NASUWT: Hitting children with sticks does not improve their behaviour

Commenting on the TES survey on school discipline, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, said this:

“The survey shows a high level of parental and pupil support for teachers and a strong recognition of the importance of their role.

“The overwhelming backing of parents and pupils for teachers being allowed to demonstrate more authority and enforcing tougher discipline will be welcomed by the profession.

“I have no doubt that the Secretary of State for Education will endorse these findings and claim that the Coalition’s behaviour policies aim to do just what parents are asking.

“Unfortunately, they do exactly the opposite.

“Behaviour support services have been hit by the cuts and behaviour partnerships abolished. Schools are no longer required to have behaviour policies and good practice guidance has been withdrawn. The Education Bill is introducing measures on behaviour which 85% of teachers don’t believe will assist them.

“Despite the wealth of positive information in the survey, much of the debate around the findings is likely to focus on the number of parents who support the return of corporal punishment.

“A mythology has grown up around corporal punishment and its effectiveness which was never borne out by reality.

“A study of inspection reports from the 50s and 60s highlighted behaviour that would not be tolerated today, such as vandalising school property or assaulting teachers. These were common features of life in many schools in years gone by despite the routine use of corporal punishment.

“In fact, evidence suggests that behaviour has improved significantly since corporal punishment was abolished.

“In a civilised society no one should be advocating hitting children with sticks as a means of improving behaviour. Over half of parents in the survey agree. However, no one appears to have asked those who have called for the return of corporal punishment whether they would be happy for their child to be caned.

“Teachers demonstrate day in and day out in schools across the country their expertise in maintaining high standards of behaviour without the use of corporal punishment.”


Stuart Gannon
NASUWT Press Office

Tel: 020 7420 9681
Mobile (and out of hours contact): 07966 198894
Address: 5 King Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8SD


The largest teachers' union in the UK