There has been a huge – and very mixed – reaction to Weydon Multi-Academy Trust imposing a strict new behaviour policy at its secondary schools in Farnham, Haslemere and Milford.
The new policy was introduced at the start of the autumn term in September – with dozens of parents contacting the Herald, complaining that their children were receiving detention or being sent to a ‘Reflection Room’ for minor infractions.
They claim misdemeanours such as forgetting a pencil or being one minute late to class can now result in being isolated from their classmates for an entire day, with no warnings being handed out beforehand.
There were also complaints about the notice period given to parents ahead of after-school detentions and the safety implications for their children getting home when the afternoons are turning darker more quickly.
The school has strongly defended its policy, with Weydon School principal Jackie Sharman telling the Herald: “The policy is designed to ensure that our students can learn without disruption and thrive.”
More than 100 people took to the Herald’s Facebook post to share their opinion about the policy while others directly contacted the Herald to express their thoughts more privately – with some moved to tears by the impactthey say the policy has had on their children.
“It’s total overkill!”, one person commented. “Glad I’m not the only one feeling like this!”, another said.
“My children used to love Weydon, but this year it’s not the case and ‘love of learning’ is now ‘fear of forgetting’,” said a concerned father. “They are now more focused on ‘have I got the right pen?’ than ‘what are we looking forward to today?’.
“I’d send this feedback to the school but I don’t believe they will listen and I’ve not met any parent who likes it. Not one.”
In contrast, another parent declared the new policy is “spot on” and said his daughter can now attend lessons without having any loss of learning time.
“She is not the only pupil who now feels so much happier in lessons at Weydon, and I am grateful for the school’s firm stance on enforcing the behaviour policy.”
Agreeing with this statement, another asked: “How much time is wasted on the minority of pupils who behave poorly, disrupt others and make learning difficult for the rest of the class?”
Other parents and members of the community also spoke out in favour of Weydon – and someone described the Herald as having “stooped to poor sensational journalism”.
A Facebook commenter defended the school’s crackdown on being late to class by comparing it to catching a train.
“If it was a train you wouldn’t miss it, so why not expect a good time keeping in school? It is a lesson for life,” they said.
Following the article’s publication, Weydon School released a statement on their Parent Bulletin on Friday, November 10.
It again reiterated that concerned parents should contact the school and that both parties should “work together to alleviate these concerns”.
The school also highlighted the role of its parent councils, saying: “They are a part of our drive towards continued improvement and will voice both strengths and areas of concern.”
In response to the article’s Facebook post, Weydon again urged people to get in contact.
“We encourage anyone with concerns to take up the offer to visit the school to see the behaviour policy in action by emailing [email protected]”
The Weydon Multi-Academy Trust has rolled outs its zero-tolerance behaviour policy at a number of secondary schools across the area, including Weydon and Heath End in Farnham, Woolmer Hill in Haslemere, and Rodborough in Milford.
By Michelle Monaghan