Sponsor rebuked for pupil riot

Dozens of pupils went "on the rampage" at a new Christian-backed academy after a protest spiralled out of control.

A group of pupils at the Oasis Academy Mayfield in Southampton ran through corridors last Thursday shouting, smashing a window and damaging doors.

Some eyewitness reports put the number of pupils involved at as many as 150. Five have now been permanently excluded and a further 25 were given suspensions.

One of the pupils involved is alleged to have threatened a teacher with a small knife only days before the incident, The TES understands.

According to the local paper, John Denham, the local MP and universities minister, told Oasis, the education charity that sponsors the academy, it might have to call in outside help because it lacked experience at running schools.

The pupils' main gripes were that the academy had not delivered curriculum improvements and the split site made it difficult to find teachers. Staff are unhappy about the way the school is organised. The split site means that some have to miss lunch travelling between classes.

Ruth Johnson, the school's principal, said the pupils' behaviour had been unacceptable, but she was confident the school could overcome its difficulties.

Full story, page 4.

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