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Last Updated: Friday, 12 September, 2003, 16:31 GMT 17:31 UK
Schools 'use tricks' to mask unruliness
Boys on field trip
Troublesome youngsters may be sent on a trip - claim
Teachers have claimed some schools are deliberately tricking Ofsted inspectors by sending home troublesome students during inspections.

One newly qualified teacher suggested that, as a result, the authorities did not appreciate the scale of the problem of misbehaviour.

Several other teachers backed up the allegation, in interviews for the BBC Five Live Report, Terrorised Teachers.

"I saw kids sent home for wearing the wrong colour shoes who had not been excluded a couple of weeks earlier when they threw books at the back of the neck of a supply teacher," said Ann.

"What the school had done was pull the wool over Ofsted's eyes.

"One of the things I wonder is, does this go on in other schools and are Ofsted getting true pictures of what is really going on in schools, with disruptive pupils?"

Trip out

Another teacher said problem children would in a way be rewarded ahead of inspections by being sent on field trips

"On days they know Ofsted is coming in, frequently they will find means of getting problem children out of school all together. Usually a trip out, and always involving ones who will be difficult in class."

Both Ofsted and the Department for Education and Skills declined to comment on the allegations. But education ministers say they are now getting tough on unruly pupils.


For many teachers any stronger enforcement of discipline cannot come soon enough.

Joy left teaching after 23 years following several incidents of verbal and sexual abuse that left her in need of urgent psychiatric help.

She believes the authorities do not take the situation seriously.

"Anything is fair game. The boundaries are not there.

"Sexual abuse is viewed as fun, and management don't tackle it, because they'd rather admit it isn't going on."

The North West office of the NASUWT teachers' union undertook a survey of four local education authorities (LEAs) over a two-week period to find out just how bad the problem was.

John Rimmer said his staff were shocked at what the research found,

"We had 967 incidents of verbal abuse, threatening behaviour and physical assaults.

"That's approximately 200 physical assaults by children as young as four years olds. It was horrendous.

"When I approached LEAs and asked them for official figures of how many had been reported there were only 18 over 12 months. If you extended our survey figures we'd have 20,000 in the year."

A newly qualified teacher expressed his frustration at having uncontrollable kids in the class.

"When you have a class of maybe 25 kids and three are being abusive and stopping the others learning, you feel like it's totally hopeless.

"Really what is the point in even bothering to try?"

The Five Live Report Terrorised Teachers is on the Julian Worricker show at 1100 on Sunday 14 September, repeated at 1930.

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