Please don't bring them back

17th November 2006 at 00:00
Ian Roe is a pseudonym. He is a teacher in North Wales

We have a new welfare officer. He is bright and alert, keen to do a proper job. He is driven by a conviction that school is positively the right place for all our young people - every last one of them. So Joe is out there, pounding the streets, making house calls, pouring over attendance data, phoning, always phoning.

It doesn't half get on your nerves.

This mission to drag all our miscreants into school is all very well but the teachers do not want them. Like most schools, we have long achieved an understanding with our undesirables. They don't come to school so we don't chase them.

In fact, it is probably the only time in their lives that they will find themselves agreeing with a teacher.

To drag them screaming into school is clearly to act against our own best interests. And also against the genuine interests of the other poor souls in the class.

Why do we want Nicky in school? Depression whips across the staffroom whenever we find out that Nicky has been pulled off the streets again and dumped in the classroom.

He will destroy any lesson that he is in. If your child was in the same class as him you would prefer it if he was playing truant. It just isn't fair.

Nicky steals time from everyone else. He has had everything we can provide.

Counselling, support, encouragement. We have run out of strategies, other than to plug him into the national grid.

There is no alternative provision that will turn Nicky around. The poor boy has been left behind. His friends, who might have once found his behaviour amusing, now find him tiresome. What they achieve happens through the poisonous fog he lays down which obscures and distracts.

They need to work. He does his best to stop them. What is the point of him being there? You can say what you like about equality or inclusion but you would not want him sitting next to your child, yet Joe is making him sit next to someone else's.

It is a constant dilemma that all schools deal with, and we deal with it in our different, largely secret and sometimes illegal ways. We have a duty to classes of children, not just to one disaffected loser.

If you keep on sticking a needle in your ear it keeps on hurting. The pain goes away when you stop. Just like Nicky. We speak loftily about alternative provision but Nicky does not want what we have and will actively derail it. There is nothing more we can do.

We want to get rid of him. He wants to go. It should be a done deal. So sadly we are at odds with a keen and committed professional like Joe. He might know the law but we understand what is right.

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