17th October 2022
Increase in Poor Behaviour in Welsh Schools Post-Covid
BBC report reveals pupils are being offered support after an increase in children vaping and swearing at teachers
In a report by the BBC, teachers in Carmarthenshire revealed an increase in bad behaviour after pupils returned to face-to-face lessons, with head teachers contacting parents earlier this year to urge them to challenge their children on "detrimental behaviour".
Head Teachers in Carmarthenshire are trying to understand the problems causing this poor behaviour, with pupils telling the S4C Newyddion programme they had witnessed disruptive behaviour when they returned to the classroom. This included inappropriate use of social media, more pupils vaping during the school day, and more graffiti and abusive language directed towards other pupils and staff.
Pupils said they had seen children as young as 11 vaping in schools, with "shocking" language hurled at staff.
Letter to Parents
Schools in Carmarthenshire noted an increase in abuse towards staff, deliberate vandalism and vaping.
In a letter sent to parents signed by the heads of 11 Welsh schools, said that schools understood the education system since March 2020 had created a "significant burden" for everyone and although challenges faced by pupils were "becoming more and more apparent," these challenges reflected the "national picture".
Concerns were also noted about the addictive nature of vaping, which can slow brain development in teenagers and lead to smoking cigarettes.
It also said despite abusive language directed towards teachers being "wrong", sanctions do not seem to change habits. Pupils are increasingly using their phones in school and until the early hours of the morning, to perpetuate the abuse.
Cabinet Member for Education
Councillor Glynog Davies, cabinet member for education said: "I'm very sorry that these two-and-a-half years have left their mark on our pupils. It has left its mark on the education system. They haven't been there face-to-face with the teachers. They've been staring at some screen for hours on end. Maybe they've lost the habit of being in class and behaving in a good way. We support the campaign because we listen to our head teachers. These head teachers play an important role in the county, they look after our young people. We have to listen, we have to help our schools, to help the teachers get the best out of the children. We can't sweep it under the carpet. We're determined to work with our head teachers, with our staff in our secondary schools."
The Welsh government said: "We've more than doubled mental health support for schools, to over £12 million, since the start of the pandemic as part of our 'whole school' approach to mental health and well-being. Counselling services currently see around 11,500 learners each year and support for staff will be trebled this year."