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Teacher training to be overhauled under Government plans to restore discipline to the classroom

Gavin Williamson, the new Education Secretary, is to launch a review into teacher training
Gavin Williamson, the new Education Secretary, is to launch a review into teacher training

Teachers will be given training to make them tougher with unruly children as part of a Government drive to restore discipline to the classroom.

Gavin Williamson, the new Education Secretary, is to launch a review into teacher training which will focus on implementing  stricter behaviour strategies to tackle disruption in schools. 

“Persistent disruptive behaviour” accounts for he highest proportion of pupil expulsions, according the latest official figures.

This was cited as the cause for a third (34 per cent) of all permanent exclusions last year, up from 29.6 per cent a decade ago. 

It is also the most common reason given for suspensions, accounting for 30 per cent last year, up from 23.3 per cent in 2008/9.

Writing in today’s Telegraph, Mr Williamson said: “Top of my list will be to give teachers the support they need to tackle poor behaviour in schools.

“This can lead to bullying, as well as disruption in classes, preventing teachers from doing their essential jobs and preventing pupils from learning.

“All schools should provide a safe learning environment, and everyone in them should be able to go about their business without fear of intimidation by a small minority of disruptive pupils.”  

Under Ofsted’s new inspection regime, which comes into force next month, schools will be marked down if pupils misbehave and are discourteous to each other.

The revamped framework includes “behaviour and attitudes” as a stand-alone category for the first time.  

The move follows research by Ofsted which revealed a rise in “low level” disruption such as children playing on their mobile phones and other electronic devices in the classroom.  

Sean Harford, Ofsted’s national director for education, said earlier this year that the new category was bought in to recognise the fact that low-level disruption is on the rise in classrooms, adding: “If every child behaved at school the standards would rocket up”.

A taskforce will be set up to ensure that schools with the most effective discipline regimes can teach others how to overhaul their systems.

Tom Bennett, who will lead the taskforce, has previously blamed progressive teaching methods for fuelling the rise in poor behaviour.

He said progressivism - the dominant ideology in education which became popular in the 1960s and 70s - has led to low level disruption going unchallenged.

Mr Williamson's intervention comes as thousands of students pick up their GCSE results on Thursday. They are the first group to take the reformed courses in virtually all subjects.

The new GCSEs were created by former Education Secretary Michael Gove as part an attempt to inject rigour into the qualifications and bring the UK in line with top performing countries in the Far East. The reformed exams, which are marked in numerical grades of nine to one rather than A* to G, are designed to separate the very highest achievers with the A* now split between grades 8 and 9. 

The exams watchdog has said that there will be no “safety net” this year for pupils who fail their higher tier science, maths or languages GCSEs.

Last year Ofqual took the highly unusual step of intervening to save science students from failing by moving the grade boundaries, but it said that this was an “exception” and there would be no repeat this year.