back to article Teachers crucified by coughing pupils

Teachers are cracking under the relentless strain of dealing with pupils who have become adept at combining the latest methods of cyber bullying with some distinctly old school methods of disrupting lessons. Chris Keates, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, told the union's …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Best trick was...

    ...having the whole class stare 2 inches above the teacher's head for the whole detention. Worked like a charm.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    Its the same problem as it is everywhere else in life. Little neds think they can get away with anything they like, mainly because they can. What punishment can a teacher actually apply these days? Particularly when the parents are probably as big neds as the kids so no point talking to them or sending punishments home etc.

    My mother used to be primary teacher and after a kid punched her she grabbed his arm in self defence to stop the little chav doing it again, next thing she knows the parents are threatening to sue her for assault. Thankfully nothing ever came of it but the stress she was under with that hanging over her nobody show go through simply for trying to do their job.

    Kids do what they like as there's no deterrent, then grow up to be adults with no respect, regard for other people and no fear of authority.

  3. Jared Earle

    Oh noes!

    Wearing coats? The youth of today!

    I'll get mine.

  4. andy

    Bring back

    the cane, was a good deterrent when I was at school. Nothing worse than being sent to the headmasters office

  5. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    Blame the parents!

    The problem seems to be that nobody bothers to teach kids to at least pretend to respect their elders, or any sort of manners whatsoever. The first place they should be leaning this is at home. Unfortunately a lot of parents seem to think that they can just abandon their sprogs to a series of educational institutions without actually putting any effort into them... except when the institutions try to discipline their children, then suddenly it's their right to demand people be sacked for speaking mean to their little johnny or whatever.

    Then we have the well-meaning morons who start trying to achieve equal outcomes for everyone regardless of how adept they are... bright pupils get under-served, slow pupils get put in classes they can't handle, and the ones in the middle suffer because they're being beaten up by the bright ones and the slow ones. Standards are lowered so the kids at the bottom run don't feel "left out" by not achieving the highest possible mark.

    At some people people will realise that not everyone can get an A*, and that different pupils need different kinds of attention. Suddenly we'll have some sort of new super-school where the brightest kids go, and motivational schools for the less able kids. They won't be called grammars and secondary moderns, though. oh no. They'll probably be called "excellence centres" or something equally trite.

  6. Kevin Johnston

    the old 'uns

    were the best. In the days of blackboards when the eraser (daren't say rubber here f'nar f'nar) wasn't being thrown at a disruptive pupil it could be held firmly wooden side to the blackboard and then pushed up to the top...would stick there for ages, especially if the incoming teacher was one of the shorter ones.

    Another experience lost through technological advances.

  7. Dave

    Those were the days

    At least we were often creative in lesson disruption techniques, I remember complaining about the room temperature, armed with a thermometer once (it was about 50F, so not an unreasonable thing to do given our understanding of the law). That disturbed the lesson but had the side effect of having portable gas heaters installed in the temporary classrooms. Or the piece of fluff on the teacher's head, or the ammonia and hydrochloric acid in the sink... But for the most part, anyone who got caught accepted the punishment as part of the game.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chris Keates is a Ms not a Mr!

    Not my favourite person but that's a different story

  9. brimful
    Paris Hilton

    I remember

    I was with a group of kids and they decided to vandalise a car which ofcourse led to several members of the group (including myself) being arrested. When my mum heard about what had happened, she beat me senseless. She used a cricket bat, and when that got too heavy, she used a 2by1 stick, and when that got tiring she finshed me off with a good hiding with a very very thin whip like stick which hurt bucket loads. Needless to say, I never did anything like that again. I know there are some parents who say that punishing children is barbaric and that you should show love and care and understanding to teach them from right and wrong. I say bollox to that and all their wooly ways, whip the little sh*ts, and if that doesn't work, send them to military school.

    Paris cos she needs a good whipping as well.

  10. g e

    Ahhh the good old days

    We used to throw the ham from our ham sandwiches onto the ceiling so they stuck (above the teacher's desk). As the ham dried out it would slowly peel itself from the ceiling inevitable plunging groundwards at some point.

    Imagine our delight when in one RE lesson the ham descended earthwards directly onto the chaplain's bible we was schooling us from! Complete quality moment ;o)

    Anyway we had clips round the ear and robust canings to keep us in line at school. Has anyone else (UK) noticed that since caning and anything physical was banned in schools about 23(?) or so years ago that the inevitable rise of the chav began?

    Although it's not the nicest job in the world I often wonder how teachers would cope with only 20 days of annual leave. After all we all have extra work to do outside contractual hours (well.. I don't cos I charge BY the hour... *grin* but I worked plenty of 60-80 hours weeks in the past on a 9-5 employment contract for no extra reward)

  11. Jonathan

    Strategies for dealing with this

    The Teachers feel that a Committee for Action on National Education (C.A.N.E) needs to be formed. They feel that some students require special attention in order to learn, and thus they propose two programmes to benefit students.

    The first, Special Mandatory Attention Campaign for Kids (S.M.A.C.K) will be used for all students whose attention is wandering, or who are mildly disruptive. S.M.A.C.K-style programmes have been in use in the past, and have benefitted students enormously. It is thought the return of the S.M.A.C.K. will bring education standards up to where they should be. Studends who require more attention than normal will benefit from Special Mandatory Attention Campaign For Kids: Direct Overt Watch: National (S.M.A.C.K.D.O.W.N.)

    Problem students, whose special needs must be addressed in a considerate and caring fashion, will benefit from Benefit Education Action Track (B.E.A.T).

    /end joke

    This is what happens when politicians control education.

  12. Sam


    Beat the parents, and sit back while the pounding gets handed on down.

  13. Peter


    I had a metal 1ft ruler at school, and the 'music' room had a concrete floor. I eventually got the master so wound up as to smash the gramophone record off the turntable and send me (yet again) to the headmaster.


    Personally I greatly preferred getting the cane to either lines (boring) or worse the dreaded 'letter to my parents' which punishment went on for weeks. With the cane you also got the bragging rights...


  14. Vulpes Vulpes

    Having escaped teaching for IT over 20 years ago,

    I'm forever counting my blessings for having done so.

    Graham Dawson hits the nail on the head for a lot of the problems. Offspring of those who ought not to have bred have always been a challenge (read; worthy of the severest forms of physical deterrence), but in the last two decades, the "Me" generation have bred while retaining their "right" to perpetual childhood, i.e the abrogation of any responsibility to go with the "rights" they insist they have to be members of the conspicuous consumption generation. Being more interested in the latest mobile phone/MP3 player/Chelsea Tractor/White Van/Plasma screen/Holiday abroad, they have unleashed 20 years worth of poorly parented little sods on the teaching profession and society at large.

    I'm afraid the only answer, at least for the foreseeable future, and for schools in the majority of areas, will have to be a fairly draconian one. The bright kids will always make it through, but are curently short-changed by a system that obliges them to share airspace with the gormless lumpen majority, let alone the sorry minority who don't deserve the oxygen they breathe.

    I certainly wouldn't be tempted back to teaching without anything short of "double-O" status.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Staring 2 inches abvove teacher head?

    'Worked like a charm......."

    I hope you mean that such behaviour 'worked' in the sense that got you another month of detentions and a whole term of picking up litter with your teeth.

  16. Ross

    Policy not teachers

    The two main issues with pupil behaviour are the parents (lazy ****ers that they are) and policy.

    Teachers don't do anything to stop the kids misbehaving because they can't (well not if they want to work in education ever again) My girlfriend went for an interview at a secondary school last week and was told they have a policy of not shouting at the children. Not shouting! Bloody ridiculous if you ask me.

    Basically if you don't offer *some* protection to the teachers rather than the little ****s then you're going to see a lot of experienced teachers decide to pack it in. All the best with the UKs "knowledge economy" when that happens.

  17. Mike Smith

    Paper rain

    We used to make paper rain. You took a piece of paper about three inches wide, rolled it up and chewed one end. You then threw it at the ceiling, chewed end first, so that it stuck. Repeated that until there were about 20 or so paper rolls on the ceiling above the teacher's desk.

    They would dry out and fall down at intervals throughout the lesson. Getting the teacher on the head was a bonus. Much more entertaining than the other staple of filling Bunsen burner hoses full of water and sticking them back on the gas taps.

  18. RichardB

    Nose distraction Techniques

    All perfectly Legal and government approved. Should be used more frequently.

    Google it if you aren't familiar with the term...

  19. Steve Evans


    No mention of the flying bits of chewed up paper launched via a dismantled bic biro?

    Then again that was only with one teacher of German, who was young and inexperienced. The pack mentality of the students instantly home in on the weak.

    Amazingly enough she managed to put up with this until the day she called for reinforcement in the shape of the head of French, a scary lady with a glass eye, or at least we think it was... It was never looking the same way as the other, that's for sure.

    With the threat of a second bellowing hanging over us we all started behaving, and then dropped German as soon as we got our options!

  20. Anonymous Coward

    The many problems in schools

    In a past life I worked part time as a maths teacher, did supply for an old school I used to attend after leaving university before getting on with the rest of my life. This highlighted many problems.

    Number 1, shortage of qualified teachers. I was given the job as I had a degree in match/comp sci. I had ZERO training. None at all. There wasn't a single qualified maths teacher available for the post so a maths graduate was allowed to do it. Nobody wants to go into teaching anymore, the job has become unattractive, not for the pay which although not great is still decent. Not even for the long hours (however long you think teachers work, double it). Its for the abuse you suffer every single day while in the classroom. Who wants to spend all day getting abused?

    2. Mixed ability classes. I had a few different classes, but I will highlight the year 7 class (11-12 year olds). In one class I had 2 kids who could both do long division, could manipulate fractions, understand reasonably complex algebra and what not. I also had a couple of kids who might, on a good day, work out how much change they were going to get if they spent 50p and gave the shop keeper a quid.

    How the hell do you teach that class. If I set work that the smart kids can do, nobody else gets it. If it set work that the thick (sorry) kids can do, the rest finish it in 2 minutes. Either way I end up with a class full of kids who are bored, frustrated and because of the lack of discipline, unruly. So, you end up setting work pitched at the middle abilities. But now you have the bright kids who have finished it in 5 minutes, so you give them something extra, and the thick (sorry again) kids who don't understand it. So you need to give personal attention to the top end of the class and the bottom end of the class, helping one lot along, giving the others more work.

    And who does that leave unattended. The middle of the class. The reasonably intelligent lot, the ones who are intelligent enough to work out that because teacher is distracted, they can get away with not doing anything, and not smart enough that they are ruining their own education.

    End result, 30 kids in a classroom not working, a frustrated and overworked teacher, and the teaching profession going down the toilet because nobody wants to do it anymore.

    Having classes of equal ability is the only way you are able to teach a decent lesson that the whole class can understand. Of course there are still going to be disruptive kids. I favour low levels of tollerance, if they want to waste time, find, stick all the disruptive kids in a classroom somewhere and teach them how to lay bricks. If they want, they can rejoin the normal stream. Screw up again, its bricks for the rest of the year.

    The country gets a load of qualified brickies, everyone else gets a good education, and teachers get much less abuse.

    Mines the one with the target on the back, for the spit balls.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ AC

    "I hope you mean that such behaviour 'worked' in the sense that got you another month of detentions and a whole term of picking up litter with your teeth."

    Well, no. Because we were told that we had to sit still and do nothing during the detention, and so we were doing exactly what we were told. Wasn't easy, mind you, to stare at one fixed spot for 30 minutes... We never had detention again, don'tcha know.

  22. Marc-Oliver Kalis

    A good but loving hiding is all that is needed (in most cases)!

    I blame the parents and our society!

    It's very simple: we need:

    a) Compulsory Military Service

    b) A few more hidings for the foul-mouthed, undisciplined, poorly-mannered brats, that people claim are nothing but a few children with some issues!

    I have one child myself (second's on the way) and we do have a very strict regime at home! Don't get me wrong! I love my daughter to bits and dare anyone come near her in a fashion, I don't like!

    But, when it comes to foul language, poor behavior, discipline (or lack there of) and just general manners towards others (and I mean children and adults!), we don't have any ifs or buts!

    I cannot understand how parents can allow there children to talk rudely to other children or adults and let that go without any consequences!

    But I suppose that is our society:

    Nobody wants responsibilities!

    When my daughter plays up when shopping, I take her either to a quiet corner or to the car and she get's a decent (but NOT HARMFUL!!!!) hiding.

    Then I talk to her and ask her if she understands why, and the matter is sorted.


    But I suppose we have way to many parent's out there, who should have been sterilized before they started scr**ing around and proved how incapable and useless they are in raising their offspring!

    And for those morons who claim, that a hiding is no good:

    In some cases you may be right, and I do believe and know that there are some children who never required a physical, but I do believe, that the vast majority are still in need!

    Best regards

  23. Andy Worth


    I think it was in an episode of Grange Hill where the entire class began quietly humming at random, just loud enough to be heard but not pinpointed, well we used to do that in my school. Of course as soon as the teacher directed their attention towards you, you stopped and another 3 or 4 people started elsewhere. It's basically impossible to work out where the noise is coming from.

    Like someone else mentioned though, kids instinctively home in on the weak to pick on, so the one teacher who ot most of this was the one who ended up storming out of a lesson in tears. Of course, then in came the head of Maths and we all got a right roasting but it was fun anyway.

    I'm happy to see that the comments here don't blame the teachers for the decline in behavioural standards (as too often is the case) as teachers are so restricted in how they can discipline children that effectively their hands are tied. Besides which, it shouldn't REALLY be the schools that are responsible for teaching kids respect and discipline, merely enforcing lessons already taught by the parents (or not it seems).

    The problem is that too many parents either

    a) Don't care


    b) Believe too strongly in the books which tell you that you shouldn't discipline your children but should let them learn for themselves

    Every single parent I know personally who went for option b) (3 or 4 families) ended up with kids who have serious difficulties coping with authority figures. I'm not saying people should beat their kids to within an inch of their lives, but I don't believe you can really teach the value of right and wrong without strong discipline. It doesn't have to be a smack, but taking away something they value like a phone or games console when they misbehave can work too.

  24. Andy Tunnah

    o god the good ol' days

    as i'm only 23 my days in school were kind of inbetween the lack of violence towards pupils but the threat of it was still there - you were still convinced some of the meaner looking teachers would give you a clip (and some did but we deserved it)

    my fave instance of all was in french, we had this beautiful teacher, mustn't of been older than 25 or so

    so about 10 of us sang "loving you" to her, with this perticular weedy kid hitting the high note at the end, had her red as a berry each time :D

    most annoying thing we ever did was prolly killing the power in the shop class - we had 3 cut offs spread around the class so when teacher was on one end we'd trip one, so he'd reset it and nobody would admit it, start up again - and someone else would do it

    would conitnue til one day he went ape shit and started screaming at us all, calling us little bastards who have no respect haha

  25. John


    Can't help but wonder just how civilising all that corporate punishment really was. So many posts here gleefully recall their school pranks.

    "oh but we were punished for it, didn't do us any harm."

    Doesn't appear to have done you any good either. Just how civilised did you end up, when you suggest solutions including military training and sterilisation of the unworthy?

  26. Cherry Black

    I remember those days...

    The synchronising of watches, the clearing of throats...

    Some days we'd get creative- everyone would have their ties slightly to the right (this would piss off the more OCD teachers).

    Of course back then it would be taken in good humour because the teachers knew we weren't concealing weapons. Mobiles weren't even around in schools back then.


  27. Andy S

    Was wondering

    if anyone else was looking at the quote

    "It's the constant low level disruption that causes the problems, the tap, tap, tap of a pen on a desk, the orchestrated coughing, the refusal to comply with the simplest of requests, wearing coats and hoodies, and sending text messages."

    and thinking that if a teacher can't deal with that, then they probably chose the wrong career?

    caning was banned before i went to school but there still wasn't anarchy. Simple things like making the perpetrator stand outside the classroom door worked. If a child didn't want to participate in a lesson, then they were removed so they couldn't disrupt it for everyone else. It wasn't particularly punishing them, aside from them falling behind and being considered thick by the rest of the class. There's no point forcing a child to learn "for their own good" if they flatly refuse and disrupt the lessons for everyone else, just remove them and leave them uneducated. Stop using the silly system of mixed groups and actually seperate children out by ability again, they you at least roughly end up with all the disruptive kids in one group, seperated from the rest.

    Also, parents actually need to be told that their child is disruptive and they will be moved to a special needs class if they don't improve. Force them to take some pride/shame in the performance of their child. Kids aren't stupid, they know that there's not really anything a teacher can do anymore, so they don't respect them. Teachers need the backup of a parent actually caring about their childs education, or at least caring enough that their child doesn't embarass them.

  28. Lloyd
    Thumb Up


    The good old days of humming the theme to rhubarb and custard over and over again until Wiggy flipped out and started throwing books.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    What can we expect?

    Stupid Liberals have made sure that there is nothing a teacher can do to prevent a child from acting like an animal and this somehow makes the world a better place. With idiots who have no comprehension of what they are doing and the effects of their actions on others and with NO comeback on them, how can we even begin to think that things are going to get better in schools and outside of schools.

    This kind of thing sucks. Kids encourage each other to ape about like brainless schmucks and there's no discouragement at all to try and be a human for five minutes because teachers are (rightfully) afraid that if they try and do something about it they'll end up on the sex offenders' register.

    If nobody can teach these moronic kids about responsibility, cause and effect, right from wrong, and how to not be a mong, then they won't learn those things and they'll just end up being benefits cheats that we have to pay for.

    And someone wants to lower the voting age? We're all doomed!

    An alien because Stupid Liberals have no shields against their laser blasters.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Drawing pins...

    ...we used to put them on the teachers chair before the lesson started, sharp end facing up and wait for him to sit down. Oh, the laughs...until the whole class got detention. Good times...

    Seriously though, schools need to be more streamed. Stupid children have no place in our schools. When I have children one day I sure as fuck don't want them in the same class as some dumbfuck chav child. I want them surrounded by other smart children. The stupid children can be put in some institute where they can train properly for a life of servitude.

    Oh, and bring back the cane. I'm only 30, but I grew up in South Africa where we had the cane up until about 1994. Did us all the world of good, including introducing a competitive edge to see who get caned the most (excuse the pun).

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who's to blame?

    Seems to me it's the parents at fault in the main - vast majority for whom it seems parenting means sticking a child in front of a TV or computer and letting the TV or the internet bring up their child, then hold the schools and the Government responsible when the lack of good parenting shows in the child.

    Of course, mixed ability classes are a major problem - and isn't it strange that conditions which are extremely commonplace now, such as ADHD and dyslexia, were much less prominent when children were taught according to their ability?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What's the matter with kids today?

    Don't know all the right things to say!


    Why can't they be like we were, perfect in every way?

    What's the matter with kids toooo-day?

  33. Anonymous Coward


    As an ex (supply) teacher I was privy to bad behaviour first hand at a number of schools, especially as a supply teacher because, as you all know, it's so easy to wind up/annoy/torture these people.

    Anyways, I was working in a school that was not exactly known for being a good school but I was a regular there and so knew a few kids by name and they knew me by sight so not all bad.

    I had one kid acting like a complete dick in a lesson, I used all possible sanctions that were allowed and also kept him in at break time. At this point he lost it and tried to barge past me (I'd stepped in the way of the door to stop him leaving, no force on my part but more like a barrier, there were other students in the room and there was a window so I wasnt; too worried about anything that could be said). This was followed up with the statement:

    'If you don't move I'm going to knock you round this classroom'

    At this point I let him go because there was nothing that I could do or say to resolve the situation due to the fact that if I'd gone with:

    A) 'go on then take your best shot' - this would be seen as escalting the situation

    B) 'belted him' - assault, end of teaching career and probably tim in jail so defo not an option

    C) 'You can try but you'll be getting carried out of this room' - This would be seen to be threatening behaviour

    and I realised that teachers now have no power and cannot discipline students effectively. hence why I now work in telecoms, no more annoyances then!

  34. Anonymous Coward

    throwing books...?

    Hell, back in the day, I saw a Biology teacher throw a STUDENT for smart-mouthing him (bounced the little bastard right off the blackboard).

    NOBODY fucked with Mr S.!

  35. phix8
    Dead Vulture

    Oh please

    Not being TRAINED to deal with it?

    They can deal with it easily - what they lack is the permission. The whole PC culture where we can't do anything but politely ask the students to stop stabbing each other with protractors is to blame for this.

    *The bird because that's what would happen to him after 10 minutes as a pet in a state school.*

  36. Guy

    Heres to the Pranks

    Got caught a fair few times, even caned. ended up a reasonable citizen with respect for other people, property, authority. The one thing good punishment does do, is make you responsible for our actions. Pranks at school were worked out on the likelihood of getting away with it. the more likely a caning was in the offing, the less likely to be carried out. Just normal risk/reward. Currently no matter how severe the exploit, there is virtually no chance of a meaningful punishment, which does give the impression you can do what you like and get away with it

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Not surprised.

    Not surprised at all. I work in schools doing IT but I don't teach... I have a degree, I have a good teaching manner, I am able to think, I've had offers from private tuition companies to teach, I've run youth clubs and karate clubs with a hundred screaming, adrenaline-hyped kids. Never had a problem with the kids. Wouldn't touch a teacher's job with a barge pole, though.

    Kids cannot be disciplined in schools with the modern legal environment. It just doesn't happen. You can shout (if the school lets you, as pointed out above), you can report to the head (who will ignore you until it's time to expel, sorry, "exclude" the kid), you can (possibly, after lots and lots and lots of paperwork and visits and parent co-operation and months of time) get them suspended or "excluded". That's it. And then the law says that the local authority has to find somewhere for them, so they get put into another school (who don't really get much choice but to take them) and the whole thing starts all other again.

    Detention is a farce for any kid that gets them regularly - they just don't turn up or try to start a fight with the teachers. Schools sometimes have special areas set aside for the problem kids - I've seen one with a Playstation for the kids' use and where mobile phone use is allowed, so they phone up the kids in OTHER schools special units and have a chat with them while playing games - guess what they do next time they want to phone a friend? They play Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, on Playstation in the "naughty room" after decking one of their classmates, that's what.

    You have absolutely nothing that can make them stay in class. Nothing. You are stuck in a room that you can't leave with an open door. There are 30 kids, about 5 of whom want to learn, and you can't really stop any of them leaving, can't discipline them, can't rely on any form of punishment at all. You have a stern voice. Now, in the right vocal cords, that can do wonders but that's **IT**. You don't have anything else without risking your job.

    In my last school (a slightly-below-average English secondary in not a bad area), every lesson, every corridor was monitored on CCTV. We had to submit more incidents to the police which involved teachers disciplining kids than we did kids actually doing stuff (mainly because every kid's parents would bring legal action for stopping a kid leaving a classroom, but nobody cared about the kids smashing up the place or walking around out of lesson so long as they weren't causing a problem for the specialist behavioural teachers on duty).

    In a classroom, it takes twenty minutes to sit them down, another twenty minutes of discipline and confiscation of gadgets and twenty minutes of actual teaching to make a GOOD lesson. And most lessons are far, far below that, unless the Ofsted inspectors are nearby (please, please, institute random, warning-less inspections, for God's sake!). And, despite modern thinking, you can't "incentivise" because the lessons can never be controlled enough to get the kids interested in the first place.

    Even now, sitting in a primary school, I have had to very carefully break up fights where the consequences for the kids are pretty much a stern word, maybe a letter home that gets ignored. And this is a BLOODY GOOD school. My previous school was a struggling secondary school in "special measures" (i.e. it was crap).

    In the secondary school, we had happy slapping incidents where the mobile phone footage from confiscated phones actually showed teachers not even notice kids get the crap kicked out of them IN CLASS and then run from the room, being pursued by half a dozen other kids - the noise and movement in the room was that bad. We had teacher's whose "lessons" were often "sit on the computer and doodle in WordArt, while talking to each other and playing on your phones". Not just at certain times of the year but ALL YEAR. Because it was easier than trying to discipline them. We had kids storm out (well, cause disruption and yell for 30 mins before leaving) of GCSE exams because they were going to be a mechanic "like their dad".

    From an IT perspective, IT rooms were trashed and we could narrow the culprits down to the millisecond on CCTV but nothing ever happened unless someone stole an entire base unit or similar. Kids wandered into the IT office (or, indeed, any door left unlocked by a lazy member of staff for a millisecond) and "just looked" at the laptops in the corner of the room when they thought you weren't there. Parent's evening you would lose a handful of laptops, a couple of base units or a few flatscreens (even in one primary school I worked in - two laptops stolen in a single parent's evening).

    The bad kids (and there is still a distinction and a small minority of good kids) have NOTHING to make them stay in school. Nothing. There's no incentive, no consequence and the only thing that results from playing up is things that just add to their street cred or they get to play Playstation. And yet the schools are forced to keep even the worst of them in school for months and months and months until they can get rid of them.

    The teachers are welcome to it. A lot of them bring it upon themselves by not complaining to those higher up but there's no way I'd go into teaching until it was sorted. And I'm one of those Maths and IT graduates that the government are crying out for at the moment. I can get a decent year's wage just by agreeing to train as a teacher (a 1 year PGCE at university) and it wouldn't be enough if it were ten times as much.

    Funnily, though, when you put the same bunch of kids into a karate club where you can make them do 100 push-up's, use them as your demo student for pressure points, throws, holding the pads etc., can ban them (and physically eject them) from the club in a second because you want to, don't take any rubbish from them, shout to your heart's content, don't take ANY backchat of any kind and send kids home immediately if you find that they've even been fighting with other people in school, or swore, or called someone a name, you don't get problems.

    Weird that. That discipline stuff must work.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    @Andy S

    "If a child didn't want to participate in a lesson, then they were removed so they couldn't disrupt it for everyone else."

    Please, spend a day in a modern school with modern kids. If you do this, then they leave the school. Seriously. They wander off, walk into other classrooms and disturb them, can be brought back to class a dozen times by senior teachers but effectively all you've done is removed them from the boring stuff that they are trying to avoid and wander off. You can't chase after them because you can't leave the class unsupervised. I've seen it too many times (I don't teach myself, I just witness a lot of what goes on in schools).

    Modern schools have site radio systems, card-swipe systems for emergencies (so you swipe a card in your room and senior teachers "theoretically" come running to help you) and none of it works enough to keep every kid in class. I work in urban schools and I've never witnessed a single period in an average school where there wasn't at least 2 or 3 kids roaming the halls, jumping the fence or just plain annoying every other class by wandering into it and causing disruption when the senior staff come to collect them. I'm not saying it's right but there's little a modern school is ALLOWED to do to stop it.

    "There's no point forcing a child to learn "for their own good" if they flatly refuse and disrupt the lessons for everyone else, just remove them and leave them uneducated."

    Bang. You just broke the law. The schools (and, in some part, the parents) are legally obliged to provide him with an education. Local authorities fight to make sure that's in a "normal" classroom as much as possible. And it takes MONTHS to remove such a child from a school, if not years.

    I agree with the sentiment but the process is no longer viable (no matter how stupid you or I think that is). They don't want an education, shouldn't be in school but ARE and are in EVERY school in the country. No more "specialist" schools for behaviour, they just get shuffled between every local school until they're old enough to legally stop coming to school.

    "Also, parents actually need to be told that their child is disruptive and they will be moved to a special needs class if they don't improve."

    Read my other comment (which should hopefully pass moderation) about what happens in those classes. The teachers can't do anything and the kids know it. They can't stop them walking out the door, they can't stop them walking out of the school. It's ridiculous but it's true. I've seen two supply teachers sacked in their first week of teaching because they didn't know this and the kids and their parents got the police involved and were prosecuting (with the help of the school's own CCTV evidence).

    "Force them to take some pride/shame in the performance of their child."

    You can't force them to TURN UP to a meeting with the school. What chance do you have? They have no pride of shame in their child at all. None. Zero. Zilch. And no incentive to have any either. Parents no longer drag their kids to school by the ear. They lend them twenty quid for fags and tell them to stay off school to help mend the car.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We made one teacher quit...

    Student teacher he was, and he was last seen working in Argos. And we were 11-12 year olds in a selective girls' school. Good job he quit before he got to the inner city...

  40. Anonymous Coward

    A BBC article:

    A BBC article just masterly summed up the problem:

    "The government intends to improve the handling of children excluded from school in England, Schools Secretary Ed Balls has said. All schools - as 97% already do - will have to work in partnership with others and to take in expelled students."

    They're expelled. But you have to put them in another school ASAP, like 97% of schools already do. That's a problem right there.

  41. Adam

    We don't need no education.... Oh no wait, we do!

    In response to John's comment:

    "Doesn't appear to have done you any good either. Just how civilised did you end up, when you suggest solutions including military training and sterilisation of the unworthy?"

    I'd much rather the above, than having copious numbers of chavs abusing me in the street or damaging my property - in the name of 'fun' too. I'm 18 years old, but I agree with the majority of these comments. My mum perhaps smacked me two or three times throughout my child hood, I guess she was good at using other methods because I turned out fine (I like to think). I care about my education and have no interest in becoming a stupid little crettin that talks like a cross between Ali G and Barry Manilow.

    I agree that teachers can do nothing these days. I have sat in various lessons in the past (from year 7-11) and in all of them there has been a few quiet kids getting on with the work, and the rest were just unruly. All the teacher could do was ignore them, or ask to 'see their homework diary' to write in a note that their parents would never see. I'm also appalled these days at the standard of english adopted by these youths. Many of them can't spell for sh*t, and nor do they understand any words that are longer than 4-6 letters.

    Quite frankly it's embarassing to be young today - especially with the use of these 'mixed group' classes. Eurgh. </rant>

  42. Christopher Reeve's Horse

    Embarrassment the best punishment

    We once had a music teacher who made two pupils in my class stand on chairs either side of the school gates and sing hymns to the 1400 exiting pupils after the home time bell. No-one messed around in that lesson ever again....

  43. Spleen

    Bring back the cane - bollocks

    Firstly, people who say 'no-one should ever hit children' need sterilisation, and those who write books proposing that need their writing fingers removed. Children are not reasonable thinking beings, you cannot negotiate with them. Few would disagree that violence should only be a last resort, but without the *threat* of violence the child has no reason to stay on the naughty step or whatever.

    In that sense they're exactly like adults. People pay taxes because they know that they don't you get a visit from the police, and if you resist arrest you get physically subdued, and if you resist with sufficient force that the police are unable to arrest you and ensure your safety at the same time, you get beaten or shot. There are reams and reams of rules if you live under a state, and plenty of punishments for breaking them that don't involve the use of violence, but they only work because they are backed up by a credible threat of violence. (Being a liberal extremist, I think society would be much better off if parents acted like the state and the state acted like modern parents, but that's beside the point.)

    Even so, bringing back the cane in the current system would solve nothing. First problem is obviously that some of the kids are carrying knives, and bringing a length of willow to a knifefight goes strongly against Rule of Fighting #2. Second problem is that as we've seen in this thread, in the era of caning plenty of pupils took their caning and then carried right on pranking. A caning is unpleasant but not so unpleasant it isn't occasionally worth it, particularly in the short-term mind of a child. What prevents classes descending into complete anarchy is a credible threat of expulsion, partly to truly deter the majority of pupils who enjoy a laugh but not so much they'll spend the rest of their lives working at MacDonalds for it, partly for those with parents who would beat them senseless if they got expelled (*that* is where the threat of violence does its work, not at the teacher's level) and partly to get rid of the minority that are completely uneducable. Right now the threat of expulsion is not credible because the Byzantine appeals process means that 95% of the power is out of teachers' hands.

    So no, if we "brought back the cane" in the current system we would achieve absolutely nothing. Some would take it and carry on being disruptive, some would simply not turn up at the headmaster's office (and their useless parents would refuse to do anything about it) and carry on being disruptive. There is no possible law you could draw up permitting the cane anyway that wouldn't see some kid and his parents suing the school because the caning was too hard or the teacher doing it supposedly had a stiffy. The problems are: inability of schools, particularly state schools, to make their own decisions, weakness of teachers, and of course useless parents. Giving the teachers a limited ability to inflict violence solves none of those. Not even close.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What we need to do is remove the compulsion for education - if the students wont work then send them on their way.

    At the same time the social should only be obtainable by people who have completed school succesfully.

    Of course the expelled students would be welcome to return to the school system once passing the necessary exams. Hey they could get a job (drop the working age to 13) learn what hard work really is.

    Also parents should be taken to task over childrens behviour (it's funny that parents can be punished for not forcing their children to go to school but not becouse their children are vicious monsters) generally with fines and other economic pressures.

    Also scrap measures that stop parents discplining children, and create clear rules allowing teachers to handle students.

    We need to make prisons prisons again as opposed to live in leisure centres.

    I remember an article about people in Britain being the least likely people to stop youths from vandalising things or anti-social behaviour in Europe - and there is of good reason for this. Becouse the common law abiding citizen of this cesspit have no authority. You try and stop some kids vandalising a bus stop you're liable to get stabbed.

    Of course seen as prisons are no punishment anymore (yeah yeah just going to prison is the punishment not actually being in prision... figure that one out) you end up with the expeled monsters just going into crime becouse - well why not? The worst is you get nicked and get to play on a playstation, watch sky and get 3 meals a day.

    Of course doing the above would be against human rights of some sort - nobody cares about the normal everyday folk.

    What a crock.

    And I was at school in the ninties, you could see it all crumbling then, classes not paying any attention, ineffectual teachers, detentions ignored, walking out of school. The smart kids ignored so that the mongrels could get c's and above. When I was a year 7 the sixth form were a force to be feared and respected, they could issue detentions, they could wear what they wanted, they were a beacon of what we could become. By the time we reached sixth form we were an ignored underclass with no authority and no respect. You got year 7s giving you abuse.

    There are so many things up with our education system and our schools and our nation as a whole. No sense of identity, no self respect, no responisibility, no sense of collective society, no funding for clubs and activities, no respect for others.

    Meh, stuff this country - I'm getting the hell out.

  45. Anonymous Coward


    Bringing back the cane, or physical punishment, is only part of what needs to be done.

    Discipline needs to be enforced. kids need to learn that their actions have consequences. A recurring theme of the posts admitting bad behaviour was that they knew that a real punishment was in the offing. They broke the rules, they got punished. Not one of these posts complained that they had been punished unfairly.

    You say that there is no use in punishing kids. Well you are teaching them that they have no responsibility for their actions and can do whatever they like. So when they turn 18 and break the law are YOU going to explain to them that they are now going to go to prison for a long time?

    You say that the parents of kids who received the cane would sue the school. Well involve the parents. MAKE them attend the canning. With the threat of legal action against them if necessary. Exclude the student until punishment has taken place. The sooner Mum and / or Dad come into school for the punishment, the sooner little Jonny can get back to school.

    There are already laws forcing the parents to ensure that their kids attend school, perhaps these need extending to ensure that the kids behave at school as well, or the parents get punished. There used to be secure schools for the violent and unruly. Perhaps these should be reintroduced and then we can lock up some of the worst of the thugs.

    The one thing that you didn't mention was the kids rights. Well ALL of the kids at school have rights, not just the ill behaved ones. Don't their rights count for anything. How does the rights of one child overrule the rights of the other 29 in the class.

    Spleen liberals got us into this mess, and are now bleating that there is nothing that we can do about it. There is a lot we can do to turn this situation around but it involves taking responsibility for the situation, to DO something and not just talk about how bad it is. Things that I have found liberals very loath to do.

  46. xjy
    Paris Hilton

    Cats and rats in a sack...

    The Good Old Days were crap. The Not-Quite-Old Days were crap. And the Present is crap. Britain can't take any public effort seriously. Schools are just containers for alienated and frustrated kids and alienated and frustrated adults. Homes ditto. Public places ditto.

    Sterilization and whipping are useless and vicious solutions proposed by alienated and frustrated people a million miles from the social reality of schools and the way kids and parents work.

    So what we have is a tightly knotted sack full of cats and rats hissing and spitting and biting each other, getting whacked from outside at frequent but irregular intervals.


    What we all need is a society where everyone has a guaranteed job with a liveable income, and a guaranteed home. Every individual (from the age of say 16). No one dependent on anyone else's say-so or funding. No one under threat of penury or exclusion or ostracism if someone "in charge" doesn't like their face.

    In the meantime it's the war of all against all, look after Number One, and the devil take the hindmost. The only thing keeping us from all murdering each other is some kind of innate decency in humanity, not any kind of good vibes imparted by a caring and compassionate society.

    I used to be a teacher (not in the UK, I'm not fucking mad... - "look Ma, I made it in metalwork!" "That's nice, Jimmy, what is it?" "It's a thumbscrew!!"). What that experience showed me is that I love teaching and I like kids, but I hate schools and particularly school authorities and school policies. As for the Tories vs New Labour, I'd want to put em all in the sack with a few ferrets thrown in for good measure.

    Sauve qui peut!

    (Paris cos her and Bush both know the true value of education in relation to wealth and power...)

  47. Mark Finn

    Want to fix the whole problem?

    Lose the dole. Or at least bring it down to a realistic survival level. It'll take about a decade to get through, but once the maggots of the present have to raise their kids on potatoes and tap-water the next gen will shape up pdq, and buckle down to some serious study.

    What the UK is seeing now is the standard malaise that overtakes any society where the economic system is out of whack. Too many people are receiving too many benefits they haven't earned. The Romans had slaves, the Brits have the dole.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    I remember

    I remember my Maths teacher when I was 13, Bachelier was his name (nicknamed Bach'). Normally, on a good day, having your theorem wrong while on the board would result in a big slap in the face and some shouting and a 0 at the end.

    Also, while doing exercises, the bugger would patrol silently around and look from above your shoulder and scream like a madman in your hears "ARE YOU GONNA DO IT RIGHT, EH ?". Scary.

    Needless to say, there's never been any story (verified or not) about someone badmouthing him, or doing any noise in the classroom. And we were all 2 years in advance in maths, when going to college.

    As for "tip tap of the pen" and "orchestral coughing" being *that* a problem, it's another story, the one of no life poor teachers that have become completely paranoid, and collapse in tears unexpectedly when soneone drop their pen by pure accident.

    We always had that, this side of the Channel as well, there's no cure, apart from changing jobs, since kids are like gremlins: exponentially bigger burdens when in groups. Either you can cope with it, either you can't, no learning.

    AC, cos' the kids are after me !!!

  49. Marc-Oliver Kalis

    Re: A good but loving hiding is all that is needed (in most cases)!

    I have gone through this, and have noticed, that my comment about sterilisation of useles parents has been quoted or at leased refered to a few times.

    I just wanted to make clear:

    I didn't mean it in the sense of physically sterilising them, what I meant, was the fact, that parent's need to be held more responsible for their childrens actions (as long as the law says they do).

    Spleen did mentioned rightfully, that children are not logically and rationally thinking beings! The are children, and as children they have to learn!

    They have to learn, that actions have consequences, and if they commit actions that are undesirable, they have to feel the undesirable consequences.

    For one child it may be that it gets a good hiding, for the other child it may be that it has to stay in the bathroom or bedroom for 10min, and for yet another you take a way the TV privileges. But they have to be made aware, that they cannot get away with it. Just saying "You naughty child..." doesn't really help matters. it'll stop taking you seriously and loose respect! And that is exactly what is happening: There is no more respect for other children, for grown-ups, for other people belongings etc.

    This already starts with the adults: we have way too many single parent families. Why? because we adults are incapable of trying to stick to something and working issues out! I am not saying that all marriages can be saved, or that single parents are bad or not worth it, there are many reasons why marriages break up and I am sure quite a few of them valid!

    But children need to have more, than just brought to the nursery, cresh etc in the morning and picked up in the evening. They need time with their parent's and it's up to the parents to provide this! When there are children in the family, one parent should be at home, for and with the children. They are our responsibility!!!

    Yes, often our situation doesn't allow us this "luxury" but it is sad, that we have to call it a luxury. this should be the norm!

    I am very well aware, that this opinion is not very popular in some cases even hated, especially by the government. Why, because with every mom or dad staying at home, they take in less taxes. and with that less money to squander!

    I will probably receive a flame war, but I can only say: our children are our future, and for the sake of my and my families future, I am quite happy to stand on an unpopular opinion.

    All the best!

  50. Sweep

    Half the comments here....

    ......seem to be trying to explain why kids are badly behaved (bring back the cane etc), while the other half are talking about themselves as kids behaving in EXACTLY the same manner as kids today.

    Has behaviour in schools really got so much worse, or are we just a bunch of old farts?

  51. Anonymous Coward

    @ Mark Finn

    "Lose the dole. Or at least bring it down to a realistic survival level. It'll take about a decade to get through, but once the maggots of the present have to raise their kids on potatoes and tap-water the next gen will shape up pdq, and buckle down to some serious study".

    Yeah, that'll work, not. Give it a decade and we'll have a generation of children and parents who hate society and people like you who have treated them like shit. You think you've got discipline problems now ? Just wait until you have an under-class roaming the street who have nothing but what they fight for or steal to live.

    JSA is £59 per week. Take off utility bills for electricity, gas and water and you have a person who has to live on £3 per day. You can call it living if you want. What you actually have is someone likely to rip your throat out should you suggest they are living on easy street.

    Flames, 'cos that's what you're inviting.

  52. Alex D
    IT Angle

    A Tech Angle

    I went to supposedly one of the top few schools in the country (you would never know by the pupils though). a few memorable points:

    - We were just at the age where it was cool to bring in a mamoth laptop that could run word, but that was about it (no wifi those days). I remember an English lesson where someone had recorded their voice then lowered the tone and put a lot of echo on it. The then played the music file in class, which went a little something like this:

    "Tomxxxxs this is God. Stop talking Shit!"

    -another fond memory of a decidedly weak substitute history teacher, and ripping up bits of carpet and throwing them when she had her back turned. 40mins later, the place looked like a warzone.

    -being absolute kleptomaniacs... what is it about kids in a science room... stealing the magnesium and then setting it alight was always fun.

  53. Andy S


    Those were pretty much my points, all the stuff that replaced the cane relied on scaring/degrading/embarrassing the kid. none of which your are allowed to do anymore.

    teachers can't even embarrass a disruptive child anymore as they are not allowed to say anything that might even imply a child is "a bit thick".

    the points about not forcing as child to try and learn were aimed at the idiots in the government rather than the teachers. yes, every child is entitled to an education, but there's no point in forcing it on them kicking and screaming all the way.

  54. Andy Bright

    Bring back hanging!

    That'll teach 'em. When I wur a lad we wur hanged two or three times a day - never did me no 'arm. And torture. Need more racks and twisty metal things stuck into kids.

    The thing is discipline is lacking. And yes, to a large extent parents are to blame. We all knew one or two kids that were over-coddled and had parents that would never believe their darling little brats were responsible for anything - but these days it seems all parents are of this mind set.

    I blame America. Why not? Everything else is their fault. But again, seriously, there does seem to be an adoption of the retarded "won't someone think of the kids" attitude.

    And if copy catting US stupidity continues, this is what you have to look forward to.

    My wife runs a daycare in the US. She is not allowed to let kids ride on small electronic toys - you know trains that run at a frightening 0.7 MPH and could result in a fall of up to 3 inches. She is also not allowed to use the word "punishment" - they re-direct kids these days. Sending someone to stand in the corner for thumping another kid is "cruel and unusual punishment".

    Basically things are going to get a lot worse.

    Of course the US answer is hard core, mind altering drugs.

    As all kids are angels, and should never be punished - those that do wrong, i.e. rebel against the over-coddling, sugar sweet sickliness of condescending praise for being able to read and write a whole sentence at the age of 15 - sometimes using big words like "tree".. the kids that find Mathematics boring or like to give these perfect teachers a hard time.. they MUST be mentally ill or suffer from some sort of deficiency.

    Can't be the lack of punishment and discipline. After all, good behaviour just happens naturally - we don't need to teach it early on.

    So the answer to all that ails the teacher? Attention Deficit Disorder Drugs.

    Of course it's well known through decades of extensive trials and case studies that delivering hardcore narcotics directly to the growing mind is far less damaging than and few swipes of the cane on the backside.

    After all the drugs only do permanent damage, and probably inhibit all kinds of important growth. Where as being smacked would make them cry a bit.

    Then again, if we don't hit our kids a bit, what excuse do they have when they shoot 20 people in a mall? "My parents were really, really mean!"..

    What on earth do they blame their actions on, after all it must be someone's fault.. oh yeah.. "video games made me shoot everyone in my classroom"..

  55. Ryan
    Paris Hilton

    @ Bring back the cane

    Have you seen what some girls wear to school these days? It's wrong in so many ways.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Decimate them!

    Ill support any law change that allows teachers to execute 1 in 10 of any class that's gets out of hand.

    In the long run it will save us all money in taxes as we fund them and their spawn down through the generations.

    It will also reduce class sizes which is a good thing not to mention providing teaching assistants with an actual role.

    After the first few "class size reductions" any kid who acts up is to dumb to be allowed to survive and on a purely Darwinian level should be included in the next decimation. Of course this treads perilously close to eugenics but i feel it important to point out that its not anything of the sort, its just murder for the good of humanity.

    For those of you uncomfortable with reference to Darwin please feel free to insert your own text such as "not compatible with the holy design" or "a creature of the devil sent to corrupt the holy design". For religious schools this could see a return of the inquisition, who nobody expects, and create much needed jobs in the community. At my old school for example the role of Inquisitor was combined with executioner and PE teacher due to budget cuts that i feel were too rash, although he did a good job when he made us try and rugby tackle him for two hours straight only to ran over for two hours straight.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Always ammusing...

    ...watching new TAFE (trade college students) fresh from high school trying on the same old tricks. Unlike HS, TAFE attendance is not compulsory and the teacher just has security escort them off the premises for the rest of the day.

    I honestly believe education should be a right, but not compulsory. Anyone of any age who indicates through their actions or direct statement that they don't want to learn should be excluded immediately until they decide otherwise (I don't just mean expulsion for really serious offences here, I mean ANY disruption of other's RIGHT to learn).

    When I have bought the concept up in primary and high-school classes I have taught casual on, about 1/4 of the class give me a horrified look while the other 3/4 give enthusiastic nods. Let me know who to stomp on hardest too for the rest of the day!

    Not that I teach anymore, I discovered unskilled factory floor work pays 75% as well, more consistently and the job stays at the punch clock when I knock off.

  58. Phil

    The canes pointless

    We had the cane. Did it work? No.

    If you hadn't been caned then you weren't one of the lads. Around 30 years ago now since I was at school.

    Could list page after page of the things we used to get up to. The cane was a zero deterrent.

    Got out of a caning one day as the teacher was so wound up, they got the head of science to cane me and a friend in front of the class. He caned my friend, my friend turned round and said "have you done it yet", the head teacher then caned him so hard the cane broke, the result, we were rolling around on the floor laughing.

    Not proud of what I used to get up to, but corporal punishment didn't work, and I had very very strict parents (and would get beaten at least once a week over my head with my mums shoe).

    What I will say is that too many teachers don't know how to teach. They go to Uni, get degrees on the subject they teach but know nothing about controlling classes. At my school there were loads of teachers we could wrap around our fingers. There were others you wouldn't dare mess with. Corporal punishment had nothing to do with it. One of the oldest teachers had some of the roughest people in her class, yet she had the knack of shutting people up, making them look stupid, and not letting them disturb her lessons. She never had to get people caned or give them detentions.

    The way some of the teachers treated us was totally out of order. The trouble is, we are now the parents, so when our kids get into trouble, we remember the crap teachers we had, we know how unbearable school was for us, how out of order some of the teachers were etc hence we take our kids side.

    I went to school in plush old Guildford, and my school wasn't the worst one in the town either. That award goes to my wifes school. On her school trip at 15, before she was hospitalised for alcoholic poisoning, one of her teachers told her how he had a bet with another teacher that he couldn't get her into bed before the trip was over.

    In comparison, the kids from the local schools round here (Norfolk) are perfectly behaved

  59. Richard

    Mr Mills

    Ah, the good old days in the mid-80s. He had a car rear-view mirror attached to the wooden frame of his blackboard, and if he spotted any misbehaviour taking place behind him, a millisecond later the perpretator collided with the blackboard rubber at a rather large velocity (Mr Mills was a science teacher). There was also a *rumour* that he dropped a kid out of the 1st floor window because he wouldn't behave. Needless to say, all the kids respected Mr Mills, and he had no trouble from them. And he was only 5' 3".

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Discipline is derived from the top,

    not from some arbitrary parent or teacher in the middle of society.

    Discipline should be handed down by our heads of state, government ministers and heads of major corporations etc etc. For the discipline to be accepted, those at the top of our society have to be respected. In the UK, take a look at the behaviour of the Royal Family, Blair, Brown and any number ministers and heads of industry. How many of these people really command any respect?

    Those at the top of society lie, cheat, steal and behave with a total lack of morality and a total lack of fear of the consequences of their actions. For the most part they all get away with it. Nobody in government or industry is building for the next 100 years, only for the next 48 hours on the stock market.

    So, when the huddled masses look upwards for discipline and guidance, what message do they receive? "Do what you like, cheat on your expenses. Hey, I do and I'm an MP!"

    Paris, because she needs more discipline too.

  61. Anonymous Coward

    we need a good whipping

    I'm a 14 year old student in a London Catholic boys school with a penchant for IT.

    I've been "excluded from class" ie put in an Exclusion room for a period of around 3 days about 10 times and have been suspended for selling illegal substances in school. I don't really mess around in lessons, but when I do I'm never punished properly. Our school is a decent school. When I do mess around I'll be given a 45 minute detention after school, but that hardly deters me, it just gives me a place to mess around and chat with other people in detention.

    Through all the times I've taken the mickey out of my English teacher and humiliated her, I've never been hit, never even shouted at. Just as I entered first form (year 7) at my secondary school, a certain senior teacher left. He was famous for severe punishments and woke me up in a maths lesson by smacking me around the head with a pencil case which bore the words "I'm Not Sleeping, I'm Testing My Eyelids For Leaks", much to the amusement of the class. No one messed with him.

    Now whenever I do something, like break a window with someone I've thrown in to it, I get the soft treatment and am often sent to the "Learning Support Unit".

    What I think my generation needs is a good whipping.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: @Mark Finn by AC

    "Give it a decade and we'll have a generation of children and parents who hate society and people like you who have treated them like shit."

    As opposed to wasting money on them, giving them lots of TLC and they still end up hating society. Some people are just born that way and will behave as such no matter how they are treated so might as well treat them as they would treat you.

  63. Joss Attridge
    Black Helicopters


    Read a book a few years back which gave a solution to this problem (failing schools, failing cities I think). Anyway he said each county needs remedial schools. Disruptive pupils get sent there where the pupil to teacher ratio starts decreasing until for the worse offenders the pupil teacher ratio becomes 1:1 and there are no other people to play up to.

    Removes the worse pupils from the standard schools and ensures the punishment is actually getting educated.

    Wont happen though as it will involve money and solves the problem. Cant have any problem solving.

  64. Robin A. Flood

    Another contributary problem......

    I was chatting yesterday to a retired teacher who had brought a large group of German teenagers on holiday here to Catalunia last year, and said "they all had a great time". I looked at him and he said "of course, in the area where they come from the (parential) divorce rate is under 30% so we have far fewer behavourial problems than children from areas of Germany where the divorce rate is well over 50%...."

  65. Will Parker

    What's the problem?

    It strikes me that we'll never improve the situation in classrooms. But that doesn't have to be such a bad thing. The classroom is a microcosm of life. Some kids will never want to learn and will continue to be disruptive in adult life. Some swats will always avoid any form of trouble and simply get on with learning, regardless of whether or not they possess any intelligence. They're the boring ones in the office who rarely engage in banter but who you can rely on to know who in HR deals with pay. And then there's a whole spectrum of all of us inbetween who occassionally get too drunk but turn up to work and then come home and play playstation with their teenage son.

    Sometimes messing around in class was exactly what was needed. Is adult life all about sitting aroundly silently like a monk? Unless you are actually a monk, of course. But our world wouldn't be much fun if we were all monks...

    As other comments have testified, classroom pranks often brought the kids together. 'Best times of our lives'. Learning how to make others laugh, displaying healthy levels of non-conformity. These are critical aspects of a dynamic society.

    So, I say to the kids - carry on with your funny pranks (but don't physically injure anyone). And I say to all those uptight adults who can't handle kids having fun - lighten up, or I might give you a wedgie.

  66. Charlie

    Blame school, parents, society.

    Blame school policies not being strictly enforced. When a student disrupts proper class atmosphere, warn. Again, suspend. Yet again, expell--to juvenile detention to finish the semester where privileges are earned by strict adherence to rules or lock-down and treated like the childish brat's they are portraying. And the parents pay a fine for each day the child is in juvie and fed and tended to by society. If the entire class wants in on the festivities, so be it. Our children must learn that freedom and liberties like driver's licenses are privileges and must be earned. Good men and women fight and die so we can enjoy them; misuse them, and loose them. This stupid acting-up is not an individual problem, it is a societal problem and parents, students, school faculty and society need to face up to it and get with the program. It is everyone's responsibility to ensure children become respectable team-members of society, and if it means treating children like childish, spoiled brats when the act out as such, then so be it. While I don't particularly care for the person who coined the phrase, it really does "take a village to raise a child." And better they get straight BEFORE they get fired from jobs, or worse not even hired because they are ignorant and stupid or become burden's on society or worse,drug dealer's, mugger's, murderer's and end up in prison or dead. And all of this rearing must begin day one, not after the train has left the station on a one-way track.

  67. Richard Preston
    Paris Hilton

    Yeah but no but

    Anyone would think the whole educational system was in rags reading some of these comments, but like all massive organisations it's full of examples of the great and appalling in equal measure.

    The family environment is overwhelmingly the most important influence, and it's telling that unruly pupils who leave their family behind and join, say, the services end up achieving a measure of self-control and self-respect no-one would have thought possible, simply because they are taken out of a destructive, undermining, and chaotic family situation.

    But the lack of teaching basic reading, writing and maths at primary level must run a close second as a factor hampering kids' progress. I'm all for broadening children's minds, but many children leave primary school with the reading age of a chimp. You can almost guarantee that disruptive children at secondary school have very poor literacy and numeracy skills, and disrupt because the simply can't understand what's going on in the lesson. Mind you, parents should also see it as their duty to help their kids' reading, but ... see above. And so the whole sorry cycle goes on. And on. And on.

    So, more boarding schools, a long way from home, for disruptive students, preferably with strong services corps, and more vocational training. Job done. Next!

    Paris, because she's a fine role model for schoolchildren everywhere.

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