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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 May, 2005, 13:42 GMT 14:42 UK
Unruly pupils should 'go private'
Anonymous pupils entering school
Pupils who are young enough to benefit should be taken, Dr Seldon says
A government adviser is calling on independent schools to take in disruptive state school pupils.

Sir Cyril Taylor, chairman of the Specialist Schools Trust, told private school heads they could take in one or two unruly pupils in every year group.

At a conference at Brighton College, in East Sussex, he said private school pupils would learn the importance of caring for others.

The Independent Schools Council said expelled pupils would not be welcome.

Independent schools were keen to bring in pupils who were disadvantaged - but not those who were disruptive.

Sir Cyril Taylor said the admission of disruptive pupils to the private sector would help break a downward spiral, where the 6,000 most difficult children ended up in the same 200 sink schools year after year.

He said many unruly pupils were 13 to 14-year-old boys "some of whom are quite bright"

"Behavioural problems often go with high intelligence because children get bored.

"I'm not asking you to accept a large proportion of disruptive children which would affect your other children. But I do think one or two in each year group could be a very interesting possibility," he said.

'Difficult pupils'

Sir Cyril, who has been an adviser to nine successive education secretaries, added: "Since your pupils largely come from privileged backgrounds it is very important that they understand the importance of caring for others who are less privileged."

Jonathan Shephard, the general secretary of the Independent Schools Council, said: "We are very keen to get disadvantaged pupils into our schools. We are not keen to get disruptive pupils into our schools.

"We have our share of difficult pupils. But to import somebody who is disruptive is not something for our schools."

Sir Cyril's call followed that of Brighton College's head teacher Anthony Seldon, who said unruly state pupils should be sent to private boarding schools.

During the election campaign, the Labour party said Education Secretary Ruth Kelly was looking at proposals to send disruptive pupils to state boarding schools for a set time.

The idea is that the pupils would be removed from an environment where they are failing and behaving badly in an attempt to improve their behaviour and educational opportunities.

Anthony Seldon told the conference: "We should respond enthusiastically to the government's plans for problem pupils to become boarders in our schools, as long as they are young enough and capable of responding positively to our environments".

The Boarding Schools Association says it has been involved in talks with the government on the issue for several years.

A spokesperson said: "The BSA advocates the educational benefits of boarding for children from all backgrounds and circumstances and it has long since supported and encouraged the widening of access into boarding schools in both the state and private sectors".

Dr Seldon also believes more independent schools should get involved in the government's controversial plans to build 200 privately sponsored city academies.

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