Anger counsellor brought in at school

A VILLAGE primary school's decision to hire an anger management counsellor to tackle a growing problem of bad behaviour among pupils has been described as “a sad situation” by union chiefs.

A VILLAGE primary school's decision to hire an anger management counsellor to tackle a growing problem of bad behaviour among pupils has been described as “a sad situation” by union chiefs.

Glemsford Primary School, near Sudbury, hired the counsellor to help children having difficulty controlling their temper.

The counsellor, Janet Byham, employs unique ways of dealing with children's rage using art and creativity.

Headteacher Liz Steele said: “It became obvious to us that quite a lot of children were experiencing difficult or challenging behaviour and there wasn't any set reason why they couldn't cope.


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“It could have been something at home they were finding hard to come to terms with or even a difficult relationship in school.”

Ms Byham, a counsellor with 16 years experience, said: “I have found that most problems with anger come when people feel small and vulnerable, like in childhood.

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“When children get angry, they often keep their feelings in their head and it can be like a train going continuously around.

“We try and reduce angry feelings and bring it out of them so they can think a little clearer. The whole thing is very tactile and structured - children feel like they are playing but they are not.

“They move from being angry to taking responsibility for themselves instead of being disruptive.”

But Chris Lines, NASUWT executive member for Suffolk, said it should be up to parents to teach their children about appropriate behaviour.

“This is a sad indictment of the situation we're in that we have to bring anger management into our schools,” he said.

“I think what the school is trying to do is to instil in children an understanding that their behaviour is inappropriate. But I believe most people learn what is appropriate at home and school should reinforce that.

“I am concerned this move will make anger into a 'condition' when anger is just behaviour. But if the school thinks this will help then fair enough but I think it is sad children haven't learnt this at home.”

This is not the first time the village has had to employ unusual measures to control its children.

In 2003 Glemsford Parish Council hired private security guards to stamp out the growing problem of rowdy groups of youths intimidating villagers.

Trouble was brought to a head after a man dressed as Santa Clause was pelted with stones as youngsters' wrecking sprees cost more than £10,000 damage.

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