A MINUTE’S silence, please. And another. And another.

They used to be once a year, in November, a national collective acknowledgement of the ultimate sacrifice of those who died in the two world wars of the last century.

Now, apparently, one minute silences are held regularly in schools across the country to mark numerous tragedies and disasters, with children as young as four expected to present a show of mourning for people they didn’t know and with whom they have no connection.

Teachers have now criticised the practice, with one teacher at a grammar school in the South East telling The Times newspaper that it leaves the children either traumatised or desensitised and unmoved, based on her experience of the five or six silences held in her school in the past year, for terrorist attacks and the Grenfell tower fire.

She explained that they triggered unhappy reactions from some pupils, as well as some teachers, while others were left with the feeling that the world was a dangerous and sinister place where many bad things happen. When she raised her concerns with her colleagues, she was shouted down.

But I think she is absolutely right to flag it up as a problem. Horrific events in the wider world are being brought right into school and into the classroom, where children hope and expect to feel safe, with their PC zeal to be seen to be doing the right thing coming way ahead of any possible effect on their pupils’ mental wellbeing.

Children should not be expected to deal with distant traumatic events at young ages. Yes, I know that some children sadly have to deal with traumatic events in their own lives, but it’s just not on to inflict on them knowledge of a dreadful tragedy that is outside most children’s experience when they are not emotionally mature enough to cope with it.

Imagine the impact of that on a child already struggling to deal with, say, a break-up or divorce in the family (107,000 in 2016 and rising), a death in their family or any other personal problems. Adding to that by expecting them to emote about someone else’s tragedy as well should simply not be inflicted on them by their school, especially without their parents’ knowledge or permission.

People falsely claim that children are “resilient” and will bounce back - but I don’t believe it for one minute. At the weekend, The Times reported an epidemic of self-harm in children as schools struggle to deal with 70,000 incidents in secondary schools last year.

That has doubled since 2012 and schools are now dealing with panic attacks, self-cutting, overdoses and eating disorders. They bemoaned the lack of mental health support.

I suggest schools take a long hard look at how they are contributing to this scenario. Not only are they inflicting these fake mournings on pupils, and at the same time making them aware of people suffering horrible deaths in real life (by contrast, we protect them from horrible fake deaths in movies through the certification system), but they themselves present to their charges a nightmare world full of evil and evils.

Suicide, drug addiction, self-harm and how to do it, online grooming, sexting, porn - these dreadful aspects of life are all covered, repeatedly and in gruesome detail, in lessons throughout a pupil’s five years at secondary school. For example, just last week, my 15-year-old son was given a lesson on how to relieve anxiety, which included telling pupils ways of self-harming and providing alternatives. God knows what effect this would have on troubled and vulnerable pupils who, up until then, had not even thought of self-harming. My son has also been given instructions on the different ways of killing yourself.

This is part of the national PSHE curriculum, and if the Government is serious about its plans to improve mental health support for children and young people in England, it should be taking a good hard look at this.

Its first step should be to look at how and why mental health problems are developing in so many children and at such a young age, and how to prevent them developing in the first place.

In its current form, the PSHE curriculum has no room to tell pupils about why life is worth living, rather than dying. It does not tell pupils how to be happy rather than miserable, how to eat healthily rather than taking drugs or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, and, crucially, it does not let on to pupils that they are sending them out into a world that is full of possibilities, not tragedies.

It is teaching pupils that their glasses are half-empty rather than half-full. It assumes the worst in life for its pupils. It is negative rather than positive. And then schools wonder why so many of their pupils suffer depression and mental health problems that last well into adulthood.