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Alex Sobel speaks out against "cruel and demeaning" isolation booths at Leeds event

Alex Sobel, MP for Leeds North West, has condemned the use of isolation booths to discipline children at school, calling them “cruel and demeaning”.

Isolation booths are cubicle size booths in which students who have broken school rules are placed alone - often for hours, and sometimes days at a time - in silence, copying out textbooks.

In a passionate speech to the “Lose the Booths” campaign event at Carr Manor Community School on Saturday, Alex argued that the use of isolation booths undermines the self-esteem of children and are particularly harmful for students with special educational needs.

At present, government advice to headteachers and schools staff does not include a time limit on how long school students should be placed in isolation as punishment, and many campaigners argue that the method is archaic and ineffective.

Speaking after the event Alex said: “This form of punishment disproportionately affects the most vulnerable students in our schools, notably SEN and BAME pupils. Our schools are facing a mental health crisis and isolation as punishment is making the situation much worse for many children.”

“I am now in the process of taking the government to task by asking for a review of their guidance and hope that, if not banned outright, stricter controls on how the booths are used, will be introduced.”

Callum Wetherill, who organised the event, said “we are so glad to have Alex on board, he has been a relentless campaigner against isolation booths both in and out of parliament and has been a champion for student mental health.”


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