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Commenting on new guidance to be issued next week to schools and independent appeals panels, National Union of Teac...
Commenting on new guidance to be issued next week to schools and independent appeals panels, National Union of Teachers general secretary Doug McAvoy said:

'This guidance to schools will strengthen the hand of headteachers in dealing with the unacceptable behaviour of some pupils.

'It has been clear for some time that appeals panels have been placing too much emphasis on the position of the excluded child and insufficient on ensuring that schools can educate all their pupils in an atmosphere of security.

'A study for the union by Warwick University which showed there was an increasing incidence of offensive weapons being bought into not only secondary schools but also into primary schools, has spurred the government into action. The spelling out of circumstances in which appeals panels should not reinstate pupils, in particular the carrying of offensive weapons and persistent bulling, will be welcomed by teachers and pupils across the country.

'Deteriorating pupil behaviour is one the major reasons for the high drop-out rate from the profession of newly qualified teachers. This will go some way to easing that problem.'

National Association of Head Teachers general secretary David Hart said:

'NAHT welcomes the government's change of heart, and in particular its strong line on bullying and carrying offensive weapons as additional examples of behaviour justifying immediate and first time permanent exclusion.

'The NAHT has been pressing the government for months to treat bullying as seriously as it has treated violence, disruptive behaviour and drugs. The government's announcement is a positive response to NAHT lobbying. This and the package of measures to reform independent appeal panels, contained in the education Bbill, will go a long way to giving school leaders, and their staff the support they need in dealing with the rising tide of pupil misbehaviour.'

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