In the papers today leapt out a headline: Two in three bright pupils go backwards at secondary school: High-achievers find themselves repeating topics and enduring lessons disrupted by poor behaviour. England is supposed to be one of the most up together countries in the world, yet for some reason our pupils resemble that of feral animals in some classrooms. In a recent Ofsted inspection, inspectors found that bright students regularly found themselves being forced to repeat topics and having lessons disrupted due to bad behavior. I for one know this to be true, when I was still in college; I found last year to be absolutely awful (irony being I was on a level 3 health and social care course) groups in my class were so bad, they made teachers cry; they threw things, made animal sounds during break and literally drove teachers to the point where they quit. These teachers were no lightweights, they had a strong teaching career of other twenty years but they finally had enough.
Can you blame them? They would repeatedly go to the management, who would heave a heavy sigh and never punish those who caused the problem, told the quieter students to “toughen up” and never took away the trouble makers. We nearly failed the course entirely due the sheer number of teachers being driven out, topics having to be gone over and over (the most basic of topics too, and when teachers ask, they are met with “dunno” and when the brighter students try and say, they are told not to be such **** weirdos. Pardon us for trying to get an education. So many times I had to walk half way across town to try and study as it was next to impossible to achieve studying at college, due to the number of fights, mobile phones being used, loud conversations and also complete lack of consistency.
Britain has gone completely soft on discipline. There used to be a time when teachers had power to say enough is enough, to tell pupils when to stop and when they didn’t they could expel them. Instead now, in our “no blame” culture where selfishness is encouraged, “confidence” (i.e. being loud and domineering means everything) and being quiet equals weakness, students do not take education seriously, they use the time to be as disruptive as possible, any bullying that goes on is swept under the carpet, by the time they get through to further education they have had no training on what it’s actually like, ruin it for those who actually want to be there but they are then passed on by the education bodies who are sick and tired of failing league tables. The government needs to urgently hand power back to those in the system; make teaching a profession to be proud of once again; make students and teachers and staff in general feel safe in their workplace instead of fearing for their life.
Give “troubled” or “pupils with additional needs” the help and support they need, but not at the expense of everything else. If a pupil has been given chance after chance to stay on the course, don’t keep giving them chances, instead make their parents listen to the problem at hand, sort out an action plan and if that doesn’t work, as harsh as it sounds, make them leave the course, as why should pupils who really want to get the qualification suffer as a result of the lack of discipline.
Also, make lessons more structured so more independent work takes place instead of “team work” normally I would not mind team work, but when it comes down to tutors putting you hastily in groups, i.e. the one student who wishes to learn is paired with six who couldn’t give a toss, but then if the student who wishes to learn wants the grade then he or she has to literally do all the work and then do the presentation otherwise they won’t get the mark for failing to be a team player, if they complain about it, they are being negative. Make assignments fair for all, so employers do not get to deal with people who have absolutely no clue or have no emotional maturity/discipline when they get into the workplace and throw a tantrum when they can’t take smoking breaks every ten minutes.
And on a final note, how about the careers advisors give essential advice to students, make sure that students get the right support and relevant advise they need in order to get them on the right track. Why not let the country get back to being one to be proud of, not one to be ashamed of. Give hope back to the current generation and to the one ahead.