§ Sir Gilbert Longden
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether the Association of Education Committees has completed its inquiry into violence and truancy in maintained schools; and, if so, what are its conclusions.
§ Mrs. Thatcher
My Department collaborated with the Association of Education Committees and other interested parties in preparing a questionnaire on violence and indiscipline in106W schools, which was sent by the association to local education authorities in January, together with its own questionnaire on school attendance. The two investigations are separate and the latter one is the responsibility of the association. Over 60 per cent. of local education authorities replied to the violence and indiscipline questionnaire and analysis of their replies has now been completed. The main findings of the survey are as follows:
- (1) The number of pupils in schools involved in incidents was proportionately very low, although noticeably greater in secondary than in primary schools.
- (2) About 60 per cent. of the responding authorities thought that there had been no significant increase in misbehaviour.
- (3) Over three-quarters of responding authorities thought that boys were more involved in misbehaviour than girls.
- (4) There were proportionately three or four times as many incidents reported in the more densely populated areas.
- (5) The average size of primary and secondary schools involved in incidents was greater than the national average size for these schools.
- (6) Much of the vandalism affecting schools had occurred out of normal hours.
- (7) Social problems related to home and community influences, in particular marital break-up or domestic tension, were the factors mainly blamed for misbehaviour.
- (8) Better co-operation and communication, both within school and between schools and their local communities, were the remedies most often mentioned. Following these in order of frequency of mention came sound pastoral care arrangements, leadership and concern on the part of the head teacher and senior staff and good supporting social agencies.