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It can be both just and fair to treat each child unequally

If you need to give pupils special treatment, it’s likely classmates will react with empathy, says Nancy Gedge

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“It’s not fair!” was the refrain from my sister and I, as we railed against what we saw as the unfair application of rules by our parents or teachers. It’s a phrase that echoed in my mind when I became a teacher.

Children rapidly lose respect for teachers who treat them unfairly by having favourites or by applying the school rules differently, depending on who breaks them. I didn’t want that happening to me. Yet, every child is different, and because we know them – or are getting to know them – we respond differently to each of them.

Little Jack, whose parents split up last month, gets a ...

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