Naughty Children

So what do you do with naughty children?

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Typical Classroom Behaviour Ladder

As a Teaching Assistant you will have naughty, willful, obnoxious rude children.

Hopefully not too many but they can be tricky to deal with.

Firstly, you need to familiarise yourself with your schools policy on behaviour.

Every school has a policy (which will differ slightly) and each classroom should have a behaviour ladder of sorts.

Pegs are moved up and down depending on the behaviour of every child in the class.

If it goes beyond the ladder or is in the playground then you need to know who to take the child to. In the classroom, it will normally be down to the Teacher although you should advise the teachers on any behaviour issues anywhere in the school as soon as possible.

If it is serious you may need to write the incident down, sign it and date as part of safeguarding.

Relationships with children are complex and sometimes fraught but in a school every child is treated equally, no favourites and no arch enemies!

In my experience every child has a reason for good or bad behaviour, but I have on occasion (and rarely) seen some children treated poorly by adults, being called stupid or sarcasm used which saddens me but it is a rarity.

My key word is kindness, being kind without being soft.


…continuing from yesterday as campaigners condemn ‘ludicrous’ hijab questioning…

Muslim campaigners have condemned “discriminatory” plans for school inspectors to question girls who wear hijab in primary school.

Yersterdays post explained that the Head of Ofsted Amanda Spielman would be asking why they (the children) wear the headscarf, which “could be interpreted as sexualisation of young girls”.

But some have asked why the pupils and not the schools will be challenged. I would take a guess here that because there is no legal basis for any school uniform the schools cannot really be held responsible for what children wear.

hijabs-630x388Oftsed should instead ask “why are primary school uniform policies allowing hijab for girls under the age of puberty when Islamic laws state otherwise,” she added.

Maybe parents should be asked as they, of course, are the one clothe the children. I’m not sure if a child will really understand.

Ofsted said the move was in line with its current practice of assessing whether a school promotes equality.

The hijab is traditionally worn as a sign of modesty once a girl reaches puberty which I would guess most Islamic parents know so I am not too sure why you would want a young child to wear it.

Research by the National Secular Society in September suggested 59 of 142 Islamic schools, including 27 primary schools, in England have a uniform policy which states a head-covering is compulsory. “The hijab in primary schools should be something that is dealt with via the schools uniform policy,” said Sajda Mughal, head of JAN Trust, a charity working with BAME and Muslim women.

She called the move by Ofsted “nonsense and discriminatory” and said it will be used by extremists to advance their narrative of “them and us'” and could fuel marginalisation which seems a little over the top in my opinion.

“I know as a Muslim mother of young girls, I’d be alarmed and horrified if I found that my daughters were questioned if they wore the hijab,” she said.

Surely if you dress your child with a head covering you would teach them why you are doing it, what it is for and what part it plays in your faith?

Amina Lone, from the Social Action and Research Foundation, was one of those who lobbied Ofsted to take action.

“As a second generation Muslim woman and a parent, I have huge concerns about the increasing encroachment of gender inequality in public spaces for women of faith,” she told the BBC’s Asian Network. “The hijab is absolutely not required for children.

“Gender equality was hard fought for in this country and we shouldn’t be diluting that.”

She said it was “absurd” to be having this debate in 2017 and stressed this was not about secondary school children or adults.

There is no ban on Islamic dress in the UK, but schools are allowed to decide their own dress code.

Current government advice states: “Pupils have the right to manifest a religion or belief, but not necessarily at all times, places or in a particular manner.”

Shereen, a hijabi, said the choice should be between the parents and the child.

The mother-of two, whose own daughters do not wear a hijab, said the headscarf has been misrepresented.

“It has nothing to do with sexualising children. That claim is ridiculous,” she told the BBC Asian Network.

Vlogger and mother, Nilly Dahlia agreed. She started wearing hijab aged 22.

“Hijab is not about sexualisation. It is a sign of submission to our faith,” she said.

“I do feel like the government are trying to control Muslims.”

But blogger Hifsa Haroon-Iqbal said the issue was simply a school uniform one.

“If schools do not want young children in primary education to wear hijabs in school, this needs to be made explicitly clear within the school uniform policy.

“This is not about racism, being islamophobic or discriminatory. It is common sense,” the mother-of-three wrote. “To subject a young child to questioning about why they are dressed in a particular way is ludicrous as it will always warrant the same response, ‘because my mother dresses me’.”

Then maybe the parents will need to asked why they are not following their faiths rules?

Ofsted inspectors to quiz schoolgirls in hijabs

I saw this on the BBC today.

Apparently Inspectors will question girls who wear hijabs in primary school to find out why they do so, head of Ofsted Amanda Spielman has said. She said creating an _98820290_8191dc4a-d80f-44d5-aabc-7025e2cc7267environment where Muslim children are expected to wear the headscarf “could be interpreted as sexualisation of young girls”.

She may well have a point as the hijab is traditionally worn as a sign of modesty once a girl reaches puberty.

And as far as I am aware it is not uncommon for young girls to marry older men. This certainly happens in other countries but is illegal here although why make your child wear a hijab when she is so young.

But the Muslim Council of Britain said Ofsted’s policy was “deeply worrying”. The announcement comes after Ms Spielman met campaigners from the Social Action and Research Foundation think thank on Friday.

In September, the foundation’s head, Amina Lone, co-ordinated a letter to the Sunday Times from campaigners arguing that the hijab has “no place in our primary schools”, and demanding action as Muslim girls as young as five were “increasingly veiled”.

Of course, evidence needs to be produced if this is the case. At my school no child wears a hijab and seeing as you can legally send your child to primary school in any clothes I am not sure Ofsted has a leg to stand on, unless they change the law – which of course could happen.

“This is an affront to the historical fight for gender equality in our secular democracy and is creating a two-tiered form of non-equality for young Muslim girls,” the letter said.

Explaining her decision to act, Ms Spielman said: “While respecting parents’ choice to bring up their children according to their cultural norms, creating an environment where primary school children are expected to wear the hijab could be interpreted as sexualisation of young girls.

I believe we should and can bring our children up with our, that is British cultural norms which no longer includes head coverings. If you wish to do that as an adult then great but not as a child.

“In seeking to address these concerns, and in line with our current practice in terms of assessing whether the school promotes equality for their children, inspectors will talk to girls who wear such garments to ascertain why they do so in the school.”

She urged parents concerned about fundamentalist groups influencing school policy or breaching equality law to complain to the school or to Ofsted.

Muslim Council of Britain secretary general Harun Khan said: “It is deeply worrying that Ofsted has announced it will be specifically targeting and quizzing young Muslim girls who choose to wear the headscarf. “It sends a clear message to all British women who adopt this that they are second-class citizens, that while they are free to wear the headscarf, the establishment would prefer that they do not.”

I don’t believe that this is the case because we are talking about primary school children NOT adult women.

He also said many British Muslims who wear the headscarf have done “extremely well” in education. “It is disappointing that this is becoming policy without even engaging with a diverse set of mainstream Muslim voices on the topic,” he said.

Mr Khan urged Ms Spielman to reverse the decision and said it risked being “counter-productive” to Ofsted’s promise to uphold British values.

It will be interesting to follow this.

Uniform or not?

School uniform is mandatory isn’t it?

The oldest School Uniform in Britain

Actually in a primary school it’s not – any child can wear anything and the school can’t really do anything about it.

I believe school uniforms set a level playing field, of course that is assuming that you can afford it in the first place!

Price aside I think it is important that (at school) children are treated equally and one of the ways is of course by clothing, no rich or poor…just the same and for this too work everyone needs to abide by the school policy.

However, a mother has shared her anger that girls at a secondary school are being told to stop wearing “tight” black trousers because they are reportedly “distracting teachers” and that they were not part of the school uniform.

Mrs Moule said her 15-year-old daughter Beth has been put in detention because of a “ridiculous” uniform clampdown over how tight girls’ trousers should be and more than 200 parents have backed her petition calling for staff at St Peter’s School, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, to “stop harassing” female pupils by dishing out the punishment for not wearing “baggy” school trousers.

She went on to say “The kids are being told they are distracting teachers and students,” said Moule. “It’s atrocious, it’s not the right calibre of teacher at the school.”

Maybe but from that should we also say the right cailbre of pupils as they are distracted – here Mrs Moule has nothing to say on the issue.

As for teachers being distracted – I find that somewhat disturbing and an odd choice of words to put in a letter from the school.

However, they are not uniform and should not be worn and that is the school policy.

I’m afraid if a parent does not like it then of course they are free to place their child in another school but you sign up to follow the school policy when you accept the place.

School uniform for all with no exceptions.







Trips and Visits

School VisitOne of the things you will come across as a Teaching Assistant is the inevitable visit to somewhere of educational value.

These are tiring but generally (I have found) quite good fun.

The main rule here is this: Don’t lose any children

On any trip the ‘Don’t lose any children’ rule comes above everything else. These young minds you are helping to shape are (on the whole) the parents most important thing in their lives so we need to take care.

Alright, I am being a bit flippant and it is obvious but you do have to count and recount, keep a close eye on the children you have been assigned.

You will know you class and can probably guess who is likely to cause issues because they tend to do it in school, in the classroom or playground. To be though fair they do get excited and who can blame them, a day out from school and I get excited.

So where might you go?

Well that depends where you school is, the financial side of it and a number of issues that you may have within your class.

I have been on local visits to say somewhere like Hampton Court for Tudor Workshops,  up the London for Greek Workshops and a variety of others but the rules remain the same.

Make sure you understand where you are going as it may be on bus, train or coach. Your teacher should have done a risk assessment and will be looking at:

  • Age and number of pupils involved
  • Pupils’ special educational or medical needs
  • Degree of responsibility and discipline shown by the group
  • Type of visit and nature of the activities
  • Level of risk
  • Location and travel arrangements

There may well be other concerns that need to be factored in so please ask and be aware.

It is always worth reminding any children that they are on their best behaviour and that they represent their school.

Make sure you have all the contact numbers you need (Teacher, School etc.) and carry first aid (or any other medication needed).

The children will be excited, join in their fun but also keeping an eye on behaviour and keep a lookout for any children who are quiet and withdrawn – there may be an issue you need to deal with.

Oh and don’t forget the main rule here Don’t lose any children!