A school in the UK has banned teachers from blowing a whistle because it is “too aggressive” and might scare the children.

Teachers have been told stop blowing the whistle and start to raise a hand in the air to let youngsters know their break time is over, reports The Mirror.

Teaching assistant Pamela Cunningham, who revealed the ban in a letter to Country Life magazine, said: “It’s thought some children may be afraid of the noise.

“We now have to raise a hand and hope the children – all 120 of them – see it and stop playing.”

She said staff at St Monica’s Catholic Primary in Milton Keynes, Bucks, are worried a hand signal may not be enough in emergencies.

Professor Alan Smithers, of Buckingham University, said: “We have become over-sensitive. Sharp noises are very good signals. What about football and hockey referees and fire alarms?”

Child psychologist Emma Kenny said: “If a child is taught the signal, there’s no reason to fear it. We need to let them know they shouldn’t be afraid of loud noises.

“Show me a playground where children are cowering in the corner. We forget how resilient they are. I think we are at a time where health and safety is fundamentally eradicating childhood.

“From my many years of experience with children and working with primary schools, I am yet to find a child who is scared of a whistle.”

“It is ridiculous. I am completely behind the teacher in what she has said.

“But what about things like the Olympics where they use starter guns and things like that.”

My first thought was that’s crazy!  But then I began to wonder does anyone even use a whistle anymore? Most schools these days have a bell that chimes at break times. Don’t they?

Dr Justin Coulson, one of Australia’s leading parenting experts, had similar thoughts it seems. He told Tracy at Mouths of Mums, “It seems strange to me that the school doesn’t have a normal bell like most schools. Certainly, the sound of a whistle can be alarming. I’d imagine that someone who had experienced extreme trauma – perhaps as a refugee or a victim of war – might find anything like that frightening. If a child is genuinely distressed about a whistle or bell, then we certainly should be mindful of that, and help them to overcome the issue with professional help.
But… under typical circumstances this is simply absurd. Allowance should be made for those with legitimate challenges. Other than that, it seems ridiculous. “

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  • sorry but it is only the smallest minority of children, here in australia, that would have experienced war backgrounds. I assume the same goes for the U.K. My gosh, this is getting beyond a joke…..why don’t we ban buses from the school too because they are noisy and could also provoke fear (due to their size) and road anxiety……Just give it a year or so……..


  • I agree with this article. Under normal circumstances a bell or whistle to announce the end of the break and the beginning of school time is totally fine in my opinion.


  • Political correctness gone wrong. I think we are all over analysing everything these days with kids. First day of high school I thought there was an air raid siren at 9am only to realise it was the bell. I learnt it wasn’t scary.


  • A whistle is less aggressive then yelling at children.. This is pathetic


  • This seems silly. The kids will be expecting the whistle as playtime draws to a close


  • Omg what is next? They cannot tell kids off for being disruptive?

    • When the children of a relative of mine started school in the late 1980s -early 90s, amongst a few things when they started school they were told if they didn’t want to do what their parents asked them to do they didn’t have to. “kids have rights” Kids aren’t stupid. Many work out that Mum and dad are adults, so are their teachers……remember, they don’t have to do what they are asked to do if they don’t want to. If parents or other adults yell at them it is verbal abuse (not using bad language -just yelling). result: kids know they don’t have to do things…or do what they like and disrupt class. Now that generation is finding it hard to eradicate bad behaviour etc from their children. I know families that follow previous examples and teach good manners, right from wrong, to do as they are asked etc. Others don’t and you can easily tell the difference in childrens’ behaviour and general attitude.
      Some schools have strict rules, others if they do don’t enforce them. Some kids are in for a huge shock when they leave school and try to get employment. If they get one, a lot don’t want to do as they are asked.


  • Yep – this is just silly.


  • Don’t want any whistle blowers do they?


  • Ok so if I wasnt expecting to hear a blast ob a whistle then yeah i would jump because it gave me a fright but I wouldnt continue to be scared. Seems like someone has nothing better to do then to think up foolish ways to make a name for themselves.


  • I think this is crazy! It’s a whistle most kids want to play with then. I’m yet to meet a school age kid who is scared of a whistle


  • This will end us causing more problems if teachers cannot get childrens’ attention. How long before this stupid idea is scrapped?


  • Whistles were used when l did sports and l don’t see how it can scare children.


  • We grew up with the whistle, and it was never feared. As stated above, if taught what the whistles purpose is, then children will not be scared. I don’t know how a hand in the air will work for 120 children…


  • I find the all thing quite funny! What if indeed the kids don’t see a raised hand? What if you need to catch kid’s attention because of a dangerous situation?


  • Yeah I definitely don’t agree with this one.


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