According to the Children’s Society, ‘Disruption in the classrooms is one of the main impediments to learning’.
Consider some startling recent figures:
• 1 in 10 teachers in state schools claim to have been attacked and injured by their pupils.
• Two thirds of 800 teachers surveyed in 2008 believed the behaviour of their pupils was getting worse.
• 3 out of 10 of them claimed to have been physically assaulted by their pupils.
• 75 per cent of them said they had been threatened or insulted by their pupils.
• 2,200 children were sent home every day for disruptive behaviour in 2007-8.
• 4,500 children were transferred from their schools to another in 2007-8.
• A survey of key stage 3 pupils at metropolitan schools found 29 per cent claiming other pupils attempted to disrupt their lessons on a daily basis.
• 43 per cent of children surveyed said other pupils were “always” or “often” so noisy that they found it difficult to work.
One could go on and on. The suggestion that it has been an uninspiring curriculum or over-testing that has caused the misconduct is ludicrous, given how early on in schooling so much of it begins:
• Primary schools barred pupils 46,710 times in 2007.
• More than 3,000 primary school pupils aged four and five were sent home in 2007 for disruptive behaviour.
• 1,540 nursery pupils in England were excluded from school during 2006-7.
• Almost 1,000 of them were suspended for attacking teachers and fellow pupils, and hundreds more barred for verbal abuse and disruptive behaviour.
• 20 children aged two were suspended for physical or verbal assaults.
According to a 2008 study of the behaviour of primary schoolchildren, conducted for the NUT by researchers at Cambridge University, whereas ‘in the 2002 primary survey, classroom disruption was not highlighted as a major problem, five years on, teachers in the same schools regard it as a more significant priority… Even in the early years of primary education, [pupils] were reluctant to follow instructions… and a minority could be extremely confrontational use foul language and could even be physically aggressive.’