Monday, January 17, 2005

UK SCHOOLS CONTROLLED BY DRUGGED LOUTS?

The Sunday Herald has exposed the chaos in Britain's state schools.

A WEEK IN A SCOTTISH SCHOOL BY NEIL MACKAY, INVESTIGATIONS EDITOR

http://www.sundayherald.com/47169

"The lesson began with one boy walking into the room and kicking over chairs while his pals ran around and stood at the door shouting. A group of about five boys – with two particularly unruly ring-leaders – brought this class to a standstill from the word go .

"Their teacher, who was treated with disgraceful contempt, was forced to contain when she wanted to teach. When she tried to calm them down, she was mocked and shouted down. Boys swung on their seats and sneered at her when she tried to exert any authority . Even the “good” kids started playing up within minutes as the virus of bad behaviour spread.

"There was silence in the classroom for no more than four seconds throughout the entire lesson. I timed it. Kids banged themselves on the head with their books, sang, shouted – one boy refused to take off his headphones; when he eventually did, he started thumping them on his desk. The teacher told him to stop, he looked her up and down, yawned and started arguing back. They laughed at the teacher, swore at her in stage- whispers, mocked the way she spoke. As she read the poem about neds, a group of boys got up from their seats and started strolling about impersonating the way neds walk. They adopted aggressive hard-men poses and swaggered around, shouting in front of the teacher ...

"It is a typical Scottish school. I spent a week there, just before Christmas, observing, sitting in classes and talking to kids, teachers and parents.... It would be an educational utopia if just 20 or so kids weren’t there...

"What infuriates teachers is the inclusion of youngsters with “social and behavioural problems”. Years ago, these pupils would simply have been expelled and stuck in List-D schools.

"Teachers realise that many of the youngsters who give them problems have been abused, come from intensely dysfunctional homes, have drug-addicted parents, spent time in care and generally lived a life that no child should have to bear. But they argue that just because the child is a victim, there is no reason for the school to have to pick up all the pieces. They are teachers, not psychiatrists or social workers...

“See that kid over there?” asked one student, as he pointed to a pupil working on a lathe. “He’s stoned. And so’s he. And so’s he and him and him and him.” His finger darted around the room.
He told me that he hadn’t smoked a joint in school that day but about five or six of his pals had...

"Some teachers suggested taking schools out of local authority control He also suggested setting up a dedicated unit off campus for children with behavioural problems...

"The biggest enemy of the teacher is the parent. Not the ordinary mum or dad, but the growing number of parents who either collude in their child’s bad behaviour or do nothing about it, usually because they are so dysfunctional themselves.

"Ask a teacher what’s wrong with our children and this is the mantra you’ll hear: games consoles, TVs in bedrooms, mobile phones, parents not reading to kids, violent movies, the greater sexualisation of our society, the spread of drugs, the materialistic consumerist “me” culture of modern society. It’s not a reactionary plea for Britain to roll back to some mythic 1950s’ idyll, instead it’s a desire for children to retain some sort of innocence, for parents to parent and for children to seek mental stimulation in a book rather than intellectual oblivion in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

"Headmaster McAlpine points out that when pupils do get one-to-one support they tend to improve rapidly. He tells about one “poor kid from a very bad family background” who was seen as a candidate for expulsion almost from the moment he arrived in school. After one-to-one support, he quickly improved and is now doing well. “That’s why we need additional resourcing,” McAlpine adds. “It’s very frustrating for us.”...

"Les Obre, a psychologist and teacher who runs the pupil support centre at Bannockburn High, says he’s seen children who have suffered every type of abuse. One kid gets down on his hands and knees and barks like a dog..."

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