Saturday 25 January 2020

Hard lessons

• Next week the various teacher conferences will take up much of your newspaper's educational coverage. There will be talk of reform and cutbacks. However, missing from this debate will be the continuing discipline crisis in schools.

Teachers won't openly talk about this at conferences in case it reflects poorly on their school or career.

Since the Department of Education taskforce on discipline reported in 2005, very little has changed in the majority of schools. Yes, the National Behaviour Support Service was set up, but it barely supports 10pc of schools.

There have been changes to the expulsion appeals process but many school principals are still reluctant to go down this path mainly because they feel it will reflect badly upon their stewardship of the school.

So, day in day out, thousands of young people have their educational opportunities stymied by fellow pupils who consistently disrupt the learning process and thousands of teachers put up with abuse that should never be tolerated in a place of work.

Would you put up with foul language being used regularly against you? Would you put up with sexual harassment on a weekly basis? Would you put up with a subordinate failing to do any work and becoming highly aggressive if you challenge them on this?

Let's start having an honest debate about discipline in schools because without it no reform will work.

Ben Hayes
Bray, Co Wicklow

Irish Independent

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