RELOADED: The Corridor of Death

January 9, 2008

This entry is now available here.



  1. We had a similar issue, although not nearly as severe with students in corridors at the wrong times (during lessons, lunch, etc). The first solution, locking the doors at each end of the corridor and refusing entry during lunch was protested by students and parents as unfair and unsafe (weather issues – too hot, too much sun, etc). Strangely enough, when the corridors were re-opened, a few teachers about the place had the same effect (rendering the corridors free of incidents).

    Now the school culture has the black sheep of the student body taking refuge at the bottom of the school grounds – it doesn’t seem to matter where they accumulate, they still seem to gravitate towards each other and generate a hot spot of conflict incidents.

  2. The title of this thread sounds like one of those violent action films :)

    AusAndrew, are you actually in Australia ? I’d be interested to know how if what OA writes about so well is common in other countries ?

  3. Judging by the responses on my old blog site it appears to be common in the US (particularly California) but hardly anywhere else in the world.

    My reading around the subject has found the best writing about tough schools to be from the US. Joe Clark’s “Laying Down the Law” should be compulsory reading for every headteacher in the country.

  4. Paul,

    Yes, I am in Australia (Melbourne, Victoria, to be slightly more specific). As to the problems described by OldAndrew – yes we do have similar problems in Australian Schools – in the right (wrong!) areas. Some suburbs or Melbourne are worthy of mention in this regard, but I am fortunate to teach in a better area/ school – though not without problems.

    A previous pst of OldAndrew’s (can’t recall title, sorry) discussed some of the “root causes” behind education’s dysfuntional systems/ schools, and refuted the argument that compulsory schooling was the a prime factor. In my limited experience, I have cause to disagree, partially. I think compulsory *free* education is at least a significant part of the problem (in Australia, at least), as people/ parents/ students do not value that which is given to them without cost, and received without effort, and is perceived therefore to be without value or merit.

    This opinion is somehwat justified in that the “reward” at the end of their schooling provides no gain – a school leaving certificate is not required for any practical purpose if you (and your family) have no aspirations to higher education or attainment. Furthermore, it only requires a small amount of faux sympathy in order to receive a passing out certificate (we’ll pass him at the end of year 10 so we don’t have to have him repeat, and thus can get rid of him).

    So we have a process which does not cost anything, doesn’t (within their worldview) provide anything, and can be had for free except under the most severe of circumstances. Why would they put in any effort to gain such a worthless commodity?

    I would hesitate to nominate any form of franchise limitation without a school certificate identifying a minimum level of academic qualification (e.g. witholding welfare payments, etc), because I think that this would exacerbate the social environment which generates the attitude/ worldview which causes the problem, but short of a major change in attitude regarding the value of education amongst the involved parties, I don’t see how this issue will be resolved positively.

  5. I taught in Australia for 33 years, from 1974 to early 2007, in West Heidelberg (a poor Housing Commission area in the suburbs of Melbourne), Rosanna East (a middle class suburban area), Edenhope (country Victoria), Whittlesea (a working class satellite town with country students as well) and Hampton Park (a suburban working class area). I have to disagree with AusAndrew. I don’t think things are anywhere near as bad here as they are in the worst UK schools; e.g., I have never seen or heard of a student push a teacher up against a wall. I do not mean to imply that things are good, but the misbehaviour of students is less widespread and less deeply entrenched than that discussed on this site.

    Schools with good leadership can maintain discipline, even with difficult students. Any school with “no go” zones should have a new administration appointed immediately.

  6. “The worse news in teaching..”

    If I were you,I would be more concerned about learning the English language than attempting to control your students’ behaviour.

  7. The use of “worse” is grammatical. He may have meant “worst”, as in the opposite of “best”, but he may have meant “worse”, as in the opposite of “better”.

  8. Just a typo, not exactly sure why that would lead anyone to accuse me of not knowing the English language.

  9. I teach in Houston, Texas and some of our schools are as dire as OldAndrew’s schools are. But we have an alternative school system, so the “worst offenders” can be removed from the regular school so that others can learn.

    In fact, I teach at one of those alternative schools. But we’re very strict schoolwide and have small classes, so we don’t often see the intolerable behavior that gets kids sent here in the first place.

    Of course, I’ve heard horror stories from other alternative schools that could easily compete with any I’ve read here.

  10. I can’t resist pointing out that this was all in a mainstream British school described as “very good” by OFSTED.

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