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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 January 2007, 11:58 GMT
Walkout school 'looks at issues'
Protesters outside the school
Protests have been held outside the school
A school where 11 pupils were excluded after walking out amid complaints over education standards has promised to address their concerns.

Dozens were said to be involved in protests at Berryhill Sports College and High School in Stoke-on-Trent on Monday and Tuesday.

In letters to pupils, the school promised to tackle worries over using supply teachers.

But one parent said she wanted action after a previous meeting at the school.

The vast majority of students and parents have been totally supportive of Berry Hill
Head teacher Ruth Poppleton

On Tuesday the chair of governors, Terry Crowe, criticised parents who were "egging on" children.

He said the 11 pupils, who are aged about 15, were told to stay away for a fortnight and had not been permanently excluded.

The head teacher, Ruth Poppleton, said on Thursday a meeting will be held on Monday with parents and members of the governing body with a view to bringing them back into school.

But she added: "We can't condone the way the action has taken place. Children have lost the opportunity to learn."

School review

The school is sending out letters to parents and students on Thursday.

In one letter the head teacher admitted pupils were concerned that too many lessons had been covered by supply teachers, especially maths.

In the letter to parents she said she would hold a weekly surgery for parents every Friday and the school would consult with the student council every week.

All pupils are being given the chance to have an individual interview with representatives of the local authority to help address their concerns.

There will also be a review of the school, involving the local authority and the whole school community, starting next month.

Positive improvements

Ms Poppleton told the BBC the school had four "long-term" supply teachers, including two in maths who had been fully trained in the department.

The head teacher told parents: "I just wanted to take this opportunity to reassure parents that the genuine concerns and issues raised by both students and the school community during the last few difficult days are being addressed.

"The vast majority of students and parents have been totally supportive of Berry Hill.

"Indeed, most students have continued to attend lessons and have wondered what all the fuss was about!"

One parent who has protested outside the school, Mandy Moore, said: "They say they are addressing them (the concerns), but doing something about the issues is totally different.

"Some parents and children had a meeting with the head and other officials yesterday (Wednesday) and the head didn't listen to what the children were saying.

"How can a supply teacher teach a child who's about to sit GCSEs when they don't know what level they're at?

"These children need to see some positive improvements towards the school."

Pupils suspended over walking out
23 Jan 07 |  Staffordshire

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