Role reversal as pupils rate teachers

Britain's teachers are set to see yet more of their authority eroded as the Government's "pupil power" drive gathers pace. As part of their bid to consult pupils on more and more aspects of their own schooling, children as young as 11 are to be issued with iPhones enabling them to rate their teachers. According to the Daily Mail, these "spy" messages will then be emailed to senior staff during lessons.

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These days school pupils have their say over everything from hiring staff to lesson content and there is growing discontent amongst teacher's unions. Dennis Hayes, author and professor of education, told the Mail: "The big crisis is the crisis of adult authority. Everywhere I go, the clearest sign of the rejection of adult authority is listening to learner, student, pupil or infant voice. Anybody's voice but the voice of adults."

Of course, many support the "pupil power" method, claiming it strengthens the bond between child and school and that their participation in major decision-making encourages better behaviour. Government guidance now advises educational facilities to involve pupils in policy changes including uniforms, school dinners and equality but schools are also urged to consider lesson observation, allowing children to provide feedback.

However, a growing number of decisions are being made at the whim of the nation's youngsters. The NASUWT, a teacher's union, has even produced a dossier containing more than 200 testimonies of "inappropriate" consultation with pupils, including the case of one teacher who was awarded a post because the kids "liked the colour of her red shoes".

The Department for Children, Schools and Families said yesterday: "We believe pupils should play an active, constructive and appropriate role in their own learning, the learning of their peers and in the development of their school communities."

Professor Hayes, however, insists that this trend towards "pupil power" was threatening to "make education in the future impossible".

Are you a supporter of pupil power, or is it dangerous to allow children to make decisions over the education?