Friday, January 12, 2007

Digital records of 'disruptive behaviour'

From ARCH:

"According to Children Now:

Leicestershire Council has signed a £1m contract for an IT system designed to help target truancy, behaviour and pupil attainment.

The five-year agreement with Capita Education Services will provide a system to manage pupil and school data. It will make it easier for children’s services teams to share information on attendance, exclusions, behaviour, pupil attainment and special educational needs.

Over on the Capita education site, online demonstrations of all their products are available. The ‘Detailed Pupil Record’ captures, well, everything - right down to ‘disruptive behaviour - throwing food’.

Schools need to start being very careful if they are logging and sharing information on what may be subjective or unfair decisions about behaviour. After all, who hasn’t at some point been unfairly accused of some misdemeanour or other at school?

Generally children shrug injustice off as yet another example of a particular teacher’s irascibility or unreasonableness, but if that information is going to be spread around and find its way on to the databases of other services in order to facilitate judgments about whether a child is showing signs of being ‘at risk’ of future offending, that’s another matter completely...

A child whose database record is peppered with incidents of ‘disruptive behaviour’ is a child heading for a label and a multi-agency intervention scheme. More, that record is persistent: unlike the punishment book, it doesn’t disappear down the back of the head teacher’s filing cabinet to accumulate dust once the pages have started to fall out. It can follow a child around every agency with which s/he has contact for years to come.

Teachers are going to have to start being very sure indeed about what goes on to a child’s behaviour record, because as soon as children’s information starts crossing the school fence, the implications of unjust accusations suddenly become extremely serious."


Anonymous said...

If teachers can do this to our children, can the children start a database recording the behaviour of the teachers?

How would they like it if there was a multi accessable database that allowed children to put on things like 'Mrs/Mr xxxx was late again, that twice this week' or that they raised their voice in what the child thought was intimadating, or they thought they held that child to tightley or that they think that they treated that child different becasue they are not white?

Based on the children I know the database would be more reliable and easier to use and based on some of the teachers I have come accross, it would be full of information.

What goes arround, comes around.

Ray Corrigan said...

I think the point that the ARCH folks rightly make is that sharing of permanent digital records of a loose subjective and arbitrary nature can all to quickly and easily get out of control; subsequently having a disproportionately negative impact on that person's life.