Shaping up Bristol fashion

3rd October 2003 at 01:00
I was interested to read your report last week of the disappointing outcome of the Scottish Executive's drive towards improving discipline.

Funding of pound;10 million per year has, it seems, produced such insignificant results that the target to reduce exclusions by a third is now to be dropped.

Contrast this with the report I received earlier in the week from the director of an education action zone in Bristol, where they have reduced pupil exclusions almost ninefold in the space of 12 months.

It is, of course, always dangerous to draw definite conclusions from one set of data. Nevertheless, the Bristol teachers themselves are in no doubt that the major factor in this dramatic improvement has been their critical skills programme training. As so many of those who have experienced the critical skills programme have said: "The best thing about CSP is that it works!"

The cost of this training to the Bristol EAZ has been around pound;60,000, or less than pound;1,000 per teacher. On the evidence so far, it would seem to be a much better investment than the pound;10 million spent failing to implement the Better Behaviour, Better Learning task force recommendations on discipline in Scottish schools.

Colin Weatherley

Critical Skills Programme Manager (Scotland amp; Channel Islands)

The Paddock

Gullane, East Lothian

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