Michael Gove to force children to pick up litter

School children will be forced to pick up litter, mop floors and even remove graffiti under plans by Michael Gove to get tough on disruptive pupils.

A list of government-approved punishments will be sent to every state school in the country instructing them to submit unruly pupils to 'community service'-style punishments.

The rules will make clear that teachers have the right to use "reasonable force" to remove disruptive children from classrooms.

"The best schools already ask pupils who are behaving poorly to make it up to their teachers and fellow pupils through community service," he said.

"I want more schools to follow their example by making badly behaved pupils pick up litter or help clear up the dining hall after meal times."

Gove is also expected to announce plans for testing of school children to begin at four-years-old.

Teachers today accused Mr Gove of "increasingly bizarre" behaviour.

"While he says he wants to give school leaders and teachers the power to make the right decisions for their schools, he takes every opportunity to tell them what to do," general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers Mary Bousted said.

Teaching unions also claimed that most schools already used these kinds of measures.

"It has to be remembered that the majority of our schools have good levels of behaviour and many of the deterrents mentioned, such as litter detention, will already be used in many schools," National Union of Teachers deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney said.

Gove was accused of trying to distract from a damaging row over accusations that he is trying to "politicise" the classroom.

The Liberal Democrat schools minister David Laws has accused Gove of trying to stuff the education system with his own 'cronies,' after sacking the Labour-supporting chair of Ofsted.

"David is absolutely furious at the blatant attempts by the Tories to politicise Ofsted," a soure close to Laws said.

"The decision to get rid of Sally Morgan had absolutely nothing to do with her abilities, or even education policy, and everything to do with Michael Gove's desire to get his own people on board.

"David Laws is absolutely determined not to let Michael undermine the independence of this vital part of the education system."

Morgan also accused the prime minister of personally orchestrating her sacking.

"There is a determined effort from No 10 that Conservative supporters will be appointed to public bodies," she said.

Gove today denied trying to fill appointments with his 'cronies' telling BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show that "the only pattern you can see is appointment on merit."

Asked whether rumours that he intended to replace Morgan with Conservative donor Theodore Agnew were true, he replied: "It would be quite wrong for me to rule anybody out."

The chief inspector of schools Michael Wilshaw was also said to be "spitting blood" following an alleged "dirty tricks" campaign by people close to Gove, designed to "smear" him.

Wilshaw suggested the attacks had come after Ofsted had criticised or failed a number of Gove's favoured academy and free schools.

"I suspect that those who want us to be softer in our judgments are angry at our failing some of these institutions," he said.