§ Mr. Weetch
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what steps he is taking, and what advice he has given to local authorities, to seek to counteract and to minimise violence against teaching staff in maintained schools;
(2) whether he will initiate discussions with the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers to seek to identify measures to minimise violence and disorder in maintained schools in England and Wales;
(3) if he will collect statistics of violent incidents resulting in injuries to teachers arising from violence and disorder in state schools;
(4) if he will make a statement on his policy towards the maintenance of discipline in schools, in the light of the report of the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers entitled, "Pupil Violence and Serious Disorder in Schools," a copy of which has been sent to him.
§ Mr. Chris Patten
It is essential that good order is maintained in schools. The Government's White Paper "Better Schools" drew attention to the poor standards of behaviour found in a small minority of schools and urged local education authorities and schools to tackle this problem urgently. My right hon. Friend has frequent meetings with the teachers' associations but, since effective action can only be taken by those responsible at local level, has no plans to convene a meeting with the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers on this matter, nor to collect national statistics on injuries to teachers. Swift and firm action at local level is preferable to a statistical exercise by central Government.