Cinema for best behaved kids - but not mine :-(

19th March 2018
Cinema for best behaved kids - but not mine :-(

So, a couple of weeks ago forty odd children at our local school were taken to the cinema to watch Paddington Bear 2. This was a reward for receiving no detentions so far in the academic year – no mean feat in a school where they’re given out fairly liberally. Neither of my children received the congratulatory letter having received three detentions between them: two for running in a walking-only bit of the school and one for talking on the bus. My eleven year old hotly disputes this last infringement and has told me a number of times why it “wasn’t fair because blah bah blah.” They’re also pretty indignant about the ‘no-running’ detentions. The game is man-hunt; a pack of children are in pursuit; you’ve been forced from top field down to the main school; are you really going to suddenly slow to a walk? Of course not, children run – and thank God they do when they’re confined to a desk for five hours a day with only two hours of PE a week (most of which seems to be spent in a changing room waiting for Tyler to find one of his socks).

The nature of the detentions don’t bother me, by which I mean the children don’t get told off at home for receiving them. A mild “well, try not to run there next time, schools do need rules” would be as serious as it gets. So you may think that I’m now the indignant one because my largely well behaved children are not on the Paddington Bear trip. But far from it. Schools do need rules. They did break the rules. And at least the school is making a concerted effort to reward those children with zero detentions. The ones who consistently do the right thing are getting a meaningful reward, and this is a hot topic in schools. Time, money and attention are lavished on the naughty kids. Those that are really naughty might be incentivised with a trip to McDonalds or to the bowling alley or an Amazon voucher. And while I recognise why this is the case (and have experienced first-hand how one disruptive child can affect the learning of thirty in a classroom) the well-behaved majority can be neglected. Positive behaviour points - or whatever your school calls them – steadily accrue but become fairly meaningless. Not only that but resentment can build when the naughtiest children are rewarded for small improvements in behaviour.  Well done Tyler for making the enormous leap from persistent disruption to sporadic disruption. Have a Big Mac on us!

So at least the school has put its hands in its pockets and acknowledged the best behaved for once. And my children (being neither appallingly nor perfectly behaved) are likely to always miss out on the rewards merry go round. Oh well, we’re all off to see Paddington Bear 2 this weekend.


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