When kids misbehave the media reaction is always the same: blame the schools. And the government reaction is always the same: more regulation in schools. Articles like this one from the BBC address the issues of behaviour, school work, politeness and discipline but they do so in a completely false context - they assume that the kids in question come from loving, supportive homes.
The latest advice says teachers should send postcards home when badly behaved children make improvements. I have to ask - how many parents of these uncontrollable children go so far as to read postcards from teachers? I have two friends who work in specialist schools for children with emotional and behavioural problems - kids who have been excluded from regular school. Both have told me that they hate parents evening... not because of the complaints or the upset, not because of the late hours and the administrative work, but because they sit there all night and NOT ONE PARENT EVER COMES IN.
We shouldn't be sending postcards home, we should be sending inspectors round to find out why these kids aren't being raised properly. The only reason the government doesn't do this is that they are desperately short of foster carers and they know if they see what goes on they will have to take these kids into care. I was always top of the class at school (creep) but there were teachers who I believe knew or suspected they knew about my abusive home life but not once in 18 years of suffering did anybody come round to check up or ask me about my home life.
I would advocate annual parenting checks, questionnaires for kids to fill in and follow-up visits to observe what is really going on and question parents about their practices.