Harvey case lifts lid on behaviour

14th May 2010 at 01:00

I am always interested in Gerard Kelly's editorials, but would like to make a few comments about last week's ("Attack on pupils' bad behaviour is a low blow").

I think it would be a mistake not to learn something from the Peter Harvey affair, and try to do something about it. If children were misbehaving as badly as they apparently did, then it should have been sorted out by a competent management team. It is not a good idea to brush things under the carpet and just blame the teacher alone.

It is a fact accepted by most people, including politicians, that behaviour in many schools is not as good as it used to be. Children are not as biddable as they once were. There is a contingent which currently denies this fact, including some teachers and heads, but I think they make things worse by doing this. It is a form of denial.

The fact that the Harvey case has taken the lid off things is not necessarily bad. We have now had a number of teachers coming out with their own valid experiences about bad behaviour. Previously they felt powerless and also suffered from that dreadful affliction suffered by teachers in general: the "Is it my fault?" syndrome.

In the same way that the first MP who abused the expenses scandal led to a mass disclosure, the Peter Harvey case has led to the disclosure of much that is rotten concerning some pupils' behaviour in our schools. Shame on us if we do not act.

Barry Kingsley, Supply teacher and tutor, Croydon, Surrey.

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