Should pupils re­ally be treated as cus­tomers?

TES (Times Education Supplement) - - INSIGHT -

Long­field Acad­emy says “pupils are our cus­tomers”, and it has ded­i­cated a “Cus­tomer Ser­vice Week” to ad­dress “cus­tomer dis­sat­is­fac­tion”.

How­ever, ap­ply­ing the lan­guage of busi­ness to ed­u­ca­tion re­mains con­tro­ver­sial.

“The re­la­tion­ship be­tween a teacher and a stu­dent is a sa­cred and an an­cient one,” says DFE be­hav­iour tsar Tom Ben­nett. “It’s not the re­la­tion­ship be­tween a cus­tomer or a client with a busi­ness.”

“Pupils aren’t cus­tomers in schools, pupils are stu­dents in schools. It is not a com­mer­cial re­la­tion,” says Mary Bousted, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the ATL teach­ing union.

Us­ing such lan­guage en­cour­ages an un­wanted “con­sumer cul­ture” within schools, she adds.

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