Local authorities are being urged by the government to take more
parents to court over their children’s behaviour in
Education secretary Ruth Kelly said parenting orders would be used
to ensure that parents take responsibility for their child’s unruly
behaviour as part of a “zero tolerance” policy on indiscipline in
Kelly also announced that local education authorities would be
expected to intervene in schools where Ofsted has rated behaviour
as unsatisfactory and to develop action plan to rewrite their
behaviour policies. Ofsted itself is to make follow-up visits
within a year to schools where behaviour is rated as
Local education authorities can already apply to the magistrates’
court for a parenting order when a child has been permanently
excluded from school because of bad behaviour, or has been excluded
for a fixed period for the second time in a year. But local
authorities in their role as “corporate parents” – looking after
children through their social service departments – cannot be the
subject of parenting orders.
Under the orders, parents are required to attend parenting classes
and comply with other conditions set by the court such as attending
meetings with the child’s school or supervising the child at home.
They can also be required to attend residential
Parents who breach parenting orders can be prosecuted and fined up
to £1,000 or given a community sentence.
The government has backtracked on a previous demand that all
schools accept a quota of excluded pupils by September
Ofsted’s chief inspector David Bell has also drawn attention to
worsening behaviour in schools, although he said that in most
schools pupil behaviour was good. Bell said behaviour was
unsatisfactory in 9% of secondary schools.