School discipline body appointed

A new working group has been set up to consider ways to improve
discipline in the classroom, including greater sanctions for
parents and more power for head teachers.

The Leadership Group on Behaviour and Discipline, announced last
week by new schools minister Jacqui Smith, will advise the
government on achieving effective discipline in the classroom and
delivering a “culture of respect” in all schools.

The group, to be made up of heads and teachers nominated by
their peers and teaching unions for their proven track record in
managing behaviour, will consider an extension of heads’
powers to deal with unruly behaviour. Heads’ wishes could
also be given priority in decisions about excluding pupils.

Consideration will be given to additional penalties for parents,
on top of existing penalty fines and parenting orders and
contracts, to ensure they take responsibility for their
children’s behaviour in school.

The merits of providing teachers with additional training to
ensure they are “fully equipped to manage poor
behaviour” will also be up for debate, as will the grounds
for a national discipline code.

The group, to be chaired by Sir Alan Steer of the Seven Kings
School in Ilford, will produce a detailed report by the end of

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