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Tougher curbs on unruly pupils urged

Headteachers have demanded new measures to shift the responsibility for disruptive children on to their parents.

Responding to the Government's consultation document on school discipline, the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) called for tougher measures for inclusion in this autumn's education Bill.

The NAHT believes home-school contracts, which set out parents' responsibilities for their children's attendance and behaviour, should become a condition of entry to schools.

To deal with especially difficult pupils, the NAHT wants the reintroduction of indefinite exclusions. Schools should also have the right to refuse a pupil who has already been excluded from two or more schools, it believes.

David Hart, general secretary of the NAHT, said: "The pendulum has swung too far towards individual parental and pupil rights. It is time that the interests of the law-abiding majority of parents, pupils and their teachers were given equal recognition."

Parents this week withdrew their children from a primary school in Worksop in protest at the cost of individual tuition for 10-year-old Matthew Wilson, whose bad behaviour, according to his teachers, is "chronic".

The compromise deal was brokered last week after teachers at Manton Junior School threatened to strike because school governors twice overruled the headteacher's decision to exclude the boy.

On Tuesday, local Labour MP Joe Ashton persuaded parents to take their children back to school while he sought a solution. As The TES went to press, they were threatening to resume their boycott.

Also this week, the European Commission on Human Rights permitted a 12-year-old-boy to challenge in court a caning administered by his stepfather.

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