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Parent support workers views

24 February 2012 1,931 views 2 Comments

I am a parent with three school-aged children and a practitioner working in the field of education supporting families whose children are experiencing difficulties in education. I am deeply concerned with the Education Secretary’s new ruling regarding the issuing of detentions with no requirement for prior notification to be given to parents.
Given the health and safety issues linked to the location of some inner city schools surely schools will now fail in their duty of care in respect of safety for their students. Particularly in areas where there are so-called ‘postcode wars’ and on-going feuds between rival schools. This ruling will also prove to be an increasing concern for parents during the winter months when the evenings become much darker just before 4 o’clock.
I believe Mr Gove and his colleagues need to ‘re-connect’ with reality and appreciate some of the difficulties that parents face. This new instruction will create additional problems especially for working parents who already have child-care issues and may not be in a position to make new arrangements at short notice.
How do other parents feel about this??

Paulette Douglas
Education Advocate/Parent Support Advis

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  • Charlotte Davies said:

    The Government does seem to be busy suggesting solutions to the symptoms rather than the root causes of problems.
    Families are under massive strain in the UK because the housing, transport, child-care, and energy markets are in a mess resulting in very high costs of living for families. On top of this low wages have not increased at the rate of above average wages, and there are fewer low to middle-skilled jobs than there were 30 years ago. Consequently, families seem to have to work longer hours just to survive.

    Families feel time poor. On top of that we are bombarded by new technology, which distracts us as parents and carers from engaging properly with children, so we are not carrying out our most important job: to ensure that the young develop properly. Hence, schools are facing increasing numbers of children with poor development who struggle to control themselves in the classroom.

    In this melee of noisy kids politicians cry out for better discipline. Boring after school detentions for our already bored youth.

    Children need lots of play to learn and to develop properly, we must re-engage with that need. Children love to be part of the group in any social setting. If we engage with and love our children it is really easy to discipline them because they are excluded from the game/activity temporarily whilst they adjust their behaviour to make it more acceptable to the group.
    If children have persistent anti-social problems they are crying out for help because they are having enormous difficulty interpreting the World around them because their cognitive sensory systems have not developed properly. We as responsible adults need to address and correct those issues. Making students lives unpredictable and putting a strain on their family support network seems to make the situation worse if anything.

    If a child needs to stay after school, presumably it is to address some learning issue(s), or catch up on work. Surely, that can be done with 24 hours notice, it doesn’t need to be immediate.

    We really must keep demanding that root causes are addressed in education and rhetoric and sound-bite politics are kept to a minimum.

  • Debbie B said:

    Dear Paulette,

    I found this article very interesting. Originally I had thought that, apart from dark evenings, it would have been a good idea to give the schools more authority but I have since changed my mind.

    The reason is as follows; earlier this week my child came home from school with a leadership detention slip for me to sign. I sat down with him to find out what was so different about this detention as opposed to a lunch/break time detention & what had happened.

    My child advised me that in drama class the teacher had left the room during class, albeit briefly and during that time a few of the children had decided to engage in a bit of horseplay. Unfortunately my child got involved albeit just a backward roll to get out of their way but it happened in that moment that the teacher came back & only saw 2 of them that were involved. She screamed at the two she saw & told them that she couldn’t give them lunchtime detentions this week as she didn’t have any available so it would have to be a leadership detention & that they would be banned from the next lesson.

    I asked my child who was upset about the leadership detention what was so different about these to normal ones. My child said this is where the ‘really naughty ‘ kids go & was angry because having felt they had been good for so long & had only done a backward roll to get out of the others way in the first place, felt this was unfair.

    I decided to approach the head of that subject as I didn’t want the teacher involved to feel I had ‘attacked’ her decision as such. We had a discussion, then an interview where she introduced me to the teacher too.

    I had explained that I wasn’t there to undermine anybody & to say my child should not be punished but that as the leadership detention was a serious detention then perhaps statements from the other pupils involved should have been taken plus to ban a child from the following lesson I felt in these circumstances, as a Governor of the curriculum committee seemed a little harsh.

    They agreed to cancel the leadership detention & the lesson banning this time but my child would still serve their detention over the following week’s lunchtimes as they said there had been electrical equipment in the room . I could see my child felt a lot better about this & actually apologised to the teacher too.

    Afterwards, just to me, my child disputed the electrical equipment factor but I explained unfortunately I wasn’t there but that extra caution was obviously needed in this lesson in the future in more ways than one.

    However if there is no requirement of parents to sign a form then will be no chance of Parents to find out what is going before the event & so there will less chance of children having a chance if necessary of fair representation on their behalf.

    A bit like with all the Governments cutbacks that anyone who gets arrested is no longer allowed one free telephone call & nobody entitled to legal aid either because it costs too much & nobody can be bothered to fairly represent these people.

    To summarise, schools should still issue detention slips to parents for signatures as they would be breaching my human rights to defend my son as and when necessary.

    If other parents choose to sign the slips without question then that is up to them but I feel they could be letting their child down.

    But it is better that the Parent is letting their own child down than the school because the schools are being paid not to let any children down.

    Kind Regards

    Debbie (email supplied to editor)

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