Throughout my teaching career I’ve encountered children who throw things at others, sometimes at other children, sometimes at staff. Naively, I’ve assumed that the problem lay squarely with the children involved – they had bad manners, low social skills or poor home backgrounds. The throwers would almost certainly be in a school where discipline was a dirty word, and where behaviour management was a problem, rather than an expectation.
But now I have been enlightened.
When I get home from work I often look at the Telegraph website, particularly the education section. I generally find the style of writing balanced (although not in all cases) and it contrasts nicely with the style adopted by the Guardian – although Secret Teacher is always worth a read. I don’t usually read the Independent, although today they have provided me with more information about the dangers of a specific food than I ever thought possible.
It appears that they have identified a problem at Castle View School, in Canvey Island, Essex, and thankfully, they have quickly found a solution to that problem. Apparently, last week, a pupil in Year 7 was injured when a flapjack was thown, which then hit him in the eye. He was treated in the school, and then sent home in the afternoon – apparently an ambulance was not required. How reassuring.
Now, to the unwary, it appears that the problem the school faces is one of bad behaviour and lack of table manners. Not so, say the school, the problem lies with the flapjack.
So in order to reduce the likelihood of a similar injury, the school have (here on the BBC website) decided to ban triangular flapjacks. Instead, the dinner ladies have been instructed to cut them into either squares or recatangles, because obviously, they will be much less likely to do damage when thrown.
It’s quite something when all four news sources report on an educational story in the same way, namely sheer incredulity. I did wonder at first if it was an April Fool’s Day joke that had inadvertantly been released a week early, but apparently not.
Still, as I said above, it has shown me that the foodstuff itself is dangerous, as mentioned in the Independent article:
This is not the first time flapjacks have been banned for being a risk.
Famously, Education Secretary, Michael Gove, was stopped from taking flapjacks – given to him by his wife – into a cabinet meeting in 2011.
He was detained by security at the time and told the flapjacks were a security risk and would not be allowed in the cabinet room.
Clearly, if flapjacks are too dangerous for the Cabinet, they really have no place in schools at all….