SHOCK­ING RISE IN AT­TACKS ON TEACH­ERS

Glossop Advertiser - - Front Page - PAUL BRIT­TON and CLAIRE MILLER

SHOCK­ING new fig­ures show a huge rise in the num­ber of Manch­ester pri­mary pupils re­ceiv­ing tem­po­rary sus­pen­sions for lash­ing out at a mem­ber of staff.

There were 210 short-term ex­clu­sions for as­sault at state-funded pri­maries in Manch­ester in 2015/16 – a record num­ber.

This was up from 120 in 2014/15, an in­crease of 75 per cent in a year, and was the high­est num­ber since at least 2006/07.

In ad­di­tion, 12 pupils in Manch­ester were per­ma­nently ex­cluded for at­tack­ing an adult.

And the fig­ures also re­vealed pri­mary school pupils in Sal­ford are the most likely in Eng­land to be ex­pelled for at­tack­ing teach­ers.

The fig­ures re­veal there were 22 per­ma­nent ex­clu­sions from state­funded pri­maries across Sal­ford in 2015/16 – the equiv­a­lent of nine in ev­ery 10,000 pupils.

Of those, four pupils were kicked out of school for at­tacks on adults.

Across Eng­land, the num­ber of per­ma­nent ex­clu­sions for all rea­sons in state-funded pri­mary, se­condary and spe­cial schools in­creased from 5,795 in 2014/15 to 6,685 in 2015/16.

Kevin Court­ney, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Na­tional Union of Teach­ers (NUT), said: “This is a con­cern­ing trend and the Depart­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion must give se­ri­ous and hon­est con­sid­er­a­tion of what is driv­ing these ris­ing num­bers of ex­clu­sions.

“NUT mem­bers tell us that as the cur­ricu­lum gets nar­rower and chil­dren’s ex­pe­ri­ence of school is ever more fo­cused on prepa­ra­tion for tests and ex­ams, more stu­dents are be­com­ing dis­en­gaged from school, which in turn leads to prob­lems with be­hav­iour and men­tal health prob­lems.”

The fig­ures don’t take into ac­count a huge rise in pri­mary school pupil num­bers over ten years. Manch­ester coun­cil has in­tro­duced more than 10,000 ad­di­tional places in pri­mary schools since 2010/11.

Thresh­olds for record­ing and re­port­ing in­ci­dents – and what con­sti­tutes an at­tack on a teacher lead­ing to sus­pen­sions and ex­pul­sions – may well have changed over ten years too.

In 2015/16, there were at least 70 per­ma­nent ex­clu­sions of pri­mary school pupils across Greater Manch­ester, and 3,019 fixed-term ex­clu­sions.

Coun Lisa Stone, lead mem­ber for chil­dren’s and young peo­ple’s ser­vices at Sal­ford coun­cil, said per­ma­nent ex­clu­sion was a ‘last re­sort’ and not taken lightly. “We are talk­ing about very vul­ner­a­ble young chil­dren who are likely to have com­plex so­cial, emo­tional and be­havioural needs,” she said. “If ex­clu­sion is con­sid­ered the right re­sponse, we pro­vide in­ten­sive sup­port for the child and make sure we get them back into main­stream school as quickly as pos­si­ble. We have a strong track record of do­ing this ef­fec­tively.”

A spokesman for Manch­ester coun­cil said: “All schools want all of their pupils to achieve their full po­ten­tial, and stay­ing in school is the best way of mak­ing sure of this.

“They there­fore work very hard to put ap­pro­pri­ate in­ter­ven­tions in place to re­duce the need for per­ma­nent ex­clu­sions, which are a last re­sort and do lit­tle to ben­e­fit the pupil. This in­cludes the use of fixed-term ex­clu­sions to ad­dress a wide range of in­ap­pro­pri­ate pupil be­hav­iour.”

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