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Wednesday, 23 October, 2002, 10:00 GMT 11:00 UK
Charity under fire over threat pupils
Glyn Technology School in Epsom
The pupils were excluded from Glyn Technology School
A charity funded by the National Lottery has come under fire for its role in advising two teenage boys expelled from school for making death threats against a teacher.

The Communities Empowerment Network (CEN) said one of its directors, Gerry German, had been "vilified, defamed and maligned" for assisting an independent appeals panel reviewing the boys' case.


It must be the right of somebody accused of something to be represented by those who have more knowledge of the processes or guidelines than they do

Professor Gus Johns, CEN
The two 15 year olds were excluded by the head teacher Glyn Technology School in Epsom, Surrey, but were then given the right to return by the appeals panel.

The teenagers' families have now agreed to send their sons to other local schools, after staff and pupils at Glyn Technology made it clear they did not want the pair to be re-integrated.

Chairman of CEN, Professor Gus Johns, said his charity's involvement in the case had been used to criticise the Community Fund which distributes lottery funds.

The Community Fund has been at the centre of a debate this week over its decision to award a 340,000 grant to the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC).

Tackling exclusion

Professor John said CEN had an excellent track-record in forging partnerships between schools, pupils and parents to prevent exclusion and in re-integrating expelled youngsters.

"We make no apology for the fact that our success in having exclusion decisions overturned is higher than the national average," said Professor Johns.

"Our record in this respect is due not exclusively to the representational skills of Gerry German but to the principles, knowledge of the government's own guidance and advocacy skills applied by all CEN staff.

"It is precisely those principles, skills and knowledge with which we seek to empower communities of students and parents through the training we provide."

The charity, established in 1999, said it helped give the necessary "checks and balances" when some schools denied excluded students "due process".

In the Glyn Technology School case, independent appeals panels had shown there was a need for children to be represented in the same way that teachers or other members of staff involved in a dispute have union or other backing, said Professor Johns.

"The only people in the whole schooling process who are unsupported and unprotected are students and their parents," he said.

"It must be the right of somebody accused of something to be represented by those who have more knowledge of the processes or guidelines than they do."


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22 Oct 02 | Politics
19 Oct 02 | Education
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