Soft touch or tough as nails?

11th February 2005 at 00:00
Do you want your pupils to be world-class citizens or do you simply shrug your shoulders? Jill Parkin helps you assess how seriously you take your job

1 It's Year 11 study leave at your school and it is besieged by complaints about Bacardi Breezer bottles and chip wrappers in the local park.

A You write to all Year 10 parents explaining that in future years there will be no study leave, but compulsory supervised revision, which will ensure improved results.

b You write back to each complainant saying there's no proof that it has anything to do with your pupils.

c You decide to give Year 11 a talking-to when they come back for their end of exams prom.

2 Georgie Grunter, an overweight boy in Year 9, has been splattered all over the science corridor and had to go to casualty.

a You re-circulate your anti-bullying policy and suggest to Georgie's parents that he spend the summer at a fat camp.

b You invite bullies and their victims for a chat and establish a dialogue between them.

c You stuff the no-blame policy in the bin, haul the bullies in with their parents and tell them that next time it's the police.

3 The corridor carpets are thick with chewing gum. It's also under the desks and under the handrails.

a You strip out the carpets and revert to polished floors, - much easier to clean.

b At your invitation, the caretaker addresses the whole school in assembly about what a difficult job he has.

c The carpets are stripped out, chewing gum is banned and anyone on report for anything this term is given plastic gloves and a scraper to clean it off the desks and rails.

4 Too many parents are driving their hulking teenagers to school, creating a hazard at the gates.

a You put in a quick call to the police about people parking on yellow zig-zags and the like.

b You send round a reminder of the county council's walk-to-school policy and a digest of the healthy schools initiative.

c You ask pupils to ask parents to drop them off at the lights at the end of the road instead.

5 The debating society discusses "There is no point in voting" and the motion is unanimously passed.

a You take over the next citizenship class with a no-holds barred lecture on what happens in countries where no-one can vote.

b It's probably true this time round, so you do nothing.

c You book an assembly speaker from the Electoral Reform Society for next term.

6 Donations to your charity guild have dwindled to pound;2, a juke box token and 10p from the girl who runs the scripture union.

a Get pupils to keep a record of what they spend on sweets and crisps for a fortnight. Tell them what that would do for an African village.

b Suggest the PTA couldorganise a sponsored event.

c Get the Scripture Union to give more.

7 Amid fears of childhood obesity and diabetes, you are offered a range of snack machines that would enable you to replace some of your computer software.

a You circulate details of the great new machines to the children and ask your IT man what he'd like.

b You tell the snack manufacturers exactly where they can put their machines. And it's not in your school.

c You compromise on a couple of machines and a few bits of software, including a healthy eating awareness course for PHSE.

8 Most pupils are dropping foreign languages at 14; their travelling ambitions are limited to Australia and the nearest shopping mall; and recently no one turned up to the careers talk entitled 'So you'd like to help people?'

a Changing the world is so Seventies. And Lakeside on a Saturday afternoon isn't for softies, you know.

b Give the talk again, this time with the snappy title "Working for a charity can pay good money".

c The forces of materialism might be too big to tackle, but you organise a Year 10 trip to Florence and a work experience programme with Shelter anyway.


Q1 A=3, B=1, C=2. Q2 A=1, B=2, C=3. Q3 A=1, B=2, C=3. Q4 A=3;B=2; C=1; Q5 A=3; B=1; C=2. Q6 A=3, B=2, C=1. Q7 A=1, B=3, C=2. Q8 A=1, B=2, C=3.

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