There are mixed views about a “hardline” approach to school discipline used at an academy in Portslade.

Hundreds of people have contacted The Argus since we revealed last week how 26 pupils had been suspended from Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA) following the appointment of James Fox as interim principal.

Many gave the controversial principal their support, but some pupils – and their parents – expressed fears including how they were missing vital lessons just before exams after being suspended.

More details have also emerged of some the infractions that have led to pupils disciplined.

One commenter on our website who claimed to be a Year 11 pupils at the academy said: “These rules are ridiculous. I’ve been sent out of lessons for wearing nail varnish. I also gained a principal’s detention for drinking water during a lesson.”

Others have spoken of pupils being told to only eat in the lunch hall and detentions being handed out to those who eat outside.


Another said: “On the first day of the new rules, a perfectly innocent student in my year was excluded, without warning, from the school for consuming a cheese sandwich outdoors.”

And one commenter who said she was a parent of someone at the school said: “Some children, including my own, are now too terrified to come home and eat at lunchtime in case they are stopped or punished and they have an eating disorder which now means they don’t eat all day as they are not allowed to eat outside.”

But Portslade resident Richard Aguiar said he was in support of the interim principal after seeing his granddaughter bullied at the academy.

He felt the new hard-line stance was exactly what the school needed.

Trouble shooter

He said: “The kids were taking advantage.

“This Mr Fox has an awful lot of work on his hands but I support him.

“The school was in a state before. But he has come here as a trouble shooter.

“It is the parents that need educating. They should have thought about these things before sending them to school.”

PACA said Mr Fox had spoken to “more than a dozen” parents who asked to discuss the matter with him and none have taken it any further.

All children who had been temporarily excluded were due back in school today (January 15) apart from one, due back tomorrow (January 16).

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