Discipline in schools


Snuffy, author of the To Miss with Love blog (which focuses on her experiences as a black inner city teacher), has written a fairly depressing post about the lack of discipline in schools. This has become a recurrent theme for Snuffy, who frequently highlights the sheer stupidity of many of the ways in which we teach our children. However, she does has some suggestions for reform, including:

2. Always set and stream classes. Always.

12. Reduce teacher timetables. Hire more non-teachers to do duties etc.

20. Give governing bodies and Heads the power to fire people. And then begin by firing about 20% of the teaching profession, which includes those at the top. Oh, and as an extra, fire most of the people who work in Local Authorities and various educational bodies like the Specialist School and Academies Trust etc. Yeah, fire the lot of them.

However, I am not sure about one or two points:

15. Ban free education. Everyone has to pay – something. All textbooks, exercise books etc must be paid for. How much one pays in fees may be decided by one’s income. There would have to be a system – like the tax system.”

And my favourite:

4. Ban Diane Abbott from speaking full stop. And stop the media from encouraging a racial divide. Oh, and ban Polly Toynbee too. In fact, let’s just throw them in a prison cell together… :)

  1. #1 by billericaydicky on 19th October, 2008 - 11:35 am

    I think we could also get rid of Jennette Arnold a member of the GLA. She has got Transport for London money to investigate why black children are more likely to be knocked down in Hackney than any other ethnic group. She claims it is racist car drivers targeting blacks, no this is not a joke she has actually said this.

    Interesting things happening on the multi culti PC front. Long article by Nick Cohen in the Observer which I have been posting on and Phil Woolas has been appointed Minister for borders or whatever. Can weexpect an article on this from someone? You can see what I think at CiF.

  2. #2 by El Cid on 19th October, 2008 - 12:48 pm

    Snuffy is my kind of woman (though I would take issue with #15).
    As a Hackney boy (by way of Harringay), I definitely agree with #4. let alone 2, 12, and 20.

  3. #3 by Tom on 19th October, 2008 - 1:10 pm

    That’s ‘discipline’, Rumbold. Where did you go to school, man? Bottom set for you.

    “think we could also get rid of Jennette Arnold a member of the GLA”

    Good idea, although she’s actually an elected constituency member (and Chair) of the ‘London Assembly’, not associated with the ‘Greater London Authority’, prop. Boris Johnson, which gives us a problem:

    Since we live in a democracy, off you trot to Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest and explain to the electorate why they don’t need a black left-wing politician who looks after the needs of her constituency but do need to listen to the views of a dim semi-racist troll whose received ideas are never blessed with much in the way of factual backup. Let us know how you get on. There’s a thumping majority of 14.4% to overcome, so you’ve got your work cut out. Oh, and her personal share of the vote shot up in May so she’s clearly exceptionally well regarded by her constituents, considering what happened to a lot of incumbent Labour politicians this year.

    “to investigate why black children are more likely to be knocked down in Hackney than any other ethnic group”

    I’d actually quite like to know this - at a guess they’re less likely to be in a car or bus, they’re less likely to be properly supervised, less likely to be properly educated in road safety and the areas they live in suffer from a lack of investment in road safety schemes. Or, to put it with more brevity, ‘they’re poorer’. We sorta knew that already, though:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/sep/26/transport.transport

    Perhaps you can point me to where this report is, so I can acquaint myself with some facts?

  4. #4 by Rumbold on 19th October, 2008 - 1:20 pm

    Billericaydicky:

    If Phil Woolas utters anything interesting then perhaps I will write about him. Up to now he has just been muttering the standard New Labour tabloid-friendly line on immigrants.

    Tom:

    Oops. I kept changing the title before posting. But it just goes to show how bad standards in schools are eh?

  5. #5 by Pablo on 19th October, 2008 - 1:25 pm

    billericaydicky

    I read your contribution to the Nick Cohen thread. It’s interesting how you criticise Ken Livingstone and his regime. I have no problem with that, because I don’t really think much of Livingstone, I think his heart was in the right place, but he was just too foolish to see what was really going on, and what the consequences of his pandering to various self-interested groups would be. Well, on another thread here you declare yourself to be a supporter of Sinn Fein and the IRA, whose arse Ken Livingstone used to kiss with indecent passion, in fact he was almost on his knees before McGuiness and Adams in the fellatio position most of the time, just when they were plotting to explode bombs across London and murder Londoners of every race and class and religion. It’s almost impossible to imagine now, so distant does it seem, how close was that Sinn Fein - Livingstone nexus, and just how loathed it was by working class white Londoners, black Londoners, and what a recruiting sergeant it was for the fascist far-right in London and Britain. How do you square your subscription to violent Irish republicanism with the criticism you make of Livingston-ism, and can’t you see how it fitted in with the Looney Leftism that is now getting blamed for all the ills in our society, especially as you seem to be so interested in, the Black Power caucus that you claim to be at the ultimate root of the BNP counter-reaction?

  6. #6 by Pablo on 19th October, 2008 - 1:27 pm

    In fact, as much as this will sound like madness to those of us in the West, we should follow in China’s footsteps and put a limit on the number of children people are allowed. Two works for me.

    Miss Snuffy has all the answers, for sure.

  7. #7 by ac256 on 19th October, 2008 - 2:42 pm

    it is a matter of time until this young woman’s blog goes mainstream. She is THE voice of what to do in schools. Well done for bringing her to PP’s attention.

  8. #8 by Shuggy on 19th October, 2008 - 5:18 pm

    it is a matter of time until this young woman’s blog goes mainstream.

    Indeed - it’s so rightwing and pro-management, she might even get a slot in the Times.

    Exhibit A: 10. Ban the unions – or at least take most of their power away.

    Ah hem…

    Exhibit B: 14. Stop the state from handing out flats and money.

    She said flats and money. Far too much of this giving away flats and money sort of thing. It should be stopped at once.

    Exhibit C: 15. Ban free education.

    Need I go on? Uh, just in case anyone missed it.

    In fact, as much as this will sound like madness to those of us in the West, we should follow in China’s footsteps and put a limit on the number of children people are allowed. Two works for me.

    More retro-Maoist chic than Tory that one.

    She is THE voice of what to do in schools.

    No - she really isn’t.

  9. #9 by Rumbold on 19th October, 2008 - 8:14 pm

    Shuggy:

    I find plenty to disagree with in her suggestions, but she does make some very good points as well, especially about streaming and devolving more power to individual schools.

    Teachers’ unions are still important and necessary, not so much for protection from the management as protection from the parents/pupils. And I don’t care for the restriction of children suggestion.

  10. #10 by Refresh on 19th October, 2008 - 9:00 pm

    Snuff out snuffy. I can’t believe she’s allowed anywhere near our kids.

    Its a wonder she hasn’t dared tell us what she thinks of her pupils and parents. I believe she is a misanthrope. And we are to take her seriously? I think she needs professional help and re-training assuming she resolves her personal issues.

  11. #11 by El Cid on 19th October, 2008 - 9:30 pm

    Shuggy, Rumbold, admittedly, was a bit selective with the points he raised. But then this thread is about education. Regardless of some of her other less palatable views, Snuffy displays a strong understanding of the problems facing our children in the classroom. At the end of the day if you really care about the lot of our children, then you can’t turn your back on the massive problem of classroom discipline. Traditional liberal-left don’t do discipline and too often they disgracefully pretend that their private school/grammar school/suburban experiences have equipped them with the means to patronise the rest of us, or say one thing and then do another.
    Diane Abbott certainly fits into that last category.
    If Snuffy stood in Hackney as a Tory, I would break the habit of a lifetime to vote for her. (Yes Rumbold, I really did say that).

    I also know 4 teachers, 3 of them close friends — including two of the highest ranking black teachers in London. Time and time again they tell me that one of the greatest problems they face is an inability to get rid of bad teachers.

    Are you a teacher Shuggy? Forget Snuffy, what do you think?

  12. #12 by persephone on 19th October, 2008 - 9:46 pm

    The main aspect I agree with Snuffy upon is that parents do not take enough responsibility for their childrens behaviour.

    As to dealing with violent/continually disruptive children, the parents should be forced to do home schooling (even for a temporary period). Benefits would be:

    - would soon teach the parents how hard it is to teach their own kids
    - ensure these parents spend more time & give more attention to their children
    - extra resources in dealing with disruptive children are not met by the taxpayer
    - lessen impact upon the other well behaved children

    Not having to deal with disruptive/violent children may also make teaching a more attractive career. This may also raise the level of teaching which is also needed.

  13. #13 by Refresh on 19th October, 2008 - 9:52 pm

    I am not sure we’ve fully comprehended the root of the discipline issue.

    I recall a time when psycopaths were allowed to teach and administer corporal punishment. Resentment between teacher and pupil was palpable. Respect came with the swish of the cane.

    Some may recall board dusters flying across classrooms. I recall one whishing past my left ear. Not aimed at me you understand.

    I also recall a teacher known to throwing books (and a desk on one occasion), at someone who incorreclty declined his latin.

    Moving a generation on, I know also of a teacher wilfully wrecking someone’s aspirations because the lad was caught making a joke about his affair with another teacher.

    There is a lot lot more. Those kids traumatised by psychopathic teachers are now the parents. Lets not forget that. So what has been done to win back the trust of those parents?

    So its not so simple.

    And if Snuffy did stand for electoral office, I would willingly go through her professional records with the singular intention of demonstrating why she should never have been in the classroom.

    I am not a teacher, I have plenty in the family but have been a school governor, where inadequate senior management was removed for lacking vision and failing to aspire. I don’t recall our board not having the clout to deliver.

    Snuffy should leave our education system and go join some public school, if they’d have her.

    Snuff snuffy!

  14. #14 by El Cid on 19th October, 2008 - 10:07 pm

    I recall a time when psycopaths were allowed to teach and administer corporal punishment. Resentment between teacher and pupil was palpable. Respect came with the swish of the cane.

    I assume you are older than me Refresh and I acccept that you have a point. Your experiences are valid too. However, my experiences as a kid (and it seems to have got worse since my time in secondary school in 1977-84 in Tottenham), indicates that we have gone too far the other way. The stories I could tell you! There is too much pussy footing around the issue.

  15. #15 by Refresh on 19th October, 2008 - 10:20 pm

    El Cid, I can’t disagree. There is a question of balance and if there is no trust between kids, parents, teachers then the school has a problem. That is not far from what I saw when governor. What we did was bring in an inspirational head, removed some senior staff, and fought with the LEA to recognise what was possible. From a failing school, to a school earmarked for closure to one that is now over-subscribed - all through the board of governors in partnership with the community it served.

    Snuffy is talking rubbish, she might as well be the Sarah Palin of Hackney. Don’t give her credit for she has earned none.

    If on the otherhand she had demonstrated what she had done to overcome the problems she faced, then she may be worth listening to.

  16. #16 by Katy Newton on 19th October, 2008 - 10:36 pm

    She’s right about discipline, but perhaps not everything else. I work in schools occasionally. Some pupils can get excluded (what we used to call “suspended”) fifty or sixty times before they’re expelled. That says to me that either suspension is being overused or teachers don’t have enough authority in the classroom.

    Discipline is not about the cane or being spanked or board dusters being thrown at your head. When I was in school (and I was in both private and state schools) teachers weren’t allowed to hit us, so it’s not as if that was hanging over our heads. If I recall correctly, the older teachers (and some of the younger teachers) just had a general air of absolute self-confidence and authority that we didn’t dare to cross. They were supportive, but they never forgot that they were teachers and we were students. But as I got into the sixth form, a new generation of younger teachers started coming in who wanted to be friends with everyone, and I think that’s what a lot of the problem is. You can’t be seen getting drunk with fifth and sixth formers in the local pubs or on school trips and then expect to be respected in school the next day.

  17. #17 by Ravi Naik on 19th October, 2008 - 10:47 pm

    I can’t believe she’s allowed anywhere near our kids… I believe she is a misanthrope. And we are to take her seriously? I think she needs professional help and re-training assuming she resolves her personal issues.

    I think you are out of line here. This woman has been an inner city teacher, and her views should be respected at least to the point where people like you do not accuse her of needing professional help or be kept away from kids.

    I think the violence perpetuated by teachers in your time led to another extreme, where schools and teachers are left to cope with the discipline problem, and that’s really bad for everyone. You are right that - like everything else - is a question of balance. Though there should not be a compromise on the fact that the teacher should have control over a classroom, and that if a student breaks the rules then something needs to be done about it.

  18. #18 by Refresh on 19th October, 2008 - 10:53 pm

    Ravi, not out of line at all. That is my first impression, unless of course someone can present evidence that she understands her own pupils, the parents, the pressure the families are under - from housing to income.

    I read her to be a misanthrope, who clear dislikes those in her charge.

  19. #19 by Gege on 19th October, 2008 - 11:04 pm

    One of the main problems with snuffy’s blog is that she see issues through the prism of black versus white.

    She once accused me of being white because i disagreed with her.

  20. #20 by Akela on 20th October, 2008 - 7:32 am

    I think some are being harsh on Snuffy.

    I am a regular reader of her blog and it is quite clear that she cares passionately about those she teaches and is in no way comparable to the psychopaths of yester year.

    I too have issues with some of her views such as restrictions on benefits and banning of unions however the fact that she wants to get parents to face up to their side of responsibility of educating teaching through instilling discipline is just basic common sense.

  21. #21 by Refresh on 20th October, 2008 - 10:37 am

    Thanks Akela. Discipline is common sense, we can get that from the whole of the teaching profession including the unions she wants to ban. But why give her attention?

    I guess that’s more a question for Rumbold.

  22. #22 by Rumbold on 20th October, 2008 - 10:40 am

    El Cid:

    I am not sure that I presented the points selectively (apart from the fact that they were a selection). I didn’t want to reprint the whole list, as I felt it was too long. I would say that she is right about the need for more discipline in our schools, though (as Refresh and others point out), it should not be a substitute for teaching or the freedom to behave like thugs. Snuffy is on shakier ground when it comes to her perscriptions for wider society (such as the two child policy).

    If Snuffy stood in Hackney as a Tory, I would break the habit of a lifetime to vote for her. (Yes Rumbold, I really did say that).

    Heh. I always presumed that you were a dyed-in-the-wool Thatcherite (just kidding).

  23. #23 by Rumbold on 20th October, 2008 - 10:42 am

    Refresh:

    “But why give her attention? I guess that’s more a question for Rumbold.”

    You don’t have to agree with everything she says to see that some of her points are worth debating. And as she is an experienced inner city teacher, it is hardly the rantings of someone who has no experience in schools.

  24. #24 by persephone on 20th October, 2008 - 11:21 am

    Katy @ 16

    I agree that the current generation of teachers cross a boundary that they should not.

    I’ve taught a few classes as a volunteer in local schools and found a difference in the quality of teaching & ability to enforce discipline (by strength of the teachers character & personal presence) b/n the headteachers and the class teachers. Basically the headteachers were from an older generation and know how to handle kids. I also found that alot of the teacher assistants, though not qualified teachers, were parents & were better at keeping the kids under control.

    My father was a teacher in the UK for a bit & also found that class teachers were not similarly equipped. This has a huge impact in that the class teacher (alongside teachers assistants) spends the most time with children.

  25. #25 by persephone on 20th October, 2008 - 11:29 am

    Gege @19

    I was wondering why Snuffy has to identify herself as a black teacher. She comes across slightly as someone who sees themselves as a protected species

    Aside from that, she does not come across as liking kids or her profession much. Perhaps that comes across to kids who are very perceptive at an emotional level.

    Looking at her blog, when she has to deal with conflict/differences to her opinion, she appears to get quite stressed

    But hey i don’t know her & am ‘judging’ her by a blog.

  26. #26 by Refresh on 20th October, 2008 - 11:33 am

    Rumbold,

    It is a rant from an experienced inner-city teacher.

    By the way there is nothing wrong with rants, but there is no substance to this one.

    There is nothing she has proposed I agree with, and as you can see I question her underlying ethos.

    Given our experience with the finance sector, how can anyone imagine that privatising education is going to move us forward?

    Not sure if you picked up her point about giving all the power to people who ‘own’ schools.

    She rails against external assessment regimes. Welcomes the fact that private schools don’t have them.

    Given the miserable failure that is the privatised sector, and of course the ‘lightly’ regulated finance sector - I am not sure we can trust her judgement even to offer suggestions beyond hearing about her experiences. Even then I would question her emotional acumen.

  27. #27 by Rumbold on 20th October, 2008 - 1:28 pm

    Refresh:

    Surely there are elements of the private secotr that have failed, but it doesn’t follow that the entire private sector is a failure. After all, we have more laws and regulators than any time in our history, yet we are still in a financial crisis.

  28. #28 by shariq on 20th October, 2008 - 1:45 pm

    I think easier exclusion and more setting would actually be a good thing.

    Unlike grammar schools which hive off the best kids and leave the rest to fend for themselves, exclusion hives off the worst kids and allows the majority to get better teaching.

    I don’t know what the answer is about what to do with expelled kids but there must be some interesting ideas out there?

    Similarly setting is good because it takes into account that you can be good at one subject and rubbish at another and allows kids to move up and down based on how well they do each year, all the time staying in the same school.

    Its important to keep schools publicly funded but unless standards improve, we’ll have a 2 tiered system with an extremely strong glass ceiling.

  29. #29 by Refresh on 20th October, 2008 - 2:21 pm

    Rumbold, I was referring to the privatised not private sector.

  30. #30 by Snuffy on 20th October, 2008 - 7:13 pm

    I am not a Tory.

    I stand by the side of my kids.

    Those of you who do not listen to what happens on the ground and insist on creating policies and cultures which kill my kids have blood on your hands.

    I work day and night for my kids. My kids know it. You have no idea about anything. And we will have justice.

    We will take justice back from the palms of your hands, where you have held it so tightly for years.

    I don’t know how you live with yourselves. You are literally killing my kids with your well-meaning, ill-informed assumptions.

    Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.

    Akela - thanks for the tip-off.

    Rumbold - defect before it’s too late. Thanks for the mention.

  31. #31 by Shariq on 20th October, 2008 - 7:21 pm

    Snuffy, I’d be interested in knowing what you think would be a good way of dealing with kids who are expelled. In season 4 of The Wire they had a storyline based on taking these kids out of classes where they were being disruptive and trying to ‘resocialise’ them through mentoring. I’m not sure if that would work perfectly but its something.

  32. #32 by Don on 20th October, 2008 - 7:34 pm

    Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.

    That’s quite a response to a few people disagreeing with you, Snuffy.

    You have no idea about anything.

    Would you care to be more specific, say by addressing Shuggy’s points?

  33. #33 by El Cid on 20th October, 2008 - 7:40 pm

    “I am not a Tory.”

    Sorry Snuffy. I didn’t mean to insult you. I just want you to stand against Ms Abbott and I’m not sure the liberals would take you.

  34. #34 by Insider on 20th October, 2008 - 9:03 pm

    Those of you wondering who Snuffy is, [Deleted- Rumbold] She is on a mission to solve the world’s problems one misbehaving, poor child at a time. In a previous century she would have been a missionary in Africa. Misanthropic would be a very good term to describe her, which is the last quality you want in a school teacher. Some people just aren’t suited to their professions, and this is a classic example. She obviously has ‘issues’ that need to be dealt with, not the least is a propensity to propose extreme solutions (banning trade unions, limiting procreation by the unwashed) when what is needed are solutions which can be made to work in a wide variety of settings - our country’s schools. Perhaps she could run *a* school better than many, but her ideas are so crackpot, not to mention offensive, that they have no value to the public debate about how to improve our schools overall.

  35. #35 by El Cid on 20th October, 2008 - 9:11 pm

    [Deleted- Rumbold]

    “Perhaps she could run *a* school better than many, but her ideas are so crackpot, not to mention offensive, that they have no value to the public debate about how to improve our schools overall.”
    Sorry, I can’t see the logic.

  36. #36 by Damo Mackerel on 20th October, 2008 - 9:40 pm

    Insider, you haven’t a clue have you? [Deleted- Rumbold] Where did Ms Snuffy suggest that procreation should be limited to the unwashed? But I really like your last point where you stated that … ‘they have no value to the public debate about how to improve our schools overall’…. so you don’t agree with Ms Snuffy you want to keep her out of the debate. That’s not now it works, that’s why we have debates in the first place. I think you need to go back to school mate.

  37. #37 by Refresh on 20th October, 2008 - 9:50 pm

    Snuffy, I would like to think I went a little overboard with my comments, perhaps was being judgemental.

    We obviously don’t know each other and will naturally go by first impressions.

    Would you be willing to put your proposals into context by sharing your experiences and how they relate? I really am not sure how you could come up with the sort of policies you advocate.

    For starters I am totally opposed to ASBOS, unless of course our politicians can explain how even-handed it all is, by applying the policy across class lines. Perhaps a good demonstration of this might be giving ASBOs to company directors for their misdeeds.

    I think people here will be quite aware of my desperation in seeing some bankers blacklisted - a good starter may well be an executive ASBO.

    Our children cannot possibly be expected to ignore the hypocrisy of the adult world where lying and cheating is pretty common. They cannot fail to see that learning may not be such a big thing if they can sing, dance and do any old thing.

    The whole concept of education has been turned on its head - from being an activity designed to broaden a child’s horizon, it has over the last 30 years become purely a component in the competitive world of work.

    Lifelong learning, instead of creating an enquiring society, has become a vehicle for remaining competitive in a global economy.

    Fundamentally, education has been usurped. What do you think?

  38. #38 by Edward the Thirst on 20th October, 2008 - 10:29 pm

    Insider - ‘her ideas are so crackpot’

    Having recently read quite a few of her items, I think we are desperately in need of some of those crackpot ideas.

    Let’s face it we can’t descend any further.

  39. #39 by Insider on 20th October, 2008 - 10:31 pm

    El Cid

    [Deleted- Rumbold]

    Fish-face (a.k.a. Mackerel brain)
    My point, although you’re rather too obtuse and hysterical to grasp it, is that it is one thing for one admittedly person to say ‘I can run this place better than the bureaucrats’ and another to propose solutions to educational policy which can be applied country-wide.
    Take getting rid of the unions as a way to get rid of all the bad teachers. She also goes on on her blog about how hard it is to find good teachers. So what does getting rid of the unions do to help finding good teachers, which is a big enough problem now without firing all the bad ones? Nothing. In fact, it hinders the task, because what qualified person is going to want to go into teaching when they hear that the unions were abolished, they will have no job protection or protection from abuse, and a witch-hunt led by fanatics like Snuffy is going on?
    One could take apart every one of her ‘solutions’ to show that by implementing them we would be creating bigger problems than they purport to solve. That is probably why no one has implemented them before, eh?

  40. #40 by Insider on 20th October, 2008 - 10:34 pm

    “It is one thing for one admittedly smart person to say” is what I meant to say above.

  41. #41 by Don on 20th October, 2008 - 11:32 pm

    Insider,

    Personal knowledge of a commenter’s life is not something we share here. You may have confused PP with some kind of toxic site where these things are raised. You should probably just fuck off.

    Snuffy,

    You made a few fairly obvious points about lower class sizes, freeing up teachers to teach and so on, but your ‘innovative’ points do leave you open to serious criticism, which I hope to get round to tomorrow.

  42. #42 by Insider on 20th October, 2008 - 11:45 pm

    Don
    Practically every comment I read on this thread specualted about and was intrigued by Snuffy’s social status. [Deleted- Rumbold]
    Then someone, El Cid, whom I assume to be a regular here, expressed disbelief, so I filled in a few details that aren’t public knowledge, although there again very close to what Snuffy has disclosed on her blog - [Deleted- Rumbold]

    Then you come along and tell me, with gratuitous obscenity, that ‘we’ don’t do that kind of thing here. Maybe you should have addressed your comment to El Cid for asking.
    And fuck off.

  43. #43 by Don on 20th October, 2008 - 11:57 pm

    Insider,

    Practically every comment I read on this thread specualted about and was intrigued by Snuffy’s social status.

    Then you read selectively: you have a personal issue which you want to wag, personal baggage you want to unpack, ‘we’ dont indulge that. And my obscenities are never gratuitous.

  44. #44 by Don on 21st October, 2008 - 12:19 am

    Practically every comment I read on this thread specualted about and was intrigued by Snuffy’s social status.

    Upon re-reading, that is utter bollocks.

  45. #45 by Insider on 21st October, 2008 - 12:40 am

    Don
    Here are some of the comments gleaned above, from 10 out of 35 posts before I came along:

    More retro-Maoist chic than Tory.

    Its a wonder she hasn’t dared tell us what she thinks of her pupils and parents. I believe she is a misanthrope. And we are to take her seriously? I think she needs professional help and re-training assuming she resolves her personal issues.

    If Snuffy stood in Hackney as a Tory, I would break the habit of a lifetime to vote for her. (Yes Rumbold, I really did say that).

    And if Snuffy did stand for electoral office, I would willingly go through her professional records with the singular intention of demonstrating why she should never have been in the classroom.
    Snuffy is talking rubbish, she might as well be the Sarah Palin of Hackney. Don’t give her credit for she has earned none.

    If on the otherhand she had demonstrated what she had done to overcome the problems she faced, then she may be worth listening to.

    I read her to be a misanthrope, who clear dislikes those in her charge.

    One of the main problems with snuffy’s blog is that she see issues through the prism of black versus white.

    She once accused me of being white because i disagreed with her.

    I was wondering why Snuffy has to identify herself as a black teacher. She comes across slightly as someone who sees themselves as a protected species

    Aside from that, she does not come across as liking kids or her profession much. Perhaps that comes across to kids who are very perceptive at an emotional level.

    Looking at her blog, when she has to deal with conflict/differences to her opinion, she appears to get quite stressed

    But hey i don’t know her & am ‘judging’ her by a blog.

    I am not sure we can trust her judgement even to offer suggestions beyond hearing about her experiences. Even then I would question her emotional acumen.

    ———————-

    Sounds like a lot more than public policy debates going on here, hmm?

    Now, Don, whenever you have anything intelligent to say, which demonstrates your ability to read, let us know. And how could your obscenities be anything but gratuitous, when you are insignificant?

  46. #46 by Damo Mackerel on 21st October, 2008 - 12:57 am

    Insider, still don’t get it do you? You seem to be obsessed with Ms Snuffy status. What has Ms Snuffy’s status got to do with this debate? Ms Snuffy has made a lot of points on how education can be improved in Britain.

    Unions play a large part in keeping bad teachers in jobs. It’s a near enough impossible task to sack a bad teacher these days. And why should someone be given job protection for doing a lousy job?

    On your last point you’ve posted that ..’to show that by implementing them we would be creating bigger problems than they purport to solve. That is probably why no one has implemented them before, eh?’. Well that’s an outstanding piece of logic there, aye? If they were never implemented before how do you know they will cause problems? The reason why these points won’t be implemented it is because of you and your ilk and the unions, with there self interests, will never allow it. Not putting the education of children first and foremost. ah sure that’s what education is about now.

    Finally, your name calling is neither original nor funny. It’s quite childish in fact.

  47. #47 by Insider on 21st October, 2008 - 1:30 am

    Fish foo
    To start with, if you’re going to hold views on what’s wrong with the education system, you might try getting a better grasp of the language yourself.
    Second, I am not obsessed with her status, although I do think a person’s own social and economic situation is relevant to their political views, now that you ask. I merely observed what some here want to deny, that Snuffy has been treated on this blog like a rare butterfly or reptile, depending on one’s point of view: I wonder who she is? Is she this, is she that? I think she’s a Maoist, no a Tory, no a misanthrope (she’s all those things, by the way). When I got taken to task for supposedly revealing private information about her (the only thing that qualifies as such is her housing situation; everything else I reported is public knowledge), I simply backed up my obervations with quotations.
    Try coming up with an intelligent comment of your own for a change. And please use proper grammar and spelling.

  48. #48 by Damo Mackerel on 21st October, 2008 - 2:14 am

    Really insider, more name calling and Ad Hominem attacks. That goes a long way to back up your flawed responses as if your English is perfect, far from it. Social and economic situations have nothing to do with a person’s political point of view. Are you trying to label people? Are you trying to say that if you come from a particular background you have to act in a particular sort of way? You’re not making sense.

    It seems to be that you want to ‘witch hunt’ this woman because she doesn’t agree with your illogical point of views.

    Next time calm down before you post. Take a few deep breaths or something. Kick the cat perhaps?

  49. #49 by Insider on 21st October, 2008 - 4:48 am

    Fish-head
    You need to look ‘relevant’ up in a dictionary, and try reading more carefully. I said ‘I do think a person’s own social and economic situation is relevant to their political views’. Does that sound like ‘Are you trying to label people? Are you trying to say that if you come from a particular background you have to act in a particular sort of way? You’re not making sense’? No, not in the slightest. Me, calm down? You’re about to burst a gasket.

    And you say ‘Social and economic situations have nothing to do with a person’s political point of view’. (And it’s points of view, fish-eye, points of view, not point of views. Really!) Do you want to reconsider that? Ever looked at an electroal map after an election? Tory parts of town shaded one colour, Labour parts of the country another, that sort of thing? I’m not taking any sides here, I’m saying these things follow certain patterns. Based largely on class, race, sex, profession, age. You’d care to prove me wrong perhaps? You know what the US electoral map will look like in two weeks? Blue coasts, blue along some parts of the Canadian border, blue in parts of the industrial heartland, maybe with Obama some blue in the deep south for the first time in a generation or two. Red throughout the middle. How much of the middle always determines whether there is a Democrat or Republican in the White House.
    Back to school, cod liver. Maybe Snuffy can learn you a thing or two.

  50. #50 by Insider on 21st October, 2008 - 4:59 am

    The reason some ‘ideas’ have never been implemented is because they are patently absurd, like about 17 of the ideas on Snuffy’s list of 20. We don’t need to tie a stone to our ankles and jump into the Thames to know that it is probably not a good idea, or that anyone promoting it as such is bonkers.

    By the way, it’s curious that some people have remarked upon Snuffy’s stated desire for parents to take responsibility for their children’s education, to become ‘stakeholders’ in their schools, etc. etc., all the usual claptrap - did you know that she is vehemently opposed to parent governors on school governing councils? Yup. Only teachers (those who agree with her of course; the rest should be fired) should sit on those boards. Otherwise it’s the ‘lunatics running the asylum’. [Deleted- Rumbold]

  51. #51 by Snuffy on 21st October, 2008 - 7:43 am

    Insider
    Clever of you, pretending to know me. But you get so much wrong about me - everything really [Deleted- Rumbold]

    But as other people have pointed out to you - it is simply rude to be behaving as you are doing.

  52. #52 by Rumbold on 21st October, 2008 - 10:28 am

    Insider:

    Post personal information about Snuffy again (whether it is true or not), and you are banned.

    Don and Damo Mackerel:

    Thanks for criticising Insider.

    Snuffy:

    Please accept our apologies.

  53. #53 by Damo Mackerel on 21st October, 2008 - 10:48 am

    Ha ha ha. It seems I’ve p*ssed you off. It’s electoral by the way. You’re a very confused person rambling on about US politics. Not making sense again. And Ms Snuffy can’t LEARN me anything but she could TEACH you a lot. Like manners perhaps?

    We’ll never have real progress in the education system when we have people like you to deal with. Why you’ve a backbone made of marshmallow!

  54. #54 by Insider on 21st October, 2008 - 11:17 am

    Rumbold, a.k.a. Winston Smith
    The information you have censored are things that Snuffy has discussed openly on her own blog.

    Why thank Don for criticising me when I raised a very interesting point about the way many people here have reacted to Snuffy? It seems you’re all in collective denail about something that is quite plain to see. Lots of armchair psychoanalysis, not a lot of policy debate.

    Fishy
    Not making sense? Address the issue. You said social status has no bearing on one’s politics. I refuted you. You ignored me. Yes, there was a typo in ‘electoral’, a couple of letters got switched. That’s not the same as not knowing how to use the language.

  55. #55 by Insider on 21st October, 2008 - 11:22 am

    Snuffy
    How could everything I said about you be wrong when you’ve said almost all of it yourself on your own blog?
    What happened to your post on your blog linking people to this discussion?

  56. #56 by Rumbold on 21st October, 2008 - 11:49 am

    Insider:

    Anyway, you have been warned.

  57. #57 by Insider on 21st October, 2008 - 12:04 pm

    Rumbold
    Thanks for telling me what I already knew. Please tell me something I don’t know.

  58. #58 by Refresh on 21st October, 2008 - 12:12 pm

    Ok Guys, can we move on to policy?

    Snuffy, could you please offer a response to my #37? That I am sure would move us on to discussing the substance of your proposals.

  59. #59 by Rumbold on 21st October, 2008 - 1:02 pm

    Insider:

    “Thanks for telling me what I already knew. Please tell me something I don’t know.”

    Iván Hurtado is the most capped footballer in Ecuador’s history.

  60. #60 by Sid on 21st October, 2008 - 1:04 pm

    Indian!

  61. #61 by Insider on 21st October, 2008 - 1:07 pm

    Now that’s meaty policy discussion.

  62. #62 by Kismet Hardy on 21st October, 2008 - 1:08 pm

    SID, just for you

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1092005/

  63. #63 by Damo Mackerel on 21st October, 2008 - 1:52 pm

    #37 Refresh

    ‘For starters I am totally opposed to ASBOS…’

    I’m totally opposed to ASBOs too. For a start a lot of behaviour that was deemed criminal before is now treated as a bit of airy fairy anti-social messing about. Company directors and the like should not be given ASBOs. When they break the law they should be made to paid and not allowed off the hook with an ASBO.

  64. #64 by El Cid on 21st October, 2008 - 2:41 pm

    Woah! What’s happened here?
    I’m not responsible am I?

  65. #65 by Refresh on 21st October, 2008 - 3:02 pm

    No, I think it was Rumbold for posting, you for wanting to elect Snuffy PM, me for being shocked, Insider for offering insider info, Damo for taking the bait and Don for his gallantry.

    The perfect storm, but still no where near a discussion.

  66. #66 by Damo Mackerel on 21st October, 2008 - 3:03 pm

    El Cid

    Yes, it’s all your fault. Go and stand in the corner! LOL’s

  67. #67 by MaidMarian on 21st October, 2008 - 7:38 pm

    What a truly vile woman!

    Snuffy - you are every bit the attention seeker as the pupils you rail against.

    You are a sad combination of a wannabe hack and John McCain.

  68. #68 by Snuffy on 21st October, 2008 - 9:27 pm

    Rumbold
    I only return here because of you. I don’t understand what Refresh is asking me, but I will say that if he reads my blog, he will soon find out what I think about education.

    May the rest of your visitors have a lovely evening away from their jobs where they are changing the world, in PR, or Management Consultancy, in their expensive South Ken houses. I returned home at 8pm tonight - which is pretty normal. I work a 70-80 hour week for children I hate, earning a fortune, and living well. I hate my job so much that I haven’t made any plans to go away in half term next week so that I can spend time in school catching up on work and having children in who need help with their coursework. God I hate those kids. Thanks to your visitors for pointing that out to me.

    And may you, my dearest Rumbold, continue to be the charming and gallant prince that you are. You would have my vote any day.

  69. #69 by Refresh on 21st October, 2008 - 9:42 pm

    Snuffy, I was trying to point to some of the pressures that families and children are under. We pressure kids and parents from all angles, and then offer trite solutions such as parenting classes and yet admire or ignore far bigger crimes in our society. We do not recognise the adult world to be a problem for our kids. Kids are far more astute and see the hypocrisy around them.

    What I am asking you to do is consider the wider world and then re-evaluate your policies.

    Again I would say, its near impossible to weave policies you outline from the experience you clearly have. Where do they come from?

    As for working the long hours that you do, I do think its grossly unfair that should be the case. I believe people should be paid and supported by their employer for the work they do. And if they do not then they have a good reason to come together and negotiate over shared concerns. Which is really how unions developed.

    The other thing you should consider is the long hours parents (often both parents) are required to work these days. And from a young age how many children are required to be with childminders.

    On the subject of justice and blood on ‘our’ hands, you would really need to explain that. You should also clarify who should be allowed to have children and how many. Are these dependent on wealth or class or even colour, ethnicity?

  70. #70 by MaidMarian on 21st October, 2008 - 10:11 pm

    Snuffy (68) - Does your shoulder hurt?

  71. #71 by Don on 21st October, 2008 - 10:58 pm

    in PR, or Management Consultancy, in their expensive South Ken houses.

    That covers about all of our contributors, who are thereby unqualified to express an opinion on your agenda.

    Yes, I’m a care-free yuppie in my magical house in South Ken.

  72. #72 by Damo Mackerel on 21st October, 2008 - 11:01 pm

    #70 MaidMarian

    Does your head hurt?

  73. #73 by BenSix on 21st October, 2008 - 11:29 pm

    “Yes, I’m a care-free yuppie in my magical house in South Ken.”

    Just darting in because I before I go and snort cocaine off a fur coat.

    I enjoy reading Snuffy’s blog, and think that some of you are taking a few of the ideas far too seriously. If half of my teachers had the opportunity to sound off about their jobs I imagine they’d be convicted for hate crimes before they’d even pressed “post”.

    Ben

  74. #74 by Refresh on 21st October, 2008 - 11:36 pm

    BenSix

    Half your teachers worry me. : )

  75. #75 by Refresh on 21st October, 2008 - 11:42 pm

    Ben

    ‘If half of my teachers had the opportunity to sound off about their jobs I imagine they’d be convicted for hate crimes before they’d even pressed “post”.’

    Could this be the equivalent of the ‘canteen culture’ we hear exists in various police forces?

  76. #76 by BenSix on 21st October, 2008 - 11:46 pm

    “Could this be the equivalent of the ‘canteen culture’ we hear exists in various police forces?”

    Oh, I don’t mean bigotry, just undiluted fury. A better analogy would be pulling a spring as hard as one can and then letting go.

    Ben

  77. #77 by Refresh on 21st October, 2008 - 11:56 pm

    I am all for supporting our teachers. I would even suggest they do go to a Marbella Hotel twice a year for team building and to listen to specialists. I think they are the most important resource we have.

    Why would I propose that? Because they are being asked to bear the brunt of all the pressures, we as a society, pile onto young families and children specifically. That of course does come out in the only place kids can be themselves outside of their homes.

    So let me congratulate teachers for what they do day in day out. And congratulate parents for keeping the whole show on the road, and most of all congratulate our kids for keeping it together.

    Actually come to think of it - here is a policy suggestion - why don’t the parents join the teachers in Marbella?

  78. #78 by persephone on 22nd October, 2008 - 10:26 am

    Snuffy ” We will take justice back from the palms of your hands, where you have held it so tightly for years.

    I don’t know how you live with yourselves. You are literally killing my kids with your well-meaning, ill-informed assumptions.

    Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”

    Can you clarify what you mean in the above please.

  79. #79 by persephone on 22nd October, 2008 - 10:35 am

    Snuffy @ 68

    Like you I don’t ever make plans for half term or any other school holidays as my leave entitlement never allows it (..when I take all my leave). 70 - 80 hours a week seems an average week to me. Thats not including:

    - time I take to volunteer for local schools & charities.
    - daily 3 hour commute as I don’t live in south ken.
    - the evenings speaking to orgn’s to convince them to contribute time & resources to worthy causes as well as keep on investing in UK businesses.

    Unfortunately there are lots in this predicament - its endemic of the UK long hours working culture (which I am not defending). Plus teachers are not the only ones working to make a difference

    Better go my bubbly’s on ice

  80. #80 by Jai on 22nd October, 2008 - 10:48 am

    I returned home at 8pm tonight - which is pretty normal. I work a 70-80 hour week

    Snuffy, the above is also “pretty normal” for those working in management consultancy — in fact, it would be regarded as being a “relatively relaxed week” in the case of several top-tier consulting firms who frequently demand an even greater level of commitment in order to meet deadlines & budgets and the requirements of clients. And, unless you specialise in projects for the I-Banking sector, you also frequently have the “bonus” of working away from home during the weekdays and therefore having to spend long periods away from your friends and family.

    Several commenters here also work in the City or have a past history of employment in that sector. Believe me, returning home after 8pm and working at least 70 hours a week is nothing unusual for that kind of professional background.

    You may be considerably underestimating how hard people in both these industries have to work and the amount of pressure they are frequently under.

    ************************

    BenSix,

    Just darting in because I before I go and snort cocaine off a fur coat.

    It’s actually the supermodel in the fur coat that you’re meant to snort dodgy substances off. The fur coat’s just to keep you both warm while you’re lying on top of your chilly Ikea wooden floor.

    God, some people are such amateurs at this sort of thing……

    ;)

  81. #81 by El Cid on 22nd October, 2008 - 12:05 pm

    So Snuffy’s experiences — assuming they are true, which I believe them to be — are irrelevant? I don’t get some of you people.
    Shame Snuffy has succumb to a few ludicrous views and is not expert at winning people over, because at its core I think she is onto something.

  82. #82 by MaidMarian on 22nd October, 2008 - 12:32 pm

    Nothing to do with my head (which is fine).

    I was just thinking about Snuffy’s shoulder with that bloody great big chip she has on it.

  83. #83 by Refresh on 22nd October, 2008 - 1:34 pm

    ‘at its core I think she is onto something’

    Not sure what you see, but if those views are sincerely held then we should all worry.

    Are you sure it wasn’t the Diane Abbott line that hooked you?

  84. #84 by Kismet Hardy on 22nd October, 2008 - 1:37 pm

    If you have a chip on your shoulder, make sure it’s a McCain Micro Chip

  85. #85 by Pablo on 22nd October, 2008 - 1:52 pm

    It’s difficult to know how to take an individual who writes posts about how society has to find a way to restrict the number of children that couples can have. It’s just cranky.

  86. #86 by El Cid on 22nd October, 2008 - 2:50 pm

    Are you sure it wasn’t the Diane Abbott line that hooked you?

    Ha! You make it sound like a Herbert Lom-Inspector Clouseau obsession.

    Pablo, I don’t disagree that she embarassed herself at times, but some of what she said came from the heart. Sometimes it’s not what you say, but what you do that matters.

  87. #87 by El Cid on 22nd October, 2008 - 2:50 pm

    I guess that’s why I’m a soul man, buddap-pa buddap-pa, I’m a soul man.

    Yes, maybe you should worry.

  88. #88 by Pablo on 22nd October, 2008 - 3:08 pm

    But El Cid, how can you expect to be taken seriously when you have so little self-awareness that you actually write stuff like that, without any irony? It’s not that she doesn’t say good things. For example, her account of her response to a woman who blamed the underperformance of black children on the lack of black history being taught in schools (to paraphrase, we don’t teach Chinese and Indian history in schools and they out-perform white children) is an example of nessescary plain speaking. But why ruin it by being such a crank about other things? And why take her as a rallying beacon for a plain truth teller when those kinds of things can be used against her? Either Snuffy should address this cranky tendency and see sense, or you need to find another passionate truth teller from the inside. Cranks have a tendency to discredit themselves, even if they do say some useful things to contribute to the debate.

  89. #89 by El Cid on 22nd October, 2008 - 3:22 pm

    Agreed

  90. #90 by Rumbold on 23rd October, 2008 - 10:57 am

    Snuffy:

    Very kind of you to say so. I am glad that you felt able to return.

Comments are closed.