School exclusions – Schools’ responsibilities

In The Times on March 4th Raphael Hogarth suggested that schools do little to address the personal problems behind bad behaviour. Her article came at a time when politicians are arguing about ways of tackling an outbreak of knife-related crime involving young people. Some people claim that poorly behaved pupils, excluded from school, are easy targets for violent criminal gangs.
Headteachers of state schools can do nothing now to insist upon an effective relationship between home and school before admitting pupils, despite their responsibility to provide an efficient education for all the children in their care. In secondary schools and some primary schools children who have not been taught or trained to cooperate with their teachers and to treat fellow pupils considerately are admitted whether or not they are likely to undermine the school. By then the damage has been done.
Politicians seem to expect far less of parents than they do of the owners of dangerous dogs, which are far less dangerous than difficult adolescents; when was the last time a parent was jailed for releasing a dangerous teenager onto the street?
Until government is prepared to bully parents as they do teachers, headteachers will find themselves continuing to expel difficult and dangerous pupils. Parents should support them.

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