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riots report points finger at schools

28 March 2012

A report into last year’s riots recommends a new requirement for schools to develop policies on building pupils’ character and that Ofsted review character-building in schools. If that extra bureaucratic requirement wasn’t enough of a sting, the report recommends fining schools whose pupils leave with poor literacy skills.

Schools play an important role in building young people’s character and instilling a sense of what’s right and wrong. Many schools argue that lessons such as these are taught every day and reinforced through behaviour policies. While the report recognises other contributing factors that led to the riots (such as poverty and poor parenting) it states the way to address the problem “starts in schools”.

This is becoming the default answer – make schools responsible for every aspect of a child’s life, be it educational, social or health. Surely it’s better to leave schools to focus on teaching and attainment and for government to stop suggesting the cure for all social ills lies at the door of schools?

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