In UK Nick Clegg calls on parents to take responsibility

Parents need to do more to help teachers rather than expect them to be “surrogate mothers and fathers”, Nick Clegg will say today.

Andrew Porter
Telegraph [UK]
05 Sep 2011

The Deputy Prime Minister will argue that too much is expected of teachers and it is time parents did “their bit” and not leave the responsibility for the upbringing of their children to schools.

His comments strike a different tone from those of senior Conservatives in recent weeks who have placed a lot of emphasis on teaching and school discipline as a reason for the recent riots.

In a speech Mr Clegg will say: “If you don’t take an interest in your child’s education, teachers cannot make up the shortfall.

“We already expect our teachers to be social workers; child psychologists; nutritionists; child protection officers. We expect them to police the classroom, take care of our children’s health; counsel our sons and daughters; guide them, worry about them, and, on top of that, educate them too.

“When you consider that list, it is phenomenal that so many rise to the challenge. But it is too much to ask. Teachers are not surrogate mothers and fathers; they cannot do it all.”

Last week Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, said he was determined to return discipline to schools and said it was time children were given an “unambiguous lesson in who’s boss”. He and David Cameron have used the aftermath of last month’s riots to address the issue of behaviour at school.

But Mr Clegg will shift the focus to parents, saying teachers are “desperate” for their help.

He will say: “The fact is: parents hold their children’s fortunes in their hands. Small changes that make the world of difference to their classrooms…”

The article continues, with video, at the Telegraph.

Related: Children as young as four reprimanded for racist behaviour

The equivalent of around 100 primary school pupils a day were reported to local authorities after using offensive language in lessons and the playground, it is claimed.

In some cases, pupils were reprimanded for relatively trivial squabbles and employing insults such as “gaylord” and “broccoli head”.

Researchers said many children – some as young as four – are being reported despite being “unlikely to understand the meaning of these words”.

Schools are obliged to report all “hate speech” incidents to local authorities as part of the 2000 Race Relations Act. Many councils are also demanding that schools log data relating to homophobic incidents…

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