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SHEPHARD READY TO LEGISLATE ON SCHOOL DISCIPLINE

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Education and employment secretary Gillian Shephard today promised to help teachers punish bad behaviour in England...
Education and employment secretary Gillian Shephard today promised to help teachers punish bad behaviour in England's schools and to recognise and reward good behaviour.

She set out a package of measures to help ensure that behaviour and discipline become 'key foundations of good education. 'The package continues the drive to put discipline at the heart of action to improve standards in schools.

Mrs Shephard said that teachers should not have to put up with tearaway pupils who violently disrupt lessons.

Speaking at the National Association of School Masters and Union of Women Teachers (NAS/UWT) annual conference in Glasgow, Mrs Shephard announced action, including legislation, where necessary to:

-- increase the flexibility in the time limits for excluding a child

-- consider modifying the arrangements for readmitting pupils who have been excluded from two or more schools

-- bring penalties more directly to bear for persistent truants

-- remove obstacles to the wider use of home-school contracts

-- disseminate lessons learned from £18m of development projects

-- send in inspectors to all pupil referral units

Mrs Shephard said: 'Some of these measures will be possible through new guidance and further pilot projects. In other areas legislation will be necessary and we will provide it.

'Good behaviour and discipline in schools are key foundations of good education and raising standards. Without an orderly atmosphere in the classroom, effective teaching and learning cannot take place. Teachers should not have to put up with violent tearaway pupils who disrupt lessons.

'The measures I have announced will have a strong impact in bolstering the authority of schools in maintaining good behaviour and tackling problems with disruptive pupils.'

On school inspections, she said:

'By next year we shall be well on the way to completing the initial sweep of full inspections of all schools. We shall have gained an unparalleled knowledge of what schools are like.

'The inspection process is a key part of our drive to raise standards. Schools and teachers will continue to be accountable for what they do. Much is demanded of them and the process of increasing accountability will not be reversed.

'They will be supported, through help with training, with discipline, and with school security. The importance of the role of teachers in levering up national standards and improving the nation's competitiveness cannot be overstated.'

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