FOUR students of a Southampton school have been excluded after they skipped a lesson to smoke cannabis.

The year 10 students, who attend Regents Park Community College in Millbrook, were found sharing a roll-up cigarette around the back of an outdoor basketball court.

Jonty Archibald, headteacher of Regents Park, said an investigation had been launched and the four girls, aged between 14 and 15, had been excluded pending its outcome.

The school confirmed that the incident happened last Wednesday, before police visited the site on Thursday.

Mr Archibald said a “trace” of cannabis was found in the cigarette, adding: “Police have been involved but are not taking any action.

“This was a very isolated incident and we are working with the support of the students’ families as we further investigate.

“We are taking appropriate action by issuing these exclusions to make sure there is not a repeat of this.

“I do not want this isolated incident of a small minority of students to overshadow the amazing achievements of Regents Park - for example 100 students involved in Rock Challenge which saw them win their heat in Southampton.”

Mr Archibald said the incident had “tested” the school’s procedures, but said he was happy the school had “strong structures” in place to deal with it.

He added: “We do not tolerate any smoking or drug use by our students.”

Millbrook ward councillor Mike Denness, pictured inset above, said: “I was surprised to hear about this but I am content that

the school is fully investigating this matter and I will wait for them to confirm the

outcome of their investigations.

“I have every confidence that the school will resolve this matter satisfactorily.

“The school is absolutely right to have a no-drugs policy, which is absolutely vital.”

Regents Park Community College was placed in special measures in 2013 following a damning report by Ofsted, the school’s watchdog.

Inspectors delivered the report branding the teaching ineffective, achievement inadequate and behaviour of some students poor.

The result of the inspection promptly led to the departure of both the headteacher and chairman of governors.

With Mr Archibald at the helm, the school pulled itself out of the lowest possible ranking to gain a “good” rating from Ofsted.

The school’s latest Ofsted report, released in 2014, said leaders and managers “provide

strong and effective leadership”.

It added that the school’s atmosphere and ethos for learning had “changed markedly” since the last inspection, and students were “at pains” to report how much things have moved on.

Speaking to the Daily Echo in 2014, Mr Archibald said the school’s improvement was testament to the “hard work of staff and students”.