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Dilemma: Following the school's behaviour policy and being notified the exits is too high

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by Turqoise20, Feb 5, 2020.

  1. Hello,

    I’m also an RQT who moved to a new school in September. Some pupils in my Y8 and Y9 classes like to say something then the rest gangs up or joins the class into discussing a random topic. It is then hard to get their attention back and for them to be listening.

    My problem is, I have been told off for having one of the highest number of exits in the department. This has made me really upset today and it made me feel like the worst teacher in my department. I have actually exited less amount of pupils in this school than my previous school I had worked at. I follow the school’s behaviour policy, which is one warning then an exit. When I started at this school, they said that consistency is the key to securing a positive learning environment. This has worked for most of my classes. I tried other ways to not directly exit the pupil whenever I can such as moving their seat elsewhere or talking to them outside, but sometimes they are just being really disruptive, so I exit them.

    It has been the same pupils that I have exited and other departments have also exited the same pupils for causing LLD. However, I was told that if the number of exits remains high then it reflects badly on me and that my behaviour management is not good enough. I work in a school where most teachers in my department have been there for at least 5 years, and who have been in the profession for 10-15 years, so they rarely exit. I am the youngest in the department and I was told that I need to work on it as it doesn’t look good to keep exiting pupils. I really want to work on this too, but I am struggling with finding new ways to deal with their behaviour.

    I only exited pupils if they have chosen to be disruptive and carry on with their behaviour despite the warning or the silent talk outside, as I can see that their behaviour is interrupting and slowing down the learning of the whole class. I understand that the learning of the exited pupil will be affected, but I would rather have the whole class learn than let one pupil affect the learning of the whole class. It is unfair for the class to suffer.

    It makes me think that they shouldn’t have had chosen a one warning then exit school behaviour policy, if they don’t want teachers to use it. I thought that the school behaviour policy should help teachers, but why does it feel like they don’t want me to use it anymore? My school is going to be OFSTED soon as well so I don’t know whether that plays into account. The kids in my school are generally well behaved. It’s just a handful who mess about in a sly manner and gets exited multiple times.

    How should I deal with this? What else can I do to avoid exits? And how should I respond to the SLT if they query my exits?

    Thank you for reading this long post. I appreciate it.
  2. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    I suppose it depends on who 'told you off'. Was it:
    • a member of SLT who'd rather sit in his nice, comfy office?
      Such lazy ones will wreck the behaviour policy and you'll be one of the early victims.
    • a member of SLT who is out and about on corridors, helping with behaviour?
      Unless you think you'd get somewhere by asking him for assistance with Behaviour Management, you're best accepting that you and school don't fit.
    • Your HoD?
      He should be offering solutions not just saying, "This is wrong"
    • The poor teacher who ends up with all your exits, cluttering up their classroom? (you haven't said where exitees end up)
      Tricky one this, you need to befriend them rather than just avoid them on corridors etc.
    • A friend/mentor offering advice rather ineptly
      "Someone has to be the teacher with the most exits, I'm following the behaviour policy as I was instructed to do"
    All this is internal politics, not something that your training has prepared you for. Is there anyone who you trust in the school that can advise you on how to navigate this minefield? It is certainly possible to do so, given that a lot of teachers have been there a long time.

    OFSTED always is...…
    There may be some mileage in pointing out that if the Behaviour Policy is flawed then OFSTED will be on it very quickly, but who do you point that out to and how? Internal politics again.

    Sorry this is far too negative but a school with a lot of established staff must have some qualities and be worth hanging in there for.
    alex_teccy and pepper5 like this.
  3. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    I would book an appointment with whoever has mentioned this to you and discuss
    Enquire what the consequences/next steps are for pupils who are repeatedly exited. Are these being carried out and followed up at a higher level with the pupils
    Again, say this to the person who has discussed this with you. What do they suggest? Explain what you already do what else can you do?
    (and btw, just because others don’t exit doesn’t mean they don’t have problems, they’ve just been ‘spoken to’ already. It’s easy to lower exits - just lower your standards.)
    Are they suggesting you should lower your standards and expectations ?
    Again, point out that you are following their behaviour policy. What next? Are the next steps being followed through?

    Remember, in all of this, the responsibility lies with the student to behave. It’s not your fault. The key point (which seems to have been forgotten here) is not ‘the statistics’ or lowering exits but attaining good learning behaviour. I think you should subtly point this out.
    JohnJCazorla and roman_eagle like this.
  4. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Senior commenter

    Yes this happens. It's a good game....

    Management: "here's some rules you need to get the kids to follow. We'll be popping on learning walks to check you're doing it."

    Teacher: "ok thanks, what happens if the kids won't do as I say?"

    Management: "use the system in place"

    The system in place is usually designed to provide maximum running about for the classroom teacher. The teacher tries their best to follow the system. Inevitably some kids won't cooperate. Some of the more difficult students don't like you trying to set sanctions. They get their equally sh***y parents to complain. You look around for support from management. Only to find they have strategically switched sides and are sympathising with and appeasing the parents. Great!

    Management generally want the kids behaving and an orderly school. They want this to happen by magic and do not want to get their hands dirty. If that means throwing the odd 'troublesome' teacher under the bus so be it!

    Been there a few times. You can't win!
    alex_teccy, pepper5 and JohnJCazorla like this.
  5. science_geek_2020

    science_geek_2020 New commenter

    In my view, if a teacher is being told off for using the system, the school is failing on their behaviour policies. A good school will encourage use of policies. It is such weird logic to me that some schools create behaviour policies, and then criticise people for using them.

    I have been in one school where I was actually questioned on why I had NOT used the on-call system, as they actively encourage its use. Their approach is "teachers teach" and should not spend their day dealing with disruptive children. One of my mentor targets was to on-call a student!!

    I loved this attitude, and I hope it becomes the norm. We are not babysitters or childminders but highly qualified educators. I don't really know what to suggest, apart from find a school that doesn't criticise you for using their policies... but I suppose that isn't feasible in most instances. Perhaps have a detailed conversation with SLT about the system, and why it was deemed negative to use the system?
  6. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    Someone has to be the one with the most exits!
  7. alex_teccy

    alex_teccy Star commenter

    Hello there.

    You say in your OP that
    "Some pupils in my Y8 and Y9 classes like to say something then the rest gangs up or joins the class into discussing a random topic. It is then hard to get their attention back and for them to be listening."

    Going to throw some questions out there, in the spirit of problem solving. This sounds like a really specific issue. is the problem just with these classes, that the 'exiting' is happening from?
    If it's two separate classes, why is there the same problem?

    Be things as they are in teaching, most of what happens in terms of classroom management is down to us.

    Most schools have a sliding scale of sanctions before 'exiting' pupils. My last school had discredits, warnings etc. They even gave us a little script. :rolleyes:

    You also mentioned "some pupils" which sound like instigators. Deal with them separately. Take away their break-time, call their parents (if that is school custom) (check with HOD/SLT that there parents are reasonably... er.. reasonable) Do whatever you can within the school paradigm to make disrupting your lesson more trouble than it's worth.
    Change your classroom activities so that the kids are kept busy from the get go. Copying out for five minutes. filling in missing words, whatever. Don't give them a chance to start a "discussion"
    If they're smart kids (which they must be if they're starting discussions) give them a flip lesson or a topic for debate, which they research.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  8. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    Also reward reward reward. Target the quiet nice kids. There must be some and post cards home etc. Another trick I have used. Give a grade every lesson for behaviour to everyone. You just walk round class at end of lesson noting the numbers or letters according to system your school uses in mark book. Takes a couple of minutes. Have a system. 5 or 10 top grades in a row postcard home. If they drop from top grade for one lesson sequence starts again. The target is so many in a row.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.

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