Articles

Myth-busting Monday

BanTheBooths is growing in support but we are a small group of volunteers in the early stages of an exciting campaign.  To give some context we have been formed for just over two weeks. Our Parliamentary Petition went live a week ago. Yet we have already gathered support from MPs, have had Headteachers rip out their booths overnight and have been featured in national TV and press. At the highest level of decision making BanTheBooths has entered the conversation. At the DFE, Ofsted and in Parliament. Our campaign is polite, respectful and well mannered. We are a credible, experienced and utterly determined bunch of  Teachers, Parents, Advisors, Headteachers, Governors, Educational Psychologists, Professors and Trustees.

There are many questions that people have asked. Hopefully you will find the answers here:

Why did you call the campaign Ban The Booths? (I don’t like the hashtag)

We want to ban punishment Booths. We believe they are unnecessary, disproportionate and full of children with additional needs.

#BanTheBooths It is a great headline and a strong hook. Of course it doesn’t tell the whole story,  headlines rarely do. The Ban the Bomb campaign didn’t seek to outlaw all ordinance just as banning the cane didn’t target walking sticks.  We have published 4 blogs and an article on our website that shows a balanced, nuanced argument. Clearly we don’t seek to ban workstations for children with SEND, or booths in the Nags Head, polling station booths or Ashley Booth!

How do I get involved?

Sign up to join the campaign and receive a weekly update here https://banthebooths.co.uk/sign-up/

Sign the Petition to Parliament here https://banthebooths.co.uk/sign-the-petition/

Follow us on Twitter @BanTheBooths and on the #BanTheBooths

If you would like to join the Steering Group and have some time to give to the campaign please email info@BanTheBooths.co.uk

What are deep confinement booths?

A confinement or isolation or consequence Booth is one that you sit in. When you look left you see booth and when you look right you see booth. The issue of confinement is not only the furniture but also the restrictions placed on children in the booths. If a child is not able to look right or left or turn around to ask for help that further restricts their movement. There are so many different designs of these booths – some improvised with large screens some knocked up by a site manager others bought in. The exact dimensions of a booth are difficult to approximate. We have found them in Primary and Secondary settings. There will be many many teachers who have not seen these excesses of the system. Unfortunately we have a large number of children willing to speak about the sensation of being inside a booth for days, weeks even months.

What is an ‘inclusion’ room? Is that different to an ‘isolation’ room’? 

Schools have lots of different names for rooms that children are taken to when they are removed from a lesson: ‘Isolation’, ‘Remove Room’, ‘Ready to Learn’, ‘Growth Mindset Room’ (I kid you not) and perversely ‘Inclusion’.  These rooms might be used to hold a child for a lesson or a full day. Often children sent out of one lesson will have to remain there all day. They may have confinement booths.

Some schools also have a similar room where children spend time instead of being sent home for a Fixed Term Exclusion. There may be confinement booths here. Children will spend anything from one day to a week or more in this room. It is often in a quieter area of the school.

Often the rules and expectations within these rooms are ratcheted up. Extra days of isolation are often given for minor rule infractions. A cycle of punishment can develop.

What is ‘seclusion’ then?

Seclusion is the involuntary confinement of a student alone in a room or area from which the student is physically prevented from leaving. This includes situations where a door is locked as well as where the door is blocked by other objects or held by staff. Seclusion in mainstream schools is very rare. There are however campaigns to examine the use of seclusion in special educational settings.

What is a desk divider? 

Many isolation rooms have children sat at a desk rather than inside a booth. The second strand of our campaign targets the use of these rooms. We would like all isolations over half a day to be reported to Governors/Trustees so that we all have a national picture of the use of isolation for prolonged periods.

Is the campaign against the removal of children from lessons for poor behaviour?

No.

Why can’t you control everyone who speaks about the campaign?

The core aims of the Campaign are on the homepage. There are passionate voices on the Steering Group and beyond. If you are ever in doubt about what the campaign stands for then please refer to the website. We do not seek to control social media or control how people engage but we are coordinating media output on TV and in the press. If you want to judge the campaign use the information on the site rather than a frustrated late night tweet from interlocutors.

You have talked about ‘funding for schools’ to transition their practice. Where on earth is this money going to come from?

There is already millions being spent on training initiatives. The TILF funding of 75 million is not yet spent and can be redirected. We are seeking funding for schools to support each other through SLEs and NLEs. Low cost, school to school, sharing excellent practice.

What help are you giving schools? How do we find out how to do things differently? 

We have a live event planned called ‘Lose the Booths‘ where we will offer free help to schools. The event will be minimal cost (£10/20) with any excess going to charity. All speakers and teachers will give their time for free and there will be presentations from a range of schools who have successfully removed the booths and transitioned to better practice. The event will be held in the North of England, Leeds/Manchester in the Spring. We will be making further announcements in January 2019.

Can I download a letter/email to send to my MP?

But of course…https://banthebooths.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Downloadable-letter-to-your-MP.pdf

What is the difference between imposed and self elected isolation ?

Self elected isolation is often useful for children with sensory issues. It allows them to self regulate. The isolation is not a punishment and children are at liberty to use the workstation or not. Often they are accompanied by an adult and there are two chairs alongside each other. Callum Wetherill’s blog is really useful on this point https://banthebooths.co.uk/blog/send/

Imposed isolation is when a child is not allowed to leave. It is not used to help the learning of the individual but as a punishment.

Paul Dix

BanTheBooths