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When bust leads to shove

Recession will lead to behaviour problems in schools across Britain as families struggle to cope with redundancies and mortgage arrears, the English schools minister has warned.

Jim Knight suggested schools could help by providing parents with emotional support.

"There will be uncertainty for those families going through redundancy, and for families going through stresses around an uncertain future for their housing," he told the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust conference last week. "Those stresses potentially, I'm sure - if they haven't already - will start to be reflected in behaviour in schools."

He said he had heard of schools where this had already started happening after local redundancies.

He cited a primary in his Dorset constituency where support staff had been trained to help pupils and parents deal with their worries.

Jane Lees, of the Association of School and College Leaders, said she remembered the last recession leading to poor behaviour when she was teaching in Lancashire.

"When a family went into crisis ... the children often didn't want to let parents know their concerns so took it out in school," she said.

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