Exclusions twice national average
EFFORTS are under way to encourage schools in Halton not to expel pupils after figures revealed that the borough’s children are more than twice as likely to be permanently excluded than the national average with reasons over the last three years ranging from assaulting teachers to having a gun.
Education bosses are now looking at a raft of measures aimed at tackling the issue including looking to special schools to learn lessons on how to handle behaviour issues.
An ‘inclusion conference’ is also to take place on October 17 alongside the launch of a behavioural support team.
A Halton Council children, young people and families board report published last month said the rate of children being removed from school because of behaviour is ‘unacceptably high’.
The document’s author noted a recent national press article which said rising levels of permanent exclusions are due to pressures to boost exam results.
Halton’s drive to tackle the issue also follows the July publication of the House Of Commons Education Committee’s report ‘Forgotten children: alternative provision and the scandal of ever increasing exclusions’, which said a rise in ‘zero tolerance’ behaviour policies is resulting in pupils being removed due to incidents that should be ‘managed in a mainstream school’.
The borough’s rate of permanent exclusions in 2016-17 was 0.46, more than double the 0.2 average for England and greater than the 0.31 average for the North West.
In Halton, most cases of pupils being removed occur during Years 9 and 10, but exclusions are also on the rise among Halton’s primary schools.
The most common reason is ‘persistent disruptive behaviour’ with 45 cases in three years), followed by 26 exclusions for verbal abuse or threats against an adult, 15 related to drugs or alcohol, 13 for assaults on other pupils, then nine for assaults on an adult.
Possession of a knife accounted for four cases, while having ‘a gun’ was recorded in one case.
Sexual misconduct and sexting were the reasons given for two permanent exclusions.