Time to tackle indiscipline

11th June 2004 at 01:00
It's time to call a halt to suggestions that teachers are to blame for the behaviour of unruly pupils. Training teachers in the latest behaviour modification techniques is wrong. They are already highly trained professionals accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland, but are being prevented in some schools from doing their jobs by anti-social pupils who seem hell-bent on disrupting the taxpayer-funded, state education system.

Instead of a plethora of well-meaning, often experimental initiatives to tackle behaviour problems within schools, at further cost to the taxpayer, the problem needs to be tackled at source - in the home.

Parents must be held accountable for the behaviour of their sons and daughters. And parents who fail to ensure their offspring can behave responsibly at school should bear the cost; it should not be left to taxpayers to pick up the tab.

My union believes it is time for a radical move to tackle pupil indiscipline and lack of parental support: a new positive contract between all partners in the education process to which parents would have to sign up and which would include penalties for non-compliance.

If the Scottish Executive is serious about dealing with anti-social behaviour, then it must include school pupil behaviour in its legislative plans.

Safety and welfare of teachers is the first concern of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers. In common with any public or private sector employee, it is a teacher's right to feel that the workplace is safe. If pupils with a propensity for disruption are allowed into class, the level of stress and anxiety caused to teachers and to the well-behaved pupils in the same class is unacceptable. It can feel like working alongside a ticking bomb.

Ian Clydesdale

Scottish president

National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers

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