Teachers urge government to punish parents

The parents of classroom troublemakers should be blamed for
falling standards of discipline rather than schools, the annual
conference of the Professional Association of Teachers heard last

Ann Nutley, administration manager at Bacon’s College in
south-east London, said the proportion of secondary schools with
good behaviour had fallen from three-quarters in 1997 to two-thirds

Her motion, calling on the government to take action against, or
provide support for, the parents of disruptive children was passed

The move follows calls earlier this year by education secretary
Ruth Kelly for parents of disruptive children to attend parenting

“Poor parenting fosters lack of respect and no
manners,” Nutley said. “No wonder then that, having no
guidelines, children enter education with limited knowledge about
appropriate behaviour.

“Staff in education are expected to teach social skills which
should have been learnt at home. They find themselves
‘policing’ classes rather than teaching.”

Nutley also attacked the way some exclusion appeals panels
overturned decisions by head teachers.

“Appeals panels have gained a reputation in some quarters for
giving excluded children the right to a second chance when they
have had 20 or more chances anyway and the school has tried
everything,” she said.

Wesley Paxton, a further education lecturer in Yorkshire, said the
National Curriculum was also to blame for poor behaviour by less
academic children. He said it forced many of these children into an
educational “straightjacket”.

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