Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Let's Behave as a Team

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Let's Behave as a Team

Article excerpt

When it comes to tackling children's bad behaviour, schools and parents need to form a united front

For most parents, hearing that your child's behaviour is ringing alarm bells at school is both surprising and upsetting. For some, it's the beginning of an exhausting, demoralising slog through the special educational needs system, battling for the specialist provision that their child needs. For others, it can lead to some sorrowful soul-searching: "Is my child unhappy? Unsettled? Testing the boundaries? Or just behaving in a problematic way for no good reason?"

SEND and behavioural disorders are completely separate issues, and probably the subject of another column. Those aside, Mumsnet users are firm believers that rule-breaking behaviour should have consequences, and that teachers and schools should be supported in their disciplinary efforts. This stance can be easier to preach than it is to practise, though: when it's your own downy-headed angel who's suddenly being accused of something - and it's even more difficult if they deny it completely or claim to be victimised - the urge to protect them and argue their corner can be strong.

Establishing exactly what the problem is, and that the school's account is reliable and fair, is important. This is where a good foundation of trust between parents and schools becomes crucial.

I tend to bang on about good, regular, authentic and personal communication between schools and parents - and this is yet one more example of where it can be effective. For schools, it helps to bear in mind the emotional state of the parent who's receiving information about their child's poor behaviour, possibly for the very first time. …

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