Initial training is failing to prepare tens of thousands of new teachers to deal with disruptive and potentially violent children, according to a five-year study published today.
Independent research commissioned by teaching union NASUWT found that almost half of newly qualified teachers (NQTs) were dissatisfied with the training they had received on coping with bad behaviour after they had been in post for two terms.
More than half of new teachers surveyed felt unprepared to deal with physical violence in the classroom and more than a third with verbal aggression.
In a damning conclusion, the report said that the results suggest initial teacher training "does not appear to have improved over the last five years".
Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said new teachers are being left to "sink or swim".
Disruptive pupil behaviour has not reduced over the past five years, said the study, despite policies designed to improve the situation.
As well as poor behaviour, new teachers feel unprepared to deal with issues including effectively responding to SEN children and teaching non- specialist subjects, it found.
In further criticisms, the study said that teachers who completed a PGCE course were more likely to be unhappy with their training than those who qualified in other ways.
It also reported there was "no evidence of an obvious impact of continuing professional development".
Teachers' perception of the quality of training they had received deteriorated with how long they had been in the job.
"Of those recently qualified teachers who had received training, most were critical of it," said the report. "Teachers felt the advice given in training often sounded good in theory but was difficult to implement. Some found the training they had been provided as irrelevant."
Ms Keates said that pupil indiscipline had a negative impact on standards and was responsible, in some cases, for driving new teachers out of the profession.
"Too many schools are not using the full range of sanctions available to back teachers in the classroom," she said. "Too often new teachers are thrown in at the deep end and left to sink or swim. This is no way to induct new recruits."
The results come from a five-year piece of research that surveyed NQTs at two points each year, with a total of 3,623 responses analysed.
The questionnaires, which focused on new teachers' level of preparedness, were followed up with in-depth annual interviews with 30 teachers who first qualified in 2003.
But Jacquie Nunn, a director at the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA), disagreed: "The evidence of the TDA's NQT survey does not support this report.
"Of the 14,000 new teachers we surveyed, 94 per cent of trainees said their training in behaviour management was satisfactory or better, with 69 per cent reporting that it was good or very good. This compares with 59 per cent in 2003."
The results follow a warning from the National Association of Social Workers in Education, which last week said that the inexperience of some newer teachers in dealing with bad behaviour was contributing to high levels of exclusions.
Public's bullying rap
More than four out of 10 people in England believe that teachers are "ineffective" at dealing with bullying in schools, government research has revealed.
The study also showed that around 40 per cent of the public believe the problem of bullying has been getting worse in schools over the past five years.
The survey, commissioned by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, canvassed the opinion of more than 3,000 members of the public.
According to the study, more than a quarter of the general public believe that behaviour is "poor" in their local schools.
And perhaps most worrying of all for the Government is the feeling among more than 40 per cent of the public that schools are inadequate at preparing children for work in later life.