Welsh headmaster threatens to expel pupils in relationships

Toby Belfield says he "strongly disapproves" of pupils being in romances together.
Toby Belfield says he "strongly disapproves" of pupils being in romances together. Photo credit: Ruthin School

The principal at a top Welsh school has warned pupils they'll need to find new schools, if caught in relationships.

Toby Belfield, principal at the £34,500-a-year (NZ$65,700) Ruthin School, wrote in an email to staff that he "strongly disapproves" of high school romances. The email was then leaked, landing him in hot water.

"School is not the place for romantic relationships - ever," he wrote.

"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 a new school in September."

He warned that those caught infringing risked getting a worse university reference.

"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)," he wrote.

"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 Belfied changed his stance, after the email was leaked, saying he would not give a less favourable reference to students - but only if they were academically successful.

"If a student was achieving top grades (ie predicted 4/5 A* at A Level), then I would not hamper their chances of a university place by writing a less favourable reference, due to them having a boyfriend/girlfriend," he said.

"Pupils will not be summarily expelled for being in a relationship. 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."

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