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Exclusion is no answer to problem of disruptive pupils

I have been a supply teacher for several years in many schools in many education authorities and I have had similar experiences to Mark Jacobs (Friday, January 11), and sometimes much worse.

I have been hearing the same stories, not only from supply staff but also from permanent teachers.

I agree with Ross Metcalfe (Friday, letters, January 25) that we need to protect pupils who want to learn from those who disrupt lessons. Many teachers are leaving the profession because tackling poor behaviour leaves them exhausted physically and mentally.

I don't agree with Mr Metcalfe or the Government when they say disruptive pupils must be excluded. These pupils must be helped by appropriately qualified special needs co-ordinators to improve their behaviour.

Psychology has advanced tremendously and there are proven ways to help them. It's up to senior teachers to learn about the innovations in their fields and to bring them into schools.

I have been shocked to find heads of science, heads of maths, Sencos and pastoral care leaders who haven't touched a single issue of an educational journal in their field after gaining their PGCE.

These journals carry many ideas that help solve problems found in many schools.

We urgently need to improve the quality of initial teacher training and continuing professional development.

Education is preparation for life in a changing society and when the society has been changing faster and faster the quality of the teacher hasn't been keeping up. A lot of research agrees.

Puni Selvaratnam

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