Family Lives responds to: 'Women Teachers Struggle to Control Queen Bee Girls' (Times, 31/05/14)

Disruptive behaviour within the classroom is often indicative of a teenage desire to assert independence and challenge authority.  Perhaps also the result of a difficult home life.  Between April 2013 and March 2014, Family Lives’ Helpline received 910 calls regarding incidents of verbal and 337 physical aggression concerning young adult females.  The experiences of those who contact Family Lives often centre around children behaving in a confrontational way at home or school.  Young people often feel that the home or classroom is a safe place to vent ones feelings.  Incidences of disruption targeted at parents and teachers may now span the gender divide.  Although circumstances vary depending on the type of school, teachers tell us that the tension between a heavy workload, class-room discipline and the demands from parents for more time-consuming forms of communications must be eased if to foster harmonious engagement between all parties.  Schools could benefit from employing Parent Support Workers to ensure positive pupil behaviour both within and beyond the school gates. Regardless of gender, this is an issue that must be addressed at the earliest opportunity. 

Anastasia de Waal, Family Lives Chair