By Daily Mail Reporter
Schools were told today that they must take parents of persistently naughty children to court.
Ministers said they want headteachers to make use of parenting orders – which can force parents to make their children behave, or face fines of up to £1,000.
Under the orders, they can also be told to make sure their child does not stay up late, cannot drink alcohol at home and goes to school on time.
Schools minister Vernon Coaker said it was time for parents to be ‘held accountable’ for their child’s behaviour.
A bill currently making its way through Parliament will require all parents to sign up to behaviour contracts – known as Home School Agreements (HSAs) – once their child is accepted at a school.
If a child continually misbehaves, a school can apply to the courts for a parenting order.
According to government figures, no parenting orders for behaviour were issued between September 2004 and August 2008.
But ministers said headteachers should be using the powers.
Mr Coaker said: ‘For heads to have the power to take court action against parents whose children continue to behave badly, disrupt lessons and impact on other pupils is a vital step in the right direction.
‘I want to see more schools using parenting orders when Home School Agreements fail – it is time for parents to be held accountable for their child’s behaviour.’
In his report, Sir Alan, former headteacher of Seven Kings High School in east London, said: ‘It is important that schools have the confidence in knowing that they operate within a legal system that supports their endeavours and that both parents and schools know that the use of a parenting order is a possibility.’
Parenting orders are similar to anti-social behaviour orders, and are usually applied for if a parent fails to live up to their side of an HSA, or breaks a parenting contract – a voluntary document drawn up between a parent and school.
Orders usually last for 12 months and breaches can lead to prosecution.
In his reports, Sir Alan said school must make it explicitly clear to parents the powers teachers have to discipline, use force and search pupils without consent.
He recommends that schools use specialist Parent Support Advisers to explain to parents before their child starts at the school their responsibilities in making sure their youngster behaves in class and the stiff penalties they could face if they fail to stick to their side of the deal.
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