David Blackburn

That’ll learn ‘em

That’ll learn ‘em
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At last, some will cry, teachers are to be given increased disciplinary powers to moderate unruly children’s behaviour. Rather than tear up the statute book, the measures aim to change perceptions and practices and redress the balance of rights in favour of the teacher.

Force can be used to restrain pupils at present, but teachers rarely resort to force for fear of prosecution. The government will lessen what it terms ‘vilification’ by protecting teachers’ anonymity against complaints unless a criminal prosecution is brought. Search and confiscation powers will be extended and summary penalties imposed on transgressors. Currently, schools have to write to parents and give 24 hours notice to detain a pupil. That will change with the introduction of immediate detentions.

Critics argue that school discipline is dependent on good relationships with parents – they must not be inconvenienced. In fact, school discipline depends on home discipline.  If parents won’t discipline their children then it might be an idea to inconvenience them by sticking their unruly progeny in an immediate and long detention for instance. Teachers have to be able to teach; standards will not rise if they can’t.