Talking Point: the culture of disrespect

PUBLISHED: 12:02 05 July 2011 | UPDATED: 19:39 20 February 2013

Aidan Winney (centre) accepting the award from Prime Minister David Cameron (right) and Chairman of the FA David Bernstein (left)

Aidan Winney (centre) accepting the award from Prime Minister David Cameron (right) and Chairman of the FA David Bernstein (left)

Sophie Atherton finds a community challenging the culture <br/><br/>of disrespect so often found in today's society

If I said that I think we live in a culture of disrespect, some would tell me Im getting old or that I ought to lighten up and move with the times. But I dont think theres anything old-fashioned about manners and politeness. In fact I think its positively modern to consider the effect of ones behaviour on others. Not to the degree that you darent sneeze in the night for fear of upsetting the neighbours, but enough to be aware that how we treat others has an impact on them and it can be positive or negative depending on how we behave. For example, even though my brother is constantly irritated by noise levels from next door he still refuses to use his washing machine at 7am, when he leaves for work, in case it disturbs anyone. But not everyone thinks like that and if, like me, you speak up about your belief that todays kids need to be brought up to have respect for others youll often be derided as a Grumpy Old Woman (or man).

They dont think like that in Sheppey Valley, though, which is probably why their Community Learning Partnership (CLP) has won an award from the Football Association for an initiative to improve standards of behaviour at school, at home and in football. Members of the CLP were inspired by the FAs Respect and Fair Play programme to create a similar programme for schools. It encourages people to have respect for one another in sport and daily life and is aimed at pupils, parents, carers, school staff, and in particular, pupils with behaviour difficulties to encourage them to participate in football and demonstrate acceptable behaviour.

Aidan Winney, Behaviour Support Assistant at Sheppey Valley CLP, said: Im overwhelmed to accept this national award on behalf of the CLP. I am proud of the childrens response to the Respect programme, which is improving the attitude and behaviour of children in our schools.

The initiative also included a card scheme with local leisure centres. To qualify, children and their parents had to sign up to show their commitment to fair play and good behaviour. What a brilliant idea encouraging health and fitness and manners at the same time! But headteachers from schools in the award-winning programme agree its value goes beyond sport.

It is often seen as cool to misbehave; however, the Respect programme addresses this very well, says Chris Arnold, Headteacher of St Pauls C of E Junior School and also Chair of the Sheppey Valley CLP. She added: We consider the programme to have been extremely helpful to the children in our school, particularly those who find it difficult to control their behaviour.

Headteacher at Stoke St Michael Primary School, Chris McFarlane, concurs. It has become part of our everyday behaviour management, not just relating to PE and games. It has made a difference to the way our children speak to each other and adults.

Now if we can just get the rest of the country to follow suit, we might be on to something.

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