Don't foster the bullies

29th April 2005 at 01:00
Nobody disputes that schools have to contend with forces that are largely outwith their control - like some parents. Ewan Aitken, the local authorities' education spokesperson and columnist of this parish, made this dramatically clear with his startling suggestion that bullies should be temporarily parted from their parents and placed with foster carers, a suggestion he first made, rather more obliquely, in his TES Scotland column on March 4. This, of course, is last resort thinking and is based on the fact that, while bullying manifests itself in school, it may have its origins in the home.

Mr Aitken may have been doing no more than flying a kite to see what the reaction would be. He kens noo. The response was uniformly, and rightly, hostile, from the Education Minister downwards. Whatever one thinks of such intervention in family life, it would send out a negative message about fostering and it risks swelling the ranks of looked-after children, who are among the most educationally disadvantaged.

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