Spare the rod…

One of the most difficult aspects in the modern education system is balancing the needs of individual students with the needs of the whole school.  Every student, whatever their needs, is entitled to an education.  In many cases, children’s problems are due to poor parenting and it seems unfair to give a child less opportunity through no fault of their own.

However, does there come a point when the amount of time, resources and stress expended on an individual child have such an adverse effect on the rest of the class, year group or school that it becomes unreasonable to continue to support them?  It’s almost like we have to do a sort of human cost-benefit analysis – weighing up the cost to the rest of the school against the benefit to the individual child.

One of my basic tenets as a teacher is never, ever to give up on a child.  Most schools have a good track record at dealing with students with complex needs, including challenging behaviour.  We must continue to develop this, and ensure as far as possible, that we give every child every chance to succeed.  There will be times when the cost outweighs the benefits and we have to find an alternative, but that has to remain as a last resort.

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