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Bootcamps a good idea?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by simon81phipps, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. Hi,

    I'm a freelance journalist. I'm writing a feature about Michael Gove's proposal to let soldiers run Pupil Referral Units.

    I would be very interested to hear from anyone who works at a PRU. Do you think it's a good idea to turn them into 'bootcamps'?

    Has anybody had any direct contact with Skills Force, the charity that employs ex-soldiers to work with 'hard to reach' children?

    Is 'hard to reach' an appropriate description?

    Lots of questions, I know!

    I look forward to your responses. If anybody wants to talk to me in person, I can be reached on my mobile 07702 742 697

    Simon Phipps
     
  2. Hi,

    I'm a freelance journalist. I'm writing a feature about Michael Gove's proposal to let soldiers run Pupil Referral Units.

    I would be very interested to hear from anyone who works at a PRU. Do you think it's a good idea to turn them into 'bootcamps'?

    Has anybody had any direct contact with Skills Force, the charity that employs ex-soldiers to work with 'hard to reach' children?

    Is 'hard to reach' an appropriate description?

    Lots of questions, I know!

    I look forward to your responses. If anybody wants to talk to me in person, I can be reached on my mobile 07702 742 697

    Simon Phipps
     
  3. Hi Simon
    I don't work in a PRU but have extensive experience of kids whose behaviour is very poor, some of whom get sent on to PRUs.
    Gove's brilliant idea is not new - these institiutions used to be called Borstals. Boys were drilled, given barracks-type living quarters, taught a manual trade (ish), and shouted at by tough men. These men also hit the boys, both formally in recorded punishments and informally. Boys who didn't comply got the isolation cells, extra duties, and physical punishments such as additional PT (push-ups; running 5 miles etc).
    You can argue the toss as to whether or not it worked. I suspect the data has not been rigorously kept so evaluating the effectiveness at this distance might be hard.
    But you can see where the differences lie: corporal punishment; PT used as punishment; and what the soldiers can do to a boy who simply refuses to comply. The zeitgeist when Borstals existed was generally compliant - most people obeyed 'authority' in its various guises, and this was the society that Borstal boys returned to even if their own immediate circumstances were different to the norm.
    This does not apply now, and many boys would return from boot-camp straight into the circumstances that conributed to their going, which includes no jobs. Moreover we have an almost casual use of litigation that would be applied joyfully by hearse-chasing lawyers. Many teachers reading these webpages will have direct experience of parents pursuing cases for their child's twisted ankle / exam trauma / unfair detentions. Add to this the huge increase in chaotic families, unemployment and drug use, light blue touch-paper and retire..... and we haven't even mentioned the numerous girls with similar behavioural problems, who I cannot see anyone condoning being screamed at by soldiers to 'make them do'.
    Don't get me wrong - I am all in favour of children who won't behave being hoofed out of school so everyone else can get on in peace. But I can see this proposal lasting as far as the first case taken to the European Court of Human Rights.
     

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