Your thoughtful leader (3 January 2011) on behaviour in schools points out the radical changes we are making to restore the authority of teachers and headteachers by strengthening their powers to search pupils, issue detentions and use force where necessary.
However, it is wrong to say that we are making it more difficult for headteachers to exclude unruly pupils. In fact, we are increasing the powers headteachers have to exclude by ensuring that pupils cannot be reinstated against a school’s wishes.
You are right to point out that we are also piloting a new system to help pupils who have been expelled. Schools will have the power, additional money and responsibility to secure alternative education for these pupils. We don’t believe this will act as a deterrent to exclusion. Many headteachers are wary of expelling disruptive pupils for fear of the poor quality of alternative provision. By improving that alternative it will be easier for heads to exclude those pupils who need more specialised help to tackle their behavioural problems.
Minister of State for Schools