WARRZONE: What would Dad Walton say?

There is a certain irony that the surname of the Cheshire boy who refused point blank to stand up when his headteacher entered the classroom is Walton.

Simon Warr

There is a certain irony that the surname of the Cheshire boy who refused point blank to stand up when his headteacher entered the classroom is Walton.

Most of us remember the TV series

The Waltons, about a family with the usual issues of day-to-day disharmony but a family based upon mutual familial

support and love. Dad Walton, the head

of the TV family, was always ready to

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offer wise words to his children, particularly about respecting their elders, as befitting his role.

This couldn't be in starker contrast to rebellious 15-year-old Daniel's unemployed father, Tim. Rather than encourage his son to be co-operative at school and do as he is told, he advises Daniel to make his own judgment and respect only those teachers who, in his own uninformed, inexperienced, puerile opinion, deserve that respect and that includes the head.

Is it any wonder that fewer and fewer graduates are joining this once glorious profession and that classroom order is becoming almost anachronistic, when we read about families like the Waltons?

Nothing does more to undermine the successful running of a school than lack of parental support. There are issues that Mr Walton has a right to take issue with, such as if Daniel were being bullied or not being taught properly, but encouraging his son to cherry pick which school rules he obeys is tantamount to undermining the school's authority. This will ultimately have a decidedly negative effect on his son's school achievement.

May I state unambiguously that the fact the head has secured a university degree, has backed it up with a year's teachers' training (Dip Ed), was selected at interview to take on a role of paid professional and has been so successful in his chosen career that, after decades of service, he has earned for himself a headship, in my

book deserves the respect of an opinionated 15-year-old - a 15-year-old

who has achieved nothing of any significance in his short life.

Even if he doesn't respect the headteacher of his school, Daniel should still stand up when the head comes into the classroom. Why? Because at 15 he should realise he doesn't have a say in the matter. If his father chooses to run a 'no-rules home', then that is his ultimately damaging privilege; however, when at school a child should abide by the rules of that community, rules decided upon by the head and his staff. Surely Daniel's father has the intellectual capacity to understand this? Apparently not.

We do not want to return to the culture of the 1950s, when some schools seemed to be run by the teachers for the teachers but we now appear to have turned 180%, some pupils seeming to have an exaggerated sense of their own importance: worse than this some parents endeavouring to scupper the successful running of their son or daughter's school by failing in their parental duty to convey to their

offspring the importance of respect and good manners.

If all parents followed the example of the dreary Mr Walton, we teachers have anarchy on our hands.

I'm pretty sure what TV's Mr Walton would say to Daniel!