A TEACHING union president has called for the “social causes” of bad behaviour in schools to be addressed.

But NUT president Gill Goodswen said new legislation was not the “sticking plaster” to cure all ills.

The former headteacher of Stile Common Junior School spoke out after schools secretary Ed Balls announced new plans to tackle disruptive behaviour in schools at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) annual conference in Manchester.

He announced the first 20 of 100 Lead Behaviour Schools, which will be given £40,000 a year to help other schools with behaviour problems.

Schools will also be given new guidance on how to work with police, children’s services and neighbouring schools to improve behaviour.

But Gill, who has taught in some of Kirklees’ most deprived areas, said it was only through better training and working with parents that students’ needs could be met and behaviour improved.

“Every school wants to do its best for its children, but some schools face bigger barriers in achieving this and this should be recognised,” she said.

University of Huddersfield education expert Prof Cedric Cullingford believes punishment is not the answer.

“Enforcement doesn’t work, in schools or in society. We need to involve parents, schools and students in seeking a solution and punishments do not work.

“I believe there are many threats faced by teachers and their powers have been emasculated over the years. There is a fear they cannot go near children and it has become a major issue.’’

Mrs Goodswen was being officially installed at the national conference of the NUT in Liverpool today.