The sadness has not left me. Recently I worked with a class of Year 6 children and I was really upset to feel and hear how distressed they were by life. There were no systems that seemed to be working well for them in the school. There was no timetabled listening – like circle time – they were Year 6 and the last time they had circle time was about 4 or 5 years ago. They identified themselves as a class that was “trouble” and they complained that they got lots of detentions. We then debated the merit of these detentions – normally within a class there will be some children who support them and will talk about the merits of fair consequences – and some children who will sensibly point out it’s always the same children who get the detention therefore it’s not working. This class unanimously felt that the detentions did not work in anyway. .. and let’s face it perception governs behaviour.
They complained that often the subjects are forfeited for SATs provision. They complain that football has been banned and there’s nothing else to do. Certain children complained about being bullied and one child said simply, “I’m autistic and nobody likes me”. I could go on more about it but here’s a class very alienated from education, not perceiving adults as helping them and they’re about to move into secondary. OK there may be teachers who can lift them again but often, when children’s self-esteem has become this low they move into flight or fight. Flight – they just lose interest and withdraw into them self. Fight – they act with hostility and would rather have negative attention than none. I know what systems work in a school, I’ve been around a long time… and I hate it when I can’t be given the opportunity to work with all the teachers to support them in their journey into becoming more pro-active, positive ones.
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