Education & Family

Schools told not bar naughty sixth formers

Image caption A school can exclude a pupil permanently in response to a serious breach, says the Department for Education

Schools in England have been told they must not bar badly behaved youngsters from sixth forms.

Under the government's admissions code, schools are told admittance to sixth form study should not be affected by behaviour or attendance.

The matter emerged after the Local Government Ombudsman reprimanded a selective school in north London for refusing a place to an unruly teenager.

Ministers said schools can permanently exclude pupils for serious breaches.

The ombudsman has ordered Latymer School in Enfield was ordered to allow a pupil, who had previously been suspended, to join the sixth form.

The 16-year-old boy, who sat his GCSEs at the school in the summer, was refused admission to the sixth form because he had been suspended earlier in the year for an incident of poor behaviour.

The selective grammar school said admission to sixth form was dependent upon good behaviour and the pupil had not met its requirements.

The boy's father lodged a complaint with the ombudsman, who ruled Latymer was wrong to refuse him admittance.

In her report, Dr Jane Martin said the government's school admissions code "specifically prohibits the school from selecting sixth form pupils based on their behaviour records".

She said that because the pupil had gained the academic qualifications needed to study in the sixth form, he should have been admitted.

The report adds that schools have the right to sanction pupils who breach their behaviour rules, including using detentions, suspensions and expulsions.

If the youngster's behaviour fell below the expected standard in the sixth form, the school could take action, it said.

Dr Martin said the school was not entitled to punish the child for an incident he was suspended for in Year 11 for a second time by withdrawing the offer of a sixth form place.

She said: "In order to put things right, I recommend the school admits Child A to the sixth form immediately, and allows him to study his preferred options."

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: "If a pupil's behaviour falls below the school's expected standard, it should take the appropriate action.

"A school can exclude a pupil permanently in response to a serious breach, or persistent breaches, of the school's behaviour policy."

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