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Do's and don't for punishment

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by aminul980, Mar 12, 2016.

  1. aminul980

    aminul980 New commenter

    Are you allowed to make a student stand up, face the wall and put their hands on their head for misbehaving? Will it be emotional abuse?
  2. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    First of all - and this is for anyone in teaching who might read this - never, ever issue a sanction which is not contained within the school's behaviour policy.

    As I'm guessing that making a student stand facing the wall with their hands on their head is NOT in your school's behaviour policy - DO NOT DO IT.

    If you've already done it - you could be in trouble.
    pepper5 likes this.
  3. aminul980

    aminul980 New commenter

    Thanks for you r reply. But what if your school doesn't have a behavior policy? Is it illegal to make a student stand up and face the wall
  4. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    1. What sort of school is it? I can't believe it doesn't have a behaviour policy, to be honest.

    2. There's no specific law saying you can't do this - but there are laws about how you treat children and using what is essentially a physical punishment and a humiliation is wrong.

    You need to forget the word "punishment" and look for ways of applying sanctions which are non-physical, not humiliating and not likely to lead to parental complaints about you.
  5. aminul980

    aminul980 New commenter

    Thank you very much. I'll keep everything in mind
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter



    I once - more than 15 years ago - walked into Assembly and told the pupils to sit. They all sat down cross-legged.

    One remained standing.

    When I told her to sit, and she started to do so, a teacher replied that she had been told that as a punishment she had to stand all through Assembly as an example, so she was to remain standing.

    I told her again to sit.

    I was fairly new as a HT in that school, and did not realise, as I had never before seen it in action, that this was a common humiliation imposed on pupils as a punishment. :(

    Not on my watch.

    As @Middlemarch says, you should always follow the school policies on this - and on everything else, by the way.

    I, too, doubt that there is no Behaviour Policy (although it may be called Rewards and Sanctions) since the list of Statutory Policies for schools, i.e. those that they are required to have by law, includes School behaviour, a legal requirement in all schools, and Behaviour principles written statement.

    Although the latter is a legal requirement for Maintained Schools, PRUs and SS only, most Academies have been maintained schools, so will have one already, and other schools will almost certainly have one too. I would also contend that this is also covered under the Statutory Policy on Child Protection.

    Your school will also most certainly have - a legal requirement for every type of school - a Statement of procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against staff. By which they mean allegations against staff, not abuse against staff. I would consider this humiliation imposed on a pupil to be abuse, and behaviour that would render the staff liable to the statutory policy on Staff discipline, conduct and grievance (procedures for addressing).

    And of course general employment law.

    So as a matter of urgency you need, @aminul980 , to borrow a copy of the Staff Handbook (or look on line if that's where it is accessible) and check up these policies.

    Best wishes

  7. nical73

    nical73 Occasional commenter


    I have a sneaky, peaky feeling that you are not being serious. If you are, then I am very shocked. Regardless of behaviour policy, how on earth can you even consider doing this?

    Not saying any more as I don't take your comment serious!
    VictoryBell likes this.
  8. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    I believe in very strict behaviour policies and would generally always support teaching staff. However, if a child of mine came home from school and said that they had been made to stand in a corner with their hands on their head I would not be a happy bunny.
    Maybe very young children could all be asked to sit still with their hands on heads as a form of 'wind down'. Otherwise, we are living in the 21st century.
  9. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    Would you really? Genuinely curious here.

    If the aim of the punishment is to humiliate the pupil - so, for example, making him stand at the front of the classroom with everyone staring at him - I agree that it is not acceptable.
    However, if the aim of the punishment is to remove the pupil from a situation where he is deliberately distracting others, and asking him to stand at the back of the classroom where the teacher can keep an eye on him but others will not be looking at him, I don't think I would see that as being abusive.
  10. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Dunce caps at the ready?

    I'm not sure why you would choose to do this to a pupil rather than just sending her out or giving her a desk in the corner. I'm not sure about abuse but it is certainly an odd choice and, as others have said, I can't believe there isn't a behaviour policy.
  11. WJClarkson

    WJClarkson Occasional commenter

    I have a colleague who issues a similar punishment which is not within the school's Behaviour Policy. This colleague makes pupils who forget homework or even just petty things like fiddling with pencils whilst she is talking, stand at the back of the room for an hour where they are forbidden to sit. They must also stand up straight with their hands by their side. I spoke to a member of SLT who said they'd look into it (I'm not sure whether they actually did or not) but this colleague still uses this as a method of discipline. Is this something you would consider acceptable?
  12. whitestag

    whitestag Senior commenter


    Most parents are supportive of schools disciplining pupils, but I always ask myself 'Would I be happy if my child would be made to do this?' In this case, the answer is categorically 'No' - in fact, I'd be furious.

    I can't for the life of me imagine a parent who would be happy with their child being humiliated in this manner. It achieves nothing except makes an unnecessary spectacle of them in front of their classmates and opens them up to further embarrassment later in the form of teasing from their classmates.

    They are just children.

    As others have rightly said, if it's not in the school's policy, do not do it. You'll most probably find yourself in very hot water if you do.
    Middlemarch likes this.
  13. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Standing at the back for an hour is a physical punishment. Most heads would see this as gross misconduct and your colleague runs the risk of a serious disciplinary sanction herself.
  14. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    I am flabbergasted by some of what I am reading here.

    I think that we need to get Back to Basics here.

    Your school will have the policies that I listed in post #6.

    Whatever is in those policies is to be done.

    Anything that isn't, isn't.

    And that's it, really.

    Keep the pupils safe, keep yourself safe.

    Best wishes

  15. aminul980

    aminul980 New commenter

    If standing at the back for one hour is physical punishment then isn't doing lines in detention physical punishment because it makes the students hand ache?
  16. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    No (in the same way that making students write in lessons and write for lengthy periods in exams isn't).

    You either need to get the message, get a different job - or leave off if you're posting this for a cheap laugh.
  17. trainershoes

    trainershoes New commenter

    I thought that type of "sanction" was got rid of years ago, though I do remember having to stand in line with my fellow classmates with our hands on our heads for a whole break time because one of us had sworn at our teacher and would not own up. Admittedly that was in 1985 when I was in my last year at primary school. Really cannot see today's young people doing this without claiming we are breaching their human rights!
  18. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    I have made students who couldn't keep their hands off mice / keboards put them on their heads, but this wasn't really punishment, simply training.
    xandrahuk likes this.
  19. dominant_tonic

    dominant_tonic Established commenter

    I once got into serious trouble for inadvertaently making a child stand in the corner of my room for a time. We were doing a game, which involved the pupils standing in a circle, and after persistent messing from one pupil I asked them to step out of the circle, to not take part in the remainder of the activity. The child did indeed step out of the circle, and the activity continued for approx 5-10 minutes, then the pupils returned to their seats, this child included of course.

    The next day I was hauled into the head's office and had strips torn off me for making a child stand in the corner of the room. Totally out of context of course, (and after other issues with this particular person), but I had no chance to explain, and left the office in tears feeling like the worst teacher in the world.

    So, if it is a serious question, no. obviously not, as even innocent actions can be innocently/purposely miscontrued. After my stint in that school, lesson well and truly learned. Everything done according to policies, anything even slighlty out of the ordinary documented and emailed to HoD, or just logged and time tamped on my computer, and emailed to myself. Don't think it will enver happen to you, that 6 months was the most stressed, worried and exhausted I have ever been, but it did open my eyes to how things can work in certain environments.
  20. KelRilon

    KelRilon New commenter

    One school I used to work at regularly had children stand and face the wall (lunchtimes, sent in by the SMSAs)...but not with their hands on their heads. It was to move them away from any trouble they were causing and get them calmed down. They then joined the playground again after a few minutes and a short conversation about what had gone wrong and how to react differently in future.
    I've had one child stand and face the wall this year. He'd messed about in the lesson and needed to practise how to be quiet for a little while during break. That was his choice, though. I had asked him whether he'd like to sit down and be quiet on a chair....and he preferred not to. :confused: He read the posters on the wall instead. Kept him entertained, I presume...:rolleyes:

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