Teachers to get radical new powers
TEACHERS in North Somerset will be able to forcibly remove troublemakers from their classrooms and heads will be able to press charges against the worst offenders under hard-hitting measures announced this week.
As part of the radical new 50-page guidelines, unruly pupils can also be disciplined for misbehaving outside of school hours and off school premises and students can be prevented by force from leaving a lesson.
Headteachers will also be entitled to search bags and lockers for items such as alcohol, illegal drugs and stolen property and permanently expel youngsters who make false allegations against staff.
The guidance, designed to protect teachers from malicious allegations and strengthen their authority, has been met with concern by a representative for teachers in North Somerset.
National Union of Teachers branch secretary, Jon Reddiford, said: “I’m a bit worried about these guidelines as there are so many false allegations already against teachers that this may result in even more.
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“To promote more discipline is broadly a good idea – but this could mean a whole new raft of problems for teachers. The use of ‘reasonable force’ is such a grey area that many teachers won’t use the guidelines.”
The guidelines, released this week by the Department for Education, also states that schools should avoid a ‘no touch’ policy as it says it is often necessary to touch a child while dealing with accidents or teaching musical instruments for example.
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They add that the default position should be to assume that a teacher has behaved ‘reasonably’ unless a complainant can show otherwise and that schools should not automatically suspend teachers accused of using unreasonable force.
In addition to the guidelines, the new Education Bill, currently being considered, would extend powers to search pupils for any items banned by a school, such as mobile phones.
If it gets the green light it would also remove the requirement to give parents 24 hours notice of a detention, give teachers anonymity when facing allegations and stop appeals panels sending excluded children back to the school from which they were expelled.