Difficult pupils are our problem;Letter

23rd April 1999 at 01:00
IT WAS with sadness that I read of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers' view on children with behaviour difficulties, or "troublesome pupils" as they so nicely put it.

If "troublesome pupils" are not the responsibility of teachers, then whose responsibility are they?

I trained to become a teacher because I wanted to help children reach their full potential in a safe environment. It is our responsibility as teachers to aim to provide that environment and to give all pupils access to the curriculum irrespective of their age, race, language, understanding or behaviour.

We cannot eliminate bad behaviour but we can reduce it.

The NASUWT seems to think it is acceptable just to exclude children and get rid of the "problem". Is this an effective way of promoting responsible behaviour? Please colleagues - draw the distinction of disliking the behaviour but accepting the child. When we do this we are more prone to want to help the child succeed.

The "it's not our problem" reference is made to a child of four excluded for biting 16 children and five members of staff (TES, April 9). This child was excluded on his second day at school. Who has failed here? Are we really saying that the best way to support a child obviously very distressed about starting school is to exclude them?

It is not the school which is at fault here. It is not the child. It is the likes of Nigel de Gruchy and those in his union whose views seem to be set in a different millennium. "The time for namby-pamby education theories is over and tough action must be advocated against all disruptives," says one. The message is: don't worry about helping the child, it is not our responsibility, just get rid of them.

Let's remember why we came into education in the first place and work together for a lasting solution, rather than just shooting from the hip and wrecking lives in the process.

Rob Ryan 68 Montrose Avenue Chatham Kent

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