New detention law splits school heads

SECONDARY schools in North Somerset have differing views on new Government legislation changing rules on detention rights.

A new education law came into force last week allowing teachers to hand out detentions and forcing them to be served without giving 24 hours notice to parents.

But the new rules have received a mixed reaction among headteachers, with schools having to decide whether to adopt the new guidelines.

Churchill Academy and Sixth Form wrote to parents over the issue last week and made it clear it would not be changing its policy to fall in line with the new bill.

Headteacher Barry Wratten said: “I am happy to clarify for parents that this will not change our arrangements both out of practical considerations and courtesy to parents.

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“To be clear, we do have the legal authority to use detentions as a sanction but will give parents 24 hours notice.”

But his stance is not one which will be shared by all headteachers across the district.

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Hans Price Academy principal Armando Di-Finizio says the Weston school would adopt the policy if necessary.

The school has incorporated a restorative justice scheme (RJ) where misbehaving pupils are sat down to discuss their actions, rather than simply be punished – a system which he used successfully at his previous school, Bristol Brunel.

But he said there remains a time and a place for detentions in modern-day education.

He said: “We do detentions like any other school as there have to be consequences, however our RJ solutions sometimes negate the need to give one. They certainly help to reduce exclusion - our main reason for adopting it.

“With regards to the new rule, I have no objection to this, provided parents are told.

“Having to give students 24 hours notice often results in detentions happening well after the event which in a child’s mind can often lead to a lot more resentment than if things are nipped in the bud straight away.”

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