School responds after parents complain about ‘extreme’ use of isolations and suspensions
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A campaign group set up on Facebook to challenge the disiplinary policy of King Edward VI Academy (KEVI) has been in discussions with the school .since the summer to voice concerns about the ‘extreme’ use of isolations and suspensions.
One parent had said her child was reprimanded for her trousers being “too skinny”. Another because her child’s shoes were “too shiny”.
This led to a public meeting resulting in around 70 letters of complaint from members being sent also to the school, its governors and Ofsted by concerned parents.
Part of one letter read: "The school needs to stop concentrating on punishing students for very minor infringements.
"This is unrealistic, and so far removed from the real world they need to concentrate on de-escalating situations and press on [with] the very important job of educating our children."
However, Charlie Rich – who set up Facebook group with his wife, Emma – says he is hopeful the situation is improving.
"We are hearing things are getting better but we still believe there is room for improvement in the school’s disiplinary policy,” he said.
Mr Rich said he and his wife set up the group after his step-daughter, who had a ‘glowing school report’ before transferring schools seemed to be persistently in trouble.
"I started the discussion group because I thought we can’t be the only parents going through this. I knew our children were not difficult children at home – they were not naughty children,” he said.
“My step-daughter must have lost 30 full days of education in suspensions and I’ve lost count of the isolations but the reasons just seemed extreme.
"We fully support a reasonable behaviour policy – but the school has taken it beyond the realms of reasonable."
Alex said on social media: “When they gave my daughter the school trousers she had to wear them over her trousers as they were too short her.
"They are humiliating the kids.”
Gemma, whose daughter was suspended for going to the toilet without permission, despite having a medical pass, asked: ““Why is every day a fight, every day a stressful worry?
“Every phone call from their number makes my stomach turn.
"No children are perfect especially not teenagers but there are ways to handle this and battles to pick.”
Charlie says it looks like there have now been some changes at school. “As I look at the page I am not seeing the same volume of traffic of people my child has been chastised for uniform today so I do think the weight of the group is helping.”
In a statement, a school spokesperson said "behaviour has improved the number of suspensions has fallen significantly".
The statement reads: "We have high expectations for pupils' behaviour and always seek to reward pupils' good conduct, with positive reinforcement far outweighing any sanctions.
"At KEVI, we work hard to create a respectful and purposeful culture in which students can learn and reach their full potential.
"This begins at the start of the school day when pupils are met by staff and offered welfare support and replacement uniform if they have incorrect items."