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What do they mean?

Because things can only get better, behaviour improvement is a constant topic of conversation in staff rooms throughout the land.

Occasionally it refers to the pupils. It is equally likely to apply to heads, support staff, the unsavoury habits of the canteen assistants, and anybody else who isn't in the room at the time. Unfortunately, the Department for Education and Skills has no plans to address any of these concerns, so for the time being we'll just have to put up with the eccentricities of the head's elderly dog.

Embarrassed no doubt by the fact that every time the police break a major crime ring the Mr Big turns out to be Maurice in 4B, the Government has decided to draw a line in the sand.(This is the sand that Maurice has nicked from the building site.) One of the stated aims of the Behaviour Improvement Programme is to improve standards of behaviour overall. So that's clear. Perhaps realising that a little more detail might be helpful, the DfES suggests things like reducing truancy, and having a named key worker for every child at risk of truancy, exclusion or criminal behaviour.

We at St Jude's have been putting our backs into this, and have now identified at least four pupils who will not need a key worker.

Unfortunately, staff shortages mean that we are all key working for so many absent pupils that we haven't got any time to teach the ones who are left, so all four will be unfit for anything in future except joining their schoolmates in a life of crime. We have also, as recommended, formed a Behaviour and Education Support Team, or BEST, to try and steer our charges onto the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, they have responded with their Ways of Reducing Staff to Tears, or WORST, and they're much better at it than we are.

We are all baffled by the proposal of in-school exclusion centres: perhaps we're missing something. Besides, we've never worked out how to exclude pupils who never turn up anyway.

The best idea we've come up with is to threaten them all with the head's dog. Just as soon as we can get him out of Maurice's sand.

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