IN May, 2019 I wrote in The Herald of the behaviour management strategies "Assertive Discipline" and "The Restorative", explaining the process by which government policy all but removed teacher authority from the classroom.

I followed that up with a letter entitled "The gas-lighting of our teachers"; it requires no explanation. You have published articles under the headings "Ditch this flawed school ethos", "Teachers demand action on violence in schools" and '"Teachers covering up bad pupil behaviour to avoid 'black marks'".

Today I read of the "Pivotal" method and "toxic positivity"("Worried teachers say ‘toxic positivity’ leads to bullying and fails pupils", The Herald, February 2). The whistleblower speaks of the need to "take control" and set "boundaries". Indeed.

Perhaps something was lost in translation between the fields of Psychology and Education but following policies and procedures as dictated by the Scottish Government has simply produced an explosion in the type of behaviour it sought to eradicate. The problem lies firstly in applying a one-to-one approach (Getting It Right For Every Child?) to a class of up to 30 pupils. Under the guidelines, a teacher must follow the procedures with each individual pupil and so the fun begins... for the errant pupil/s.

In addition, the "nurturing and restorative justice" approach guarantees a no-effective-consequences experience for the disruptive/abusive/aggressive pupils. With the passage of time and the loss of acceptable boundaries, chaos ensues. The security afforded by strict rules and guidelines unhindered by the interference of those who never spent a day of their lives in a classroom may bring order to the proceedings.

For those who scream "children's rights!" – those who have successfully negotiated the education system, spent years in study and training, to devote their lives to teaching, for the benefit of the next generation, have rights too. The right to be respected. The right to be heard. The right to work in a toxic-free environment.
Maureen McGarry-O'Hanlon, Balloch

Teachers should focus on trust

YOUR front-page lead story must confuse many parents looking after their children at home while teachers strike.

At the end of the Second World War the Government published a report, entitled The Needs of Youth in These Times. It suggested: “Anti-social conduct and delinquency in young people has been ascribed to original sin, heredity, psychological maladjustments, inadequate home life and training, unsatisfactory school life, insufficient religious and moral instruction...”; the list went on.

Since that authoritarian time, our library shelves seem to have sagged under the weight of books on techniques of teaching. Your whistleblower has seemingly exposed a problem. Can we now hear a range of options presented as to designing the possible solutions?

The sad fact is that teachers invariably go on strike for more money and when they win they return to school to the same problems they have always had. They should have realised that there are more important things wrong in their profession than pay.

I feel that the reported issues in Glasgow’s Bannerman High perhaps highlights the consequences of dissolving Scottish teacher training colleges in the early 1990s in favour of academic study of education provided by our universities. I expect very few experienced teachers of the previous form of practical training are still in post.

Friends who are teachers inform me that techniques of dealing with reluctant learners always centres on winning trust and really knowing the pupils such that the school is able to provide a tailored curriculum which does not create the atmosphere of frustration which apparently exists among some pupils.

I expect that teaching in an inner city school is not something to be taken lightly and not many people have the qualities to meet the challenges effectively.
Bill Brown, Milngavie

Mixed emotions on Happy Valley

I HAVE, just this week, caught up with the first four episodes of the first series of Happy Valley having mixed emotions about the programme.

I believe it to be very impressive in so many respects and I agree with much of what Alison Rowat says (“From out of Happy Valley comes heroine for our times”, The Herald, February 2). However, I find the programme’s representation of man’s inhumanity to man (using the term in its globally inclusive sense) almost too painfully accurate to watch. Perhaps we need to keep being reminded of it, as if the the news from Ukraine and Memphis is not more than enough.

On the other hand I keep reminding myself of the decency of the folk I know, not to mention the exceptionally principled courage of Sergeant Cawood, and seriously hope both represent our real humanity.

The drama is indeed a parable for our times with even the corruption in our political life, albeit at a minor level (in the first series anyway), brought in to remind us of the wider background to our society.
John Milne, Uddingston

Cold comfort

BASED on the proximity of the two males to the vehicle in your picture ("True grit in Argyle Street", The Herald, February 2), I would suggest the snow plough has temporarily halted or even broken down, doubtless to the consternation of following traffic. The caption invites readers to name that vehicle. Perhaps Snowmafault would be an apt if somewhat polite Glaswegian moniker.
Allan C Steele, Giffnock

Ay, what?

THE BBC has indeed a lot to answer for (Letters, February 2). Having unilaterally deprived us of the adjectives Scottish, Welsh, English and Irish the humble letter "a" is now under attack. It has now become almost axiomatic that it has seamlessly morphed into "ay" as in "They are going to plant ay tree". "She is going to ay party." Why?
Andy Trombala, Stirling

Mark his words

ANENT the current discussion about people’s views changing with age (Letters, February 1 &b 2), I’m reminded of the quote ascribed to Mark Twain: “When I was a boy of fifteen, my parents were so ignorant I could hardly bear to be in a room with them. But when I got to twenty-one, I was astonished how much they had learned in six years.”
Doug Maughan, Dunblane


Letters should not exceed 500 words. We reserve the right to edit submissions.