Fewer students expelled from school
FEWER disruptive students in Suffolk schools are being kicked out of the classroom, it emerged today. Figures obtained by The Evening Star show that in the last three years the number of pupils being permanently excluded has fallen by 55 per cent, from 195 in 2003/2004 to just 88 in 2005/2006.
FEWER disruptive students in Suffolk schools are being kicked out of the classroom, it emerged today.
Figures obtained by The Evening Star show that in the last three years the number of pupils being permanently excluded has fallen by 55 per cent, from 195 in 2003/2004 to just 88 in 2005/2006.
And a recent spot check shows only 54 children have been excluded during the current school year, representing a drop of ten from the same point a year ago.
County council education chiefs today welcomed the statistics, claiming they were an indication of an improved approach in dealing with difficult behaviour.
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Adrian Orr, senior education officer for social inclusion, said: “The figure of 198 was way too high and we had to get it to a sensible level. It put us tenth in a table of 11 of our neighbour authorities.
“We have made additional places available at pupil referral units, created a behaviour support service and worked with headteachers to look at freeing up resources to allow an effective transfer to other provision.”
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Mr Orr said the importance of keeping children in mainstream education was far reaching.
He said: “We know children that are permanently excluded are at greater risk of getting involved in a range of activities outside school that can lead them into trouble.
“If we look at the young offenders institutes, the vast majority of people there will have a history of permanent exclusion.
“I wouldn't like to say behavioural standards are getting better, but what I can say is that schools' ability to effectively manage challenging behaviour is increasing.
“We recognise there are occasions when a headteacher is faced with a situation and they have no choice but to permanently exclude.”
However, leading teaching union, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), said failure to exclude unruly pupils was putting teachers and pupils at risk.
Keith Anderson, NASUWT Suffolk county secretary, said: “The figures have to be welcomed but you have to scratch below the surface and ask why they have gone down.
“The county council has admitted there has not necessarily been an improvement in the incidents that are happening in schools.
“But they are putting huge pressure on headteachers not to permanently exclude pupils and that may well have something to do with the figures.
“Some headteachers are concerned there are more and more obstacles in place to remove students who should not really be in those schools and who are putting teachers at risk and students at risk.”
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FIGURES reveal that 54 students have been excluded from Suffolk's schools during the current academic year to date.
Of those, ten were from primary schools.
The majority of exclusions were for persistent disruptive behaviour or for verbal abuse and threats towards adults in school.
However, 14 were for physical assaults on fellow pupils or adults, and three were linked to drugs and alcohol.
One exclusion - of a Suffolk primary school pupil - was for sexual misconduct.
The figures are reflected nationally. Statistics published by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), show that the number of permanent exclusions for very serious misbehaviour has fallen by 3pc, which adds up to a drop of 25pc since 1997-98.
Permanent exclusions in Suffolk schools:
2006/07 (to date): 54