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Flattening the Grass

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Shedman, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter


    Outwood Grange multi-academy trust have used the services of a crisis management firm to respond to allegations about a controversial policy known as “flattening the grass”.

    The academy chain, well known for its tough behaviour policy, brought in the “political and media relations firm” Abzed – which has represented the fracking company Cuadrilla – after a Twitter-storm erupted regarding the meaning of the policy.

    The controversy started when prominent headteacher John Tomsett, who leads Huntingdon School in York, wrote a blog about behaviour management.

    In the blog, Mr Tomsett refers to “a MAT-endorsed behaviour ethos-setting exercise called ‘flattening the grass’ rolling assemblies”.

    The blog goes on: “Allegedly, this involves the MAT executives visiting the school, en masse, to stand around the edge of the assembly hall whilst the head of school outlines, in emphatic terms to year group after year group, the MAT’s expectations of students’ behaviour.

    “Before the assemblies begin, individual students are identified for the head of school to single out in front of their peers until they cry.

    “If the head of school is not emphatic enough, the MAT CEO walks forward, replaces the head of school and concludes the assembly in a more suitably emphatic manner.

    “The students are the ‘grass' which is ‘flattened' by the experience.”
    lardylegs likes this.
  2. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    What absolute ********.

    'Flattening the grass': In a Galaxy far, far away?

    'The first action of the Nazis was to stage a parade in the town square. The people were ordered to attend, but she said, to be honest, we probably turned out quite willingly to admire these very attractive young men, just a little older than us. But admiration turned to horror when a teenage boy sniggered at the soldiers' stamping and goose-stepping, because they immediately pulled him out of the crowd, and kicked him to death. As time went by, and more such events occurred, they began to realise that this type of event was purposely staged. It was done for effect, to show the local people what would happen to them if they showed the least sign of disobedience to the occupying army.'
    Dr. Pam Jarvis, LeedsTrinity.ac.uk, 8th February 2019.
    chrisoakey, bevdex, lanokia and 10 others like this.
  3. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter


    Where on Earth are we heading?
  4. install

    install Star commenter

    Isn't 'flattening the grass' like what happens to some teachers being forced out? I remember a staff meeting sone years past, where one teacher was similarly singled out just like a child :oops:
    stonerose, lardylegs, Jamvic and 3 others like this.
  5. CheeseMongler

    CheeseMongler Lead commenter

    If the grass in my garden is looking a little unruly, I just stamp on it a bit too. Works wonders for a few hours. If I keep doing it for a few years, that grass will realise that it's not worth growing out of place.
    I don't understand why the neighbours spend so much effort maintaining lawns so that the grass doesn't need to be flattened...
    katykook and Shedman like this.
  6. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Lead commenter

    stonerose and Shedman like this.
  7. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Lead commenter

  8. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Lead commenter

  9. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    We've all come across pupils to whom our emotional response includes the possibility of public humiliation. However my experience is that such tactics rarely work on such youngsters, who will feel greater alienation, and probably kick back with vigour against the teachers they perceive to have lower status.
    In addition, public humiliation will do little to address the underlying reasons for the poor behaviour or work ethic in the first place. However, I expect it makes the managers feel good, and that they can then tell their staff that they're working hard to sort out the problems.
    Apart from giving a quick fix to a psychopathic manager (which will do little to sort out their underlying problems), I guess the only benefit might be the impact on the other children, but the ones who respond the most will be the ones who weren't going to be a problem in the first place.
  10. ajrowing

    ajrowing Occasional commenter

    As you correctly identify public humiliation is unlikely to do anything for the student being humiliated. It might help to keep others in line.
    That said when students come in late to my assemblies if they are robust enough I will pause, give them the look, and ask them by name to see me at the end. If however it is a student who I know or suspect is vulnerable already then I will just carry on and make a note in my head to have a chat with them later.
    The flip side of it is, that those students who have done something to impress me get publicly rewarded with homemade cake.
    stonerose, agathamorse and Shedman like this.
  11. Teslasmate

    Teslasmate Occasional commenter

    This is disgusting. And the fact that they called in a crisis management team (like an oil company after a spill), means that they understand just how despicable their conduct has been.
  12. neddyfonk

    neddyfonk Established commenter

    Great role models (not), these dimwits. Humiliating children in front of their peers and using threatening behaviour is exactly what we condemn if they exhibit such traits. If it continues I will expect at least a few parents taking them to court for harassing their child. If any child ends up committing suicide that will be upgraded to corporate manslaughter.
  13. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    Agree! In fact, when I was composing the thread it occurred to me that you only had to replace the word 'students' with 'teachers' and it would seem to fit just as well.
    stonerose, Jamvic, nomad and 5 others like this.
  14. moscowbore

    moscowbore Senior commenter

    Interesting that the MAT in question has not responded to the two MPs who sent a written request for an explanation of 'Flattening the grass'.
    There must be scope for criminal charges here surely.
  15. ajs12345

    ajs12345 New commenter

    Sadly this is what you can get with MATs: a cluster of despots who rule over their little kingdoms with ridiculous levels of control. I'm not saying all MATs are like this but the very model of a MAT, which seems to promote this empire like mentality, seems to lend itself well to this sort of behaviour.
  16. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    This sounds rather like the the sepoys being formed into three sides of a square to see the 'rebels' blown from cannon, following the 'Indian Mutiny'.
    phlogiston and Shedman like this.
  17. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    The answer is right there in OGAT's response

    If it's not done with the pupils, who do you think it's being do with?
    Shedman and install like this.
  18. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I guess this is the result for semi privatizing the system.

    Disgusting either way.
  19. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    I take it ths5 you’re not reducing them to tears.
    Mild embarrassment is not the same as humiliation.

    I assumed they called in a crisis management team to ‘spin’ the possible negative publicity - that’s not the same as thinking their behaviour is despicable ( sadly)
    stonerose and ajrowing like this.
  20. ajrowing

    ajrowing Occasional commenter

    You are quite correct.

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