Sunday, March 11, 2007

Petition Response

Many thanks to the 1267 people who signed the petition to No. 10. We didn't do quite as well as more important requests such as this one or this one

In fact I wouldn't be surprised if this didn't beat us eventually but never mind.

The Government's response is here and it's well worth a read.

Firstly they admit that behaviour in some schools is unsatisfactory (I'd have used the words 'beyond belief') and admit that teachers in a small minority of schools have to regularly face poor behaviour. I don't believe that it's a small minority, do you?

They then claim to have taken radical action to address this problem. That sounds pretty good so let's have a closer look.

'Headteachers have the power to exclude pupils' (Haven't they always had the power to do that?) However now there is an appeals procedure which overturns the Heads decision in 1 out of 10 cases. Chucking out nightmare pupils is an extremely difficult process for Heads involving numerous unnecessary steps, which is why so many do anything they can to avoid it. Why not have each Council provide secure units for excluded brats, so they don't just get moved around to cause mayhem in another school.

This also doesn't quite tie in with Estelle Morris' announcement in 1998 that 'Heads should think twice before taking severe action against children found with drugs such as cannabis.'

They have also introduced tougher fines for truancy. (Presumably they mean fines for the truant's parents.) How many parents of truanting kids do you know who have actually had any action taken against them?

I've only got to the end of the second paragraph and already I've lost all hope. What do you think to the rest of it?


Anonymous said...

Ah, Estelle Morris. The women's only saving grace was that she recognised her own uselessness and admitted it.
Wasn't she enobled? Nice to feel that such weighty intellects reach the top.

Anonymous said...


firstly nice to have you back and I hope all is well.

Secondly, in terms of this pile of bollocks I can only say it's this kind of response and attitude that makes us teachers want to bang our heads against a brick wall! We shouldn't have to put up with bad behaviour...if the little sods don't want to learn then kick them out. Even better, as you suggested, send them to secure units, where this filth can only misbehave in classes filled with other idiots.

Education is a right of everyone, but it's a right which should constantly have to be earned; what I mean by that is that students need to constantly work hard and demonstrate passion and a willingness to learn. If they can't do that then, I'm sorry but, they no longer deserve to be in education.

Our resources, money and time are tight enough, without having to put up with ner-do-wells. For the kids who don't want to learn they should be given the most basic and horrible jobs to do; such as cleaning up dog mess, or scraping chewing gum off the floors.

Failing that let's send them to a developing country that still has mines...after 6 months of really hard graft I bet they'd realise the value of getting a good education and be begging to come back to school.

Extreme and radical measures are called for. If something isn't done soon their will be a revolution in this country. We need to go back to the days of children being seen, but only rarely heard. Children and young adults should never have been allowed to dictate to adults how things are done. Once you get to 18, then you are entitled to have your say, until then you should bloody well do as you're told, whether you like it or not!

Frank Chalk is the new massiah of education (and I should know I've followed a few.)


alanorei said...

During my first year at the University of New South Wales, 1964, I had a chemistry tutor of the old school.

He reckoned that there were 4 R's in education:

Readin,' 'ritin,' 'rithmetic and reefin' people in the backside when they didn't knuckle down and work.

I reckon under that system, even a stroppy pupil like Mr C's Billie Jo could be salvaged. Maybe so could a lot of others.

'Modern' educational theorists will hopefully have a lot to answer for one day, when the number of lives wasted thanks to their interference/incompetence is fully known.

Anonymous said...

Well now we know what the Number 10 petition site is for. It's to give the little people the delusion that they've made a difference.

So, Frank, do you feel you made a difference? Is this bland point-avoiding tosh what you hoped for?

Thought not.


Anonymous said...

When was the last time these Government ministers set foot in a school with "challenging" pupils? I'd love them to turn up unannounced here to witness,among other things, total disregard for human beings, property and rules. and that's just the staff! No I'm kidding there(about it being staff, not the bit before). The kids come to school with the motto - I know my human rights, you can't tell me what to do etc. I don't even have to teach here - I'm a support person - but I see the rudeness of the pupils and how draining it is for the poor teachers in the front line. There are some really good teachers here but they won't stay - who can put up with being told to go forth and mulitply on a regular basis? There is also an amazing group of children who come through this place unscathed - thanks to decent parents and school support. THESE are in the minority at this school. The school should be focusing its resources on the pupils who attend to learn, not those who attend to disrupt or don't attend at all!

Anonymous said...

Leaving aside the rest of the self-serving pap, exclusion is not a form of punishment. So even if heads could use it at their discretion (which, as Frank points out, they can't) they still wouldn't have any way of punishing bad behaviour.

At the risk of sounding like a crusty old reactionary, my mother was an experienced teacher whose ex-pupils thought the world of her. She once told me that every year she got a new class, and there was always one trouble-maker (or at least one ringleader). For the first couple of lessons, she would pretend not to notice his antics and just assess the situation. Then, when he least expected it, she would sharply order him to the front of the class, tell everyone what he had been doing wrong, and give him several blows of the "tawse" (leather strap) on the palm of the hand (never fingers or wrist). She would be looking carefully for the first signs of tears. The thing was to use the minimum number of blows that would get the message across, without humiliating the boy. After that one punishment, she said, she never had to punish anyone else all year. Simple.

As a boy, I was caned in the traditional way a couple of times, and I can tell you it had a wonderful effect. Each time it was for a different transgression, and I never did either of those things again. The marks disappeared in a couple of days, but the negative reinforcement lasted for life.

It's a pity government ministers never heard of the saying "spare the rod and spoil the child". How many criminals began to go astray when they discovered they could act up at will in school?

Anonymous said...

"As a boy, I was caned in the traditional way a couple of times, and I can tell you it had a wonderful effect. Each time it was for a different transgression, and I never did either of those things again. The marks disappeared in a couple of days, but the negative reinforcement lasted for life."

That wasn't my experience of caning, it just made me craftier.
I must have been thick and the proof came in going into teaching.

Anonymous said...

I emailed you in shock - yet not shock: what was I expecting? - with my response to the email received from Number 10 (or more likely a fluorescently lit office in Swindon). I am strangely unreassured by the fact that any government thinks that simply by having spent more than anyone else on something, they must have got it right.

Wally Windsor said...

In the past they creamed off the best 10 - 15% and sent them to Grammar Schools. I'm not suggesting we return to those elitist days, but I do feel that we should adapt that selective system and, for example, 'cream' (or 'scum') off the worst 10 - 15% and send them to Borstal, or at least "Academies", where they can show off their talent for thieving and behaving badly without bothering the rest.

Any takers for my idea?

Anonymous said...

Loads, but sadly none with any power and influence.

Anonymous said...

the parents in our school who have been have been taken to court for their child truancy have managed to find a loophole in the whole fines etc scenario. they claim they have mental health issues and the whole process stops dead. now that this has been discovered the whole estate knows and so our school is again powerless to deal with truants.