Bursting the bad behaviour bubble
I read with interest Adrian Elliott's article arguing that the idea that "Behaviour and discipline in schools today are far worse than in the past" is a myth (Comment, November 6). I absolutely agree.
I have worked at five schools in five authorities over the past 14 years, from inner-city London to Birmingham to Coventry, and in all schools the behaviour has been significantly better than at the school I went to as a child.
When I take this stance with colleagues they often assume that I was dragged up in some dodgy school with a poor headteacher and ineffective staff. I actually went to a very popular and successful school in Solihull with a superb headteacher and committed staff. However, this did not prevent several memorable incidents: the deputy headteacher being headbutted by a Year 11 student; students throwing around fireworks on the way to an English lesson; drawers being filled with gas in science and set on fire while the science teacher had his back turned; students breaking into the stairs that lead to the roof and spending a morning up there; a student stealing some chloroform, sniffing it and passing out on the road in front of school; girls in Year 10 throwing tampons around in an NQT's maths lesson and students inhaling Tipp-Ex thinners in geography and passing out - to name but a few.
I do not know of a school now where this kind of behaviour would happen or, if it did, not be seriously punished.
I am fortunate enough to work in a superb school where the vast majority of students are delightful, polite, thoughtful, hard-working and confident - a far cry from my own school days.
When I hear adults putting down the current crop of teenagers with the old adage "kids these days", shouldn't they remember what they were like at school - possibly with a cringe? Adults these days .
- Russell Plester, Deputy headteacher, Finham Park School, Coventry.