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Teenagers at Outwood Academy Ormesby in Middlesbrough must stand with their left foot on a line and raise their hand in the air for silence at break time. The school says the new rule shows teachers that children are paying attention at the end of their breaks but parents have branded it “disgusting” and “disgraceful”.
Lisa Thompson, whose 13-year-old daughter Sienna attends the school, said: “It’s not good, I’m not going to let my daughter do that in school.
“In my eyes they’re in there to be taught school work not to be lined up in a playground. It’s just a joke, it’s just not acceptable.
“They’re doing a stand like Hitler. I think it’s disgusting, it’s disgraceful.”
Lisa, 39, has told Sienna not to take part in the lining up method and wants communication from the school to improve.
The shop assistant added: “She doesn’t like it, she said ‘mam I’m not doing it’.
“I know some kids stand there and laugh about it but it’s not a laughing matter, this is serious.
“They haven’t informed us about what they have been putting in place.
“Don’t you think they have been through enough with all this covid business.
“They have got a pandemic and they’re telling them to do that in school.
“We didn’t know there was a new head until the kids came and told us.”
They’re doing a stand like Hitler. I think it’s disgusting, it’s disgraceful
Lisa Thompson, parent of a child at the school
Two of Samantha Sawdon’s children attend the school, which caters for around 900 kids and was rated as Good by Ofsted after its last inspection.
Samantha, a full-time mum, compared the method to that at a military camp. She claimed children were even shouting ‘Heil Hitler!’ but the school says that, if anything like this was heard, it would not be tolerated.
“It’s like a military camp – it’s like a salute. Why are the kids having to raise their hand,” Samantha said.
“It’s just not positive. We shouldn’t be giving out that system for children. It’s a really bad thing to be putting out there.
“In primary school you raise your hand to get attention. They’re going against what they are told as a child – put your arm up to get help.
“I feel they are being turned into performing monkeys. What are they going to do next? Rub their tummy when they’re hungry? It’s an unnecessary action.
“They’re being treated like little children. My son is 15-years-old and he’s about to leave to go out to work.”
Samantha, who has four other children, claimed she emailed the school about the rules on Monday but did not receive a response.
The 40-year-old mum continued: “I don’t have issue with them standing in line. But standing with their left foot and then putting their hand up to be quiet – it’s gone a bit far.
“The kids have been through a lot. They’ve gone to school after a horrible two years of homeschooling.”
The school says reaction to the new method has generally been positive.
Gemma Trattles, Associate Executive Principal at Outwood, said the raising of the hand has been brought in to show teachers that pupils are paying attention.
She said: “We introduced this process for entering the school at the start of the day and end of break times this week, and the feedback from students has been really positive, which makes these complaints all the more surprising and saddening to hear.
“Although we have only introduced this process, children across the country have been lining up after break and lunch times for decades and the raising of the hand is simply a gesture that informs the teacher that the student is attentive and ready to enter the classroom. Again, this is something that happens in many schools.
“Also, we want to state clearly that if any student is heard saying phrases like those the parent has alleged, this would not be tolerated in school as it is completely unacceptable.”
Ms Trattles said the school wants to work with their parent community to help better support the students.
She said that, while they can confirm numerous letters from the new Head of School have been sent to parents, as part of their ongoing process of learning and improving they will look at alternative ways they could have delivered the news to parents.
Ms Trattles added: “We hope with this issue behind us, the school community will come together to work with our new Head of School, Toni Wilden, to help continue the good work the school is doing to raise standards and transform the lives of our students.”
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