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Self-esteem proved crucial again

In the November 4 Panorama programme on The Ridings School, viewers saw that Karen Stansfield, the headteacher, had said in a report to the governors that "the greatest pitfall to success for many of our students is undoubtedly their poor self-esteem". This is yet another reminder that where levels of self-esteem are down, violence, disruption, exclusions will be up. There will always be an unsatisfactory record of achievement in every area.

Where schools adopt policies and use programmes designed to build self-esteem in their pupils, far fewer of these problems arise. To prevent patterns of anti-social behaviour becoming entrenched, it is obviously better to do this at an early age, but it is never too late to make a difference.

Ethical behaviour, accountability and self-responsibility are all assets which come with solid self-esteem. If the nation wants a culture that expects reasonable moral standards, the issue of raising self-esteem in our young people should be our highest priority. Constructive self-esteem enhancement programmes are about the assimilation of values relating to integrity, empathy and responsibility.

MURRAY WHITE

International Council for Self-Esteem

5 Ferry Path

Cambridge

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