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Eight Out Of Forty-Three Ain’t Bad (If You’re a Member of SMT)

April 30, 2009

After six weeks of term in which my year ten class have continued to disrupt every lesson, I decided I’d had enough. I found the worst few incidents of the last couple of weeks (being called a twat by Charlene and being told to fuck off by Daniel) and emailed SMT about it. I was surprised to get responses. I was not surprised that the responses consisted of passing responsibility to other people and/or denying knowledge of the incidents. Neither incident had appeared on the school’s behaviour database system despite two weeks having passed.

There were some incidents on the system. Madelaine and Will had been given a day in isolation on Wednesday (this is the standard punishment for being sent out of lessons). Madelaine had earned this by repeated interruptions and calling another student “a pregnant bitch” and Will had earned this by refusing to stop singing while I was talking. The odd thing about this is that on Wednesday, when they were meant to be isolation, Madelaine and Will had attended my lesson and disrupted it. I raised this and was told that these students had been let out of isolation unsupervised to go and have injections. They had then gone to my lesson to disrupt it rather than returning to isolation. Evidently the pleasure they get from stopping me from teaching is not easily foregone.

At a tough school you expect to have lessons disrupted and you expect to get verbal abuse. You can also expect SMT and HOYs to ignore incidents referred to them. However, they usually act eventually when it’s every lesson for a fortnight and you are emailing them every day about what’s happening. This time it’s been six weeks without progress. Previously well-behaved kids were joining in. So I contacted my union rep, Diane, to ask to see her about what was happening. (Unions are actually quite good at politely asking why kids are allowed to victimise their members with impunity, that’s why Jim Bulmer the head at Stafford Grove was reputed to bully union reps with hostile observations until they left). She popped in to see me while I was in the detention hall. I was allowed out for a brief chat and the Deputy Head “just happened to” overhear. Before I knew it there was a flurry of activity and he was agreeing to meet me Friday afternoon to discuss the matter.

I did my homework. I compiled the 43 incidents into a handy spreadsheet. 17 had not appeared on the behaviour system. Of those that had appeared only 8 listed any form of action that had been taken.

8 out of 43.

It even shocked me to see how many incidents of verbal abuse had been ignored. That said, it is the repeat offenders that make the inaction so depressing. Dave had walked out of 5 lessons without anybody doing anything to encourage him to stop. Daniel had been sent out of half the lessons he’d attended. Printed it out just made it obvious how badly I’d been let down by the system. How badly the kids in the class had been let down by the system.

On Friday I was surprised to see the Year Head for year 10 joining us. The Deputy Head and Year Head were soon promising to chase up certain students and let the year ten mentor assist in lessons. If anything they were too helpful now that the unions were involved; I had to persuade them that I didn’t currently want any help with my other year 10 class. As ever, the excuses were the main entertainment value of the meeting. The Deputy Head talked at length (convincingly) about how the schools budget for Teaching Assistants had been underspent and how outside contractors had been unable to deliver the updated behaviour system on time. The Year Head was less convincing. Apparently the lack of action on her part was down to:

a) Computer errors which made incidents just disappear from the system

or

b) Other members of staff leaving the door to the Year Head’s office open, thereby allowing students to sneak in and remove referrals from her desk.

Of course, if you believe that you’d probably also believe that the main discipline problem in school is “low-level disruption” and that exams are as difficult as they were twenty years ago.

Postscript

The following Monday I got to see the full list of results from the first modular GCSE exam year 10 took in March. Out of the ten classes in the year group there were only two in which the majority of students had met or exceeded their targets. I had taught both of those classes. No other class had more than three pupils reach their targets. A number of my colleagues later explained to me that their results were disappointing because they’d had some poor behaviour with year ten recently.

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70 comments

  1. I sat through a presentation yesterday after school (during which I’d taught every period, so was utterly knackered!) about the changes to the curriculum for 14-19 year olds. For the whole of the 60+ minutes, I was wondering when someone was going to point out to the “facilitators” that all this stuff with knobs, bells and whistles on is all very well, if you’re lucky enough to be teaching kids who would recognise an aspiration if it jumped up and hit them in the face.

    Which is my roundabout way of saying, that – and of course, it’s obvious to those of us who do this day in, day out – standards and results aren’t going to improve, no matter how much the curriculum is “expanded” and tweaked, until we sort out the behaviour of those pupils that all these new diplomas and whatevers are aimed at, i.e the children of (in general) low aspiration, low achievement, low income, often workless households.

    I’m fairly lucky in that, generally, SMT are reasonably supportive when it comes to behaviour issues in my school, although I think that more could be done to bring into line those kids who would get on if they didn’t have the opportunity to take the easy option of messing about.


  2. “standards and results aren’t going to improve, [...] until we sort out the behaviour of those pupils”

    Standards, I fully agree, are not going to improve. However, the evidence of the last twenty years is that results WILL improve, like clockwork, year on year, regardless of how demotivated teachers are, how feckless parents are, or how knuckle-draggingly dumb or violent the kids become.

    I’d like to see a school league table, calculated as follows: each child’s national insurance number is passed to HM Revenue and Customs when they leave school. HMRC keep a record of each pupil’s income for the next, say, ten years. Any money earned is counted as positive. Any benefits claimed are counted as negative. Anyone in prison has the cost of their incarceration factored in. Anyone winning the lottery doesn’t get their winnings counted.

    At the end of ten years, each pupil can be characterised by a single number – how much money they’ve either earned for themselves, or cost the rest of us. There’s no need for the school to ever know the individual’s figures. They could just submit a request to the HMRC for the average figure over the given set of NI numbers. Should be a pretty straightforward calculation, and it would be the clearest demonstration possible of how well the school worked at preparing its customers for life in the real world.

    I’d be fascinated to see how the league tables looked based on that calculation. I have to wonder how many state schools would have an average that was greater than zero…


  3. I’m staggered at the lack of personal responsibility being taken for poor behaviour by those who’ve posted so far. Stop passing the buck to SMT and Heads of Year and start dealing with discipline in classrooms yourselves. You might be amazed at what you can achieve.


    • Jeremy, of course I deal with disciplinary issues myself but there comes a point at which back up is needed – when pupils who do not accept the sanctions you are able to issue, with those who do not respond to any attempts one makes at building relationships and who are rude and disruptive in lessons regardless of what the teacher does, because that is the only thing they’re interested in.

      It’s not “passing the buck”; it’s following disciplinary procedure as laid down by the school. But in some schools – including the one I’ve just left – the management team don’t follow their own policies.


    • Sorry, but you are completely wrong Jeremy. Behaviour is a whole-school issue, not down to individual teachers. This is even more true to teaching today as many pupils are well aware of their rights and are not easily phased by members of staff unless they know that serious consequences are going to be carried out.


  4. Well feel free to suggest how one goes about personally dealing with 43 serious incidents from one class in 6 weeks in a school where teachers are banned from administering their own punishments and where parents are generally unsupportive.

    However, please be aware that if your advice involves “building relationships”, “establishing routines”, “phoning parents”, “making lessons more interesting” or “winning over the worst behaved kids” then I am sure I am not the only person who will be laughing at you for suggesting it.


    • OK. I feel a little chastened by the last comment. I am, of course, staggered that teachers can be banned from administering their own punishments. Tell the truth…you made that up didn’t you?


  5. This an excellent, well-informed post. It is, unfortunately, very acurate and describes in detail one of the main problems facing teachers today, namely the lack or indeed non-existence of adequate support from the highers-up.

    I am an experienced campaigner who rarely has serious discipline problems in class. However, obviously it does happen- on a small-scale and on a large, consistent level. I deal with most of it myself but there are incidents that need to be passed on to the SLT. And it is at this point that the whole thing falls down. They seem incapable or unwilling to help those of us on the front-line and many of them have no real idea of what goes on in lessons on a daily basis.

    Jeremy, you are a moron.


    • Thanks for raising the intellectual level by abusing me personally.


  6. [...] very appreciative, does it.  It doesn’t sound very professional, either.  Old Andrew, of Scenes from the Battleground, posts about disruptive students who seem to be running [...]


  7. I imagine that Jeremy is one of those Middle Manager or SLT types. The ones who give class teachers little actual support but expect outstanding results. The sort that will ask you “What did you do to provoke the incident? after little Mary swore at you. No doubt he has done his leadership pathways and so knows a lot about brown paper thinking and technicolour brainstorms, etc and is really good at chairing meetings where a lot is said but nothing is decided.


  8. I’d be interested to see some more examples, particularly if being called a twat and being told to fuck off are the worst of the 43.

    I was chatting with a colleague who has been in the job for many years. I asked her if she felt that behaviour has declined. Her response was no, but that the way the kids speak to us, and to each other, is perhaps worse. This is because of the way that the people around them – their families and communities – speak to each other.
    It can be very demoralising to be exposed to this kind of language on a regular basis. But I don’t think the answer necessarily lies wholly on referring such incidents to SMT.

    Perhaps OA should consider moving into middle management so that he could tackle some of these issues. I’m sure he’d have some good ideas about how to improve systems at his school, and it can be difficult to implement such ideas as a class teacher.
    I’d be interested to know what suggestions OA has put forward to his SMT and Heads of Year to improve behaviour.


  9. I’d be interested to see some more examples, particularly if being called a twat and being told to fuck off are the worst of the 43.

    Have you read this blog? I don’t think there is a shortage of examples. The school policy considered verbal abuse, disruption to the point of being removed from the room and walking out of the lesson to be “referral” matters and these made up the 43 incidents.

    But I don’t think the answer necessarily lies wholly on referring such incidents to SMT.

    The fact is that this was the school policy. I would also add that if telling teachers to fuck off or walking out of lessons isn’t something to be referred upwards, what is?

    Perhaps OA should consider moving into middle management so that he could tackle some of these issues. I’m sure he’d have some good ideas about how to improve systems at his school, and it can be difficult to implement such ideas as a class teacher.
    I’d be interested to know what suggestions OA has put forward to his SMT and Heads of Year to improve behaviour.

    My main suggestion, as always, is stop ignoring it. Given that NOTHING was done I don’t think it takes particular insight to see how this could be improved.


  10. Discipline problems should, of course, first be handled in the classroom. However, when the limits of allowed actions have been reached, it’s time for the administrative types to freakin’ do their job.

    Why on Earth should professionals have to accept personal abuse, profanity directed at them (and their families), threats to physically hurt them, and other such actions?

    When drugs/alcohol/gang activity are involved, the teacher shouldn’t have to deal with it. A call to the office should get the little alleged felon kicked out of class, and, if necessary, arrested.


  11. “Have you read this blog? …”

    No actual answers, then.

    Oh well.


    • You might want to try reading more than the first sentence of a comment.


      • I did.

        Did you read mine?

        Telling teachers to fuck probably does warrant referral. But you gave this as one of the worst examples of the 43 incidents. I was enquiring after some other examples.

        And “stop ignoring it” isn’t a particularly useful suggestion.

        Have you considered dept headship? You might be able to tackle some of the issues then.


  12. I did.

    You clearly didn’t because if you had you would have noticed I said:

    “The school policy considered verbal abuse, disruption to the point of being removed from the room and walking out of the lesson to be referral matters and these made up the 43 incidents.”


    • For a third time, I’d be interested to know some more examples of the 43. What were the instances of verbal abuse? How many of the 43 were Walking out of the Lesson?
      Perhaps your spreadsheet could help you to calculate some percentages.

      And, again, what specific suggestions have you made, other than “stop ignoring it”?


      • I have told you the sort of incidents involved. I can even tell you that it was split almost evenly between the three types of incident. I’m not sure what more you want, but I am not going to quote anything that could identify me. Nor is there any point discussing whether you think the incidents “warrant referral” or not, the policy was clear and there was little flexibility in how it was interpreted by the classroom teacher. My only choice would be “do nothing” or “do what the policy says I should do”.

        I am at a loss as to how to deal with the “what else did you suggest?” question. This issue at hand was that serious incidents which were reported according to the school policy were ignored to the point where they became every day events. If you think I had an agenda more developed than saying “please stop ignoring this” then you are mistaken.


  13. I honestly don’t think you have an agenda other than wanting your lessons to be of value to the students. I appreciate how the poor behaviour of a few can rob the majority of valuable lessons. I *do* encounter poor behaviour.
    And of course you can only work within the school behaviour framework, and it does seem that your school has a naff one.

    I don’t want any information that could identify you. You seem paranoid about this. I’m really not interested in who you are.

    I simply wondered what you might want a school behaviour policy to look like. What sort of action needs to be taken to curb the disruption of lessons? What can we do as class teachers? What can middle managers do? What can SMT do?

    Seriously, have you considered middle management? You might be able to encourage the changes you see are needed at that level.

    I am a middle manager and I am genuinely interested in any genuine suggestions you might offer about how to improve behaviour in schools. As a class teacher I have one group that gives me serious causes for concern, and I am still trying to find the right way of dealing with them.

    Would you be interested in the system we have at our school (not that I have introduced!!)?


    • I didn’t say you personally were trying to find out who I was, I was simply pointing out that I am not going to give out details that somebody could use to identify me. I will give out only the details of incidents that I consider appropriate and I will not discuss my current or future career path in detail.

      With regard to my opinions of what should be done in schools more generally, I leave it to you to read my blog and find out.


      • So, no actual discussion is going to occur here, is it?
        This is a shame because I am genuinely interested. Too often I have jumped straight to sarcasm and flippancy.

        Do you honestly think that by responding to my question as to whether or not you have considered middle management is going to blow your anonymity? It could appear like you are willing to moan, but unwilling to put yourself in a position where you can take action. It’s very easy to pass on responsibility.
        However, since you are unwilling to elaborate on the experiences upon which you have based the entire “teaching as battleground” metaphor (cliche, really)it leaves us in an untenable position in terms of discussion.
        I’m sure your words will, one day, bring you fame and fortune. It’s a shame they don’t actually offer anything constructive.


  14. So, no actual discussion is going to occur here, is it?

    Discussion of schools, teaching and issues is welcome here.

    Discussion of myself, my career or the precise details of incidents that could identify me is not welcome here.

    This blog is not about me; it is about what is going on in our schools. I am baffled as to why you think discussing myself is more constructive than discussing what is going on in our schools.


    • “Discussion of schools, teaching and issues is welcome here.”

      Unless it is about solutions to issues, it seems.

      “This blog is not about me; it is about what is going on in our schools. I am baffled as to why you think discussing myself is more constructive than discussing what is going on in our schools.”

      Well, it *is* about you, isn’t it. It’s about *your opinion* of what’s going on in schools.
      It’s anecdotes. And when asked to give further examples you refuse, because you feel the information could identify you.

      And that’s a joke in any case. Do you not think that the managers to which you refer would not recognise the meeting you describe should they read this blog?

      But we are straying from the issue. I’ll repeat the questions.

      What would an ideal behaviour policy look like? What can we do as class teachers and middle managers to tackle the problems to which you refer?


  15. But you do discuss your career here, all the time. No-one is asking you to even come close to giving personal information. The question is, given how disgusted you are with the general standard of middle and senior management, have you ever thought of giving it a go yourself? Answering this would be a lot less “personal” than many things you have written about in this blog. So I’ll try it, although I guess I’m unlikely to get a straightforward answer. Given you seem so very sure of your own abilities, have you considered management?


  16. For the record, I am not disgusted with the general standard of middle management.

    I am not refusing to discuss my present (or future) career position because it is “personal”. I am not discussing it because it would make me significantly more easy to identify without adding anything to the discussion.

    Also, I’m not sure why saying “it’s bad when managers ignore serious bad behaviour” requires some kind of detailed statement about my own position or what managers should be doing.


    • “it would make me significantly more easy to identify without adding anything to the discussion.”

      How???


    • “For the record, I am not disgusted with the general standard of middle management.”

      Heads of Year are middle managers.


      • And I am not disgusted with Heads of Year in general.


  17. Unless it is about solutions to issues, it seems.

    Again you appear to be under the impression that asking me about myself is some how dealing with the “issues”. In fact it’s the exact opposite.

    Well, it *is* about you, isn’t it. It’s about *your opinion* of what’s going on in schools.
    It’s anecdotes. And when asked to give further examples you refuse, because you feel the information could identify you.

    Can you make your mind up? Are you accusing me of giving opinions or anecdotes? And why should I provide endless further examples?

    And that’s a joke in any case. Do you not think that the managers to which you refer would not recognise the meeting you describe should they read this blog?

    You have no idea what precautions I’ve taken to avoid that. I virtually never post about what has just happened. Even if someone suspected they were in the meeting they couldn’t be certain.

    Unless, of course, I started including incidents that could be searched for in the school’s behaviour database.

    But we are straying from the issue. I’ll repeat the questions.

    What would an ideal behaviour policy look like? What can we do as class teachers and middle managers to tackle the problems to which you refer?

    And again, I will ask if you’ve read this blog? why not look for entries discussing this issue instead of trying to hijack this thread?


    • I’m not trying to hijack this thread. I’m trying to find out how you would like things to change. I’m asking, given the number of instances you cite and the ineffectual manner in which they have been handled, what could be improved.
      What strategies can I, as a class teacher and as a middle manager, use to improve the learning environment for my students and support my colleagues to do the same?

      >”Again you appear to be under the impression that asking me about myself is some how dealing with the “issues”. In fact it’s the exact opposite.”

      These semantic games are achieving nothing.


  18. Hello,

    Just a quick question – what was actually meant to happen? Your SMT have a rigid behavioural policy in which all incidents of a certain level have to be reported and logged using specially commissioned software…for what purpose? Would the outcome for your class have been any better if the policy had been implemented?

    Also, what does underspending the Teaching Assistant budget have to do with anything? Surely Teaching assistants aren’t employed just to provide extra crowd control? To me, this sounds like just more waffle, I’m afraid.


  19. I’m trying to find out how you would like things to change.

    The problem is that you clearly aren’t trying to find out.


    • Eh?


      • You don’t appear to be interested in reading what I have already said.

        I mean there are a large number of posts here about what I think should be done about discipline. Why don’t you look at those rather than finding a post where really all I am saying is that it is bad to ignore serious incidents and posting 11 or 12 times to ask me about things that are either a) none of your business, or b) not something I’ve addressed in this particular post.


  20. Just a quick question – what was actually meant to happen?

    Isolation for disruption. Exclusion for verbal abuse or walking out.


    • Does that mean exclusion for a first offence of verbal abuse?


      • It means exclusion for verbal abuse.


  21. OK,
    a) which posts detail your suggestions about how to improve behaviour? I’ve had a scan around, so assume I need some assistance locating them. Imagine I like a pupil struggling to find the answer. Help me out. Forgive me for not reading in detail every post in your archive.

    b) I haven’t asked you to reveal anything personal about yourself other than whether or not you have considered (not applied for, attended interview for or anything else of that nature, but CONSIDERED) middle management.
    I have asked for suggestions other than “don’t ignore it”. This has been a genuine enquiry.

    c)On the exclusion front: how many days exclusion for verbal abuse? I assume that your reply means first offence, in which case it is quite severe.

    Honestly, I am not trying anything tricky here. I have no agenda other than genuine enquiry.


    • For heaven’s sake.

      It doesn’t matter what the particular offences are. If the policy prohibits cartwheels on Tuesdays then that’s the policy. It’s the follow-up or lack of it that OA is concerned with.

      Nowhere does OA state that SMT has referred matters back to him because they are not within the scope of referrals as set out in policy. His argument is not that SMT don’t have a policy. It is that they don’t carry out their responsibilities under that policy.


      • OK, so Billy does a cartwheel and is excluded. For how long is that exclusion? The policy should tell us.

        All I’m asking for on that is clarification. Is it really that unreasonable to ask how long an exclusion should be for a given offence? Also, does the policy not discriminate between first and repeat offences?

        Why is it that people think I’m trying to be awkward here? Are my request for information really so awful?


  22. If I were you I’d be flattered oldandrew. Mrstephen is desperate for your advice on how to do his job.


    • That’s one way to read it, certainly. Although I’d probably not use the word “desperate”. I am curious, though.

      How can we have any kind of discourse when the discussion is stifled by refusals to answer basic questions?


  23. Surely the advice for anyone in management is the same:
    Every day go in thinking, “How can I make the jobs of people under me easier and not harder?”

    Then do it.

    And not bleat about why you can’t do it.

    Just do it.


    • This is a fantastic vision. But how do you pin it down?
      What sorts of things would make our jobs easier? What SPECIFIC strategies, policies, systems and so on would improve things?


      • Well for a start try asking them. Then remember what annoyed you about being a mainscale teacher and try and get rid of it.

        It depends on what area of responsibility you have.

        fat-tony


  24. “Why is it that people think I’m trying to be awkward here? Are my request for information really so awful?”

    Yes


    • Thanks for the detailed response.

      What’s so awful?


      • The level of your questions would be fine it was clear that you failed to understand the point and were asking for qualification. It comes across that you appear to have not only missed the point but appear to be asking questions in a completely different language.

        I am not sure what advice I can give except to either attempt to read the blog post before asking questions or find someone who is reasonably bright, ask them to check if your question is remotely relevant and doesn’t show that you have completely missed the point of the discussion and then post.


  25. OK, so Billy does a cartwheel and is excluded. For how long is that exclusion? The policy should tell us.

    The policy did not specify a length of exclusion. Does your school have a single, standardised punishment for all verbal abuse of staff?

    How can we have any kind of discourse when the discussion is stifled by refusals to answer basic questions?

    The problem is that your “basic questions” seem irrelevant to the points at hand. I mean, why should I describe in any more detail the policy that isn’t being applied, or the incidents it isn’t being applied to? Is there an answer that would make it okay to ignore the policy?

    Your questioning just seems bizarre and random. In fact it is beginning to look like you are wasting my time with silly questions for no other reason than to complain that they haven’t been answered. You won’t look for the answers yourself; you won’t explain why you need to know, and you won’t consider beforehand whether it is likely to be appropriate for me to answer.


    • >Does your school have a single, standardised punishment for all verbal abuse of staff?

      Yes. Our school policy has a tariff.

      We used to have A LOT of behaviour problems. A lot of time was spent with a behaviour consultant and a new policy was created in an attempt to deal with the bulk of it. A system which, to begin with, worked quite effectively. There remain issues, of course, and I think such policies need to undergo constant appraisal to maintain any effectiveness.

      >Is there an answer that would make it okay to ignore the policy?

      Of course not. I was asking out of a genuine sense of enquiry. I wanted to know how the incidents compared to the things I see in my school. How would my school deal with them?

      We used to have a big problem with things not being dealt with. That, I feel, has improved. So long as middle managers (like me) use the systems properly.

      >In fact it is beginning to look like you are wasting my time with silly questions for no other reason than to complain that they haven’t been answered.

      This really isn’t the case. Honestly.

      >You won’t look for the answers yourself

      Actually, I have. I’ve also asked you to point where would be best to look. You have a large blog here with many archives.

      >you won’t explain why you need to know,

      Except that I have said that as a middle manager I would be interested to know how I can make things better.
      And now I have explained why I was asking about the incidents and so on. To provide points of comparison with my own experiences.

      Genuinely, OA, I mean nothing sinister here.


  26. Fat Tony says:

    “Well for a start try asking them.”

    Good idea.


  27. Yes. Our school policy has a tariff.

    Are you saying that the punishment is the same for the first offender, and the repeat offender? And the same for calling a teacher a “silly man” and calling the head a “cock-sucker”, say?


    • I won’t be detailing the behaviour policy of my school.


      • No need to detail it, just say “yes” or “no” to each question and leave it at that. I don’t need to know what the punishment is, I was just shocked that you seemed to be implying that it was the same for all verbal abuse.


      • No, the punishment is not the same for first offender and repeat offender. But since I asked you a similar question which you refused to answer, I’m not sure why I should go any further.


  28. “OK, so Billy does a cartwheel and is excluded. For how long is that exclusion? The policy should tell us.” Thanks MrStephen, most of us already got the policy concept.

    It doesn’t matter what the policy tells us if SMT don’t follow through. The argument would be different if OA were writing about particular kinds of behaviour that were disputed by SMT as being within the serious-enough-to-refer-up-the-line category.

    Then his blog would be debating the questions of whether certain nasty words or the minimum weight of chairs thrown should justify *inclusion* in policy. It’s not what is or isn’t included in the policy. It’s whether all the parties meet their obligations under that policy.

    If SMT don’t like performing the duties stipulated in the policy, then they should summon up the intestinal fortitude to amend the policy. *Then* see what the staff and the unions say.


    • Just a point. All this comes home to me more strongly right now. I reread your earlier comment “….if being called a twat and being told to fuck off are the worst of the 43.”

      This kind of stuff was always brought home by oh. Who has just moved to a new job where -noone- has *ever* told a teacher to fuck off. Think about it. Teachers are so used to bad treatment that this seems like a weird alien planet. It’s not. There are kids with serious personal & family issues, but they are handled much better without the nastiness that pervades most schools that teachers are likely to work at.


  29. No, the punishment is not the same for first offender and repeat offender. But since I asked you a similar question which you refused to answer, I’m not sure why I should go any further.

    I was asking you if you meant what you said (and it turned out that you didn’t).

    I have never refused to answer that.


    • > I was asking you if you meant what you said (and it turned out that you didn’t).

      I said our policy has a tariff. How does my subsequent post contradict this?

      >I have never refused to answer that.

      But you didn’t actually answer it.


      • I said our policy has a tariff. How does my subsequent post contradict this?

        You said “Yes” to the question “Does your school have a single, standardised punishment for all verbal abuse of staff?” Then, when challenged, you said “No, the punishment is not the same for first offender and repeat offender.”


  30. > You said “Yes” to the question “Does your school have a single, standardised punishment for all verbal abuse of staff?” Then, when challenged, you said “No, the punishment is not the same for first offender and repeat offender.”

    Ah, I apologise.

    I should have said that the policy has a tariff that includes first / repeat offences.

    But, as I say, since you are not prepared to discuss your policy, I shall not discuss ours.


  31. “Printed it out just made it obvious how badly I’d been let down by the system. How badly the kids in the class had been let down by the system.”

    This is exactly how i felt when i was standing in the Year 11’s leaving assembly. Some other teachers even said how sad they felt they were leaving. I just felt sad the way some of them had ruined 5 years of education for other pupils and were still in attendance.


  32. i think most people have missed the most important point / section – the ‘postscript’.

    although most members of SMT can’t be bothered with classroom issues it’s the other teachers attitudes that i have found to be the most shocking (especially in my latest school).

    “A number of my colleagues later explained to me that their results were disappointing because they’d had some poor behaviour with year ten recently.”

    but none of these colleagues had the guts to admit it – they would rather just carry on regardless and know doubt tell you how well they were getting on. i was in the staffroom the other day and the conversation went like this
    “he doesn’t give me any grief but he doesn’t do any work.”
    “yeah he’s the same for me.”
    what lot of good is that? the only kids who give me any grief are the ones who don’t do any work!

    what hope is there when some (experienced) teachers have this outlook?


  33. I’m not getting onvolved in the above discussion but wish it noted that the situation Oldandrew describes in his blog entry is so startlingly identical to the one presently obtaining at Hell High that I suspect he teaches Biology and sports a beard.


  34. By the way i’m not really blaming any teacher for my post. The situation is dire. In every school i have been in, it’s been the same. SMT have simply pulled up the ladder behind them and said sod every one else. I’ve filled in countless amounts of referals etc and it’s got me no where very fast. The more forms you fill in the more they think you’re doing worse – there’s no winning – there’s simply not enough hours in the day to write and chase up incidents and the kids know it. There strength in numbers seems to always win out. Paul Blum’s book sums it well.


  35. I think the dfe should produce a tariff that is recommended but not compulsory

    something like:

    defiance: one day isolation inc lunch
    defiance with foul language: one day exclusion
    defiance with abuse (eg fuck you): 2 day exclusion
    pushing a teacher: 15 day exclusion
    assaulting a teacher: expulsion

    that kinda thing.

    exclusion targets are outrageous and completely unjust.

    i think one member of SLT should have overall responsibility for discpline and makes sure things are done speedily, effectively and justly.

    it is unacceptable to have schools spend tax payers money on pointless initiatives when students are telling staff to ‘go f*ck themselves’ in lessons. A sense of priority dictates you get the basics right first.


  36. [...] conditioned by scum parents and their effect on the learning process has been catastrophic. (see, Scenes From the Battleground) Unless you are lucky enough to be in a top set or selective school, most British classrooms and [...]


  37. […] only are promises made that are never followed up, but excuses are made that are never resolved. In this revealing anecdote from Andrew Old, teachers in these schools begin to ‘expect SLT and Head of Years to ignore […]



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