Monday, July 04, 2005

British school children

Why do the British people put up with Blair, New Labour and corrupt institutions?

Julie Henry, in the Sunday Telegraph 03/07/2005, writes about Schools in Blair's Britain.

An 'undercover teacher' carried out an investigation for a Channel 4 Dispatches programme.

This is what she found:

"The girl was ignoring me and playing music on her mobile phone, so loudly that the rest of the class could hear. I kept telling her to stop. Then suddenly she lost control. Standing up, she put her face inches from mine and shrieked: 'Don't make me hurt you. I swear to God I will do it.'...

"This was the type of behaviour I encountered again and again in the 16 secondary schools I went in to...

"What struck me very early on was that poor, even outrageous indiscipline - children leaping across tables or wandering around brandishing fire extinguishers - had become acceptable. At one school, I was calmly advised by a female colleague to lock the classroom door while I was teaching, to 'protect' myself and my class from the marauding groups in the corridors....

"When Ofsted inspectors arrived the week after for a two-day visit, however, the school was suddenly transformed. I got through a whole lesson without incident, the corridors were mayhem-free, the atmosphere calmer. The mystery was solved by a classroom assistant who told me in a hushed exchange in the lavatory that more than 20 of the most difficult pupils had been sent on a 'day trip'...

"As inspectors monitored lessons, senior managers popped up taking classes that they did not normally teach. Experienced teachers from neighbouring schools were parachuted in...

"I was sent to Highbury Grove School, in north London. On my first day, I was told to 'f*** off' by a 13-year-old boy...'

"I had three fights in one lesson last week,' another frustrated teacher told me in the staff room. When the fourth one started, I just couldn't be bothered. No one does anything here.'

"...Behind the statistics there are schools deliberately misleading inspectors, league tables being manipulated, widespread out-of-control behaviour, violence, swearing. Schools are under immense pressure not to exclude badly behaved children, yet they do not seem to have the resources to deal with them properly or the funding to have smaller classes or more classroom assistants.

"When more than a third of children on the roll have behaviour problems, even the most dedicated teachers - and I met many during my investigation - are fighting a losing battle...

"I will remember the 15-year-old girl from Intake High, bright and cheerful despite the chaos, who started to write a letter to Tony Blair in class. It began: 'Dear Prime Minister, me and my colleagues have a problem. We have had 26 supply teachers since the start of the year, when we should have a proper teacher because our GCSEs are at risk.'"

Dispatches: 'Undercover Teacher' on Channel 4.

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