140 children excluded in two years

MORE than 140 children aged under-13 have been expelled from Suffolk's schools in just two years, it emerged today.The figures released by Suffolk County Council after a Freedom of Information request by The Evening Star show that one nine-year-old was even permanently excluded for sexual misconduct.

MORE than 140 children aged under-13 have been expelled from Suffolk's schools in just two years, it emerged today.

The figures released by Suffolk County Council after a Freedom of Information request by The Evening Star show that one nine-year-old was even permanently excluded for sexual misconduct.

A 13-year-old was also kicked out of their Suffolk school for the same reason.

Meanwhile five six-year-olds were also expelled by their headteachers. One attacked an adult, three assaulted other pupils, and the fifth was persistently disruptive.

A seven-year-old and five eight-year-olds were also been booted out for attacking adults.

The news of the 145 expulsions came after the government released figures revealing 221 injuries had been reported as a result of violent attacks on school staff during 2005-06 - at least one incident for every school day of the year.

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Over the course of the last two academic years the number of expulsions of under-13s in Suffolk has almost halved, from 95 in 2004/05 to 50 in 2005/06.

The total number of permanent exclusions for children of all ages has also decreased from 148 to 88 over the same period.

The drop has led to accusations of pressure being put on headteachers to curb the number of expulsions.

Keith Anderson, Suffolk county secretary for the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) and a teacher at Great Cornard Upper School, said: “There has been pressure put on schools from the local authority to try and reduce the number of permanent exclusions.

“We did our own survey and statistically we found a teacher is assaulted physically or verbally once every seven minutes.

“One problem in Suffolk is there are a lot of students in mainstream education, which is not necessarily the most appropriate place for them to be.”

More than a third (55) of under-13s expelled in Suffolk over the two-year period were kicked out for being continually disruptive, while 21 had attacked adults.

As well as attacks on teachers, 19 pupils aged between five and 13 were permanently excluded for assaults on fellow students over the past two years.

Among the other expulsions were 18 for abuse or threatening behaviour, eight for damaging schools, four for theft, two for alcohol or drug-related reasons and two for bullying.

N Has your child's life been affected by unruly behaviour at school? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

LISA Chambers, Suffolk County Council's assistant portfolio holder for children, schools and young people's services, refuted claims that pressure had been put on schools to avoid expelling pupils.

She said: “The council does not put pressure on schools. We do all share the determination to reduce the number of children who are excluded from school, as that can be very damaging to a child's school career and future prospects.

“Schools are very involved and actively committed to working with all the services and support to help children avoid exclusion. “Indeed, schools have led the way in improving the way we help children in difficulty. We are very proud of our joint success in keeping more children learning at school.

“The council has recently introduced a specialist behaviour support service, which works intensively with children in and outside the classroom at an early stage to help them become an effective learner at school. The service already has an excellent record with children who might well otherwise have faced exclusion.

“Suffolk schools are now much better at helping children who have difficulties in learning in the classroom, and most of the credit for that goes to the leadership shown by the schools themselves."

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