Pupils at a Birmingham school have been issued with ‘‘tinkle cards’’ – which they must hold up in class if they want to use the toilet. And students at Castle Vale Performing Arts College have also been banned from talking in the classroom and warned they can only communicate with teachers via a series of bizarre hand-signals. Every pupil has been issued with a “tinkle card”. It states: “I am missing a super important learning opportunity because I need to tinkle.”
Another card given to pupils explains how they will have to “track” the teacher rather than talk to them, through a series of hand gestures which have specific meanings. The signals read: Holding up three fingers – I need to go to the toilet. Holding your nose with one hand and raising the other hand – I need a tissue. Raising one finger in the air – I need a pencil. Clasping your hands over your chest – I need paper or a book. Putting two fingers to your eyes and then pointing – Telling the teacher the pupil cannot see them.
One mother, Teresa Doyle, whose children Ellie, 13, and Connor, 15, both go to the school, said: “My kids are saying to me, ‘Mum, we’re not at school, we’re at a prison’. It’s a secondary school but they’re treating it more like a nursery with all these hand signals and ‘tinkle cards’. They’re not allowed to talk in class at all and must do everything by these bizarre hand signals.”
Mrs Doyle said pupils were only given one tinkle pass a week which is taken off them if they go to the toilet or collected back on Fridays. They are then issued with a new one on Monday. Another parent said: “It’s ridiculous because what happens if the child needs to use the toilet during class more than once a week? What are they supposed to do – wet themselves?” Headmistress, Charlotte Blencowe, who reportedly once dated the son of Chuckle Brother, Barry Elliot, has refused to comment.