Page last updated at 12:38 GMT, Thursday, 23 July 2009 13:38 UK

Parents get 'licence to complain'

trainee teachers
Complaints could be used in court action against parents of unruly pupils

Parents in England are to be given the right to complain about other parents who do not make sure their children behave in school, it has emerged.

Schools Secretary Ed Balls says it will help stop a single pupil disrupting the education of a whole class.

The right is related to what are known as "home school agreements", where parents have to sign up to support a school on discipline and homework.

Many schools have such agreements now but they are to be made mandatory.

Mr Balls said: "If the large majority of parents are doing the right thing but a small minority do not engage you can have one lesson for 30 kids disrupted by one child.

"Every parent will have to, as part of the admissions process, say they take on board the obligations in the home school agreement, and every parent will be expected to reaffirm that every year.

"If other parents feel that the HSA (home school agreement) is not being enforced against other parents they will be able to tell the local education authority."

'Chaotic families'

He added: "Heads will be able to say to the recalcitrant parents, if you do not sign this or make sure they do the homework, or support discipline, then we will take that as evidence in the magistrates' court."

Breaking a contract could be used as evidence in court if magistrates were considering imposing a parenting order.

The new use of the contracts and their becoming mandatory will form part of an education bill due to be published later this year.

The details were announced as part of the updated Youth Crime Action Plan, aimed at preventing and tackling crime and anti-social behaviour.

The government is calling on local authorities to expand what are known as Family Intervention Projects which target help and support to "chaotic families" with children at risk of committing crimes or anti-social behaviour.

It also announced plans to crack down on youth offending teams which are not working well.

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