Tom Bennett: make better use of detentions to discourage disruptive behaviour

The Telegraph is reporting that the Government’s behavioural tsar Tom Bennett has urged schools to make better use of detentions as he says today’s teachers are too soft to keep badly behaved students back after class.

…Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Bennett, said: “Detentions are a very useful deterrent for the majority of children in a way that makes them think twice before they do something but teachers have to be consistent and they have to be fair. 

“If they only use [a detention] sometimes or they don’t use it not enough or too little, they can be as ineffective as not doing them at all. But detentions are a perfectly fine way of getting the message across to a child that their behaviour is to be discouraged…” 

He said: “A lot of teachers are uncertain about using detentions these days because, for one, many adults are uncertain about their right to sanction children. 

“While I sympathise with their caution because nobody wants to go back to the bad old days of super severe discipline and corporal punishment, a lot of teachers who are perfectly well intentioned often err on the side of few detentions simply because they are uncomfortable with setting them…”

He explained: “They may not be a pleasant thing to do but they are a necessary thing. Younger teachers who wish to be kind to the children mistake kindness for a lack of detention. 
He said detentions are a great way of discourage disruptive behaviour because as human beings we are inclined to avoid any “unpleasant” experiences. 

“If you can convince a child to not misbehave in a classroom and to improve their attention and focus in the classroom, which in turn improves their education, then you have actually done them a service…” 

More at: Bring back detention as punishment for pupils, says Government’s behavioural tsar


Does Tom Bennett make a fair point about the potential value of detentions and is he correct in suggesting teachers have become too cautious in not using them more?

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  1. englishspecial

    SchoolsImprove Sigh Tom’s helpful* advice. Or, alternatively, you could read up on reward and motivation through neuroscience in education.

  2. AndyDefinite

    waterside09 Simplistic. Detentions are only of educational value when addressing in detail the cause of the pupil’s incarceration.

  3. waterside09

    AndyDefinite well said, but the disruptions are cataclysmic for students who are trying to follow lessons so something must be done


    SchoolsImprove This generation of children have evolved & are immune to detentions. Another strategy should be sought.

  5. kennygfrederick

    SchoolsImprove -am I the only one thinking that this is not new & used in almost every school.The Tsar needs to come up with original ideas

  6. kennygfrederick

    SchoolsImprove -am I the only one thinking that this is not new & used in almost every school.The Tsar needs to come up with original ideas

  7. TimAnchorhouse

    kennygfrederick lennyvalentino SchoolsImprove I couldn’t see what was meant by ‘better’ use. He was just recommending more of them.

  8. temcterrier1977

    kennygfrederick SchoolsImprove tbh, I think the actual impact of detentions is sporadic to say the least. Same kids in them every time

  9. Davis77Alex

    SchoolsImprove Wow- what a genius! Detentions? I’d never thought of that! The longer I stay in this “profession” the longer it seems a joke

  10. Davis77Alex

    SchoolsImprove BTW my wife’s SMT has banned teachers setting detentions as they “set too many”
    and the kids never turned up anyway

  11. Dai_James1942

    SchoolsImprove The key point is that they must not require the teacher to keep himself in. Rota or SLT supervision shows collective purpose

  12. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Agree consistency is key but now that education’s politically fuelled free market, pressure not to annoy “clients” increases

  13. kennygfrederick

    temcterrier1977 SchoolsImprove – a good point but analysing the data will help identify recidivists & interventions put in place.

  14. Dai_James1942

    temcterrier1977 kennygfrederick SchoolsImprove 1. Detention 2. Cane 3. expulsion. That would suggest we valued school, which we don’t.

  15. temcterrier1977

    kennygfrederick SchoolsImprove doesn’t take that much analysis tbh, would say 95 % of detentions are done by the 5 %

  16. kennygfrederick

    temcterrier1977 SchoolsImprove – so they need to be looked at individually & appropriate interventions put in place to improve behaviour!

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