I’m really tired of posting negative stories (as the ratio seems to run about 5:1 that way), but here’s another “Dept. of Collapsing Schools” story from Head’s Bunker that I. Just. Cannot. Fathom.

You can use the f-word in class (but only five times)

A secondary school is to allow pupils to swear at teachers – as long as they don’t do so more than five times in a lesson. A running tally of how many times the f-word has been used will be kept on the board. If a class goes over the limit, they will be ‘spoken’ to at the end of the lesson.

The astonishing policy, which the school says will improve the behaviour of pupils, was condemned by parents’ groups and MPs yesterday. They warned it would backfire.

Parents were advised of the plan, which comes into effect when term starts next week, in a letter from the Weavers School in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.

Assistant headmaster Richard White said the policy was aimed at 15 and 16-year-olds in two classes which are considered troublesome.

‘Tolerate but not condone’

“Within each lesson the teacher will initially tolerate (although not condone) the use of the f-word (or derivatives) five times and these will be tallied on the board so all students can see the running score,” he wrote in the letter.

“Tolerate.” Sweet bleeding jeebus.

“Over this number the class will be spoken to by the teacher at the end of the lesson.”

And if they do it again, they’ll get another severe speaking to!

If the teacher can get a word in edgewise.

Parents called the rule ‘wholly irresponsible and ludicrous’.

Gee, you THINK??

“This appears to be a misguided attempt to speak to kids on their own level,” said the father of one pupil.

Should have do’s and don’ts

Nick Seaton, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said: “In these sort of situations teachers should be setting clear principles of ‘do and don’t’.

As in “don’t spout off again, or you’ll be picking yourself up off the floor again.

“They should not be compromising in an apparent attempt to please the pupils. This will send out completely the wrong message.

“Youngsters will play up to this and ensure they use their five goes, demeaning the authority of the teacher.”

Someone’s actually raised a child there, I’d say.

Tory MP Ann Widdecombe said the policy was based on ‘Alice in Wonderland reasoning’.

“What next?” she asked. “Do we allow people to speed five times or burgle five times? You don’t improve something by allowing it, you improve something by discouraging it.”

Um, Ann? They’re pretty much doing that. It’s spreading into the classroom, not from it.

‘Praise postcards’

The 1,130-pupil school, which was criticised as ‘not effective’ by Ofsted inspectors last November, also plans to send ‘praise postcards’ to the parents of children who do not swear and who turn up on time for lessons.

Instead of warning postcards and expulsion notices to the parents of children who do swear and who don’t show up? Brilliant.

Headmaster Alan Large said he had received no complaints about the policy. “The reality is that the fword is part of these young adults’ everyday language,” he said.

Oh, I’m sure he’s received complaints, he’s just so disconnected from reality he doesn’t recognize them.

“As a temporary policy we are giving them a bit of leeway, but want them to think about the way they talk and how they might do better.”

Why, oh why did England do away with pillory?

(If this story’s a fake, a lot of news services are treating it as real.)

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