Anger at two-hour detentions at Black Country academies

More than 1,000 angry parents have called for a punishment scheme to be scrapped at four Black Country academy schools.

Beacon Hill Academy, pictured here as it was formerly known as High Arcal
Beacon Hill Academy, pictured here as it was formerly known as High Arcal

Parents of pupils at academies in Dudley have called on governing bodies to get rid of two-hour detentions as they claim it is putting their children’s ‘lives at risk’.

They say the academies are being too severe with their penalty system, in which pupils lose ‘lines’ for actions such as having an un-tucked shirt, using the wrong pens and forgetting PE kits.

Each ‘line’ is recorded in the pupil’s planner, and according to parents, losing eight lines means spending a day out of lessons and in isolation.

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A petition set up to oppose two-hour detentions across the trust’s schools - Beacon Hill Academy, Pegasus Academy, St James Academy and The Link Academy - had gained 1,160 signatures by Thursday evening.

Comments on the petition brand the system as ‘absolutely disgusting’ and ‘ridiculous’ and call for the detentions to be stopped.

But academy bosses said pupils are ‘no longer distracted by misbehaviour’ in classes and said the safety of students was a ‘critical concern’.

Jo Higgins, chief executive officer of Dudley Academies Trust, said: “We expect the highest standards of behaviour from our learners and introduced a new set of Values Driven Expectations across all four of our schools at the beginning of term.

“This system is based on what our own learners told us they wanted to see.

"Our learners and our teachers have welcomed this change because it has had a significant positive impact, and many parents have been highly supportive.

"Our learners tell us that they are no longer distracted by misbehaviour in class, and they are very positive about the rewards that they can earn for setting a good example.

"I understand that parents whose children are in detention will not necessarily be happy about this, but I can assure them that standards are applied fairly and consistently.

"We end our school day at 2.45pm and parents receive 24 hours’ notice if their child is in detention, to allow time to ensure arrangements can be made for students to make their way home.

"The safety of our students is of critical concern to us and we welcome any parents or carers who do have specific concerns about their child to contact the school; we’re happy to talk to you."

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