'Schools don't understand behaviour or what "success" should really mean'

The head of a pupil referral unit says his Christmas wish is for a better school system that understands behaviour and what success at school should mean.


I really like my job as the headteacher of a pupil referral unit, but sometimes the enormity of it hits home. Christmas can be particularly hard when it comes to behaviour.


Three of our pupils are on the verge of homelessness this week. With few resources to take care of themselves and nowhere safe to go, a punched wall or a broken chair might be the way a child tells us just how scared they are feeling about their possible time alone over the holidays.  


Couple homelessness with family breakdown, with drug addiction (to numb the pain), paranoia, death and loss of primary carers and often a seriously shame-based identity leading to a sense of worthlessness and that the good stuff just isn't for them – well, life is hard sometimes in our school. 


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