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Detentions - best practice in organising them .....

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by gregometer, Nov 29, 2015.

  1. gregometer

    gregometer Occasional commenter

    I work in a tough place in a deprived part of town. Our behaviour policy is a nightmare. You rarely find out what sanctions have been given to students, and when you follow the policy, you are supposed to give out a short DT after three warnings, followed by longer ones if they don't turn up, then a departmental DT, then a Year Head DT etc.

    I'm finding myself exhausted try to follow these DT rules. They are using up what little free time I have, either doing DTs or chasing students to do them.

    How do other similar schools deal with this, so teachers aren't run ragged by kids?
  2. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    They tend not to bother to give detentions!
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  3. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    Personally… and I have worked in some 'toughie' schools… I'm not a great fan of detentions. From experience, a few reasons.
    1. They often end up punishing the teacher not the student by consuming their time.
    2. The 'chasing' in order to make them effective wastes more time and energy.
    3. I curiously found that the kids often truely ended up 'liking' the attention from being held hostage by detention in a room with me…

    Sparing their use makes them a more powerful sanction… and indeed the unpredictable nature of any sanction lends to students being a little more wary.
    grumpydogwoman and cissy3 like this.
  4. cissy3

    cissy3 Star commenter

    @gregometer, I sympathise. I don't have any answers, but I feel Daisy'sLot has outlined the ridiculous results of some schools' so-called 'behaviour policy'.

    I've taught at some absolute hell-holes, and sometimes it feels as though you're banging your head against a brick wall, as some classes seem to cunningly play the 'how many warnings can I get' game, whilst knowing full well that they are creating yet more irritating work for the teacher.

    And of course, they 'know their rights' and spend even more time arguing the toss.

    Don't think you are failing, by the way. I have taught at other schools where just a stern word, or a look, works wonders. Teachers in these sort of schools don't know how lucky they are in that respect.

    Sorry, not much help, but I do understand.

  5. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

  6. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    My school (staff and SMT) has bought into a centralised system, not too different in the sense of 3 warnings = detention except (and importantly) once a detention is entered on the PC it becomes somebody else's problem.
    So making sure they attend and chasing up absences is a pasoral manager/SMT issue. All detentions are in the hall in silence. Teachers help this out by supervising in the hall around twice a term. The only 'teacher' problems are with homework/coursework detentions.
    This was introduced by a wannabe-HT who started out in middle-management and is now SMT, largely as a result of pushing this process through. If not you is there a likely candidate to introduce this process?

    [This comment/section has been removed for breaching our Community Guidelines/Terms and conditions]
  7. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Still advertising Jack?
  8. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Good points though and a system every school should adopt.
  9. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    School I worked in decided to centralise detentions in a similar way to post #4. Worked relatively smoothly except it was decided faculty heads needed to play a bigger role. So department detentions were introduced [this was mostly to reduce the numbers in lunch and after school detention ~ also equipment stopped being detentionable ~ some teachers put kids in for not having a rubber].

    Well the department heads didn't like this, some of them did it, others refused. But the result was a log jam in the system where a teacher would give a detention, the department head would refuse to do it because 'it was their time' and the SLT never found out. End result it all got very silly.

    And that is before I even get onto the homework detentions.... kids could be given 6-7 detentions for not doing homework, continually not turn up and nothing happened. Teachers just wrote up paperwork and nothing was done.

    All a bit of a joke really.
    cissy3 likes this.
  10. Lascarina

    Lascarina Star commenter

  11. Lascarina

    Lascarina Star commenter

    Has anyone ever considered what benefit detentions bring to either child or teacher? They only make children more resentful and waste more of teachers' precious time. Just wondering.
    DYNAMO67 and lanokia like this.
  12. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

    It's a fair point, but what would you replace it with?
  13. Lascarina

    Lascarina Star commenter

    Why do you need to replace it with anything? Just stop dishing out pointless detentions. They are totally negative and unproductive.
    DYNAMO67 likes this.
  14. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Ah but SLT have to be seen to be taking action... as long as that expectation exists... and rolls downhill to teachers then detentions will continue.
  15. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

    And if/when a pupil misbehaves, and refuses to listen to verbal instructions, what would you do then? (Bearing in mind that while dealing with pupil A means that 29 other pupils are not making progress).
  16. cissy3

    cissy3 Star commenter

    Not only that, 29 other pupils are then creating merry hell!
  17. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I have no answer to this question of how to ensure that classroom behaviour supports learning without using sanctions such as detentions for disruption that actually prevents learning.

    And I guess that it's a Secondary rather than a Primary issue.

    I see one of our recent posters is in Secondary Pastoral Support. Would someone like that be able to give any suggestions?

    Best wishes

  18. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Is it too old fashioned to have something like community service instead of detentions? Students could pick up litter, tidy up areas, help in the library, clean gum off tables, weed the gardens or other jobs around the school.
    Lascarina likes this.
  19. Lascarina

    Lascarina Star commenter

    Well spotted, Miss Marple!
  20. Lascarina

    Lascarina Star commenter

    Does the behaviour of the detainees improve? Or do they re-offend?

    And incidentally, I believe that the poster in Pastoral Support has now moved to a secure unit.

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