Do we all need training in discipline?


I read this article and then re-read it. I confess that whilst I like Tristram Hunt I can’t help feeling that this is a very poorly articulated piece as it would appear to suggest, in Hunt’s opinion, all teachers – not just those in training require training in discipline.

There are two ways to look at this – firstly that all quality training is valuable and if all colleagues have the same “foundations” then it will be supportive to new colleagues. The problem with this is that national training doesn’t translate to national practise and not should it. Schools are not baked bean factories or fast food restaurants so all policies would not be the same and nor should they. My fear would be that this would be a springboard for a tranch of consultants armed with power points and dreary anecdotes. Worse still common sense would fly out of the nearest window as colleagues followed “Best practise” rather than what has been proven to work in the school that they are in. 

National training brings back memories of the well intentioned New Opportunities Fund training which cost a lot but hasn’t translated into colleagues using technology to support teaching and learning more effectively.

The second point would be the disconnect between respecting teachers and then in the same piece giving the impression that discipline is an issue in all schools for all teachers at all levels and that national government will have the answers in all cases. 

An education secretary who genuinely is interested in learning rather than learning from the mistakes of their predecessor and listening to a profession which feels a genuine disconnect from the policy which governs their practise would be greatly appreciated but, pieces like this need to be carefully considered.


5 thoughts on “Do we all need training in discipline?

  1. Obviously we don’t all need training in discipline – I think he needs to consult teachers as to the reasons why they can’t deal with behaviour and ask heads the same. I think he will find the following are more likely the cause than the not knowing how to discipline:
    1) Emphasis on schools to provide ludicrous amounts of evidence before expelling a pupil – it can go on for years and has a knock on effect on children in class and in the school.
    2) Ways to support children with mental health problems who can not cope in a classroom environment. There are many who need intensive counselling and family support to improve their mental and emotional state. Warm smiles and senior management excusing poor behaviour is not going to make these children change.
    3) Parents to sign contracts to support the school’s behaviour policy and accept the consequences that are given as a result of this, otherwise if they disagree, its simple they move their child elsewhere. It is not for schools to continually bend behaviour policies for children whose parents don’t want to bring them up properly.
    4) God help us from the bleeding heart liberals who want to save individual children – the behaviour policies of schools should be looked at – if there are more rules for adults than children Ofsted need to know why. Obvious sign there is something wrong.
    5) Ditto if the head teacher has toys for children in their office – guaranteed there is a head having a mid-life crisis and a school full of teachers who are given no support with behaviour management.
    6) Teachers should be allowed to refuse to teach children who verbally or physically abuse them. Like it or lump it once a child has taken that step trust is broken – professionalism does not require one to be an abuse victim in front of a class of 30 children – who by the way are traumatised by these events.
    7) Teachers should be given protection to whistleblow by Ofsted on these matters.
    8) Parents who do not engage with family support workers should be required to remove their child.

    The ‘poor’ child brigade will no doubt come out in force. That’s fine – a) I would like to see how they change the behaviour of challenging, difficult children (none of the so called progressive actually like to provide evidence that their just bend your personality enough and the child will behave policy actually works in reality). b) Genuine compassion does not just extend to just those who are throwing chairs, it would extend to all children regardless and involve doing what is right for the class not the individual. c) An up to date education in psychology is needed for anyone who thinks that even the most challenging children can be included in a class. Behaviour theorists have known for a long time that it is resilience not emotion that allows people to cope with bad events in life. d) Not allow anyone who still thinks Bowlby’s theories have a place in education or anything to do with children train teachers.

    I hope he reads this!!

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