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The Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, recently stated that he was dismayed by the behaviour in classrooms across Britain and has called for every comprehensive school to introduce a ‘grammar school ethos’. This would mean schools returning to traditional disciplines, with strict rules, where pupils are taught to stand when the head teacher enters the room and respect their elders, but is this necessary for a good education and to prepare pupils for the future?

Sir Michael has called for what has been dubbed a “renaissance of respect”. This has come after an Ofsted inspector apparently reported a lack of respect from pupils to teachers. The inspector claimed that they had been left “aghast” by pupils refusing to move out the way whilst walking around the schools premises accompanied by the head teacher.

The Chief Inspector proceeded to say how he watched the series ‘Educating Essex’ created by channel 4 with his head in his hands due to the television programme showing pupils misbehaving without facing punishment. However according to The Guardian the programme has had a positive influence on children, increasing the amount of pupils wanting to become teachers across Britain.

Sir Michael believes that pupils should refer to teachers as ‘Sir’ and ‘Miss’ and wants Head teachers to stop acting like social workers. The Chief Inspector continued to say that teachers should not call pupils ‘mate’ or put their arm around pupils, stating that “the best social work a teacher can do is to create a very orderly and structured environment”.  The Chief Inspector continued to state that he believed a quarter of Head teachers in secondary schools are “not good enough” and were slowing progress made by pupils in primary schools. He intends to deploy inspectors to crackdown on ‘casual leadership’.

This statement angered Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT who responded by saying that “it’s a bit rich making these statements about 25% of Head teachers. When he has overseen an organisation that has just had to get rid of 40% of its inspectors”.

But do pupils around Britain’s schools need to have a ‘grammar school ethos’ to enhance their learning? Do head teachers need to change the way they communicate with their pupils to demand more respect? Can ‘casual leadership’ work with pupils or must it be strict at all times? And more importantly will this help Britain’s coasting schools increase standards and grades? What do you think? Have you say here…

12 thoughts on “Respect

  1. To be blunt, Mr Wilshaw is an idiot. Where is he getting his data from to make such assertions? I suspect very much that his comments are a product more of his own prejudice and lack of connection with reality than the good hard data will reflect. As for adopting as “Grammar School Mentality” I can say, based on a lifetime of teaching in just about every type of school that exists that even grammar schools are subject to the same lack of respect for the teaching profession as just about every other sector in education. where does this lack of respect come from? Could it be a reflection of unqualified opinions and comments made by this buffoon Mr Wilshaw and his political allies and predecessors reinforced by the mass media? Could it be a result of a systematic attack on the Education sector by weasels like Mr Gove? All this bull about incompetent teachers, increased efficiency and education “reform” is a smoke screen hiding the fact that that schools have been de invested in over the best part of half a century. The OFSTED process is nothing short of adversarial and fault finding. I have seen it used to systematically force academisation of good schools so they can be asset stripped with the result that publicly owned assets are transferred with very little fuss into the pockets of private shareholders. There is a wholesale theft of the state education system happening around us and most folks don’t or won’t see it. OFSTED and by extension Mr. Wilshaw are complicit in this act. The tactic of attacking teachers and head teachers and learning support assistants has just got to stop. I’d like to see the ilk of Mr Wilshaw and his equally repugnant bedfellow Mr Gove or any other politico aiming to make a name for themselves survive for a year in any publicly funded school without ending up on capability procedure or being assaulted by a pupil, or complained about by a parent, or spat on by the staff.
    Such people as this political sycophant deserve nothing but the deepest possible level of contempt laced with a heavy dose of suspicion.

  2. I completely agree. We are selling off the state education system into the hands of the few who will make a tidy profit and who shore up the beliefs of a government voted in by less than 50% of the population. It is a scandal, as you say, most folks won’t see. As a product of the grammar school system, I do not want to see those behaviour models back again. I left a lovely open plan, creative, musical primary school to go to a grammar school where there was a culture of fear. Respect has to be earned.

  3. I completely agree with your comments and think you have summed up the depressing current state of affairs beautifully. The comments made by “sir” Michael reek of upper class, out of touch superiority. He talks of respect but what respect is his governement showing society and the UK people by selling off the public sector to line the pockets of their friends, pushing people further into poverty and pushingthe country backwards instead of forwards? I would also like to see this man spend a week living in minimum wage or working as a teacher at a school and then talk about lack of respect.

  4. I’m all in favour of respect- but not only for teachers and head teachers but also for the students-it is a two way street. I remember at my school having to stand when an adult entered the classroom, it was an excuse for scraping of chairs and general wasting of time before settling down again after the interruption. But I do believe that good manners should be part of anyone’s life and that part of education starts at home, so you can’t lay the blame entirely on the teachers. However, I’m sure when parents and teachers make a consistent effort to act as good role models for younger people it engenders respect for all. Do we really need these ‘experts’ to interfere in what is obviously common sense?

  5. When I read what Sir M W means when he talks about respect in the UK schools I can’t help feeling sad on behalf of the human beings being ridiculed, pushed around, underestimated and having an equal opportunity to succeed in life taken away from them in the school system! To believe that respect between the pupils/students and their teachers will be found in rules and regulations they haven’t been a part of creating and implement, rules they don’t understand, is an anachronism in the educational system in any enlightened democratic society. Respect groves from meaningful relations, having something to say in our own learning plan, being shown that is is okay to make mistakes as long as we learn from them and that(and this one is hard to swallow for HT and ofsted, teachers also makes mistakes and do that because they also learn new things everyday by being with the children and in school. To see grownups acting as if they can not be challenged by the pupils are one of the main reasons why pupils and students in some schools show a lack of the respect towards the teachers.
    I base my opinion on my own experience as a teacher in Denmark and in London. I taught for 3 years in an east London primary school, and to witness how brilliant teachers were being “ruled by fear” and reduced from professional adults, to frightened lambs following(they had to) all orders and regulations given to them by the HT and school board was a scary and eye-opening experience. I am Danish, been a teacher for 12 years, and I am in the middle of a project called the school of the future. Children should be given all opportunity’s to develop their skills, social, practical and academic in a school that challenges the child facing the real world around us, in a school where trust, respect and the belief in children as “equal human beings” are the keystones. That is an “equal opportunity policy” I believe in. Growth mindset(the power of yet) and a trust in children being able to be the most important player in their learning and development are the only way that teachers and schools can support and help our generations to come being open, skilled and respectful participant in the world they will have to form and maintain in the future. (Copenhagen)

  6. I agree with e everything said but pupils behaviours are already out of hand. These pupils have no respect for anyone . This includes parents and teachers.

    Imagine a teacher being killed by a pupil in a school because the teacher took their phone. This is very shameful.
    Not to talk about gangster culture in our communities.

    Pupils are only taught their rights And not thier responsibilities.

    Power is given to pupils while teachers and parents powerless. Many parents cannot even talk to their children.

    These are all government fault. To me it seems they create problems and then they are looking for how to solve it.

  7. I’ve taught from the early 70’s ’til the early naughties in state a ‘grammar school’ type state comprehensive, to private international schools, to an Embassy school, to American high schools finishing up in a College of Further Education.

    I’ve taught all kids of different students from age 10 to age 50 +. different nationalities and different abilities.
    They ALL had problems and they ALL wanted to learn but FIRST there had to be discipline ! In my experience discipline came from leadership .

    Some teachers can lead and others can’t . I’ve had some highly learned colleagues , wonderful people who just couldn’t maintain class order and subsequently , couldn’t impart their knowledge and wisdom to their students.
    At the same time , there were colleagues who COULD maintain class order but were not able to inspire learning in their students .They bored them .

    Conclusion…teaching is a gift ! Either you can do it ,or you can’t .It’s a balance between being a ‘mate’ and a ‘boss’ ! Once that harmony is found , respect is won and students will trust you …and indeed , as they are only children , a lot of them, they’ll love you in the pater/mater familias sense and you’ll always be remembered !

  8. Children have no respect , that’s true. And this from their start at school. That’s generally because they have never been taught respect by their parents. That’s also because the adults of this world do not respect teaching staff .
    When I was at a school, we stood when an adult walked in the room, and we didn’t mess around because our life wouldn’t have been worth living if so. I always was in a very orderly environment at school ( I wasn’t schooled in England though , not sure if that would be a difference ) because I knew that one call to my parents would mean trouble and that either way I turned, my parents would support my teachers and ice versa.
    I remember my parents saying the teachers knew best . When have any of us teachers heard that ?
    I have worked in inner city schools and ‘ nice’ county schools and the difference in insolence and general un valued status of the teacher was equivalent.
    It’s nothing to do with grammar school or not, it’s to do with respect and the fact that children hold the leads and their parents back them up right or wrong – And the teachers will be at fault. So bring back respect , fear brings boundaries, we are not talking of terrifying children, let’s not be over reacting, but think, if a driver is scared of losing their licence , they ll respect the speed limit … !

  9. I have been a teacher in Secondary and Primary schools for 22 years, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the disruptive, anti-social behaviour of a very small minority of pupils adversely affects the learning of the majority, if allowed to. There are several reasons for this in my opinion: The first is that disrespectful behaviour is often imitated or pupils ‘jump on the bandwagon’. The second is that mainstream schools cannot meet all the needs of some of those exhibiting extreme behaviour and the third reason is that disruptive behaviour interrupts the learning process by distracting the attention of those who want to learn. Closing Special schools is certainly a contributory factor in my experience. I have just finished teaching a Year 2 Primary school class containing 3 boys whose needs are not being met in the mainstream and are therefore very disruptive, due to being on the Autism spectrum, learning difficulties and products of foetal alcohol syndrome and abuse and neglect respectively.

  10. Enough of this “Children have no respect” nonsense. It is simply untrue. Some children have no respect, just “some”, definately NOT all. Those of you indulging in this broad tarring with the same brush, please consider yourselves reprimanded.
    In the past, disrespectful children met with a range of sanctions and would be equally sanctioned at home, if not more so. Today this does not happen and the likelyhood is that a stern teacher has to justify their position to the HT. That is a societal change that has been engineered, I suspect deliberately, since the early eighties.
    On the matter of respect, respect is won, not an entitlement. Any good teacher wil know, to win the respect of children, you must show respect. To do this you have to know that respect and fear are not the same thing. l This is why I have no respect for either OFSTED nor its current leader. I have no respect for them because they have shown me and my fellows not one iota of respect in the last twenty years. To hell with OFSTED and the politicians that spawned it.
    The “grammar school” comment by Mr. Wilshaw serves to show that he is at best out of touch, at worst, completely disconnected from reality and like his quango, unfit for purpose.
    Successive governments have, as several folks here have commented, instilled a draconian rule of fear that stultifies discussion and numbs any shred of common sense. “You have to do this because OFSTED say you have to.
    Senior managers gather “evidence” to lay at OFSTED’s feet along with a couple of sacraficial lambs to prove that they are “managing”. This has lead to a gradual drain of the inspirational teacher from the profession. WAKE UP government, you are creating a perfect storm for schools. Sack Wilshaw and disband OFSTED; it is an anachronistic quango dictatorship that has no place in a twentyfirst century democratic society.

  11. Bad behaviour, lack of respect, loutish manner, falling standards, dumbed down education etc all set in gradually as a result of progressive teaching philosophy which started during the sixties and still continues today mainly within the state system. Unfortunately we now have a very child centred curriculum with individualised learning, self esteem, failure is not allowed to happen, no marking with red pens and where pupils expect to be entertained rather than educated. It is a joke and the people that support such wooly thinking now have a weak non challenging state education system to wallow in.

    There are some state schools that are exceptions to the above but having taught in both private and state I know which one comes out on top all the time.

  12. We have to question whether ‘consumerism’ and pitching one school against another is appropriate for schools. My experience in primary schools, was of some parents undermining teachers and threatening to withdraw children from schools if they didn’t ‘get their own way’. It is a particular problem with primary schools as it is often the case that there is real ‘choice’ – often with 3 or 4 primary schools within a reasonable walking distance. At one school in which I worked a parent threatened to withdraw her child, and that 20 others would follow, if she did not get her way. For many children, it seemed that a sure way to parental attention was to criticise the teacher. We should never forget that the abolition of grammar schools was driven by middle class demand. Middle class parents could not cope when their children being separated by 11+ failure. Of course they cannot cope with their children being in anything but the top ability set and criticise teachers when this is the case. This is so often the root of lack of respect for teachers.

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