Wednesday, 8 April 2009

School discipline

A hot topic, in this week of Teaching Unnion meetings is disruptive pupils & worse parents.I have some exposure to primary education. In the region of my experience there are typically 10% of pupils on any school roll who have serious behaviour problems. Of those about three quarters are responding well to modern methods of behaviour improvement with the support & involvement of their parent(s). The staff work incredibly hard on this process and are always elated when a child settles down.

The difficulty is that, from the Director of Children's Services down through the system, there is NO effective way of dealing with the remaining 25% of disruptive kids & their equally disruptive parents except to throw more effort at them. Given that little kids crave attention above almost everything else this escalating 'attention' given to the disruptive does not encourage the 'good'. The 'system' refuses to accept that there will always be a tiny minority who will reject all currently available supportive measures. In at least one instance, which I doubt is unique, a parent's behaviour,( a mother), included threatening a teacher & gatecrashing a class,& was so bad that the Governors sought legal advice as to the powers they had to ban this parent from school premises. The answer was not many until an actual assault had taken place.

The amount of disruption that this very small minority of out of control kids and their even worse parents can cause is huge but we should not exaggerate the numbers in this category. Instead we should realise that there
comes a time when one has to take severe rather than supportive measures with this group and have some separate system outside mainstream education for dealing with them. To many of us this admission of defeat is unpalatable but we must remember the bigger obligation to provide the best chance possible in life to those kids & their families who want to take their opportunities.

No comments: