Ire Over UK Academy Plans to ‘Imprison’ Troublemakers

The Daily Mail reports that Tudor Grange Academy located in Worcester, West Midlands, has applied for a permit to convert a nearby office block into an alternative education facility designed to house its most troublesome students. Tudor Grange, which was granted an Academy designation in 2009, has a record of expelling more students than any other school in England but one.

The new facility will be located two miles from the main campus and will cater to those students who have been permanently excluded from the school. Under strict supervision the students will continue to be taught all core subjects, and as part of their rehabilitation will get an opportunity to rejoin their classmates at a later date. The facility will accommodate up to 12 students at a time.

Some parents interviewed by the Daily Mail are outraged by the plan, saying it is akin to a prison meant to house particularly troublesome inmates. One in particular said that the language used by school administrators — who have been throwing around words and expressions like "rehabilitation" and "rewards for good behavior" — makes it seem like the school intends to treat some if its students, who could be as young as 11, as criminals.

In a planning application submitted to Worcester City Council, the school said students would benefit from ‘focused intervention appropriate to their learning and social needs'.

It was claimed this would make them less likely to be permanently excluded from the academy, as well as more employable later in life.

The new annex will be staffed at all times with at least two teachers who will be in charge of delivering lessons in mathematics, English, information technology, and life skills to a small group of students.

Alan Amos, a Worcester City Council member for the Labour party, said that the new building is just a symptom of the problems of academies in general. What the schools would dearly love to do is practice selective intake, and therefore they are poorly equipped to deal with the problems that arise from chronically misbehaving students, he said.

‘As a former teacher, I can quite accept that sometimes one disruptive pupil can be a real nuisance to the whole school and you have to give them the best chance of life.

‘But a school has to take the rough with the smooth and I'm concerned academies seem to take exceptional concern when they have pupils who need extra attention.'

Tudor Grange Academy has not yet commented on the plans.

09 12, 2012
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