Teachers are set to be backed to use “reasonable force” on pupils in a crackdown on bad behaviour in schools, according to a report.
A leaked government document, obtained by the Guardian, reportedly includes several controversial new measures, including harsher rules for tackling unruly pupils and cuts to the number of teaching assistants.
Confiscating mobile phones, same-day detentions and backing headteachers to expel disruptive children, with new guidance on behaviour, are said to be among the planned measures for schools in England.
The Department for Education (DfE) paper, dated 22 August and marked “Official-Sensitive”, also includes explicit support for headteachers “using reasonable force” in their efforts to improve discipline, the Guardian said.
“This government backs headteachers to improve behaviour and will support them to create safe and disciplined school environments,” the document reportedly states.
“We will back heads to use powers to promote good behaviour including sanctions and rewards; using reasonable force; to search and confiscate items from pupils (including mobile phones); impose same-day detentions; suspend and expel pupils; ban mobile phones.”
The proposals will also include a £3.5bn funding announcement and plans to increase teachers’ basic pay to £30,000 by 2022, according to the Guardian.
The leaked document also reveals Downing Street and the Treasury are concerned there may be too many teaching assistants (TAs), the newspaper said.
But the briefing note reportedly warns against going public with the possibility of TA cuts, saying “it would undermine the ‘hearts and minds’ aspect of the announcement” with those supportive of TAs – including parents and teachers.
“This needs to be handled very sensitively if we are to protect the positivity of the announcement,” the leaked note reportedly states.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner called the alleged details of the document “concerning”.
“Time after time Boris Johnson has backed Tory cuts to school budgets that created the crisis in our classrooms, while slashing taxes for the richest,” she said.
A DfE spokeswoman said it did not recognise the “figures” reported by the Guardian, adding: “We do not comment on leaks. We will announce further information on our domestic priorities in due course.”