‘An academy chain has been criticised for saying it will hold pupils back a year if they break school behaviour rules.
Outwood Grange Academy Trust (Ogat), which runs 31 schools across the north of England and the East Midlands, has previously been criticised for its high exclusion rate and for putting pupils in isolation for long periods of time.
Last year a former pupil took legal action against the trust after he spent up to 35 days in isolation. The action was dropped when the trust said it would consider the points raised by lawyers in a planned review of its behaviour policy.
In the new policy, published on Wednesday, Ogat said: “Students who do not show, over time, good behaviour, attitude and effort in their lessons, will not graduate at the end of Year 8 [aged 12 to 13] and may subsequently remain in Year 8 until improvements are made.”
Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), said the threat of failing a year was too tough a sanction and was unlikely to resolve the underlying causes of bad behaviour. “Separating a student from their friends and peers could cause more challenges for the child,” she said.
“Schools need the funding and staffing to put in place the right support where behaviour is disruptive and isn’t improving. The current cuts to pastoral systems leave staff under too much pressure and students without the individual support needed to improve their behaviour.”’