Parents back corporal punishment in schools
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Friday 16 September 2011
Half the nation's parents would like to see a return to corporal punishment in schools, according to a survey out today.
A poll of more than 2,000 parents revealed that 49 per cent of them wanted to see a return to the days when smacking and caning were allowed in schools. A separate poll of 530 children currently at secondary school revealed nearly one in five of them (19 per cent) would like to see its return to bring more discipline to the classroom.
The polls, commissioned by the Times Educational Supplement, come at a time when the Education Secretary Michael Gove is launching a crusade to improve discipline in schools on the theme that children have to know "who's boss".
The parents agree with him on the need for more discipline in schools – 93 per cent believed teachers should be given powers to demonstrate more authority in schools as did 68 per cent of the pupils.
Under Mr Gove's reforms, teachers will be told they have a carte blanche to use physical restraint in schools and to confiscate items such as knives, mobile phones and drugs.
However, both Mr Gove and Labour's Education spokesman Andy Burnham stopped short of endorsing a return to corporal punishment in their reactions to the survey. Mr Gove said: "As well as signalling to teachers they are freer to use their own judgement, we are taking every step to back up the exercise of their authority."
Mr Burnham added: "Teachers need the authority to maintain disciple and promote excellent standards of behaviour in our schools."
He accused Mr Gove, however, of undermining their status by allowing free schools and academies to employ unqualified teachers.
Corporal punishment was banned in state schools in 1984 after its use was ruled as degrading for pupils by European human rights legislation.
Its abolition was agreed by MPs by just one vote when the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was famously delayed on her way to the Commons and denied the opportunity to vote. Private schools were also advised to outlaw its use.
Teachers' leaders opposed any return to corporal punishment. "In a civilised society, no one should be advocating hitting children with sticks as a means of improving behaviour," said Chris Keates, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers.
Costa Concordia: Shipment of Mob drugs was hidden aboard cruise liner when it hit rocks off Italian coast, investigators say
Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Germanwings plane crash: Transcript reveals passengers 'screamed for over five minutes' before plane crashed into mountain
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
- 2 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 3 Tidal: Jay Z's Spotify rival streaming service criticised for making wealthy artists even richer
- 4 Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
- 5 A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection
£25,880 – £28,610 per annum: Imperial College London: Imperial College London ...
£26,976 - £31,614 per annum: University College London: UCL Information Servic...
£30 - 32k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking an Instructional / e-Learning De...
£30500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Schools Education & Careers Executive ...