Sometimes strict teachers can be the worst at actually helping children learn...

Francis Gilbert's picture
 45
The news today that assaults on teachers have risen to a five-year-high and that nearly 1,000 children are excluded from school every day got me thinking about behaviour in our schools.

I find headlines like this depressing because they actually tell us very little about what is really going on in schools. I suspect, though I certainly can't prove, that government cut-backs have probably had an effect on children's behaviour because valuable support such as having pastoral staff being paid to do things like make home-school contact and support teachers have been drastically cut recently.

Having engaged in various media debates about behaviour over the years, I've increasingly come to the conclusion that it's impossible to generalise about behaviour in schools. My novel, that I've just published, The Last Day Of Term, details a fictional inner-city school which contains some very bad behaviour -- there's a major riot which leads to the death of a teacher -- and yet, I think I make it clear that some teachers conduct very orderly lessons even within this context. The fact is that children who may be very poorly behaved with one teacher or in a particular context, actually behave well in others.

I've seen children rioting in some of the top schools in the country, not because the school was inherently poor but because the teacher just couldn't keep control. Usually, the worst teachers are the ones that blame everyone -- the system, the senior management, the curriculum etc -- except themselves for the poor behaviour in their classrooms. Katherine Birbalsingh, the ex-deputy head, who is currently making a living out of saying all of our schools are riven with poor behaviour, seems just such a (ex) teacher.

But it gets more complicated than that. Even in lessons where some children may be running amok, other children may well be learning a lot. I've taken lessons like this myself; basically, I've realised that it's useless trying to admonish certain pupils constantly, and far better to concentrate upon pupils who are willing to learn. This has worked better than trying to be "strict" and running detention after detention for pupils. So I've got the good pupils working in groups and given the more difficult ones exercises which they can cope with, learn from in a meaningful fashion and work on autonomously. The atmosphere hasn't been very strict but it's worked in the long run because there's more of a positive vibe. One positive effect of a classroom where things are a bit "riotous" is that pupils know they have to do the work for themselves, that they have to work independently, that the teacher isn't going to spoon-feed them. What educationalists call "deep learning" can really occur in them because the pupil and teacher have to encourage autonomy and intrinsic motivation. Teachers who are very strict can create the "surface" appearance of genuine learning, but often pupils feel too frightened to ask if they don't understand and tend to imitate the teacher rather than genuinely learning about a subject themselves.

 
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Andrew Old's picture
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 17:27

In case anyone is under the impression that, when it comes to the behaviour crisis Francis is the reliable witness, and Katharine the unreliable one, take a look at what he's said in the past:

http://teachingbattleground.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/the-denial-twist/

Francis Gilbert's picture
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 17:43

My new novel details a school where the behaviour is poor, and I certainly think that Ofsted has got it about right, with 1 in 10 schools having behaviour which is basically not good enough; that's quite a lot of schools, teachers and pupils affected. I certainly am no "denialist", I just feel strongly that these figures need to be put into perspective. KB specialises in saying the WHOLE system is broken, which I don't agree with. Yes, I am sure "thousands" of teachers do wake up dreading to go to work; and that there are schools where poor behaviour is a problem, but that doesn't mean the whole system is broken. That's just scare-mongering which puts parents off the state sector completely.

Keith Turvey's picture
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 17:56

No thank you Andrew Old.

Andrew Old's picture
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 17:53

"Unfortunately far too few schools in the country are well managed …even the ones with good reputations. If you think the discipline policy in your school looks vague and unclear, bear in mind that there may well be mayhem as a result. I have been attacked by many teachers and educationalists for highlighting the shoddy discipline in many of our schools. For me it is a national scandal. … A cover-up mentality occurs… don’t be deceived. It is a major problem. In a recent survey by Teachers TV 66% of teachers felt there was a discipline crisis in our schools."

Katharine didn't write the above. You did, just 3 years before Katharine went public. A year afterwards you said:

"…if a school has been wonderfully politically correct, it can get away with a good report – but it may be a hotbed of bad behaviour and indiscipline."

And now you expect us to believe OFSTED have it about right?

O. Spencer's picture
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 19:17

Francis,

I don't hold anything against you in terms of you going from being quite a critic of state schools to defending them, that's fine.

But when you say of Katharine Birbalsingh that she

' is currently making a living out of saying all of our schools are riven with poor behaviour'

it strikes a bit of a hypocritical note with me when you yourself have written a book called 'I'm A Teacher, Get Me Out of Here!' and 'Yob Nation'.

Again, you're perfectly entitled to have changed your position over time and with experience. It just might mean some people put more recent comments in the context of what you have said on similar issues before.

Francis Gilbert's picture
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 18:00

One in ten schools is a lot of schools when you think about it. I think a "nuanced" debate is needed here. I just don't think the whole system is broken. The school where my son is going to was in meltdown in 2007, but it's got a good head and team of teachers together now and is a great school. My worry is that saying the whole thing is broken is counter-productive. But I am not going to deny there is problem in some schools, and in some teacher's classrooms.

Andrew Old's picture
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 18:56

Well I think we are getting closer to the reality now. Admitting the extent of the problem is "counter-productive" to your agenda. It is your politics which have changed, not the situation in our schools.

Allan Beavis's picture
Tue, 12/07/2011 - 07:49

Whatever the merits of School Reform, Katharine Birbalsingh is unfit to lead a school. Her irrational polemics, personal attacks, confrontational style and tiresome politicising is off putting to a large section of the population, including those in her turf of Lambeth. If this is not covert selection for her pop up school or increasingly desperate attempts to attract the patronage of the DfE, you tell me what is.

It was this infuriating and misguided woman who thrust her "broken schools" agenda into the political arena and since then, her misrepresentations have grown disproportionately to her diminishing fame.

Francis Gilbert's picture
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 20:36

I would certainly regret that those two books would be held up as evidence that the whole system is broken. I'm A Teacher is about my experiences teaching in the 1990s in a school which got 3% A-C grades and was riven with poor behaviour, that same school get 100% and is an excellent school. Something I point out at the end of the book. At the end of Yob Nation I conclude by saying that it's when we ALL work to improve things in schools then things get better. What I resent about KB is her message that anyone with money should send their kids to private schools because the whole system is broken. It's not.

Janet Downs's picture
Tue, 12/07/2011 - 06:40

FullFact.org has taken issue with some of the figures quoted in the Mail's "Britain's Broken Schools" front page article of 11 July. Their findings are here:

http://fullfact.org/factchecks/school_exclusions_statistics_education-2813

This is another example of the media blowing-up a problem to gigantic proportions and giving a distorted picture under a sensational headline.

O. Spencer's picture
Tue, 12/07/2011 - 16:49

Janet, the point of your post seems to argue against media exagerration in respect of violence in schools and exclusions.

In mentioning Factcheck, you could have posted the actual figures they found, rather than just saying the Daily Mail were wrong. Yes, they were wrong, but more importantly:
2008/9 - 958 children per day were excluded.
2007/8 - 1,003 children per day excluded.

There were 6,550 permanent exclusions (9 per 10,000), and 307,840 fixed period exclusions in 08/9.
There were 8,130 permanent exclusions (11 per 10,000) and 324,180 fixed period exclusions in 07/8.

We'll have to await the data for the most recent school year to see if this is a continuing trend.

Now to me 958 pupils being excluded every day seems like a systemic problem and something in need of debate. The Daily Mail were wrong to print the figures they did but the underlying problem still exists.

Allan Beavis's picture
Tue, 12/07/2011 - 17:01

Perhaps to you, O. Spencer, but I suspect you would debate a systematic problem of 50 exclusions a day if it would in any way pander to your fears and presumptions. You can be provided with any number of evidence based research and you would still debate it, if it did not conform to what you want to read.

Janet Downs's picture
Tue, 12/07/2011 - 18:18

The Department for Education issued a Press Release on 11 July 2011: “New Guidance for teachers to help improve discipline in schools”

Although the press release said “behaviour in good schools is not a serious problem” it gave examples which caused the Daily Mail to run a front page with the sensational headline “Britain’s Broken Schools”.

The examples were accurate but the press release left out information from the cited sources which showed that discipline was not as bad as implied.

http://www.education.gov.uk/a00191991/publications/RSG/Pupilsupportwelfa...

The press release reported that “nearly 1,000 children are suspended from schools for abuse and assault every school day”. The figure of 1,000 per day can only be arrived at by adding together permanent exclusions with short, fixed-term exclusions. The majority of the latter (almost 97%) lasted one week or less. The number of more serious, permanent exclusions for assault or abuse for the year was estimated at 2,890. There are 8.1 million pupils in all schools in England. Permanently excluding just under 3,000 of these for assault and abuse is hardly indicative of a broken system.

The 2008/9 figures showed a decrease in permanent exclusions from 2007/8 by 19.4%. Neither the press release nor the Daily Mail mentioned this.

http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000942/sfr22-2010.pdf

The press release quoted an NFER Survey to say that “two-thirds of teachers say bad behaviour is driving professionals out of the classroom”. This was correct but what it didn’t say was that 28% of teachers rated pupil behaviour in their school as very good, 44% as good, and 24% as acceptable. Only 7% said behaviour was poor or very poor. When asked how standards of behaviour had changed over the last five years, 10% said it had substantially improved, 16% marginally improved, 26% said it remained the same. A large minority (but still a minority) of 39% said it had marginally deteriorated and only 9% said it had substantially deteriorated.

https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/DCSF-RW069.pdf

It does not help the debate if the Government is economical with the truth. And it does harm when a newspaper hypes up the figures to prove its false contention that British schools are "broken".

FullFact.org ran an opinion piece today in the light of the phone hacking scandal. The piece argues that the "press culture inquiry must focus on accuracy, not just criminality." I would second that.

http://fullfact.org/node/2812

O. Spencer's picture
Tue, 12/07/2011 - 17:20

Allan, once again you attack me based on your own prejudices as to what you *think* I might argue, and not what I have said.

Do you seriously contend that 958 exclusions per day is acceptable and not representative of a system-wide problem? As Francis says, 1 in 10 schools is a lot when you think about it.

If you insist on putting words into my mouth that I have not said, quite a habit of yours, then I would argue that if there were 50 exclusions per day that would *not* be classed as a systemic problem.

Now that you have been presented with the data Allan perhaps you'd like to comment on behaviour and violence in schools, instead of trying to attack me for things which I have not said.

Allan, I do you and the other posters here the courtesy of not putting words into your mouths and stick to what has been said, and not what someone *might* think about hypothetical situations. Please can you extend me the same courtesy.

Andrew Old's picture
Tue, 12/07/2011 - 17:24

Allan, that's got to be one of the silliest personal attacks yet.

O. Spencer's picture
Tue, 12/07/2011 - 18:48

Janet thanks for the link to the DfE site. I'd suggest it was pretty foolish of the Daily Mail to run a story based on a press release from the DfE without checking and double-checking the figures.

I'm not sure what to make of permanent exclusions. Clearly there must be an absolute standard at which a child's behaviour means that they cannot remain in that environment any more. But the state still has a duty to educate them, so it doesn't remove the problem of the poor behaviour, it merely removes it from one environment and passes it to another.

Naturally the context of there being 8.1 million pupils in total is helpful. But even in absolute terms over 300,000 fixed term exclusions is very high. It's good to see that permanent exclusions are very small, it's the fixed term exclusions I am concerned about.

I accepted in my last comment that we'd have to wait for more recent data for us to accept the decrease as a trend, but that at the moment this is good news.

Regarding your point about the NFER survey, it seems that we can say 26% of teachers think there has been an improvement in behaviour (10% noticing a substantial improvement, 16% a marginal improvement) but 48% noticed a deterioration in behaviour (39% noticed a marginal deterioration and 9% a substantially deterioration).

If we add the 26% who felt behaviour remained the same, we can see that a majority of teachers in the survey thought that over the last five years pupil behaviour had either remained the same or deteriorated. Surely the investment in schools over that time should result in an improvement across the board? Or is this a sign that such investment didn't help to tackle the problem.

Allan Beavis's picture
Tue, 12/07/2011 - 17:52

No it's not. Nowhere near as silly or as stupid as the nonsense spouted by Birbalsingh, who you so chivalrously defend. Violence in schools is not to be tolerated but most schools have procedures and rules to deal with them. The reason why Birbalsingh is totally unfit to go anywhere near children (thank goodness her last school did their students a favour by firing her) is that her attention seeking rabble rousing panders to prejudices and fears and generates this myth that every single aspect of the schools system is rotten and that no stone should be left unturned until it is all rooted out, burn to the ground and rebuilt. With precious little money or resources.

Allan Beavis's picture
Tue, 12/07/2011 - 18:02

The problem with passive-aggressive statements is that the real motives and opinions remain just below the surface - suggested, inferred, slyly and insidiously moulded so as to deflect any accusations. Well I've clearly not done you the courtesy of playing that game. My comment on behaviour and violence - well looking at those figures above, it looks as though exclusions went down, so I would see that as a positive, rather than your negative. I would be interested to see new figures and, in particular, how exclusions from Academies compare to those from maintained schools. It would be very useful to see how many Academy exclusions were discriminatory ie based on the attainment level of the pupil as opposed to challenging behaviour, how many "managed moves" might be attributable to test results rather than behaviour. I think if the government wanted to be transparent that exclusions under Academization were wholly the result of violence or unruly behaviour and not an excuse for poor test results, then they should go public.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 13/07/2011 - 07:54

It’s not the first time the Mail has published these kinds of stories. They’re not alone, of course. What is worrying is that the source sometimes comes from the Government.

http://fullfact.org/factchecks/school_standards_oecd_pisa_data_media_con...

This was the case on 11 July when the Mail ran their front page story with the sensational headline “Britain’s Broken Schools”. The source was the DfE press release discussed above.

Unfortunately, the Mail has a track record of misreporting education data.
http://fullfact.org/factchecks/maths_teaching_international_comparison_D...

And the journalist who wrote the “Britain’s Broken Schools” article was also responsible for the “Travesty of our Stagnating Schools” report of 7 December 2010 which I criticised here:

http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2010/12/state-education-suffers-fr...

What is particularly worrying about this sort of reporting is that the public is presented with a one-sided and inaccurate picture which makes informed debate impossible. But then, perhaps that’s the idea, especially when the Government distorts information itself to push forward its policies on education.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 13/07/2011 - 08:06

Sorry O Spencer, you can't add figures together in the way that you have to say "a majority of teachers in the survey thought that over the last five years pupil behaviour had either remained the same or deteriorated." I could play that game by adding together the 10% of teachers who thought there was a substantial improvement, the 16% who noted a marginal improvement with the 26% who felt behaviour remained the same. I could then say that a majority of teachers believe that behaviour has either remained the same or improved.

I think it would be a valid criticism if you were to shout, "Foul!"

O. Spencer's picture
Tue, 12/07/2011 - 18:01

Allan, to suggest Katharine Birbalsingh is 'totally unfit to go anywhere near children' is one of the most offensive things I have read here.

This level of personal hostility advances us nowhere in the debate on the substantive issue.

Allan Beavis's picture
Tue, 12/07/2011 - 18:05

It would help Birbalsingh's own cause if she had not descended into personal attacks and displaying poor conduct in her own behaviour herself. If you are leading a school, as she would like to, then her divisive, strident, mocking and sneering conduct in public is not a good example to any children under her care. This is what is truly offensive.

Andrew Old's picture
Tue, 12/07/2011 - 18:06

Okay Allan, I admit I was wrong. Clearly, you are capable of far sillier personal attacks than the one against O. Spencer.

Allan Beavis's picture
Tue, 12/07/2011 - 18:21

That's as may be Andrew Old. But I'm not setting up a Free School and setting an example to children under my care. Me and Spencer having a spat doesn't cast an unpleasant shadow over the Michaela Free School or the motives and conduct of one of Free Schools' most divisive and strident characters

O. Spencer's picture
Wed, 13/07/2011 - 08:41

Janet, I was trying to show that the statistics can be grouped together to show different things, depending on the wider point one might like to illustrate.

I was trying to tie that point to the discussion of investment in schools under the last government, and whether given the level of investment one might have hoped for a bigger improvement in behaviour.

O. Spencer's picture
Tue, 12/07/2011 - 18:36

Allan, we're not having a 'spat'. You've made personal attacks against me. I have not responded with similar attacks against you. The malice and aggression has come from one direction only.

I've tried to raise some key issues with some relevant data from the DfE. That is all.

Allan Beavis's picture
Tue, 12/07/2011 - 18:52

I think "malice" and "aggression" is the sort of exaggeration to put yourself on a higher moral ground. Well I don't accept it. I'd rather hear what you have to say about the reasons for Academy exclusions.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 13/07/2011 - 08:53

The total number of fixed term exclusions in England in 2008/9 was 363,280. However, this is the number of exclusions NOT the number of pupils involved. The DfE statistics say that 61% of this figure had one episode of fixed period exclusion, 19% had two, 9% had three, 5% had four, and 6% had 5 or more. I make that to be 275,911 pupils (please feel free to check my maths - I'm up to my knees in scraps of paper, and the %button on my calculator doesn't work).

The figures do not show that British schools system is "broken" (especially when the figures only related to England). 275,911 pupils is a very small proportion of 8.1 million, something like 0.03% (again, please check my maths). This is a cause of concern for the pupils, their parents and schools but, again, it is inaccurate (even scurrilous) to suggest these figures show that English (never mind British) schools are in meltdown.

FullFact.org showed the inaccuracy of the figure of "1,000 per pupils" being excluded every day in November 2010. The Mail chose to ignore this and ran the same figure in its article of 11 July 2011. The DfE ignored FullFact's analysis too - the source of the data was the Government's press release of 11 July 2011. To repeat: the number of exclusions does NOT equal the number of pupils excluded (the DfE's own statistical release made this quite clear in an underscored warning on page one).

http://fullfact.org/factchecks/daily_mail_doesnt_do_its_homework_on_scho...

Allan Beavis's picture
Wed, 13/07/2011 - 09:01

Thank you for this Janet. Your vigorous research to counter the misrepresentations put out by both media and government is an invaluable and always illuminating addition to the debate. I suspect I speak for many people who are very grateful for the research and analysis you provide.

JimC's picture
Sun, 17/07/2011 - 08:36

Janet

You said that only 0.03% of pupils in British schools have recieved a fixed term exclusion. This figure should be 3.4% if you work correctly with the figures provided. A large difference I feel because the correct figures mean that for every class of 30 one child has been given a fixed term exclusion in the part year.

Janet Downs's picture
Sun, 17/07/2011 - 09:54

Oooops. Thanks, Jim - I did say my %button on my calculator wasn't working! And my GCE 'O' level maths of decades ago didn't alert me to the error. Yes, you're right, the correct figure is 3.4% of English pupils receiving a fixed term exclusion. This is 100 times more than my incorrect calculation. My rotten maths notwithstanding, the figures still show a drop in the number of fixed term exclusions from the previous year. The average length of fixed term exclusions is 2.6 days (secondary) and 2.2 days (primary) which means that the one child removed from a class of thirty in one year for a fixed-term exclusion is back in the classroom after a short time.

Even with the correct percentage being 100 times more than my abysmal maths (and apologies to readers who took my calculations at face value), the figure is not large enough to support the conjecture that "British Schools are Broken".

Memo to self: buy a new calculator.

JimC's picture
Sun, 17/07/2011 - 10:11

Given that the figures are but one measure of how a schools deal with behaviour I don't think that they support any conclusion about what student behaviour is actually like within the school system.

Janet Downs's picture
Sun, 17/07/2011 - 12:58

The Daily Mail wouldn't agree with you. They saw the figures (which only gave the data for England) as a sign that Britain's schools were "broken". The paper even said that school exclusions doubled in a year when they were actually fewer exclusions. And the Mail can't use a broken %button on a calculator as an excuse for poor maths. The Times Educational Supplement commented on the distortion of exclusion figures in the final paragraph of thier "The Week" comment column:

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6099460

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 13/07/2011 - 09:05

O Spencer - in reply to your comment above about bundling statistics together to demonstrate a particular point of view. This ruse is often employed, but it doesn't make it right to do so. In fact, it gives a distorted picture. As far as linking increased expenditure with improvement (or otherwise) in behaviour - the DfE statistical return noted a decrease in the number of permanent exclusions from 2007/8. The return acknowledged there was a small degree of underreporting (I suppose that's why the permanent exclusion figures were estimated). However, Technical Note 5 of the return says this about the reduction in the number of permanent exclusion figures:

"Local Authorities and schools have been working in a number of ways to reduce the need for exclusion, for example, by focussing on improving behaviour and by employing alternatives to permanent exclusion such as 'managed moves'". Now you could say that 'managed moves' is a euphemism for exclusion, and I'd agree since it involves a pupil leaving one school on account of his/her behaviour and being accepted by another. Nevertheless, not all of the reduction can be accounted for by this. Neither the Government's press release nor the Mail mentioned this reduction or gave schools any credit for it.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 13/07/2011 - 09:16

Thanks Allan. I firmly believe that it's only by constantly challenging distorted data whether it be from the Government and the media that people will eventually see through the misinformation. That's why I always link to evidence so that readers can check whether I am likewise guilty of distortion or cherry picking. I should also like to acknowledge the invaluable work done by FullFact.org and the Channel 4 FactCheck blog in highlighting inaccuracies.

O. Spencer's picture
Wed, 13/07/2011 - 09:40

Janet, I agree that in some cases it is not right to package statistics together in a way that suggests something that actually isn't quite true. It's a trick of the media though, and any government would do the same. It is a futile exercise to argue that the right-wing media and government shouldn't put out statistics that strongly favour their argument..

On this particular issue (as you can see from my comments on this thread) I've said that 958 exclusions per day is a 'systemic problem' rather than 'broken' i.e. that not every school is being held captive by pupils, but that 958 is a large number absolutely, even if as is the case not relatively. Francis Gilbert has agreed on some points of the behaviour issue - saying that 1 in 10 schools with a behaviour problem is a lot of schools when you think about it.

I don't really know where I stand on the 'managed moves' issue. On the one hand, removing a problem child from an environment must surely benefit those other children in that environment as their learning has been disrupted through no fault of their own. The obvious negative is of course that the child is just being removed to somewhere else, potentially causing the same problems there, and disrupting other people's learning. So the problem has merely been passed on.

I'm happy that exclusions are going down. What concerns me is still the absolute number. 39% of these exclusions were multiple. So yes it is good that these figures mean that fewer pupils are excluded, but we need to focus more on the multiple exclusions for the same pupils.

The media and the government have political agendas, and will always seek to misinform. We have had thirteen years of a government maintaining that those who criticse state schools are clueless and imagine problems. Now we seem to have a government suggesting that problems may be bigger than they actually are.

Neither view actually gets at the problem.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 13/07/2011 - 13:25

O Spencer - you say that "it is a futile exercise to argue that the right-wing media and government shouldn't put out statistics that strongly favour their argument." This is only valid insofar as the statistics are accurately presented and really do back up the argument. However, if the government or the media publish something that is distorted to support a particular point of view or push through a particular ideological agenda then it is NOT a futile act to expose this distortion. I would argue that it is an essential part of a democracy that people highlight any attempt by anyone, however high in the political hierarchy or however powerful in the media, to mislead people.

Today the Government announced an inquiry into criminal behaviour of the Press. FullFact.org has set up a new website to put pressure on the inquiry "to address not just criminality, but also the lapses in accuracy and accountability that have undermined the important role that a free press plays in democratic society." In the light of this it behoves all in government and the media to think very carefully about how they publicise, or hide, information. Democracies need a free and vigorous media that is not afraid to bring governments to account. But that media should not abuse its position by publishing inaccurate and misleading information.

http://pressinquiry.org/

Ben Taylor's picture
Thu, 14/07/2011 - 13:20

Guess what Francis

You have turned up in my TEFL lesson, next week or so you are part of the textbook we are using - a new one "Global" published by Macmillan, intermediate level.

They have used an extract from one of your books - about a kid that won't take off a Daffy Duck baseball hat.

Ben Taylor's picture
Thu, 14/07/2011 - 18:12

Part of the textbook task is to ask students to discuss whether teachers get more respect in their own countries. My class is about 50% Saudi and 50% Spanish speakers Spain/S America. Will let you know!

From our younger students in range 18 to early 20s some of them do play up, but we have the advantage that they pay to be here and are surrounded by older adults so there is a strong peer effect. We have sometimes kicked people out of the school for behaviour such as sexist treatment of teachers. We gave them a refund of unused fees even though contractually we were not obliged to.

Francis Gilbert's picture
Thu, 14/07/2011 - 18:22

That's a good task. Plenty of debate to had there.

Francis Gilbert's picture
Thu, 14/07/2011 - 15:03

I hope your students found it useful. I was told about it about a year ago.

JimC's picture
Sun, 17/07/2011 - 14:58

Janet re: The Daily Mail...

And I wouldn't agree with the Daily Mail based on what they wrote. Out of interest is anyone here putting forward the Daily Mail as a reliable source on the state of the British school system?

Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 18/07/2011 - 10:19

Re - the Daily Mail. No, the DM is not a reliable source, but then neither is a large section of the UK media. And the Government's track record is also poor - it publishes misleading press releases with distorted or cherrypicked stats and data.

http://fullfact.org/factchecks/school_standards_oecd_pisa_data_media_con...

Unfortunately, when sections of the media print front-page articles with headlines in 3" high font saying such things as "Travesty of our Failing Schools" or publish anti-state school blogs on an almost weekly basis then these pellets of poison make informed debate impossible. Which is why many of us contribute here (weak maths notwithstanding):

http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2011/06/uk-state-education-is-not-...

http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2010/12/state-education-suffers-fr...

JimC's picture
Wed, 20/07/2011 - 17:12

Is the problem the papers getting the their figures wrong or the papers assertion that there is a behaviour crisis in schools?

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