Ask a teacher

10th November 2006 at 00:00
Q A number of my Year 7s are turning up 10 minutes late on a regular basis.

When challenged, they give me the "my little sister wouldn't get dressed"

arguments. I'm not prepared to accept this - as far as I'm concerned it's the parents' responsibility to meet the school's conditions when they accept a place. How long would you let it go on for before you start calling their parents to discuss it?

Raynah Thomas, Birmingham

A I put a zero in my register if a pupil isn't there when the bell goes. If they arrive late, I leave the zero and write the number of minutes late in the hole. That way I can give them, their parents or key stage management the exact data for each lateness.

I reckon by the third week of term they should be able to get in on time, but I do agree that they may be desperately trying to get a tardy parent out of the door.

Caroline, Leicester

A Ring home and speak to them. This will for most get them there on time, as the parents will tell you that they dropped them off 20 minutes before they had to be there. Kids usually dawdle. For these pupils, agree a consequence with the parents such as no break - they will soon get the message.

If there is a reason, perhaps the parent isn't aware that it's an issue and doesn't realise that they need to drop the child off early for them to be on time.

Jo, Somerset

A I run a system which is that for every three lates they have a 30-minute detention.

As far as I'm concerned they have had time to get used to buses and so on, and it is time to take responsibility. Yes, the buses might be late now and again, but not if you get an early enough one in our area, and it is good training for the world of work.

Anne, South-east London

A Under the workload agreement, chasing absence and late pupils is not your job. Your head of year should be doing this, not you. They get the big bucks - let them earn it.

Just put the kids in detention when they have three lates. If you like, make the detention the sum of the three lates.

Adam, Cardiff

Next week's question

I have several Year 56 pupils who persistently "forget" to bring their homework back or return it a few days late. Does anyone have a good homework system and what should I do with the offenders?

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