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Monday, 10 February, 2003, 11:06 GMT
Anger over gun boy's return to school
Teachers worried about maintaining discipline
A school has been forced to take back a pupil who was expelled for shooting a teacher in the neck with a ball-bearing gun.

The boy, 11, was banned from Llantwit Major Comprehensive in south Wales after the playground attack on sociology teacher John Alter.

But, following a challenge by the pupil's parents, he was reinstated by an independent appeals panel.

Karisa Forest, boy's mother
Karisa Forest: 'Not a bad boy'

The boy's mother, Karisa Forest, said her son's actions did not warrant permanent expulsion.

"He has never been in trouble before; it was not his gun, he did not bring it in and he is not a nasty child," she said.

The NASUWT teachers' union says the decision has put its members at risk and undermined their authority.

Tim Cox, national executive member for south Wales, said: "We just don't understand this. We have been saying for a long time that these panels should be scrapped.

"They undermine the authority of the school and the professionalism of the head teacher.

"It makes you wonder what is and is not allowed in schools anymore."

NASUWT members at Llantwit Major asked for a ballot to refuse to teach the pupil.

But this was suspended after talks to resolve the matter restarted.

Tim Cox: 'Entirely wrong'

An appeals panel usually consists of three to five members, one of whom must be a serving or retired head teacher.

The NASUWT is asking the Welsh Assembly to adopt the same guidelines as those brought in for England.

These will allow a panel to decide permanent exclusion was too harsh, but that the pupil should be placed in another school.

'Exclude troublemakers'

This, it says, will prevent undermining the authority of the school, while insuring the child does not come into further contact with the teacher.

Mr Cox said: "It happens too often that excluded pupils are allowed back by appeal panels, unfortunately.

"We will not tolerate acts of violence against teachers. We always expect schools permanently to exclude pupils who assault teachers and for appeals panels to respect the authority of the school."

Damian Green
Damian Green

Shadow education secretary Damian Green added: "This is yet another case of an appeal panel undermining the authority of the head and teachers, in a way that disrupts the school.

"These panels should be scrapped, to send the clear signal that inside the school the head is in charge of discipline, and behaviour which would be unacceptable outside the school gates is unacceptable inside as well."

A Vale of Glamorgan Council spokesman said: "The education authority has complied with the appropriate procedures in relation to this matter.

"Under current legislation, the parents of any excluded pupil have the right to challenge such a decision through an independent appeals panel, and this was the course adopted in this case.

"The decision to re-admit the pupil was entirely one for the panel and the authority's responsibility has been to implement that decision, working in conjunction with the school and the teaching unions."

Members of the NASUWT also refused to teach a boy - known as Pupil L - who returned to a Catholic school in Hertfordshire after a panel overturned his expulsion order.


The House of Lords, which is due to make a judgement on the matter, heard the boy, removed for violent conduct, had been "denied a proper education".

The teenager worked alone under the supervision of a retired teacher and was allowed no contact with other children.

As a result of being treated as a "pariah" the teenager, now 17, passed only four subjects at grade A to C instead of the expected seven or eight, Cherie Booth QC told Lords Bingham, Hoffmann, Hobhouse, Scott and Walker.

The school was in breach of its obligation to reinstate Pupil L following the successful appeal by his parents, she added.

The Law Lords also heard of a similar case in London, where another boy - Pupil P - was permanently excluded from his secondary school then allowed back on appeal.

Again, members of the NASUWT refused to take the boy into their lessons.

More from south east Wales
See also:

11 Oct 02 | Education
14 Feb 03 | Education
04 Feb 03 | Politics
27 Nov 02 | Education
11 Oct 02 | Education
14 Feb 03 | Education
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