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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 February 2006, 17:38 GMT
Saying 'sorry' tackles expulsions
Boy by railing
All but 22 cases reached a "satisfactory outcome"
A project which offers disruptive pupils the chance to say "sorry" as an alternative to expulsion will be rolled out by Scotland's largest council.

Glasgow's restorative justice service has dealt with 365 school children, of whom 123 were at risk of expulsion.

Councillor Jim Coleman said: "It is our intention to give every school the opportunity to take part in this."

The figures came as a council report revealed eight children had been tagged during a pilot scheme.

A total of 356 school children have been involved in the restorative justice programme since September 2004.

They are among 2,700 young people to go through the service city-wide since it was first launched in August 2003.

It aims to make young people confront their wrongdoing by facing their victim or making amends, such as cleaning or repairing vandalism.

All but 22 cases - about 6% - referred by schools had reached a "satisfactory outcome", the council said.

Councillor Jim Coleman
It is about working with young people and giving them a choice
Cllr Jim Coleman

The service is available to seven schools and has dealt with a range of issues including vandalism, fights between pupils and conflict between teachers and pupils.

It will be rolled out to tackle the number of children expelled from school.

More pupils are excluded from Glasgow secondary schools than anywhere else in Scotland.

The rate in the city is 21 suspensions for every 100 pupils.

Across all types of schools there were a total of 7,469 exclusions in Glasgow during 2004/5.

Jim Coleman, deputy leader of Glasgow City Council, described restorative justice as "a real success" and he hopes it could turn that figure around.

He said: "It has worked for those who were at risk of expulsion.

"They'd have been on the street and on our record.

"It is a success story, we are starting to turn it around.

"It is about working with young people and giving them a choice.

SCHOOLS TAKING PART
Eastbank Academy
Govan High
St Paul's High School
Springburn Academy
St Thomas Aquinas
St Mungo's Academy

"Young people have complex problems and it takes time to sort them out."

The Scottish Parent Teacher Council welcomed the roll out "as long as it doesn't become routine and formulaic".

Judith Gillespie, development manager, said: "The council must keep monitoring its progress.

"When you run a pilot you invest everything in running it properly.

"As long as they continue with the same energy it will be worth it."

Meanwhile, a report showed eight young people had been tagged in the city as an alternative to secure accommodation under a pilot project.

Cllr Coleman added: "You can guarantee those tagged have a long history.

"This keeps them from going off the tracks further.

"Hopefully the support will help them."


SEE ALSO:
Sharp rise in school expulsions
31 Jan 06 |  Scotland
Young offenders 'face' victims
27 Aug 03 |  Scotland


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