Stronger sanctions needed to improve discipline, teachers say

Corporal punishment was outlawed in state schools in 1987, and in public ones 12 years later

Troublemakers are disrupting classrooms because of the ban on corporal punishment and the failure of modern techniques to improve discipline, teachers warned yesterday.

Speaking at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers' annual conference in Manchester, teachers criticised successive governments for failing to come up with effective alternatives to improve behaviour since the cane was outlawed 25 years ago.

Julian Perfect, an inner-London teacher, told the conference that there had been no attempt to introduce a sanction that had the same deterrent effect on pupils. He said the likes of detention and suspension were not improving behaviour and many schools were fearful of excluding pupils.

"Schools are now too fearful of their exclusion statistics or being made to take a disruptive pupil from another school if they do exclude permanently," he said.

"Effective teaching cannot take place against a constant background of disruptive behaviour by pupils.

"The use of existing methods for dealing with inappropriate behaviour is frequently constrained by a school's management attaching more importance to meeting retention targets or concern over loss of income than to backing up staff in disciplinary matters."

He added: "This motion does not seek the reinstatement of corporal punishment but rather the identification of additional forms of sanction to deal with inappropriate behaviour."

Corporal punishment was outlawed in state schools in 1987 after the ban was approved by MPs in 1986. It was only banned in private schools 12 years later. A survey of teachers by the ATL last week showed the majority believed disruption in schools had become worse in the past five years.

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL, added that parents were also to blame for the rise in unruly behaviour – claiming some were failing to set boundaries for their children.

"We're not doing our children any favours if we make them into 'little Buddhas' at home," she said. "We need to be more confident in saying what we feel is reasonable. How many parents ask their children to contribute to the household by doing jobs? Far too many children are waited on hand and foot."

The Education Secretary, Michael Gove has given the go-ahead for schools to issue pupils with same-day detentions and introduced powers for them to search pupils for weapons or drugs.

Dr Bousted said she believed the Government "had gone as far as it could" in helping teachers. It was now up to schools and parents to do their bit.

In a survey conducted by the union, one secondary school teacher said: "The children know that our hands are tied and play up frequently. In the past two years we have only successfully excluded one pupil. It is the good students whose education is being wrecked who I feel for."

A teaching assistant added: "I am very tired of the reluctance to take firm action against offending students."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
An iceberg in Ilulissat, Greenland; researchers have been studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and their long-term ramifications for the rest of the world (Getty)
news
Environment
environment
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Jackman bears his claws and loses the plot in X-Men movie 'The Wolverine'
film
Arts and Entertainment
'Knowledge is power': Angelina Jolie has written about her preventive surgery
film
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Imperial College London: Safety Training Administrator

£25,880 – £28,610 per annum: Imperial College London: Imperial College London ...

University College London: Client Platform Support Officer

£26,976 - £31,614 per annum: University College London: UCL Information Servic...

Guru Careers: Instructional Designer / e-Learning Designer

£30 - 32k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking an Instructional / e-Learning De...

Recruitment Genius: Schools Education & Careers Executive

£30500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Schools Education & Careers Executive ...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing