Since my two children have switched from a local secondary school to an international school I have noticed that their behaviour and their attitudes have worsened. Whenever I go to their school it appears to be noisy, disorganised and scruffy, and I find it hard to see much discipline at all. How can I address this issue without embarrassing my children? Teacher Jake Burnett replies: You've identified something significant here, and if you are unhappy about it and concerned for your children, then it is important that you do something. It would be a good idea to start with your children. If you are concerned about your children's appearance or their attitude to their school uniform, then as parents you can easily act as positive role models, ensuring that you keep a smart, professional appearance when you leave for work and when you come home, explaining why it is important to have such an appearance in a place of work. Other approaches you may want to adopt could focus on asking your children exactly why they have said or done certain things, especially if these are troubling you. They should be old enough to justify and reason their points. This might help you to understand the changes you have noticed. Also, remember they are growing up and at this time in their lives it is likely that they will be examining their own attitudes and beliefs. It may not be the change of school which has had this effect but their emotional development. However, it does seem that the shifts in behaviour that you have noticed can be attributed to the school. It would be easy at this stage to put this down to more liberal attitudes in international schools than in local ones, but that is missing the point. Many international schools promote acceptance and tolerance as core values, but if this is taken to an extreme it becomes nothing more than moral relativism, where anyone can do and say anything they want. And secondary schools are very important places from which to learn about morals, about respect and about knowing what is clearly right and wrong. You have already mentioned that you have noticed certain elements of the school which worry you. It would be good to have some specific information to share as a starting point and start some dialogue directly with the school. For example, do your children have a planner or a homework diary? If so, is it well organised and kept up to date? Is homework regularly marked and are exercise and text books of good appearance? Have you noticed any student work displayed around the school on your visits? As a suggestion, speak directly to the principal, probably initiated with a telephone call. No school leader would ever want their school to be described in the ways you have mentioned. Ask them to show you the school's code of conduct or disciplinary procedures and, if time permits, ask to have a tour of the school itself. The good news is that you haven't mentioned that your children seem unhappy, nor that you are worried about the actual quality of the education they're receiving. If you can be sure that these two factors are consistent and of pleasing levels, then hopefully everything else will fall into place.