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Tough Discipline Needed To Rescue Failing Schools - Do You Agree?

Friday May 2 2014

RETURNING to tough discipline and authoritarian teaching is needed to rescue failing schools, according to a new report.

The Institute for the Study of Civil Society (CIVITAS), who carried out the study, has called for the government to bring back traditional methods.

What do you think? Is this a good idea? What were your schools like when you were there? Have today's pupils got it easy? Would a return to tough discipline work? Have your say below.

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Reply Posted by R .Goodlad on Friday May 2 2014 at 10:43
Yes I agree discipline does need to be tougher in schools.Untidily dressed groups hanging about outside school gates having a fag.Inappropriate language and behaviour needs addressing.Then when these problems have been sorted out with the teachers they can then start to lead by example.Not that all teachers are bad,but first of all respect has to be earned not taken for granted .

Reply Posted by sid on Friday May 2 2014 at 11:46
Yes I think discipline should be better at schools. When Iv watched programmes about schools,the teachers have changed alot since my day. They are too pally with the kids,ok,be friendly but keep the respect. We had to stand when the teacher entered the classroom,and always use sir/miss. Children were not allowed out of the school gates until home time. Uniform was kept in line by prefects,who were allowed to give lines as a punishment,if the lines wernt done,it was a trip to the headmaster. The headmaster was seen at assembly only,unless you were sent to him for punishment. God,Im scaring myself here,looking back it was so differant. I didnt see it as bad,we just followed the rules and school was good. Very rarely was there bullying,as the headmaster would have the bully up on stage at assembly and embarrass the cr@p out of him/her. I reckon,some of the discipline has gone because parents can see no wrong in thier kids these days. If I did wrong at school,the last person I told was my dad,as I knew a clip round the lug would be next. Parents trusted teachers to be correct,thats all gone. There is a line and kids will step over it,the thing is,that line must stay where it is and not be moved. I admire teachers,they work hard and they should be given respect from kids and parents alike. Kids need education more than ever these days,there arent enough jobs to go round.

Reply Posted by dedatodd on Friday May 2 2014 at 13:21
Not sure if its just discipline missing from schools these days, how about a cross political party consensus to put a curriculum in place and then leave it alone for 20 years, stop tinkering with it.
Give Teachers, Head Teachers and Governors a little more power that isn't diluted by LEA and make it a level playing field - private, Free and state funded.
Stop with PFI it isn't working as can be seen at the moment in Barnsley!
Make sure all parties involved sign up to a behaviour contract, break it and consequences on guilty parties and not just children but the parents also.
Stop looking at targets, have academia and vocational schools, let kids be kids.

Reply Posted by murk on Saturday May 3 2014 at 12:44
This is the one of the most sensible things I've ever read on here.

Reply Posted by dedatodd on Tuesday May 6 2014 at 17:43
Being a parent of a 16 year old and previously a governor and knowing a number of teachers you get a feel for 'common sense' ....

Reply Posted by true red on Friday May 2 2014 at 20:52
Lets put this in to perspective if the same amount was spent on our schools per child as it is in the private and public schools sector the outcome would dramaticaly changed for the better for our children I agree with dedatodd lets have a level playing field

Reply Posted by look around on Saturday May 3 2014 at 19:58
Look what happened in leeds something went terribly wrong somewhere home school?????

Reply Posted by julie on Sunday May 4 2014 at 08:23
I feel that Leeds will happen again and again until someone takes away the 'power' from the kids. Sorry, but they have too many 'rights' and everything on their side - level out the playing field and give schools the 'right to discipline'. Many schools do not exclude for bad behaviour because it shows in the statistics which apparently reflect the 'status' of the school - hence the kids get away with anything! Harping back in rose coloured glasses some may say, but there was only ONE bully at school when I was there ... if anyone was being bullied, you went to him and he sorted it - The Headmaster - with full agreement from the parents who gave their own when we got home - definitely made us think twice about getting into trouble!!

Reply Posted by sid on Sunday May 4 2014 at 10:20
One school I know of,gives bad kids,juniors, Lego therapy!!!!

Reply Posted by j on Sunday May 4 2014 at 19:23
Another took the 'disruptive' seniors on a weeks holiday in Wales, canoeing, climbing, camping etc., whilst the ones who worked hard and behaved got sweet fanny adams - why be good?? I challenged this and was told that is what they HAD to spend the money on - what an incentive to be good then eh?

Reply Posted by Ginger on Monday May 5 2014 at 08:18
Hi. Just wanted to say that what happened in Leeds was not at a failing school, just an incident that could have been anywhere.
Also, I do agree that discipline is an issue.I work in a Pupil Referral Unit with children that can't be in mainstream, mainly due to behaviour. We have success with a lot of them but there will always be those we can't change. I don't think teachers on mainstream have many options in relation to discipline and that this needs looking at nationally. I agree that kids are becoming ruder and less responsive but nationally, we need to look at how to manage it. We do a lot of talking after events and not a lot of doing to prevent or respond to them.

Reply Posted by mad, bad & dangerous to know on Monday May 5 2014 at 09:03
Where do these kids pick up their behaviour from, my guess their parents. Probably the first set of pupils who were not dealt seriously enough at their school

Reply Posted by nige on Monday May 5 2014 at 13:03
Yes discipline is needed but the government has tried to bring in graduate teachers pushing experienced teachers out to early retirement this causes stress for the rest who are left and standards fall. Let's get it right and put the blame where it deserves to be put and get this right. After all you get what you pay for

Reply Posted by john on Monday May 5 2014 at 13:07
who agrees to bringing back the cane in schools and name and shame the parents that don,t give a damn about what their kids do or get up to bring back the old days where things where better and kids had more respect.

Reply Posted by JJ on Monday May 5 2014 at 13:21
This is just a smokescreen. There was still loads of bullying and physical violence when we had the cane, some of the stuff that went on was horrific which in today world would not be tolerated at all. The reason these schools are failing is plain and clear and was covered in a recent article on we are Barnsley. There not being funded enough! Were not attracting the best teachers which would teach in private schools. In the same week our schools were judged below standard the government slash our school budgets even more. We do need more discipline in schools but the problem is much deeper than that and "bringing back the cane" wont solve Barnsley's below standard schools. This traditional methods is more than likely a ploy from the government to slash our schools budgets even further as they did with the revamping of the current curriculum.

Reply Posted by karen on Monday May 5 2014 at 13:35
Yes disapline is needed when we were at school cane n slipper were in force didnt hurt us bout time it fetched back then kids would be kids and not little thugs i was outside a school in barnsley n kids told teacher to get f***ed n nowt they could do only say u get excluded n kids answer were exclude me then i couldent give a f*** how rude

Reply Posted by Dixie on Monday May 5 2014 at 14:40
Right from primary school just the threat of being sent to the headmaster's office was enough to keep most of us in line and throughout my secondary education too. You knew if you were going there chances were you were getting the cane. Sure there were still some persistent offenders but they were the minority. Mostly we were mischievous, not out & out horrible that many kids are now. Most kids today have no respect for anyone or anything, well behaved kids are the minority. They know teachers cannot do anything to them now and sadly many parents do not back up the teachers when kids do need discipline. I have friends who are teachers and the things they see and experience daily are frankly unbelievable! Female teachers being cornered in classrooms by groups of boys, being touched up in the corridors en route to their next class, parents threatening to drag teachers over the desk when they are asked to come into school to address their child's behaviour!!!
If kids get away with this kind of behaviour in their formative years, what hope does it give to the kind of adults they will turn into?!

Reply Posted by True red on Monday May 5 2014 at 19:16
Are we talking about aliens or our children reading some of the posts on here you would think our children come from another planet 98% of school children are well behaved and polite and some of you lot want to give our young ones a good hiding with a stick shame on you good teachers make education intresting and if there was as much money spent on our children's education than on trident or H.S train we wouldn't be having this debate

Reply Posted by Ben Herbert on Tuesday May 6 2014 at 00:47
As a working teacher who went to school in the 1970s and only became a teacher 10 years ago I have to agree with the previous candidate. I teach in a school in Sheffield which has been through special measures and has been converted to an academy and I can honestly say that the children who caused all the problems were a very small minority but they had a disproportionate impact on the school. As when I was at school many of my friends and I did not fear punishment because it did not matter; that was lines, detentions and the strap or cane so this minority don't fear punishment. The law says they must be educated but they will never succeed in normal schools. Local authorities have the responsibility and force schools to keep them far too long. The cane would still have no impact. If we are to sort this out we need to let them leave school earlier and do proper 7 year apprenticeships starting at 14. Why should every child be forced down an academic route that doesn't suit them. And the last thing I will say is we were much nastier and more violent when we at school than they are today, I don't remember a week going by without a fight when I was at school and the last one I saw where I work was 4 years ago and that was two 15 year olds fighting about a girl.

Reply Posted by Sid on Tuesday May 6 2014 at 12:48
The sad truth is Ben that if a youth fails at school these days there are so few jobs that they will be left unemployed. The first thing an employer looks at in kids at this age is the only thing availaible, a school record of achievement,if thats full of negativity that kid is going nowhere fast.

Reply Posted by julie on Tuesday May 6 2014 at 07:33
Good comments and have to agree with you Ben - apprenticeships from 14 to give the kids the aspiration, motivation and interest to work and achieve in a field they have ambition in - not everyone is academic but we are too 'qualification' focused - give them 'hands on' qualifications. Schools are 'forcing' a curriculum which is absolutely no use whatsoever to the majority of kids, languages which they will never master or use for instance, as half can't even spell and understand their own language sufficiently to write a CV. Expectations of 5 A*-C's are beyond the capabilities of many, so they feel like 'losers' and are defeated before they start and in my opinion this is where the trouble starts. Take away the pressure and make school a place where they like to go, not are forced to go and this may just see an improvement in behaviour.

Reply Posted by sid on Tuesday May 6 2014 at 12:34
Julie,there are two sides to every debate. Tell me why as an employer I should have to cope with kids that fit your description? What good are they within the workplace? They dont go to work to learn to spell and understand thier own language and fill out cv,s. At 14 years old if they cant take the pressure of school,then god help them within a workplace. I think you would find,they are not ready for the workplace at 14,they think nothing of telling adults to eff off. Just change schooling and keep them there,let them go when they can raed and write and hopefully be an assett to a company.

Reply Posted by Gail on Tuesday May 6 2014 at 10:19
we've been saying this for years! The reason schools are failing is because they've had to pander to government guidelines that are too soft. 14 years I'd worked in primary and I wouldn't go back now for double wages! zero tolerance is needed, no buts or maybes, end of!

Reply Posted by Gail on Tuesday May 6 2014 at 10:22
just seen your comment sid, you wouldn't believe the things they do for a quick fix! sat colouring and playing with shells after trashing a classroom, helping caretaker with odd jobs after telling staff to f off, I could go on! its pathetic! and that's in primary!!!

Reply Posted by Jess on Tuesday May 6 2014 at 12:16
It's not enough on it's own. I'm a teacher myself and I am strict with all my students; however, without the backing of parents to allow you to discipline their child it has no effect at all. If you've been raised to not respect people in authority then you won't; whether they're discipliarians or not. I was always good at school, not because I was scared of the teachers, but because I would have had it both barrells from my parents when I got home. I've lost count of the amount of abuse I've had from parents for little Johnny or Julie being told off and parents evening's are now just a forum for parents to tell me how crap I am at my job. Exactly what I got into the job for :(

Reply Posted by sid on Tuesday May 6 2014 at 12:25
I agree with you jess. I wouldnt be a teacher for all the tea in china. How can these kids be put into a place of work? They cant. Employers have a living to make for self and staff alike,the last thing I need is to be argueing with a 14 year old parents because I have had to bring the youth into line for taking an hour an half lunch break or super glueing discarded toys to vehicle interiors. (I kid you not) Plus having to mediate between my staff and a cheeky little sod thats just told them to eff off. Schhol needs more power or take them out and let the parents deal with them.

Reply Posted by sid on Tuesday May 6 2014 at 12:17
Its all very well saying let the unruly kids go to work at 14,but after having them on work experiance,theres no chance. Ive had them,they cant read,write,converse and are often not happy to be at work. They cannot be just pushed onto an employer,who has to teach them to read and write just to take a food break order. A lot of mine have had attitude problems,yet go crying to mummy when they are put straight. They are also an insurance nightmare. The insurance companies dont want to know. Ive tried them,its a no go as far as Im concerned,and let me say as a parent of 2 I tried my best,thinking my own kids may need a placement so I did my bit as an employer. I tried it for years and was soon seen as an easy touch by teachers and was sent some of the worst behaved kids I have ever met. In other words I was palmed off with the uneducated,unteachable,ignorant kids. Dont know the answer apart from more discipline,but until thats realised, employers dont want or need them. Sorry but its true.

Reply Posted by me on Tuesday May 6 2014 at 16:33
My daughter was no angel at school but wanted to be a police woman. Some one frm school turned round and told her not to bother she would never become one. Put down or what

Reply Posted by boohoo on Tuesday May 6 2014 at 18:41
If your daughters school report reflects bad behaviour and poor exam result @me,then the person that said not to bother may just be brutally honest. Records from school are used as part of their initial CV. This is drummed into them now at an early age. Can't blame anyone other than themselves.

Reply Posted by me on Tuesday May 6 2014 at 19:45
Boohoo it was somebody who didn't know her so no she isn't to blame

Reply Posted by dearyme on Tuesday May 6 2014 at 22:26
Kids will be kids at the end of the day, I push my kids to the max n I get called on it all time but I want the best and so do they. Some kids have all the support in family's but just don't want to do school work we can't blame a single individual its a combination of all these issues and some times it is simply down to the kids to have the passion for learning

Reply Posted by dearyme on Tuesday May 6 2014 at 22:28
Ment to say: sometimes it's just simple down to the kids not having the passion for learning

Reply Posted by tel on Tuesday May 6 2014 at 22:29
I agree schools should have more power to discipline accordingly. Im 31 yrs old so never knew what the cane or chalk board rubber felt like. I dont mean to bring these back as this is child abuse. I mean take away their privliges ie out of school activities, breaks n working at a desk alone outside the heads office. If I got in trouble at school I would then get a gob full or a clout round the ear for getting in trouble at home never did any permenant damage to me. Just made me think b4 doing it again. The parents need to disipline too. There r far too many kids now days that r let run riot by their parents n them not give a hoot cos theyre out of the way. I kno which school offers lego therapy too. Took my kids out of there in oct last yr as I thought the school was an absolute joke. After saying this lets not forget the children which cannot help a lot of their social behaviour I.e adhd, bipolar, asperges and autism to name a few. These should not be punished as this would make the situation worse. These are the ones who need the lego therapy to help them learn and understand emotions and build up social confidence not the ones who couldnt care less n just act up as this is a cool reward!!!! Rant over

Reply Posted by Mum of Two on Wednesday May 7 2014 at 09:52
I have 2 kids, ne o which is about to go into secondary school from an outstanding primary school. They have never used violence and have never needed to because it is all about following through with punishments and not making idle threats. My kids have never been in major trouble because they know if they were, they would be in even more trouble when they got home. The trouble nowadays is the parents, not the teachers. I have see so many children get punished at school for things they deserved punishing for but then the child goes home crying and the parents march up to school screaming and shouting until the punishment is withdrawn. Kids need to stop being so soft and parents need to let teachers get on with their jobs without interfering. On odd occasions when my children have come home saying they had to stay in at break because they were messing around in class, you know what I say? I say well maybe if you behaved yourself you wouldn't be missing your breaks would you? I must be such a bad parent.

Reply Posted by Nonny Rat on Thursday May 8 2014 at 10:07
I think we ought to start by educating the PARENTS before we start on the CHILDREN. As my generation says, "Monkey say, Monkey do"...

Reply Posted by Rubydoo on Thursday May 8 2014 at 15:03
Some children come to school yawning their heads off too tired to learn. Ask them why, and they say they've been up til 1 or 2 in the morning playing xbox games or watching TV in their bedrooms.
Lots of parents and I know not all, buy all this stuff for their childrens bedrooms and are as happy as larry that they're shut away in there not bothering them. Some 'parents' are not parenting at all.
Parents have to take more responsibility and be more active in their childrens lives.

Reply Posted by Oliver on Monday May 12 2014 at 21:15
My geography teacher used to throw the wooden blackboard rubber at us if we even talked in his class, I went home with a lump on my head one day and my dad gave me another whack for making the teacher do that. Did me the world of good. I learned respect for my elders, the law too, me and my friends feared the police, we didn't drink in the streets and we didn't know what drugs were. Giving kids rights was the biggest mistake this country ever made. How can you get a kid to learn anything if there isn't any discipline in the class and no respect for the person teaching them?

Reply Posted by Ben Herbert on Monday May 12 2014 at 21:25
I accept that at the moment some, not all, children could not cope in the workplace but if it was done exactly like it is for others at work and they took liberties they should get formal warnings and the sack, the knowledge that they couldn't get another apprenticeship would keep most in line. Some would fail but that is part of life too. If they fail they would have to go back into special education, not mainstream. Government cuts on special education, called inclusion, haven't helped matters. I also think it is a crime if any child leaves primary school unable to read. I don't remember anyone being allowed to get away with not reading at Holy Rood in the 1970s, if they struggled they went in Mr Clarke's class and when they got to 11 they could read, write and work out their household bills. Ofsted would say they weren't making enough progress though.

Reply Posted by Collet on Monday May 12 2014 at 21:57
Afraid discipline begins at home,and I'm sorry there isn't any there,when parents protect there kids, teachers daren't touch them,kids think there untouchable,I was born just before the war and have seen many changes,some kids are as good as gold but some are proper badens ad have got some boot off my parents,if they had found out that I had been misbehaving like some do to day,so start and get priorities at home first and then let's see if things improve at schools without having to bring back the old fashioned ways?.

Reply Posted by Dr Debate on Monday May 12 2014 at 22:22
The problemn is we've allowed children to have an opinion at a age far to early in life. There fore we are now paying that price. The young people today are beyond repair the epidemic is eating into our society and community's thers no go back

Reply Posted by dedatodd on Tuesday May 13 2014 at 13:07
I am not so sure that having an opinion is a bad thing. Our household is inclusive with our son involved, however when I think he shouldn't / doesn't have a say then he is excluded from the conversation and informed why. He is opinionated but not to a detriment of those around him or himself.
The issue with schools failing isn't just discipline, it is just one of the symptoms.

Reply Posted by Vicki on Tuesday May 13 2014 at 12:24
I'd start by disciplining some of the parents too! The amount of parents who collect their children in their pj's at Holy Trinity School in Carlton is just ridiculous. As a primary parent, I'm trying to teach my daughter the importanc of not being late, wearing the correct uniform, and disciplining her when she forgets thinks such as her PE kit, book bag etc. Then come home time, there's a woman stood there in her dressing gown and slippers. How is this a good example to our future generations I'll never know!

Reply Posted by at last!!! on Thursday May 15 2014 at 09:20
Really 'how can teachers discipline kids these days' when their own parents dont.it should start at home..you only have to listen how they speak to their parents to know how they are going to treat teachers.... how many times do you hear parents complaining about uniforms frequently saying"what has wearing the correct uniform .got to do with education" questioning authority' DER .it teaches your child respect for rules and boundries... kids going to school caked in make up' when clearly its againts school rules' and if their parents had any respect for the schools rules and regs..then so would the children.... start teaching the parents these days, that just because you dont have the time nor inclination to make sure your kids are respectful dont expect teachers and other pupils to put up with the inane drivle and constant tantrums and back chat and unruley behaviour from your .brats.

Reply Posted by Riley on Thursday May 15 2014 at 09:33
I remember my school days very well. In the 1980's. Fights, smoking, cheek to teachers. Although again, punishment wasn't really that - a trip to see the head master. Do schools not have a code of conduct that kids should read and sign which should identify and make clear what punishment will happen if they step out of line. I don't have kids so I am pretty much out of date with schools.

Reply Posted by maxine on Thursday May 15 2014 at 10:45
well put mum of two.. Im the same as you in that my kids were well raised with good manners and respect for themselves and others, they have good ol' fashion values and know how to behave. They are not always angels and again like you, if they do misbehave in school and miss a play time, well thats their own fault, AND they miss computer time at home! Schools don't always get it right because they've had too many goody-2-shoes taking away the authority they need to discipline children. And lets face it, look at (some) children of today. They've been dragged up by parents who don't give a toss, you see them every day at the school gates (if they can be bothered to take their kids to school that is!). I've seen some poor kids walking to school with a packet of crisps and an energy drink for breakfast, others wearing shoes with no socks, or uniforms with last months dinner dribbled down the front... dirty faces and simply unkept. Then theres the parents who scream at their kids.. swearing yelling and being a damn bully... "get to school ya 'bleep bleep' n get from under my feet ffs"...!! Nice eh? No. That kid is going to go to school upset and angry, humiliated and belittled and who is s/he going to take it out on? Another child or another adult. It all starts from HOME with the PARENTS! And looking at the state of this generation of parents.. I do not see anything improving. I do believe that there needs to be more order within schools.. more discipline and authority to hand out punishments.. but if you were to ask me where to start,, I wouldn't have a clue. Except in a few circumstances, I do blame the parents for their lack or respect for their own flesh and blood, and I say shame on you folk! Your kids are a reflection of yourself so look in the mirror before you start blaming schools.

Reply Posted by sid on Thursday May 15 2014 at 11:08
Good post @maxine. As a kid I and my siblings easily fit into your description of some of the poor kids. Alot of my childhood was filled with feelings of low self esteem,jealousy,and jus not being as good as everyone else. In other words sad. Shame on these parents for having kids and not loving them enough to be the best that they can. Your post has touched my heart strings.

Reply Posted by maxine on Thursday May 15 2014 at 14:20
Hope I didn't bring back too many bad memories for you sid... Unfortunately it had to be said. Too many parents ready to blame others for their lack of parenting/life skills and common sense when it comes to raising their own children. It's an all to common sight these days to see kids being dragged up without love respect or even common decency. I saw a mum the other day screaming at her child, and the poor girls face said it all.. sadness, humiliation and pure FEAR! The first lessons in life don't come from when a child starts school and learning, they start much earlier, at home, with the parents. Sad isn't it :(

Reply Posted by anon on Thursday May 15 2014 at 16:00
pfft up until about 4 years ago my art teacher still did throw board rubber at us!

Reply Posted by Ian on Thursday May 15 2014 at 16:33
bringing up kids is not hard, teach them to respect their elders and have good manners and they wont go far wrong and that is the parents responsibility.

Reply Posted by sarah on Thursday May 15 2014 at 20:01
I know of a child who screams and swears at the parents and has no respect for anyone at all and gets treated like a saint in school no matter what said child says or does. Schools need to stop being afraid of parents and start getting them told behave or get out

Reply Posted by Emma on Friday May 16 2014 at 01:44
I agree with maxine. Discipline needed to start at home. I always kept my head down at school as I was brought up to respect my elders and I knew if I did wrong I'd be disciplined by parents. I'm bringing my daughter up to treat others with respect and to treat others as she would like to be treated. I also tell her the importance of honesty. She has her moments like any other child but if she does wrong she loses a privilege. I don't agree with hitting etc and I don't think it's necessary. I work in school and I love it. Yes some children misbehave but the majority are well behaved because the school follow behaviour policies and are consistent. However they also have reward policies to reinforce good behaviour and focusing on the good and having rewards does work. The look on a child's face when you praise them or give them a sticker is so rewarding. Most schools do there best but parenting and teaching children right from wrong is a parents job. If my daughter did wrong I fully support her school in reprimanding her. My daughter will tell me if she has been told off at school and we talk about what she done and why and what she should have done differently. I think it's important to be able to talk your children. When I pick her up from school the way you hear some parents talk to their kids is awful and is so sad to hear

Reply Posted by Observer on Friday May 16 2014 at 06:58
Hi. Just to say there are lots of interesting comments on this. I may sound older but. If,you got a whack from a teacher when i was a kid. Or indeed anyone, you didnt have to ask the question " what was that flr " you damn well knew,!!! I agree most discipline failure in kids today lies with parents at home. Ultimately teachers should have the upper hand at school. Do kids understand the word " no"? Anymore. The governments of late destroyed any principle discipline a long time ago. They are to blame. You could see all this was going to happen.

Reply Posted by Nannabeth on Friday May 16 2014 at 12:50
Discipline should start at home; sadly, this is not always the case.