Teachers should be able to search pupils to stop them bringing alcohol and drugs into school, says a review on tackling bad behaviour among pupils.
Sir Alan Steer is to deliver proposals from his government-commissioned review of ways to raise discipline in schools.
Alcohol is identified as a growing problem and Sir Alan wants teachers in England to have the legal power to search pupils and confiscate drink.
Sir Alan Steer talking to Evan Davis on the Today Programme
ITN on the same story:
Children’s Secretary Ed Balls welcomed the report and indicated that ministers were ready to bring in legislation to implement the search powers which would also cover cigarettes and stolen property.
“I want to build on the powers we have already given teachers following Sir Alan’s earlier recommendations on searching for weapons by extending these to cover drugs, alcohol and other inappropriate items,” he said.
“It will ensure that everyone knows that a teacher’s authority in the classroom is unquestionable and teachers are clear about their right to use them.”
The Daily Mail report on how these proposals have gone down with one of the teaching unions:
Teachers’ leaders gave only a guarded welcome to the proposals last night. Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: ‘Teachers would need to exercise these powers with great caution.
‘While teachers may have the power to search, we don’t have the power to stop the pupil reacting against the search, and the reaction could be extreme.
‘These pupils are not likely to be models of good behaviour in the school community, and any situation could be extremely volatile.
‘If teachers are given these powers, which they would welcome them, they also need to be given protection and should not have to search alone.’
In future, the Government wants more heads to work with police to establish “Safer School Partnerships” to drive out weapons, drugs and alcohol from their schools, while “parent advisors” will be asked to contribute suggestions in the event of trouble.
In the second of his planned three reports into discipline in schools, which ministers hope will help tackle youth crime more generally, Sir Alan will also say that alcohol remains more of a problem than drugs in most schools.
Teachers are to be given the power to search pupils for drugs and alcohol in a fresh crackdown on unruly behaviour in schools, the Government signalled.
The extension of existing powers to search pupils for weapons is a key recommendation of the latest report of the Government’s top adviser on behaviour in schools, Sir Alan Steer.
TEACHERS will be given powers to search pupils for booze and drugs in a crackdown on classroom behaviour.
Children’s Secretary Ed Balls promised to give schools more muscle to tackle disruption.
Heads are already able to frisk pupils they believe may be carrying weapons.
But Mr Balls now plans to allow them to look for stolen goods, alcohol and even cigarettes.
Update: The Independent, Times and Mirror have very much the same story as everyone else. But the Guardian add some more detail:
Steer warned that strict controls should be in placed before searches are carried out. They should only be exercised with the authority of the headteacher, carried out by a person of the same gender as the pupil and in the presence of another responsible adult. All searches should be recorded and parents informed, he said.
He also advised schools to forge closer links with their local police force…
According to Steer, drug testing in schools would be unviable and unlikely to be effective. Alcohol was often a greater problem in classrooms.
“The power to search is a power that at all times should be exercised with caution,” said Steer.
The DCSF press release is now up on their site should you want to take a look.
Further Update: The Mirror run with the story again:
Booze is a greater problem in schools than drugs – and parents are to blame, a top adviser warns.
Sir Alan Steer, the Government’s boss on discipline, said mums and dads must be more responsible if schools are to tackle underage drinking.
Filed under: alcohol, Government, illegal drugs, random drug testing, school drug policy, Sir Alan Steer