Prime Minister David Cameron has suggested that parents of children are who regularly absent from school should have their benefits cut.
"Yes, this would be a tough measure – but we urgently need to restore order and respect in the classroom and I don't want ideas like this to be off the table." said Cameron.
In a speech about his plans for education reforms at the opening of a new 'free school' in Norwich, he returned to the theme of social dysfunction and spoke in support of the free school system.
"We've got to be ambitious, too, if we want to mend our broken society. Because education doesn't just give people the tools to make a good living – it gives them the character to live a good life, to be good citizens"
The prime minister's plan for tougher penalties for underperforming schools was under attack from the National Union of Teachers. The General Secretary of the NUT Christine Blower said "To impose yet more draconian targets on schools will further stifle the education system in this country.
"The prime minister conveniently forgot the link between education standards and high quality teaching when it decided that Free Schools do not have to employ qualified teachers."