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Disruptive pupils face three days' solitary

trevor averre-beeson is headteacher of the first school in England to be taken over by Edison in a pound;1 million contract, writes David Marley.

Part of the contract is based on payment-by-results, with the new regime committing itself to significant improvements in exam results and pupil behaviour.

The company will be fined pound;40,000 if it does not hit its targets at Salisbury school in Enfield, north London. Mr Averre-Beeson is convinced that the Edison philosophy has had an immmediate impact on the school, which is one of the worst performing in London.

"I have no sympathy with people who object to a business being paid to run a school," he said.

"A quarter of school funds go on privately supplied resources, from supply teachers to books and computers. What can be wrong with extending that to achievement? Having a business contract keeps improvements on track. Some people might find it offensive, but it delivers." He has implemented a tough behaviour code to cut the number of exclusions. In the year to April, there were 200, including 12 that were permanent. Since April, when Mr Averre-Beeson started, there has been none.

Disruptive pupils are now sent to isolation rooms where they work in silence for up to three days. A reward system has been introduced with prizes for pupils' behaviour.

From September, pupil performance will be tested and updated on a 'pupil tracker' computer programme to produce data about grades, attendance and behaviour. This will be used in weekly meetings between pupils and 'achievement tutors' to plan ways to improve.

Mr Averre-Beeson claims staff at the school have welcomed the new approach.

"It has been much easier than I expected," he said. "The Edison way is so well articulated that it has been easy for them to adapt to it."

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