Parents called to account

10th November 1995 at 00:00
Headteachers want the law changed to give schools more powers to deal with violent and disruptive pupils, writes Emma Burstall.

David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said schools should not be compelled by local authorities or the Education and Employment Secretary to take pupils permanently excluded from other institutions.

And he told the NAHT primary conference that parents should also not be allowed to "ride roughshod" over any sanction, such as detention, which was part of the school's disciplinary code.

"A loud and clear message has to be given to the minority of parents who are guilty of abdicating their responsibilities that the consequences for their children will be dire, leading inter alia to criminality and poor job prospects," he said.

"We must now start to halt the steady increase both in parental neglect and in parental belief that they can shuffle off their responsibilities on to schools. There has to be an effective homeschool partnership or there is nothing. "

He welcomed the Government's decision to review the operation of fixed-term exclusions but said only a commitment to widen the maximum of 15 days per term to 45 days per year would satisfy heads.

Mr Hart added that there was an urgent need for better training for teachers how to deal with violent and disruptive pupils as well as a recognition from parents of the "vital contribution" they could make to educational achievement.

And he said that heads needed more freedom from governors.

"Heads largely influence whether the schools they run succeed or fall short of legitimate aspirations. They only have all the powers they need to discharge their responsibilities by grace and favour from the governing body. This is wholly unsatisfactory."

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