Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

49% of parents 'back caning return'

Almost half of parents believe caning should be brought back to the classroom

Almost half of parents believe caning should be brought back to the classroom, a survey has claimed.

A fifth of children are also in favour of the return of corporal punishment for very bad behaviour, it found.

The survey, commissioned by the Times Educational Supplement (TES), reveals that the majority of both parents and pupils think teachers should have the power to be tougher on unruly children.

More than nine in 10 parents (93%) and two-thirds of children (68%) think teachers need to have more authority in the classroom. Similar proportions (91% of parents and 62% of children) also think teachers should be allowed to be tougher when it comes to discipline.

The poll reveals that many believe one way to crack down on bad behaviour is to reintroduce corporal punishment. In cases of very bad behaviour, nearly half of parents (49%) and a fifth (19%) of pupils agreed that corporal punishment, such as the cane or slipper, should be brought back.

The researchers also asked specific questions about the methods used to deal with naughty pupils. In general, 40% of parents and 14% of pupils agreed that caning or smacking should be used to discipline children while 53% of parents and 77% of children were against it, the poll shows.

Sending children out of the class was the most popular method of dealing with indiscipline, chosen by 89% of parents and 79% of children. Other popular ways of cracking down on bad behaviour were lunchtime or after school detentions and writing lines.

TES editor Gerard Kelly said: "These results show that parents want today's teachers to have more authority in the classroom. It's not about making school life miserable but about showing children that sanctions will be enforced and that their actions will have consequences."

The survey comes just a week after Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to restore order and respect in schools. In a speech he warned that parents must take responsibility for their child's behaviour and that those whose children constantly play truant could see their benefits cut.

Education Secretary Michael Gove, who is against returning caning to the classroom, said: "Parents and students know we have to give teachers more authority. Strong discipline is vital for effective teaching."

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