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Angry mum-of-four slams school where children are forced to walk silently in single file 'like robots'


An angry mum has slammed her children's school where pupils are forced to walk in single file to their classes "like robots".
Myfanwy Tregowyn, from Coventry, said Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School has turned into a "prison".
The mum-of-four has two children at the school, a daughter in Year 10 and an autistic son in Year 7, with her youngest due to start in September - but says she is now unsure what to do after her eldest begged her to let her move.
Myfanwy accused the school of "stopping children from being children" after her own kids told her about the new school rules, the Coventry Telegraph reports.
She said: "The children were taken out of lessons to practise walking quietly in single file and if anyone came out of line they would get the whistle blown at them.
"It’s a new school rule, they have to now walk in single file and in silence between lessons. And you get sent to isolation if you don’t follow it.
"My daughter said it’s like being in prison."
Myfanwy claimed she was told by a teacher that the new rule was put into place for safety reasons.
She said: “I asked the teacher and they said it was a safeguarding issue because they have people with extra needs and children are too boisterous, so it’s to make sure that all children get to lessons safely.
“But it’s getting beyond a joke. It’s like they are trying to stop the children from being children.
“I got a text message from my daughter saying the rules are absolutely ridiculous and that they can’t walk around anywhere without being told off.
“She told me she wants to move schools and go somewhere else. She’s only got one year left, but she said she didn’t even care if she got held back a year.”
Myfanwy claimed the children’s break times had been reduced this year, which the school has denied.
She also voiced concerns about children being told not to wear their coats in school.
“They can wear coats to and from the school but not inside the building so they have to carry them around,” she said.
“They are expected to take them off in lessons but I’ve heard from someone else that kids have even been told to remove their coats before they have even got inside the building.
The school said pupils are only told to remove coats during lesson time.
Myfanwy, who also has a niece in Year 11, claims a heavy workload of coursework has resulted in GCSE pupils being told to attend extra lessons during school holidays.
She said: “Year 11s have to stay until 6.30pm to do extra lessons. My niece still has to go into school on the Easter break – they don’t seem to have any choice in the matter. The school have denied that extra lessons are compulsory but Myfanwy is concerned that the workload is too much for children.
“They are going to burn them out before they’ve even taken their exams.”
Cardinal Wiseman said the school is looking to “mirror” practices at other high-performing schools.
But Myfanwy suggested that some of the new changes may make pupils rebel.
She said: “Everyone with half a brain knows if a child feels caged in they will start to concentrate on fighting the rules and will lose their interest. Repressed people don’t like to learn in the first place. It’s like they are trying to turn students into robots.
“My son who’s autistic is not going to cope well with walking everywhere in silence in single file. He’s actively going to fight against it and that’s not his fault.
“It’s kind of scary as a parent to see how upset my kids are at having to leave the house every morning to go there.”
In January it was revealed that due to financial difficulties the school was planning a restructure which could result in some staff being made redundant.
The Academy secondary school has around 1,300 students and is part of the Romero Catholic Academy group which runs a further seven Catholic primary schools in Coventry.
The mum said she was a big fan of the school up until recently but she is unimpressed with the new changes.
She added: “I know they are in financial difficulties. But they have cut classes and are stripping the school of everything that made Wiseman Wiseman.”
Tom Leverage, headteacher at Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School, said: “Cardinal Wiseman is improving standards within the school to ensure children are given the best possible education to support them in their futures.
“The popularity of the school has been confirmed in both a recent growth in numbers and over-subscription in Year 7.
“The school has introduced a new leadership team which is currently bringing in practices that will improve the life chances of the children and also rapidly improve behaviour standards.
“The team has also built strong partnership links with partner schools such as Saint Augustine’s Catholic High School, in Redditch, which has recently been confirmed as the top performing school in the Midlands.
“Pupils are allowed to wear coats and scarves inside the buildings but are asked to take them off during lesson time. Break time has not changed and has always been 20 minutes.
“As one of the largest schools in Coventry, the safety of our pupils is of highest priority and the movement of 1,300 pupils across site throughout the day is extremely important.
“As such, children are required to walk in an orderly manner along designated routes in narrow corridors and stairwells to improve the movement around the school. The school sets the same extremely high standards for behaviour in the corridors as it has in the classrooms.
“The school has looked to mirror current practices at some of the highest performing schools across the city as it looks to increase its aspirations for the benefit of all pupils.
“Our Year 11s have access to a wide range of after school revision and support sessions, including access to support with issues around managing the stress and workload of exams. We also run an extensive series of revision lessons during the school holidays that are staffed by experienced teaching staff.
“All of the extra sessions are optional, however we have had a tremendous response from both pupils and parents for the extra help and guidance these lessons have provided and have even had requests for more.
“I am always open to suggestions of how to improve the educational experiences of the children of our school community and would always encourage parents to contact us with their feedback.”
The school also said some parents contacted it with thanks for the improved standards, particularly relating to the movement around the corridors.

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