A school in Birmingham has been criticised by parents after introducing a ‘no talking’ rule in the corridors and a 20-minute detention penalty if broken.
Students at the Ninestiles School, in Acocks Green, Birmingham, were informed of the new policy – to be implemented after the half-term break – in a letter from the academy staff that explained there would be no more chat between class.
The school, which caters for 1,345 pupils aged 11-18, wrote to parents saying: “Once the school day has commenced with tutor time at 8.40am all student movement including to and from assembly, at lesson changeover and towards communal areas at break and lunch will be carried out in silence.”
Not only that but students are expected to leave school in silence at the end of the day. Students will only be allowed to talk in allocated ‘speaking’ areas.
Not only do pupils face a potential detention if they flout the rules but repeated failure to abide will result in “an appropriate escalation of sanctions”.
The school – which is already rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted – says it is making the changes in order to “underpin the learning environment”.
The letter to parents read: “Excellent standards of behaviour need to be maintained throughout the school day, both in lessons and during unstructured time such as break and lunch.”
“This ensures that the school functions in an orderly manner and that students are fully prepared to make outstanding progress in lessons. Great behaviour results in safe and happy students and staff.”
But parents have told HuffPost UK that they are not in support of the policy and would not like to see the same thing applied at their own child’s school.
One said: “It’s stopping kids being normal, social, functioning human beings.”
Joss Cambridge Simmons, a male nanny who works with children of all ages, said: “It’s not healthy to be walking around on mute. My school did this when I was in year 10. We ended rebelling. I had some of the most exciting times in the school corridors. Hide and seek, lining up for class, peaking through the windows to laugh at mates in other lessons...”
And it wasn’t just parents and former pupils objecting to the plans – deputy-head teacher, Elisabeth Straw, from South Yorkshire, said she opposed the idea.
She told HuffPost UK: “I have been a teacher for over 25 years and worked in a variety of schools. The biggest cause of disruption in schools is what is known as low level disruption in classes. The constant interruptions, the joking, the chatting. All of this contributes to students having their learning interrupted.
“When I used to work in comprehensive secondary schools, I would be very strict on this low-level disruption... however, and this is why I do not agree with silence in the corridors, children do not come to school to learn. They come to school to socialise.
“I once worked in a school that had silence in the corridors and the atmosphere was awful. It was like something from Victorian times or The Midwich Cuckoos!
Although teacher said she wonders if there is specific behaviour going on that the school are trying to address, but have not mentioned. “I can’t imagine this is being implemented for no reasons – teachers have enough to manage already,” she said.
Acting co-headteachers Alex Hughes and Andrea Stephens have defended the policy, saying it will be reviewed at the end of the autumn term. “This is already an expectation for arrival at exams and during fire drills and, as such, is simply an extension of that code of behaviour.
“We will review this change at the end of term two and the views of our students, parents and carers will be welcomed as part of that process.”