Dear Sir,

A number of parents are becoming increasingly frustrated by the punishment system in place at Woodham Academy.

Children receive a “warning” for things like not being stood correctly in a line, speaking when they shouldn’t, swinging on chairs, humming, you know the things all kids do at some point and receiving a warning is fair enough, but, if you are told in one lesson to be quiet (C1), then asked to sit still in another lesson (C1) it results in an after school detention of 20 minutes, as the child has accumulated 2 C1’s.

Seem’s a little harsh for simply having to be asked to stop talking or stop fidgeting.

My opinion is far too much attention is paid to low level issues and the punishments are not ‘fitting the crime’, for want of a better word.

So, consider the frustration at the detentions themselves, whatever happened to losing a break time or a lunch break, after school detentions in my day were always saved for something with a degree of severity and our parents were informed via a detention slip that they had to sign and we did the detention the next day. Not now, we are being told legally they can keep our children for up to an hour and a half without informing us. The text system is simply a courtesy.

Speaking of the text system, if your child receives a detention you are informed by text message. The issue with this is, a lot of the time the texts are not being received by parents due to technical error (as can happen with such systems). I know we are not the only parents who are finding the communication within the school diabolical either, they are determined to ‘correct’ behaviour yet they cannot correct in-house communication issues.

You set measures in place with one staff member and another will be totally unaware, no matter how many times it is spoken about with the school. I find the whole system hypocritical and I just pray when the new head takes over in September he can make changes and have the C systems reflect a little more like how partner schools operate.

Our children are at school, not concentration camps, they all have personalities and I just feel the main aim at Woodham is to produce robots who never question and never show individuality. I could go on and on but I am hoping the change in leadership is going to be just what the school needs.

Signed Frustrated Parent.


Response from Woodham Academy:

Thank you for your letter earlier this week regarding the behaviour system at Woodham Academy. Woodham Academy’s stated aim is ‘Achievement for All’ and the entire school community works hard every day to ensure this is fulfilled. As a result, we are proud of the current systems that we have in place, which has contributed to significant improvements across the school, acknowledged by OFSTED in May 2018.

Students need to feel safe, secure and work in an environment which allows them to make progress. The current behaviour system allows this to happen. All students have the opportunity to address their behaviour across the school day, with sanctions only being deemed appropriate due to repeat issues, or incidents deemed more serious. The entire focus of the behaviour system is to allow all students to make progress.

OFSTED commented “The behaviour of pupils is good. They behave well throughout the day, across the range of lessons and during breaks and lunchtimes”.

We feel this highlights how the behaviour system has given consistency in all parts of school. Furthermore, the overall quantity of behaviour points being used in school has nearly halved in the past year, highlighting how the system is improving behaviour overall, rather than simply being used as a tool for ‘punishment’.

Feedback from parents’ evenings clearly supports our system, with 90% of all parents’ surveyed identifying behaviour as a strength of the school. Student feedback regularly supports how the system allows them to learn in lessons and adds to their enjoyment. We have no plans to change the behaviour system in September.

Kind regards

Andrew Bell

Headteacher from September 2019