Growing number of primary school children 'too violent and disruptive to be in school'
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Wednesday 27 June 2012
A growing number of primary school children are too violent and disruptive to be in school, the Government’s behaviour tsar said today.
Charlie Taylor, the former headteacher who advises ministers on discipline, said; “There is a group of children showing very extreme behaviour, very difficult, challenging, violent behaviour - often quite young children. There is an increase in those kind of children.”
They would often resorting to kicking or biting fellow pupils in the classroom, MPs on the Commons select committee for education were told..
He said a school could be “a good school” in terms of the discipline it promoted but still find itself unable to deal with such children
Mr Taylor’s comments follow claims from headteachers’ leaders that children often arrive at primary school — lacking in personal skills and ill-equipped to communicate with their fellow pupils.
They have put the blame on parents who fail to communicate with them - and allow them to remain in front of computer screens or TVs for the most part of the day.
Mr Taylor, who is to become head of the Teaching Agency - which oversees teacher recruitment and training in September, called for better training in how to tackle disciplinary problems.
Too often it consisted of an hour’s lecture at the beginning of the course which was never returned to.
“When I did teacher training at the beginning of the 80’s, they (children who misbehaved) were portrayed as psuedo revolutionaries fighting against the capitalist state and (as such) we should encourage them,” he said.
Ministers were still considering a recommendation made in a report he had published earlier in the year suggesting that parents should be docked benefit payments if they failed to pay fines levied upon them as a result of their children truanting.
Asked whether that would not just make it harder for parents who were already struggling financially, he replied that the main challenge was to get the children into school - and any deterrent that helped towards that end was worth considering.
Later Schools Minister Nick Gibb, quizzed om the Government’s plans to bring back old-style O-levels, said some children could be sitting the exam at 19- rather than 16.
The Government wanted as many children as possible to enter for the new exam - but recognised some would not be ready to take it at 16 - as with GCSE’s.
“It may be that some children when they’re less able will take the one year or two years or three years later.”
His comments appear to underline the Government is moving away from its intention of bringing back a “son of CSE” exam alongside old-style O-levels for the less bright pupils.
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