Many schools throughout the country have adapted a zero-tolerance policy or very rigid behaviour policies. It has been suggested by many students however, that this does not work for every pupil, and it some very small circumstances, make behaviour worse. Due to this, some schools have modified their policies to ‘flexible consistency,’ meaning that each significant case will be evaluated by a team of educators to identify a ‘plan’ to ensure this does not happen again.
Working on an individual case basis is difficult work; it takes more time, requires a group of teachers/senior leadership to identify the issues and then additional paperwork for a plan of action for the pupil. More work but fair for the pupil. For this exercise to work fully, all staff members need to trust each other to ensure they are putting the pupil first, no matter what the workload.
The few schools that have utilised this have said that after a short period of time, workload decreases as trust between all parties is implicit. This approach will not only improve the communication and trust between colleagues, it will also reap huge benefits for pupils as they are getting individual assistance targeted to them.
What are your behaviour policies like in your school? Do they work?
In the age of social media ‘influencers’ and the show that all our youth seem to watch; Love Island; people cling on to knowing everything there is to know about these individuals from where they go on holiday, to their make-up and gym routines. ‘Influencers’ are giving students a ‘warped’ or ‘distorted’ understanding of a healthy body image. Online celebrities need to be more transparent when posting to ensure children are not misled by applying filters or enhanced images.
Accordingly, to the latest data, 40 per cent of teenagers admitted that images on social media had made them worry about their own body image; very worrying numbers that can contribute to mental health which can cause serious problems. Children believe and act according to what they see as they will trust that it is the norm.
All social media companies, influencers, streaming sites and television programmes, like Love Island, must take responsibility more seriously to ensure that our young develop feeling proud of their own bodies and feel comfortable in their own skin.
A global education report has found that England is the worst in the world for cyberbullying of students. The report asked headteachers around the world to account for any incidents of students, parents or guardians who had posted harmful information online about students; of which an average of 2.5 per cent of headteachers made a statement. However, 13.8 per cent headteachers in England mentioned that there had been an incident with their students.
I believe that if this was an exception within one school, then the headteacher should be rewriting their policies and ensuring their students are safe; however, this seems to be a national issue. Clusters of schools or school systems need to look at this issue systemically. If teachers have their workload reduced and unnecessary tasks are taken away from them then maybe they can not only focus on their teaching; but focus on making their students better people, and perhaps this could reduce cyberbullying in some way.
Throughout the education world, the term ‘experienced teacher’ meant you were getting a top-quality teacher, overall very positive. Nowadays, experienced means ‘expensive’ and can be very negative to our educators making them feel underappreciated and, occasionally, underused. The main issue seems to be that experienced teachers are being overlooked for leadership roles because they are focusing on their lessons and not ‘knocking on the headteacher’s door.’
Five-to-ten years ago, teachers that felt underappreciated would simply move school or, with some, would just put up with it. Now, these teachers are simply leaving the profession. The DfE states that 50,000 qualified teachers left the teaching (state) sector in 2016 totalling 10.5 per cent of the profession; the majority being from the experienced core. If something is not done by the government to keep these teachers, we will lose what makes our schools most successful; experience.
Studies released this morning have warned of there being a ‘patchy provision’ for children who have lost loved ones calling on schools to develop clear plans to support children appropriately. It has been reported that schools take a ‘random’ approach to supporting children, some teachers avoiding help altogether afraid that they may make the situation worse.
A huge number of students, unfortunately, experience bereavement for either a sibling or parent; 1 in 29 children, or how most schools are nowadays; 1 in every classroom, based on 30 in a class. A bereavement can lead to an increase risk of mental health problems, in some cases participating in bullying or assaults, or be more vulnerable to bullying themselves.
Although this report states that schools are ‘letting children down,’ it could be that teachers do not get the proper training to appropriately deal with this so I can completely understand them not getting involved. The main aspect that educators need to remember; lend an ear, having somebody to talk to can make all the difference.