Dad slams Ramsey school’s zero-tolerance approach

A MAN has refused to let his son go to school for fear he will be put in “isolation” for breaking Abbey College’s zero-tolerance rules.

Joseph Badcock, of Newtown Road, Ramsey, was given a 30-minute after-school detention after he forgot to bring a pencil to school – falling foul of the college’s new policy of punishing all misdemeanours, no matter how small.

The 15-year-old got another detention for drinking during a science lesson.

His father Matthew, pictured, told the school that Joseph was not permitted to stay behind at the end of the day because he suffers from Crohn’s Disease. Instead, the school said Joseph had to be put in isolation, which meant he would be supervised by a member of staff teaching another class, and away from his usual peers.

But the thought troubled Joseph so much that he absconded from school for an hour on Tuesday last week and the police were brought in to find him, Mr Badcock said. The school told the family it would not budge on its policy and sent a letter, hand-delivered by a PCSO, stating its expectations.

Joseph has been home for a week and Mr Badcock said he would not give in to the school’s demands.

“I am happy for him to do lunchtime detentions but there is no way I am disturbing family time after school,” he said. “I am not sending him back to school to be isolated.”

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Deputy headteacher Andy Christoforou said it was important the school had the zero-tolerance measures in place.

He said: “It is not a big deal to say to students ‘bring your pen into school’.”

The motivation for the regulations, he said, was the realisation amongst teachers that students could be missing up to five weeks of learning time every year because of low-level disruptions in class, as previously reported by The Hunts Post.

“We think those extra five weeks would be valuable,” he said. “We want students to have the maximum learning time.”

Lunchtime detentions were not an option because staff and pupils needed to have breaks in order to function best during the school day, Mr Christoforou said, but he admitted: “We know that not everyone is going to get everything right. However, we are doing them no favours if we do not have these rules.

“Employers say they are looking for people who respond politely and turn up to work on time. It will stand them in good stead in the future.”

On Tuesday, Mr Christoforou offered to allow Joseph to take his detentions during breaktime.

However, Mr Badcock said the system was not good for all pupils, especially Joseph.

In a letter to Mr Christoforou, he said the school’s policy “adds to the stress Joseph is feeling and is detrimental to his health and well-being”.