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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 January, 2004, 14:57 GMT
Drive targets school indiscipline
School - generic
Classroom indiscipline is a growing problem
Scottish councils are to share an extra 500,000 funding to tackle the problem of indiscipline in schools.

Some teachers will be trained as "behaviour co-ordinators" to help colleagues deal with classroom disruption before it escalates.

Education Minister Peter Peacock announced the new drive on Thursday.

But the move has not been received well by the EIS teaching union, which said it would not offer teachers the help they need.

Assaults on teaching staff rose by 20% in 2002 and last year's figures are expected to show another increase.

The scheme aims to implement what is described as "staged intervention", involving a phased approach to behaviour problems to allow them to be tackled before they escalate out of control.

Outside staff

Colleagues suffering persistent classroom discipline problems can approach behaviour co-ordinators (Becos) for advice and to consider what action to take.

If that fails outside staff might become involved, or exclusion considered.

The Becos scheme has been trialled in East Ayrshire and the Scottish Executive has earmarked 500,000 to roll it out across the country.

It's not a gimmick - it is practical action that people have been asking for
Peter Peacock MSP
Mr Peacock told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme that the drive was aimed at "nipping problems in the bud" in the classroom.

He added: "It's aimed principally at trying to stop the mildly disruptive becoming potentially violent - to try and get control in the classroom.

"We are following the advice of teachers' representatives on this.

"They have been asking us to give more resources to this because they know it works.

"It's not a gimmick - it is practical action that people have been asking for."

Audrey Price, a Becos who helped pilot the scheme, said she believed it would prove a success.

She said: "Basically, if you can improve the behaviour of pupils and their expectations become that they expect to behave in a classroom environment.

Audrey Price - a Becos
Audrey Price said the Becos scheme helps unruly pupils

"Then their learning improves and the number of exclusions will hopefully be reduced."

Bill McGregor, rector at James Hamilton Academy, said exclusions were down since the scheme was introduced.

"It's hard to say that it's had a direct impact, but I'm certain it's been a strong contributory factor and certainly there has been an indirect impact," Mr McGregor said.

But the EIS said it believed the scheme does not go far enough to address the real problems facing teachers.

Ronnie Smith, EIS general secretary, said: "It seems to me that the Scottish Executive hasn't really joined up its thinking with local authorities.

"The authorities are culling senior management and guidance posts and heads of department posts which would be expected to deal with troublesome pupils."


WATCH AND LISTEN
Willie Johnston reports
"Teachers will be trained as behaviour co-ordinators"



SEE ALSO:
Indiscipline review promised
22 Sep 03  |  Scotland
Minister's vow on unruly pupils
21 May 03  |  Scotland
Concern over classroom violence
30 Jan 03  |  Scotland


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