20th January 2012 at 00:00
The problem - Pupils who have been sent out of lessons at my school are being returned to the classroom. I only send pupils out for serious infractions and try to resolve issues in a private conversation away from an audience, but sometimes this does not work. We can send pupils to another colleague, but that has its limitations in a challenging environment like ours. Any solutions?

What you said

We can only send pupils to a "buddy" after we have been through the consequences routine. I could happily have dispatched several today, but it's just not practical, is it? So what happens? They remain in the classroom, disrupting others and testing your patience to the limit. It's even worse if you do supply. Detention is the key.


The expert view

To my mind, sending pupils out has only a few practical purposes. First, it gives them time to calm down and get a bit of a grip. This works best with kids who fly off the handle, then calm down, then remember their manners.

Second, it allows them to calm down following something upsetting - it might be a cuss, or a rubber in the eye. Sending out can be done for victims, too, who may need a moment to recover from an upset.

Both of these situations are designed to reintegrate the pupil without serious impact to their education, or that of the class. The aim should be to return them in 10 minutes, usually less. Ten minutes in a corridor is a long time, though it flies by in the classroom; in that way, it's like Narnia.

The corridor isn't a solution to anything other than your immediate need to not have them in the room. It's unsupervised and kids know when they have been abandoned, as well as Tango'd. Send them out of the room for an extended period, but do so in a way that minimises simply casting them out. If they are vile, they need to be removed and other strategies put in place.

If some well-meaning Billy Big Balls sweeps a kid back into your classroom, then ask yourself, "Have they been out for only a few minutes?" If the answer is yes, then stick to your guns and say, "Yes, they can remain outside, I'll deal with them soon". If they have been out for some time and they need to still be out, then ask the staff member to remove them. Good luck.

Tom Bennett is author of `The Behaviour Guru' and `Not Quite a Teacher'. Post your questions at

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today