Mum re­acts to si­lence rule


Solihull News - - FRONT PAGE - ASH­LEY PREECE ash­ley. [email protected] reach­plc. com

A MUM is teach­ing her 14- year- old son at home – af­ter pulling him out of school in a protest against pupils be­ing forced to walk in si­lence.

Mother- of- four Jen­nifer Kearns has been school­ing her son in their din­ing room since Novem­ber 5, when Ninestiles, An Academy in Acocks Green in­tro­duced so- called ‘ silent cor­ri­dors’.

Jen­nifer, who suf­fers from health is­sues and can barely walk due to a crip­pling spinal dis­or­der, says: “I just had to take him out of that en­vi­ron­ment be­cause it wouldn’t have suited him. Due to pre­vi­ous is­sues at home it took him a while for him to talk and, with that in mind, ban­ning kids from com­mu­ni­ca­tion would, in my opin­ion, have been a back­wards step.

“Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and speak­ing to peo­ple is the big­gest skill a child can learn. Chil­dren should be shar­ing their ex­pe­ri­ences at school. I’ve spo­ken to dozens of fel­low par­ents, teach­ers, ex- teach­ers and only three peo­ple I’ve spo­ken to agree with Ninestiles’ pol­icy, that silent cor­ri­dors are ac­tu­ally a pos­i­tive thing.”

Jen­nifer’s son re­mains a Year 9 stu­dent at Ninestiles, with the only dif­fer- ence be­ing that the teenager is taught by his mum at home.

“We get up, as nor­mal, at 7am,” ex­plains Jen­nifer, 43. “He gets his uni­form on and we start around 9.30am to 10 o’clock af­ter I’ve dropped my daugh­ter to school and I’ve had a cup of tea.

“It’s pretty full on. I get sent sci­ence work, course­work, book­lets and les­son plans from some of the teach­ers at the school.

“I’ve spent a for­tune on pa­per and ink. Some of the work can be web- based, too. And we’ve spent money on buy­ing sec­ond­hand books.

“We fly through the work and we’re done by 12.30pm to 1pm. It’s great to be in­volved in his ed­u­ca­tion. It’s fab. He’s a to­tally dif­fer­ent child to when he used to come home from school.

“At some of the par­ents’ evenings I used to go to, I wanted to be in­formed on how he’d been do­ing but I felt I was locked out of his learn­ing, not know­ing how he’d been get­ting on.”

Jen­nifer re­mains adamant her son will not re­turn to Ninestiles, An Academy while the strict noise ban be­tween les­sons re­mains in place.

Last month, school chiefs apol­o­gised to par­ents over a “lack of con­sul­ta­tion” re­gard­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of silent cor- ri­dors. Alex Hughes, act­ing co- head of the school, said: “It would not be ap­pro­pri­ate for us to com­ment on an in­di­vid­ual child. When­ever we have cases where a child is not present in the class­room for a pe­riod of time we will sup­port their on­go­ing progress by pro­vid­ing work in line with the school cur­ricu­lum, reg­u­lar parental con­tact and ex­pert ad­vice and guid­ance on how to best cater for their de­vel­op­ing needs.

“We are pleased to re­port that we are work­ing closely with our stu­dents to con­tinue to phase in the silent tran­si­tions. Stu­dent feed­back has demon­strated that the sig­nif­i­cant ma­jor­ity un­der­stand the ra­tio­nale for the pol­icy and that staff and stu­dents alike have seen les­sons start more promptly and with more pur­pose.”

Jen­nifer Kearns has take her son out of Ninestiles, An Academy af­ter the school in­tro­duced silent cor­ri­dors

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