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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 April, 2005, 13:14 GMT 14:14 UK
Boarding plan for unruly pupils
School classroom
Time away from the "wrong crowd" could help some pupils, say Labour
Disruptive pupils could be sent to state boarding schools to improve their behaviour, under plans being considered by Education Secretary Ruth Kelly.

A "pathfinder experiment" where unruly pupils are taken out of regular schools for up to one year is being looked at, a Labour Party spokesman said.

The Tories want an increase in special units for such children, while the Lib Dems would provide a better curriculum.

Currently 30,000 children attend the country's 35 state boarding schools.

Labour's idea comes from the Specialist Schools Trust, the lead body for the government's specialist schools programme.

It may be beneficial to help deal with disruptive behaviour in class
Labour Party spokesman

The Labour Party spokesman added: "We are thinking, in a limited number of cases, of time away from a disruptive environment where kids are falling in with the wrong crowd, and may be at risk of exclusion.

"It may be beneficial to help deal with disruptive behaviour in class to send kids for a term, or maybe a year, to state boarding schools."

The Liberal Democrats have stressed the need for a better curriculum to engage pupils' interest which they believe would avoid problems arising in the first place.

The Conservatives say they would fund a big increase in the number of special units for disruptive children, which they call "turnaround schools".

Of the 30,000 children attending the country's state boarding schools, 4,000 board full-time.

The schools do not charge tuition fees but parents pay from 4,000 to 10,000 in boarding fees.

Local authorities have the discretion to help parents from poorer backgrounds with the costs.

The establishments are popular with armed forces personnel who are sent on short tours abroad.