My View, Bill Morrison: Parents must support children’s schools

Percy Jackson Grammar School: Front Elevation 1955. Picture courtesy of Ken Cooke.
Percy Jackson Grammar School: Front Elevation 1955. Picture courtesy of Ken Cooke.

An interesting question was put forward on a Sunday morning television chat show.

“Do we get better education if we pay for it”? Made me think and I put it to the team.

The general consensus of opinion was that it was a nonsense question. We pay our taxes therefore we pay for our education.

Now the real problem as we saw it is not the choice of school but what is lacking or present depending on you choice. Public schools have discipline, state schools have virtually nil because we must not wag fingers or say boo to the poor dears. It might upset them.

Now it means nothing having the very best of teachers if there is no order in the classroom. Sending bad boy Jimmy to another room for equally bad boys only enhances their belief that in some way they are special.

I am not advocating beating the daylights out of Jimmy but some old-fashioned discipline might not go amiss. In all my years at school no-one died or was seriously damaged having had a couple of strokes of the cane or a slipper on his backside.

Once was enough in most cases, it was a deterrent that kept order in school. But parenting comes into the equation also, it is not the school’s place to teach basic manners and respect. We send our kids to learn the three Rs, our history, the sciences and so on.

To highlight my point let me tell you a little story. I was a school governor at a well-known high school and on one occasion a young man was looking at total exclusion. He was there with his parents, mum was not a happy bunny but daddy slouched in his chair showing disinterest and his only comment was ‘he’s useless at home he messes about all the time what do you want us to do?” That young man got another chance and rightly so. With a parent like that he was destined for a bleak future.

Discipline and respect start at home, a child allowed to dictate terms without boundaries will grow into a problem adolescent. Another reason we felt was a big negative was the abolition of the grammar school. It was something to aim for. What is there now for the kids who show a potential to go further?

In my view they provided a vital stepping stone between primary education and college. Many will argue the system is better now and I wouldn’t mind betting a lot of them had the benefit of the education they would like to deny today’s generation and generations to come.

Yes, we already pay for it and so it is our right to receive the best without the need to pay a second time. The problem is we are not very good at delivering it at times. Naughty kids at school are not born that way, bad parenting allows them to grow and evolve.