YP comment: Parents key to pupils' conduct

The majority of children in school behave well and want to learn. But the poor behaviour of others can limit their potential.The majority of children in school behave well and want to learn. But the poor behaviour of others can limit their potential.
The majority of children in school behave well and want to learn. But the poor behaviour of others can limit their potential.
A SCHOOL can boast the best and brightest teachers any parent could wish for, but if standards of behaviour are poor then children have far less chance of reaching their full potential.

The reason for this is simple: with the large class sizes seen in the state system, dealing with disruptive students monopolises teaching time that should be spent learning.

It is why a key part of the job of headteachers and senior school management lies in dealing effectively with misbehaviour in a way that rehabilitates those responsible to ensure they do not waste the entirety of their education, nor harm the life chances of their classmates.

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Exclusion – in other words, the removal of a child from the school concerned – must always be seen as a last resort to be employed when other remedial measures have failed to have the desired effect.

So it is concerning that a new report shows that Yorkshire schools have the highest number of fixed term exclusions in the country.

It is worth pointing out, however, that the county’s figures for permanent exclusions are lower.

This at least suggests that the step to remove pupils from school for a fixed period does tend to serve its purpose. The figures indicate that in many cases a tough approach early on, though certainly not desirable, does work in terms of reforming behaviour so that the ultimate sanction is not necessary.

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It must also be stressed that the vast majority of children who go to school behave well and want to learn. They deserve to be able to do so without being disrupted by persistently unruly peers.

And, while maintaining good behaviour is a key responsibility of teachers, parents must be under no illusion that the onus when it comes to instilling respect for school staff and classmates always lies with them.

Horror of FGM

IT is simply horrific to think that nearly 6,000 cases of female genital mutilation were recorded anywhere last year, let alone right here in Britain.

Just as unpalatable is the fact that instances of this abhorrent practice, where the female genitalia are deliberately cut, injured or changed without medical reason, are prevalent in Yorkshire’s largest cities.

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Yet public health Minister Nicola Blackwood is right to say that the NHS has a responsibility to record such cases where they present themselves. It is the only means by which to understand the scale of the issue and thereby take a step closer to eradicating it.

Despite FGM having been illegal in this country for three decades, there has yet to be a single prosecution.

The principal difficulty in pursuing those responsible is a simple lack of evidence, for which there are a number of explanatory factors.

Health professionals are concerned that reporting cases could be deemed a breach of patient confidentiality, while it has been said police officers fear being branded racist.

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The authorities must ensure such stumbling blocks are removed so that the often vulnerable women who fall victim to this practice are protected.

Even more importantly, existing cultural barriers that presently stand in the way of the victims themselves coming forward must be overcome.

Ultimately, however, it is through better education that communities must be convinced to drop the practice due to recognising FGM for what it really is – a ritualised form of abuse that has no place in the 21st century.

Wheels to war

FORMED by a naval engineer who gave the company its name, Thornycroft lorries played a significant role in the First World War as they shuttled soldiers and supplies to the front lines.

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A century later, vintage vehicle restorer John Marshall, from Thirsk, has returned a rare Thornycroft lorry to its former glory. During his work, the truck’s fascinating story was revealed.

Having served on the battlefields of Europe, the vehicle was used by a London brick company. Salvaged by an enthusiast who never got round to restoring it, the lorry was then rescued by John.

His efforts to preserve a piece of our past, a relic of a war we must never forget, should be celebrated.

Without individuals like him, such jigsaw pieces of our history would be lost forever.

His mission to now take the lorry to the Menin Gate memorial in Belgium would be a fitting tribute to the lads who once hitched a ride in it on their way to do their bit.

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