The Government also suffered defeats in the House of Lords on the School Standards and Framework Bill. Peers voted by a majority of 78 for a Tory amendment which would allow parish and town councils to retain the right to nominate representatives to the governing bodies of state and church primary schools. They also voted to allow village and split-site schools to continue sharing governing bodies.
A Department for Education and Employment spokesman said ministers would consider the amendment concerning parish and town councils, but would definitely reverse the other defeat.
A group of Christian schools has threatened to challenge the Government in the European Court of Human Rights because they will be denied the right to use corporal punishment by the Bill, which extends the ban to private schools.
Ferris Lindsay, a teacher at The Cedar School, in East London, which uses the slipper and smacks on the hand, said parents should have the right to decide.
The Bill finished its report stage without any further defeats and receives its Third Reading in the Lords next week.