Won't learn kids cause classroom 'havoc'

26th May 2006 at 01:00
Pupils who fight for the "right not to be educated" are dragging down schools, Sylvia Munro, Aberdeen, said. A single pupil could disrupt classes and the education of other children and it was time the Scottish Executive addressed the problem. This was inclusion at its worst.

"They have opted out and I don't have the professional training to deal with these children and I do not think they should be included in the classroom. List D schools do not seem a bad idea to me, to be honest," Ms Munro said.

Zaf Hussain, North Lanarkshire, backed social inclusion but said the policy needed the support of society. He taught in an area in the "premier league of deprivation" but resented being blamed for not providing an education that would cure social problems. Teachers had been abused and assaulted.

"I have children who are experts on corridors because I can't teach them and have to remove them from my classroom. Right now we have a survey of health and safety in our school and those kids are telling them the defects," Mr Hussain said.

Victor Topping, Scottish representative on the union's UK executive, said:

"There are groups of pupils who enter the room looking for a fight and disagreement with the teacher."

Strategies for dealing with them were totally inadequate and bases in school merely delayed their return. "They are back in class the following week and the whole thing starts again. It goes on week after week and I know of pupils causing havoc in every class for four years until they reach 16," Mr Topping said.

John Henvey, South Lanarkshire, now a supply teacher, said many teachers wanted out because of discipline problems, not workload. He had taught in eight schools and had seen the extent of the problem - even a behavioural base with a desk and chair outside.

"I feel sorry for these kids but they are in your classroom and you really have to get rid of them. I do not think the curriculum helps. These kids should not be sitting eight Standard grades. I do not think doing history and zinc plus copper sulphate is going to help these kids at all," Mr Henvey said.

On a separate motion dealing with low-level indiscipline, Ms Munro said that most teaching time was lost through small irritations. One boy, for example, clocked up 13 small incidents.

"He came late, without a school bag, without a pencil and textbooks and these were interruptions to my lesson. He interrupted when I was teaching and had to be checked several times for talking to his classmates. He had his MP3 player and mobile phone confiscated.

"These are hardly the things you put down on a serious discipline report but the sum total really gives me more grief than a single pupil going over the top and being removed from the classroom."

Ms Munro rejected the view that inability to handle indiscipline was down to poor teaching.

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