Saturday, 12 April 2008

Give teachers the powers they need to sort out discipline – Giles McNeill

Growing concerns over violence and disruption in schools and on the streets

Giles McNeill, Conservative Candidate for West Lindsey District Council, today welcomed new policy proposals announced by Conservative leader, David Cameron, to restore classroom discipline and raise standards of behaviour in schools.

Life in local communities is being marred by violence and disruption in schools - and on the streets as well from children playing truant. These social problems hit the poorest areas the hardest. Bureaucratic rules imposed by the Labour Government have made it harder for teachers to keep order, while false allegations and assaults on teachers have never been higher.

Since 1997, across Lincolnshire, the number of permanent exclusions from secondary schools has fallen by 3% as a proportion of the school population – not because of better discipline, but because it has become more difficult to exclude troublemakers.

Conservative proposals include:
· Restoring the authority of headteachers, by ending the right to appeal against exclusions to external panels. Parents would still have a right of appeal to school governors – who are the people who should decide such matters.

· Changing the law so that teachers can physically restrain violent pupils if they need to.

· Establishing new protections for teachers from false and malicious allegations.

· Giving headteachers the freedom to pay bonuses to teachers who do a good job.

· Allowing headteachers to ban any items they think may cause violence or disruption in schools.
Giles McNeill said:
“In too many of our schools, good education is ruined by bad behaviour. The problem doesn’t lie with teachers – but with the Labour Government’s rules and regulations that stop teachers instilling proper discipline. Conservatives will give teachers and heads the powers they need to tackle disruptive kids, improve standards and ensure parents have a real choice over where to send their child.”