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Balls: schools 'to bear brunt of Tory cuts'

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 05 April 2010

The Conservatives may be forced to sack teachers to pay for its promised cut in national insurance contributions, Schools Secretary Ed Balls claims, while publishing new guidance for teachers.

Ed Balls (Reuters)

A new guide for teachers was published today telling them when they can reasonably physically intervene to stop bad behaviour in the classroom. 

Schools Secretary Ed Balls made the announcement saying that is was simply a myth that schools should have "no contact" policies.

The guidance was published ahead of an annual conference at the teachers' union NASUWT in Birmingham today where Mr Balls is to speak.

In his speech Mr Balls also told delegates schools will be forced to bear the brunt of government spending cuts if the Conservatives win power at the general election.  

He claimed a Conservative government would be forced to cut teacher numbers and raise class sizes to pay for its promised cut in national insurance (NI) contributions.

His attack comes as the Tories' commitment to reverse part of the government's planned NI increase has emerged as one of the key battlegrounds in the forthcoming general election.

The new guidance published today says teachers can act when pupils are fighting and could hurt each other; a pupil is deliberately damaging property, continually refusing to follow instructions to leave a class, or seriously disrupting a lesson or school activity.

It also says teachers can restrain youngsters who are hurting, or at risk of hurting, someone by accident.

Speaking this morning the schools secretary said he was aware that many teachers "fear retribution" if they have to forcibly remove an unruly pupil.

"This guidance aims to stop teachers being afraid of using the powers they have when necessary," he said.

"Myths that schools should have 'no contact policies', that teachers shouldn't be able to protect and defend themselves and others, will be dispelled by this new guidance which makes clear that in some situations, teachers have the powers and protection to use force."

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