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Legal powers shunned

Strict legal powers to tackle bad behaviour in England's schools have never been used, government statistics show. Teachers are shying away from getting court orders to sort out unruly pupils and turning to voluntary agreements with their parents, according to Department for Children, Schools and Families figures. Parenting orders for behaviour were introduced almost three years ago by former prime minister Tony Blair as part of his crackdown on anti-social teenagers. But despite having the relevant systems in place, none of the 150 local authorities in England have used them. They argue that existing orders, such as Asbos and youth offending orders, mean the behaviour powers are superfluous.

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