Administrators at the Ninestiles secondary school in England have found a novel new way to cut down on misbehavior, and they’re implementing the new rule over the objections of some parents.
Ninestiles officials recently announced that when students return to class from half-term holidays next month, they’ll be expected to walk in silence between classes to comply with a ban on speaking in the hallways, The Guardian reports.
A letter to parents explained that the roughly 1,345 students at the school, rated “outstanding” by the government, are already well-behaved and the new policy simply ensures they don’t get out of line.
“We know that behavior is already of a high standard but we want and expect more from our learners, and so from Monday 5th November students will move around the building in silence during change over times,” the letter read.
“This will ensure students arrive calmly and ready to learn and staff can give out any information they need to swiftly and easily.”
Students who violate the new decree will face a 20-minute detention for a first offense and “an appropriate escalation of sanctions” for repeated violations. The school plans to post “clear signage to indicate that noise is not permissible once the school day has started,” according to the letter.
At least one parent who spoke to Birmingham Live was livid over the change, likening the new environment to incarceration.
“I can’t see the educational purpose of silent corridors,” said the mother, who did not want to be identified. “It alienates young people and makes school feel like prison rather than a place of learning.
“If the school worked with young people, they could manage any problem behaviors in a reasonable way,” she continued. “If students can’t talk in lessons and can’t talk in corridors and can only speak in certain areas, what does that actually teach them?
“Schools forget that children learn from everything, not just in a lesson,” the mother said. “Would any of us go to a workplace where this was the case? As a parent, I feel this is creating an environment that works against learning, against what the school is there to do, which is to educate, not control and punish.”
Plenty of parents also sounded off online.
“Oh my word, what is this world coming to?” Jennie Guest wrote. “Silent corridors are fine for instance when exams are taking place. But detaining children for talking whilst walking from one lesson to another! Power mad teachers there. … talking is not bad behavior! Communication is already very poor in the young … communication should be encouraged!”
“What a joke!!” parent Julie Coley added. “School is supposed to be the happiest time of your life! More like a concentration camp.”
“A fantastic development,” John Dooner wrote. “Let’s hope that lessons are conducted in silence too and this includes teachers and support staff at all times.”
School officials pointed out they will still permit students to speak to each other in designated areas during breaks and lunch time, though co-headteachers Alex Hughes and Andrea Stephens, the masterminds behind the plan, vowed to revisit the no-talking policy next term.
“Ninestiles is committed to the highest standards of behavior and we know that students arriving to lessons ready to learn can be further supported by doing so in silence at certain points of the day,” they wrote in a joint statement.
“This is already an expectation for arrival at exams and during fire drills and, as such, is simply an extension of that code of behavior. We will review this change at the end of Term 2 and the views of our students, parents and carers will be welcomed as a part of that process.”