Troubled children cost more than £6m

TAXPAYERS have shelled out nearly £6.5 million in the past year to pay for 'challenging' pupils, it emerged today.For the same amount another two schools the size of the Cedars Park primary in Stowmarket, which is due to open in September, could have been built and there still would have been more than £1m to spare.

TAXPAYERS have shelled out nearly £6.5 million in the past year to pay for 'challenging' pupils, it emerged today.

For the same amount another two schools the size of the Cedars Park primary in Stowmarket, which is due to open in September, could have been built and there still would have been more than £1m to spare.

Government figures show excluded and special needs schoolchildren landed Suffolk County Council with a bill of £6,489,494 in 2005/6 - the highest amount in the eastern region - latest government figures said.

Revealed in a written answer to Shipley MP Philip Davies, the government released details of money spent on the administration, teaching and social work expenses for the pupils across Local Education Authorities in England.


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In the eastern region Norfolk County Council spent £5.7m, Cambridgeshire County Council spent £5.8m and Essex County Council spent £5.4m.

Today Suffolk County Council said the number of permanent and fixed term exclusions are falling.

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A total of 194 pupils were permanently excluded from school in 2003/4; there were 148 in 2004/5, figure for this year have yet to be compiled, but is expected to follow the declining trend.

Adrian Orr, Suffolk County Council's senior education officer: social inclusion, said: “About 18 months ago the county council made reducing exclusions a priority.

“Suffolk had a very high permanent and fixed term exclusion rates. By the end of 2004 we had set up behavior support service and opened two new pupil referral units.

“Schools, parents and teachers have worked very hard and I am pleased we have made progress but we need to sustained the lower levels of exclusions.”

The number of temporary exclusions, known as fixed-term exclusions is also declining. In 2003/4 there were 5382 bans; in 2004/5 there were 5,231.

The £6.5 million bill included the £4.3 million cost of pupil referral units, which help work with students after they have been banned.

This includes offering support for pupils with social skills problems, offering help with issues such as anger management.

The bill also includes £450,000 spent on special educational needs administration, assessment and coordination.

Schools take it in turns to take on troubled pupils. If one is moved on from a school it means that institution then goes to the top of the list to take another difficult student.

What do you think of these figures? Are we paying too much for excluded pupils? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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