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Why the difference between Primary and Secondary?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by dave4812, May 11, 2011.

  1. I hope you guys can help me with this. I taught for 20 years in secondary schools, but for the past few years have been running my own business. One aspect of that is covering PPA time in primaries, and in that time I have come across some really poor behaviour. However, very little seems to be done to address the issue. There is very sparing use of lunchtime detentions, and none at all after school. When I did enquire about the non-existence use of after school detentions, I was told "that parents would not stand for it", or "it would inconvenience the parents too much." So we have a situation where the child is not realising the consequences of their actions, and sending letters home has no effect. When the child goes to secondary, and continues to behave like they do now, they will very soon be removed from the lesson, be given detentions and parents will be told to keep them at home until a meeting can be arranged to ensure that parents support the school behaviour policy. So, why the difference?
  2. bigpedro

    bigpedro New commenter

    Its a case of infrastructure. Once children are in Secondary school
    a. There are more opportunities to give detentions e.t.c.
    b. There is a greater chance that a line manager will be involved and therefore its less for the teacher to worry about.
    c. Most children still get picked up in primary school, most in secondary school don't, choosing busses e.t.c. instead so it becomes easier and "less inconvenient" for parents.
    d. "Theyre only kids, they'll grow out of it" - A school of thought that seems pretty prevalent in Primary schools.... *ducks iminent projectiles

  3. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    That's a dreadful attitude for the schools to have: schools aren't designed for the parents; they're designed for the education of children. If the school is bending itself into a knot so that children don't receive appropriate sanctions and rewards, then I would call it craven. It's an act of love and an act of adulthood to administer both.
    If the children received after school detentions, and the parents were inconvenienced, then it would put pressure on the parents and guardians to ensure that their children didn't get one again.
  4. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    There are sanctions which primary schools can action. The isolation or detention at lunch/break is probably the best as the children hate that. It can also be done pretty quickly.
    It won't just be a minor inconvenience to parents if children have afterschool detentions. If they have younger children then it will be very difficult to pick them up take them home and come out again or to wait around for a detainee. Let's face it we are not just talking about mothers and sometimes dads, but secondary siblings, child minders or day care staff.
    Children in secondary generally get to and from school on their own. This is quite a different situation. The good news is that parents can be called in to speak to the teacher at the end of the day in primary which can be very effective as well. In my children's school the HT used to come out to bring in the parent to talk to the teacher so that they heard the teacher's version first!
  5. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    Primaries often seem to operate a damage limitation approach - keep the child in school no matter what, knowing (hoping?) they'll be dealt with properly when they get to secondary. I've heard so many year six teachers saying that they only have to cope with X until he leaves at the end of term. They put up with terrible behaviour because it's easier than the alternative. This is, of course, terrible for both the child concerned, who doesn't get the help or discipline he needs, and for everyone else, having to put up with interruption, disruption, violence and so on. I've seen it far too often in primary schools.
  6. coaltown1

    coaltown1 New commenter

    I agree. I work in a primary school which has it's fair share of disruptive behaviour and our hands are tied. Management put the onus of behaviour management back on us whenever we refer children to them.We must be doing something to set them off! Only when violence is committed do children get put out for a token time and then they come back in all "restored" and we are back to square one.
    I believe a lot of it is down to statistics - the behaviour in the school must be so much better because exclusions are down. Well actually, the children are undergoing nurturing (another word for getting treats) and are not receiving as much class education so they comply and things look hunky dory!

  7. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I don't think this is a difference between primary and secondary schools, but a difference between good and bad schools.

    Lots of people post on here about behaviour in their secondary schools that would have a child thrown out of my primary in no time, yet is tolerated repeatedly in their secondary.

    We also have children who occasionally talk about what their older siblings get up to in the secondary schools near us and we are appalled that the schools seemingly allow it.

    No we don't use after school detentions. Can you imagine keeping a 4 year old sat silently at a desk for an hour after school? No parent should or would stand for it and I hope no teacher would either.

    We do however use missed playtimes or lunchtimes (sounds like detention to me!), loss of golden time, phonecalls home, speaking to parents at the end of the day, etc, etc. And removal from class is the most frequently used sanction, generally followed up with a missed playtime.
  8. Don't you think you have to give primary children slightly more benefit of the doubt than secondary?
    Age and maturity are huge factors in behaviour management and you can't expect the same sanctions for 5 year olds and teenagers surely?
    That being said I work in a primary school where we do have interval and after school detentions but only for very serious breaches of school rules and are mostly effective as a deterrent.

  9. Not the same, but sanctions nevertheless.
    I'm sometimes horrified by frightful behaviour that primary, especially early primary, students are given "the benefit of the doubt" for on the basis that 'he's only little'. Well the one certain thing that we know is that little children get bigger.
    It's the job of primaries to introduce and instil the attitudes and behaviours that students need to be able to function successfully in school. If that means sanctions for transgressions, then sanctions there must be. Age appropriate, which means that they may not be the same as for teenagers, but they must be applied.

  10. darkness

    darkness New commenter

    I too am mystified by this, and both the responses you mention are the exact same ones I have heard. I think there is an unwillingness on the teacher part to do this to some extent.

    Lunch time detentions are non existent, you see the odd break time ones, but that is it. I am not fond by the way of pupils just having a detention, where they sit and do nothing or write lines. I personally don't feel they even work anyway.
  11. The pupil lashed out again this afternoon, and really hurt another pupil. I took her to the class teacher who would not take her out of the lesson - "I don't want my PPA time ruined". However, I refused to have her in the lesson and was told that I had to take it to the Head. The class teacher said "She's a bit slow and doesn't understand when she is told off, mother is the same". The Head to her credit took her out, and told the class teacher that I would not be having her any more this term, and that the class teacher had to sort it out with the childs mother.
  12. SleighBelle

    SleighBelle Occasional commenter

    Are there really Secondary teachers who believe this utter claptrap that all Primary schools do not discipline poor behaviour?
    How many Secondary teachers actually manage the lunchtime or afterschool detentions themselves? Is it on a rota and shared with other teachers/SMT? I'd imagine that it is.
    In the majority of Primary schools, that is simply not possible. If teachers set break time or lunchtime detentions, they miss out on their break as there is no-one else to supervise the child in detention. That's not to say we don't keep children behind anyway- but it rankles that I spent my lunch "hour" (40 mins) yesterday dealing with an issue instead of having my lunch.
    Some children misbehave. It's not Primary school's fault in a child misbehaves in Secondary school.

  13. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Totally agree!

    And it is often the case that children who behave perfectly well in the cosier, kinder environment of a primary school, cannot cope with the sudden change to being a nameless nobody with 12 different teachers in 12 different rooms in secondary. Again that is not the primary school's fault.
  14. Henriettawasp

    Henriettawasp New commenter

    Breaktime or lunchtime detentions - we do ourselves.
    After school - there is a rota.
    Yep. Exactly the same happens in secondary. Sometimes you have to go and fetch a student from another class (or ask a colleague to keep them until you arrive) otherwise they will not come to the detention. It is a pain - and very time-consuming - especially if you are running a detention for groups of students who are split up in other subjects.
  15. Sleighbelle, I have never said that <u>all</u> primary schools do not discipline poor behaviour. However, this particular child is learning nothing except that she can lash out at anyone, and she may get spoken to by the class teacher, but that is it. If she causes a serious injury the school will be in a pickle, because they cannot deny knowing she was violent as there have been so many incidents. All it takes is a competent lawyer to discover this and the authority is stung for a few grand.
    In my secondary school teaching days I was a HOD and insisted that we all took our own detentions, my team were responsible for disciplining the pupils they taught and I always supported my team, that's why I cannot understand the attitude of this member of staff. As for after-school detentions why can't you take them? The pupils are 99% local so picking them up shouldn't be a problem for the parent. As for the excuse that the parent has more than one child at the school, and keeping one behind after school would mean two trips for them, well they should make sure that their child behaves at school, and doesn't hinder the learning of(or in this case assault) other pupils.

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