Laugh? I nearly did;Talkback

17th September 1999 at 01:00
Our school is a traditional, leafy suburb school, with a supportive ethos (according to OFSTED) which aims to help children to develop a sense of responsibility for themselves and their environment.

We have set up a "buddy" system, where the older children each look after a new Year 2 child. These friendships begin early when they send them personally-crafted Christmas cards. They make books to read on Buddy Day in the summer term when children coming up from the infants are introduced to the "big school". Parents enthuse about the positive start this gives our new Year 2s, but it also has a marked effect on the self-esteem of our Year 6s.

Such seemingly lowly responsibilities as register monitor, lunch-time helper, and more exalted positions, such as member of the Green Team or Sports Captain, also promote a sense of pride and responsibility. When new children join the school mid-year, our pupils compete for the honour of taking them and their parents on a school tour to show them all the best bits. Our children are proud of their school.

We are a well ordered community; we look after each other well. So it was all the more disturbing when such smug complacency was rudely shattered by an outbreak of graffiti.

Just before the end of term, a series of names scoured into chairs and desks appeared, perhaps a vain attempt by some Year 6 children to leave their mark on the school. The culprits were easily identified since they had used their own names in large letters.

Those responsible claimed to have done it "for fun". Some of their parents agreed to make a donation and to deduct the amount from their children's pocket money. Others plainly considered this to be a move by a headteacher in need of a humour transplant, who had over-reacted to a bit of end-of-term high spirits.

As in many other cases, schools cannot please all of the parents all of the time.

Bob Aston is head of a juniorschool in Kent

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today