PM promises teachers more powers in the classroom

The Prime Minister has promised head teachers “the proper
powers within the classroom to make discipline count”.

Tony Blair told journalists last week that collaboration with
head teachers would be central to the government’s plans to
tackle poor behaviour. An education and skills bill was expected to
be included in this week’s Queen’s speech.

“I think it is a question of sitting down with the head
teachers and working out the right way forward,” Blair said.
“At the moment what we have done is we have provided much
better provision for permanently excluded pupils but, if I am frank
about it, that is only a small part of the picture and we need to
go far further.” 

He insisted that parents should support schools’ efforts
to instil good behaviour. Citing the loss of respect in British
society as an issue that had come up time and again during his
election campaign, he suggested the underlying cause was a lack of
discipline in some homes.

“When a teacher tells off a child in school, the response
of the parent should be to back the teacher. The response of the
parent should not be to go in there and start shouting the odds,
because that is what gives the teacher the feeling that the parents
aren’t on their side.”

Blair’s comments follow those of David Hart, general
secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, who earlier
this month demanded more respect from parents and pupils.

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