Heads can prosecute lying pupils
School heads will be able to press criminal charges against pupils who make false allegations about teachers in England, under new guidance issued by the coalition.
Education secretary Michael Gove published the rules as he announced that teachers would be given a range of new powers to enforce discipline - including searching mobile phones for inappropriate material.
The Government is also appointing headteacher Charlie Taylor as an Expert Adviser on Behaviour.
The new guidance will reduce the regulations from 600 pages to a 50-page document. As well as the ability to press criminal charges, heads will be able to temporarily or permanently exclude pupils who make false allegations.
Teachers will also get added protection through an assumption that they have behaved reasonably until the contrary is proved, and confirmation that they can use reasonable force to control children.
At present, they can be suspended at the word of a pupil. Surveys have previously suggested that more than a quarter of all teachers have faced false allegations.
Mr Gove said: "Improving discipline is a big priority. Teachers can't teach effectively and pupils can't learn if schools can't keep order. These changes will give teachers confidence that they can remove disruptive pupils and search children where necessary.
"The appointment of a head of Charlie Taylor's calibre shows how serious we are about dealing with this issue. He has an excellent track record in improving discipline in some of the most challenging schools in the country."