16th November 2007 at 00:00
Certain Year 9 to 11 pupils won't keep themselves in a lesson. They just get up and leave, either with their bag (not returning) or leaving their stuff (probably returning). Some say they are going to the toilet or to get a drink. Should I wait until they come back and sanction them or should I report it to management and let them sort it out? Jane, London.

A: Make it clear at the beginning that this behaviour is not acceptable. If they persist in leaving the room, apply your sanctions. If the problem continues, report it to your line manager, but do not give the impression that you are abdicating responsibility. If that doesn't work, carry on up the line of seniority until you get to your headteacher. If none of these people can help, you may need to write in again. Tim, Birmingham

A: Sounds as though you should have a revolving door fitted. You are in charge of managing pupils' learning and this requires lesson attendance. An Ofsted inspector would simply shred you if this happened during observation. Why has nobody picked this up internally? This absence of control makes one less than optimistic that senior managers have the wherewithal to sort it out. Act quickly as the behaviour has become ingrained. Rod, Middlesex

A: The problem is trying to change behaviour patterns that are now established. Lay down the law on the protocol for leaving class during lessons. Identify clearly the way you expect pupils to behave. Some may test boundaries - challenge their behaviour and, if necessary, call in support - as they are now wilfully undermining you Sue, East Grinstead

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Q: Our sixth form pupils are full of ideas for extracurricular activities - but unless a teacher takes overall responsibility for a project, the initiative soon fizzles and dies. How do you create a culture of pupil "stickability" and ownership?

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