Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Good manners start at home

A bus-stop conversation with a lab technician at Brighton College today reminded me that the middle-ranking public school (for public, read private, of course) is supplementing its lessons in English, Maths, Chinese and Traditional Economics with training in conduct these days.

Well that can hardly be bad thing - as long as the lessons don't simply restrict themselves to questions of high-society etiquette, and include discussions of everyday good manners, on pavements and buses and so on, as well.

But staff will have their work cut out for them: surely the biggest influence on the behaviour of Brighton College students is their parents.

As a neighbour of the college I witness the daily chaos and occasional stress and confrontation caused by some of these very parents’ failure to observe not just good manners but the law of the land when they illegally park on double yellow lines in Walpole Road to drop off and pick up their charges.

Surely the lesson is that parking rules don’t matter, that it is fine to act anti-socially and ignore the impacts on those living in the area (as long as they know which cutlery to use for which course)?

This picture shows (not very clearly, but hey I'm no photographer) some of the parents' and nannies' cars on the double-yellow lines at collection time earlier this week. I counted 11, just in Walpole Road.

Perhaps the college should also consider taking effective sanction against the anti-social behaviour of some parents, or, better, more fully engage with the council’s ‘Safer Routes to School’ programme to encourage parents to leave their cars at home.

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