Disaffection from School by Ken Reid

By Ken Reid

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Mind you, they don't swear and cheek me. They'd soon find out who was boss if they did. But life is hell for some staff here I can tell you. How they can stand coming to school day after day defeats me. One of them pretends everything is fine in his classes when I've never heard such a din. I suppose he copes because he's on valium like the rest . . Another experienced male member of staff from the same school made much the same point. He had been trained in a college of education in the halcyon days of the mid-1960s.

By contrast, school refusal rates have been found to account for less than 1 per cent of all absences, probably even lower (Rutter et al, 1970; Berg, 1980). A pressure group, the National Association of Chief Education Welfare Officers (NACEWO, 1975), carried out their own survey in October 1973, of all secondary schools in sixteen local education authorities. Their findings showed that 24 per cent of the secondary pupils were absent. 5 and 7 per cent of the children were away from school without good cause.

A historical analysis of the literature shows that violent and disruptive conduct in schools has been displayed by a minority of certain pupils since the Middle Ages and has continued unabated into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This conduct has been as prevalent in the last 100 years in the United States as in Britain. The advent of comprehensive schooling in Britain and the emergence of the Black Papers on Education gave rise to a number of research projects, reports and books which were published in the early and late 1970s (Lowenstein, 1972; 1975; DES, 197%; NUT, Downloaded by [Aligarh Muslim University] at 03:10 23 September 2013 32 1)ISAFFFC~I'ION F R O M S<;HOC)l 1976; SEI), 1977) and have continued thereafter (Dierenfield, 1982; Galloway et al, 1982; Tattum, 1982; Frude and Gault, 1984).

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