Issues - Education
Breakdown in family life 'is affecting schools'
Britain's teachers are losing the battle
to maintain discipline in schools because of a breakdown in
family relationships, according to research by Cambridge University
academics published today.
Their report, commissioned by the National Union
of Teachers, urges ministers to hold a "wide-ranging"
inquiry into the deterioration in pupil behaviour. Otherwise,
it warns, "there is little likelihood of improving on
the current national performance levels [in schools] in the
next two years".
Doug McAvoy, the union's general secretary,
said: "The growing unwillingness of parents to support
schools is compounding problems of poor discipline. The breakdown
in family life and in society's values means teachers are
often having to do their job in a disciplinary vacuum."
Historically, the union has been reluctant to blame marital
breakdown for poor behaviour - the position adopted by the
right - for fear of stigmatising pupils.
The report, by John MacBeath and Maurice Galton,
concludes: "The nuclear and extended family are becoming
historical relics. Children are growing up in a new and challenging
world - but it is teachers who 'bear the brunt'."
The survey of 230 teachers in 65 secondary schools
also revealed that heads were having to appoint extra staff
to deal with behaviour problems.
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