NUT comment on school discipline

Commenting on the TES survey published today, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said;

“The survey overall reflects the general consensus shared by pupils, parents and teachers that schools should be disciplined but in fair environments with an atmosphere conducive to productive teaching and learning. It is worth remembering that this is exactly what happens in the majority of our schools. Parents may have got the erroneous impression from Government statements that the classroom is a place of rowdy and disrespectful behaviour. Whilst there are instances of unacceptable behaviour, most inappropriate behaviour is at a relatively low level.

“What teachers need is consistent support from management so that agreed behaviour policies are applied, along with appropriate sanctions and rewards, and teachers feel well supported in administering the policy. At the time of the ban, there was a consensus that corporal punishment should be abolished. A professional approach to the management of children and young people’s behaviour is what all teachers need, not the right to hit children.

“Parents and children also quite rightly identify the need for teachers to exercise their professional judgement in the classroom and not be restrained by a prescriptive curriculum. If children and young people are not engaged in the classroom this is a major contributing factor to disruptive behaviour.”

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