School discipline called into question

By politics.co.uk staff

A “serious problem with discipline” continues to exist in Britain’s schools, the Tories have claimed, after figures showed 90,000 pupils were suspended for attacking teachers and classmates last year.

Government statistics revealed yesterday showed the number of primary school pupils attacking teachers was up five per cent to 7,090 in 2007/08.

There were a further 98,000 suspensions for verbal abuse or threatening behaviour in all kinds of school.

“There is a serious problem with discipline and poor behaviour in English schools,” Conservative spokesman Nick Gibbs said.

“We need to give teachers more powers to discipline children, so that they can nip problems in the bud before they spiral out of control.”

But the government rejected these concerns, saying that it had acted to minimise the discipline problem.

“It is time to put to bed the myth that behaviour is deteriorating with teachers powerless to act,” children’s minister Dawn Primarolo said.

“The truth is that we have given teachers the powers they asked for to tackle bad discipline and these figures, as well as the trend over the last several years, show that the action we have taken is working in improving discipline in schools.”