Should pupils really be treated as customers?
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.