Criticism after behaviour crackdown at Ely school

A CRACKDOWN on bad behaviour at an Ely school has come in for strong criticism from a group of parents.

Under a new zero tolerance policy launched at the City of Ely Community College this week, any student caught misbehaving is removed from class and sent directly to the school hall for the day for what the college calls ‘supervised learning,’ with students made to sit in silence.

On Monday, when the crackdown was launched, about 235 students spent time out of lessons and in the hall as a result of bad behaviour, with about half that figure sent to the hall on Tuesday.

After hearing her children had been sent out of class, Littleport mum Amanda King, said she was left with no choice but to pull the children out of school, saying the measures had gone too far.

“They are wrecking their education totally,” said Mrs King. “When they send the kids to the hall and have them read a big thick booklet on how to behave they are not in the classroom learning.

“Kids are being sent to the hall for having odd socks or wearing their coats and it is wrecking their education.”

“The teachers say that everyone has been told about the new rules but I certainly haven’t had a letter. I am considering looking for a new school for the kids, I am sick of the college now,” she said.

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Mrs King said that she had spoken to five other parents who were unhappy with the new measures and their effect on the children’s education.

College principal Catherine Jenkinson-Dix, said the measures had received support from both pupils and parents and were targeted at eliminating low level misbehaviour including use of mobile phones and MP3 players and eating in class.

“I know that some parents have found the new measures difficult but from my perspective these are the sorts of things expected in the work place.

“I wrote to all the students and told them these were our expected standards and that anyone who did not respond to that would be in isolation in the hall.

“I want to stress however, that these are not new rules, they have been in student planners for some time, what is different is how we are dealing with the people who don’t meet expected standards.”

Mrs Jenkinson-Dix added that the crackdown was part of the college’s drive to improve behaviour standards at the school from good to outstanding and said that she had received overwhelmingly positive feedback from pupils.