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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Ethan Davies

"Sure fire way to give them problems down the line": Tameside school blasted for 'no contact' rule

A school in Mossley has introduced a controversial new rule for its students — banning them from physical contact with one another. Mossley Hollins High School says it has brought in the rule to ‘further improve our positive school culture’.

The Huddersfield Road school says that ‘no student should ever be touching another student’. This includes a ban on ‘carrying of other students, cuddling, or play fighting’, including during their breaktime and lunch hour.

However, its introduction has brought the ire of parents on social media. Some people have also contacted the Manchester Evening News directly about the issue, with woman describing it as ‘harsh’.

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In its regular newsletter posted on the school’s website, the school updated parents on the so-called ‘no contact’ rule. The rule was brought in for five reasons, the ‘Newsflash’ said.

They include ensuring that students ‘feel safe in school’, have ‘a supportive environment in and outside of lessons’, ‘demonstrate mutual respect and are kind to each other, have ‘positive attitudes towards each other’, and have ‘healthy relationships with their peers’.

The page explaining the new rule goes on to explain how it will be policed in practical terms. It said: “What does ‘no contact’ actually mean for our students? Always be safe by being careful and showing courtesy. No toy fighting or rough play. Never push or pull others. Keep your hands and feet to yourself.

(Colin Horne - Manchester Evening News)

Physical contact and verbal abuse to others are not permitted. No jumping on each other, cuddling and no carrying of each other. No throwing of any objects. No holding places or jumping in line when queuing for lunch. Sit properly on benches and do not overcrowd.

It continued: “This new rule has been made very clear to all of our students so that they all understand. Teaching and support staff have led presentations this week explaining our expectations so that every student understands why we are implementing this rule.”

Emma Halpin, who left the school in 2019, says ‘nobody seems to be in favour’ of the no contact directive. She told the MEN : “I used to go to the school, and I still know people there. Nobody seems to be in favour of it, from what I have seen.

“It does not seem to be going down very well. A lot of students feel pressured with the rules so far.”

What do you think? Message us in the comments below

Other comments on social media asked if students could provide first aid to an injured child, or if they would be allowed to ‘hug’ a friend to comfort them. Another one to comment was a Labour councillor for the Tameside borough.

Sam Gosling, who represents Stalybridge North, added: “This is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen in my life! Wow! Teaching children not to show affection to their friends is a sure fire way to give them problems down the line. If my child went to this school I would be absolutely fuming.”

A spokesperson for the school said: “This trial no contact policy builds on over 25 years of our no contact practice. It is not new but just clearer. It aims to ensure all students can enjoy their own personal space and comes at a time when so many young students have missed out on this great practice at primary school and are learning again to socialise well together.

"We have used our years of good practice to create this easy-to-follow policy to help our younger students. Behaviour has always been excellent at the school but students and staff say the atmosphere is even calmer, friendlier and kinder than before. We will be monitoring the policy’s impact on healthy play and dialogue at break and lunchtime, outside, and we always listen to good ideas when communicated to us using the proper channels.”

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