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The truths they don't want you to read....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Staying on the education theme....

Stoneybridge School has apparently reopened.

Normally, this would be the source of some joy in the local community, but I understand that it has been opened to accommodate one young pupil from Lionacleit.  That is one young, but very disruptive, pupil.

To meet the needs of this pupil, 4 adults are required on site to provide the education and provide security for each other.  Plus the cost of the building.  This must be probably the most expensive pupil in the UK.

Assuming that neither the entire cohort of teachers in Lionacleit, nor the very expensive management can control this child, then whatever happened to good old-fashioned suspension or expulsion?

Are the inevitable social workers demanding that the child be pandered to, rather than being made to face up to the result of his actions?

Either way, isn't all this attention going to encourage the other children to do one better?

There are rarely easy answers in education, but there seem always to be lots that could should be more easily resolved.


Anonymous said...

This is the kind of story that the national newspapers love.

Just sayin'... ;-)

Anonymous said...

Good old fashion corporal punishment would save us all a fortune

Anonymous said...

If the behaviour has been as you describe I should think the community would prefer this situation than if the child was suspended or expelled and free to roam the area unsuprvised every day. You really think other children would prefer to be isolated there and be gossiped about or stay with peers in school?

Anonymous said...

10:13 Perhaps, yes. But there's the solution that the community prefers, and the one it can afford. And these two things may be incompatible.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprise, angus, that you should think it appropriate to raise this issue on the back of an individual child.

Anonymous said...

Some general observations without the benefit of any knowledge of this particular case:
(i) Social workers do not decide on school placements - this is the responsibility of the Headteacher in consultation with the parents/family, educational psychologist, inclusion workers (and possibly Children's Hearing);
(ii) Child-centred planning at times of crisis requires much care and thoughtful interventions by all concerned. Working through a crisis within the home/family/community can have many positive outcomes and obviate the need for expensive, alternative mainland placements (costing up to £5000 per week)- distances from home/family/peers compound efforts aimed towards rehabilitation, and can be detrimental in terms of exposure to others involved in more serious criminal behaviours: contamination theories;
(iii) a "time out" time-limited facility at an alternative educational base will undoubtedly involve setting of targets - behavioural, social and educational - with a view to early phased re-integration into mainstream schooling. Contracts will be agreed and positive reinforcers established, in keeping with the statutory duty to act in "the best interests of the welfare of the child". (Enshrined in the Kilbrandon Report of the 1960's, and underpinning current chld care legislation.) The child's views also require to be considered. I'm sure he/she will have been fully engaged in this decision (otherwise it will likely fail)
(iv) It is important that this young person is given all possible help locally - this communicates a POSITIVE message about how we care for our children and young people. Other YP also have a role to play in assisting one of their peers at this difficult time - they will be watching with interest, and possibly benefiting from fewer unplanned interruptions to their own education in the meantime
(v) H/teachers cannot act unilaterally in such circumstances and it is not now lawful to "expel" children from school/education sine die. The local authority has a statutory duty to educate all children resident in its area.
(vi) I'm sure many interventions and strategies have already been attempted at the YP's mainstream school and that this present arrangement has been decided upon after much deliberation, and due process. This innovative planning deserves our wholehearted support.
(vii) Confidentiality, and the need for privacy in these arrangements require to be observed by all parties.

These matters are extremely complex, and knee-jerk reactions and ill-informed comments are not helpful.
I have confidence that this particular intervention and use of facilities and staff resources at a redundant primary school, for a temporary period, will prove to be successful in achieving positive outcomes for this child. I also hope that this child, in looking back in later life, will appreciate the time and effort made by many teachers and others at a critical and decisive period of childhood. The efforts now being made are to be applauded. The cost of failure is too high.

Anonymous said...

It really makes you wonder what the point is in having an inclusion department with an inclusions worker who has social work qualifications - oh they are the main person involved in this decision - mmm.... wonder if they know what 'inclusion' actually means?!?!

Anonymous said...

I've tried threats of lawyers and national newspapers, alas it fell on deaf ears at the council, they really have no shame.

Anonymous said...

Yes - this blog is well out of order.

Anonymous said...

Why is it "Out of order", anonymous 10:52.

For reporting what is happening, and letting people comment on it?

This is the Outer Hebrides, not Libya or Syria...

Anonymous said...

Shame on you Angus

Yes, I'm sure there are other solutions but, as witnessed by the comments made so far, you have simply pandered to the prejudices of the ill-informed.

There is far more to Special Educational Need than straight forward learning difficulties, but what do you get?

Well, from 9:20 pm, you get "Give him a good leathering, that'll sort him out".

Aye, carantachd is alive and well in the islands. Not.

Anonymous said...

5.44pm. A lot of those involved in the 'special needs industry' pander to those with so called special needs. Many are nothing more than spoilt brats who feel that if they behave badly they get what they want. Why? Simply because those who pander to them HAVE given them what they want to keep them quite.

I can guarantee that many would be perfectly behaved after a couple of weeks of being belted every time they step out of line.

Some do have needs that are genuinely different to the majority, however they loose out because of the many who are poorly brought up and know no better.

Anonymous said...

5:44 You said:

"Yes, I'm sure there are other solutions"

...but then failed to name any. Instead knocking other people's solutions, and deciding that you can be the sole judge of what is written online (basically, only that which you agree with).

Pathetic, truly pathetic.

Anonymous said...

I must admit, having worked in a social work setting, that the comments made in the post, and the subsequent comments by readers are nothing short of appalling.
It has to be understood that there are very difficult to manage children within the community, and threatening, or using expulsion as an option to improve behaviour is nothing but short-sighted.

I can understand why many would form this opinion, along with the "in my day we got hit, and behaved" attitude, however we live in a different age, where support is required, not negative approaches, that will do nothing but reject and isolate and individual from developing.

I'm not the internet police, and you are welcome to your views - but imagine that this was your child, your family being discussed. I'm you would form very different views.

Anonymous said...

11:15Pm, It is this left wing bleeding hearts mentality that has developed the 'age that we now live in'. The negative approach as you call it worked; it is patently obvious that the so called 'positive approach' does not! Need proof? Look at Singapore, beautiful clean streets, very little crime, next to no vandalism. Why? Well, they treat those that break the law harshly: the negative approach as you call it. Look at London, Glasgow, Manchester and see the difference that the 'positive approach makes.

Where I stay there is a family who use your approach to child rearing. The children are obnoxious, bulling bad mannered brats and yet their mother simpers to me 'you are so lucky, your children as so good.' No, I am not lucky, the children have been brought up within a disciplined environment where punishment is a fact an not a few words. It has been hard work but that is parenting.

Special needs has become a business. Schools get more cash the more 'special needs' children they have. That unfortunately detracts from those children who truly have needs that are different from most.

Anonymous said...

11.39pm - What planet do you live on? You state the ideal way of working that is far from what we have in this island, if the circumstances you describe were accurate then we would never have seen a "cage" built at the Nicolson.

Anonymous said...

According to the Social Workers, we mustn't question or publicise their decisions as they are *always* right and *always* know best.

This thread is now officially closed.

Anonymous said...

901 & 115

544 here again

If you want details, here you are. Has the option of residential education at a school (probably on the mainland) been looked at. If not, why not.

But like you say, a good old fashioned leathering would be cheaper. It would also be no more effective than it is legal

And comments like "special needs industry" really just show you up for what you are - a reactionary, out of touch buffoon.

Anonymous said...

10:32 am - well said, nothing more to add, apart from the fact that I could not agree more!

Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough 3:41PM this country was built on a tough 'can do' attitude. The wartime generation will well remember that 'sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt'. Nowadays children are taught to cry when they are called names, it is now deemed to be bullying!

As for corporal punishment, the fact that something is illegal does not necessarily mean that it is inherently wrong. It is illegal to shoot geese out of season,even though we have a serious problem with geese. Does that mean that we should just sit by and let the geese destroy our crops? The same is true of corporal punishment. Countries that still use this form of discipline enforcement appear to have much better social discipline. I wonder why?

You also say corporal punishment is not effective. Have you ever been belted? Having seen how effective it was to control classes of tough young lads, I can tell you it is VERY effective. Don’t let that get in the way of your ideology though. When people especially children have nothing to fear they will behave accordingly. Our society is the current proof of that.

You will notice I used Singapore as my example, which you chose to ignore. Singapore has one of the most successful education systems on this planet and they do use corporal punishment. In fact if you want to hear the Queens English spoken well listen to any English language students from Singapore. You may also wish to balance this with taking the time to listen to students anywhere in this country. I would however recommend that you avoid some of the Western Isles schools.

Anyway, as you say I am just a reactionary; although I have managed to bring up several well behaved children who are now finishing University. Oh, as for special needs being described as an industry within the UK, that comment initially came from a report commissioned by the Government.

Hearsay said...

Highly subjective personal comments about child-rearing, and especially discipline, care and control for children, can become highly emotive, as evidenced in these blogs. Parents are entitled to their views, but children also have rights ... enshrined in LAW.
Local authorities also have statutory duties and responsibilities in keeping with European (ECHR) and national legislation, articulated in local policies and procedures. CnES have made these quite explicit in their web pages, and these are available for all to see and read. One such example can be considered, of particular relevance in this present blog:

"Inclusion Policy for All - Aiming for Advancement".

Readers and contributors to this blog should acquaint themselves with this 57-page document before making further comment.

References to corporal punishment will not be found, other than in relation to child protection procedures and criminal charges.

Other helpful reading can be gleaned from Scot Govt documents, such as GIRFEC ("Getting it Right for Every Child"), "For Scotland's Children" (2001), and importantly "It's Everyone's Job to Make Sure I'm Alright".

Parents, Guardians, teachers, social workers, inclusion workers, guidance staff, psychologists, AHP staff, police, Children's Hearing ... and etc ... should all be working co-operatively to achieve the same aims and objectives, in the best interests of all children and young people.