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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 19 November, 2002, 15:03 GMT
'Targets to blame for unruly pupils'
disruption
The ATL says boredom gives way to disruption
The rise in unruly behaviour in schools can be put down to the government's drive to raise standards, a teachers' union claims.

Teachers are seriously concerned about the "pernicious effects" the standards agenda is having on teaching and learning, according to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.


Children and young people are being force-fed with a narrow, and often wholly inappropriate, curriculum

Mike Moore
In a letter to the School Standards Minister, David Miliband, ATL president Mike Moore accuses the government of failing children and young people with its focus on targets and league tables.

"Through no fault of their own - and indeed through no fault of their teachers - children and young people are being force-fed with a narrow, and often wholly inappropriate, curriculum which is turning them away from learning," writes Mr Moore.

"It is this, we believe, that is behind much of the disruptive behaviour that we see in today's classrooms."

Standards forum

In his letter, Mr Moore calls for the immediate suspension of school performance tables, saying a "snapshot of school achievement" was damaging.

The ATL wants the government to set up a national standards forum.

"The purpose of such a forum would be to stimulate a public debate about the need for national standards that promote effective learning, rather than those which lead only to hot housing for tests and exams," said Mr Moore.

The ATL's assertion that there is a link between disruptive behaviour and a "narrow curriculum" comes as disruption in the classroom continues to vex teachers.

Unions claims poor pupil behaviour - along with a heavy workload - is the main factor cited by teachers who decide to leave the profession.

Commenting on his letter, Mr Moore said teachers and schools were being pressurised to deliver around five and a half hours of intense education to every child, every day.

"No-one asks whether this is appropriate for the child," he said.

"Most children are saturated during the school day - they don't have time to develop relationships with their peers, or indeed teachers.

"The social side of education is disappearing - it's just somewhere you go to be pressurised to produce results and I'm sure this is leading to disruption in the classroom."

See also:

26 Mar 02 | Education
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23 Mar 01 | Education
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