New rules make school ‘feel like prison’, parents say

Under the new rules pupils at The Abbey are placed in isolation for various infractions (Picture: Westend61)

Pupils and parents have complained that strict new rules have made a secondary school feel more ‘like prison’.

On the first day of term 47 students at The Abbey, in Faversham, were placed in isolation for infractions such as uniform breaches, not having classroom essentials and not sitting properly.

Parents say it’s left their kids feeling anxious and stressed.

But head teacher Dr Rowland Speller defended the rules, saying what ‘might be regarded as traditional values’ are ‘essential for effective teaching and learning’.

Other parents backed the move, with one commenting: ‘So the kids are getting a taste of discipline they don’t get at home! I don’t see an issue.’

The Abbey in Faversham, an academy in Kent (Picture: Google Maps)

Under the new set of rules pupils are punished for racking up three ‘corrections’ in a single day.

Dr Speller said: ‘Students not reaching our expectations for behaviour and learning will be instructed to leave the classroom following their third correction.

‘These corrections will be given clearly including a brief explanation about what the correction is for.

‘If a second correction is needed the pupil’s name will be written on the board as a reminder and they may be asked to move seats.

‘If the pupil continues to disregard our expectations, they will then be sent to isolation.’

He said pupils arriving without the correct equipment will be given the chance to either ask somebody to bring it in for them, or to purchase it from the school library.

Those pulled up for uniform infractions ‘are placed in isolation until they are remedied’, Dr Speller explained.

One parent said her daughter ‘feels like she is in prison when going to school now’ (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Claire Davis, whose 13-year-old son Jamie Revell is in year eight at the school, says he is constantly worrying about forgetting something in case he falls foul of the rules.

She said: ‘Apparently they get lined up every day for a uniform inspection, which is petty and strict – it’s not a military school.

‘Jamie keeps saying “I don’t want to forget this, I don’t want to be put in isolation”.’

Another mum with a daughter at the school, who has asked not to be named, has criticised the new rules for ‘adding extra stress’.

She said: ‘My daughter feels like she is in prison when going to school now. I fail to see how this will encourage learning.’

Dr Speller defended the regulations, which he says are not unreasonable at a ‘high standards’ school.

‘Similar expectations exist in many other secondary schools,’ he said.

‘We aim for a calm and orderly school environment where students’ learning should never be disrupted.

‘We ask our students to sit up in lessons, pay attention, answer with hands-up and show respect through silence when the teacher is talking.

‘These might be regarded as traditional values but are essential for effective teaching and learning.’

One parent said she ‘wholeheartedly’ backs the new system.

‘Let’s be clear, what the school is asking for is so basic,’ she added.

‘It’s about taking responsibility and having respect for themselves, for others and for rules. I don’t understand why any parent would disagree with this.’

But another remarked that ‘all it does is teach our children that unless they conform then they are naughty, abnormal and should be punished’.


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