Principal of leading school says he will expel students who have a boyfriend or girlfriend
The headteacher at a leading public school in the UK has said he will expel pupils who have a boyfriend or girlfriend as it is a distraction from their studies.
Toby Belfield, principal at £34,500 (€39,268)-a-year Ruthin School in north Wales, told staff that he "strongly disapproves" of pupils striking up romances with each other.
He vowed to draw up a list of Year 11 or Lower Sixth students - usually aged between 15 and 17 – who are in relationships and said that they can "expect to find new schools in September".
Mr Belfield said he will "not hesitate" to expel pupils that have "any sexual contact" in school, and added that he will give worse university references to students with boyfriends or girlfriends.
In an email to staff, he warned teachers to be "more vigilant" about potential student liaisons, adding: "School is not the place for romantic relationships – ever".
He said: "I strongly disapprove of any boyfriend/girlfriend relationships - and it will always affect any university reference I write (meaning - any student in a relationship will definitely get a worse reference from me).
"Relationships can start at university - not at Ruthin School. I will be talking to staff and, as in previous years, I will put together a list of any student with a boyfriend or girlfriend. These students - if in L6 (lower sixth form) or F5 (year 11) can expect to find new school in September."
Mr Belfield added: "There are plenty of students that wish to attend Ruthin School without the diversion of romance - and these students can replace those students whose focus is on bf/gf relationships."
Mr Belfield, principal of the 700-year-old Ruthin School, has spoken of his desire to expel students because the school is oversubscribed.
He told The Daily Telegraph that any students who are found to be in a relationship, will not be "summarily expelled".
Rather, they will "be given the opportunity to review their current romantic situation, and my belief is that they (and their parents) will put their education first".
Mr Belfield explained why he felt strongly about taking a tough stance on teenage relationships.
"Parents choose Ruthin School because it is a top ranking academic institution," he said.
"In my experience, students who are in a relationship, whilst at school, are at danger of academically underachieving.
"Therefore, if they devote their time to their studies, rather than the emotional turmoil connected with teenage romance, they will achieve higher grades and go to better universities.
"This is the primary objective of the School – to enable them to fulfil their academic potential and go to the best universities in the world."
Last year, he introduced a raft of new banning students from going to the park or restaurants, ordering takeaways, smoking and drinking - regardless of their age.
Any student caught breaching the tougher policies should not expect to return for the next academic year, he said at the time.