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Fewer ballots - but bad behaviour grows

THE number of disruptive pupils prompting refusal-to-teach ballots may have almost halved, but the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers claims their behaviour is worse than ever.

Cases in 2002 included an assault on a pregnant teacher and the two teenagers excluded from Glyn technology college, Surrey, for making death threats against PE teacher Steve Tavener. Former education secretary Estelle Morris attempted to intervene, saying the boys should not have been reinstated.

Mr O'Kane said: "Some of the cases have been quite serious, probably more so than in the past. These are youngsters who are virtually out of control."

They included:

* A Year 1 boy from the West Midlands who was permanently excluded after assaulting a teacher and other pupils, but was reinstated by the LEA.

* A Y10 pupil who had bullied, been verbally aggressive to staff in a London school, set off a fire extinguisher and attempted to sell a replica gun on the premises.

* A Y10 girl in another London school, with a history of violence and disruption, who sprayed a female classroom assistant with noxious whiteboard cleaning fluid.

* Sexually explicit and threatening phone calls to a teacher from two pupils from Y8 and Y9 in a Yorkshire school.

* A Welsh boy who attacked a pregnant teacher as he forced his way into a science laboratory and then began turning over furniture and switching on gas taps.

* A Y10 pupil in the West Midlands who attacked his teacher, headteacher and needed four members of staff to restrain him after drinking a large amount of cider and lager on a school trip .

* A Y11 boy in a Yorkshire school who was permanently excluded for throwing a firework into a PE changing room containing other pupils, but was reinstated by an independent appeals panel.

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