From: Jo Conway, Harrogate.
I WRITE in response to Brian Graham’s letter ‘Parental role over pupils’ which was prompted my original letter ‘Where have we gone wrong when pupils rebel in schools?’
I certainly did not intend, as Brian suggests, to take ‘no account of parental role over pupils’ as I do appreciate this is highly significant.
I referred in my letter to the ‘many influences’ that can cause the situation where there has been a 25 per cent increase in the number of primary-aged pupils who have been suspended.
This is astonishing to me as a former primary school teacher of 25 years and as such I certainly would not be putting ‘the responsibility for curing disruption solely on the teaching profession and its methods’.
When I referred ‘if we all play our part’ in my letter I was referring to parents as well as teachers.
My main point in this educational/social debate is that from the earliest of stages we need to teach children in a way that is appropriate and relevant to their educational needs and abilities.
If children are not fluent in ‘the basics’ – numeracy and synthetic phonics before they leave primary school – we must ask ourselves how and importantly why this has happened.
Is it really fair to send these children into our secondary schools? Are we not further escalating the problems of stress and frustration that already exists? Are we setting these children up to fail?
As Brian suggested ‘a major influence on their behaviour is exerted by their parents, before they reach school’, the question one asks is, this being the case, are all parents really playing their part?
It is surely unacceptable, in this day and age, that children are starting school without basic communication skills. Teachers are now asking themselves ‘How can the school learning process begin for these children?’
These children sadly start school already greatly disadvantaged and unable to express their social, physical, emotional and learning needs to others. It is only when these children learn to speak and communicate effectively that they will be able to demonstrate sociably acceptable manners and behaviour.
Problems that occur in our primary schools should be our primary concern – both parents and teachers. If we find a way to solve and tackle these early problems, we will set our young children up to succeed.