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Teachers should be tougher

Parents believe teachers should be tougher on pupils, with almost half in favour of corporal punishment being reintroduced to schools, a survey shows.

More than 2,000 parents were questioned by YouGov for the Times Educational Supplement, with 49% found to support corporal punishment. However when specifically asked about ‘smacking or caning’ children, support dropped to 40%.

There was high support for traditional punishments, including sending children out of class, detentions, expulsion and suspension and writing lines. Shouting and embarrassing students were less popular forms of punishment.

The majority of pupils also agree teachers should be allowed to be tougher, with 62% in support, compared to 91% of parents who think so. There was general concern that teachers are afraid of both pupils and their parents, and the possibility of facing legal action over discipline.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said: “The right every child deserves to be taught properly is currently undermined by the twisting of rights by a minority who need to be taught an unambiguous lesson in who is boss.”

Commenting on the results, Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “The survey overall reflects the general consensus shared by pupils, parents and teachers that schools should be disciplined but in fair environments with an atmosphere conducive to productive teaching and learning.

“It is worth remembering that this is exactly what happens in the majority of our schools. Parents may have got the erroneous impression from Government statements that the classroom is a place of rowdy and disrespectful behaviour. Whilst there are instances of unacceptable behaviour, most inappropriate behaviour is at a relatively low level.”

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