Heads at a loss over discipline

15th December 2000 at 00:00
THE white flag of surrender has been raised. When the heads' association says that keeping good order inhibits teaching and when the disruptive few undermine the aspirations of the majority, the crisis is one that the Executive dare not ignore. Headteachers are not whingers: as senior professionals their training and experience should give them confidence in dealing with difficult pupils, and yet even they are calling halt.

As a body the heads go beyond the academic researchers. Low-level, irritating indiscipline may be a bane, as research uncovered years ago. But seriously had behaviour is also to be found. The two may need diferent approaches.

Yet having built their case, the heads offer no new solutions. That is not their fault. If there was a simple answer, they would have implemented it. But there is no single counter to indiscipline.

Still, the Executive might have expected more from heads than a Panglossian wish-list. The debate at their conference last month produced a raft of initiatives emphasising the positive. No doubt there are horses for courses, and what has made a difference in one school might be ineffective elsewhere. But whereas individual heads sound a positive note, when they come together they wring their hands.

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