First of all, an apology for not blogging over the weekend. I wanted to do a little Remembrance Sunday post but was out for the entire day doing various things. Now, back to business.
Just a fortnight after claiming unjustified success in the war against poor behaviour in schools, Ed Balls has a new outlook on the issue. He has decided to blame parents for getting in the way of schools disciplining their children. He said:
"Schools are doing a fantastic job of turning around poor behaviour, which is crucial to improving results. However, we need parents to continue to play their part. When I talk to heads they say behaviour is one of their main concerns. Some talk of giving detentions to pupils only for the parent to come in and demand their child is let off. Whilst the vast majority of parents work well with schools, a small minority are not supporting heads to maintain discipline."
I would agree with him that some parents certainly do behave in this way. Even I remember from my days at school how a couple of unruly pupils were never punished because the teachers knew how much crap their parents would kick up. It honestly wasn't worth their time and effort. But overall, this is classic Labour bollocks. Rather than address the real problems that cause misbehaviour in schools, and indeed the rules and regulations that prevent teachers from dealing with it; Balls finds one factor that contributes to a tiny percentage of cases where poor behaviour goes unpunished and focuses entirely on that. If he really wanted to help teachers deal with badly behaved pupils - and their annoying parents - he could just repeal section 52 of the 2002 Education Act, which means that parents have the right to appeal the expulsion of their children. But that would be far too sensible.
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