Schools to contest smacking ban

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CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS will go to the European Court of Human Rights within two months to challenge the government ban on corporal punishment.

The head teachers of 20 Christian schools have joined forces to fight the plans to outlaw physical discipline in independent schools. They say the ban is an infringement of "religious and parental" rights.

They hope an application to the court in Strasbourg will persuade the Government to abandon the proposal, which is due to come into force in September as a clause in the School Standards and Framework Bill. The Bill was passed in the Commons by three votes, but the leader of the Christian schools group says there is widespread support among parents and teachers for corporal punishment.

Philip Williamson, head of the Christian Fellowship School in Edge Hill, Liverpool, whose 200 pupils can be given corporal punishment, said: "The state has no right to interfere with the upbringing of children in the family unless there is some sort of assault or abuse going on. Where there is reasonable and monitored discipline then it is a case of the nanny state if they try and interfere."