Tuesday, 29 March 2005

Blair all talk on School Discipline

The National Union of Teachers have revealed shocking evidence of the scale of indiscipline and violence by pupils.
Why Labour are all talk
Mr Blair promised in 1997: ‘Teachers will be entitled to positive support … to promote good attendance and sound discipline’ (Labour Party Manifesto 97). All talk.
• Examples of pupil violence cited by the NUT include a teacher who was stabbed in the neck by a 14 year-old, another who had a kettle of boiling water poured over them, and one who was left with severe leg injuries after a pupil attack (BBC News Online and The Guardian, 28 Mar 05).
• Under Mr Blair, a teacher is assaulted every seven minutes.
• There were over 17,000 expulsions for violence in just one term in 2003. Teaching unions believe even this could be an underestimate, since schools may have failed to report the true figures for fear of being labelled ‘failing’ (Times Educational Supplement, 6 Aug 04).
• 31 per cent of teachers considering leaving the profession cite poor pupil behaviour as a reason.
• Appeals panels overrule head teachers in one in five cases, forcing them to readmit pupils they have expelled. Of 1,070 appeals made in the last year for which figures are available, 21 per cent were upheld – putting 210 expelled pupils back into the classroom.
• Nearly one in ten (nine per cent) of secondary schools have unsatisfactory levels of behaviour, and the number of schools where behaviour is unsatisfactory ‘shows no sign of reducing’, according to the Chief Inspector of Schools (Report of HM Chief Insp of Schools 03/04, Feb 05).
Liberal Democrats
The Lib Dems have no policies to improve school discipline. They want to continue Labour’s discredited policy of forcing schools to take disruptive pupils and say that ‘increasing exclusions is a recipe for disaster’ (Lib Dem Press Release, 29 Nov 04).
Conservative Action
The Conservatives believe that a small minority of pupils should not be allowed to disrupt the education of the majority. We have a five-point Action Plan to restore discipline:
1. We will give head teachers the final say over exclusions and scrap appeals panels.
2. We will give head teachers an unqualified right to insist on parental agreement to discipline as part of the conditions of entry/attendance for their children.
3. We will scrap Labour’s plans to force all state schools to take their share of undisciplined pupils.
4. We will give schools the funds and financial freedom to introduce random drug- testing, CCTV and metal detectors.
5. We will give teachers greater legal protection so that they can enforce discipline without fear of having their lives ruined if a child alleges abuse.

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