One of my students regularly plays truant from tutor time to escape after-school detentions and I need some ideas for consequences, rewards or deterrents to improve his behaviour and respect for the school rules. The detentions are usually for non-serious issues - for example, missed homework - and most are now a step up from failing to attend the first one. The pastoral staff put him on report after I pushed for this. In our school the policy is: a half-hour detention, escalating to a one-hour detention, then to an hour and a half detention on a Friday and finally to a two-hour detention on a Saturday. The last resort is internal exclusion, which involves the student being removed from lessons. Unfortunately, this boy doesn't care about being internally excluded and would rather this than attend on a Saturday. He doesn't take part in school clubs and his grades aren't awful. Home is not supportive and his parents probably struggle with his attitude more than the school does.
What you said
We sometimes roll all detentions into a day's internal exclusion, just so we are not fighting a losing battle and to give the student a fresh start. Could you get someone to collect him from his lesson so that he comes to the tutor time? Or what about turning it round and finding reasons for him to attend instead? Some of the students I've worked with will do all sorts of things for a chocolate biscuit or a positive phone call home. As his form tutor, you need to make him that feel that you are on his side and helping him to solve the problem. Even though he says he doesn't care, chances are he would like to be successful in school and in life.
The expert view
You need to escalate this up the school ladder - you can't do this alone. Have a line manager set a more serious detention and arrange to have him collected from his last lesson. If there's a series of missed detentions then you need to involve more senior staff immediately. This isn't simply a series of low-level misbehaviours, this is a cumulative and large problem. This lad is learning that actions don't have consequences, which is a dangerous lesson as it won't apply when he leaves school and enters the outside world.
Tom Bennett is author of The Behaviour Guru. Read more from Tom on his TES Connect blog or follow him on Twitter at @tesBehaviour. Watch his behaviour videos at www.tesconnect.combehaviourvideos
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