Schools and restricted days for pupils
Sir, – Schools must consider all the children in their care. While The Irish Times has interviewed parents on their disappointment at the shortened day for their child, it’s worth remembering that parents of other children are no less forthright in their concerns and worries.
In my experience, children are placed on shorter days when their behaviour has become a danger to other children in the class. When a teacher or a principal contacts a parent to say that their child has been kicked, hit or slapped, they will always be met with the question: so what are you doing to make the classroom a safe place for my child? Suspension is not really an option, so the onus in on the school to manage the child’s timetable as best they can, hence the shorter school day.
Furthermore, this is a transitional measure. It is hoped that by lessening the demands placed on the child with behavioural issues, you can make the class a safer place for other children, and ensure that their own experience of school begins to be associated with success and self-regulation. Building on this foundation, the day is lengthened until the child can take a full part in the normal school timetable.
A letter to the editor is not really the place to defend this practice. But I pen these few points in the hope that you may deem it appropriate to explore this matter further in a more balanced way.
Also, I think it more beneficial, if we are appointing blame regarding this practice, to look instead at the role the Department of Education, and question school resources (including staff numbers), capitation grants and large class sizes, all of which have a part to play in a school’s ability to meet the needs of all the children in its care. – Yours, etc,