Volunteers sought to move in with worst pupils

12th March 2010 at 00:00
The people behind Hollyoaks want `exceptional young teachers' for new TV series

There can't be many teachers who would happily go to live with their most unruly pupil - but those willing to try it could find themselves transformed into TV stars.

Producers are now on the hunt for "exceptional young teachers" to take part in the social experiment, which aims to discover if children would behave better for school staff than their parents.

Teacher in the House will be produced by the team behind teen soap Hollyoaks and broadcast later this year on BBC3.

Those who take part will spend 24 hours a day with their "most challenging" pupils and will be filmed at home and at school.

Producers Lime Pictures have told interested teachers - who must have a "passion" for teaching - that the show will set out to answer the question: "What if a teacher with insight and understanding had the opportunity to spend quality one-on-one time with one of their most unruly pupils?"

The experiment will require a brief stay in the pupil's home, which it is hoped will improve their behaviour inside and outside the classroom.

It is also hoped the child will realise the "teacher is actually a person with their best intentions at heart" and parents will appreciate how demanding teaching is.

John Bangs, head of education for the NUT, said potential participants should make sure they could "hack it" before signing up to the programme.

"Teachers need to ask themselves if they would be able to fit in with the household, and if they would want to have a media presence - they would need to cope with being filmed, which creates a very artificial environment," he said.

"The worst thing would be if the programme became a contest between the teacher and the pupil because of production values."

Anna Brown, head of Waterloo, a specialist school for children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties, said pupils often behaved perfectly for teachers but badly for parents. But she said the chance for staff to have dedicated time to just one pupil could help them.

"Children need to feel liked and wanted, which is difficult for a mainstream classroom teacher to do if the needs of 30 others have to be considered," she said.

"A lot of families are crying out for help. Pupils can and do behave in schools if their needs are identified and met. Children need clear, consistent boundaries and need to be aware that there are consistent consequences to their actions.

"The problems start at home if parents set very few boundaries, and this can cause a very marked difference in behaviour."

Lynn Gadd, principal at the Harefield Academy in Uxbridge, where staff are encouraged to be in more contact with parents, said a good relationship with families is vital for teachers.

"A greater knowledge of how children are living helps them bring out the best in them. Nobody wants to make excuses for underperfomance, but if the teacher has more idea of the context it helps explain it," she said. "Children really want to be known personally by teachers."

For further information, email Patrick Talbot, development producer at Lime Pictures, at ptalbot@limepictures.com, or phone him on 0151 722 9122.

Supernanny plus?

  • Mike Kent, TES columnist and headteacher at Comber Grove Primary School, Camberwell, London.
    • This sounds like a variation on Supernanny, although I suspect it may well make interesting television. The trouble is, every good teacher experiencing problems with a badly behaved, unruly child knows that the problem invariably emanates from the home. I mean parents who show little interest in their children, have no proper behaviour boundaries, constantly buy them things, say `no' but then give in because it's easier to do that.

      I suspect that within five minutes of being in the pupil's home, the teachers will realise exactly why the youngsters behave as they do. It's important, too, that there should be a bit of distance between the home and school. At my school we have many children who are challenging to their parents, but absolutely fine in school.

      There is a professional `distance' and clearly set boundaries. The teacher should be many things to a child, but not a `friend'.

      Original paper headline: Sleeping over with the enemy: volunteers sought to move in with their worst pupils - on TV


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