Kids Halloween Costumes

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Children Used as Fashion Aids

by Sean Coughlan

young preteen model

Parents are more interested in treating children as fashion accessories than in their education, say teachers.  The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) heard that some families were shirking their caring and providing responsibilities.  Ralph Surman, a primary teacher from Nottingham, said parents were asking schools to "potty train" children.  "Body piercings, haircuts and high fashion are their priority," he told the ATL annual conference in Torquay.
Mr Surman accused parents of becoming "more dependent on state intervention" and failing to provide even the most basic of training for their own children.  Parents were ready to treat children as "mini-adults from the age of three."  But they also wanted to dump them on someone else at the first opportunity because they were a "burden and an interference with getting on with their own lives."  Mr Surman, deputy head teacher at Cantrell primary school, said: "Potty training, table manners, meals, social skills, drug testing, before and after school care, sex and contraception advice become the responsibility of someone else.  The worry is that some parents simply see their child as a fashion item whose real needs will be catered for by somebody else.  What has happened to parental responsibility?  Are parents responsible for their children in the same way as they used to be?  Perhaps it's time that someone reminded parents that they too are responsible for their children," rather than "parking responsibility on the doorsteps of schools".  He was speaking in a debate about providing extended services before and after the school day.
Parents' rights and responsibilities have been a major theme in speeches given by the Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, since she took up the post last December.  At last year's ATL conference, Mr Surman recommended that teenage girls' should carry age ratings because of their sexual content.

Sean Coughlan is the BBC News education reporter, reporting from the ATL conference

Source: 23 March 2005 © BBC MMV


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