Discussion Forum

Has Calder High gone mad?
- new consequences policy

Posted by Andy
Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wondered if anyone had any opinions/experience about Calder High School's new consequence policy. The school has introduced consequence catagories as follows: -

C1 First Verbal Warning
C2 Second Verbal Warning
C3 After-school Detention
C4 Remove Room
C5 Fixed-term Exclusion

A selection of the reasons when a pupil will receive consequence C3 (after-school detention) are below: -

  • Shouting bad language across the classroom/corridor ("loud enought to be heard, loud enough to be punished")
  • Smoking
  • Out of bounds
  • Eating on corridors
  • No basic equipment (pen, pencil, planner, books)

How can accidently forgetting a pencil warrant the same punishment as smoking or shouting bad language??

Even more ridiculous, if a pupil fights they receive consequence C4, but the use of threatening behaviour results in a C5, shouldn't that be the other way round?

I know of one boy who received 5 after-school detentions (C3) in 5 days, a boy who received C3 for accidently forgetting a book, a pupil who received C3 for putting a sandwich in their school bag as they crossed from the canteen to corridor and another pupil who received C3 for changing from trainers to shoes (before start of school) in the school grounds.

My son spoke of a pupil who swore in class, who was told by the teacher, "I didn't hear that". One teacher apparantly told his pupils that in 20+ years of teaching he'd never had to give a single detention and now for the first time he would be forced to do so which he's not happy about.

Pupils should be punished consistantly, but come on, how on earth can forgetting a pencil be punished by an after-school detention? Are our children safe walking home/waiting for buses in the dark winter months, I think not.

From John Thomas
Thursday, September 14, 2006

Hi Andy,

Yes you are right in some respects to some of the punishments. But having known a teacher at Calder High for many years, and the constant disruption by unruly children she has to endure. Not only on the odd occasion, but on a daily basis!

And also seeing the lack of discipline parents in the area seem to show towards their children, it seems to me to be the next logical step. Somebody has to show children that it isnt OK or cool to be involved in anti-social behaviour.

You get out of life what you put into it. ie, learning at school, gaining qualifications and so forth. Simply mucking about at school gets you nowhere.

I agree that some of these measures are draconian Andy, but unfortunately necessary. In today's couldn't care less society.

Posted by Rev Tony Buglass
Thursday, September 14, 2006

It's always possible to portray a discipline code as draconian or unreasonable. Detention for forgetting a pencil? Supposing the student involved creatively forgot something essential in order to get out of doing a lesson? At the risk of allowing inconsistencies, teachers will always find a way of not noticing apparent offences if that is the best way of dealing with them.

You don't tell us who devised the discipline code, or why it was felt to be necessary to replace whatever went before. Did the students have any input? Is there a school council with student representation? Did student reps vote for this scheme? Is there any way of appealing against an unfair sentence?

It seems to me that there are a lot of possibilities in this to enable students to share in the responsibility for their own workplace. Perhaps the conversation has just begun?

Posted by Andrew
Friday, September 15, 2006

Calder High has gone mad! I could not believe my eyes when my nephew showed me this in his planner.

I smoked from 14 and still do 16 years later. I regret starting but you learn from your mistakes.

My personal oppinion, is that yes, if a child is caught smoking in school, punish them, but in Mytholmroyd, why? They actually go looking for people breaking the rules. One in particular who I have never got on with, but we wont go into that seems to hold family grudges, is that not punishable? Wonder what David Scott would think to this, then again, he'd best not comment, he may just get C5?!

Posted by Jonathan Timbers
Saturday, September 16, 2006

I completely support the Rev Buglass's comments about Calder High's new consequences policy, which seem to me to be balanced and fair. I share his hope that there is also an active school council which can appeal against decisions by the school to exclude. In addition, I hope that the school carefully monitors who it is excluding to ensure that children from ethnic minority backgrounds or who have learning disabilities and/or behavioural impairments are not being punished disproportionately.

I am strongly in favour of the school, which I believe is in loco parentis, extending its pastoral remit to pupils whilst out on the streets of Mytholmroyd. The school has, at the very least, a moral duty to the community to take responsibility for the behaviour and welfare of pupils at all relevant times.

Finally, I am concerned that this thread has arisen because I question whether it is in the public interest to raise these matters in this way at this time. This is surely a matter which should be raised through the governing body in the first instance by parents, who seem to me, apart from the pupils, to be the interested parties. Any school hoping to make a policy of this nature effective should consult widely and I think it would be desirable to involve pupils (and parents of course) in the development of appropriate behaviour codes (although in my experience pupils tend to be more draconian than the teachers). The messages posted so far do not indicate that there has been any injustice done as a result of the policy and even if an issue had arisen then there is a procedure which the school and the LEA has for dealing with these matters. If that had proved wanting, then a post might have been appropriate if a public campaign was thought to be in the child's interests. The issue is a little hypothetical at the moment, and, frankly, as the Rev Burglass, pointed out, not really very well considered.

I would hate the discussion board of this website, which I always read with interest, to degenerate into a way of challenging legitimate administrative decisions, particularly when there are other channels for complaint. I mean, I get really narked paying library fines, particularly when I forget to return a loan because I'm busy and stressed at work, but I'm not going to start a thread about it. Politicians are fair game, and political actions by school children, such as the Iraq War demonstrations, and the subsequent exclusions, were clearly matters which it was proper to discuss on the site. They were political matters, and exceptional. This is not.

I'm also struggling with the thread about 'The Dusty Miller'. Whlist the initial complaint was evidently highly significant to the person who wrote it, I'm not sure that I think that customer dissatisfaction is a community matter. Whilst I am not alleging that the person who started the thread or the people who contributed to it are doing so, I fear that we could be encouraging 'score settling' via the website. This should be nipped in the bud.

Let's go back to challenging politicians, property developers and polluters.


Calder High - elsewhere on the Hebweb