Peer pressure

1st October 2004 at 01:00
Mike Kent is a Friday columnist and head of Comber Grove primary school in the south London borough of Southwark "This kind of thing can be very difficult to deal with and often it's about children with sad lives craving attention and schools having to pick up the pieces. We had one lad we took in from another school. His mum and dad had split up acrimoniously and he was very frustrated and drove his class teacher to distraction. But we kept him busy - we have many activities here - and we praised him for the work he did. We always seek to stimulate children to distract them from poor behaviour.

"We took another pupil in who had smashed up a classroom at his previous school. He'd had to be locked in while the teacher took other pupils out.

We made him see that that's not the way to act at Comber Grove. We made him feel a fool for behaving like that. One day when he was acting out, I took him out of class and sat on a chair in the hall while he ran around, jumping up and down. I watched and said nothing and eventually he got embarrassed and stopped. At that point I told him to pack it in.

"It's about expectations. We make it clear as a whole school that we don't expect that kind of behaviour. The danger is that you put so much time into the Billys that you neglect the child playing the violin."

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