Parents of disruptive pupils 'should forfeit benefit payments'

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The Independent Online

Parents of disruptive pupils should forfeit benefit payments, a teachers’ conference will be told next week.

Delegates at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers will be urged to back a plan to reduce child benefit payments to the parents of persistently disruptive pupils.

The motion also calls for them to be told to attend compulsory parenting classes to learn how to deal with their children’s “unsatisfactory behaviour”.

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL, said some parents were neglecting their duty “to bring their child up so that they understand how they should behave in school, respecting authority and the right of other pupils in the class to learn”.

She insisted middle class parents were just as guilty as parents from poorer homes in failing to prepare their children for learning at school.

They often “bribed” their children with computers and TVs in their bedrooms which left them isolated in their own homes.

“Often it’s the well-off middle classes that buy off their own children through the computer and the TV, that then isolates them within the home – and then they’re surprised when thir child isn’t coming to school ready to learn.” Dr Bousted added.

“Many teachers feel they are working their socks off under an extremely rigid accountability framework to get children to learn but are not being supported by home.

“If you go into a pet shop you have to prove you’re able to take care of your dog before they sell you a puppy but there is no minimum standard for parents unless you are so awful the state takes your child away from you.”

Dr Bousted acknowledged that parts of the motion were “quite extreme” but said it was addressing real issues.