A report from Charlie Taylor, the UK government's behavior expert, has indicated that future criminals can be identified by the age of two, and that nurseries should crack down hard on bad behavior and note children showing early signs of aggression for specialist tuition.
While this advocated âMinority Report' style of policing such young children will be met with outrage in many quarters, Mr. Taylor defends it by focusing on the potential benefits to society if showing the worst-behaved children how to socialize early gives them the proper boundaries that would prevent their problems from escalating in the future.
It was also appropriate for some five and six year-olds with the most serious difficulties to spend some time at institutes for the most unruly pupils, he suggested. Mr Taylor said: "Any child can go off the rails for a bit and what we need is a system that is responsive to them and helps them to get back on the straight and narrow."
The report was commissioned in the wake of last summer's riots throughout the UK as disaffected youth rose up in protest against the government's social policies. Mr Taylor's report found widespread failing in the way unruly children are currently handled with excluded children receiving almost no formal teaching.
Teaching unions are predictably scathing over the recommendations:
Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said:
"Provision for pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties has historically been subjected to relentless re-organisation and change. What is needed is stability not more change."
One of the recommendations of the report is that pupil referral units (PRUs) be used to train would-be teachers. PRUs are where excluded and unruly children end up and are currently perceived as more of a âholiday-camp' than an educational facility by the children sent there.
Whether one lays the blame for these anti-social children at the door of educational establishments or the children's own parents, it's impossible to simply ignore the problem any longer without facing a repeat of last year's riots.
Taylor said: "Doing nothing isn't an option. I think for many years they've been in the peripheral vision of the education world, you know, out of sight out of mind, âI don't mind what you do with these children as long as they're not causing trouble at my school gate anymore'.
"And that's fine in terms of that mainstream school but ultimately, if we don't turn round and address these children and help them and give them what they need, then in the end they'll take it from us, on their terms."
The report is expected to be fully accepted by the Government.