Poor discipline weakens schools

From: Vonny Watts


Classroom teachers must have smiled wryly at the thought of their headteachers getting a “grilling” from the council as reported in Mike Russell’s article last week.

They are to provide reasons for their under-performance. Will the council hear the things they should?

A great many classroom teachers are dedicated, passionate and extremely hard-working.

Crucially, however, they cannot share their considerable talents with their students because of poor discipline encouraged by weak behaviour policies which are tilted too far in favour of inclusion at all costs.

Power must be given back to classroom teachers. Behaviour policies must not regard exclusion as a dirty word. Children need boundaries.

One or two unchecked, disruptive pupils can affect an entire year group. If they, and their peers, see no ultimate consequence the situation worsens.

Key casualties are the children of middle ability. They become subdued and demoralised. They underachieve. This is where the battle for the magic A*-C percentage is lost.

I’ve worked as a consultant on raising achievement in some of these schools with C/D borderline pupils. When removed from a disruptive atmosphere that they find oppressive, they flourish. Teachers do, too!

Handing power back to teachers is a Conservative Party manifesto promise.