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.
Scottish independence referendum: Frankie Boyle reacts to nation's 'No' vote - 'To be fair, I've always hated Scotland'
Scottish independence live: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum - as it happened
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
- 1 Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 There is literally not a single woman in this iPhone 6 queue
- 4 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
- 5 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...
Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: We urgently require an experienc...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary teachers requ...
Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education is urgently s...