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EDITIONS
Saturday, 19 October, 2002, 19:36 GMT 20:36 UK
Death threat pupils seek other schools
Glyn Technology School in Epsom
Staff at the school had threatened action
Two boys expelled from a school in Surrey for making death threats against a teacher have now agreed to go to other schools.

Teachers and support staff at Glyn Technology School in Epsom had threatened to take industrial action if the boys were reinstated and other students had petitioned against their return.


Both sets of parents have confirmed that they now wish their children to go to alternative mainstream secondary schools

Surrey County Council

But Glyn's head teacher has said he might still have to take them back if his colleagues in other schools refuse to take them.

He does not think this will happen - but so far no other schools have been offered.

The teenagers - both 15 at the time they were expelled - were told to leave the school for unacceptable behaviour after making a string of abusive and threatening telephone calls to a teacher who had disciplined them.

But an independent appeals panel overturned the school's decision, saying there had been errors in the expulsion procedure, that the threats had not been serious, and that it was important that the boys' education continue.

On Wednesday it was announced that the family of one of boys had agreed for their son to be sent to an alternative school, and now both families have agreed to a move.

But they held out against the boys' being put in a pupil referral unit for disruptive children.

Alternative schools

A spokesman for Surrey County Council said on Friday: "Both sets of parents have confirmed that they now wish their children to go to alternative mainstream secondary schools.

"We will therefore be discussing their placements with other schools."

He said the council would not be confirming which other schools the boys would go to, or when, "to protect the privacy of all school children and their families."

Gerry German of the Communities Empowerment Network, who advised the families, said the second boy had come under a lot of pressure once the other had agreed not to return to Glyn.

Nowhere to go

"The boys are very down-cast and low and you can imagine the feelings they have are feelings of depression and desperation because all they want to do is get on with their lives."

Their victim, PE teacher Steve Taverner, said he hoped now to return to the school after three weeks' absence due to stress, once he had consulted his doctor.

Glyn's head teacher, Stuart Turner, said he hoped the matter was now over.

But he added: "If something does happen and the boys can't get a place, then it may revert back to us having to take them.

"I think it could well be still possible if my colleagues in Surrey or wherever say 'We don't want the boys either'.

But he said: "I doubt that very much."

Political row

The teenagers - who had started their GCSE exams year last month - have been receiving private tuition arranged by the education authority.

The exclusion row prompted the Education Secretary, Estelle Morris, to intervene last week, saying teachers could not be expected to teach abusive pupils.

Ms Morris's intervention - for which she had no legal power - further stoked the argument.

Surrey called it "unhelpful".

In a statement on Friday the Department for Education said: "It is the sensible way forward and in the interests of the school and the two boys. We are pleased it has now been resolved in this way."

Staff leaving

  • Mr Turner wrote to parents about discipline in his newsletter in the summer term - when he revealed that 22 staff - 17 full-time and two part-time teachers and three support staff - were leaving.

    Eight of the teachers were moving to independent schools, six were leaving teaching altogether, and only two were staying in state schools - with replacements coming increasingly "from agencies and from abroad".

    He said he had asked people why they were going "and the one recurring theme in their comments about the school is the behaviour of some of the pupils".

    "Too many parents are making excuses for their son's behaviour and blaming the school for not doing enough to change the way their son behaves," he wrote.

    "I admit we can play a part, but any Mum and/or Dad taking on the school sends the message to that child that he is beyond our normal codes of discipline and can do what he likes!"

  •  WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    Head of Glyn Technology school Stuart Turner
    "I'm very pleased that there is now a solution for what was becoming a very difficult problem"
    Threatened teacher Steve Taverner
    "I'm still on sick leave but hopefully I'll be back at school as soon as possible"

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    Analysis

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    See also:

    16 Oct 02 | Education
    04 May 01 | Education
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