Blame for pupil violence shifts to unruly parents

28 Mar 02
The government and local authorities joined forces this week to target unruly parents in a clampdown on pupil delinquency and violence.

29 March 2002

As the education unions began their annual round of Easter conferences, Education Secretary Estelle Morris announced plans to extend and promote the parenting orders scheme. In a deft move, Morris sought to switch the debate on pupil violence to parents.

She told the Association of Teachers and Lecturers' annual conference in Cardiff on March 27 that the boundaries laid down by teachers must be supported by parents.

Under the proposal, parents whose children are persistently antisocial and disruptive will face a £1,000 fine, court action or an order to attend parenting classes. Until now, the orders, rarely applied by local education authorities, could be used only if a pupil had committed a criminal offence or had frequently truanted.

'There are too many incidents of parents challenging a teacher's right to discipline children in school,' she said. 'The message we give to the child is that teachers should not be respected.

'It's time to be honest about the damage done by the few people who don't support you in what you do.'

Local education authorities are to be 'encouraged' to make greater use of the orders.

The ATL welcomed the announcement but added that it would be monitoring its effects. The Local Government Association said the orders would help tackle classroom violence. 'Some authorities don't seem to be aware of the orders, but those that are have used them effectively,' said Graham Lane, chair of the LGA's education executive. 'The orders should serve as a warning to unruly parents.'

The announcement coincided with the publication of an LGA report calling on the government to target parents' attitudes to truancy to improve school attendance.

The report, published on March 26, found that in sweeps by police, 80% of children discovered playing truant were with their parents at the time.


Did you enjoy this article?