A BEHAVIOUR expert will be brought in to quell rowdy students at Southend’s schools.

Southend Council has lined up a new scheme to tackle problem pupils before their actions get out of control.

The move comes after latest figures revealed four out of five suspensions in Southend’s secondary schools last year were dished out by just four schools.

Jane Theadom, the council’s head of school support and preventative services, said: “The behaviour support teacher will be available to schools to support with behaviour policy and practice, including behaviour audits making recommendations for improvement.

“Some of their work will be with teachers to support implementation of behaviour policy.”

Including primary and special schools, there were 979 suspensions from Southend’s schools and seven expulsions in 2011/12.

That compares to 1,440 suspensions and four expulsions in 2010/11.

Most of last year’s punishments were handed out for disruptive behaviour or assaults on other pupils.

The behaviour expert will visit schools which have handed out multiple suspensions to train staff how to tackle the cause of the problem, rather than the symptoms.

Last year, the Echo revealed council bosses had called for schools to avoid suspending pupils wherever possible.

Chiefs were insistent that different measures could be used to tackle bad behaviour, such as placing pupils in “isolation units” rather than sending them home.

However, the strategy put them on a collision course with several headteachers.

Neil Houchen, head of the Eastwood Academy, said society had become obsessed with “making excuses” for pupils’ conduct.

He added: “I absolutely agree with the principle of tackling the underlying causes of excludable behaviour, but at the same time I do not make excuses for it.

“A clear, demarcated boundary is drawn, and if pupils cross it, they know and understand the consequences.”