Almost half of parents questioned say caning should be brought back in schools according to a survey.
And perhaps more surprisingly, a fifth of children were also in favour of the return of corporal punishment for very bad behaviour, it found.
The poll, commissioned by the Times Educational Supplement (TES) reveals that the majority of both parents and pupils think teachers should have the power to be tougher on unruly children.
More than nine in ten parents (93 per cent) and two thirds of children (68 per cent) think teachers need to have more authority in the classroom. Similar proportions also think teachers should be allowed to be tougher when it comes to discipline.
The questionnaire reveals that many believe one way to crack down on bad behaviour is to reintroduce corporal punishment. In cases of very bad behaviour, nearly half of parents (49 per cent) and a fifth (19 per cent) of pupils agreed that corporal punishment, such as the cane or slipper, should be brought back.
The researchers also asked specific questions about the methods used to deal with naughty pupils. But as for punishment in general although 40 per cent of parents and 14 per cent of pupils agreed that caning or smacking should be used to discipline children, that still leaves over half of parents and three-quarters of children surveyed who were against it.
Sending children out of the class was the most popular method of dealing with indiscipline, chosen by 89 per cent of parents and 79 per cent of children.
Other popular ways of cracking down on bad behaviour were lunchtime or after school detentions and writing lines. More than four in five parents and nearly two thirds of children backed expelling or suspending naughty pupils.
The survey raises parents’ concerns that behaviour in schools is worse now than when they were young.