Front Page

UK

World

Business

Sci/Tech

Sport

Despatches

World Summary


On Air

Cantonese

Talking Point

Feedback

Low Graphics

Help

Site Map

Monday, February 16, 1998 Published at 13:18 GMT



UK

Block and guide - but no slaps, teachers told
image: [ Some teachers say they are afraid to intervene for fear of prosecution ]
Some teachers say they are afraid to intervene for fear of prosecution

The Education Minister, Estelle Morris, has defended the government's guidelines on teachers' use of force from union critics who say attacks could be provoked.


BBC Education Correspondent Sue Littlemore explains the new rules (0'54")
Under the new rules, teachers are to be permitted to use reasonable force to control violent and unruly pupils.

They replace previous guidance, which many teachers complained was unclear and left them powerless before disruptive children.

The General Secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers, Nigel de Gruchy, said he feared teachers would be encouraged to intervene in dangerous situations.

"That is when they are at their greatest risk of assault," he said.

Rules to clarify position


Estelle Morris defends the guidelines (1'44")
But the education minister denied her department's advice could create more trouble than it solves.

"What we've said in these guidelines is that no teacher, when they're dealing with a child in this way, should fear either disciplinary action or action in the courts. I think that this will clarify the situation."

She added: "There's obviously circumstances where a teacher may have gone too far and used physical force that was too strong. It doesn't protect them from hitting a child or pulling a child's hair or anything like that."

The guidelines follow growing concern over violence in schools after a number of attacks on teachers.

Teachers are already allowed to use "reasonable force" to restrain and protect pupils in their care.

But many have complained that the precise interpretation of those powers is unclear.

Prosecution worries

Some say they feel unable to deal effectively with classroom incidents, for fear that they themselves could be prosecuted for assault.

The new advice issued by the Department for Education says that teachers might intervene if pupils are fighting or persistently disobeying an order to leave the class.

It describes reasonable force as blocking a pupil's path, or shepherding the child away with a hand on their back.

But teachers are told they should not pull a pupil by the ears or slap, except in exceptional circumstances.


Nigel de Gruchy responds to Katie Ivens of the Campaign for Real Education (1'12")
However, Mr de Gruchy, who has led the campaign for greater protection for classroom teachers, said that instead of intervening, teachers should summon help from the police.

His union says assaults on teachers are increasing, partly because of the numbers of children with emotional and behavioural difficulties who are now integrated in mainstream classes.
 





Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage

©

  Relevant Stories

16 Feb 98 | Talking Point
School discipline: is any force 'reasonable'?

12 Nov 97 | UK
British teachers urged to "bash and dash"

 
  Internet Links

NASUWT

Department for Education and Employment


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
 
In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online





UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales
England