After hearing a claim made by the parents of Hayden Damiral, a pupil with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and a diagnosis of epilepsy, against Burnt Mill Academy, in Essex, the tribunal concluded that efforts to control the 15-year-old’s behaviour had compromised his education.
In its report, the panel said: “The question of Hayden’s actual education appears to have become secondary to the zero-tolerance policy of the school, in relation to his behaviour, with the result that a boy of average cognitive ability was not making the progress which potentially he could have been making.”
His parents had taken the school to tribunal, claiming that it had failed to meet the Year 10 pupil’s needs. The teenager had been given a fixed-term exclusion from school, as well as being excluded from a work placement. He was later permanently excluded.
The Burnt Mill Academy Trust, which runs the school, has stated in its behaviour policy that maintaining outstanding behaviour is a key priority. The policy adds that poor behaviour is a rarity and, when it is found, will be tackled by adults.
But the tribunal, which heard evidence last month, said: “The application of the behaviour policy, in relation to Hayden, was leading to increasing conflict, such that his education was becoming a series of…detentions and exclusions, which he was finding inexplicable.
“It was being imposed rigidly… Rather than continuing with this inflexible application of its policy, the [school] should have…to make reasonable adjustments for Hayden, who was being put at a substantial disadvantage.”
Read the full article Academy put ‘zero-tolerance’ policy above pupil’s education, tribunal finds
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