Nearly a third of teachers have been punched, kicked, bitten or pinched by children or attacked with weapons or missiles. More than half of teachers say that their school’s policy on pupils’ poor behaviour is not tough enough and two thirds have considered leaving the profession because of physical aggression, verbal abuse and threats. The survey, published today by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, suggests that excluding the most violent youngsters does not help because they will repeat the pattern of violence at neighbouring schools.
Mary Bousted, the union’s general secretary, said that no teacher should have to put up with the behaviour seen in schools today. “Not only is poor behaviour driving teaching staff away at an alarming rate, it is also damaging the chances of other pupils during lessons by causing major disruptions,” she said.
So does the band on deck play ever faster :
Trouble makers as young as 10 years old are to be asked to sign a good behaviour contract to stop them going off the rails.
And the deckchairs are ever more frantically rearranged :
One of Britain's biggest education authorities is to put happiness at the heart of the curriculum for its 180,000 school pupils. Birmingham City Council is to tell its 440 schools that they must give as much priority to children's emotional well-being as they do to literacy and numeracy.
The authority is believed to be the first in Britain to rewrite its children's development plan – now required by law – to give priority to pupils' happiness.
Children will attend "emotional barometer" sessions to encourage them to express their feelings and their worries. Nursery pupils will also be given coaching in how to prepare for primary school. The aim is to make sure they can communicate properly with other children and behave in the classroom. Similar help will be offered when they transfer to secondary school. This could include appointing older children as mentors.
Les Lawrence, the Conservative cabinet member responsible for children's services in Birmingham, said: "It's not just about happiness for the sake of it. We all perform better when we're smiling. We support our young people in making a positive contribution to society and the economy and prepare them for the world of work, but that would count for nothing if almost half the population are stressed and anxious."
In a paralleldevelopment, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers is to debate a call to set up a Royal Commission to find out why so many children are unhappy at school. Union members will tell the association's conference in Torquay that they are worried that so many children – particularly those of primary school age – are displaying signs of anxiety because of the pressures of too much testing.
The idea of "happiness" lessons was introduced by Dr Anthony Seldon, headmaster of Wellington College, the leading independent school.
Note that this is not the product of some far-left Student Grant council leader in thrall to the theories of the late Ted Wragg - Brum is (I think) currently a Lib Dem/Conservative coalition. They are attempting to address a cultural deficit by paying people to make children happy. It doesn't work that way.
If this all seems too gloomy, here's the good (and totally unrelated) news :
The number of women head teachers in England has grown by 7% over the last five years, figures reveal. Flexible working has played a major role in helping women reach the top, according to research by the National College for School Leadership (NCSL). The NCSL's Women in Headship study found that 87% of primary school teachers are women but only 67% of heads are women and in secondary schools 57% of teachers are women, but only 36% of heads.