Lessons Not Learned (Or Why Sir Alan Steer Should Still Stick his Report up his Arse)April 16, 2009
The tone is very different to what Steer was saying on television a few weeks ago. He actually says in the introductory letter that “much remains to be done to raise standards” and “we must not be afraid to act and to make it plain than bad behaviour will not be tolerated”.
The report recognises that schools which OFSTED says are “satisfactory” for behaviour are still likely to have a behaviour problem that needs dealing with.
Guidelines are set for the removal of pupils from the classroom.
It is recommended that schools are reminded of their powers to deal with behaviour outside of the schoolgates.
It is also recommended that school governing bodies improve their effectiveness at excluding, and that local authorities stop setting targets to reduce exclusions.
It is requested that the DCSF review the amount of unnecessary bureaucratic requirements schools have to deal with. (Just a shame they didn’t ask for an independent review.)
The report still claims that behaviour is good and improving.
As per usual the report implies that it is bad teaching that is the problem, and even makes the ludicrous suggestion that this can be dealt by schools producing more pointless paperwork, sorry, by requiring schools to produce a “written policy on learning and teaching”.
There is still talk of “behaviour needs” and SEN as an excuse for poor behaviour.
The report supports the politically correct dogma that concern about the appalling levels of poor behaviour and youth crime is “demonising the young”.
The strawman of “purely punitive” approaches to behaviour is attacked. I have never yet met any teacher who demanded that all behaviour be dealt with in a “purely punitive” way. The problem is with the widespread use of purely non-punitive approaches.
The report welcomes “the consolidation of the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) programme”, which is at best a ludicrous waste of time.
The Big Lie from the previous report (“where unsatisfactory behaviour does occur, in the vast majority of cases it involves low level disruption in lessons. Incidents of serious misbehaviour, and especially acts of extreme violence, remain exceptionally rare”) is repeated and supported through selective use of the evidence.
As ever, the only way to explain away The Behaviour Crisis is to pretend that people throughout history have always thought there was a behaviour crisis. This is, of course, not true and so we often see fraudulent evidence to prove this claim. Sure enough, the Steer Report claims Plato said:
“What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets, inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?”
I’ve pointed out before how, (despite its widespread use) there is no reliable reference to be found for this quotation. This time I had my Complete Works of Plato to hand and, looking up every reference to “parents” in the index, I found nothing remotely like this quotation. Of course, why would we expect a committee of headteachers and education luminaries operating under the guidance of the DCSF to be able to recognise a fraud, provide references, or do even the most basic of fact checking?