Pathways To Learning... Since 2005 Hong Kong Registered School 566985

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By Ruth Puentespina

Although The Chokey was a figment of Roald Dahl’s imagination, schools — and the use of isolation as a punishment — like the one Matilda attended are a reality in the UK. Isolating students for bad behavior has a huge negative impact on their mental health. Being made to stand or sit alone for extended periods of time could trigger trauma previously experienced, and cause further harm to the student.

The UK’s Department of Education has said it will publish “clearer, more consistent guidance” on exclusions and behaviour this summer. That being said, it is important to note that isolation has been seen as an effective means in calming down students with mental differences. Children on the autism spectrum who experience overstimulation may need to reintegrate in a safe space — a Quiet Room — in order to be able to re-join the bigger group. Of course, isolation lasting an extended period of time is definitely something to avoid but all in all this punishment should be reconsidered for other more effective forms.

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