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Girls fighting

Mike Kent is a Friday columnist and head of Comber Grove primary school in the south London borough of Southwark

"I have two men on my staff, and if they had to deal with a girls' fight, I too would advise them to go for the arms. You can't walk away. You have to deal with it there and then; if you don't, you've had it.

"We do see girls' aggression at primary school. When it happens here, maybe two or three times a year, it tends to happen at lunchtime when there are fewer teachers around. You have to stop it before it starts. I'm always out there for the last 15 minutes of every playtime, keeping an eye, having a quiet word, nipping trouble in the bud. There are a lot of activities - games, hoops, art group and the like - and it helps to keep a lid on things. Also, as staff, we sit down at lunch with the children. We see what's going on but they can also see that we get on; that we enjoy each other's company. If there's tension between staff in a school, it can be like a firework going off.

"Girls are good at ostracising other girls; winding each other up to acts of cruelty; texting each other; phoning each other up out of school. It's difficult to counter but we keep a close eye on relationships, looking for tell-tale changes."

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