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What You Sow…

February 1, 2013

I’m sure this is just a coincidence, and in no way a matter of cause and effect.

Here we have a description of behaviour from a Northampton School for Boys student which got a lot of media coverage:

And here we have what I wrote about the headteacher not so long ago:

A prominent headteacher … disapproves of using detentions as punishment rather than relationship building.

In front of the Education Select Committee (minutes here; video here) Mike Griffiths, Head of Northampton School for Boys and witness for the Association of School and College Leaders said:

Detentions are not terribly useful. People tend to try and find a more creative way of dealing with issues, because to get good discipline you need to work with youngsters and get their co-operation. Simply penalising and depriving them of time and so on isn’t always helpful. The only time when I think it can be useful is when that time is used by the teacher to constructively work with that individual child, in a way that they don’t normally have time to, to actually rebuild the relationship. Personally, I am completely against the notion of what I think in some schools is called faculty detention, where somebody else runs it. As far as I can see, the only reason for keeping a youngster behind is to enable me, as the teacher, to improve relationships with that youngster, but that’s unlikely to occur if the youngster perceives the detention as being a period of almost imprisonment.

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7 comments

  1. I vaguely recall you mentioning him before OA. That kind of head teacher, in my view, is more damaging than a 1000 pay cuts, 100 aggressive parents and a league of unruly children.

    I have nothing for contempt for him. The thing is, such appeasing bleeding heart types don’t realise that not only are they despised by their colleagues, but also by the very kids they think they are shielding.

    Incredibly they think they are doing the wrong-doers a favour- they have no concept of the harm they do to schools.

    My only crumb of comfort is that at least the current political climate is to support both praise and punishment in education.

    Having ‘a conversation’ is one thing- but must ALWAYS come with a sanction and a measure of ‘justice’ if its with a kid who has just told his teacher to go forth and multiply with his bodily self.


  2. I work in a fairly non selective private school and was chatting to a new colleague today. She has come from a very over subscribed state school in in a very affluent area.
    She said she can’t get over how well behaved our kids are. I was actually really surprised and thought of this blog. It is that kind of comment that makes me think OA is right. The kids at my school are by no means angels and certainly no better brought up than the vast majority of kids at this colleague’s last school. We do have fairly traditional discipline systems though. I’m not making a point about Private v. State (OA’s example demonstrates it cuts both ways) more about similarity of intake but very different behaviour.

    As an aside she also said that our maths set 5 are equivalent to her old maths set 2. At a state school you would expect more kids at the bottom end BUT they will have loads of bright kids coming into a school like that. What is going on if they are the standard of our set 5?
    I guess you need to know the two schools to really know why Im shocked.


    • With regard to “cutting both ways”, the comment in that broadcast about it being a fee-paying school is not accurate. It’s a comprehensive with a very good intake.


  3. From the school website: ” we insist on traditional values such as courtesy, honesty and respect.”…


  4. This is pretty lame. Despite your initial disclaimer, you clearly are trying to imply causation here.
    It’s also based on a flimsy anecdote.


    • In stark contrast I think the spitting kid highlights the stupidity of the head teacher in glorious Technicolor.

      Yeah, it may just be a one-off coincidence and nothing to do with the ethos of the school, led by a pompous, PC, inadequate Head teacher.

      Its up to others to decide if there is evidence of causation or not.

      Maybe its because Im a boxing fan and I like Steve Bunce- but I trust his report- I cannot imagine why he would wish to fib about something like this – can you?


    • Bit of a sense of humour failure on your part. Obviously I am raising the possibility that lax discipline resulted in poor behaviour, while acknowledging that it is impossible to prove this. All I would say is that if you are going to appear on the national stage advocating eccentric methods of controlling behaviour, then you should first make sure you are very confident that your students’ behaviour will not become a national embarrassment any time soon.



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