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School CP - February 2007
Daily Telegraph, London, 23 February 2007
Parents: Bring back the cane to restore order
By Graeme Paton
Parents have called for the return of the cane to restore order in the classroom.
Families told a Government-backed study that discipline had deteriorated since corporal punishment was abolished more than 20 years ago. Many parents also said that teachers had less power to enforce good behaviour and backed the idea of a "boot camp" for disruptive pupils.
The Department for Education and Skills commissioned Mori to conduct eight discussion groups with members of the public in London and Manchester to investigate understanding of key school reforms. It was hoped the findings would reinforce plans outlined in the recent Education Act to improve standards by creating "trust schools" and giving greater freedom to head teachers.
However, most people advocated a return to more traditional schooling methods. According to the report published yesterday, the key issue for the majority of parents was discipline.
"Many [parents] are of the opinion that discipline in schools has declined," it said. "They perceive there to be an increase in media reporting of attacks on teachers and other pupils and believe the problem stems from the prohibition of corporal punishment. Teachers are also believed to have fewer rights to enforce discipline in schools."
Headteachers in state schools were allowed to cane unruly pupils until 1986. Some independent schools continued to mete out physical punishment, such as a slap to the hands or ordering press-ups, until it was outlawed in 1996 [sic - actually 1998, and I'm not aware that ordering press-ups was ever outlawed - C.F.].
The DfES said yesterday that "real progress had been made in tackling serious bad behaviour in schools" and insisted "there have been no demands from schools, governors or teacher associations" for a return of the cane.
According to Mori, Government plans to tackle poor discipline were well received by parents but there was "a debate about where parents' responsibility ends and that of the school begins".
It added that many did not understand "off-site provision" for disruptive pupils. Many of the worst-behaved children are educated in special referral units staffed by behavioural experts.
However, the report said: "Some [parents] believe it refers to a youth club-style arrangement for delinquent children and others to a boot camp. The latter is preferred in order to drive up standards of discipline."
Mori also said there was widespread lack of knowledge about trust schools, foundation schools, and the new role for local authorities. Most parents attacked some recent reforms as "patronising".
The comments emerged as the Conservatives prepared to outline new measures to address bad behaviour. In a speech today at Northumbria University, David Willetts, the shadow education secretary, will say that head teachers should have the final decision to exclude pupils without the decision being overturned by an appeal panel.
The Sun, London, 23 February 2007
'Bring back cane', survey hints
By David Wooding
MOST parents think school discipline has broken down since the cane was abolished, says a survey.
Many mums and dads fear schools have gone soft — and should be forced to crack down hard.
Some want disruptive teenagers sent to "boot camps" to teach them how to behave.
Caning was axed in 1986, and the government insisted it would never be brought back.
But Labour's plans to impose order in the classroom were blasted by parents questioned in a poll for the Education Department.
A spokesman for Mori, which did the survey, said: "The key education issue for the majority of participants is discipline.
"Many believe discipline in schools has declined over the past few years.
"They perceive there to be an increase in media reporting of attacks on teachers and other pupils, and believe the problem stems from the prohibition of corporal punishment.
"Teachers are also believed to have fewer rights to enforce discipline in schools nowadays."
© 2006 News Group Newspapers Ltd.
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