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3.1 We know that no issue is more important when it comes to attracting good people into teaching than tackling poor pupil behaviour. Among undergraduates considering becoming teachers, the most common reason for pursuing another profession is the fear of not being safe in our schools36.
3.2 And poor discipline is forcing good people out of the classroom. Two thirds of teachers say that negative behaviour is driving people out of the profession37, and the most frequent factor cited as a cause of classroom stress is pupils’ lack of respect towards teaching staff38: in 2007, almost 18,000 pupils were permanently excluded or suspended for attacking a member of staff39. Only around half of teachers believed that there was appropriate support available in their school for teachers struggling to manage pupil behaviour40. Far too many teachers are also exposed to false or even malicious allegations of misconduct by pupils or parents41.
3.3 For parents and the majority of well-behaved pupils, good behaviour in school is important to their future success. Pupils have the right to come to school and focus on their studies, free from disruption and the fear of bullying.
3.4 For all these reasons, we need to act to restore the authority of teachers and head teachers, so that they can establish a culture of respect and safety, with zero tolerance of bullying, clear boundaries, good pastoral care and early intervention to address problems. As a last resort, head teachers need the ability to exclude disruptive children and to be confident that their authority in taking these difficult decisions will not be undermined.
3.5 We must also address serious issues of inequality – both black boys and pupils receiving free school meals are three times more likely to be excluded than average42. Giving teachers the power to intervene early and firmly to tackle disruptive behaviour can get these children’s lives back on track. And by improving the quality of education for those children who are excluded we can ensure they are given a necessary second chance, and provided with the means to turn their lives around.
3.6 So we will:
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