20th June 2003 at 01:00
WE have a sixth-form student who is pregnant and wishes to remain at school. Given that a student common room can be boisterous, are we taking a risk by allowing her to do so?

Are you really seeking to exclude this girl because you think it inappropriate for her to be in school? There is nothing to suggest that the presence of a pregnant student in school is an encouragement to others to be promiscuous. Given that the girl wishes to have her baby, there is every reason to encourage her to continue with her studies for as long as possible. The risks to which she might be exposed are probably no greater than they are outside school.

Are teachers who are absent from school obliged to set work for their pupils?

Most schools have a policy of asking absent teachers to set work for their classes. This is a professional obligation, rather than a legal requirement, and there will always be circumstances, such as serious illness, where it cannot be fulfilled. It is also difficult to deliver when absence is extended and new work would depend on the completion of earlier assignments. It is the head of department's duty to ensure that pupils'

learning continues.

Archimedes Questions for this column should be addressed to Archimedes at The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX or

The writer's confidentiality will be respected.

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