Nappy Valley: any school with idiotic rules worth flagging?

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SouthLondonDaddy
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Nappy Valley: any school with idiotic rules worth flagging?

Postby SouthLondonDaddy » Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:37 pm

As per other threads, we are considering moving to the nappy valley, most likely to Balham, less likely to Putney. We have started our research into primary schools – mostly state, non-faith schools.

My question is: do you know of any particularly idiotic rule or policy (especially wrt uniforms) in these schools that you think is worth flagging? These would be big red flags for me because they could be traumatising for a small child (eg children in detention for not wearing the right uniform, even though the official supplier contacted months ago has run out of stock), and because they’re a sign the headmaster is likely to be a repressed control freak who doesn’t have the right priorities for the school. Please note that a school can be rated good or outstanding and still apply such rules.

Some examples of what I have in mind (all incidents which have happened outside the nappy valley AFAIK):

School somewhere up north lining up students in the rain and checking whether the trousers are the right shade of grey (apparently there are more than 50!).

Children held in detention for not wearing the right uniform, even though an order was placed months ago but the official supplier has run out of stock.

Primary school children forced to walk with hands clasped behind their back because “this helps them achieve the best in life” or some similar waffle. Really? How? Why?

Same as above in Leicestershire, but for “safety reasons”. Isn’t it less safe if a child trips and falls over with his hands behind his back?

Uniform inadequate for the weather (not warm enough in the winter, too warm in the summer) and the school not listening to reason.

Children in detention for not respecting the uniform code, despite notes from parents and doctors explaining why (eg children with hypermobility syndrome not wearing the school shoes).

the parsley song
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Re: Nappy Valley: any school with idiotic rules worth flagging?

Postby the parsley song » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:41 pm

I haven't heard of anything like that in the 12+ years I've been raising my family here, but those are the sort of questions you can ask (probably don't put it in the same way as you posted on here ;) ) at the open days/school tours to find out if you are going to hate the school ethos or not.

Bunnypigeon1
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Re: Nappy Valley: any school with idiotic rules worth flagging?

Postby Bunnypigeon1 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:24 pm

You sound angry with all schools in general!
I think there is a broad spectrum of how strict schools are in relation to things like uniform and discipline. At our school (private, old fashioned) they are very pedantic about school uniform and will immediately flag it if something is not just right. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some schools have no uniform at all and very lax rules in general. You need to go and see them, get a feel for them and try and to get to know current students and their parents.

petal
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Re: Nappy Valley: any school with idiotic rules worth flagging?

Postby petal » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:50 pm

Sounds more like someone doing research for a story to me .... maybe I'm being cynical but very specific questions and examples..
Perhaps looking for a similar story to run about NV?

SouthLondonDaddy
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Re: Nappy Valley: any school with idiotic rules worth flagging?

Postby SouthLondonDaddy » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:29 pm

petal wrote:Perhaps looking for a similar story to run about NV?


:lol: Yes, I am a journalist in disguise. But such a patient one, that I have been asking questions about Balham and Putney for months, on such controversial topics as where to park a motorcycle, general feedback on the area, reliability of public transport, where to find playgrounds and ice cream parlours, etc. All topics which are ideal for tabloid-like sensationalist "stories", right? If you click on my nickname you should be able to see all my posts.

Or, maybe, just maybe, I am genuinely interested in moving to the area for the reasons I mentioned, and am genuinely enquiring about a number of things relevant for a young family.

You are, of course, free to think what you want.

Bunnypigeon1 wrote:You sound angry with all schools in general!

Why did you get this impression? I am angry against many things about our current education system, but not against schools in general. I am angry that taxpayers fund state faith schools which discriminate on religion (imagine an NHS hospital prioritising by religion because the land belongs to a church - it's what happens with schools!). Not much I can do about that, unfortunately, plus which schools are religious is pretty evident.
I am angry about schools coming up with capricious rules and enforcing them anally, and I'd like to make sure, to the extent it is possible, we don't send our child to one. This is less self evident (no school shouts from the rooftop that it's going to confiscate non-compliant coats and force children to walk home with no coat when it's freezing, but some have done it), hence the question.

SouthLondonDaddy
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Re: Nappy Valley: any school with idiotic rules worth flagging?

Postby SouthLondonDaddy » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:47 pm

PS some examples were fresh in my head because of a recent discussion on another forum: https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being ... 3#71901233

All part of my covert tactics to come up with a similar story for the NV, of course.

oab
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Re: Nappy Valley: any school with idiotic rules worth flagging?

Postby oab » Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:16 am

I haven't heard of any such stories around here. The schools I have heard of (and are regularly talked about on nvn) are all very reasonable. I don't think any of them do detentions at the primary school level, they are all quite nurturing.
It's different at secondary school level, where some are more strict in order to keep the discipline (e.g. Skirts for girls not too short, boys need to make sure they wear the tie, no make up, etc etc). But by then they are old enough to understand what is acceptable.
Like others said, when you visit the schools you will get a feel for yourself.
I think a lot of these horror stories are just outliers hyped up by the media ..

rooting4tooting
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Re: Nappy Valley: any school with idiotic rules worth flagging?

Postby rooting4tooting » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:19 am

Firstly I do not regard strict uniform policy to be a problem as long as the uniform can be obtained from more than one retailer.
Having said that, a strict uniform policy lays an equal ground for all pupils and families. They know where they stand and the rules apply to all. And I don't want to see different shades and lengths all over the place.
Having said that, a blue jumper is a blue jumper and if it comes from M&S, uniforms r us or Pringle it wouldn't matter to me, but might to the school.

SouthLondonDaddy
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Re: Nappy Valley: any school with idiotic rules worth flagging?

Postby SouthLondonDaddy » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:16 am

The discussion I linked is quite long, and unsurprisingly contains lots of points of views. I wasn’t really meaning to replicate it here, but, in summary:

The Sutton Trust is adamant there is no robust evidence that uniforms improve academic performance. If they are wrong and this evidence exists, I’d love to see it.

Finnish schools have no uniforms, yet are considered among the best in the world. Finland too far and different? OK, how about the Honeywell primary, in Balham. They have a dress code but no specific uniform. Is there any specific evidence that behaviour and academic performance are in any meaningful way different from those of the nearby schools, serving a comparable demographic, which do have uniforms?

I am not against all uniforms or dress codes. I think they can remove one reason for bullying, and relieve pressure off the poorer kids to follow the latest fashion trends – all the more important here, a much more unequal society than in Finland and other Nordic countries.
However, I am against capricious rules enforced anally.

Some rules put financial pressure on some families for no reason. Why be forced to buy black trousers from the designated shop? Why not buy cheaper ones elsewhere – how different can they be? Why not sew the logo on but be forced to buy clothes from that one shop?

Some rules and/or their enforcement may be inadequate for weather conditions. There are schools where pupils were punished for wearing the school-chosen coats indoors. Is being cold a crime? Or schools which confiscated non-compliant coats and forced children to walk home with no coat. Or schools where the summer uniform is too hot. Yes, heatwaves never last the whole summer but, still, why sweat like a pig?

Some rules are simply capricious. In fact, the huge disparity in uniform rules is a strong indicator of how subjective the matter is, and how there is no universally accepted notion of what a neat and tidy uniform should look like.

Lining up pupils in the rain to check whether trousers are the right shade of grey? Does wearing pantone cool grey 11 vs 11p (https://www.pantone.com/color-finder?q=grey ) have a massive impact on… what, exactly, and why? Is 11p the colour of gansters and 11 the colour of mature, well-behaved professionals?
I can understand punishing children who show up with broken denims, t-shirts with offensive text, etc. But how is checking for the right shade of grey a good use of anyone’s time? Any school that does it is a huge red flag for me because, like I said, it suggests they have their priorities upside down.

Another problem is that any person or institution which imposes useless, capricious rules loses credibility. How can pupils believe that other rules are there for a reason if they were punished for wearing the wrong shade of grey?

We’d do our children no favour bringing them to passively accept rules “because rules are rules”. There is nothing wrong with asking why, and a lot wrong with not asking it. Note that this has nothing to do with brining up spoilt brats: parents can still be very strict on behaviour, academic results etc, yet bring up their children to ask why. If everyone followed the ‘rules are rules; brigade, we’d still live in the middle ages.

And, before anyone brings up the workplace: most workplace dress codes are way more relaxed than those of most schools. Life is full of things which may not be fair and make little sense, and one must pick his battles – true, very true. What one should never do, though, is switch off his brain and say ‘rules are rules’.

I strongly hope these things are exceptions. But they do happen, and I find it perfectly reasonable to try to research the matter to make sure that, to the extent possible, our child doesn’t end up in one of these schools.

Re-reading this, I realise it’s gone quite off-topic. Maybe open another thread if you want to continue?

oab
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Re: Nappy Valley: any school with idiotic rules worth flagging?

Postby oab » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:46 am

SouthLondonDaddy - I personally agree with your view, but what exactly are you hoping to achieve by writing all this here??
Probably everyone disagrees with capricious rules, like the 11 vs 11p shade of grey. But I doubt this happens in many schools.
Re. Honeywell - the flip side of their no policy rules is it can be a nightmare for the parents in the morning, when children (especially the older girls) take ages to choose what to wear!! :roll:

SouthLondonDaddy
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Re: Nappy Valley: any school with idiotic rules worth flagging?

Postby SouthLondonDaddy » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:07 pm

oab wrote:SouthLondonDaddy - I personally agree with your view, but what exactly are you hoping to achieve by writing all this here??



What I hope to achieve is to be alerted to any of the potential red flags I mentioned. We have only just started researching schools, and luckily, until now we have not learnt of any specific major differences among the state schools we might consider. Sure, everyone has different opinions, the Ofsted rating are not the same for all, etc. but what I mean is that so far nothing specific seems to tip the scale in favour of, or against, a specific school. The red flags I mentioned would change that. If, as it seems and as I strongly hope, there won’t be any, well, one more reason to pull the trigger and make the move to Wandsworth.

PS No specific differences other than the pool at Henry Cavendish (a swimming pool in a state school – I never imagined it would be possible!), which is great but would not of course trump, by itself, other aspects ( a pool wouldn’t make up for poor teaching). To be clear, I’m not saying I have any reason to believe HC is a poor school, on the contrary; I’m just saying we’d never choose a school only because of the pool, obviously.


oab wrote:Re. Honeywell - the flip side of their no policy rules is it can be a nightmare for the parents in the morning, when children (especially the older girls) take ages to choose what to wear!! :roll:

Oh, yes, every time we have to “negotiate” with our daughter on what she wants to wear we think uniforms would be a welcome change from our current routine. For secondary school pupils it is, of course, different.

supergirl
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Re: Nappy Valley: any school with idiotic rules worth flagging?

Postby supergirl » Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:03 pm

Pfew what a long post to ask about uniforms. :shock:

You should spend this time going to the schools at pick up time and talk to a few parents/carer there about pastoral care, ethos, values and achievements. This will give far more insights on the school level of reasonableness (including uniforms policies) than asking for red flags re uniforms.

Our school is very inclusive and nurturing while academic and sporty... and the uniform policy reflect that.

Most of the schools around here are reasonable.

Joe's Mum
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Re: Nappy Valley: any school with idiotic rules worth flagging?

Postby Joe's Mum » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:20 pm

Send them to Ravenstone - no uniform, no aggro (and a fabulous school to boot).


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