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Ministers get tough with playground bullies

PERSISTENT bullying or a single violent incident could justify a pupil's permanent exclusion from school, under revised government guidance finally issued for consultation last week. Other offences cited under the "one strike and you could be out" policy are carrying an offensive weapon, sexual misconduct and supplying an illegal drug. The guidance came as the head and deputy head of Button Lane primary school, in Manchester refused to teach or support a disruptive Year 6 pupil, excluded permanently after pushing a fellow pupil through a plate glass window in October 2001. The boy was reinstated on appeal. National Association of Head Teachers members will refuse to teach, support or take care of the pupil from today, after voting for industrial action. Teaching unions have also been balloted. Meanwhile parents in Gloucester have expressed concern after a six-year-old was allowed to return to school after being excluded for bringing a six-inch knife into the classroom. The boy was temporarily excluded from Linden primary, but returned this week.

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