Use of isolation booths in schools criticised as ‘barbaric’ punishment

Parents have criticised the use of isolation booths at secondary schools across the country, after concerns were raised about the “zero-tolerance” behaviour policies run by some academy trusts. The Guardian reports

Guardian analysis found this week that 45 schools in England excluded at least 20% of their pupils in the last academic year. The Outwood Grange Academies Trust – which runs 30 schools across Yorkshire, the Humber and the east Midlands – ran nine out of the 45.

Parents with children at schools in the trust raised concerns that, as well as the high levels of exclusions, many schools were also using “consequences rooms” – small booths in which a child sits alone and in silence for hours on end as punishment for breaking school rules.

The booths have been described as “internal exclusions” and parents called on academy trusts to release information on the number of hours of education children were missing while in the booths.

“You will be allowed to go to the toilet up to a maximum of three times during the day (maximum five minutes per visit),” the policy reads. “You must use the closest toilet and go directly there and back. You will be escorted to get your lunch, but you must stay silent.”

Pupils may complete work they have brought themselves but they do not have to.

One mother, whose son goes to an Outwood Grange school in Wakefield, said her son had lost days of his education sitting in a consequence room. “It’s a small booth. They can’t look left or right, they can’t look behind. They have to focus in front all the time. They can’t speak to anyone for the whole day. It’s basically an internal exclusion. It’s barbaric,” she said.

In March, delegates at the National Education Union conference in Brighton voted unanimously to oppose “the move towards ever more punitive behaviour policies in schools”, saying it was feeding a mental health crisis for children.

A spokesperson for the Outwood Grange Academies Trust said: “The use of isolation booths and rooms allow students to calm down, reflect and often self-correct their behaviour that may have led to that situation.”

Read the full article Use of isolation booths in schools criticised as ‘barbaric’ punishment

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