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What inclusion leaves out

The increasing indiscipline in Scottish schools is a direct result of the Scottish Executive's social inclusion policy.

Teachers are having to put up with abusive, disruptive pupils who are having a negative effect on other pupils' behaviour and the means for dealing with this problem has effectively been removed.

Teachers are having to tolerate behaviour that someone working in a bar would not be expected to put up with. Measures introduced to "support" staff and pupils are costly and ineffective.

Professor Pamela Munn (a non-schoolteacher) and other advocates of the social inclusion policy advocate that "exclusion from school is the beginning of exclusion from society".

Teachers who do not have patience for "challenging" behaviour are portrayed as impatient and incompetent. "Experts" are brought in at great expense to run courses on raising achievement. The result? Worse discipline than ever.

Furthermore, figures showing falling exclusion rates (TESS, last week) do not tell the whole story. As every teacher knows, management staff are increasingly turning a blind eye to serious incidents of indiscipline to keep their exclusion figures down.

Staffrooms are filled with discussion of the latest outrageous incident and the lack of adequate measures taken to deal with it.

A challenge to Professor Munn: poll every unpromoted secondary teacher in Scotland. Ask them a simply worded question: do you think social inclusion works? The results may surprise you.

One thing is certain: the Executive has certainly kept its promise to narrow the gap between the "haves" and the "have nots". With so many barriers to an effective education system, the "haves" are learning less than ever before.

G Temple Glasgow

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