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Order, order

In her letter Angela Trotter ("No solution", TES, 24 May) has, I think, misunderstood the current proposals to amend the law on detention in schools. No one believes - and we have not said - that detention is the only answer to indiscipline in the classroom. Nor is it appropriate in all settings. What has come up strongly in my discussions with teacher unions since last autumn, however, is that where it is used it should be more effective. Our proposal is designed to remove any doubt as to schools' ability to impose detention beyond normal school hours, irrespective of parental consent.

I will not comment further at this stage, since the consultation is still current. However, I underline that these proposals, and others relating to enhancing a teacher's ability to back up discipline in the classroom, have been suggested to us by representatives of the very people they are most designed to help.

In his 1995 report, the chief inspector of schools concludes that the vast majority of schools are orderly places: Gillian Shephard and I are determined that this good order should be maintained and strengthened.

ROBIN SQUIRE MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Department for Education and Employment.

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