Education: Head Blames Society for Unruly Students

The Birmingham Post (England), August 27, 2004 | Go to article overview

Education: Head Blames Society for Unruly Students


Byline: Shahid Naqvi

The headteacher of Birmingham's topperforming comprehensive for GCSEs yesterday claimed schools were facing increasingly challenging behaviour from pupils.

Staff and pupils at Kings Norton High School for Girls were celebrating after 88 per cent of 16-year-olds gained higher grade GCSEs between an A* and C in their summer exams.

The result was the best for a state school in the city and well above Birmingham's average.

While praising their efforts, headteacher Pat Beanland also highlighted the growing problem of unruly behaviour faced by all teachers.

She claimed it was a reflection of a greater lack of respect for authority generally and parents setting a bad example to their children.

'Like all schools we are beginning to face more challenging behaviour,' she said.

'We have a few students that cause us problems and have had to introduce a much tighter behaviour policy than we had before.'

Ms Beanland attributed the problem to trends in wider society.

'I think it is a reflection of society in general,' she added.

'It is getting worse across the whole spectrum of society. Students now know the power of teachers to discipline in schools is very limited.

'I don't think there is the respect for teachers in schools that there used to be. Some of that goes back to parents and how they view teachers.'

Kings Norton High School for Girls also came top in the city last year when 90 per cent of pupils gained the top A* to C grades.

Ms Beanland stressed the importance of setting high expectations and close monitoring of classes and students.

'I do believe it comes down to really high expectations - setting realistic and challenging targets and monitoring them very closely,' she said.

'You have got to have a working ethos in a school. If you have that working ethos where students and staff are working together you can succeed. 'We do a lot of monitoring across the school and lesson observation - we are continually focused on teaching and learning.'

Ms Beanland also entered the debate over schools using vocational GNVQs to bolster their GCSE results. Under guidelines from the Government's exam watchdog, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, pupils can take one full GNVQ at intermediate level and gain an equivalent of four GCSEs at the higher level A* to C grade.

Ms Beanland said: 'We don't have a lot of GNVQs that boost results,' she said.

'I don't want to devalue GNVQs because for some students it is the right course. But if they are getting to do a GNVQ in media and art design that doesn't correlate with getting GCSEs in English, maths and language.

'A pupil can do art, media or ICT and ratchet up quite a high proportion of passes. That should be recognised but students should be aware of the implications of that.'

Last year The Birmingham Post highlighted concerns by a city headteacher who claimed some schools were misleading pupils into doing GNVQs to boost their position in school league tables. …

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