|Hundreds of schools have barred teachers from marking in red in case it upsets the children.|
They are scrapping the traditional method of correcting work because they consider it ‘confrontational’ and ‘threatening’.
Pupils increasingly find that the ticks and crosses on their homework are in more soothing shades like green, blue, pink and yellow, or even in pencil.
Traditionalists have branded the ban ‘barmy’, saying that red ink makes it easier for children to spot errors and improve. There are no set government guidelines on marking and schools are free to formulate their own individual policies.
Crofton Junior School, in Orpington, Kent, whose pupils range from seven to 11, is among those to have banned red ink. Its Marking Code of Practice states: ‘Work is
generally marked in pen – not red – but on occasion it may be appropriate to indicate errors in pencil so that they may be corrected.’
Headmaster Richard Sammonds said: ‘Red pen can be quite demotivating for children. It has negative, old-school connotations of “See me” and “Not good enough”.
‘We are no longer producing clerks and bookkeepers. We are trying to provide an education for children coming into the workforce in the 21st century.
‘The idea is to raise standards by taking a positive approach.
‘We highlight bits that are really good in one colour and use a different colour to mark areas that could be improved.’
....Nick Seaton, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said: ‘Banning red ink is absolutely barmy. Common sense suggests that children learn by their mistakes and occasionally they need upsetting to teach them to pull their socks up.
‘Self-esteem has to be built on genuine achievement, not mollycoddling, which only harms children in the long-run.
‘Red ink is the quickest way for pupils to see where they are going wrong and raise standards. I give teachers who have ditched their red pens nought out of ten. They’ve failed.’
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