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Last Updated: Monday, 10 October 2005, 22:57 GMT 23:57 UK
Parents blamed for unruly pupils
Bad school behaviour starts at home, say teachers
Parents are the biggest factor in the disruptive behaviour of school pupils, say teachers.

A survey of 500 primary and secondary teachers for the Teachers' TV channel found 80% blamed discipline problems at school on a lack of parental control.

Almost three quarters of those asked said they would support a tough "zero tolerance" approach to bad behaviour.

And a majority wanted the parents of excluded children to have to stay at home to look after them.

The survey, published ahead of a report from the government's working group examining problems with classroom behaviour, also showed a third of teachers thought punishments for pupils should be extended to their parents.

'Punish parents'

Parents have responsibilities as well as rights, and for too long the focus has been only on their rights
John Dunford, Secondary Heads Association

Twice as many teachers believed parents were the cause of poor behaviour than thought it stemmed from other factors, such as a "lack of consistent school policy" or an "unimaginative curriculum".

The scale of the behaviour problem is also suggested by the survey - with a fifth of teachers saying as much as 10% of their lesson time is disrupted by poor behaviour.

Another fifth said even more of their time - 15% - was lost because of badly-behaved pupils.

Head teachers also wanted to see a tougher line on disruptive pupils - with almost two-thirds wanting more power to exclude pupils.

The leader of the Secondary Heads Association, John Dunford, supported the findings and criticised the appeals process, under which exclusions can be overturned.


"The problem is that too often heads' decisions are challenged by parents and overruled by appeals panels which don't fully understand what is happening in the school.

"In too many cases, appeals panels are erratic and their judgements are based wholly on the circumstances of the individual child, without giving enough thought to other pupils and teachers in the school," said Mr Dunford.

Appeals should only be allowed on whether correct procedures were followed, not on the professional decision to exclude a pupil, said Mr Dunford.

He also supported the need for parents to recognise their responsibilities, saying: "Parents have responsibilities as well as rights and for too long the focus has been only on their rights."

Behaviour management specialist and Teachers' TV presenter John Bayley said the survey showed that it was clear that "teachers want parents to take more responsibility for their children's behaviour".

He added: "Relationships between home and school are central to student discipline and teachers' frustration shows we still have a long way to go in building a partnership between parents and schools."

The survey was carried out by ICM for Teachers' TV, a television channel for teachers funded by the Department for Education and Skills.

Advisers to tackle unruly pupils
20 May 05 |  Education
Head teachers complain of abuse
29 Apr 05 |  Education

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