Tories would allow teachers to use force on pupils

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The Independent Online

Teachers would be allowed to use greater physical force against unruly pupils under a proposed change in the law that would be enacted by a Tory government.

David Cameron, the Conservative leader, pledged to abolish "no touching" rules under a plan to improve school discipline published yesterday. It said: "We will change the law ... to make it easier for teachers to deal with violent incidents, remove disruptive pupils and physically restrain disruptive children."

Asked if teachers should be allowed to hit pupils, Mr Cameron said: "It is acceptable for teachers to feel that they can sometimes be physical. I don't mean going round walloping people. You have got to be able, if a child is tearing down a corridor, to put out your hand and grab them. There is a wave of political correctness in this area that has gone much too far."

The Tories would also end the right of appeal to an independent panel when pupils are excluded, abolish rules forcing good schools to take expelled pupils from bad ones and end financial penalties on schools that expel children.

A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said new legislation had already been introduced allowing teachers to use reasonable force to restrain pupils.

John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said abolishing appeals panels would see more parents going to court to overturn exclusions, which would be more costly.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said: "Schools have [already] been given an unprecedented menu of sanctions to support them in tackling indiscipline. [What] needs to be looked at is why teachers are not being supported in using them."