Inquiry rejects high-security schools

Sir Alan Steer, the headteacher of Seven Kings High School in Ilford, Redbridge, warned such a move "might actually create more problems than you solve".

"You would create a certain atmosphere in schools," he said at a conference organised by the National Union of Teachers on pupil behaviour. "Schools should be comfortable, warm, sociable places, and you've got to get the balance right between security and creating the right atmosphere."

Sir Alan pointed out that Kiyan was knifed to death outside the school - and therefore any airport-style security check would not have helped him.

Ministers appeared likely last night to back Sir Alan, who also revealed that the Government is poised to announce the appointment of specialist pupil/parent support workers to work with troublesome pupils. A £20m pilot two-year package will be announced this month with a view to rolling the scheme out nationally later.

Meanwhile, John Bangs, head of education at the NUT, said it was "unacceptable" that many schools had just one teacher trained in restraint techniques against rowdy pupils and said more staff should receive training.

A survey by education recruitment consultants Select Education published today reveals that 88 per cent of London teachers would consider quitting the profession because of poor pupil behaviour.

However, the Government's embattled schools legislation - due to receive its third reading in the Commons later today - will give teachers the legal right to discipline pupils for the first time. Until now they have acted in loco parentis - which has given them the legal defence that they are acting as a reasonable parent would do.

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