A recent survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers found that 79 per cent of teachers blamed parents for the lack of ‘pupil discipline’ in schools.
The survey of more than 800 teachers claimed that there was a sharp rise in the number of pupils with emotional and behavioural conditions (EBCs).
A secondary school teacher in RCT even said: “I’m extremely concerned by the increase in mental health issues such as depression and self-harm.
“I’m alarmed by the lack of expert support made available for adolescents.”
I was told by the old Mid Glamorgan Council that I had an EBC, and was even referred to the Ty Gwyn special needs unit in Maesycoed.
Like the digital teens of today, I grew up with ‘information on demand technology.’
When teachers said something I ‘knew’ wasn’t true because of this technology, I would say so.
The teachers would then say I was wrong, and like today’s pupils I wouldn’t accept that. It is the teachers that have behavioural problems and lack of discipline.
Unless they change their behaviour and start accepting that collectively pupils know more than them, then they should expect to feel the wrath of those pupils.
They need to realise that they have been made redundant by YouTube, Wikipedia and Google Scholar, and unless they change, they shouldn’t expect pupils to.
My name is Jonathan Bishop. I have specific needs which if not accommodated, mean I can’t take part in education like others. Since I was at primary school I have either had a ‘SEN statement‘ or when at university a ‘needs assessment.‘ These have meant my specific needs have been accommodated. I now have 4 degrees, and have over 40 publications, one of them a book called, ‘Didactic strategies and technologies for education, incorporating advancements,’ which shows pioneering ways to advance education.
I would like every child to have the best education for them based on their individual needs like I had. They need not have any so called ‘disability,‘ but each child is different and needs to be treated differently. There is never a ‘best school’ only ever a best school for one’s child. But there is the problem that the best school for one’s child is unlikely to be in the same area as where they live.
Having a medical condition, when I was at primary school age I was able to go to a school outside my catchment area, and I progressed well.
All too often, the only time one’s child can go to the ‘best school for them’ is if you happen to be rich enough to move to an area where that best school is. Starting in Wales I think this postcode lottery should end. And to do this I have started the following petition on the Welsh Assembly Petition website – please sign it:
We the parents and guardians, school governors and teachers, and grandparents and Godparents of Wales call on the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to amend its guidance on schools admissions to end the postcode lottery in education in our country that stops every child being able to go to the best school for them.
We object to the fact that only rich parents children can go to the schools in areas where high property prices means the poor have to get what they are given elsewhere. It should not matter where in Wales our children are born or live, as they should be allowed to go to the best school for their needs so they get the best chance in life. Catchment areas should be removed and school selection policies based entirely on what is best for our children and not any other discriminating factor, such as how wealthy a child’s parents are, or what their religious beliefs happen to be. Supporting Information: Policies of choice in compulsory education have all but been eroded in Wales. How well our children do depends a lot on whether we can afford to live in an area with a school that is best for them, because of catchment area. We believe if these were removed then every child could have the best chance in life, and not just those with rich parents.
I think this is very important for the people in Wales to sign. We do not need to privatise education in order for every child to get the best outcome. We just need to ensure that the state schools that exist select children on the basis of whether they can provide the best education to that child, and not whether their parents happen to be rich enough to live in the area where that school is based. The petition to sign is on the Welsh Assembly’s petition website.
People who are parents often try to make claims to authority over people who aren’t parents by saying, “Do you have children?” I think a better question would be, “Do you have responsibility for children?”
I am a Godparent, uncle, school governor and director of a company limited by guarantee that runs youth projects. In the case of the latter two, I have more responsibility than the average parent as I could face charges like corporate manslaughter if a child died under my watch, where as many parents commit involuntary infanticide without charge all too often.
I read with berwilderment the article in the Observer featuring an Efail Isaf resident, Michael McGartland complaining about the youth crime at the Efail Isaf Underpass and calling for action.
This appeared to be trying to grab the headlines from my point of view. Had Mr McGartland looked through his election literature earlier this month, he would have seen on my election DVD a pledge to restore the underpass with a mural, and also he would have seen a manifesto commitment from Joel James, who was re-elected, to work with my firm, Glamorgan Blended Learning Ltd to achieve that.
If Mr McGartland thinks CCTV will do anything but move on young people so they are not in his back yard, he is mistaken. A Recent Funky Dragon report by young people said they felt unsafe with CCTV – is he saying he is more worthy of human rights than young people? If so that is disgusting!
The mural project I wish to run in Efail Isaf has already reduced youth crime in the area. By giving young people of school age, and also young offenders, the change to take part in restoring the subway, they have had ownership so it is respected by other young people. To my knowledge there has been no crime there since it was opened in September 2009.
I invite residents to visit the project website at http://www.emotivate.org.uk for updates on its progress and to see the difference it has made in Treforest. The Treforest project brought in nearly £10,000 from external funds, meaning for each 15p on council tax it was match funded by 35p meaning a council tax rise of 0.01% was avoided. We expect similar savings in Efail Isaf, and also to provide paid work experience to young people on apprenticeships, working with experienced professionals, meaning the project will have even more value than 3 years ago in Treforest.
THE Manly Daily reports that children should be made to surrender their mobile phones at night in a bid to stop the devastating effects of bullying, according to a northern beaches expert called Rose Smith (‘Switch off the bullies’, January 18).
As an authority on ‘trolling law’ Ms Smith might wish to know that such a law was put in place in the UK under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 before the parts she seeks her law to do being repealed by the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, in part because of human rights issues.
How does Rose think confiscating a mobile is going to have any positive outcome?
When I was a child, taking one of my possessions would have serious consequences for whoever did and therefore myself.
This may be the case of many children from difficult backgrounds and the approach she says is appropriate is using martial arts.
This may work to discipline one and frustrate others.
Much of the guidance she gives relating to managing one child’s use of the internet is redundant with most of today’s anti-virus software, which makes life much easier for parents to control what their children see and restrict who they speak to.
Rose Smith can find out more about these and other facts at the Trolling Academy by visiting www.trollingacademy.org.
I WAS pleased to read the article in the South Wales Echo about the launch of a scheme to raise awareness of young people in internet safety issues (“New child safety DVDs and website”, December 12).
As a prize-winning author on trolling, the practice of posting messages on the internet to provoke or entertain, I know initiatives such as School Beat are important to raise awareness.
As those who attend my Trolling Academy (www.trollingacademy.org) know, online safety is something that is multi-faceted and needs to be explored from various angles.
The School Beat programme which involves schools is important.
At the Centre for Research into Online Communities and E-Learning Systems in Swansea, I am researching new computer systems that could make discipline in schools easier.
This would involve each student in a class having a laptop and accessing a tailored computer program which monitors them and assigns rewards if they act within the class’s behaviour contract.
I envisage a time in the future where, far from child poverty being tackled by giving parents handouts, that young people will receive vouchers to spend themselves if they show they can be disciplined in the classroom.
I know this works because it is what happened at the specialist private school I attended, and discipline was achieved without resorting to violence, which in SEN pupils like I was would only make things worse.
John Payne asked me my view on the Gilfach Goch Wind Farm issues.
My ultimate view is that decisions affecting communities should be made by those communities. In the case of housing developments for example, then people who seek to benefit from the development should also be involved in the decision.
Regarding which is the best solution to generate energy. In Pontypridd Kim Howells said he was a ‘Nuclear Man’ and Jane Davidson was a ‘Wind-turbine Baby’. I’m a scientist with a degree in economics. As a scientist I’m happy to admit I don’t know. As an economist I’d say let the people and the market decide. The people can decided what they want, then they can engage the private sector to deliver it. If the private sector’s tenders are too high, then the people know they have picked the wrong choice!
I was a member of the Institute for Environmental Management and Assessment and IEEE Power and Energy Society for about 2 years. I looked at a lot of the evidence and can’t make my mind up, but observe the following:
1. There are safety and outlay issue with nuclear
2. There are aesthetic and maintenance issues with wind-turbines
3. There are economic issues with gas – should we prioritise it for home heating?
4. There are advantages to carbon capture coal, but limited eco-friendly open cast mining opportunities in Wales
5. There are big outlays with hydro, but this is Wales’s biggest resource after coal
My premise in deciding local energy production is in essence that a community would be more willing to have a wind farm or other form of supply if they profited from it rather than public subsidies going to support private ownership. My father was a working man, he managed to run a construction firm bring together people who could do things he couldn’t but knew were needed. If the people don’t know how to build windfarms then we can outsource that. But it should be for us to decide what happens in our communities.
Regarding the validity of public opposition to the wind farm in Gilfach Goch. What about the children in Treforest, who when asked what they wanted the future to be like, painted a picture of a wind turbine? Should young people, many who are environmentalists, not have a say? In the Emotivate Project I ran in my ward of Treforest, there was a proposal for a wind turbine in Treforest I voted in line with the young people, as being in my thirties I was the only one who could legitimately represent them to the council.
There is more on my thoughts on a public rather than politician directed planning system in Crocels’ Response to the UK Government’s Open Public Services White Paper under the section about Neighbourhood Communities.
I read Miles Phillip’s response to my concerns on the safety of children on southwaleskids.com (Observer, April 21).
It may shock some to know what I fell victim to inadequate child protection policies at a state-funded school I went to, but as the Children Act 1989 didn’t exist I had few rights.
But, I can help today’s children. I am the chief legal officer at a social enterprise I founded, and through the policies I make and inform my staff of, both the children we provide our services to, and our staff, feel safe and confident that they could raise concerns without shock or blame, unlike what happened to me by the authorities who were supposed to be looking after me.
Miles’ comment that his site already caught one person trying to infiltrate the system suggests it is possible other could fall though the net.
I was in the top 5% of law graduate in 2007, and I hold the most senior professional qualifications in IT. I am seen as an authority on online communities, so I think Hywel and Miles should listen.
The minimum parents should expect is that their consent is requested and recorded, and they are provided with “child protection policies” for the site, should they need to make a complaint.
This is the approach my firm takes to child protection, which received commendation from the Arts Council for Wales.
Anyone can register for our website as we sever the whole community. No one can use any service without an ‘unlock code’.
For children’s sections the child has to complete an invitation form to say they have their legal guardian’s permission to enroll.
Unless we get a consent form from that legal guardian after contacting them we won’t give them the unlock code for them to personally allow their child to use that site.
It may be that the parents of children using Hywel’s cross-organisation targeted site would prefer these unlock codes only being used by the teachers after they have given a consent form to the child’s school.
People often get offended by me citing the law all the time – even my school teacher did!
But as someone with a Masters degree in law who has taken courses in computer law covering the application of the law to protecting children online, I think instead of seeing me as a barrier to his site’s success, Hywel Dance and associates should see it as me helping to make it safer, so no other child has to go through what I went through due to child protection not being taken seriously.
I read with hopefulness the front-page story that teenagers from South Wales were going to be safe from online predators (â€œDad sets up safe â€˜new Facebookâ€™ websiteâ€, March 31). But the devil is in the detail as they say.
If I could bring to readersâ€™ attention a shocking fact â€“ browsing Googleâ€™s statistics websites Google Trends, there has been a decrease in searches for obscene images of children at the same rate there has been an increase in searches for social networking.
This suggests to me that sex offenders are fulfilling their sordid fantasies by pretending to be children and befriending them on these sites.
To road-testing of southwaleskids.com by journalist Ed Walker shows how even Hywel Danceâ€™s site is open to abuse.
As Ed showed, it is a piece of cake for someone to pretend to be a pupil at a school and invite others to be â€œfriendsâ€ with them. Without a system to verify the pupilâ€™s identity, Hywelâ€™s site is as open to abuse as Facebook.
I recently made a speech on the need for greater identity protection in order to protect vulnerable people online. I argued that there should be a special bank card that only children can have, and that they can only use social networking sites like Hywelâ€™s if they verify their identity with that card and their parent/guardian uses their credit card to give them the permission to use it. This would make it much more difficult for predators to gain access to children online.
There is currently a European Union consultation on the role of technology to protect peopleâ€™s identity online. I invite readers to take part and let the EU know that, whatever the ideal of anonymity online, the safety of our children comes first. The consultation is at tinyurl.com/eu-eid-sig and closes on April 15.