Excluding other perspectives

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Let’s see if we can agree two principles from across the educational debate:

  1. The vast majority of children with disabilities present no risk to other children, either a physical risk or a risk to the learning of others. There is therefore no need to exclude them from school.
  2. Exclusion from school is likely to have a negative impact on an excluded child. It’s possible that a new school might provide a fresh start or that alternative provision may help a child but, on average, we would not expect exclusion to be beneficial.

A lot of questions then arise. The law requires us to make reasonable adjustments for disabled children. What do these look like? What is reasonable in a particular circumstance? Guidance on this is helpful for schools.

Secondly, is there a way that we can improve provision for students who are excluded? Can we invest more in the relevant services? What does the evidence say about what works?

Very few of these questions are ever addressed in the headline debates about exclusion. And part of the problem is that researchers view the issue from one, narrow perspective; that of the excluded child only. They take into account nothing else, asserting that exclusion is wrong because it does not benefit the excluded child. And yet children are excluded due to their impact on others; an issue on which researchers remain utterly silent.

A good example of this argument comes from David Armstrong writing yesterday in The Conversation. He notes that students who are most affected by exclusion tend to be those with disabilities and mental health needs, which is hardly surprising given that many researchers class things like Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) as a disability. It would be worth disaggregating the figures to see which disabilities and mental health needs feature most prominently.

Armstrong notes:

“Research shows students who are expelled have a higher future risk of engaging in criminal and anti-social behaviour, or consuming drugs. Excluded young people also have lower odds of a stable, happy and productive adult life.”

There is no reason to doubt these findings and I don’t think anyone is publicly making the case that they are not true. However, it is worth pointing out that this doesn’t prove exclusion caused these negative life consequences. For instance, a child might have an underlying condition such as ODD that caused the exclusion and that also caused the other behaviours.

Interestingly, there has been a flurry of recent press about exclusions in the Australian state of Victoria. In one instance, a principal resigned because he could not guarantee a safe environment. He had excluded a child who threatened others with a knife and who had repeatedly bullied a student with an intellectual disability and this exclusion was overturned. This would have presented an excellent opportunity for Armstrong to address the issue of balancing the rights of the community and the rights of the child. But he chose to enter into no such discussion.

There is a loud group of inclusion experts on Twitter who see inclusion as an absolute, backed by law and even the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. They dismiss any talk of inclusion failing as not true inclusion or mere ‘integration’. And they too focus only on the excluded child and never on the community. When a story breaks in the press that doesn’t fit the narrative, all you get is silence.

I think we need to move on from such polarised positions. Nobody wants children to be excluded and everyone would like to see exclusions reduced. The question is: how do we achieve this?

On one side are those who seek top-down, legalistic barriers to exclusion. We saw above what this causes in Australia and we have plenty of evidence from the US. Preventing schools excluding for relatively trivial matters certainly seems to have merit, but generally bearing down on all exclusions is associated with schools that are less safe.

On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence that schools that are effective at tackling issues such as bullying have consistent enforcement of discipline backed up by lots of support. Although the authors of this study try to conceptually separate strict behaviour policies from those that are ‘punitive’ and involve suspensions, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the schools where students felt most able to report bullying incidents to teachers were the ones that had lower suspension rates.

If we sweat the small stuff and intervene early then we might be able to prevent behaviour issues from escalating to the point where exclusion becomes necessary. By strongly enforcing conventional boundaries, children have no need to seek more radical boundaries to transgress. This will not work for all students, all of the time, but I believe it is our best bet for reducing overall exclusion rates.

I might be wrong in these conclusions but it is a discussion worth having. I think that reasonable people with no axe to grind need to start taking control of this debate. It has been the domain of intransigent absolutists for too long.

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34 thoughts on “Excluding other perspectives

  1. Hi Greg
    As you rightly state, this is an important issue and one on which we need more nuanced discussion and debate. However I don’t think that position is strengthened by your asssertion that “And part of the problem is that researchers view the issue from one, narrow perspective; that of the excluded child only. They take into account nothing else, asserting that exclusion is wrong because it does not benefit the excluded child.“
    I am a researcher whose work has included the issue of suspensions/exclusions and certainly don’t just focus on the needs of the exuded child – and I don’t think I am exceptional in this respect. My mantra has always been better knowledge, support and resources for teachers and schools. This is derived in part from my 7 years as course coordinator of a Graduaate Diploma in Mental Health for Teaching Professions. This taught me, among other things, that teachers are hungry for theoretical frameworks and skills in this space (not to mention system supports). I don’t think it’s helpful to set up false dichotomies between teachers and researchers therefore – any more than it’s helpful to think of students as being either “good” or “bad” – most of them move along a continuum. The generally “good” students on some days are perpetrators and on others may be victims. The same applies to the generally “bad” students. Schools, as you know, are complex ecologies.
    You seem to question whether ODD is a disability. This is a tricky one, as in some legislatures disability and disorder coalesce, but not in all of them. Either way, it is a *disorder* – it is not something that children choose for themselves. It is invariably a consequence of maltreatment of some form (neglect and/or abuse) and often results from, harsh, erratic, and/or coercive parenting against a background of a lack of parental warmth and attunement. It is endemic of course in my Youth Justice research samples. I know you don’t like the assertion that behaviour is a form of communication, but taking a wide lens can be helpful – not as a “get out of jail free” card, but as a way of understanding and better responding to what is happening. For young people with impoverished language and communication skills, behaviour most certainly IS a form of commmunication, sometimes, all they’ve got, and of course it can work against everyone’s best interests.

    1. I have never asserted that children are either good or bad. I believe quite the reverse.

      Could you point me to any piece by a behaviour expert in something like the Conversation or the AARE blog where they discuss the impact of behaviour on other students and the need to balance these needs? I might have missed these.

      ODD is interesting. If you read my link you will see I have discussed it before. My main issue is that it seems entirely circular in its logic: this student is defiant because she has ODD. How do we know she has ODD? Because she is defiant. Obviously, I paraphrase but this is essentially it. As such, it lacks explanatory power. However, it does allow for the categorisation of large numbers of students as having a disorder / disability and these students then become subject to relevant legislation.

    2. In fact, Pam, could I encourage you to pitch something to The Conversation that takes a far more balanced and nuanced view than the usual stuff? That would be very helpful, in my view.

  2. This is an important discussion to have.

    Research does inform us that “The vast majority of children with disabilities present no risk to other children, either a physical risk or a risk to the learning of others.” Indeed it actually indicates children with a disability are 3x more likely to have abuse done to them. Those non-verbal/with communication challenges 10x more likely to be abused.

    The 2nd statement “There is therefore no need to exclude them from school.” is more open to question, as it is an assumption based on a seperate issue. Should violent children (non-disabled or otherwise) have appropriate sanctions – well of course.

    The really interesting question raised by this piece is in regard to ‘reasonable adjustment’ for a disability. As an example, should a child with fine or gross motor skills challenges be given access to technology or further time in assessments ? I have heard many voices saying no, they need to write just like anyone else. Of course physical handwriting is an important skill that needs to be developed but at the expense of assessing other knowledges?

    A similar case would never be argued for certain types of visual impairment. Many people have a visual impairment as their eyes have degenerated in a manner that effects all aspects of their day to day living. I am one, similar to the Greg’s profile picture, I wear an adjustment for my visual impairment – glasses. Should I be denied this needed extra tool for completing some tasks? Sometimes people forget optical degeneration is the initial starting of a disability.

    We need to focus on what is equity, and what is equality. Not necessarily the same thing.

    Let’s not get caught in definitions of ODD, or Autism, or other labels which are a distraction. Instead let’s consider learning needs, and what supports need to be put in place to allow each and every individual child overcome whatever barriers to learning and success are there for them.

    1. The handwriting issue is a tricky one, because it is certainly open to exploitation. I will never forget a Year 12 class I had long ago in which one student managed to get both computer provisions *and* extra time on the basis of his poor handwriting, which was in fact no worse than many of his peers – he just happened to have pushy parents and a compliant GP. Personally I would think that you should need evidence from a reputable specialist in the fine motor field to be given such provisions.

      The definitions that you mention at the end do matter, very much so. Producing a convenient three-letter acronym whose diagnostic basis (in the DSM or elsewhere) is dubious, and insisting on adjustments as a result – and very many parents do this – denies agency, and therefore responsibility, to many students who are perfectly capable of moderating their behaviour. Often, the adjustments are then altered on the fly by the school when things take the inevitable turn for the worse. I’ve seen this play itself out many times, and it is not pretty. Something should be diagnostically absolutely watertight before schools should be required to make any sort of adjustment, and this is currently not the case in my view.

    2. The glasses issue is easily resolved. If I stop wearing my glasses, will my eyesight improve? No. If a kid stops using technology will her handwriting improve? If the answer is no then it would be cruel to cut-off her access to the tech. But if the answer is yes then there may be a case for doing so. We need clear guidelines for making these inferences.

      1. It’s not quite that simple. I have cerebral palsy and my need for technology or dictation was never questioned. But could my handwriting improve if I worked really hard it? Yes, almost certainly. Would it still be slow and clumsy, and interfere with more important things? Yes, almost certainly. The issue is one of opportunity costs.

  3. Greg I agree, the whole area of diagnosis in psychiatry is fraught, but that’s not a reason to not attempt to progress this area of inquiry. Mental health/ill-health sits inside a broader social/cultural context, which partly explains why characterisation of some phenomena as “disorders” or not, changes over time. Homosexuality is a case in point – it was listed as a disorder in earlier editions of the DSM but we would consider that laughable, if not outrageous in 2018. I don’t think it’s helpful for labels to be thrown around loosely, especially by people unqualified to apply diagnostic criteria and assessment processes, but I know this sometimes happpens in schools unfortunately. But I don’t think the logic behind the ODD label is any more circular than say a label of generalised anxiety disorder – how do we know a person has GAD? Because they are anxious (above a diagnostic threshold that would be considered “normal” as part of everyday life). If appropriate diagnostic processes are followed, I don’t see what the problem is. We can’t cherry pick the internalising Mental Health conditions (anxiety and depression) as “real” and the externalising ones (ODD, conduct disorder, ADHD) as “made-up”. They are all mental health conditions and need to be understood and managed as such, ideally using the best evidence-based interventions available – at individual and system levels.
    I’m no apologist for what gets written on the AARE Blog (or The Conversation) – as I think you would know, I am more likely to be arguing against a case made on the AARE platform in particular. I just don’t want all researchers to be tarred with the “single focus” brush. Part of the job of researchers is to try to capture and understand the perspectives and needs of *all* stakeholders: teachers, students, parents, school leaders, policy makers, ITE providers etc (not necessarily all in one go!). We can no doubt do better in that space.
    So I agree absolutely with your final sentence: “it is a discussion worth having.”

    1. …But I don’t think the logic behind the ODD label is any more circular than say a label of generalised anxiety disorder – how do we know a person has GAD? Because they are anxious (above a diagnostic threshold that would be considered “normal” as part of everyday life)…

      Exactly. But this is the whole problem: when such circular logic is applied, *ordinary behaviour* which the child has the capacity to change on their own account is (a) medicalised (and the Pharma companies circle menacingly), (b) ascribed to a condition of doubtful authenticity, which the child supposedly has no control over. It is a denial of agency and thus a denial of responsibility, and in practice it can be very harmful.

    2. I am not claiming ODD does not exist. As a description of a set of behaviours it works well. If we can use it to decide upon effective treatments then that’s very helpful. I am questioning causal inferences that are made about it. For instance, such behaviours are the sorts of antisocial behaviours that schools act against. So we would expect kids with ODD to be over represented in exclusions. However, this does not mean, as some claim, that schools systemically discriminate against kids with disabilities.

      I can’t find many articles by Australian researchers that focus on the impact of challenging behaviour on other students. Such research as exists is often done by economists. When the OECD released data showing that behaviour in Australian schools is very poor and affects learning, two leading researchers, David Armstrong and Linda Graham, took to the press to dismiss this evidence. I didn’t hear many researchers disagree with them. And I know anecdotally that such research is discouraged. So I don’t think the research community is balanced on this, no.

  4. It is indeed a discussion worth having, Greg, and your student-centred considerations are very much appreciated.

  5. I could comment a lot about this. It is my day to day business to deal with students, parents and staff post behavior bust ups.
    It is also my job to decide whether to exclude a child from school.
    The question I always ask is “Is this child’s behavior having a significant negative impact on other children’s ability to learn and the teachers ability to teach.” If the answer to that is yes then I consider exclusion, or suspension as we call it, an option. No student has the right to interfere with the learning of others.
    Exclusion, as Greg pointed out rarely does much for the child being excluded. We work hard to try to make it a learning experience for the excluded child. We try whenever possible to use internal exclusions. The ideal scenario for internal exclusions is the the child to work closely with a highly trained adult on correcting the behavior that led to the exclusion. This is very human resource intensive. We don’t have the staff to do this with all the time.
    Sometimes the excluded child creates more issues while in the exclusion center. They can sometimes be highly disruptive and abusive to staff in this situation. The emotional and physical well-being of staff also need to factor into discussions about exclusions. Teachers don’t come to work to be sworn at or abused. Our staff need a safe and harassment free workplace too.

    When exclusions work well the child who has been excluded works with five or six different staff in a positive way over the course of the day. Relationships broken are repaired and the child returns to the class with a clean slate and hopefully caught up on any work missed.

    If you looked at exclusion data you would find students diagnosed with ODD and ADHD do get suspended at a higher rate than the rest of the student population. So do boys compared to girls.
    Saying “He’s got ODD so he should not be excluded for repeatedly swearing at a teacher in front of the whole class.” is a nonsense.

    The label explains the behavior but does not excuse it.

    Some parents hang their hat of that diagnosis; on that label. “Oh he’s got ADHD that explains everything.” They use this diagnosis to explain why the child struggles to concentrate, or sit still, or listen, or follow basic instructions. It is difficult to get parents and students to point where they see that having this condition makes those things more difficult for the student but certainly not impossible. And the label certainly cannot be used as an excuse to interfere with other students ability to learn the teachers ability to teach.

    The needs of the individual must to balanced against the needs of the rest of the community.

    Getting that balance right is a massive challenge in schools with a diverse student population.

    1. Working with staff to repair relationships is lovely. In theory.

      But exclusions are, in my part of the world, very rarely around staff. It’s thieving and violence to students which causes the trouble.

      My relationship with a student drops when I catch a vile note abusing another student, and falls further when the perpetrator skips my class. But attempts to fix my relationship with them are bound to fail, because I won’t allow abuse in my class nor skipping.

      If my relationship didn’t cause the problem, it doesn’t need fixing. Indeed it smacks, to me, of blaming the teacher for behaviour over which they have no control.

      Indeed, in many schools the more observant you are as a teacher about catching bullying etc, the more you cop flack for being labelled the cause. Useless teachers who miss all the bad stuff sail along with “excellent relationships”. The bullies love them.

      1. My relationship with a student drops when I catch a vile note abusing another student, and falls further when the perpetrator skips my class. But attempts to fix my relationship with them are bound to fail, because I won’t allow abuse in my class nor skipping.

        So forgiveness isn’t in your teacher toolkit?

        Indeed, in many schools the more observant you are as a teacher about catching bullying etc, the more you cop flack for being labelled the cause.

        As an observation, that one might pass the “pub test” but without evidence-based research it’s unfortunately not very convincing.

      2. How forgiving are you when a student calls another, and I quote “an ugly pussy faggot” for no reason other than to wound? It’s alright though, he’d go on to physically threaten another student soon after. So, I wasn’t forgiving. Again, it seems to me, blaming the teacher for not being good enough isn’t focusing on where the problem usually lies.

        Note, if I don’t intercept that note, it gets through. The more observant a teacher is, the more difficult stuff they will spot.

        Look around your staff room. There will be staff who never report bullying. How do they get so lucky, year after year?

      3. How forgiving are you when a student calls another, and I quote “an ugly pussy faggot” for no reason other than to wound? It’s alright though, he’d go on to physically threaten another student soon after.

        There seems to be a pattern in your observations that a small misbehaviour inevitably leads to a large one. That’s my interpretation, anyway: correct me if you feel I’m wrong. I don’t feel that one inevitably leads to another – the situation you describe is particular to that type of child.

        Also, you seem to keep returning to making “teacher getting blamed” types of comments. I’m not sure where that comes from. My comment about forgiveness and restoring relationships (yes, I am a great believer in Restorative Justice and have seen it work) is meant to signify the following: that any trust you and the offending student may have shared before the note was passed has been damaged because of their offense. I don’t know the context you are describing, but based on teaching experiences I have had, it doesn’t sound like something irreparable.

        Was the insult directed at you or another student? Because I can assure you, Chester, I have heard much worse language than that, sometimes directed at me. No, it’s not okay for any student to call names let alone with filthy language, but it’s not something that should tarnish the child forever. There is always room for forgiveness. And this is from someone who was beaten up a few times when at school, observed fights between other kids that left blood and broken teeth on the ground, and as a teacher witnessed the end of an altercation between two boys on the oval, where one was kicking the other (lying on the ground) so hard the child was lifted up in the air. The ambulance was called and he was stretchered to hospital. Yes, in all those situations, forgiveness should be found and relationships attempted to be restored.

        If “ugly pussy faggot” was directed at me by a student, my first reaction would be to laugh at them. Hard. “Are those the best words you can think of?” And then straight to the principal’s office. Patch things up later: because I’m the bigger person, and it’s important.

  6. I weep for the naivety of this discussion–we’re all under the spell of JJ Rousseau. The worst monsters I’ve encountered were pampered brats who had a mummy who couldn’t say no. When you remove the moral dimension from education, you depend entirely upon parents to socialise children–parents who have themselves been taught in amoral schools.

    I wish you all could visit Michaela Community School in Wembley, which has as disadvantaged an intake as you will find in England. They have boot camps for their intakes–Katherine Birbalsingh does not have a rose-tinted view of human nature. Yet anyone who visits the school is invariably impressed with the courtesy and good humour of her pupils. This doesn’t happen because they make allowances for the pupils who have inevitably been abused–as often as not by other children.

    I think you’d all be a lot better off reading Lord of the Flies than learned texts about ODD.

    1. The worst monsters I’ve encountered were pampered brats who had a mummy who couldn’t say no.

      Sadly, the sorts of children being discussed in the Conversation article would WISH to be in a situation like that. Unfortunately their home life is much, much worse than that.

      Yet anyone who visits the school is invariably impressed with the courtesy and good humour of her pupils. This doesn’t happen because they make allowances for the pupils who have inevitably been abused–as often as not by other children.

      Supporters of this school seem to be making all sorts of claims as to why it is successful – even though it’s only been open 3 and a half years. I’m sure the same people would claim that a school of similar age trying out so-called “progressive” ideas would be successful only because of their “newness effect” and that it’s “too early to tell”. Heck, they’re doing backflips over the other school that only opened last September.

      1. I have come across some work done by year 7s from Michaela. I dResay it was carefully chosen, but it was of a standard that I have never seen year 7 s produce for history. It was good, properly argued and with good knowledge- not information, it was too well integrated.

    2. Torgerson’s research review came to similar conclusions to the US National Reading Panel: 1. teaching phonics was helpful but there was no apparent advantage to any particular method. 2. systematic phonics teaching had no significant impact on comprehension. This was embarrassing for Rose, who clearly favoured synthetic phonics, so he swept these results aside. He clearly knew of the research, because the Rose Report has a footnote referring to it, but he wrote it off in a cavalier fashion

      Maybe you need to have a word with these people and set them straight! Find them at:

      https://reclaimingschools.org/2016/06/06/the-rose-report-on-phonics-playing-fast-and-loose-with-the-evidence/

  7. Actually, expulsions hurt the ones left behind as well.

    our findings level a strong argument against punitive and control oriented school policies that result in highsuspension rates. Based on our research, these policies threaten the academic success of all students, even students who have never been suspended. Discipline in the public education system is a necessary condition for high achievement, and our findings demonstrate that suspension used in moderation does not have an adverse impact on non-suspended students.

    From Suspending Progress: Collateral Consequences of Exclusionary Punishment in Public Schools by Perry and Morris, American Sociological Review (2014) 79(6)

    Yes, I do note the “suspension used in moderation” comment and yes, I do agree with it.

    1. The thing is John, high suspension rates don’t correlate with strong discipline. (The use of “punitive” suggests the authors had already decided what the answer “could threaten”).

      As Greg says, schools that are very strong on minor discipline prevent students from getting to behaviours that end in suspension. I’ve taught at a school with weak discipline that ended up expelling loads of students because there was so much fighting.

      It’s one of them paradox thingies — firm discipline does not end in more punishments. Harsh discipline will, but not many people will argue for that nowadays.

      1. The use of “punitive” suggests the authors had already decided what the answer “could threaten”

        The article is peer-reviewed. Do you understand what that means?

        schools that are very strong on minor discipline prevent students from getting to behaviours that end in suspension.

        I would add: “strong on minor discipline AND create an atmosphere of respectful behaviour and actions”

      2. Peer review has to be regarded in the light of Thomas Kuhn’s ‘paradigm shifts’. However valuable peer review can be, it should always be viewed with a grain of scepticism. For example, the 1975 Bullock Report, A Language For Life, opined that teaching children to sound out words was ‘profitless’, and that phonological knowlege was best acquire through ‘reading for meaning’. Bullock held that “there is no one method, medium, approach, device or philosophy that holds the key to the process of learning how to read”. This conventional view was reflected again in the 1998 National Literacy Strategy–yet seven years later, the accumlated evidence (much of which had been ignored previously) demonstrated that synthetic phonics was by far more effective than an eclectic strategy, where in teachers selected a mixture of methods suited to the pupil’s perceived ‘learning styles’ (another idea left stranded by a paradigm shift).

        In the case of zero tolerance, the hostility of most educators in pretty transparent. But the paradox outlined by Chester Draws certainly holds true.

      3. there is no one method, medium, approach, device or philosophy that holds the key to the process of learning how to read

        Sounds like sensible, non-ideological, cautious, non-polemical advice to me. Which explains NATE’s response to it at the time:

        “[The Report] is in some immediate danger of being written off, in certain quarters at least, just because it has not come up with the evidence to support the sensational alarmist claims which the committee was commissioned to investigate – claims of wholesale decline in standards, literacy threatened by ‘progressive’ methods in the teaching of reading, or ‘creative writing’, or whatever.”

        Hah! Wisdom speaking to us through the ages!

      4. Dear me, you even flaunt your ignorance. I’ve rescued hundreds of pupils who were left illiterate by what you call ‘the wisdom of the ages’, which was in fact an ideological aberration which prevailed from the 1960s into the current millenium. The 2006 Rose Review has had its critics, but is now widely accepted in the profession. Despite the difficulty in changing the beliefs that teachers learn in training, standards of literacy have improved considerably since then.

  8. As a parent advocate of a young autistic person I appreciated the article from Dr David Armstrong and will continue to do so for any similar or research in this area. This is simply because of the horrendous experiences and impact which suspension and other restrictive practices have had in our young person’s life and well being and how ineffective they have been.

    To be blunt in our young person’s life and ours as their advocate there is such a lack of equity and balancing of rights when it comes to such issues. We are so poorly positioned. This rarely ever gets addressed or mentioned.

    Do teachers have a right to go to work every day and be able to teach in a safe environment of course they do. But in balance my young person has a right to go to school and learn in a safe and inclusive environment.

    The system certainly from our experience is distinctly out of balance. It inherently skewed to the former than the later. There are many examples I could provide to illustrate and I hope the following one will adequately do that.
    As a parent I do my best to reduce and eliminate the risk my young person has in regards to suspension and other restrictive practices such as physical restraint. How am I trying to do that?

    1. Ensuring their learning needs are being supported
    2. That their safety needs are being addressed and supported
    3. That they are being included in the school community including transition from a segregated setting and conditions
    4. That their rights are being ensured
    What difficulties am I experiencing?
    • A lack of access to the same information when it comes to knowing how our young person school informs their practice on such things as health and safety, risk assessments, IEP’s, BSP’s, physical restraint etc
    • A lack of access to the detail of how my young person is being supported. This has included access to their learning programme, apparently more detailed information which exists in association with their IEP, access to seeing their actual school work
    • Justifiable hardship defence, for example when I asked for data to be collected in association with their BSp

    1. I can certainly understand how ineffective schools can seem sometimes in regards to students with needs but often schools are trying their best and I am genuinely sincere when I say that I understand where you are coming from.
      Students with needs can be extremely resource heavy. My guess would probably be that some would be around 50x as much as a ‘normal’ student. Schools, unfortunately are not resourced at the standard required.
      Often the teachers or assistants involved are juggling many students and some of these may be just as demanding as your child. You can also get some that are great with the kids but hopeless at the paperwork.

  9. At the risk of being accused of “ignorance” again (and worse) by some of your UK correspondents (is that the “politeness” of conservative commentators I’ve been told so much about?!), I would urge people with an interest in this area to listen in to ABC Radio (Adelaide) this Friday, as David Armstrong will apparently be talking to Nicole Dwyer. They are taking calls, so phone in with your two cents worth (unless you’re in the UK – sorry).

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