Ruffley calls for action on discipline in Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket schools

Monday, 7 February, 2005

Local Conservatives new policies to improve discipline and standards

David Ruffley MP this week welcomed the new five-point action plan launched by the Conservative Party designed to restore discipline to unruly school classrooms in Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket. AS AN ILLUSTRATION OF FALLING STANDARDS, IN MY CONSTITUENCY OF BURY ST EDMUNDS, OVER 1900 PUPILS WERE TRUANT IN 2003, AN INCREASE OF MORE THAN 90% SINCE 1997.

David said:

'Too many children in Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket don't get that start in life. Our hardworking local teachers face a minority of highly disruptive pupils. They undermine discipline and it is a real and growing problem in our schools. Children cannot learn in undisciplined classes in schools where teachers are under pressure and stress.

Under the five-point action plan,

1. Head teachers will be given the final say over exclusions and appeals panels will be scrapped.

2. Labour's plans to force all state schools to take their share of undisciplined pupils will be abolished.

3. Head teachers will have an unqualified right to insist on parental agreement to discipline as part of the conditions of entry/attendance for their children.

4. Schools will be given the funds and financial freedom to introduce random drug-testing, CCTV and metal detectors.

5. Teachers will have greater legal protection so that they can enforce discipline without fear of having their lives ruined if a child falsely alleges abuse.

David added:

'Labour have had their chance to improve our schools and it hasn't worked. Money is being thrown at the problem but it's being wasted on bureaucracy. Conservatives believe that teachers, not politicians, should run our schools. We will cut teachers' paperwork, restore discipline in schools and give parents the opportunity to choose the best school for their child.'