A father said he feels “disgusted” by a new lateness policy at his son's school.

Mark Hill, from Dereham, has voiced his concern over his boy's treatment at the town's Neatherd High School.

He said tardy students are being put on a programme where they are sent home early if they are five or more minutes late to class. 

But the school's headteacher has stuck by the policy, and said most parents were in support of it as well. 

Mr Hill said had already been sent home three times before lunchtime since the policy was introduced in early November. 

“I am disgusted with it, I understand he needs to be on time for lessons, but I feel that all they are doing is putting children further and further behind in their education,” he said.

“I am fine with detentions, or not sending them into the class and working in the library but ready to go to the next one.

“I believe there is a better path to go down rather than just sending them home.”

Dereham Times: Neatherd High School, in DerehamNeatherd High School, in Dereham

But Jaime Mallett, headteacher at the school, said: “A very small number of students have recently started to truant lessons repeatedly, sometimes not appearing until well over halfway into a lesson and causing disruption to other classes in the meantime.”

Mr Mallett said that before students were sent home, they first had to meet with a senior member of staff who explained why their truancy was causing a problem.

They were also told what they needed to do differently and what the consequences would be if they continued to be truant.

Students have been asked to read and sign a summary of the meeting, and the school has written to parents to explain the situation.

Mr Mallett said: “Despite being offered considerable support to make the right decisions and be successful, their behaviour has led us to adapt our sanctions to reinforce the seriousness of this matter for the benefit of our whole school community.

“We pride ourselves on being a traditional, inclusive and supportive school but, from time to time, in order to maintain our high standards, we have to take a firm line with a very small minority. 

"We believe the overwhelming majority of our parents are supportive of our high expectations.”