Tories to hand powers back to teachers

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The Conservative plan to hand powers back to teachers by removing the culture of pupils' rights in schools, should they win the next election.

The Conservative party's election manifesto will include pledges for staff to be able to restrain unruly pupils, anonymity for teachers facing abuse accusations and binding contracts for parents.

The behaviour contract for pupils would be a condition of admission to school. Parents refusing to enter into the contract could be refused a place for their child.

David Cameron said he believes Labour has fuelled a catastrophic breakdown of discipline in schools and has promising to restore respect and fear in the classroom.

More than half of teachers say school policy on poor behaviour is not tough enough and two thirds have considered quitting because of physical aggression, verbal abuse and threats.

According to official figures, almost 500 children a day are allowed back to school following exclusions for attacking staff or other pupils.

Mr Cameron is planning to change the law to make it easier for teachers to deal with violent incidents, remove disruptive pupils and physically restrain disruptive children, without fear of legal comeback.

Conservative sources said the package would include an end the right to appeal against exclusion to an independent panel.

A Conservative government would also take action against the minority of children who make false allegations of abuse against teachers.

This could mean that teachers would not be suspended unless there is a clear-cut case for disciplinary action or criminal charges. There would also be the right to anonymity during an investigation.

Current research suggests as many as one in four teaching staff has faced unsubstantiated claims.

Other changes in the Tory manifesto include:

  • Changing the law to give heads legal powers to ban any items they think may cause violence or disruption, such as mobile phones.
  • Scrapping guidance telling teachers not to search children who refuse to cooperate.
  • Abolision of the legal requirement of 24 hours' notice for detentions, so that bad behaviour can be punished immediately.
  • Giving heads the power to pay bonuses to reward staff who deal effectively with violence and disruption.
  • Giving Heads the right to to drop in on classes whenever they wish to observe lessons and sack incompetent teachers.
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