Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Skool discipline

I've been struck lately by the number of non-stories in the newspapers recently. You know, articles of the Pope is a Catholic; bear shits in the woods; doctor writes prescription, variety. One that caught my eye in the Guardian a few days ago was Butler saying "Blair obsessed with control".

Today's non-story is this one in the Herald: "Problem pupils are wrecking discipline, say teachers". It includes the breath-taking revelation that the policy of "social inclusion" - which means plonking every pupil, regardless of need, disability, psychological and/or behavioural difficulty, into main-stream classes - is not necessarily consistent with the other lofty goal set for us by our leaders in the Scottish Executive, "raising attainment" - education-speak for the quaint notion that schools are supposed to be places where pupils learn stuff:

In a readers' survey about social affairs by The Herald Society supplement, nearly nine out of 10 of those working in education said the inclusion of children with behavioural problems in mainstream classes was causing discipline problems.
While 82.1% of all responses said this was the case, this rose to 88.9% when responses from those in education were singled out. Only 6.3% of educationists defended the policy.

The choice of words is significant; "educationists", in this context, being those people for whom teaching a class is a distant memory, if at all - and say profoundly stupid things about disruptive pupils who have a precocious interest in violence and sadism like, "well he's alright with me" - to which I invariably respond, "that's because when he's with you, he doesn't have another 29 of his peers as an audience - idiot!"

Teachers' unions welcomed the findings. Lindsay Roy, president of the Headteachers Association Scotland (HAS), said many teachers supported inclusion in principle but there was a lack of support for teachers to help them cope with difficult pupils.


For "lack of support", insert "lack of light, hand-held weaponry" to understand how most teachers feel (what are they doing asking a Headteacher anyway?).

Solution? Remember Rosie Kane of the SSP, arguing that the use of the word "ned" should be banned? As ever, nowhere near radical enough: a more effective measure would be to ban neds altogether - problem solved.

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