6th August 2010 at 01:00
The problem: My Year 6 class resents me because I won't let them do what they want. They have no set boundaries: parents phone the school to bend the rules, the head often accepts this, and other teachers give them free rein. Should I bother to uphold structure when no one else does?

What you said

"The number of children I have met who think a basic instruction, such as `Please put your pencil down,' is up for negotiation is amazing. They have rarely heard a definitive no."


"Children need boundaries, and while you may be unpopular at first, in the long run they will appreciate what you have done for them. Keep on doing what you're doing and hope that one day the parents will follow suit."


"I spent a lot of time fighting the Year 6 Lord of the Flies mentality. It's got better for me over the years. It will make a huge difference to them in the long term."


The expert view

First, create a solid structure of rules, boundaries and positive reinforcements in your class. Setting boundaries helps children to develop self-control and provides them with a safe and caring environment in which they can grow and achieve. Boundaries need to be fair, consistent and appropriate for the emotional and developmental age of the pupils. If the boundaries are not followed, there need to be agreed consequences.

Second, establish a close working relationship with parents. There are five golden rules to achieve this:


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