Teachers could soon be allowed to use “reasonable force” to tackle unruly behaviour in the classroom, according to a leaked report.
The Guardian reported that it had seen a briefing document from the Department for Education (DfE), dated August 22 and marked "Official-Sensitive", which included a slew of controversial new measures for schools, including harsher rules for tackling badly-behaved pupils and cuts to the number of teaching assistants.
The proposals will be spearheaded by a £3.5 billion funding announcement and plans to increase teachers' basic pay to £30,000 by 2022.
But also set to grab headlines will be suggested plans for more stringent rules to help schools in the fight against ill-discipline.
Confiscating mobile phones, same-day detentions and even the use of reasonable force were measures said to be outlined in the briefing note, with headteachers to be given further powers when it comes to suspending and expelling disruptive children and youths.
Cuts to support staff could also be forthcoming, with the number of teaching assistants set to be reduced if the details of the report are correct.
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Further free schools could also be rolled out, along with a fresh push to convert local authority grant-maintained schools to academies.
The DfE said it did not recognise the "figures" reported by The Guardian and said priorities for the new Secretary of State, Gavin Williamson, would be announced "in due course”.
According to the report, the DfE paper includes a major focus on poor behaviour in schools.
"This government backs headteachers to improve behaviour and will support them to create safe and disciplined school environments," the document is said to state.
"We will back heads to use powers to promote good behaviour including sanctions and rewards; using reasonable force; to search and confiscate items from pupils (including mobile phones); impose same-day detentions; suspend and expel pupils; ban mobile phones.”
The leaked paper was also said to contain evidence that Downing Street and the DfE had calculated that there are too many teaching assistants (TAs) working in the education system.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner called the alleged details of the briefing “concerning".
She said: “The next Labour government will fully reverse Tory cuts to our schools, increasing per pupil funding in real terms and offering a real-terms pay rise to both teachers and support staff.”
A DfE spokeswoman said: "We do not comment on leaks. We will announce further information on our domestic priorities in due course."