What can be done to improve behaviour in schools?

As part of the government’s drive to create a culture of respect
in society, the spotlight has fallen once more on the issue of
school discipline. In May, schools minister Jacqui Smith announced
a new leadership group on behaviour and discipline to advise the
government on ways to tackle disruptive behaviour. The group will
examine issues from more powers for schools and changes in teacher
training to penalty fines and a national discipline code. But what
do the pupils think would work?

In certain schools bad behaviour is more of an issue than in
others, but I think it is a big problem. I think the most effective
punishment is taking away privileges, for instance in our school
they say if you’re too naughty you can’t go on trips. Expulsion
might be a good idea sometimes, but in the long term it might make
some kids worse.  Internal exclusion is better – at least then
they’re still in lessons and still learning. I think sometimes it
can be the parents’ fault when a kid misbehaves but often it is
because of role-models. A lot of the time they see their friends
and see figures on TV, in music and in the media and imitate their

If the pupils aren’t enjoying what they’re doing they
can’t help being naughty! Some kids see other kids and think that
it is cool to misbehave. It isn’t really the parents’ fault – they
can’t control their children all the time so I don’t think they
should be punished when a student is badly behaved. Although, if
things gets really bad or out of hand, I think the police should be

Bad behaviour doesn’t start in the classroom, it starts in society.
You’re not going to be naughty in school for no reason. Exclusion
isn’t a good idea – it’s just like giving them a holiday. They
should keep them in school longer really, at weekends. If the kid
has broken the law then the police should definitely be involved,
but if no crime has been committed bad behaviour is just a matter
for the school.

Families should be able to go to counselling classes if kids are
behaving badly at school, so parents can be taught how to deal with
the child and improve their behaviour. Kids misbehave for attention
a lot of the time or in response to being treated badly by a
teacher before – it’s like getting them back. As for permanent
exclusion, I think everyone deserves a second chance, even if it
isn’t at the same school.

I think that for each person there is a different ‘ideal’
punishment. For example, some children don’t mind being kept after
school, but would rather die than be kept in at lunchtime. It’s
down to the teacher to find the child’s ‘weakness’ and exploit it.
If it’s just general misbehaving then I think it’s entirely unfair
to punish the parents as it’s out of their control! Maybe they
should think about punishing the teachers instead…

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