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Cambridge parent calls for an end to 'Behaviour Hubs' in schools

A Cambridge parent has called on the Department for Education (DfE) to abandon ‘behaviour hubs’ in schools, labelling them as “something out of the dark ages”.

Nadhim Zahawi Photo: PA Media (52060830)
Nadhim Zahawi Photo: PA Media (52060830)

A petition by Marta Fernandez Pinel has been signed by more than 15,000 parents and she is now hoping the new secretary of state for education, Nadhim Zahawi, will listen to the views expressed against the hubs from across the UK.

Mrs Fernandez Pinel said: “It is a terrible thing. The school my sons go to in Cambridgeshire has just been taken over by an academy and they have started going completely bonkers. Since previous education secretary Gavin Williamson created behaviour hubs to help teach other schools how to ‘optimise behaviour’, our children have been suffering through a disciplinary system more akin to what you would find in a Victorian novel than in the 21st century.

“When you get two strikes you spend the whole day in what is called ‘reflection’, where children miss out on periods of learning. The teachers say they are following the government but they are acting like police officers.”

Mrs Fernandez Pinel she was “not trying to damage the school” but just wants to “make a difference”.

She said: “The children face a constant threat of punishment for misdemeanours such as not having a top button done up, forgetting a highlighter or not wearing a jumper in 30 degrees heat. These transgressions are recorded on a ‘card of shame’ students wear round their neck at all times, or they are sent to ‘reflection’ leading to missed time in the classroom and public humiliation.”

“Behaviour is important in learning, but we need to look beyond cosmetic lists of misdemeanours to real matters of mutual respect and human relationships,” she added.

The DfE is funding a three-year, £10m programme to improve pupil behaviour. The programme pairs schools and multi academy trusts (MAT) with exemplary behaviour practices with partner schools or MATs who want and need to improve pupil behaviour.

The programme is flexible with a tailored offer of support depending on partner schools’ circumstances.

The DfE says the programme will expand next year to help reach the target of 500 supported schools over the three-year programme.

Sign the petition at bit.ly/3FgYzpM.

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