Send brats back to see headmaster.
SENDING a troublesome pupil to the head's study used to put the fear of God into young scallywags.
Tearaways knew they would be subjected to an uncompromising dressing down. Rates of classroom re-offending were low. Naughty pupils knew there were no second chances - and they knew where they stood.
Now the boundaries of authority have blurred and far too many teachers don't bother despatching louts to the head. Similarly, large numbers of teachers refuse to raise their voices or shout at pupils. Neither do they issue detentions for offences such as late homework or talking in class.
The extent of British schools' lax enforcement of discipline has been revealed in a survey by the National Foundation for Education Research, which found that half of secondary teachers never send kids to the head.
Failure Some teachers no doubt feel they will be judged as failures if they pack off a child to the boss. They don't want their own weaknesses, and inability to keep order, flagged up.
Others prefer to let the louts run amok because to silence them would mean infringing pupils' freedom of expression.
Of course, we have decades of "child-focused" educational thinking to blame for the breakdown in standards. The individual's needs are championed over those of the whole class, even if the progress of the majority is jeopardised.
Neither does it help that many heads consider themselves chief executives rather than teachers. Many are unable to name pupils, let alone discipline them.
Young teachers need guidance from senior staff, just as rookie police officers need mentoring.
And the message should be sent out loud and clear that it is not a sign of weakness to send a brat to the head - it is sign of strength.
It's too late now to reintroduce the cane - but spending a few hours staring at the wall outside the head's office does have a magical effect on miscreants.