Ask a teacher

6th April 2007 at 01:00
I have heard that some schools have "soft" rooms where violent children can go wild without hurting themselves or anyone else. How does your school respond to these children?

Katie, Cambridge

A A soft room is a tempting concept, although it does have unfortunate echoes of the padded cell. An assessment of the risks of taking action should be weighed against the risks of not taking any in planning any strategy. Perhaps it's only when a school has faced legal proceedings arising out of such incidents that such matters are properly addressed.

Sue, East Grinstead

A I accept some pupils need "time out" to calm down but violent pupils can threaten the safety and rights of staff and other pupils. Inclusion is a contentious issue, as time and resources are often directed towards an individual pupil - but what about the rights of the rest of the class? John, Cumbria

A The first responsibility of school management is the duty of care towards the pupil, other children and not least to staff. As to what to do with these pupils, a good rule of thumb is - based on the degree of risk, get the "problem" pupils off the premises and to a safe place.

Malcolm, Ebbw Vale

A Staff at our large primary were fed up with unrealistic strategies where we were told to ignore violent outbursts, while pupils were rewarded.

We decided on a firm and consistent approach, involving parents, pupils, staff, governors and the community warden.

We linked up with the local secondary school, which has a "soft" room. All staff are trained in "positive handling". Violent outbursts are dealt with swiftly. Pupils are safely removed from class and sent to the soft room, where they can repeat their outburst or talk with a trained counsellor.

Life is much happier now.

Bridget, Rainham

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