30 years ago

13th February 2004 at 00:00
"There can be little doubt that difficulties consequent upon the raising of the school leaving age (RSLA) make a great contribution to current teacher discontent," laments teacher James Carmichael in an article called "Winter of our discontent" in The TES Scotland on February 15, 1974.

"First, we have encountered the obvious difficulties, arising from pupil resentment, among those caught in the draft. This sense of grievance, largely among pupils euphemistically termed less able, could have been diminished if the rigorous application of infrequent leaving dates had been relaxed . . .

"However, the main problem of the RSLA decision has been discipline.

Teachers have been faced with a major challenge to authority at the very time when administrators and self-appointed advisers are pressing for the reduction of sanctions and the rejection of an authoritarian approach ...

"The young people who have been added to our schools by RSLA are particularly difficult. In the cities we have simply introduced the juvenile gangs into the classroom. The youngsters have a false maturity accentuated by the pressures of vested financial interests and the irresponsibility of the mass media.

"Physically strong and without ethical support from their homes, they give reality to the fictitous brutalities which they witness on screen and television ...

"Schools are ill prepared to meet this challenge."

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