Bad ideas about behaviour

13th January 2006 at 00:00
There are 32,000 children, in Leeds at key stage 2, yet there is space for just 22 in a pupil referral unit.

Such units are for those whose lives prove so traumatic that they cannot function in a mainstream school. John Wright of the Independent Panel for Special Education Advice has voiced concern that many vulnerable children are being excluded because local education authorities are trying to save money.

It is apparently very expensive for education authorities to provide special needs children with the support they need to take part in mainstream schooling, and when these children don't get classroom support they need, their behaviour can become so disruptive that they end up being sent home.

Badly behaved pupils are the biggest cause of stress to teachers, according to the NASUWT. Jacqui Smith, the education minister, has said the problem can be alleviated by giving power to teaching assistants and dinner ladies to tackle unruly pupils. We should now sit back and let dinner ladies sort it out.

Bernadette Flannery Bankside Primary Markham Avenue, Leeds

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