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Shephard speaks on discipline

Schools will be able to appeal against a local education authority command to readmit a disruptive pupil who has been excluded from the school twice. And parents whose children have been excluded from two or more schools will lose their right to choose schools, writes Biddy Passmore.

These measures, to be included in the forthcoming Education Bill, were announced by Gillian Shephard, the Education and Employment Secretary, at a fringe meeting at the Tory party conference in Bournemouth. Mrs Shephard will also compel LEAs to state their provision for pupils with behavioural problems, including pupil referral units and special schools.

She hopes these measures will help schools deal with the disproportionately disruptive effect of a "tiny minority" of pupils, while also flushing out those LEAs which let such pupils "drift into limbo".

And she hinted on Wednesday that the measures would slow down moves by LEAs to get rid of separate provision for disruptive pupils. Under the changes proposed in the Bill, appeal committees considering the placement of a disruptive pupil would be required to consider the interests of all the children in the school, she told the fringe meeting to loud applause. Also, the committee would be required to take into account the school's disciplinary policy.

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