A Week in Education

28th March 2008 at 00:00
Britain's two biggest teachers' unions criticised parents of spoilt children at their annual Easter conferences. The National Union of Teachers (NUT) commissioned a Cambridge University report, which found that growing numbers of children turned up to school tired and badly behaved because they were over-indulged at home.

Steve Sinnott, NUT general secretary, said: "Indulgent parents are struggling in a commercialised world to deal with poor behaviour and that spills over into schools".

At the NASUWT conference, the union's president, Amanda Haehner, said that children were increasingly being turned into spoilt "little princes and princesses" by their parents. Pages 6 7

The number of pupils found carrying weapons or drugs into schools every week has risen, a report by Warwick University has found. The study of 1,500 teachers, commissioned by the NUT, said teachers encountered offensive weapons, including knives and guns, more frequently in 2008 than in 2001. Pages 6 7

Schools will be made to take their fair share of expelled pupils, Ed Balls, the Children's Schools and Families Secretary said.

Mr Balls announced that he will change the law "at the earliest opportunity" to require all state school to work in local behaviour partnerships to deal with unruly young people together. His comments came in response to an initial report by Sir Alan Steer, head of Seven Kings High School in Essex, who said schools had a responsibility for the education of all the children in their local area. Page 7

The conservatives pledged to take hundreds of "failing" schools out of local authority control if they gained power. Michael Gove, the shadow schools secretary, promised legislation in the first year of a Tory government that would allow control to be handed to city academies, charitable trusts or parent co-operatives. The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has warned that more than 600 schools that achieve less than 30 per cent five top-grade GCSEs including English and maths could be shut down or taken over.

Pupils who struggle are the worst affected by large class sizes. A report by the Institute of Education in London was one of hundreds of pieces of research submitted to the American Educational Research Association conference in New York. It said children who were lagging behind were more likely to drift off because of a lack of personal attention. A separate study by the institute found heads were painting a rosy picture of schools in self-evaluation forms submitted to Ofsted. Pages 4 30

A life coach called on parents to go one step further than simply reading to their children - by writing stories for them as well. Ronny M Cole, author of Creating Bedtime Stories for Your Children, said he had penned more than 3,000 stories for his children.

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