THE council has been urged to give schools in Barnet a “directive” not to allow students to join in protests during school hours.

Tory Councillor Brian Gordon made the request at Tuesday's Full Council meeting after pupils from colleges across the borough joined thousands of others in the tuition fees protests in central London.

In a question to Cllr Andrew Harper, who is in charge of education, Cllr Gordon said: “Can the council issue a directive to all the high schools in this borough in state control saying we as a council urge students be forbidden during curriculum hours to go to these demonstrations.

“It's completely inconsistent with what they're doing at school.”

However, Cllr Harper gave a cautious response saying: “I'm not at all sure either I or the director of children's services are actually empowered to do what Cllr Gordon has asked.

“We can of course do our best to guide schools and influence them and tell them what we would expect.”

The question was a follow-up after Cllr Harper had agreed “the sanctioning of such political activism in schools should be strongly discouraged”.