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Unsafe Behaviour


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I have a reception class and am an NQT. I have been banging on about 2 children's behaviour since I started at my school in January. Mostly the 2 girls run off when an adult asks them to line up or come inside. Now as we near the end of reception my partner teacher is suddenly interferring and saying these 2 can't behave like that in year one. I have been asking both her, the FS leader and inclusion manager about it for ages and no one has bothered before. I have spoken to the parents and they are very surprised. Today, the pther teacher had them both sitting facing the wall for 15 minutes and said they must go in detention for unsafe behaviour. Basically they had run off at the end of playtime and hidden from the LSA. They have already lost all golden time at the end of the week for running off at lunch time.

It seems to me that these loss of privilages mean very little as they are quite young, one isn't 5 until august! I am sure there is a better and more effective way of sorting this out but I just can't come up with anything and I think it is very wrong to make them sit facing the wall. Has anyone got any suggestions I can put in place before they find themselves in detention every day?!!!!

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I'm pre-school so should probably keep my thoughts to myself ....but..... facing a wall for fifteen minutes - goodness me That's the sort of thing that happened when I was at Primary School 40 something years ago.....I would be less than impressed if one of my grandchildren had to do that at school. :o

 

Sorry that's not much help is it

 

Sunnyday

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In the Safeguarding and Promoting Children's Welfare Section of the EYFS Statutory Framework it states that:

 

'Children’s behaviour must be managed effectively and in a manner appropriate for their

stage of development and particular individual needs'.

 

'Providers must not threaten corporal punishment, nor use or threaten any form of punishment

which could have an adverse impact on the child’s well-being'

 

In my opinion forcing a child of any age to sit facing a wall for fifteen minutes is developmentally inappropriate and is a form of punishment which could certainly have an adverse effect on their self esteem and emotional development. Also as a parent I would be horrified if I discovered my 4 year old had been treated in this appalling manner. Have you tried giving them some responsibility when it is time to come indoors ie leading the group back in or being responsible for the teacher's whistle/playtime toys or ensuring that playtime is followed by a favourite activity. Positive Behaviour Management has always worked for my pre-school children. Hopefully you can get this message across to your partner teacher.

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I was going to suggest the same as valp59. If you could give them some responsibility it might break the pattern. They seem to see running off as a bit of a game so you need to make a new game.

Many years ago I heard that lunch time detention in my childrens primary school involved facing the wall. I brought it up at a governors meeting and the head was horrified. It never happebned again.

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Very good advice from valp59, and as a parent (albeit a parent 'in the business') I would be asking to see observations of my child showing when these type of incidents were taking place so that I could identify the kinds of situations when my child finds it difficult to behave appropriately, and so that I could agree with the school how they would deal with them. Personally I think punishments of this kind should be reported to parents with a clear rationale explained to them so they can understand what is happening to their children, and why.

 

I'm shocked to think this kind of thing goes on in schools today, especially with children who are so small. I'm not sure whether the child is expected to reflect on their past behaviour when looking at the wall, but I'm pretty certain what will be happening is that the little soul will be silently hating the teacher who put them there, or be feeling so dejected that a grown up they trusted could treat them so badly. Imagine how low a child's self esteem could go after a sustained period of using this kind of behaviour control techniques.

 

As an NQT do you have the ability to raise these kinds of issues with a mentor in a reflective or philosophical kind of way to explore whether this kind of behaviour management technique is part of the ethos of the school which you are expected to agree with and implement?

 

Good luck kathyscitt - your children are lucky to have you as their advocate.

 

Maz

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Goodness me, 15 minutes facing a wall and detention. :o That is completely inappropriate

(putting it mildly) and likely to have the complete opposite of motivating them to behave. Some training in behaviour management seems to be the way to go, but you probably can't influence that. xD

I think trying to get them to be involved in tidying up and helping the staff is more likely to be effective, as they may well be enjoying all the attention, and enjoy it at any cost. Positive attention is more likely to work. If this has been going on for a while then it is going to take some time to undo. I think I would try to involve them separately, so that they aren't feeding off each other. Are you talking about 'play time' here, or is this the end of access to outdoor play? If they don't have free access to outdoors where they can go in and out as they wish they may feel more reluctant to come in, as they are not used to that freedom of choice.

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I am so glad there are people who feel the same way as I do. I despair at some of the ways the children are 'dealt' with so much so I have a new job elsewhere as I feel so uncomfortable with the situation. I have quite a few children with special needs too and most of my children are also summer born so as you can see I have my work cut out!!!! I just can't be with these children all the time and most often these things happen when other staff are in charge.

I was thinking of giving a special job to one of the children and hope this will give an example to the other one although it will rely on other staff carrying it out at playtime. They do have free access to outside too as this is so important but I do have to limit it a little as I can't be in two places at once. I don't think I am in a position to say much especially as I am leaving and have tried in the past with out much success. I get told that I don't understand the children in the area. I feel so sad for them.

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I'm so sorry that you feel like that Kathy. The children have been lucky to have you this year. I hope that your new post is one where you can develop your skills and be happy in your work. Not all schools are the same, and I can assure you that there is some wonderful practice and caring staff out there. I think that you should talk to your LA NQT mentor, if you have access to one, about your year there talking about the positives and negatives as a self-review. That will give you a chance to make comments and flag up concerns.

I assume from your comment about not understanding the children, that you work in a 'deprived' area? All the more reason to build up the children's self-esteem and provide loving care. That can be very challenging sometimes. That is why I mentioned attention seeking behaviour, because for some children any attention is better than none. School should be a safe haven where they are treated with respect, and learn that they are important, learn to trust and feel safe. They should have staff who are consistent in their dealings with them. Staff who are lots of fun, listen to them, but mean what they say and expect high standards of behaviour. To get that you have to show that they are the most important and wonderful children ever.

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I just can't be with these children all the time and most often these things happen when other staff are in charge.

 

I think this is exactly the kind of situation that a good key person focus in reception classes is for! Who is the adult designated to be the key person when you are not there, at dinner, play times etc? If they had a person who knew what the issues were and dealt with them consistently then it might alleviate the problem?

 

Unfortunately the old dinosaurs exist in every work place and it's hard when you are new. But your perspective also counts so don't just accept their pov.

 

And as a learning point - if you keep asking about any child always keep your own record of conversations etc!!! Always comes in handy when you quantify how many times you asked for advice with dates and commentary!!!!

 

Cx

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thank you for your support everyone. The school is in a difficult area but I have worked in areas like this before and find my school has some odd ways of dealing with these issues which I don't agree with. They make me feel really uncomfortable and this is one of the reasons I have had to leave. As for 'old dinosaurs' the other teacher is half my age!!!!! but I feel doeasn't understand little children at all. The LA is totally aware of the situation but as an NQT I am in a tricky position. I don't feel there is much I can do to change things but will do the best I can for the children at the moment. I think making coming in time a game would be fun for them and should distract from their other game! Maybe I should meet them from playtime/dinner times? Any suggestions about what I could get them to do or be as part of a game?

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Something they need to use their hands for. Carry the register, or a book or make sure the mat is ready, any of the little jobs you would normally do without thinking when they come in from lunch.

I've got bad knees so have sometimes limped and asked for help, praising them all the way at how clever they are to help me, how helpful they are.

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Unfortunately the old dinosaurs exist in every work place and it's hard when you are new.

 

 

Cx

 

Now now Catma less of the 'old' :o I am a real oldie but feel very young inside... and I have a good grasp of what is needed from my years of experience. I think I know what you mean.. someone who has been there for a long time and doesn't want to change their ways?

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someone who has been there for a long time and doesn't want to change their ways?

...but also possibly someone who feels incredibly threatened by the EYFS and is finding it difficult to be as child-centred as we need to be. Still trying to fit square pegs into round holes when she'd be better off trying to make the hole a different shape...

 

Maz

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So true.

 

I have to say that I have never seen anyone put such young children to look at the wall etc. in the 40 years since I started. Isn't there something in us that would stop us thinking that was OK? Mind you I do remember the cane etc. ( I was threatened with it once at school :o Moi?) but time has moved on thankfully. Imagine now how we would deal with a member of staff putting children against a wall now! I have used' time out', but then only with children who are on Early Years Action/School Action, and for a very very short amount of time, followed by a chat about what s/he could have done and then soon after that by positive attention for something or other.

 

Does your school have a Behaviour Policy Kathy? That would give guidelines on how to deal with behaviour across the school, so that everyone is using the same approach. You mention Golden Time so it sounds has if you do have one. It should also outline rewards and sanctions, and these should be appropriate for the age of the children, and also say at what point parents are involved. Perhaps there needs to be a EYFS section in it, and a statement such as the one quoted by Valp59 above.

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It does seem a very peculiar course of action for such young children. Other members of staff have obviously put more effort into ensuring these children stay still facing a wall than they have into supporting you finding a way for the children to be more engaged with classroom routines. It is sad isn't it . x

Edited by Annie-pops
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I Now as we near the end of reception my partner teacher is suddenly interferring and saying these 2 can't behave like that in year one.

 

The implication being that it is acceptable in reception?!

 

What happened to one minute per year of their age? Time out should be a moment to calm down and break a cycle of behaviour and as for detention at that age! It will just make them want to get away more!

 

I am sure your have done the heaping praise and rewards on the others who do cooperate and making a big thing when this pair do line up nicely. Is this happening consistently with all staff?

 

Offering a hand to one of them just before they are called in may be a good distraction and the little jobs others have suggested are a great tactic. Heaps of praise for a job well done works wonders.

 

Have you tried offering a small treat, favourite song, etc for the whole class as they come in which these two miss if they have run off and have to have a chat with you instead. I find 'isn't it a shame that you are missing xxxxx because we need to think about you doing yyyyyy?' works well. It isn't a punishment, just a pity that they needed to do something else and were missing a treat. You need to be very disappointed that they missed it too. At four they should be old enough to get this if it is immediate and they can see the treat happening.

 

They do need to understand that running off is dangerous. Have you got a copy of 'Come on Daisy' or any other books about little ones running off and getting lost? Someone else might be able to suggest a good one.

 

I hope things worked out better in your new job but I do feel sorry for the children who are left behind.

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Now now Catma less of the 'old' :o I am a real oldie but feel very young inside... and I have a good grasp of what is needed from my years of experience. I think I know what you mean.. someone who has been there for a long time and doesn't want to change their ways?

 

HA ha!!! Of course you know I don't mean all you good folk!! (And that's speaking as someone who can recall Michael Jackson on the Andy Williams show. That is old!) Yup it's those I've always done it this way and it's always worked for me why should I change children should do as they are told and behaviour is the worst it's ever been brigade.

 

Cx

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at my school we have a learning behaviour policy rather than a behaviour management policy which is wrapped up in some strategy that the school advocates. (Another reason for leaving!) It is all very odd and I just can't get my head around it. Basic common sense approach seems to have gone out of the window. I don't go out to playtimes but I will be doing so for the last few weeks as I want to try to turn these 2 around. I am very fed up with hearing about all the things they are not doing and no one is coming up with any suggestions. All the ones I have tried like assigning a junior child to each one so they can model effective playtimes, lasts for about a week and then it's forgotten. We do circle time about it and I act very disappointed , believe me ( I can act really well!). The thing is they both know why they shouldn't do it and can tell me so it is more attention seeking I think. Giving responsibility is a good idea or a task. What they need is another memebre of staff to play at playtimes rather than 2 adults with over 50 children. It is no wonder this is happening. I am very worried about what will happen next year.

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Just wanted to add, doesn't Article 28 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child say that discipline in schools should 'respect children's human dignity'? Could you point the headteacher into the direction of the UNICEF's Rights Respecting Schools campaign? I am rather shocked that this sort of behaviour management goes on.

 

It sounds a little like this is a game for these children?

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yes I am shocked too but I am in a tricky position as an NQT and leaving. I have already had a rather nasty encounter with the HT so I am keeping my head down. However, it does make me feel rather ashamed of myself for not standing up for these children. I can only hope someone in a better position will do the right thing for them.

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Just wanted to add, doesn't Article 28 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child say that discipline in schools should 'respect children's human dignity'? Could you point the headteacher into the direction of the UNICEF's Rights Respecting Schools campaign? I am rather shocked that this sort of behaviour management goes on.

 

It sounds a little like this is a game for these children?

Hi Deb, just read this thread and totally agree with you. What must this do to a child's self-esteem. I would not be very happy if my children came home from school and told me they had to sit facing a wall for 15 minutes (wouldn't be very happy if I found out they had been behaving like this either, but would want to help the teacher find strategies to deal with the behaviour which are acceptable). I wonder what the parents of these two girls thought when they were told how the school managed their children's behaviour on this day. mrsW.

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