UK reality TV the antidote for unruly boys?

| August 19, 2014 | 0 Comments

Mr Drew’s School for Boys recently aired on Britain’s Channel Four and captured record numbers of viewers, who tuned in to watch the antics of 11 young boys who, because of their trouble-making tendencies, were enrolled in a special ‘corrective’ summer school with their parents.

At Mr Drew’s, ‘school’ follows a conventional timetable. The differences, of course, are the very small classes and the presence of experts on hand to deal with trouble. Those in charge are respectful but firm, offering families workable discipline strategies. “It’s like Supernanny at school,” said one British fan.

Whereas popular television heroine and supernanny Jo Malone might offer her advice for free, Mr Drew demands excessively high fees for those ‘delinquents’ in his summer school – more than tripling the pupil premiums (£1 300 for primary pupils, £935 for secondary aged pupils and £1 900 for lookedafter children) to be allocated to all British schools from September 2014 to provide additional support for vulnerable pupils.

Education experts say that the increase in interest in the new series is due to the worryingly high numbers of pupils (over 5 000) permanently excluded from school in the United Kingdom (UK).

Drew’s real school, Brentwood Country High School, ‘walks the talk’, having cut exclusions by 60% over the last year. At the end of July this year, the UK Department for Education released a report entitled ‘Evaluation of the School Exclusion Trial: (Responsibility for Alternative Provision for Permanently Excluded Children)’. Perhaps, say educationists, Mr Drew’s reality show model should form part of its recommendations.

Category: Spring 2014

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