Nearly 1,000 abusive pupils are sent home every day from school for attacking or verbally abusing fellow pupils or staff, new figures reveal.
The findings show that bad behaviour in schools is far worse than stated by officials – because head teachers are routinely hiding classroom troublemakers from Ofsted inspectors.
Schools Minister Nick Gibb released figures showing that schools were forced to expel or suspend pupils 182,090 times for abuse or physical assaults in the 2008/09 academic year.
Speaking to a cross-party group of MPs, Mr Gibb said: 'It's time to put teachers back in control of the classroom. We need to strip away the bureaucracy that far too often prevents them from maintaining good behaviour.'
Tom Trust, a former member of the General Teaching Council for England, told the group how schools managed to ensure Ofsted never saw classes with unruly pupils.
He explained how the worst pupils were suspended or taught by supply teachers on the days of inspections. Inspectors do not watch lessons taken by supply teachers.
A White Paper being published next week is expected to contain detailed proposals for tackling discipline problems, giving schools tougher powers to restrain unruly pupils.
Teachers will also be able to frisk youngsters for mobile phones and pornography and punish anti-social behaviour outside school.
A requirement on schools to give 24 hours' written notice of detentions will be waived, allowing schools to administer the sanction immediately.
Mr Gibb's figures show that primary, secondary and special schools expelled or suspended pupils 182,090 times in 2008/09 for assaults and abuse – equivalent to 958 youngsters every school day.
The disclosure comes a day after a report calling for a ban on disruptive pupils from schools.
The Centre for Policy Studies, a right-wing think-tank, branded short-term suspensions as 'madness' and said 'very little' could be done with badly behaved children who were removed from school for less than a year.
Another speaker, Katharine Birbalsingh, who was sacked from her role as deputy head teacher for outspoken comments at this year's Conservative Party conference, yesterday told the education select committee hearing that bad behaviour was 'common'.
She said: 'Often you get two or three very badly behaved children but bad behaviour spreads like a cancer.'
Teachers should be held to account for bad behaviour, she added.
'If a school is in chaos, senior teachers are doing something wrong. We should hold them to account.'
What do you think should be done to combat the problem of disruptive pupils?
Tell us what you think.
Suggested For You
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more