One in five want cane returned

Isabella Kaminski

More than one in five teachers would like caning to be reintroduced in UK schools, a TES Cymru survey has found.

Of 6,162 teachers polled in England and Wales, 20.3 per cent support "the right to use corporal punishment in extreme cases". Most of those who gave reasons cited the deterioration of pupil behaviour.

Support seems strongest among secondary teachers - 22 per cent - and weakest among heads, deputies and assistant heads - 12 per cent.

Phil Dixon, director of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers Cymru, said: "I think there are obvious problems with discipline and behaviour in schools, and teachers need help dealing with them - but caning is not the way."

Only three decades ago, caning was still being used in 80 per cent of secondaries. The cane has been outlawed in UK state schools since 1988; the ban was extended to the independent sector in 1999.

Judith Cookson, a secondary supply teacher who "strongly" supported its return, said: "Children's behaviour is now absolutely outrageous in the majority of schools. I see very many schools and there are no sanctions."

Keith Towler, Children's Commissioner for Wales, said he was "deeply saddened" by the news: "Instead of thinking about re-introducing the cane, what we should be thinking about is prohibiting all physical punishment of children, in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and also promoting respect for children as people."

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Isabella Kaminski

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