JOEL Fricker, Lee Cox, Nohe Berhane, Declan Mack and Liam Fearon are just 10 or 11 years old, and were all facing exclusion from their schools after causing trouble.

But, after just one term in a pupil referral unit, the boys proved to themselves and their teachers they could completely change their behaviour.

And Sunnyhurst Centre, Darwen, acting headteacher Charlotte Rolfe said unlike most children sent to the unit, they would now go back into mainstream high schools instead of special ones for pupils with emotional and behavioural needs.

Bosses said it showed the value of the referral units – halfway between mainstream school and a special school.

An annual project for which the pupils must raise the total cost of an end of school trip to Camelot from petrol to admissions, showed staff the boys had put their troubles behind them.

After being given just £5 from businessman Roy Lomas, of Lomas Office furniture, Blackburn, they have already made £155 to cover the cost – the extra fundraising will also buy the boys a photograph on a ride and a hot chocolate and shortbread from Starbucks Coffee.

They promised Mr Lomas they would double his money after presenting their fundraising business plan to him.

The group carried out surveys to find out what people would be prepared to donate money for and came up with four activities over four weeks.

They were a car wash, selling tea, coffee, cappuccinos and shortbread biscuits they had baked, making selling jacket potatoes with various fillings and a raffle.

They put into practice basic manners they had learnt from speaking to adults respectfully, writing and making presentations, making posters advertising their fundraisers.

The boys kept a £30 float and an accounts book with their spending.

And they also gave up their breaks and lunchtimes to ensure they could raise as much as possible.

Mrs Rolfe said: “Due to behaviour, most can’t cope with mainstream school.

“But with hard work with various projects including raising funds for the end of year school trip they have.”

Leanda Waddicor, specialist support assistant, said: “They have worked really really hard. It has given them a lot of confidence.”

The boys will be moving to high schools such as Darwen Aldridge Community Academy, Ryhddings Business and Enterprise School, Darwen Vale High School and St Wilfrid’s CofE High School.