Teachers to get new powers over troublemakers

Teachers will be handed tough powers to search pupils for alcohol, drugs and mobile phones in a Government crackdown on bad behaviour, it was announced today.

Rules allowing schools to use physical force to remove unruly students from the classroom are also set to be simplified, while teachers facing accusations from pupils will be granted anonymity to prevent careers being ruined by "malicious" claims.

The raft of measures, which have won support from the teaching profession, were unveiled by Schools Minister Nick Gibb today in an effort to restore discipline to the classroom.

Official figures show 2,230 pupils were permanently excluded last year for physical assaults on teachers or fellow pupils and tens of thousands more suspended.

One in five secondary schools is rated "satisfactory" or worse by Ofsted for behaviour and two in five teachers have witnessed physical aggression - a quarter of them being the victims of it.

Mr Gibb said: "Heads and teachers know best how to improve behaviour but are too often constrained by regulations which inhibit them from maintaining control of the classroom. Today we are removing red tape so that teachers can ensure discipline in the classroom and promote good behaviour.

"Teachers should feel confident in exercising their authority, and pupils should not have to suffer disruption to their learning caused by the poor behaviour of others."

Today's measures include:

:: Beefed-up powers, introduced from September, for teachers to search pupils for alcohol, drugs and stolen property, as well as mobile phones, MP3 players, cameras, pornography, fireworks, cigarettes and so-called "legal highs".

Further legislation allowing teachers to search for any item that could cause disorder will be introduced later.

Under present rules, headteachers and other authorised staff can only force pupils to be searched if they suspect them of carrying weapons.

The previous government had planned to allow them to check for alcohol and drugs, but the legislation did not go through before the election.

:: Courts will be told to heed clearer guidance that physical force can be used to remove youngsters from classrooms or restrain troublemakers. Simplified guidance on the use of force will be published.

:: An end to a ban on same-day detentions - under current law schools must give parents 24 hours notice in writing.

:: Reporting restrictions placed on allegations made about teachers, granting them anonymity.

Mr Gibb said: "Ministers wish to put an end to rumours and malicious gossip about innocent teachers which can ruin careers and even lives."

A survey published by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) earlier this year found that teachers believe behaviour in schools is worse than it was five years ago, with pupils as young as five being disrespectful, intimidating and violent.

In April, science teacher Peter Harvey was cleared of attempted murder after hitting a 14-year-old boy around the head with a dumbbell after being goaded by the student while a friend filmed the heated exchanges on a hand-held camcorder.

Mr Harvey had been trying to teach a lesson at All Saints' Roman Catholic School in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, when the class descended into "uproar".

He received support from the teaching profession, which raised concerns about behaviour in the classroom.

Unions called for tougher measures to clamp down on the use of mobile technology in lessons, and for consistent behaviour policies.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said today: "There are rare occasions when young people may be carrying and concealing dangerous materials.

"In those situations, teachers have to make a judgment call on the spot. In doing so, they should not be subject to the potential for accusations that they are acting illegally because the items that they are searching for fall outside the range permitted by law.

"The current legislation makes an invidious distinction between alcohol, weapons and drugs and all other items. That does not reflect the reality of the situation teachers sometimes face."

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, said: "Additional measures to support teachers in continuing to maintain high standards of pupil behaviour are always welcome.

"Over the last decade a raft of measures were introduced to back the classroom teacher and today's announcements largely build on these.

"However, all of these measures become meaningless if schools fail to incorporate them into their behaviour policies.

"The Secretary of State clearly feels these measures are necessary but it is the school management who decide whether they will be introduced.

"This tension between national policy and local implementation all too often deprives teachers of access to provisions they need to enable them to work effectively."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Babysitter Katie and Paul have terse words in the park
tvReview: The strength of the writing keeps viewers glued to their seats even when they are confronted with the hard-hitting scenes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Sport
England’s opening goalscorer Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain battles with Scotland’s Charlie Mulgrew
FootballEngland must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Life and Style
Make-up artists prepare contestants for last year’s Miss World, held in Budapest
fashion
Sport
Wigan Athletic’s back-of-the shirt sponsor Premier Range has pulled out due to Malky Mackay’s arrival
Football
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

Randstad Education Plymouth: KS2 Teacher Cornwall

£19000 - £22000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...

Randstad Education Plymouth: KS1 Teacher Cornwall

£19000 - £21500 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000: SThree: We consistently strive to be ...

Randstad Education Chester: Nursery Assistants Urgently required in Chester

Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: Nursery Assistants in ChesterWe are cu...

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines