Parents 'favour cane'

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The Independent Online
Parents want the cane to be restored in state schools, and they support teachers who strike over pupil violence, a new opinion poll discloses.

The findings of the poll in today's People will encourage Tory - and some Labour - MPs to press ahead with plans to amend the government's Education Bill to bring back corporal punishment.

Audience Selection asked a sample of 500 parents with school-age children a series of questions about discipline at school and in the community.

Sixty-seven per cent thought that teachers should be able to use the cane, 30 per cent disagreed. 65 per cent supported strikes if disruptive pupils are not expelled, against 33 per cent who did not.

This new evidence of get-tough parents emerged as Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown admitted that he - like Tony Blair - has smacked his children.

He said: "I don't object to parents hitting their kids. I don't like it when I've done it, but I have done it to my own kids from time to time and there are even occasions when I have done it when I shouldn't have done it."

Mr Ashdown told BBC Radio 2: "If there is a bond of love between parent and child, that enables a parent to do things that I think a third party ought not to do."

The evidence of the People poll suggests that the public is ready for strong measures. Asked if they were in favour of imposing an evening curfew on unruly children monitored with electronic tags, 65 per cent said yes, and only 27 per cent said no.