, it's unfair on pupils who want to actually learn!

Spook · 8 days ago · Report

The very fact that the brat has gone whinging to the press clearly shows why a clamp down on inappropriate behaviour was so desperately needed.

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