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Discipline is still the burning issue

Opinion survey findings from Moray Council (page five) confirm what secondary teachers, in particular, have been saying for some time.

Discipline is not what it was, pupils are more out of control and teachers are not prepared to put up any longer with unacceptable behaviour.

When one in four believes their school is worse than a year ago, something is obviously amiss. All teachers' unions have highlighted such problems and working groups at national and local level have produced their solutions.

Glasgow is the latest to reveal its discipline package (page six) and has proposed home-school agreements, not a new idea but yet to be extensively tried in Scotland. The attempt to create a climate in which more positive attitudes are fostered at home will need a dose of good fortune to succeed, but it is worth the effort. That apart, it is more of the same: more behaviour support, more time-out bases and better training for teachers in the face of more violent and unruly pupils from unstable, broken families.

This comes almost five years after Jack McConnell, then Education Minister, launched his report on Better Behaviour, Better Learning at a Stirling secondary. But media reports last weekend of more teachers than ever being seriously assaulted underline the intractable difficulties caused by a minority. Pupils want it sorted too.

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