The coalition government's education bill received Royal Assent on Tuesday, meaning its provisions will now be implemented in schools across England.
The legislative framework is designed to hand teachers the powers they need to ensure "every classroom is a safe and ordered place where children are free to learn". The Education Act 2011, as it will now be known as, also aims to help teachers raise standards in educational institutions.
Other provisions include:
- Power for schools to search pupils without consent for "dangerous or banned" items
- Ability for schools to issue detentions without having to provide 24 hours' written notice
- Reporting restrictions on allegations of criminal offences made by pupils against teachers at their school
- Power to exempt schools from routine Ofsted inspections
- Extended autonomy for Secretary of State to close underperforming schools.
Schools Minister Nick Gibb said the new act strengthened school accountability to "drive continued improvement in academic standards".
"We are determined to deliver the type of schools parents want for their children and this new Education Act is an important part of this programme", he added.
The legislation is the second major bill to be pushed through parliament after the Academies Act 2010 gave schools the opportunity to grant themselves a greater level of autonomy. To date, more than 1,500 schools have applied to become academies, meaning 40% of secondary institutions are seeking to make the transfer.
Most of the act's provisions will be implemented within the next two months, while the rest will come into force at the start of the next school year in September 2012.