Monday, June 05, 2006

Go to your room... that the principal has cleaned it out:

A head teacher has raised standards at his school by confiscating computers and television sets from the homes of under-performing pupils.

Duncan Harper, the head of New Woodlands school in Bromley, south London, visits the homes of pupils who are tired or grumpy in lessons and seizes electronic equipment from their bedroom.

...."We discovered that a lot of them had televisions and Playstations in their bedrooms. They were staying up till all hours playing sometimes quite violent games or watching unsuitable programmes."

He said some of the pupils were amazed to see their headmaster walking off with their possessions. "When we turn up they are usually absolutely gob-smacked. They are quite taken aback as like lots of kids they might think that adults don't mean what they say."

....Annie Blake, whose eight-year old son Robert Juniper is a pupil at New Woodlands, said she noticed a "complete turnaround", in her son after his Gameboy was taken away for a month.

Miss Blake, 37, said: "It is a fantastic idea. He wasn't happy about it but it sends a very clear message that he can understand: 'misbehave and you lose the game, behave well and you can have it back'. After being a child who didn't sleep, would hit out at other children, and would be sent home from his old school 10 minutes after arriving, he is now the happiest he has ever been."

....Another 11-year-old pupil showed a marked improvement in concentration and behaviour after his television was confiscated for a month, Mr Harper said, but soon returned to his old habits.

"He realised there was a problem and actually brought the television into school himself for us to look after."

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