Time to get real about 'hidden disabilities'

19th March 2010 at 00:00

The Welsh Assembly is supposedly promoting a new culture of pedagogy which includes building positive relationships with children by listening to them (see its 2009 leaftlet Effective Practice in Learning and Teaching - A Focus on Pedagogy). This seems incompatible with the new restraint guidance, also from the Welsh Assembly ("Restraint guidance draconian", TES Cymru, March 12). How can restraint techniques have any place in such settings?

Imagine if all children's services were to follow the teacher's intended use of force to restrain a child. I have worked in children's residential settings and been appalled at the misuse of power when restraint used.

Other strategies need to be found. The simple but accurate philosophy of Mungo Sheppard (TES Magazine, March 12) that "if a child is not mentally or physically ready to learn, they won't", and "if pupils feel stretched and enjoy learning, they are much less likely to misbehave" speaks volumes.

Lesley Parratt, Teaching assistant, primary school, Newport, South Wales.

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