20 April 2007


An article over at Comment is Free explains the current approach to tackling school bullies:

Since 1999, by law, every school should have an anti-bullying strategy, extending to include times when the child is on their way to and from school. At its best, this comes from the children up, out of discussions with pupils, teachers, playground staff, parents and dinner supervisors. Workshops, assertiveness training, peer mentoring, mediation, counselling and training children to be buddies all helps. It's a time-consuming but effective business.
A comment from a teacher confirms just how effective this is:
Bullying is systemic - everyone is bullying everyone. It is the nature of many of our schools. Why do you think teachers are leaving in droves. How can we protect or teach the kids to have self respect; stand up for themselves; have self worth, when we, the teachers, are battling to keep our own heads above water.
But, at the time of typing, there is an elephant in the room. No, elephants can be overlooked by the genuinely absent-minded: they are docile, well-mannered creatures. This is more a vast herd of wildebeest stampeding across the Axminster.

Why is it that "we, the teachers, are battling to keep our own heads above water"? They are unable to keep discipline because they are unable to apply any sanctions. They may not use corporal punishment, although they are expected to tolerate at least low-level physical assault on their own persons, and they cannot control their own admissions policy and thereby exclude disruptive children. None of the Guardian comments have addressed this.

The greatest service to British education today would be the restoration of control and discipline in schools. Without it, disruptive children will continue to prevent meaningful learning. One can confidently predict, however, that this issue will continue to be drowned in meaningless flannel about "peer mentoring".

Oh yes, and by the introduction of new, grossly illiberal measures, that are ostensibly designed to improve educational achievement. Measures like educational conscription.

No comments: