The jury at the Old Bailey found the pair guilty of attempted rape but cleared them of rape.
The defence claimed the boys – one of whom was described as a model pupil by his teacher – were just being naughty or playing a game, but jurors rejected the argument.
Sentencing them, Mr Justice Saunders said: “I do not accept that what happened was a game but I do accept that you did not realise how serious what you were doing was.”
He said to impose any sort of custodial sentence would be “counter-productive” and not in the boys’ best interests.
The boys had been told in advance they would not be locked up.
When they entered the court they chatted to one another and looked around excitedly.
The judge told the boys: “The jury decided that you did something very wrong which if you had been older would have very serious consequences for you.”
“Because you are so young, the court is mainly concerned with doing what is best for you with the aim of ensuring that you do not do anything like it again.”
He said the case had already caused “immense disruption” to the boys’ lives and those of their families, and “great unhappiness”.
The judge and barristers dispensed with wigs and gowns, as they had done during the trial, and the boys were allowed to sit with their mothers and solicitors.
The judge said both boys would be ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for two and a half years.
He added: “It may sound from all this that I am forgetting the little girl involved. I do not.
“Everyone will sympathise with her for what she has gone through.
“Not only what happened to her as the victim of these offences, but also to have to give evidence about them.
“I hope that she will be given all the help that she undoubtedly deserves to get over her experiences.”
After the sentencing the boys were led out of the same side door through which they had entered.Post published in: Politics