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Zero Tolerance

(33 Posts)
BRedhead59 Thu 17-Jan-19 09:58:21

Any views on 'zero tolerance' in schools?

Ilovecheese Thu 17-Jan-19 10:07:39

Well if it refers to zero tolerance of bullying, I would say about time. Schools have ignored bullying far too often in the past.

wildswan16 Thu 17-Jan-19 10:15:55

Zero tolerance of any kind of rule breaking does let children know where they stand. They are then less likely to push the boundaries of their stressed teachers and fellow pupils. It can seem a bit Dickensian but schools are meant to be learning environments where everyone feels safe. Zero tolerance can help with both.

Children have plenty of time outside of school hours to mess about and explore their options.

grannyactivist Thu 17-Jan-19 11:17:29

The children affected by a zero tolerance policy will primarily be those who infringe the school rules and are therefore usually in a small minority. The majority of children benefit from the policy as they can then learn in a safe and supportive environment free from bullying, intimidation and discord, where teaching time is maximised. Teachers will benefit by having increased protection from assault, humiliation and stress.

When I was teaching I started every new academic year with a strict 'zero tolerance' policy (though I didn't actually ever use that term). The children came to my class and were expected to work hard and behave according to a set of rules they drew up in conjunction with me. I always demonstrated respect and affirmation and positive behaviours were encouraged. By the end of a six week period the children had got used to my teaching style, settled down and we enjoyed the rest of the term without needing much in the way of reinforcement of appropriate behaviours. I used to supervise trainees who often wanted to be liked by their pupils leading them to be too lax about behaviour management. It's been my experience that when pupils respect a teacher they usually end up liking them too.

Having said that I think some schools may be in danger of being overly punitive because they don't take into account some of the pressures children face outside of the school environment. In my view zero tolerance should go hand in hand with really good pastoral care.

Telly Thu 17-Jan-19 11:37:49

A few very disruptive children cam have a big impact on the education of the many. I think it is an excellent policy to follow as long as children know the rules when they begin.

EllanVannin Thu 17-Jan-19 11:41:01

Is this a new phrase for discipline ?

Eloethan Sun 27-Jan-19 13:55:55

What does "zero tolerance" mean in practical terms? Surely it would depend on the head teacher's view of what education is for and what is important? So some schools would view a minor infringement of uniform rules as being a serious matter, whereas presumably other schools would not. The recent report of a school where children have to move around the building in absolute silence is, I suppose, an example of "zero tolerance" but is it a reasonable boundary to set?

Personally, I think it is a much more complex issue that can't be solved by applying arbitrary zero tolerance policies.

trisher Sun 27-Jan-19 14:12:46

How does "Zero Tolerance" apply when a child has special needs? And what happens to a child who has breached "Zero Tolerance"?
Having worked with children from unstable home lives, seen teachers spending large amounts of time working with them to change their behaviour and the absolute negativity they sometimes have to overcome I can't see how it would work. It would result in huge numbers of children being excluded from school, more than currently, when figures are still rising. If huge numbers of children are out of the system and uneducated how can that help?

lemongrove Sun 27-Jan-19 14:41:45

Zero tolerance means no tolerance at all of any behaviour deemed to be bad.Do we want to be a society with no tolerance at all, especially to children and young people?
I would say no!

eazybee Sun 27-Jan-19 14:46:03

This problem is caused by attempting to educate too many children with genuine special needs in mainstream schools; they can so easily disrupt the education of the many, and their needs are not being met.

Units attached to mainstream schools are the best way of dealing with the situation, but so many educationalists refuse to recognise the problems engendered by placing disadvantaged children in environments where they cannot cope.

I would say zero tolerance of clear, well-defined and not too many rules was in place at both my mainstream state primary and my selective grammar school, but back then parents were far more supportive of school discipline than they are now, and were not constantly challenging the schools' authority.

lemongrove Sun 27-Jan-19 14:55:17

Actually, units in the grounds of schools for those with special needs are not the best way if dealing with the situation ( as one who knows) the best way is having enough special needs schools built.
However, disruption is not all down to special needs pupils,
There are those from awful home backgrounds, those who have parents going through divorce, and those who just are naturally absolute pests.

Anja Sun 27-Jan-19 14:58:21

Zero tolerance is for mentally competent adults who knowingly break the law. Children, many with special needs or mental health issues need a more emotionally literate regime.

M0nica Sun 27-Jan-19 15:26:40

I am afraid, that as a child, faced with zero tolerance, no matter what the circumstances, I would spend a lot of the time pushing the boundaries, and becoming deeply skilled in undermining them.

I attended schools with mindless discipline, that was the norm in the 1950s and I (and my sweet, gentle sister, my best friend and others) became deeply subversive.

My really rigid observance of every slight remark the headmistress made and plus my taking zero tolerance to absurd levels, and the effect that had on my teachers, was deeply satisfying.

NanaandGrampy Sun 27-Jan-19 16:00:27

What is your view BRRedhead?

PECS Sun 27-Jan-19 16:19:42

I think zero tolerance is a populist but lazy way of supporting safe, responsible and acceptable behaviour.
Every school needs clear non- negotiable rules and a set of consequences that all students and families know and understand. The school needs to uphold those rules and consequences with responsibiliry.
EG in a zero tolerance schoolchild arrives with non uniform shoes. They are immediately sent home and may not return until correctly shod.
In good behaviour school child arrives with non uniform shoes. They are immediately sent to deputy who investigates reason for non compliance. Depending on the reason a sanction or not is issued.

Davidhs Sun 27-Jan-19 16:24:42

Special needs is used as an excuse for not bothering about keeping standards up and good discipline. Back in the 1960s I went to a bog standard Seconday Modern school, all abilities and backgrounds. There were plenty with dyslexia, dyspraxia and other, mental disabilities including cerebral palsy, there was never any problem with discipline because standards were strict and enforced.
Uniform was enforced rigidly and behavior at breaktimes was supervised so there was very little bullying and the worst thing you could do was talk back to a teacher.

Now all you liberals may say I am old fashioned but I enjoyed that school, and truancy was almost unheard of, just the standard of education that private schools are proud of today. Where did the progressives go wrong

trisher Sun 27-Jan-19 16:38:45

It was educating working class people to think that was the big mistake, or it might have been giving women the vote.. I'm not sure which but I'm sure everything would be tickety-boo if we got rid of both!!!

PECS Sun 27-Jan-19 16:52:26

david have you subsequently worked in education since leaving school? If so you will know that expectations and standards since 1960s have risen. It does tend to annoy some people, who hold their own school days as a rosy time, to discover that today's average 13yr old is tackling work not taught until O level in the 60s! I am watching it happen with my 13yr old DGD at the local " bog standard" comp up the road. Funnily enough she rolls her skirt up too short, just as I did, sneaks on make up, just like I did but works a lot harder than I ever had to. Popular to put current education / schools down but think it is misplaced.

Fennel Sun 27-Jan-19 17:11:30

A year or 2 ago I read about a school where the HT was placing a total ban on phones in school. He sent letters out to all parents telling them if a phone was found on a child it would confiscated for a certain time.
I don't know what the parents responded, or if the project worked.
In general I don't agree with a totally negative, punitive approach to discipline. As other have said it encourages rebellion. Praise and reward, earning privileges etc probably work better, but I can't back that up.
Still not sure what zero tolerance really means, sounds frighteningly like some kind of prison.

EllanVannin Sun 27-Jan-19 17:35:19

True post Davidhs. I can relate to that. It was something known as discipline a little known word in schools and households today and the downfall of the behaviour of many children whose feral ways are there for all to see.

Discipline is security. Where's the security in allowing children to do as they like ? Behave as they like ? It breeds a lack of respect of which they grow up knowing no different and the result is what you see in school playgrounds and football matches ! Feral thugs and excuses for mental health problems.

Many children in the 50's/60's did the shopping, washed their own uniforms ( because it was the only one they had ) looked after siblings and got their own meals-----it was tough for some who were nick-named latch-key kids. They used to have the door key on a chain around their necks. This was the big difference in pre-teens and teens of today who appear to have everything, in comparison.

Education standards in the 50's and 60's were excellent !

M0nica Sun 27-Jan-19 17:43:41

David, I think you are looking back on your education with rose covered spectacles. In the 1950s there was a lot of talk about how poor discipline was in many secondary moderns. Of course there were good schools, and yours was clearly one, but many weren't. The indiscipline in many secondary moderns where many got a second rate education from second rate teachers was one of the arguments for the introduction of comprehensive schools

The biddable children obeying every rule that many of you talk about, is a recipe for mindless obedience. They had it in Chinese schools until recently and in Germany in the 1930s and was that a good thing?

My experience is zero-tolerance or no zero-tolerance, children will always find ways of subverting the system.

Davidhs Sun 27-Jan-19 20:10:14

Rose colored spectacles, no I really did enjoy it, do today’s kids work harder?, some certainly do, but at 16 today children seem much less prepared for work than we were, regardless of any exam results. Our school did not do A Levels so all of us went into work ( all of us) at 16, the bright ones got office jobs or apprentiships, less able all sorts of unskilled work.
50 years on I think we were very lucky, todays school leavers face a much more uncertain future than we did.

PECS Sun 27-Jan-19 20:24:57

David you may have had a happy time but not sure about those lads with special needs! It is not a good thing to generalise on the whole of any system on just your own experience!
I agree that there are students who would be better supported with more of an apprentice style approach to trades etc. rather than pursuing a solely academic syllabus.

crystaltipps Sun 27-Jan-19 20:30:28

A neighbour of mine has a son with Aspergers. He is academically gifted, but he lacks many social skills. He goes to an inner city school with a “ zero tolerance” policy. On his first day at said school he shouted out the answer to a question instead of putting his hand up and was given an hours detention. He has been bullied on the school bus ever since. His mother wants to send him to a more caring school .

PECS Sun 27-Jan-19 20:47:00

crystaltipps I really hope his parents made a formal complaint. That is totally inappropriate. I hope they find another, caring school soon.