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School chat ban for kids in corridors at Archway academy

'There will be a sanction for students who break this clear expectation,' says principal

14 September, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

City of London Academy Highgate Hill

AN academy school has banned talking in corridors, warning pupils they must stay quiet between lessons or face detention.

The new rules on silence at the City of London Academy Highgate Hill, Archway, have been compared to life in a Victorian prison by critics.

But the City, which took over the former Catholic school last September, insists the hush will lead to improved standards of behaviour.

Pupils who break the no-noise rule twice are handed a detention.

Tamkin Anwari, whose daughter has just started in Year 7 at the school in Holland Walk this term, said: “My daughter will definitely follow the [silence] rules but it’s going to be difficult for my son if he goes there.”

She added: “They are children, they are not adults, and we cannot expect them to stay quiet all day. When they are with friends, I am sure they will talk.”

The school wrote to parents in April and July to outline the changes being made.

A letter from principal Prince Gennuh published on the school’s website reads: “There has been a further improvement since I last wrote to you about our expectation regarding the atmosphere in our corridors.

“However, there is still a noticeable level of noise during lesson changeover times – this has been very disruptive to ongoing lessons.

“We are aiming for a scholastic atmosphere in the corridors at all times.

“Hence from September students will be given a warning when they leave their lessons and will be expected to walk in silence, and on the left to their next lessons or break.

“There will be a sanction for students who break this clear expectation.”

Ken Muller, a spokesman for Islington National Education Union, said: “Of course schools should require students to move around in an orderly way.

“But schools should also be joyful places and adopting ‘silent systems’ in corridors – with children banned from speaking to one another like those that were adopted in Victorian prisons – is unlikely to help make them so.”

Other rules include mobile phones being confiscated for a full term if they are seen and only two weeks if a phone is heard. The City did not clarify whether parents would be able to collect the phone before the end of term.

The City said parents were offered the opportunity to discuss changes with them but no objections were raised.

Since the introduction of the silence policy this term, no pupils have yet broken the rule. If they do, they receive a warning at first, then detention after that.

The school was previously the Mount Carmel School for Girls, but after a steady decline in student numbers, it was taken over by the City of London which transformed it into a mixed academy school.

The City also runs the City of London Academy Islington – formerly Islington Green School – and the City of London Academy Highbury Grove, previously the struggling Highbury Grove School.

A City of London Academies Trust spokesman said: “Since taking over the school in September 2017, the City of London Academy Highgate Hill has seen examination results and the progress of the children improve significantly.

“An important factor behind this has been driving up standards of behaviour across the school.

“The new policy around behaviour in the corridor builds on this progress by preventing lessons being disrupted by students in the corridors. We have a mobile phone policy that ensures all students are focused on their education while at school.

“These standards, coupled with exciting, engaging lessons have created a happy school where children succeed.”

What you’re views on the policy? Email your thoughts to letters@islingtontribune.com or write to The Letters Editor, Islington Tribune, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR.

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