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Councillor calls for meditation classes instead of school detentions

A Nottingham councillor called on school managers to offer meditation classes to disruptive pupils rather than putting them in detention.

Cllr Shuguftah Quddoos (Lab), who represents the Berridge ward at Nottingham City Council, said there needs to be a culture change in schools.

She addressed the chief executive officers at the Archway Learning Trust and Djanogly Learning Trust, who run a number of schools across Nottingham.

At a Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, November 25, she told them: “You get a detention, and that detention becomes another one. That punitive culture in schools if you are not on time, you are sanctioned, and it escalates.

“It is that culture. Could we not offer other sanctions? Rather than give a child a detention what about half an hour meditation at the end of the day.

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“I am not sure detention works with our vulnerable young people.”

The committee was discussing the high level of exclusion rates among secondary school pupils across the city.

Nottingham is twice as high as the England average for exclusions and is now ranked eighth out of 152 local authorities.

Of the 196 permanent exclusions from secondary schools in 2019/20 160 were boys.

Persistent disruptive behaviour was the main cause for exclusion (82 pupils) followed by physical assault on a pupil (28).

Physical assault on an adult, which could be a teacher or teaching assistant, made up 20 cases while being caught with drugs saw 16 pupils expelled.

Verbal abuse, theft and bullying were the other reasons for exclusion across Nottingham’s secondary schools.

Cllr Quddoos added: “People who end up excluded end up at our Majesty’s Pleasure. We need to look at the culture of schools.”

The academy trusts disagreed that it was a “punitive culture” and that pupils needed routines and to follow routines “in preparation for life”.

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