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To: CEO of Athena Trust Ben Parnell

Change Athena Trust and Launceston College’s Punitive Behaviour policy

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Athena Trust should work with staff and pupils, to implement change to their Behaviour Policy, to create an atmosphere of trust and respect for all.

Why is this important?

Many carers, pupils and staff are collectively, extremely dissatisfied with the current draconian behaviour “modification" policy being implemented by the Athena trust across all settings and we are making a request for positive change. Specifically, but not limited to Launceston Community College.

We feel there is a need to implement a layered or graduated response to rule breaking, to provide more alternative options prior to ‘reflection’ (isolation) and ‘suspension’ (short term exclusion) being implemented. The current system is viewed as unfair, and often disruptive to education. Students are being excluded for very minor misdemeanours, such as wearing the wrong colour socks. This is quite clearly a disproportionate and inappropriate response.

While we can agree that we want to support children to behave well, the current system is often exasperating and worsening the behaviour of a key minority of student, causing more issues than it is resolving. Where there are persistent and repetitive cycles of undesirable behaviour, followed by punishment, followed by more undesirable behaviour, the cycle needs to be broken. There needs to be a new emphasis placed whereby “suspension” (fixed term external exclusion) and “reflection” (isolation) are being used only as a last resort.

We are asking for Athena trust to adopted a new behaviour policy which both pupils and carers feel is fair and proportionate and which offers support to the most challenging, and often the most vulnerable, students within the school system.

The most vulnerable students will no longer be given repeated exclusions and instead will be given the help and support they so drastically need. The SEN Code of Practice (2015) advises that reasonable adjustments should be made to ensure that expectations of students with disabilities are developmentally appropriate and fair.

We request that lower, middle and higher order strategies to support all students to manage their behaviour are implemented.

These will include, but are not limited to:

· A verbal reprimand / warning

· Sending the pupil out of the class for a few minutes

· 'Time out' from the lesson

· Expecting work to be completed at home, or at break or lunchtime

· Detention at break or lunchtime. (Note - with lunchtime detentions staff will allow reasonable time for the pupil to eat, drink and use the toilet.)

· Detention out of school hours (usually, but not limited to after-school hours)

· Referring the pupil to a senior member of staff

· Letter / phone call / meeting with the parents of the student

· Putting a pupil 'on report'

· Removal from lessons (known as “reflection’' for one lesson only)

· Implementing a behaviour contract.

· Suspension

· Permanent exclusion

Removal from the classroom or ‘reflection’ and ‘suspension’ (known as external fixed term exclusion) will become one of the higher order sanctions, which may only be use for a range of serious breaches of discipline, or repeated, persistent lower-level breaches of discipline, and will no longer be the first port of call, as this is causing a huge disruption to education for some and is causing unnecessary anxiety.

We request that these changes to the behaviour system are made following an inclusive consultation with staff, support staff, SEN/SENCO staff, parents, carers and students whereby consent will be given by the majority.

A new behaviour policy will help to foster a more positive atmosphere where students feel safe, encouraged and supported. This will help create safe, inspiring places to learn where pupils feel their opinion is valued and they are being fairly treated. The system which is currently disproportionate and punitive for many SENs students will be replaced by the additional support and help needed for this minority to thrive. This will result in better academic outcomes and improved mental health.

How it will be delivered

By email.

Launceston PL15 9FB, UK

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2024-04-01 15:49:23 +0100

100 signatures reached

2024-04-01 10:19:20 +0100

50 signatures reached

2024-04-01 09:14:09 +0100

25 signatures reached

2024-04-01 06:55:11 +0100

10 signatures reached