Star comment: Olympics a taste of what's to come with our Commonwealth Games

The success of the Tokyo Olympics shows us that mass participation sport remains possible. Though the Games have been unpopular in Japan, they are proving their worth as people around the globe celebrate the wonders of sport.

Sport can be a great unifying force for good
Sport can be a great unifying force for good

There have been unlikely champions, overnight heroes, tales of tragedy too. The whole gamut of human emotion has been on display, as have dazzling levels of brilliance.

Soon, the focus will turn to the Paralympic Games, when some of our own local heroes will be going for gold. After that, the spotlight will be on the Commonwealth Games, right here in the West Midlands.

As in Japan, considerable fuss has arisen as photocalls have been staged to mark the one-year countdown until the Commonwealth Games.

Perhaps we ought to look to the lessons that the present Olympic Games is teaching us. They are showing how shown is a unifying force for good that can bring joy to billions while bringing nations together.

In considering the Commonwealth Games, it is also important to reflect on the trajectory of Covid-19. The pandemic will eventually play itself out and over the past two weeks we have seen the first real indications of it weakening in the UK. The worst is most probably in our rear-view mirror as immunisations diminish Covid’s ability to circulate freely.

In a year’s time, the UK will be in a far better place while other nations around the globe will also have had time to catch up on our exceptional immunisation programme. At that point, the Commonwealth Games will be a cause for celebration as nations unite following the pandemic and look to excel.

It is hardly a surprise exclusions and suspensions have fallen over lockdown - or that the figure went up in the autumn term when students returned.

It should always be a last resort to send children home as a punishment. Other avenues should be explored first. But a single disruptive child in a class can have severe impact on the rest of the children, which is hugely unfair to them. And teachers need to know they have the tools to discipline when needed and to have the backing of headteachers in schools as well.

In many ways, the figures simply reflect the status of schooling through the pandemic with lower numbers when there were fewer classes and higher numbers when there were more.

Our schools have a duty to look beyond the troubling behaviour of a small cohort and find out the reasons why they misbehave.

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