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Gove scraps "no touch rule" as part of crackdown on classroom discipline

By Tim Montgomerie

ConservativeHome will be keeping a track of all the big policy announcements to emerge from this week's Tory Conference here.

The most interesting so far comes from Michael Gove. The breakdown of discipline in schools is a problem for all social groups but breakdown tends to be greatest in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods, fuelling a cycle of under-achievement.

Screen shot 2010-10-02 at 07.39.54 In an eve-of-Tory Conference interview for The Guardian the Education Secretary sets out a number of reforms:

  • Permission for teachers to physically restrain unruly pupils, to come between fighting pupils and comfort bullied pupils.
  • "A new general right to search children for anything that is banned by the school rules". The current rules only allow a search for very specific items.
  • Simplification of the 500 pages of current guidance to teachers on classroom discipline.
  • A right to anonymity when teachers are faced by allegations from pupils.
  • Opportunities for Academies and voluntary groups to take control of the pupil referral units that try and rehabilitate excluded children.

Talking to the Guardian Mr Gove explained his shift of policy:

"I don't believe you should be able to hit children, but I do believe that teachers need to know they can physically restrain children, they can interpose themselves between two children that may be causing trouble, and they can remove them from the classroom. The important thing is that teachers know they are in control, and this department and the justice system will back them."

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